Monday, 29 March 2010

The Story of Royal Air Force Station, Moffat

Royal Air Force Station, Moffat,
Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia

August 1941 - April 1945

Published under the authority of Group Captain C. Findlay, D.F.S., AFC

Headquarters
Rhodesian Air Training Group
Salisbury
Southern Rhodesia
19 May, 1945

This brochure has been produced to serve as a record of the activities of R.A.F. Station, Moffat.

I am glad of this opportunity to write a foreword because it enables me to refer to the achievements of the Station.

In the years the Station was in operation no less than 778 Navigators B. and 1,590 air gunners were trained and have gone to swell the overwhelming force which played such a magnificent and decisive part in the utter defeat of Germany. Many will go on to participate in the crushing of Japan.

Many tributes to the quality of training at Moffat have been paid by Operational Commands. The very high standard reached and the many innovations introduced came about only as a result of the hard work and enthusiasm of all ranks under the leadership of the Commanding Officer, Group Captain C. Findlay, D.F.C., A.F.C.

All who have served on the Station can look back with pride on their share in the fine work done there, and I am sure this brochure will be read and treasured as a reminder off great days.

Meredith Signature

Royal Air Force Station
Moffat
Gwelo

This little brochure has not been produced with the idea of interesting those who have no connection with Moffat; it is only
meant to be a souvenir for those who served on the Station.

During their stay here all have contributed to the success of the training. We can be justly proud of our results, but it is with a certain measure of regret that I see the personnel of the Station dispersing in all directions. The comradeship, derived from united effort when the nation is in danger, cannot be lightly cast aside or ignored.

I sincerely hope that when they peruse this little booklet in after years it will bring back to mind the happy days spent on the Station, and revive a glow of consciousness of a job well done for the war effort.

Germany lies in the dust, stricken and crushed, and the Battle of Training has played no small part in achieving this object. To parody Ruskin, Hitler has been enormously improved by death. Let us hope that there will be no new Hitler permitted to rise again and make our work here in vain.

Many who served on the Station will now go forth to fight against Japan. Victory in that direction is also assured, and let us hope it will come quickly.

I hope, when victory is achieved, that all of us will start building for peace " thinking that we build for ever”

Signature

Trudging through the dry, sparse bush of Matabeleland, Robert Moffat, missionary) and father-in-law of Livingstone, sought Mzilikazi, king of the Amandebele. Looking about him, on that far- off day in J829, he may have seen in the mind's eye the dwelling- places of white settlers, their roads and bridges, and all their works. Perhaps he visualised a brotherhood worthy of the faith which had sent him here. But he could never have imagined that about and above him, in the dim future, would be the strange and terrifying sounds of aerial civilisation: that airfields would pattern the territory through which he slowly passed.

Dr. Robert Moffat and his descendants settled in Rhodesia. They have a place in its annals which is revered. The Hon. H. U. Moffat, who is still alive and lives with his family at Shangani, was the second Premier of Southern Rhodesia, after it became a self-governing Colony.

This is the story of the R.A.F. station which bore their name.


Moffat Main Entrance
Moffat Main Entrance


PART OF A PLAN

The men who went to Moffat were a representative cross-section of the Royal Air Force. They were intended to fit one more piece into the pattern; the completion of which would be the fully-fledged EMPIRE AIR TRAINING SCHEME.

Compared with many ventures of war, this vast plan has received scant publicity. Nevertheless, it was, and remains, a vital cornerstone of victory. Stretching over the globe, the airfields of the E.A.T.S. have been humming with activity for five years. Through these schools have passed aircrew cadets of a dozen and one nationalities. Thus, when D-Day struck on June 6th, 1944, the vast majority of pilots, navigators, and air-gunners flying over the shattered defences of the "West Wall," and forming an impregnable sky-screen, could speak of training experiences on the airfields of the Empire Air Training Scheme.

They have an interesting tale to tell. Now and then, some of them express surprise when they learn of the many training courses safely tutored into flight before them. Indeed, towards the end of Moffat's career, personnel of the ground-staff could, with possibly understandable nonchalance, tell young air-gunners that they were probably wrestling with French conjugations in school whilst Moffat aircraft were busy. They were unconsciously illustrating the vast use of Britain's man-power, as well as the length of their overseas service and the permanency of the suntan on their knees. Naturally, there were many others in the Colony who could look even farther back but comparisons are odious.

Moffat was the last training station to come into being in Southern Rhodesia. Its raison d'etre was the production of navigators and air-gunners: by its formation the Rhodesian Air Training Group was able to produce a complete crew for an aircraft, i.e., pilot, navigator, and air-gunner.

Moffat's tale varies little from that of any other station in an overseas training command. But since men will always look back, not only for mellowed remembrance, but to see and judge events more clearly, these are the pages of a little history.

OUTWARD BOUND

The cluster of people waiting to cross the Clyde ferry on the afternoon of June 28th, 1941, could not have been surprised when they saw another troopship nosing its way down the river for Greenock. Together with the Atlantic-questing tankers, the fast sleek motor-ships on "war duty," and grey raking men-of-war which had been passing the rolling Scottish banks for so long, troopships were a common enough sight. Nevertheless, they waved, cheered, and so bade bon voyage to the blue and khaki-clad figures lining the decks of H.M. Troopship "Tamaroa." As they did so, an air-raid siren warmed up on its mournful message; the last sign of military activity at home seen by the men on deck was a group of R.A.F. and W.A.A.F. balloon-operators running to hoist their charge.

The untidy, massive scaffolding and masonry of dockside gave way gradually to an uninterrupted view of green, rising slopes and purple hills. It was a pleasant, warm afternoon; by the time the troopship reached Greenock, and hove to, awaiting orders, the sky was still clear.

Lights winked across the bay as evening came on. The undulant hills grew dimmer, and lay wreathed in long, deep shadows. The men clustered about the rails to take their last fill, and sniffed the air which is not so much of the sea as of the coast—the fisherman's scent.

The escort, low, impetuous destroyers—moved out of the bay, past the anti-submarine boom, followed, one after another, by the ships of the convoy. Sirens whooped, patrolling aircraft droned over, and the gulls, whom no traveller ever forgets, were wheeling and sweeping.

So the convoy set out. Below decks, men were already in their hammocks. Such a variation, upon which Morpheus might have blinked, was novel to most. One or two men placed a foot over the side, gave a desperate heave, and after making wonderful revolutions, slid ungracefully across the boards. However, two or three nights supplied the necessary experience.

There was little talking that first night, but many of the men stayed awake. Even to the experienced traveller, arrival and departure are full always of vivid associations. And, in war-time, when "none knows where he may lie down at night," the thoughts of a man leaving his own shores are too profound ever to be plumbed accurately.

Most of the men on board H.M.T. "Tamaroa" were young, and certainly the vast majority had never been abroad. They had little idea of their future or their task. They were, as it turned out, bound for an unexciting duty—one which attracted little attention and caused no great excitement, but was nevertheless to presage an immense achievement: air superiority.

The voyage of the troopship was uneventful. The fact that she was also designated Troopship " No. 13" possibly caused flutters among the superstitious, but was apparently of no moment to any U-boat commander. Alarms were sounded now and again, and in their usual ubiquitous manner destroyers fussed off to investigate this and that. For the first eight nights, personnel slept in their working clothes. Their first sight of land, after leaving the choppy seas of the Western Approaches, was a fortnight later, when a singularly uninviting hummock of greyness off port was pronounced to be Africa. If the men on decks did not feel quite the same thrill that coursed through the blood of some Portuguese seaman far bade, it was perhaps understandable.

The sight of Freetown, into the bay of which the convoy had sailed early one morning, was of far greater interest. The lush vegetation of die shores, the frail impudent craft of natives, intent alike upon advertising their skill as divers for pennies, the perfection of their merchandise, and the charms of their sisters: these were the first signs, to airmen wearing tropical kit with slight self-consciousness, of a different civilisation. There was much to amuse them: the antics of one dark- skinned worthy, for instance, who styled himself " Glasgow Johnny," talked volubly, if unintelligibly, of the black-out, and cursed with sublime exuberance.

After three days for refuelling, the convoy resumed its journey and, 33 days after leaving Clydeside, docked at Durban. The weather had been generally good. A few gloomy, misty days, with the sea like oiled silk, and visibility practically nil, had been succeeded by hot, sun-drenched hours, when the loudspeakers had amplified Mr. Crosby and others to the amazingly blue sea.

If the personnel of "64 Draft," mustering about 700 officers and men, had hoped for a refreshing disembarkation leave in Durban, they were quickly disappointed. Trains were waiting on the quayside, and within six hours of docking the men were northward bound for Rhodesia. However, any disappointment was considerably mitigated by the obvious interest of rail travel for nearly 1,000 miles, through the Valley of a Thousand Hills, over the dusty veld of the Transvaal, the bleak, sun-baked borders of Bechuanaland.

Hangars,Hangars

ARRIVAL

There were two troop-trains: the first pulled slowly along to the Moffat- "siding" on the morning of August 2nd, 1941. When the men jumped from the train, their feet crunched in soft, khaki-coloured gravel. They noticed how warm the sun was, though it was comparatively early: it was reflected from the almost garish roofs of the huts which they saw ahead of them, and from the bright ground. The second train arrived just before noon. The airmen searched for their kitbags among the great pile lying at the siding. They shouldered them, and were directed to various points, for roll-call and disposal.

It was not, of course, to an entirely empty camp that the draft came. An "advance" party, headed by Group Captain J. K. Summers, M.C., who was to be Moffat's first Commanding Officer had reached Rhodesia a fortnight previous. Among its number was the Station Adjutant (F/Lt. I. Power), and other personnel had arrived at Moffat from various existing camps in the Colony — mainly medical staff (Southern Rhodesia Medical Corps): not forgetting the first Station Warrant Officer, W/O "Dicky" Wills. This advance party had been attached to a neighbouring camp, Thornhill.

To newcomers in the days of 1943/44, Moffat was a completed camp, irrespective of those additions and modifications which are always being made on a Service station. But the men who " opened " the camp saw something very different. A camp does not have a " honeymoon" before it settles down to normal, everyday existence. Servicemen cannot wait until every screw has been tightened, every road laid, every installation completed, before they " move in " and start work.

When the main body arrived on that Saturday morning, in fact, there were no definite roads to be seen on the camp. What was to be the parade-ground was then a rather nebulous area of grass. The hangars were not completed, the " tarmac" was a clearing.

But what was erected was sparkling with self-conscious newness. The ablutions had all the merits of the housewife's " new pin " : the airmen's huts boasted long " carpets" of glittering linoleum (which all too quickly developed an unfortunate tendency to harbour sundry insects), and the airman's mess was redolent of the carpenter's shop—new tables and forms which were to bear for many a day the burdens of hungry men.

Watch House Hangars

All this was rather in the nature of an anti-climax. For almost two months the airmen destined for Moffat had been comparatively idle, at the embarkation centre in Britain and on board ship. Now their journey was over, and they had been set down, some 7,000 miles of travel behind them, and a new job awaited them.

OPERATIONS COMMENCED

The first of the new draft to begin work were the clerks, on the afternoon of arrival. In new offices, at virgin desks, they commenced the task familiar to all airmen— "taking particulars." Once that had been done, A/C 2 Blank felt that he was firmly ensconced. He was definitely "overseas."

For one officer, overseas service was of uncommonly short duration, and experience of Rhodesia peremptorily curtailed. He was sick on arrival in the Colony, was medically boarded, and caught the train back to the Union, en route for England, all within five days!

Anson aircraft had arrived on the same day as the main draft, and others flew in during the ensuing weeks, including Battles and Oxfords. Later, the Oxfords were replaced by Anson's with power-operated gun turrets.

A number of men, fitters, riggers, etc., had been left at Durban, and attached to the Erection unit there, for some six weeks. They subsequently came up to Rhodesia with some highly-coloured versions of pioneering in a large African city.

THE FIRST AIR-CREW PUPILS

A fortnight afterwards, the first batch of cadets (officially termed "pupils" in those days) reached Moffat to be trained as Navigators (then "Air Observers"). It is interesting to note the composition of that first course—19 Rhodesians, 10 United Kingdom, one South African, three Australian, and one American. Suffice it to say that many of these men have long since completed their duty in distant parts, and some have given the most that can be asked of any man. If their history, complete, could be traced, it would make a story of rare reading, but they must be left to the memories of those who knew them better than we. It is, in a way, unfortunate that no true record can be kept of the exploits of trainees. But it would have been a vast task, and, in the main, any knowledge of the whereabouts or experi¬ences of men trained here depends upon personal letters to friends.

They were a cross-section of Empire life, these men: farmers, clerks, school masters, students, chemists. Their standards of education were undoubtedly high, and academic accomplishments were liberally sprinkled amongst them.

A few days later the first pupil Air Gunners arrived—16 Rhodesians, 10 United Kingdom, and three Australians.

Moffat was the first and only Bombing and Gunnery School in Southern Rhodesia, and its facilities for training were naturally at this stage undeveloped. Discussions took place, plans were made for the commencement of flying, theoretical and synthetic training, and Air Commodore (now Air Vice Marshal) C. W. Meredith, C.B.E., A.F.C., Air Officer Commanding the RHODESIAN AIR TRAINING GROUP, visited the camp with staff officers.

These first courses were, of course, somewhat handicapped. They were not, for instance, able to draw so much upon wide experience in this form of training as cadets to-day, after years of war. But the observer pupils, staying as they did for several months, were able to take advantage of the natural improvement in the smooth running of training organisation. The gunners were at Moffat for only a comparatively short period. When the first course passed out, nevertheless, in September, 1941, their accomplishments at this new School were of a commendable standard, and there is little doubt that everyone found their bearing impressive.

An L/A/C Dance was the first pupil to "pass out" from Moffat as a commissioned officer Air Gunner: his destination was Singapore.

