By Tom Eeles
The tale of staff Captain Tom Eeles who served within the RAF for forty four years and totalled over 8000 hours of flying in twenty-eight diverse airplane varieties. Tom entered RAF university Cranwell in 1961, he received his RAF wings in 1963.
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Additional info for A Passion for Flying: 8,000 hours of RAF Flying
This, as I was made to appreciate while growing up myself, had actually been the testament of a British generation. Born in the early years of the century, afflicted by slump and Depression after the First World War in which their fathers had fought, then flung back into combat against German imperialism in their maturity, starting to get married and to have children in the bleak austerity that succeeded victory in 1945, they all wondered quite where the years of their youth and strength had gone, and saw only more decades of struggle and hardship still to come before the exigencies of retirement.
In fact, religious fanatics who had been expelled even by other Jewish communities first murdered their own families and then drew lots for the exalted duty of murdering one another. Only the very last ones had to settle for killing themselves. ” Yet my next subject is a man who for a long time braved death for a living and would have been perfectly willing to offer to die in a cause that he considered to be (and that was) larger than himself. The Commander He loved me tenderly and shyly from a distance, and later on took a naïve pride in seeing my name in print.
The Empire and the Navy were being wound up fast, the colors were being struck from Malaya in the East to Cyprus and Malta nearer home, the Senior Service itself was being cut to the bone. When I was born in Portsmouth, my father was on board a ship called the Warrior, anchored in a harbor that had once seen scores of aircraft carriers and great gray battleships pass in review. In Malta there had still been a shimmer or scintilla of greatness to the Navy, but by the time I was old enough to take notice the Commander was putting on his uniform only to go to a “stone frigate”: a non-seagoing dockside office in Plymouth where they calculated things in ledgers.