Royal Air Force Staff College
Last Updated: March 16th, 2020
to right: my sister's daughter, Melissa,
Heather, Jeff, Laura, and Stacy
In 1973, the American Embassy was located in Grosvenor Square.
This is the same American Embassy where the Cornell Glee Club performed after our Russian Tour in 1960.
London is an easy trip by car or train from Bracknell.
Bracknell is west of Windsor Castle and Ascot, the home of the famous horse race.
The largest town near Bracknell is Reading.
Northwest of Reading is the delightful countryside area called "The Coltswolds".
Our Mercedes looked pretty much like this one.
We needed a car and had no idea how to rent one! But not for long.
Mary's father's company Emerson and Cumming Ltd., had a location in Wembley outside of London and a major manufacturing facility in Germany.
They shipped a Mercedes 220 to London for us to use while we were in Great Britain.
The Officer's Mess
The RAF Staff College
||The Shakespeare Theatre in
|Village after village of winding roads and
||Beautiful Tudor style with thatched roofs
||Or houses of Cotswold limestone and thatched
|Bath is a city with a mix of Roman (baths) and
English (churches) architecture.
|A typical Roman bath in Bath, England
|I'm the guy in the Service Dress Khaki uniform
in the middle. I guess I should have worn my Dress
||Staff College Main Building
|Infantry Tactical Training
||Small Vehicle Integrated
||Open Country Tank
|Integrated Air and Ground
||Tank Live Firing Exercises
||Anti-Tank Live Firing
|After the village was vacated
||The public was given tours of
the village recently.
||A recent picture of the
The Paris Air Show is traditionally held the last week of June every odd year.
So being 1973, we were able to attend. We flew in from England, early in the morning, spent the day and returned the same day. So, unfortunately, we were not able to spend any time in Paris itself.
The Paris Air Shoe is held at Le-Bourget airport northeast of Paris.
It is located within the urban sprawl of Paris itself; a factor that would become important at the air show that year.
|Note the urban sprawl around the Le-Bourget
|The show consists of static
||and numerous flight
|On the second
day of the air show, the second
production aircraft of the Russian
built Aeroflot TU-144 (Concorde
copy-cat) crashed in the vicinity of
That day the Concorde was first to demonstrate the performance capabilities of the aircraft; high speed flyby, steep pull up climbing to 10,000 ft altitude. When the TU-144 pilot attempted the same series of maneuvers, he pulled the nose up too steeply failng to recover the aircraft.
The plane crashed killing the six person crew and eight people on the ground.
|Following the crash, there
was considerable political
pressure to move the Paris Air
Show from the Le-Borguet to an
airport at Istres, which is
situated in open country 40km
(25 miles) northwest of
Marseille. However, the Paris
Air Show was not moved and
continues to take palce every
odd year at Le-Bourget.
" The crash reduced the enthusiasm for the TU-144. Restrictions on the TU-144 following the Paris Air Show crash meant that it only saw limited service during 1977 and 1978, and it was finally withdrawn from service following another crash in 1978."
"The TU-1454's rival, the Concorde, went on to serve with British Airways and Air France for 30 years afterwards, being finally withdrawn from service in 2003 due to low passenger numbers following the crash of Flight 4590, rising service costs, and the slump in the aviation industry following 9/11/
|Lord Nelson's Great Hall at
|Royal Navy Mess Dress
||British Army Regimental Mess
||Royal Air Force Mess Dress
||US Navy Mess Dress
|Many of the local Cornish
roads look like this. You have to be very careful
because on the edges of the road are drainage
trenches. If you get a tyre stuck in one of those,
you are in big trouble!
||Much of the Cornwall coastline
looks like this. There are many cliffs and small
inlets which were used by smugglers. If you
watched the PBS series "Poldark", you are familiar
with this view.
|At low tide, the causeway from the town to the
island was exposed so vehicles and tourists had
access to the island and the castle.
But at high tide, like in this view, the causeway was underwater.
|We ate breakfast and dinner in
the house. But, we enjoyed going across the street
in the mornings for coffee and in the afternoon at
tea time for strawberries and cream.
||It was only a short walk to
the pub in the village. We would go occasionally
for a pub lunch and in the evenings for some beers
|Ensign Class regatta of the coast of
Except in those days, all the Ensign Class day sailboats had blue sails.
|We practiced out of the
Mousehole Marina on the left side of the causeway.
The regatta was to the right side toward Penzance.
||Laura was a fast learner.
Sailing turned out to be a shared
interest for Laura and me for many years.
|Cornwall Tin Mines
||Cornwall Tin Mines|
|We loaded our Mercedes aboard
||We had a reasonably
||With a great view of the
|We left the rolling hills of
northern England for the more mountainous Scotland
||When we arrived in the major
city of Edinburgh, we offloaded our car from the
train for our drive through central Scotland
|We enjoyed the hills and
rivers of central Scotland
||Purple 'Heather' adorned the hills||Lots of castles and sheep; few
|Loosiemouth is located on the coast of the
||But we did not stay near the sea
||Instead we stayed in a cute little farmhouse
like this one
| Just a short drive south Glen Grant
||The copper distillery equipment was
Grant Distillery products
Heather recently called me and asked a few
questions about scotch. She and her husband
David were at a scotch tasting event in
California.I reminded her that she had visited
the Grant Distillery in Scotland when we lived
in England and that she thought that the copper
vats were really cool. I also reminded her that
scotch was colorless when it came out of the
still. Scotch gets it's color from a sherry cask
which is used during the aging process.
Single malt Glenfiddich is aged for twelve ($50), fifteen ($70), eighteen ($100), and twenty one years ($185) for a 750 ml bottle. Some special editions cost much more.
Scotch aging in sherry casks
|The drive along the shore of
Loch Ness is a beautiful drive
||Heather claims to this day
that she saw the Loch Ness monster
|We purchased a couple of
Pendleton shirts and ties which I wore for many
||This is one of the Smith Clan
||The Smith family crest
Check Point Charlie
Check Point Charlie Sign
I don't remember anything about what kind of hotel we stayed in or where we went for dinner. But, I remember well an incident at a Berlin bar that night!
I remember that I was at the bar drinking with some of the RAF guys and Bruce Jackman, my neighbor at Bracknell and a Major with the British Army. We ere having a great time until some German civilians came into the bar and began making trouble. On of them came over to me, pushed me and made some unflattering remarks about "my mother". The next thing I knew that German was out the door and was thrown into the street courtesy of Bruce Jackman. You might remember that Bruce was a"Gerka" officer with a lot of combat experience in Indonesia. He didn't appreciate the remarks the German was making at my expense and took immediate action.
The base was heavily defended with AAA batteries for air defense and anti tank barriers and machine gun positions around the base perimeter to repel ground attacks.
The German Air Force flew the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter from Norvenich.
They conducted their F-104 pilot training in the clear skies and flat terrain at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
However they had a poor accident record flying from Norvenich as the newly trained pilots from Luke were exposed to the relatively poor weather in Germany.
Although I don't recall where we stayed overnight in Norvenich, I do remember the German meal we had that night. We had a whole roasted pig (with apple in the mouth), lots of potatoes and beer served by attractive fraulein servers.
We had a great time!
| "Smart Aircraft, Smart Weapons, A
It was published in the July 1975 edition of the Journal of Naval Science.