THE FIRST INSPECTION

On September 19th, 1941, Moffat was visited by the (then) Governor of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Herbert Stanley. He came with the Rhodesian Ministers for Air and Defence, was met by a guard of honour at the main gates, and inspected the hangars and various sections of the station. Sir Herbert lunched in the Officers' Mess, leaving at night. Photographs of his visit were taken, and the " old stagers " will probably recall the rather warm bugler who, in novel manner, preceded the Governor to each section.

SETTLING DOWN

An initial surprise for the airmen at Moffat had soon manifested itself pleasurably food. On board the troopship it had been, to put it mildly, austere. The epicurean tendencies of the modern airman came quickly to the surface for that first mid-day meal in the mess. The banana was a thing to be wondered at, and butter was then un-rationed. When one cut a satisfying segment, conscience twinged.

Rationing of various commodities came to Rhodesia gradually, and the initial abundance could not, of course, last. But at least those who have served at Moffat can hardly grumble over their fare, when they remember the stringency in Britain. And the cafes and restaurants of this Colony have rarely presented scanty menus.

Headquarters
Headquarters and Flag Masts

GWELO

The physical environment in which several hundred men found themselves was, on the whole, a common place one. The town of Gwelo, some two miles away, is small, with a white population of some 2000. Jacaranda trees line one side of the immediate approach to the town's centre, but the most attractive roads are leading off the main thoroughfare. Shops are not numerous, but relatively large, and there is the usual "tributary" commerce of the small Indian stores. It is a fact that a surprising variety of tongues may be heard in Gwelo. A long kopje (hill) seems to stare over part of the dusty road from the camp to the town, curving round and away across country. Thick, rough grass flourishes abundantly about the stunted trees and bushes: the road gleams in the sun. Beyond the aerodrome the veld stretches boundlessly: hills show dark but indistinctly on the farthest horizon: a heat-haze dances indefatigably. The predominant colour seems to be a strange greenish-khaki.

There were already in existence two R.A.F. camps in this area: Thornhill and Guinea Fowl. Thus the uniform was no novelty to the Rhodesians.

To a small group of men who strolled into town on the first, quiet evening, an Afrikaans youngster regaled some mildly disturbing tales of snakes. The airmen stepped lightly and warily, expecting to confront an indignant cobra at any moment. It gradually became obvious, however, that African jungle-life, a la Hollywood, was not at its best here.

TRAINING

It is not possible, for obvious reasons, to enlarge upon the complete technical organisation of a training camp, or its work.

The Cadet, training at Moffat to be a Navigator, would arrive from Initial Training Wing, where he would have assimilated the elementary principles of aircrew work. Once at Moffat, he would pass, in stages, through Air Crew Pool and Elementary Navigation, into the Bombing and Gunnery School.

To the average Cadet, the climax of his initial work is his first flight. He may like to affect an outward indifference to this part of his training but his first log-book entry is still made with a certain glow.

The greater part of the Cadet's time in the air is spent on navigational exercises, including,, towards the end of his course, long-distance trips to the Union of South Africa; sometimes to Northern Rhodesia.

His bombing is equally important. Absolute failure in any subject can, in fact, prevent him from ultimately sporting that "brevet" for ever and a day.

Night exercises were carried out extensively at Moffat, both in navigation and bombing. It is, of course, hardly necessary to add that the cadet-navigator had to cover several fields—meteorology, astro-work, photography, aircraft recognition, signals, gunnery, etc.

The Cadet Gunner was at Moffat for a considerably shorter period, and his course was naturally less extensive.

His flying work was controlled from a special Gunnery Section. Particularly in this sphere was an increase in training efficiency noticeable. Gunnery Instructors became plentiful, and were able to devote more time to individual cadets, and to fly on each detail.

A visitor to Moffat on December 12 th,1941, was a man who has since died whilst occupying the office of High Commissioner for South Africa to Great Britain. Colonel Deneys Reitz, whose books "Commando" and "No Outspan," attracted so much attention, was at that time Deputy Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa. A big, broad-shouldered man, keen-eyed, he inspected the station in company with Mr. Tredgold, Southern Rhodesian Minister for Justice and Defence.

In December, 1941, the first course of Air Observers passed out from Moffat.


Askari,Askari
Askari

FROM ALL CORNERS

In Rhodesia, the diversity of nationalities under train¬ing was surprising and impressive. British, South African, New Zealand, Australian, Canadian, American, men from Yugoslavia, Greece, Free France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Fiji Isles, Malta. True, the great majority were British.

The first Greeks at Moffat trained as air gunners during the first months of 1942. They had their own interpreters, who remained at the station for a considerable time. Greece was over-run then, and tales were already beginning to seep through to the outside world of increasing starvation. Yugoslavs, too, were men from a country tasting the sour fruits of the "New Order." These Yugoslavs were interesting men: many of them knew Britain well. Some had fled from Belgrade, from Zagreb, across the Mediterranean, to Cairo. Some had even worked in slave factories. They understood the "philosophy" of Nazism. They did not care for it.

The Englishman, we are assured by foreigners, is insular to the extreme: he distrusts those who were not born on the same island. These are generalisations, and generalisations tend to fade away beneath the stress of war, and after contact with others. To many In Rhodesia must have occurred the remarkable fact which seemed to "centralise" the war against Nazi Germany. Here were ordinary men from a dozen countries and states, speaking varied tongues, believers in diverse creeds: but one could not ignore the tremendous truth which underlay the commonplace, everyday existence of men in this war.

It is very easy to over-simplify unity amongst nations, but those in Rhodesia, helping to train aircrews for "to-morrow," could see how immense was this inter¬national effort.

We hope that what was done in this corner of the world is a promise for future collaboration in matters of peace.

AVM's Visit
Air Vice-Marshal C. W. Meredith, C.B., C.B.E., A.F.C., inspecting a squad
of the Rhodesian A.T.C. during their camp at Moffat.


THE FIRST CHRISTMAS

It is a custom in the R.A.F. that Christmas dinner in the airmen's mess shall be served to the men by the Officers and Senior N.C.O.s. The tradition was duly followed for the first Christmas at Moffat.

It was, for most, a new experience. But there was nothing strange about the meal, or the food. The turkey was there; the Christmas pudding (in plural) graced the tables. Festooning the walls and ceilings were the familiar colourful decorations. "Come, fill the cup," if not directly quoted, was a theme. The cooks worked hard; the turkey population must have suffered a severe setback- There was a packet of cigarettes for each man, and doubtless a few benefited from the proximity of an abstemious neighbour. Group Captain Summers spoke for a few moments at the end of the meal.

It was a quiet Yuletide on the whole. There was sport and the cinema at night. On Christmas afternoon, many were listening to the Empire broadcasts of the B.B.C. A Yorkshire family spoke to their son overseas: a Sussex girl spoke quietly of her lost R.A.F. husband. From London the bells of Westminster chimed sonorously. These things can be remembered quite clearly: life was not very simple at home at that time. The Germans were deep in Russia: we had suffered a setback in Libya: the Japanese had entered the war with damaging suddenness. Two and a half years were to pass before the liberation of Europe began. So this Christmas knew a quiet spirit.

FIRE

Every station appears to have its fire. Moffat, fortunately, experienced only one serious outbreak—in May, 1942. In the evening, not long after dark, an alarm was given. Flames were seen to be issuing from a long, armoury building.

Birthday Parade
Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the R.A.F., April, 1943.
The Parade drawn up for inspection.


Airmen made their way to the scene, carrying fire extinguishers and buckets. The flames were spreading rapidly: it seemed inevitable that the whole building should be gutted. Men formed bucket-chains, and the station fire-team was quickly at work, using foam at first, then water. The rising flames cast an eerie light over the bustle and movement, as initial rescues of material were made. But it soon became impossible to venture inside the building, and the structure slowly collapsed. On either side were aircraft hangars, but fortunately these were not affected in any way, and damage to aircraft did not result. No personnel were injured, but considerable damage was done to material.

The first Chief Instructor at Moffat was Wing Commander E. B. C. Davies, a South African —the "O.C," of the R.A.F. detachment on board s.s. "Tamaroa." A jovial, bustling man, he had been popular both during the voyage and on the camp. During the absences of Group Captain J. K. Summers, he acted as Moffat's Commanding Officer. In July, 1942, he was posted to Group Headquarters, Salisbury, to take over the post of Group Armament Officer.

LIAISON WITH SOUTH AFRICA

The EMPIRE AIR TRAINING SCHEME has been, of course, also sustained on a large scale in the Union of South Africa. There was liaison between the two training groups,' and long-distance flights to the air stations in South Africa were part of the navigational syllabus of Moffat. From time to time, representatives from the south visited Rhodesian training establishments. The visit of Colonel Reitz was in accordance with such contact: another visitor, in August, 1942, was Brigadier

Daniel, of the South African Air Force, who came to study training methods in Southern Rhodesia.

Airmen also travelled to South Africa to attend technical courses, and some cadets were transferred to Union schools, where they completed training as Air Bombers.

NEW COMMANDING OFFICER

At the end of December, 1942, Group Captain C. Findlay, D.F.C., A.F.C., arrived from England, as Moffat's new Commanding Officer, and remained with the station until it closed.

CHANGE OF NAME

One of the first official acts of the new Commanding Officer was to bring about a change in the station's designation. It was then known as " 24. C.A.O.S.," and, feeling that these initials represented a rather unfortunate combination, Group Captain Findlay asked Headquarters, R.A.T.G., to make representations to the Air Ministry to expunge " C.A.O.S." from the name.

This was done, and the official designation became "ROYAL AIR FORCE STATION, MOFFAT," with three resident units—" 24 Bombing, Gunnery, and Navigation School," " 29 Elementary Navigation School," and " Air Crew Pool."

RHODESIAN A.T.C. CAMPS

As in Britain, the youth of Rhodesia is able to join various organisations which train them in elementary Service subjects.

The Rhodesian Air Training Corps held their annual Camp in two successive years (1943 and 1944) at Moffat.

For a fortnight they lived in a tented camp, situated on open ground near the Officers' Mess. Six to eight cadets were in each bell-tent. They followed, as far as possible, Royal Air Force procedure. Orderly Officers and N.C.O.s were detailed daily, and other duties, common to the Service, allocated. A large marquee was erected for use as a canteen, together with a portable wagon for the sale of any goods, minerals, etc.

The Cadets wore brown uniform, shirt, shorts, and slouch hat, and were issued with Royal Air Force greatcoats.

To minimise the danger of fire (since the boys slept on palliasses filled with straw) floodlighting was erected around the perimeter of the camp.

During the day the Cadets, after parade and inspection, went by squads to various Station sections, and were given instruction in several subjects—engines, airframes, signals, aircraft recognition, armament. Actual flying was given preference—an average of three hours in the air per cadet being achieved.

The boys messed separately, and cinema performances were arranged for them. Moffat Navigation Instructors spent some of their evenings giving the Cadets valuable pointers on " star-spotting."

Sport was not lacking. The Cadets proved themselves formidable rugby players, and managed to defeat a Moffat Second XV on two occasions.

The 1944 Camp was visited by the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Godfrey Huggins, Lady Huggins, and Air Vice-Marshal C. W. Meredith, Air Officer Commanding R.A.T.G. A Spitfire which was then at Thornhill came over to Moffat, and gave the boys a special demonstration of its impressive capabilities: many a head ducked as the machine flew past at low-level.

The boys came from eight different schools in Southern Rhodesia, and during their stay competed for various trophies, including the "Barbour" Trophy and the "Goulton" Cup.

"HOMEWORK"

The "education" of cadets does not cease when they leave the airfield or the lecture-room. In their notebooks, at the end of the day, may be copious, undigested notes. Afternoon and evening study completed the process.

In October, 1942, a training "library" was introduced at Moffat, for the special use of cadets. At first it was only one-half of a barrack-hut. But it was, as the local newspapers might have it, "tastefully furnished." It became obvious; however, that size was the bugbear. Subsequently a complete hut was commandeered, equipped with tables and chairs, photographs, charts, reference-books, etc. In the relaxed atmosphere, future navigators and air-gunners might trouble their grey matter far more comfortably, and, having done so, turn to the more earthy attractions of "Picture Post " and the daily paper.

NATIVE LABOUR

Many natives were employed in various capacities at Moffat — cooks, tailors, compound police, clerk interpreters, reserve gang, "general duties," etc.

To the airmen first arriving at Moffat they were something new. It was discovered that they spoke a queer ' pidgin " tongue —" kitchen Kafir," compounded of English, Dutch, Bantu, and doubtless many other remote origins. Airmen picked up snatches of it; some even became quite proficient in this motley tongue. Phrases approximating, phonetically, to " Booyah lahpah," "Maningi cbeesah," and "Che-chab" became familiar.

The dress worn by the natives was, in many cases, weird and wonderful. Apart from some " basic" khaki garment, they sported football shirts, pyjamas, patched bush jackets, and a variety of suspicious headgear. This was, of course, mainly whilst off duty — at work they generally donned khaki shorts and shirts. When Moffat opened, the natives were housed in a rather shabby compound in the vicinity of the airfield. A new compound was, however, built, behind the main sports-field, and its improve¬ments upon the old were obvious.

Various amusing native traits became common knowledge: their inordinate love of bicycles; 'their palate for locusts and their fear of chameleons: the way they shaved with a naked razor-blade. They showed always a keen interest in sport, and were to be seen in force at the various station and section games. They played soccer themselves with a wholesale disregard — airmen watching them winced when they cracked in shots with bare feet.

Some of their names were no less quixotic —Sulphuric, July, Sixpence, to mention only a trio.

"THE FIRST OF THE FORTUNATE"

"The Boat" was always a favourite topic on the station. Mysterious information was in the air from time to time, and there seemed always to be a dozen-and-one "boat lists" in the offing. Waving a clearance certificate was the dream of every airman towards the end of his tour of duty.

