In this interesting and informative memoir, Mick Thompson looks back on an eventful career in the RAF Medical Branch from 1957 to 1982.
During those 25 years he served overseas in Bahrain, Cyprus, Germany and Belize and was also posted for a tour of duty with the RAF Regiment Parachute Squadron, with two spells of active service in Aden, including the final withdrawal of British troops in 1967.
In contrast there were detachments to Zambia and Catterick where he remembers doing very little at all!
After a parachuting accident in the Libyan desert, Mick recovered and was subsequently posted to a Parachute Rescue team in Cyprus, where he went on to complete a total of 100 military parachute descents. In the last years of his service Mick was engaged in aeromedical evacuation, both full-time in Belize and part-time in the UK, which included the evacuation of wounded troops from the Falklands War.
Boxing and athletics also played an important part in his RAF service and he recalls some memorable occasions when he represented the RAF at home and abroad.
Mick also draws on his love of popular music, using hit records of the period to signpost events in his career, which stretched from when Private Elvis Presley was drafted in 1957 to when pacifist Boy George topped the charts with ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’ on Mick’s last day of service.
Mick’s story also includes an impartial account of RAF training in the 1950s, tales of which, he feels, are too often clouded with nostalgia. Whilst many airmen, particularly conscripts, disliked the whole process, Mick maintains that the vast majority took the rough with the smooth and coped well with everything that was served up – with, perhaps, the exception of the food!
This interesting slice of military and social history of the twentieth century, related in an honest and entertaining way throughout, is sure to be of interest to fellow servicemen of the era and many others besides...