For some, this was quite short. The first batch of Moffat men were posted back to the United Kingdom in August, 1943, having completed a little over two years abroad. The remainders were unlucky or lucky in varying degree. A few could speak of over four years in the Colony. Since "repatriation" always depended upon availability of man-power and shipping in various zones, nothing could be certain concerning one's chances of "getting down to the sea again." The subject was, of course, always to the fore, and disappointment was taken in good part. It would be wrong to suggest that all men were anxious to return. Several Moffat men married in the Colony or in South Africa: others decided that Rhodesia held scope for them in the future. But undeniably the great majority hoped for the day when Britain's shores would appear one morning from the mist, and greet them.

A visit was made, in November, 1943, by the Air Officer Commanding R.A.T.G., Air Vice-Marshal C. W. Meredith, C.B., C.B.E., A.F.C. A large number of officers and airmen from all sections assembled in one of the hangars, and the A.O.C. gave a short talk on his previous tour of Canada and the United Kingdom, giving an outline of training methods and establishments as compared with those, in Rhodesia. He also spoke on a favourite topic — the "tour of duty overseas" — dealing with several points, and answering various questions.

The Meteorological Section came into being on August 12th, 1941. In charge was F/Lt. P. Bennett, with his staff of F/Sgt. (now F/Lt.) J. Carter and Cpl. W. Love. The Section played its essential part in protecting flying personnel from the weather as far as possible, and in preparing cadets for what they might expect in future days. F/Lt. (then P/O) Irvine, a well-known sportsman, arrived later. Other personnel, at various times were F/O Mellleron (de¬signer of the swimming pool), F/O Rattray, F/O Collie, F/Sgt. Welfare, F/Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Cooling, L/A/C Theobald, A/C Hedley, L/A/C Tilbury and L/A/C Dove.

GOVERNOR'S VISIT

The (then) Governor of Southern Rhodesia, H.E. The Hon. Sir Evelyn Baring, K.C.M.G., accompanied by the Lady Mary Baring, came to Moffat on November 11th, 1943.

The Governor arrived by car, arid inspected a Guard of Honour drawn up by the main gate. The Commanding Officer then escorted him on a tour of inspection throughout the station.

Sir Evelyn Baring, although Governor of the Colony for only two years, was held in high esteem by members of the R.A.F. serving in Rhodesia, in particular for his genuine interest in their work and welfare.

Met Office
The Met Office

A storm-gale of no mean force, whipping up on a December afternoon, in 1943, wrecked a night-flying equipment shed on the tarmac, and blew the roof from some flight offices. Fortunately, although several men were working in the building at the time, no casualties were caused — apart from initial trepidation, since the only warning of the incident was a tremendous crash as the shed collapsed, and strips of corrugated iron thundered on to a hangar roof, blown there by the force of the gale. Rain was torrential, and by the time that personnel had rescued documents and material from the roofless buildings, they were well and truly wading.

PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION'S VISIT

A considerable body of personnel assembled in the airman's canteen on September 4th, 1944. The Empire Parliamentary Association Delegation was touring the Rhodesias, Nyasaland, and South Africa, and one party visited Moffat.

Sir Alfred Beit, M.P., Capt. Glenvil Hall, M.P., Wing Commander R. Grant Ferris, M.P., and Hector McNeil, Esq., M.P., spent over two hours on the stage, answering questions from men on the station. Sir Alfred Beit made a brief initial speech, explaining the purpose of the Delegation's tour. Group Captain C. Findlay, D.F.C., A.F.C., handled the questions, which had been submitted beforehand, and they were answered by individual M.P.s. Wing Commander Ferris enlarged upon the subject of emigration, as affecting the home birth-rate: Mr. Hector McNeil spoke succinctly and with Scottish deliberation upon the housing problem; and Capt Glenvil Hall was particularly interesting when dealing with demobilisation.

The questions were varied, and after the Commanding Officer had thanked the Delegation, Capt. Glenvil Hall replied, commenting upon the considerable, pertinent interest taken by personnel in the problems of the future.

R.A.F. PRESENT CUP TO S.R.A.F.

A special ceremony took place at Salisbury on October 21st, 1944, when H.E. the Governor, on behalf of the Royal Air Force, presented to the Southern Rhodesia Air Force, a gold cup, in token of their comradeship in war.
Two officers and six airmen of the S.R.A.F., serving at Moffat accompanied six R.A.F. men to Salisbury for the occasion. In a "fly-past," three Moffat " Ansons " participated.

Governors Visit
Sir Evelyn Baring, former Governor of the Colony, inspects a Guard of
Honour prior to his inspection, November, 1943.


“AFTER DUTY"

Service life overseas varies considerably from "Home Establishment" duty. This applies, of course, far more to such areas as North Africa, India, and the Far East than to Rhodesia. But even here the airman encounters definite, even vital, differences. His happiness, relatively speaking, depends upon his ability to "live in the present."
Once the serviceman arrived in Rhodesia, he was faced with the fact of a "tour of duty." It is characteristic of the human animal that, when away from all that he knows best, he "wants to go home." It would be fatuous to suggest that, immediately upon arrival; each man looked around him and decided that he wanted to return at once. But he did have to appreciate the necessity of devising ways and means of usefully spending his time overseas.
In working hours, this obviously meant routine 'jobs — maintenance of aircraft, care of equipment, paper-work, and a variety of occupations. Courses came and went, but the task remained the same. Three or four years on one station is apt to breed boredom : it would be strange if it did not. Moreover, the period was spent in a rather remote area.
Accordingly, to resist boredom and defeat apathy, hobbies and entertainments were devised. They were on a larger scale than at home, where the week-end pass and leave enable men to visit their homes fairly frequently. These pursuits were, of course, fundamentally no different from those followed by ordinary men and women all over the globe — sport, cinema, stage, and, to a certain extent, study. Or, to put it more academically, the pursuit of a personal happiness consistent with conditions as they existed. All this added up to "Morale."
The following pages tell how many of these pursuits were followed by men at Moffat.

One happy factor demonstrated itself from the start — hospitality. As Moffat was the last training station to open, the initial excitement over the appearance of the R.A.F. had naturally abated somewhat, but Moffat men found themselves welcomed in homes throughout the Colony.

The towns of Gatooma and Hartley call for special mention. A scheme was in operation, under the auspices of the Women's National Service League, for entertaining airmen in the homes of these towns. A week-end at Gatooma, Hartley, or Eiffel Flats became an accepted synonym for a " wizard time." In fact, Hartley, in November. 1941, after a show by the " Cooties," actually adopted Moffat.

To the neat attractive homes of these places, some ninety miles from Gwelo, many men went to spend their holidays. There, they could recapture much of the quiet pleasure of home life. They played soccer, rugby, or cricket: fished, swam, drove to tennis parties or boating trips. The sunny, jacaranda-lined roads of Gatooma, with their red and white houses and small quiet shops, became familiar to a host of Moffat visitors: warm hospitality was never lacking.

In Gwelo, too, airmen made friends, and grew accustomed to visiting homes, going to the cinemas (there are two in Gwelo) and dances with the townsfolk — some went further, and married Gwelo girls.

Salisbury was a popular leave venue. The capital of Southern Rhodesia is a charming, restful city, with attractive, increasing housing estates in the green outskirts, and a park which is obviously the apple of the City Council's eye : its neatly-laid arbours and flower-beds a riot of warm colour in the summer months.

As men became familiar with Rhodesia, they went further afield — to Livingstone, Plumtree, Concession, Umtali . Livingstone is but a few miles from the world- famed Victoria Falls. No traveller could forget them. Many an airman has stood near the brink, silent before the roaring, threshing, sweeping majesty of the mighty torrent of foaming water thundering down into the abyss.

To the airman serving in Rhodesia probably goes the distinction of travelling further on leave trips than men in any other Command. To Cape Town and back approaches 3,000 miles. The single journey occupies almost three days on the train. Johannesburg was a great "draw," with its modern luxuries and all the glitter of the twentieth-century city. Durban was no less popular—the primary attraction being the sea. It was strange, in a way, for a man on leave at the southern coast to watch the traffic of the sea here, one of its great termini; then to make the long journey back to Rhodesia.

Leave to South Africa involved using twenty-two days of one's full quota (twenty-eight), and was therefore possible only once a year, except for aircrew personnel.

Several airmen ignored the more conventional oases of civilisation when they took their leave: some found friends on farms in remote areas, or wandered even further afield to the extreme boundaries of the Colony. Many did not care to be idle: they helped on the farms—gave a hand when the tractor broke down; repaired the interrupted electricity supply; fiddled with the old car.; mended a leaking pipe .

None could have asked for better weather. Except for a few weeks, the sun was never absent for long. Night fell early, but days were long and clear and hot. As ever in new environments, they learned: those who are destined to return to Rho­desia must have felt, in the open farmland, the sunlight bright and glinting on the sheds, that they had found a future.

And, of course, there were those whose homesickness grew when they were on leave. There are disadvantages, naturally enough, in Rhodesia. The sportsman finds all that he needs, but the man who is more of the aesthete, who looks for the theatre and the philharmonic concert hall, will be disappointed.

In whatever mood each man, overseas in Rhodesia, may have spent his leisure days, he cannot fail to have benefited, in some measure, from his contact with others. For the basis of goodwill, particularly in this torn, incomprehensible world, is increasing friendship and knowledge of our fellow-men.

CINEMA

Something like six hundred films were seen by Moffat airmen in the station cinema. Little time was lost after the opening, before the first programme was shown — on September 14th, 1941.

For some fifteen months, films were shown in the Canteen. This was always, however, a tight "squeeze," and acoustics were not ideal. The venue was then trans­ferred to a half-hangar. Men were able to smoke after the hangar had been pro­vided with a safety-curtain. Sound was quite good, and the nubile attractions of Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth and other equally fatal females were enjoyed by many. The "cinema" was only a lowered screen, but it sufficed. Ministry of Information films were shown on several occasions, and the series, produced by Frank Capra, of World War II, including "Battle of Britain" and "Battle of Russia" were particular attractions.

" MOFFAT-BY-THE-SEA "

Upon his arrival, Group Captain Findlay's first task was to ascertain the complete lay-out of the station, and to investigate the situation with regard to flying training.

Having done so, he was able to consider the problem of recreation. He decided that it was imperative that a swimming pool should be provided as soon as possible.

Snag Number ,One was the familiar Money. The station's P.S.I, fund was in a somewhat anaemic state at that time. However, a risk was taken, in the hope that added comfort would improve the takings in the canteen, so ultimately providing the necessary funds.

Moffat by the Sea

On 9th February, 1943, the site having been selected—bounded by the Officers' Mess road, the parade ground, and the Sick Quarters—the first sod was cut.

Looking at the pool when it was completed, it was difficult to visualise the bustle and seeming confusion of those first days; with indeterminate holes here and there, gradually growing larger and joining; men flinging shovelfuls of earth over their shoulders; rain falling and turning the early excavations into a morass. Indeed, the rain at that time was exceptionally heavy. Digging was begun by many of the men on the station, but after the first flush of enthusiasm had faded, the problem of keeping up to schedule was aggravated. It was solved by hiring two teams of oxen. Drawing excavators, their use speeded up the work considerably. In addition, all cadets put in an hour's digging in lieu of part of their physical training programme.

Water was pumped into the bath in June.

A notable feat was the erection of the entire brickwork and cementing by L/A/C Alfred Richards, who has since returned to the U.K. It would be difficult to praise adequately his untiring labours. He was a first-class, neat craftsman, and his efforts resulted in an excellent pool, providing pleasure for hundreds of men at Moffat. At the swimming gala in January, 1944, L/A/C Richards was presented by Air Commodore L. H. Cockey, C.B., on behalf of the station, with a silver cigarette case.

To Flight Lieutenant McIlleron great credit is due. The technical design of the entire pool was his—a design which has proved eminently successful. The filtration plant could not be bettered so far as practical working is concerned.

Digging for Pleasure
Digging for pleasure. The original site of the pool.

The "Commanding Officer, S/Ldr. Wrightson (then Station Admin. Officer), and F/O Betts (then Messing Officer) decided upon the lay-out of the surrounds, and F/O Betts put much of the planning into practice. A keen gardener, he worked hard to make the completed pool an attractive recreational spot, colourful and pleasing to the eye. Along the sides of the baths, off the paths, were raised brickwork " gardens," blossoming seasonably in purples and crimsons: the grass verges were raised in steps, falling away in rockery sides to lawns. Neat paved paths led about the pool to the main entrances, where beds again flowered, multi-hued and warm. High hedges bordered the entire surrounds.

Main Entrance to Swimming Pool
"Moffat-by-the- Sea"—The main entrance.

Over the entrance to the pool was the curved sign, "MOFFAT-BY-THE-SEA." To the newcomer this may well have been puzzling. But had he spent a few evenings in the canteen or on the sports fields, he would have understood. The words of a particular song heard often in such places were the " theme " for Moffat men. There was laughing irony in it, and when considering whether Moffat's swimming pool should have any name, Group Captain Findlay recalled the song, and its point. So —because the nearest ocean was many hundreds of miles away—the pool was called, officially, "MOFFAT BY THE SEA."

The dimensions of the bath were 75ft. by 45ft., with depths of 9ft. 6ins. to 3ft. A diving platform was erected # the deep end, in modern style, giving championship heights. Changing rooms for officers, N.C.O.s and airmen were built, standing bade from the lawns; together with two attractive sun-shelters, roofed with asbestos-cement sheeting, which was kindly presented by Mr. R. Starkey, of Shabani.

The running of the filtration plant and care of the water dave been in the capable hands of Cpl. Craig and L/A/C Bradbury.

Air View of Swimming Pool
An air view of the swimming pool and surrounds.

"MOFFAT BY THE SEA" is silent now; the water is no longer rippling white with the plunging forms of airmen—hearing tans from copper to lily-whijm But, looking bdek, they remember pleasant afternoons spent in its sunny precint% and the quiet satisfaction of a cigarette on its cool-grassed lawns, after a refreshing

THE RIDING CLUB

Passing along the pale, dusty tracks near Moffat aerodrome, and along the rough-grassed verges, might have been seen, on many a morning after 1944, a line of horsemen. Khaki-dad, sitting comfortably or uneasily, (often according to the length of their membership), they were some of the members of the Moffat Riding Club.

A meeting of the P.S.I. Committee was duly held, and the C.O. was given full authority to go ahead with his plans. The existing stables, built to house 21 horses, are the result. The stable actually accommodated 18, which number was increased by one when " Gipsy Moth " gave birth to " Mosquito," in August, 1944.

All the horses were named after aircraft in service with the R.A.F.—Lancaster, Wellington, Harvard, York, Spitfire, Hurricane, Mustang, Battle, Blenheim, Marauder, Hudson, Anson, Oxford, Typhoon, Beaufighter, Halifax, Stirling.

Hundreds of officers and airmen learned the rudiments of the noble art of equitation in the Moffat Riding Club; many went on to become accomplished horsemen. The stables owed much to the fruitful and faithful work of L/A/C Holloway: he practically lived with his charges. His assistants—very able ones—were L/A/Cs Treasure and Clark—not forgetting Hugo, the Italian riding instructor.

A Gymkhana was held in September, 1944. The occasion was Moffat's Third Anniversary. Events were numerous—and men who had learned to ride on the camp took part in them. One or two steeds showed a regrettable tendency, in a straight race, to wander off on to the Bulawayo road, but there were no hard feelings, and the tote worked overtime. A jumping exhibition was given by L/A/C Holoway, on "Hudson," and a particularly winsome display was the equine "musical chairs “ event —the horses appeared to be disinterested in such human nonsense, and co-operated or otherwise according to their mood.

On another occasion, some of the horses were taken to a Gwelo meeting. Out of five races, they won three: gained second place in one, and third place in another. The club also assisted in various charitable meetings from time to time.

Saddling Up
Saddling-up in the Moffat stables.

It was rather sad to see the horses departing one by one to pastures new, but everything possible was done to ensure that each should have a good home and a kind master, even if sold at a loss.

THE " CAOTICS " AND MOFFAT CONCERT PARTIES

In the hot, somewhat smoky atmosphere of a troop deck—actually a former hold —the immature but ardent efforts of a "concert party" were first presented for Moffat men.

No record is available of the programme on that sultry afternoon at sea, and ft is impossible to name all those who were first responsible for the station's entertainment. Looking back, one remembers such stalwarts as Jack Burt, "Tubby " Trustam, L/A/C Smith, P/O Jarvis, Norman Brocklehurst, Peter Hoy.

They, and others whose names are unfortunately not to hand, combined to" create the " CAOTICS." Their first show, on the canteen stage, was on October 13th, 1941. They were a talented party. Short sketches were their métier, but, joining forces with the dance band, they were able to present a complete, well-balanced variety show. Their number increased, and they grew deservedly popular. In the same month they gave a show at Que Que, followed shortly afterwards by a visit to Gatooma. In aid of the Air Raid Distress Fund, they produced a show at Hartley— this was the occasion upon which that small town "adopted" Moffat.

Fifty pounds was raised for the P.S.I. Fund with a performance at Que Que in January, 1942.

Shining lights in those early days were P/O Hughes, female impersonator; George Williamson, a very fine tenor with broadcasting experience; Fred Aspey, Sid Crowther, and " Chick Avery—these three combined to form a tuneful trio; "Tubby " Trustam and Peter Hoy, both actor-producers; P/O Jarvis and P/O Burt.

As ever, postings from time to time affected the "CAOTICS." Their term of entertainment lasted for some two years. In this time, they gave many shows on the camp, and on the stages of Gwelo, Salisbury, and Bulawayo, as well as the towns already mentioned. F/O Masters was a suave, adept compere.

Other combinations took their place, although talent was not so readily forth; coming. Many cadets were "roped in"—pianists in particular. Cadets Ryder, Aspey and Hood were three whose techniques were top-class. They were all valuable acquisitions.

The year 1944 saw a flush of entertainment. There was, in April, the visit of Noel Coward, who gave an hour's quick fire and highly-polished performance! singing from his own extensive repertoire and from other musical-comedy scores.

" BANG ON" was devised by Arthur Aston, an air-gunner cadet. It was undoubtedly too long, but the work in it was appreciated. John Langley-Horswell was an amusing female impersonator: others in the show were Vic Summers, George Alexander, Michael Davey, Cpl. "Taffy" Thomas, Jimmy Banks, and "Curly" Adams. Adams.

"BANDBOX" was another 1944 show. It featured a "pin-up girl"— " Terry" Matchett, of the W. A.A.S. The 1 Moffatairs" dance band backed up the show—plus John "Sinatra" Henshall, Jock McKillop, Archie Muir with "Sarah" (W.A.A.S.), F/Os Ratciffe and Hutchinson, Eddie McConville and Taffy Jones. With this variety was The Bear," a Tchekov one-act play, presented by the Gwelo Green Room Club. A "Caotics original,” Peter Hoy, starred in this.

The same local dramatic club brought a full three-act play to the station in November, 1944—"I Killed the Count." Produced by Peter Lister, it featured Moffat men, Roy Eakins, Kenneth Drury, James Ireland, and Peter Hoy.

Shows from Cranborne (" Out of the Blue") and Belvedere (" Full Revs") were also seen on the camp.

The Union Defence Force Concert Party presented " Hotch Potch " in September, 1943, whilst on their tour of Rhodesia. The show bore the professional mark; it was highly appreciated.

Another South African,' Jennifer Leigh, a sparkling brunette soubrette, gave a , special show in the same year.

We cannot omit to mention a regular performer after his arrival at Moffat— the Padre, S/Ldr. Grimwade. His ventriloquism was pointed and pert, and he was an excellent compere.

"THE MOFFATAIRS "

Those men interested in forming a dance-band at Moffat lost little time in getting together. Instruments were few and far between, but they were helped by the P.S.I., and the first line-up was ready to try its lungs in a very short time.

In those days, Stan Whitby was at the piano; Jock Girvan handled the drums; Jock McKillop thumped the bass for a long time; Terry Bunton, tenor sax; Jimmy James and Harold Lucas, first and second altos; Jimmy Robson, first trumpet; and Chick Avery, second trumpet and guitar. Archie Muir came in as vocalist.

It took little more than three months after the opening of the station for this combination to organise. Their first real try-outs were with the "Caotics" concert party, and at the Royal Hotel in Gwelo. Then they became a regular engagement at the Services Club (Gwelo) on two nights a week.

Gradually they went afield. Transport took them, often rather uncomfortably, to Que Que fairly regularly. They played for dances at Gatooma, Shabani, Selukwe, Hartley, Eiffel Flats and Fort Victoria. On two occasions they were engaged for the Governor's banquet—at Gwelo and Gatooma.

But the inevitable breaking-up began. Chick Avery was posted, together with McKillop, Lucas and Brunton. Fortunately, Bob Chapman had been posted to Moffat —he took over second alto and tenor. The band played for a while without a bass. Whitby, Girvan and James had to withdraw subsequently, owing to pressure of work. W/O Gower came in as alto and clarinet; cadets occasionally helped out, especially as pianists—Ginger Hood was a great acquisition, but as an air gunner, was on the camp for all too short a period. W/O Ken Stuart had, meantime, taken over the drums. The name "Moffatairs" was not adopted until fairly late in the day.

Engagements were not so frequent as in the early days, but the band, though reduced, gave frequent Wednesday night programmes on the canteen stage. From time to time they had played for dancing classes in Gwelo, and went on appearing at Que Que and Gatooma—not forgetting the dances at Moffat. It was not until the very end that they broke up, and the majority of their number are now back in the U.K. Rather fittingly, Stan Whitby, of the twinkling fingers, playing for the men before they left to catch the " boat-train," was the last reminder of Moffat dance music.

“RAFTERS"

The publication of a Moffat magazine was the subject of discussion by several persons, both during the voyage, and in the early days of the station.

In December, 1941, the first number of "Rafters" was issued. It was a monthly, of some forty pages. Illustrated by L/A/C Ward, whose cartoons, under the signature of "WOW," came to achieve a not inconsiderable fame, it was less of a " Service " journal than a publication of general interest. It was, in fact, on sale in bookshops in the Colony. " RAFTERS" ceased publication in August, 1943, not because of any financial embarrassment, but through "lack of man-power." Editors had been P/O J. Langdon and Cpl. P. Lister—with A/C Mathias, L/A/C Wheatley, Cpl. Hoy, Cpl. Smith (Salisbury area), L/A/C Brook and L/A/C Kestin members of the Editorial Board over different periods.

EDUCATION

One particular feature of this war, so far as "personnel" are concerned, is the increasing encouragement given by the authorities to education, discussion, and vocational training.

If one wandered into the Moffat " Quiet Room " one could pick up, in turn, copies of the Government White Papers on Health, Social Security, Electoral Reform:

"Target," the official R.A.F. discussion publication; "Tee Emm" the training journal, copies of British and American and South African magazines, etc.

There is, of course, nothing radically surprising about this. The Services have absorbed, of British man-power, something like five millions. The vast majority of these are "civilians in uniform." Some had to interrupt their industrial or academic training. When peace comes they will want to return to their normal tasks. Some, of course, will stay in the Services. Others, having earned a new trade in the R.A.F., will wish to follow it as a civilian. Although for a while men have had to put aside their ordinary pursuits and ambitions, they have not forgotten them.

As early as September, 1941, educational classes were held at Moffat; such subjects as English, Shorthand, German, Maths., and Economics being included.

Prime Ministers Visit
The Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Godfrey Huggins,
K.C.M.G., M.P., is greeted by S/Ldr. Sharvill before the
Airmen's Institute, during one of his visits to Moffat.

A scheme of classes designed primarily for men desiring to remuster to aircrew —embracing Maths., Aircraft Recognition, Mechanics, and Signals—was introduced in November, 1942.

DESCRIPTION

Were it possible to see them, the descriptions of Moffat in "letters home" would make interesting reading. They would naturally be varied; the viewpoints would be diverse. Relatives of men overseas must inevitably attempt to picture their surround¬ings. In conversation across an English table, the casual remark might be dropped

“Jack says that it's awfully hot where he is . . . . " Or " Of course it's quite tropical . . . ."

Since this brochure may safely be read by those to whom Moffat men have been writing home for a long time, perhaps a brief attempt at description would not be out of place.

Rhodesia is, in the first place, a sub-tropical Colony. It has its "Midlands"—in which Gwelo is situated. The northern part of the Colony is known as Mashonaland; the south as Matabeleland

The "Midlands" area lacks, perhaps, the charm of the Salisbury zone, it is generally regarded as the " flat"region. Looking across the airfield at Moffat, one could see for many miles, through the persistent heat-haze, to a vague horizon of insignificant hills and gathered bush. In the rainy season, the panorama was clearer and more pleasant, even though it seemed to lack the character and variety of an English scene.

As for the camp, the predominant impression was of the corrugated roofs, rippling and shining in the hot days: the brown-reddish earth, and the pale dusty roads, soon glistening when the rains came. The parade ground, sandy and dry, but greedily covering its surface with grass in the wet weeks. On the other side of the main road the "bush" grew quite abundantly, and had to be tackled regularly. During the rains, the nights were filled with the somewhat intolerant croakings and gruntings of bull¬frogs and allied creatures. The "Christmas beetle" whined in high pitch. Large centipedes would find their way on to the roads, to meet a sudden and messy fate. The railway line to the private siding gleamed all day. And, onward from what were the. actual boundaries of the station the " bundu " flourished with equally vast growth and indifference.

In the midst of what was, after all, a tendency to "sameness," the gardens nourished over different periods by enthusiastic amateurs were a sudden pleasure to the eye. Outside the airmen's mess, for instance, the beds blossomed in mixed hues of purples, crimsons, pinks, whites, and green. Near Training Wing headquarters, a plot of mealies grew lustily and with alarming rapidity. They had to be cut down, periodically, lest all light should be shut out from the offices.

Outside some of the huts, and between Station Headquarters and the Met. Office, too, flowers in season made a distinctive contrast.

Moffat looked, in fact, much like any other R.A.F. Station in Southern Rhodesia. Men who served here will doubtless tell their relatives and friends of the personal environment in which they lived and worked: we leave it to them to enliven their descriptions as they think fit.

Instructors
SEVEN MOFFAT-TRAINED OFFICERS, WHO RETURNED TO
THE STATION AS INSTRUCTORS.
REAR :
F/O Howard,D.F.C. and Bar, F/O. Murphy, F/O Marnewick, D.F.C., D.F.M.,
F/O Smallman.
FRONT:
F/Lt. Hughes, F/O Smith, F/Lt. Dodd, D.F.C,

Final Parade
Sir Ernest Lucas i GUEST, K.B.E., M.P., Minister of Air,
takes the salute at the March Past of Moffat's Final Parade.

THE “CANTEEN"

The flower of fame springs from strange ground. The man fingering the, piano-keys and pencilling quickly on a score the tune of " Tipperary," can hardly have realised how far its notes would roll. Neither can the composer of " Bless 'Em All" have been endowed with prophetic qualities to that extent.

Men, collectively, like to sing. And when they serve overseas, the habit becomes quite chronic.

Perhaps, one day, a writer with thoughts of notoriety will deliver a prose epic on "Airmen in the Canteen." The student of human nature would find abundant material within its portals. It is the "pub" of the station.

Overseas, the canteen comes higher on the airman's " priority' list than in Britain. For there is no question of slipping home for the evening; girl friends seem to be the prerogative of the fortunate few; darkness falls early throughout the year in Rhodesia; one rarely " takes a walk." So, if he is not writing a letter in the barrack hut, or in the cinema, the airman goes across to the canteen.

Men will smile, in future years, looking back, to think of the piano thumping out the tune, blue cigarette smoke lifting slowly, the buzz of conversation, and, near " closing time," the numbers thinning out, groups gathering, voices lifting ....
" . . . . Good old Moffat-by-the-sea . ..."

"Boat-night," when the lucky ones toasted their friends for the last time; the thoughts of kit packed and ready in the billet; home-sweet-home and taking up the threads again with some dark-eyed Wren .... So they lifted their mugs and glasses, clinked them, and were happy and a little lachrymose in turn. And there was always the man who, at such times, confided with serious if slightly hazy eyes his innermost secrets to you.

" ... . We call on old William to give us a song .... "

The night after a soccer cup victory. One would have thought that England had played Scotland on the Gwelo ground. At the match, they had roared: " Two, jour, six, eight— . Who do we appreciate? M-O-F-F-A-T— MOFFAT ! ! ! "

And now they tried it again, because it sounded louder in the canteen. They lifted glasses again, relived the game, indignantly expressing their views on the goal which certainly was not offside, enlarged upon the origins of the referee, and sang:

". . . . They say there's a troopship just leaving Bombay, Bound for old Blighty's shore . ... " The irrelevance of Bombay did not matter. The Air Force was singing it all over the globe: there did not seem any reason why Moffat should not sing it too.

Of course, some of the songs heard in the canteen were Moffat "specials"— " Oh, Moffat isn't Moffat any More," and " Good Old Moffat-by-the-Sea " in particular. There were others, familiar to R.A.F. men all over the world, the words of which have plenty of point but very little decorum.

At the far end of the canteen a small group played darts; others read " Orders" pinned up in the cabinet. They drank the sweetened tea which the Americans say is a bad British habit; bought razor blades and cigarettes across the little grocery bar; ate steak and chips, and talked about their coming leave. Cadets, with their white armbands, gathered in groups, chatted of the morning's flying and lectures. Men dis¬cussed the news from home: perhaps an " overseas" mail had arrived that morning. The usual joke was a request to some lovelorn airman to read the " sports page," i.e., the more combustible paragraphs of the letter from his distant charmer. They talked of the news, of the war fronts, of sport at home and on the station—and, inevitably, of the " Boat "; that day when they would be " sailing home " once more.

Mention must be made of those ladies who worked in the Moffat canteen over various periods. Mrs. Fraser was manageress from a fortnight after the station's opening until the end of its activities. Her able helpers were Mrs. Susman, Mrs. Armand (both from the early days), and Mrs. Hiscock.

"TOC H"
A branch of this world-wide organisation was established at Moffat, and many meetings were held. Various speakers came to the camp to address the weekly gatherings—topics were extremely varied. Discussions and " quizzes" were also notable features. The branch owed much to the Padre, the Rev. E. P. Grimwade.

SPORT

No time was lost in the commencement of sporting activities at Moffat. The day after arrival, about fifty men marched down to Gwelo to play soccer on the town pitch. The Gwelo Amateur Sports Club kindly permitted personnel to use their pitches before Moffat grounds were prepared.

It came as a shock to sportsmen to find that they were due to compete in Cup matches almost upon arrival. Strenuous training on hard, dusty pitches was more of an ordeal than a pleasure after six weeks on board a troopship. But teams were turned out.

In its initial stages, Moffat sport owed much to the late. Sgt. Jimmy Morton, ' the Station's first physical training instructor. He worked untiringly until forced to enter Gwelo Hospital in June, 1942. His many friends were grieved to hear of his death, on 29th November, of the same year. He had almost complete control of sport until F/Lt. E. Holmes came as Sports Officer in May, 1942.

CRICKET

The first Officer I/c Cricket, and Captain of the First XI at Moffat, was F/Lt. Irvine. The station was fortunate to have him: a well-known Rhodesian all-rounder, he built up the strongest eleven ever to represent Moffat.

In Cadet Tommy Fox and Cpl. George Bottomley, he had two fine opening bowlers. Tommy, an Australian, and a very fast left-arm bowler, struck terror into the hearts of many batsmen. George, who played in the Bradford League in pre-war days, could bowl all day, beginning with fast out swingers, changing to medium-paced off-spinners. His batting was also of a high standard, and it was fitting that this great-hearted, ginger-haired player should have done so much to contribute to Moffat's R.A.T.G. Cup Final victory in 1942. Headquarters, were de¬feated at Salisbury by an innings and 30 runs. Bottomley, undismayed by the reputation of many Headquarters' players, took 15 wickets for only 48 runs in the game, and knocked up 70 with the bat. He was well supported by F/Lt. Irvine, who made 48, and (P/O) Marsden-Levy, who began Moffat's innings with a sound 33.

The following season (1942/3) opened with prospects none too bright. F/Lt. Irvine, P/O Marsden-Levv, Fox, and two other first team men had gone to pastures new. No new talent had reached the camp. But George Bottomley was still with us. He was well supported (as the spearhead of the attack) by (F/O) Jim Smalley, whilst L/A/Cs Tommy Sisson and Frank Goldsmith took frequent wickets. (F/O) " Lofty" Pearce and L/A/C Jimmy Mason were a good opening pair. L/A/C Dicky Ball made a welcome return to form with the bat. Dicky would play stylishly one moment, and attempt to emulate Jessop the next. Had he curbed himself a little, he must have scored many more runs. F/O Hodges was also a reliable bat.

This team retained the R.A.T.G. Cup for Moffat. Guinea Fowl were defeated in the first round. Bottomley took 6 for 40 in Guinea Fowl's first innings and Smalley 6 for 36 in their second.

The second round brought easy victory over Thornhill, in a one-innings game. Moffat 250 (Bottomley 99—his grand innings being ended by a catch in the slips, from a slashed off-ball). Thornhill 125 (F/Lt. Horton, 5 wickets for 20).

The Cup Final was played on the Raylton Ground in Bulawayo, versus Heany. It was a very low-scoring game. Heany were dismissed for only 43, Bottomley again shining, with 7 for 10. Moffat did not fare very much better: their last wicket fell at 92. Only Bottomley (2.3) and Smalley (23 not out) readied double figures. But Heany's second-innings score of 50 left Moffat needing only two runs to win the cup for the second year in succession.

The 1943-44 season opened under the captaincy of Bottomley. Three new¬comers were F/Lt. Nick Garter, W/O Stroud, and Cadet "Duggie" Pratten, a tall, stylish left-hander. Only one match, against Gwelo Town Club, was lost in the first three months of the season. Frank Goldsmith, in particular, was well on top of his batting form. But by Christmas, Bottomley and Sisson had " caught the boat." The day after their departure, Moffat lost by one run to Thornhill in the second round of the Cup—rain limiting the match to one innings. This defeat seemed to bring about a loss of heart and form: several defeats were sustained, in spite of F/Lt. " Ginger" Bold's stubborn if monotonous defence as opening bat. Ginger's reply to the question, "How many runs did you score?" was invariably "Two and a half hours."

When the 1944/5 season arrived, only Goldsmith and Smalley of the old side remained. But several newcomers revealed great promise. W/O "Wally" Best played some of the most stylish innings ever seen at Moffat. S/Ldr. Pitt made several big scores, and Sgt. Jack Love, bowling with remarkable consistency, claimed many wickets. These three, along with Stroud and Goldsmith, had the honour of playing for the "Midlands" in. the Inter-Provincial matches, whilst Best turned out for R.A.T.G. against Rhodesia in March, 1945.

In the Cup tournament, Moffat were defeated by H.Q. (semi-final). This despite a fine spell of bowling by Love, who took 5 for 70, in 23 overs.

Mention must be made of men who played for the Second XI for two or three seasons, and who were always ready to step into the first team to fill vacancies. Cpl. "Bill" Hart captained the second XI for three years, and his friend, L/A/C Tommy Waite, was a noteworthy all-rounder. Cpl. Daniels and L/A/C "Tubby" Clayton could usually be relied upon to take wickets, whilst Cpl. Clayton, and L/A/Cs Boad, Slidders, Dunscombe and Slack were regular and consistent players. In the fourth season, Sgt. Holmes took over the captaincy of the second team.

Cricket Team
MOFFAT CRICKET TEAM. 1945.
REAR :
Cpl. Anderson, Merridew, Amos, Haye, Cpl. Hutchison, Goldsmith,
Sgt.. Bailey.
SEATED :
W/O Best, F/O Smalley, W/O Stroud (Captain), G/Capt. C. Findlay,
S/Ldr. Pitt, F/Lt. Carter, Sgt. Love.

RUGBY

In the first season (1942) fixtures were "almost purely local. Here the Moffat First XV ruled the roost, with convincing victories over Thornhill, Guinea Fowl, the Army Camp, Gwelo, Selukwe, Que Que, and Shabani.

At this time Moffat had a very fine pack of forwards, who frequently took complete control of the game. L/A/C "Taffy" Griffiths hooked remarkably well; burly "Taffy" Parker was always a tower of strength; Cpl. Dai Morgan, stocky and hard as nails, burrowed his way through like a bulldozer for many a try, and tackled with great ferocity. Cpls. McKevitt and Cockle, and L/A/Cs Harry Magee, "Chick" Munroe, and "Rocky" Kenyon could always be relied upon to play a hard untiring game. For part of that season, too, we had the assistance of Cadet Isaacs, Welsh International arid Leeds Rugby League forward.

The chief weakness lay in the three-quarters and halves, and the fullback problem often caused many headaches. There were good enough men in the " threes," but owing to the difficulty of finding a settled half-back combination, they had little chance to settle down, for often a wing man would play in the centre, and a centre at outside half. Several scrum-halves were tried. One or two would have been certain choices, but, being cadets, were on the camp for only a short time.

F/Lt. " Ginger" Wilson, captain of the First XV, on the left wing, was a very strong runner. His try against Thornhill on the Gwelo Ground, when he received a pass in his own "25," and beat four men before touching down under the posts, will long be remembered. His centre, L/A/C "Dicky" Ball, was a fine, all-round rugger player—strong running, powerful: accurate and powerful kicking and demon-like tackling made him a big factor in Moffat fifteens for three years. F/O " Charlie" Hodges was a speedy right winger, though lacking thrust, and F/O " Mickey " Bryant played many useful games at outside half and centre.

It was a great disappointment to Moffat when the First XV lost to Thornhill by the odd point in the second round of the Cup, for the result contradicted all previous form.

In the following season, three newcomers in Cadet Pratten (outside half), Waterworth and F/Lt. McCudden (in the second row) proved very welcome. With the latter pair, and Munroe, Parker, Dunscombe, Smalley, McKevitt and Magee, Moffat bad a pack which could hold its own against any eight in the Colony. Dai Morgan was installed at scrum-half. Mickey Bryant was moved to full-back. A safe catcher and strong kicker, playing consistently well, he turned out to be the best full-back ever to wear Moffat boots.

This side romped through all opposition in the Gwelo Area. High hopes were entertained that the 1943 Cup would come to the station. We thrashed Guinea Fowl 36—11 in the first round, Thornhill 11—3 in the second, drew a bye in the semi-final, and met Heany in the final on the Gwelo Ground. The result was sadly disappointing. It was a dour struggle, with forwards dominating the play. Neither team scored a try, and Heany won by virtue of two drop goals to a penalty goal.

The 1944 season opened with a big win over Thornhill. The side was : Bryant; Wilson, Ball, Drake, Hodges; Devenish, Smalley; Dunscombe, Morgan, Lyle, McCudden, Griffiths, McKevitt, Slack, Humble. Moffat supporters maintained that it was the best XV ever to represent the station.

Dai Morgan went back to the scrum as hooker: Smalley took up the scrum- half position; Pratten's place at outside half was taken by a newcomer, F/Lt. Devenish, and F/Lt. Tommy Lyle, the "medicine man," went into the front row, Munroe having caught the boat.

A week after the promising win at Thornhill, 40 points were scored at Que Que, all by the threequarters. But within a few weeks the entire threequarter line had gone—team selection became a nightmare. The station was still strong in forwards, for W/O Becks, W/O Taylor and Cadet "Jock" Struthers had arrived.

By July, the team contained eleven forwards, three of whom were playing in the three-quarter line. Mickey Bryant moved into the threes to attempt to develop a little conesion in the handling, and F/O Steve Smallman took his place at full¬back. It was such a team which startled Cranborne on the Police Ground in Salis¬bury, beating them 17—13—their only defeat in the 1944 season. Yet, a fortnight later, the same XV gave a poor exhibition when defeated 5—13 by Thornhill in the Cup second round.

S/Ldr. McCudden captained the R.A.T.G. XV which toured Northern Rhodesia
in 1944.

Among those who were always ready to turn out for the 2nd XV, and often filled vacancies in the first team, were F/O Kenyon, F/Sgt. Hardy, F/Sgt. Armitage, Cpls. Beckett and Craig, and L/A/Cs Eccles, Harrison, Roberts, Senior, Scott, Robert¬son, and Pearson.

HOCKEY

Moffat was always able to turn out a side capable of giving the most redoubt¬able opponents a good game. Keen interest was shown in the Inter-Section Knock¬out Competition—many a player received his hockey baptism in these matches.

It is interesting to recall the names of the 1942 side, which reached the R.A.T.G. Cup semi-final. L/A/C "Tubby" Gilbert was in goal. Sgt. John Rumsey and Cadet Smith were backs. Cpl. Robinson, F/O Howell, and W/O Whiting in the half-back line; whilst the forwards were Sgt. Chris. Ganley (centre), F/O Pearce and Sgt. Tabor (insides), and L/A/Cs Jones and Tommy Hedley (wingers). These men thrashed Thornhill 7—0 in the first round, and disposed of Guinea Fowl by three goals to nil in the second. Belvedere came to Moffat for the semi-final. We were leading by four goals to nil with 15 minutes to go, when Belvedere, or rather F/Lt. Downey, that versatile all-rounder, showed that they had other ideas about a Moffat " cert." Downey rammed home four goals in a quarter of an hour, making the final result a draw, 4—4. In the replay at Salisbury, Downey again proved a thorn in the Moffat flesh, scoring both Belvedere's goals, to Moffat's one.

The team were disappointing in 1943: they never settled down. Six players had left, and experiments made were not very successful. However, Thornhill were beaten in the Cup First Round once again—this time 5—1. Moffat should have been at home to FowLin the second round, but elected to play on the latter's faster pitch. Perhaps this was a mistake, for Guinea Fowl won by three goals to one, and a well-earned victory it was. Moffat's cup team was: Gilbert; Cadet Rose, Rumsey; Robinson, Jones, Cadet .Dr Kock; Cadet Davies; Cadet Connett, Ganley, Cadet Dawkins, Sylvester.

The season 1944 opened with the team in good form. S/Ldr. "Doc" Burgess had come in at back, and there was a sound and settled half-back line in F/Sgt. Sorrell, Cadet Hill and Sgt. Tomkins. A great improvement was also seen in the forward line. It was Chris. Ganley's third season as the station's centre-forward, and Chris was always a rare goal-getter. As long ago as 1925 he represented the R.A.F. against the Royal Navy. In Cadets Eccleston and Welch, prolific goal- scorers themselves, he had two fine inside men; whilst W/O Stroud and L/A/C Stevens on the wings gave splendid support. In the first three months of the season, eleven matches were won, only one lost, and goals "for" totalled 60. But two weeks before the first round cup-tie, the " boat" claimed Gilbert, Ganley, Eccleston and Welch. It was hardly surprising that Moffat should go under to Thornhill. L/A/C Counter was a good substitute for Gilbert in goal, but the re-organised forward line had had no time to settle down.

It was not possible to run an Inter-Section hockey league, but many friendlies were played, and the Knock-out Competition aroused considerable interest. Main¬tenance had the honour of winning the cup three seasons in succession.

Many men, such as S/Ldr. Cole, P/O Ellis, P/O Budden, W/O Collins, W/O Bidwell, W/O Rose, Sgt. Carrington, Cpl. Lewis, and L/A/C Slidders kept the flag flying in the second team, and frequently acted as utility men in the first eleven.

SOCCER

Soccer has always held pride of place as the premier cool-season sport. Two or three Inter-Section games were played each week throughout the entire season. Maintenance had the honour of winning the League Championship Trophy four seasons in succession. It was a different story in the " Knock-Out" Cup Competition, played for in the second, third and fourth seasons. Administrative wing, Sergeants' Mess, and "A" Flight were winners respectively. It was fitting that "A" Flight should capture it in the third season—they appeared in all three finals.'

Moffat never brought, off any sensational feat in Inter-Station football. Good players we had in plenty, and often the play of the first team forwards was a treat to watch. But goals count, and in many games it was lack of finish which made all the difference.

The first full season, 1942, was perhaps the most disappointing. Three teams were entered in the local Holborn League, and though our First XI finished a close second to Thornhill (a deciding match having to be played for the championship), the side never really settled down. In those days, L/A/C Bob Bushell was always a certainty as goalie; whilst F/O Jackie Allen, L/A/C Gilbert and L/A/C "Tich" Hall competed for the full-back positions. As halves we had Sgt. Ward (centre-half), L/A/Cs Brien and Muir. L/A/C "Chunky" Green was a dangerous centre-forward, quick off the mark, a strong shot, but unlucky with injuries. Cpl. Jackie Hassall and L/A/C Jackie Whitmarsh—the latter captain of the side—were scheming, industrious inside men. Wingmen were not so easy to select. L/A/Cs Tommy Riley and Moore were tried on the right, and Sgt. Jock Sutherland and L/A/C Patterson on the left. Moffat went out of the R.A.T.G. Cup Competition in the first round that year, defeated 2—0 by Thornhill.

In many ways, 1943 was Moffat's most successful season. There were many changes. George Bottomley went to right back from the forwards, partnering Hall. L/A/Cs Borrowman or "Lofty" Pearson could play at centre-half, with Jock Watt and Paddy Finn right and left halves respectively. Archie Muir left the halves to play centre-forward. Whitmarsh, again captain, was still inside-left and Hassall at inside-right. Frank Goldsmith was on the left wing. The outside-right position was not easily settled: Sgt. Robb, Cpl. Hope, and L/A/C Brewer filled it at various times.

Good wins were scored early in the season against Induna, Thornhill and Cranborne. Then followed an unsettled period, but by the time the Cup matches came round, the team was playing pretty football. Thornhill were defeated on their own ground, 2—1. The. second round saw Moffat away to Guinea Fowl. Disappoint¬ment was the lot of the many fans who went by special train to see the game; Guinea Fowl emerged victorious by three goals to two. A month later, Moffat had the consolation of winning the Shiff-Jacobson Cup, defeating Thornhill by 1—0 in the final.

Early in September, 1943, a combined R.A.F. and S.A.A.F. side from the Union toured Rhodesia. In the match at Gwelo (Union winning 5—1), Moffat had five representatives in the Gwelo Area eleven—Whitmarsh, Muir, Hope, Bushell, and Hassall,

The 1944 season opened promisingly: there seemed to be an abundance of talent. Victories by four-goal margins were gained over Thornhill, Guinea Fowl, Induna, and Belvedere. There was keen competition for many positions. Bob Bushell was a certainty in goal. At full-back, Cpl. Guy, Cpl. Smith; Cadet Boitoult, F/Sgt. Craigen and Jackie Allen were available. Sgt. Ward established himself at centre- half until posted home. Among the halves were Sgt. Hughes, Muir, McKay, and Phillips. The forwards never really settled down. Throughout the season a number of cadets were tried, but as they were " birds of passage," the policy was a question¬able one. Thus, three cadets—Robbins, Simms and Grant—figured as centre-forwards. Grant was the most dangerous centre Moffat ever turned out, some of his first-time shots scoring remarkable goals.

On the right wing, W/O Smith and Sgt. Gibbons competed, until Cadet French arrived, and became an automatic choice. Hassall and F/Sgt. Stamper were first choices for the inside forwards, Whitmarsh having left us. Brewster and Bruzas also came into the team frequently. Sgt. Peters was a fine centre-half.

Moffat went out of the Cup in the first round. Playing on the Gwelo Ground, they drew 2—2 with Thornhill, but in the replay, played at Thornhill, the Moffat boys were well below form, and were defeated 3—0.

Moffat was always well represented in the Inter-Area matches of 1.944: on one occasion (versus Bulawayo Area), supplying no fewer than 10 of the Gwelo side. The highest honour was achieved by Bob Bushell, who was chosen for the R.A.T.G. team to tour the Union.

In second teams, many men gave valiant service—among them, L/A/C Jock Blythe, a great-hearted, splendid goal-keeper; Sisson, Gilbert and Theobald (backs); Pearson, Waite, Finn (halves); Crowther, Jones, Appleby, Andrews, Harrison, Sgt. Gibbons, Bowman, and Cpl. Jock Watt (forwards).

Mention must be made of F/Lt. Wakefield ("Wakers"), and F/Lt "Jock" Manson, who held successively. the position of Officer I/c Soccer. Both took a keen interest in the game, and were always to be seen at trial and station matches. Then, too, Cpl. Bill Williams and F/Sgt. Jock Craigen both worked hard training and coaching.

Sgt's Soccer Team
SERGEANTS' SOCCER TEAM 1943 INTER SECTION WINNERS.
REAR : Sgts. Staff, Robb, Hexter, Ashby, Ward, Gibbons, W/O Cook.
FRONT : Sgts. Targar, Barnett, Carrington, Allen Hill.


BOXING

There were no representatives from Moffat at the Inter-Station Boxing Cham¬pionships of 1942." A few men, such as W/O McGregor, L/A/Cs Westlake, Melrose, Ryder and "Timber" Woods were interested, but training facilities were almost negligible at that time. "Timber" Woods was, however, in the R.A.F. team which went to the Union. Unfortunately, in his Johannesburg bout, Timber was disqualified in the third round. Cpl. Harboard (who won the R.A.T.G. flyweight championship whilst at I.T.W.) was selected to box for the R.A.F. versus the Army, after being posted to Moffat. He knocked out his opponent in the first round.
There was far more interest in 1943, thanks to F/O Jarvis (Officer I/c), and F/Sgt. Wright, trainer and boxer himself. Two Station Tournaments were held, in January and March. The outstanding boxer was Cadet Jock Hunter, middleweight —formerly of the Metropolitan Police. Jock was our only entry for the 1943 Championships. He boxed through from the preliminaries to win the middleweight championship, and scored 9 points for Moffat.

A boxing ring had been erected in the gymnasium hangar by the time the 1944 Championships came round. This aroused more interest, and although F/Sgt. Wright had departed, F/Sgt. Jock Craigen was a very keen trainer. For the first time a Moffat team, with the exception of a heavy, was entered. It was composed of: Cpl. Reed (Fly), Cadet Lesson (Bantam), L/A/C "Paddy" Milton (Feather), L/A/C Malcolm (Light), Cadet Barrell (Welter), W/O Jock Humble (Middle)^ and L/A/C Connolly (Light-heavy). Reed and Malcolm went out in the prelims, to the eventual winners of the flyweight and lightweight championships. Only Humble and Leeson won through to the semi-finals, at which stage Jock Humble lost to L/A/C Fisher (who won the middle-weight championship). Cadet Leeson lost in the bantam final, to L/A/C Lambert, of Belvedere.

Moffat's best performance was seen in the R.A.T.G. Championships of 1945, when they finished third with 18 points, to Heany—winners with 22 points, and Thornhill—second with 21 points. Moffat could not muster a full team—being without a Bantam, Middle, and Heavy-weight. However, the five boxers who represented the Station fought gamely to earn the points. They were: L/A/C Godfrey, Flyweight; L/A/C Milton, Featherweight; L/A/C Sayers, Lightweight; Sgt Saunders, Welterweight; and Cadet Marsh, Light-Heavyweight.

L/A/C Milton disposed of L/A/C Carroll, last year's R.A.T.G. Champion, to win the Featherweight title. Cadet Marsh won the Light Heavyweight honours, and Sgt. Saunders was T.K.Od. in the third round of the final of the Welterweight class, after a gruelling battle against L/A/C Tsirindanis (ex Rhodesian Champion).

Of the above named boxers, L/A/C Milton and Cadet Marsh, were chosen to represent R.A.T.G. in the Inter-Services Tournament held in Salisbury. Cadet Marsh won the Light Heavyweight title in this tournament with a K.O. in the first round.

TENNIS

The Moffat tennis team has never been quite strong enough to go far in the R.A.T.G. Championship. Perhaps our strongest team was that of late 1942—F/O Kendall and P/O Hussar (officer cadets), P/O Gash, L/A/Cs Brook, Clarke, O'Brien, Stevens, and Spencer. Unfortunately, the team was depleted by the time the Cup games came round, and though there were many willing players, such as Sgt. Tabor, Sgt. Hassall, L/A/Cs Jimmy Newton^ Ernie Theobald, Edwards, Brook, and Cpl. Maurice Doe, the side could not make the grade.

Several men played regularly and worked hard to run Inter-Section Leagues and competitions for two or three years, F/Sgt, Smith, Sgt. Tomkins, Brook, Sharpe, and Newton, all played a big part in running Moffat tennis. Many enjoyable trips were made, to Salisbury, Bulawayo, Selukwe, Gatooma, and Que Que—to play service and civilian teams; and for two years we competed in the local league.

Tennis Team
MOFFAT TENNIS TEAM, 1944.
Rear:
L/A/C Newton, L/A/C Spencer, CpL Wash.
Front: Sgt. Tomkins, Sgt. Smith, W/O. Best.

SWIMMING

A few keen men—Sgt. Ford, L/A/Cs Johnnie Marter (also a fine diver), " Straw " Webster, Barnard, and Kestin—organised a water polo team during the first two years, and visits were made to Guinea Fowl, Selukwe, and Shabani.

When the swimming pool was opened (September, 1943) serious attempts were made to form a strong water-polo side. Kestin has gone, but we now had F/Sgt. Welfare (goal), Marter, Webster, Burnell, Barnard, Dixon, and Cadets Jenkins and Dixon. By Christmas they had become a well-knit team: it was with confidence that we prepared for the Gwelo Inter-Station Competition, for the Botes Trophy.

Cadet McCormick was a fine back-stroke swimmer; in Cadet Mann we had a splendid diver and the fastest breast-stroke seen at Moffat; whilst a formidable relay- team was constituted by F/O Odendaal, Cadets Hyde, Jenkins, and Armstrong. But two weeks before the competition we lost a host of valuable men through postings. Nevertheless, we finished a close second (19 points to 21) to Guinea Fowl in the Botes Trophy Competition.

When the 1944/45 season opened, we had as Officer I/c Swimming, S/Ldr. T. Roe, a fine water-polo player and swimmer, who had represented the R.A.F. in England. Unfortunately, this Was a very unsettled period at Moffat, as the station was gradually closing down, and though S/Ldr. Roe worked hard—he held five training classes every week—it was uphill work; teams were constantly broken up.

L/A/C Tilbury was our only representative at the 1945 Inter-Station Swimming Championship. He established an R.A.T.G. record with a plunge of 65$ feet.

GOLF

In 1942, Sgt. Jerry Williams appeared in the R.A.T.G. Tournament, winning the prizes for the best 18 holes and best 36 holes.

The Moffat team won the Gwelo Golf Club League Championship in 1943- Fourth place was gained, a few weeks later, in the Senior Competition at the R.A.T.G. Tournament. The team included S/Ldr. Humphries, S/Ldr. Mills, F/O Haycraft, F/Sgt. Burns, Sgt. Williams, Sgt. Tabor, L/A/Cs Bushell, Gordon, McLean, Shields, and Cpl. Stubbs. Sgt. Tabor won the morning and day medal competitions, and S/Ldr. Humphries the afternoon medal competition.

Moffat won the Junior Team Championship, and came third in the senior event, at the 1944 Tournament. Representing Moffat were S/Ldr. Mills, F/Sgt. Burns, Jerry Williams, Sgt. Ireland, Cpl. Gibson, L/A/Cs Girvan, Douglas and Murray. L/A/C Douglas won the 18-hole morning and 36-hole medals.

ATHLETICS

A sound, balanced team, perhaps not quite up to R.A.T.G. Championship standard, has usually been turned out. Outstanding were F/Lt. " Ginger" Wilson and W/O Moseley, both fine sprinters, hurdlers and high-jumpers. F/O Hodges could run a beautiful quarter-mile.

The Moffat tug-o'-war team reached the final at the Inter-Station Athletics Meetings in 1942 and 1943.

BASEBALL

It has always been difficult to run a Moffat baseball side, because of the lack of opposition in the Gwelo Area: Moffat and Thornhill met frequently. After the first disastrous result (Thornhill won 100—1), the Moffat players began to take a more serious interest, and the majority of these local " Derbies " found Moffat comfortable winners. Enthusiasts included F/O Warne, F/Sgts. Caunce, Armitage and Smith, Cpl. Taffy Thomas, and L/A/Cs Finn, Cleasby, Ackerman, Kent, Greenwood, Ashforth, Charlton, Patterson and Hall. Occasional matches were played with Cranborne and Heany—the best performance by the Moffat team being at home, against Heany, when the latter won 10—7.

THANKS

Moffat sportsmen are grateful to all the good people of Rhodesia—too numerous to mention by name—who have helped Moffat sport—to the donors of the many trophies—to those who have given or loaned equipment in emergency-—to those who have entertained (and right royally) our players—and to those who have met us on the field of play. A big "thank you," too, is due to the Gwelo Amateur Sports Club, for the permission to use their pitches for Inter-Station matches.

THE FINAL PARADE

On Saturday, 14th April, 1945, the final parade at Moffat was held.

The Presentation Flight—composed of the last two courses (Air Gunners and Navigators)—was drawn up on the parade ground before the saluting base. Behind them Station personnel paraded in three squadrons, together with the Askari Corps.

The Air Officer Commanding R.A.T.G., Air Vice Marshal C. W. Meredith,
C. B., C.B.E., A.F.C., attended the ceremony.

After a full inspection of the graduating cadets, the Station Commander out¬lined the results of their courses. He was followed by the A.O.C.; who summarised Moffat's work and achievements over the past three and three-quarter years.

The initial policy of having one course at the Station had, he said, given way to the " staggering" of courses. A 40% increase of output had resulted. Of the Gunners' courses at Moffat, Air Vice Marshal Meredith said that they had achieved the best results of any school in the Empire Air Training Scheme. This standard- plus that of the navigators—had been recognised both in the Middle East and in the United Kingdom. So far as they could be traced at that time, one D.F.C. and bar, ten D.F.C’s and four D.F.M’s had been awarded to Moffat-trained men.

The A.O.C. paid tribute to Group Captain Findlay, and to the instructors and ground-staff of the Station. Their work had, he said, been carried out most conscientious^ and efficiently, and they were entitled to feel proud of the results achieved.

Over 300 civilians were present at the large parade. The Chaplin School band played music and marches, and the Minister of Air, Sir Ernest Lucas Guest, K.B.E., MP., took the salute at the March Past.

Present at the parade was Wing Commander L. J. Dixon, A.F.C., former Officer in charge of Flying at Moffat—who flew the first aircraft to the camp in 1941.

The aircrew brevets were presented to the cadets, and after the ceremony, guests were entertained on the lawns of the swimming pool.

We have reached the last page of this little story. We do not suggest that any guide to momentous events has been revealed dramatically here. But one day, perhaps, men who were at Moffat will look back, musing on the hours spent with '' Jack" or with ‘Tommy": will remember the trifling incidents of a seemingly strange yesterday. Memory mellows: it sets into perspective: polishes and adds new, unrealised touches. So that, whilst set against the cataclysm of global warfare, these Moffat days may be insignificant, to the men who lived them they will become part of a past .... They "did their bit."

It has not been possible to tell the story in complete and absolute detail. Descriptions and explanations of training have, of necessity, been curtailed. To the casual reader, in fact, it may seem that the lighter side of life was of more concern. But these pages do not recall the ordinary, patient work, the unspectacular labours', nor do they speak of the human feelings of monotony and homesickness. There have been long days of setback in this war, and perhaps it is only to-day, with victory in Europe, that we cast a glance back over our shoulders, and see how the tree was planted ....and how it grew, slowly and surely.


Roll of honour

We honour the memory of the following, who died on active service, while serving at Moffat

A.C. I. D. HARLING. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
SGT. K. C. GOLDING. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
A/S/U C. A. MCNABB. (Please refer below fr photo of headstone)
A/S/U R. MARTIN. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
SGT. J. MCMORTON. ((Please refer below for photo of headstone)
SGT. W. A. BAILLIE. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
A/S/U G. D., BUCHAN. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
A/S/U D. COFORD. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
L/A/C A. L. BLISS. Please refer below for photo of headstone)
L/A/C E. A. CLEWS. Please refer below for photo of headstone)
F/SGT. C. LAYCOCK. Please refer below for photo of headstone)
F/LT. A. E. CHALLENGER. (Regret no photo of headstone)
SGT. P. MATETICH. (Regret no photo of headstone)
CADET E. T. ODAMS. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
CADET A. G. DONAGHY. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
L/A/C N. WHEATLEY. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
SGT. J. D. SCOTT. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
L/A/C M. A. ROBINSON. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
L/A/C N. BROCKLEHURST. (Please refer below for photo of headstone)
L/A/C L. BEDDOWS. (Regret no photo of headstone)
CADET E. B. RICHARDS. (Regret no photo of headstone)

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them "...


VALE

The training done by this Station is part of the tissue of victory. Genius begins great works, “like the Empire Air Training Scheme, but labour alone finishes them.
Victory is now assured because the Battle of Training, unglamorous and laborious, is won. And thus we take leave of all who have gone forth from Moffat and say "Good hunting and good luck."

"C.F.

End of Article

"MOFFAT-BY-THE-SEA"

Upon his arrival, Group Captain Findlay's first task was to ascertain the complete lay-out of the station, and to investigate the situation with regard to flying training.

Having done so, he was able to consider the problem of recreation. He decided that it was imperative that a swimming pool should be provided as soon as possible.

Snag Number ,One was the familiar Money. The station's P.S.I, fund was in a somewhat anaemic state at that time. However, a risk was taken, in the hope that added comfort would improve the takings in the canteen, so ultimately providing the necessary funds.

Moffat by the Sea

On 9th February, 1943, the site having been selected—bounded by the Officers' Mess road, the parade ground, and the Sick Quarters—the first sod was cut.

Looking at the pool when it was completed, it was difficult to visualise the bustle and seeming confusion of those first days; with indeterminate holes here and there, gradually growing larger and joining; men flinging shovelfuls of earth over their shoulders; rain falling and turning the early excavations into a morass. Indeed, the rain at that time was exceptionally heavy. Digging was begun by many of the men on the station, but after the first flush of enthusiasm had faded, the problem of keeping up to schedule was aggravated. It was solved by hiring two teams of oxen. Drawing excavators, their use speeded up the work considerably. In addition, all cadets put in an hour's digging in lieu of part of their physical training programme.

Water was pumped into the bath in June

Digging for Pleasure
Digging for pleasure. The original site of the pool.

A notable feat was the erection of the entire brickwork and cementing by L/A/C Alfred Richards, who has since returned to the U.K. It would be difficult to praise adequately his untiring labours. He was a first class, neat craftsman, and his efforts resulted in an excellent pool, providing pleasure for hundreds of men at Moffat. At the swimming gala in January, 1944, L/A/C Richards was presented by Air Commodore L. H. Cockey, C.B., on behalf of the station, with a silver cigarette case.

To Flight Lieutenant McIlleron great credit is due. The technical design of the entire pool was his design which has proved eminently successful. The filtration plant could not be bettered so far as practical working is concerned.

The "Commanding Officer, S/Ldr. Wrightson (then Station Admin. Officer), and F/O Betts (then Messing Officer) decided upon the lay-out of the surrounds, and F/O Betts put much of the planning into practice. A keen gardener, he worked hard to make the completed pool an attractive recreational spot, colourful and pleasing to the eye. Along the sides of the baths, off the paths, were raised brickwork "gardens," blossoming seasonably in purples and crimsons: the grass verges were raised in steps, falling away in rockery sides to lawns. Neat paved paths led about the pool to the main entrances, where beds again flowered, multi-hued and warm. High hedges bordered the entire surrounds.

Main Entrance to Swimming Pool
Moffat-by-the- Sea" — The main entrance.

Over the entrance to the pool was the curved sign, "MOFFAT-BY-THE-SEA." To the newcomer this may well have been puzzling. But had he spent a few evenings in the canteen or on the sports fields, he would have understood. The words of a particular song heard often in such places were the "theme" for Moffat men. There was laughing irony in it, and when considering whether Moffat's swimming pool should have any name, Group Captain Findlay recalled the song, and its point. So — because the nearest ocean was many hundreds of miles away—the pool was called, officially, "MOFFAT BY THE SEA."

The dimensions of the bath were 75ft. by 45ft., with depths of 9ft. 6ins. to 3ft. A diving platform was erected at the deep end, in modern style, giving championship heights. Changing rooms for officers, N.C.O.s and airmen were built, standing bade from the lawns; together with two attractive sun-shelters, roofed with asbestos-cement sheeting, which was kindly presented by Mr. R. Starkey, of Shabani.

The running of the filtration plant and care of the water have been in the capable hands of Cpl. Craig and L/A/C Bradbury.

Air View of Swimming Pool
An air view of the swimming pool and surrounds.

"MOFFAT BY THE SEA" is silent now; the water is no longer rippling white with the plunging forms of airmen — bearing tans from copper to lily-white But, looking back, they remember pleasant afternoons spent in its sunny precincts and the quiet satisfaction of a cigarette on its cool - grassed lawns, after a refreshing "dip".

THE RIDING CLUB

Passing along the pale, dusty tracks near Moffat aerodrome, and along the rough-grassed verges, might have been seen, on many a morning after 1944, a line of horsemen. Khaki-clad, sitting comfortably or uneasily, (often according to the length of their membership), they were some of the members of the Moffat Riding Club.

The idea was sponsored by the Commanding Officer, after discovering that there were a considerable number of men on the station who were keen on riding.

A meeting of the P.S.I. Committee was duly held, and the C.O. was given full authority to go ahead with his plans. The existing stables, built to house 21 horses, are the result. The stable actually accommodated 18, which number was increased by one when "Gipsy Moth" gave birth to "Mosquito," in August, 1944.

All the horses were named after aircraft in service with the R.A.F .— Lancaster, Wellington, Harvard, York, Spitfire, Hurricane, Mustang, Battle, Blenheim, Marauder, Hudson, Anson, Oxford, Typhoon, Beaufighter, Halifax, Stirling.

Hundreds of officers and airmen learned the rudiments of the noble art of equitation in the Moffat Riding Club; many went on to become accomplished horsemen. The stables owed much to the fruitful and faithful work of L/A/C Holloway: he practically lived with his charges. His assistants — very able ones — were L/A/Cs Treasure and Clark—not forgetting Hugo, the Italian riding instructor.

A Gymkhana was held in September, 1944. The occasion was Moffat's Third Anniversary. Events were numerous — and men who had learned to ride on the camp took part in them. One or two steeds showed a regrettable tendency, in a straight race, to wander off on to the Bulawayo road, but there were no hard feelings, and the tote worked overtime. A jumping exhibition was given by L/A/C Holoway, on "Hudson," and a particularly winsome display was the equine "musical chairs “ event —the horses appeared to be disinterested in such human nonsense, and co-operated or otherwise according to their mood.

On another occasion, some of the horses were taken to a Gwelo meeting. Out of five races, they won three: gained second place in one, and third place in another. The club also assisted in various charitable meetings from time to time.

Saddling Up
Saddling-up in the Moffat stables.

It was rather sad to see the horses departing one by one to pastures new, but everything possible was done to ensure that each should have a good home and a kind master, even if sold at a loss.

THE "CAOTICS" AND MOFFAT CONCERT PARTIES
In the hot, somewhat smoky atmosphere of a troop deck — actually a former hold — the immature but ardent efforts of a "concert party" were first presented for Moffat men.

No record is available of the programme on that sultry afternoon at sea, and ft is impossible to name all those who were first responsible for the station's entertainment. Looking back, one remembers such stalwarts as Jack Burt, "Tubby " Trustam, L/A/C Smith, P/O Jarvis, Norman Brocklehurst, Peter Hoy.

They, and others whose names are unfortunately not to hand, combined to create the " CAOTICS." Their first show, on the canteen stage, was on October 13th, 1941. They were a talented party. Short sketches were their métier, but, joining forces with the dance band, they were able to present a complete, well-balanced variety show. Their number increased, and they grew deservedly popular. In the same month they gave a show at Que Que, followed shortly afterwards by a visit to Gatooma. In aid of the Air Raid Distress Fund, they produced a show at Hartley — this was the occasion upon which that small town "adopted" Moffat.

Fifty pounds was raised for the P.S.I. Fund with a performance at Que Que in January, 1942.

Shining lights in those early days were P/O Hughes, female impersonator; George Williamson, a very fine tenor with broadcasting experience; Fred Aspey, Sid Crowther, and " Chick Avery—these three combined to form a tuneful trio; "Tubby" Trustam and Peter Hoy, both actor-producers; P/O Jarvis and P/O Burt.

As ever, postings from time to time affected the "CAOTICS." Their term of entertainment lasted for some two years. In this time, they gave many shows on the camp, and on the stages of Gwelo, Salisbury, and Bulawayo, as well as the towns already mentioned. F/O Masters was a suave, adept compere.

Other combinations took their place, although talent was not so readily forth; coming. Many cadets were "roped in" — pianists in particular. Cadets Ryder, Aspey and Hood were three whose techniques were top-class. They were all valuable acquisitions.

The year 1944 saw a flush of entertainment. There was, in April, the visit of Noel Coward, who gave an hour's quick fire and highly-polished performance! singing from his own extensive repertoire and from other musical-comedy scores.

"BANG ON" was devised by Arthur Aston, an air-gunner cadet. It was undoubtedly too long, but the work in it was appreciated. John Langley-Horswell was an amusing female impersonator: others in the show were Vic Summers, George Alexander, Michael Davey, Cpl. "Taffy" Thomas, Jimmy Banks, and "Curly" Adams. Adams.

"BANDBOX" was another 1944 show. It featured a "pin-up girl"— " Terry" Matchett, of the W. A.A.S. The "Moffatairs" dance band backed up the show — plus John "Sinatra" Henshall, Jock McKillop, Archie Muir with "Sarah" (W.A.A.S.), F/Os Ratciffe and Hutchinson, Eddie McConville and Taffy Jones. With this variety was The Bear," a Tchekov one-act play, presented by the Gwelo Green Room Club. A "Caotics original,” Peter Hoy, starred in this.

The same local dramatic club brought a full three-act play to the station in November, 1944 — "I Killed the Count." Produced by Peter Lister, it featured Moffat men, Roy Eakins, Kenneth Drury, James Ireland, and Peter Hoy.

Shows from Cranborne ("Out of the Blue") and Belvedere ("Full Revs") were also seen on the camp.

The Union Defence Force Concert Party presented "Hotch Potch" in September, 1943, whilst on their tour of Rhodesia. The show bore the professional mark; it was highly appreciated.

Another South African, Jennifer Leigh, a sparkling brunette soubrette, gave a , special show in the same year.

We cannot omit to mention a regular performer after his arrival at Moffat — the Padre, S/Ldr. Grimwade. His ventriloquism was pointed and pert, and he was an excellent compere.

"THE MOFFATAIRS"

Those men interested in forming a dance-band at Moffat lost little time in getting together. Instruments were few and far between, but they were helped by the P.S.I., and the first line-up was ready to try its lungs in a very short time.

In those days, Stan Whitby was at the piano; Jock Girvan handled the drums; Jock McKillop thumped the bass for a long time; Terry Bunton, tenor sax; Jimmy James and Harold Lucas, first and second altos; Jimmy Robson, first trumpet; and Chick Avery, second trumpet and guitar. Archie Muir came in as vocalist.

It took little more than three months after the opening of the station for this combination to organise. Their first real try-outs were with the "Caotics" concert party, and at the Royal Hotel in Gwelo. Then they became a regular engagement at the Services Club (Gwelo) on two nights a week.

Gradually they went afield. Transport took them, often rather uncomfortably, to Que Que fairly regularly. They played for dances at Gatooma, Shabani, Selukwe, Hartley, Eiffel Flats and Fort Victoria. On two occasions they were engaged for the Governor's banquet — at Gwelo and Gatooma.

But the inevitable breaking-up began. Chick Avery was posted, together with McKillop, Lucas and Brunton. Fortunately, Bob Chapman had been posted to Moffat — he took over second alto and tenor. The band played for a while without a bass. Whitby, Girvan and James had to withdraw subsequently, owing to pressure of work. W/O Gower came in as alto and clarinet; cadets occasionally helped out, especially as pianists — Ginger Hood was a great acquisition, but as an air gunner, was on the camp for all too short a period. W/O Ken Stuart had, meantime, taken over the drums. The name "Moffatairs" was not adopted until fairly late in the day.

Engagements were not so frequent as in the early days, but the band, though reduced, gave frequent Wednesday night programmes on the canteen stage. From time to time they had played for dancing classes in Gwelo, and went on appearing at Que Que and Gatooma — not forgetting the dances at Moffat. It was not until the very end that they broke up, and the majority of their number are now back in the U.K. Rather fittingly, Stan Whitby, of the twinkling fingers, playing for the men before they left to catch the " boat-train," was the last reminder of Moffat dance music.

“RAFTERS"

The publication of a Moffat magazine was the subject of discussion by several persons, both during the voyage, and in the early days of the station.

In December, 1941, the first number of "Rafters" was issued. It was a monthly, of some forty pages. Illustrated by L/A/C Ward, whose cartoons, under the signature of "WOW," came to achieve a not inconsiderable fame, it was less of a "Service" journal than a publication of general interest. It was, in fact, on sale in bookshops in the Colony. "RAFTERS" ceased publication in August, 1943, not because of any financial embarrassment, but through "lack of man-power." Editors had been P/O J. Langdon and Cpl. P. Lister—with A/C Mathias, L/A/C Wheatley, Cpl. Hoy, Cpl. Smith (Salisbury area), L/A/C Brook and L/A/C Kestin members of the Editorial Board over different periods.

EDUCATION

One particular feature of this war, so far as "personnel" are concerned, is the increasing encouragement given by the authorities to education, discussion, and vocational training.

If one wandered into the Moffat " Quiet Room " one could pick up, in turn, copies of the Government White Papers on Health, Social Security, Electoral Reform:

"Target," the official R.A.F. discussion publication; "Tee Emm" the training journal, copies of British and American and South African magazines, etc.

There is, of course, nothing radically surprising about this. The Services have absorbed, of British man-power, something like five millions. The vast majority of these are "civilians in uniform." Some had to interrupt their industrial or academic training. When peace comes they will want to return to their normal tasks. Some, of course, will stay in the Services. Others, having earned a new trade in the R.A.F., will wish to follow it as a civilian. Although for a while men have had to put aside their ordinary pursuits and ambitions, they have not forgotten them.

As early as September, 1941, educational classes were held at Moffat; such subjects as English, Shorthand, German, Maths., and Economics being included.

Prime Ministers Visit
The Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Godfrey Huggins,
K.C.M.G., M.P., is greeted by S/Ldr. Sharvill before the Airmen's Institute,
during one of his visits to Moffat.


A scheme of classes designed primarily for men desiring to remuster to aircrew — embracing Maths., Aircraft Recognition, Mechanics, and Signals — was introduced in November, 1942.

DESCRIPTION

Were it possible to see them, the descriptions of Moffat in "letters home" would make interesting reading. They would naturally be varied; the viewpoints would be diverse. Relatives of men overseas must inevitably attempt to picture their surroundings. In conversation across an English table, the casual remark might be dropped

“Jack says that it's awfully hot where he is . . . . "Or" Of course it's quite tropical . . . ."

Since this brochure may safely be read by those to whom Moffat men have been writing home for a long time, perhaps a brief attempt at description would not be out of place.

Rhodesia is, in the first place, a sub-tropical Colony. It has its "Midlands" — in which Gwelo is situated. The northern part of the Colony is known as Mashonaland; the south as Matabeleland

The "Midlands" area lacks, perhaps, the charm of the Salisbury zone, it is generally regarded as the " flat"region. Looking across the airfield at Moffat, one could see for many miles, through the persistent heat-haze, to a vague horizon of insignificant hills and gathered bush. In the rainy season, the panorama was clearer and more pleasant, even though it seemed to lack the character and variety of an English scene.

Instructors
SEVEN MOFFAT-TRAINED OFFICERS, WHO RETURNED TO
THE
STATION AS INSTRUCTORS.

REAR :
F/O Howard,D.F.C. and Bar, F/O. Murphy, F/O Marnewick, D.F.C., D.F.M.,
F/O Smallman.
FRONT: F/Lt. Hughes, F/O Smith, F/Lt. Dodd, D.F.C.


As for the camp, the predominant impression was of the corrugated roofs, rippling and shining in the hot days: the brown-reddish earth, and the pale dusty roads, soon glistening when the rains came. The parade ground, sandy and dry, but greedily covering its surface with grass in the wet weeks. On the other side of the main road the "bush" grew quite abundantly, and had to be tackled regularly. During the rains, the nights were filled with the somewhat intolerant croakings and gruntings of bull¬frogs and allied creatures. The "Christmas beetle" whined in high pitch. Large centipedes would find their way on to the roads, to meet a sudden and messy fate. The railway line to the private siding gleamed all day. And, onward from what were the. actual boundaries of the station the " bundu " flourished with equally vast growth and indifference.

Final Parade
Sir Ernest Lucas i GUEST, K.B.E., M.P., Minister of Air, takes the
salute at the March Past of Moffat's Final Parade
.

In the midst of what was, after all, a tendency to "sameness," the gardens nourished over different periods by enthusiastic amateurs were a sudden pleasure to the eye. Outside the airman's mess, for instance, the beds blossomed in mixed hues of purples, crimsons, pinks, whites, and green. Near Training Wing headquarters, a plot of mealies grew lustily and with alarming rapidity. They had to be cut down, periodically, lest all light should be shut out from the offices.

Outside some of the huts, and between Station Headquarters and the Met. Office, too, flowers in season made a distinctive contrast.

Moffat looked, in fact, much like any other R.A.F. Station in Southern Rhodesia. Men who served here will doubtless tell their relatives and friends of the personal environment in which they lived and worked: we leave it to them to enliven their descriptions as they think fit.

THE “CANTEEN"

The flower of fame springs from strange ground. The man fingering the, piano-keys and pencilling quickly on a score the tune of " Tipperary," can hardly have realised how far its notes would roll. Neither can the composer of " Bless 'Em All" have been endowed with prophetic qualities to that extent.

Men, collectively, like to sing. And when they serve overseas, the habit becomes quite chronic.

Perhaps, one day, a writer with thoughts of notoriety will deliver a prose epic on "Airmen in the Canteen." The student of human nature would find abundant material within its portals. It is the "pub" of the station.

Overseas, the canteen comes higher on the airman's " priority' list than in Britain. For there is no question of slipping home for the evening; girl friends seem to be the prerogative of the fortunate few; darkness falls early throughout the year in Rhodesia; one rarely " takes a walk." So, if he is not writing a letter in the barrack hut, or in the cinema, the airman goes across to the canteen.

Men will smile, in future years, looking back, to think of the piano thumping out the tune, blue cigarette smoke lifting slowly, the buzz of conversation, and, near " closing time," the numbers thinning out, groups gathering, voices lifting ....
" . . . . Good old Mojfat-by-the-sea . ..."

" Boat-night," when the lucky ones toasted their friends for the last time; the thoughts of kit packed and ready in the billet; home-sweet-home and taking up the threads again with some dark-eyed Wren .... So they lifted their mugs and glasses, clinked them, and were happy and a little lachrymose in turn. And there was always the man who, at such times, confided with serious if slightly hazy eyes his innermost secrets to you.

"... . We call on old William to give us a song ...."

The night after a soccer cup victory. One would have thought that England had played Scotland on the Gwelo ground. At the match, they had roared: " Two, jour, six, eight— . Who do we appreciate? M-O-F-F-A-T— MOFFAT ! ! ! "

And now they tried it again, because it sounded louder in the canteen. They lifted glasses again, relived the game, indignantly expressing their views on the goal which certainly was not offside, enlarged upon the origin* of the referee, and sang:

". . . . They say there's a troopship just leaving Bombay, Bound for old Blighty's shore . ... "

The irrelevance of Bombay did not matter. The Air Force was singing it all over the globe: there did not seem any reason why Moffat should not sing it too.

Of course, some of the songs heard in the canteen were Moffat "specials" — "Oh, Moffat isn't Moffat any More," and "Good Old Moffat-by-the-Sea" in particular. There were others, familiar to R.A.F. men all over the world, the words of which have plenty of point but very little decorum.

At the far end of the canteen a small group played darts; others read "Orders" pinned up in the cabinet. They drank the sweetened tea which the Americans say is a bad British habit; bought razor blades and cigarettes across the little grocery bar; ate steak and chips, and talked about their coming leave. Cadets, with their white armbands, gathered in groups, chatted of the morning's flying and lectures. Men discussed the news from home: perhaps an "overseas" mail had arrived that morning. The usual joke was a request to some lovelorn airman to read the " sports page," i.e., the more combustible paragraphs of the letter from his distant charmer. They talked of the news, of the war fronts, of sport at home and on the station — and, inevitably, of the "Boat "; that day when they would be " sailing home" once more.

Tennis Team
MOFFAT TENNIS TEAM, 1944.

Rear: L/A/C Newton, L/A/C Spencer, CpL Wash.
Front: Sgt. Tomkins, Sgt. Smith, W/O. Best.


Mention must be made of those ladies who worked in the Moffat canteen over various periods. Mrs. Fraser was manageress from a fortnight after the station's opening until the end of its activities. Her able helpers were Mrs. Susman, Mrs. Armand (both from the early days), and Mrs. Hiscock.

"TOC H"


A branch of this world-wide organisation was established at Moffat, and many meetings were held. Various speakers came to the camp to address the weekly gatherings — topics were extremely varied. Discussions and "quizzes" were also notable features. The branch owed much to the Padre, the Rev. E. P. Grimwade.

SPORT

No time was lost in the commencement of sporting activities at Moffat. The day after arrival, about fifty men marched down to Gwelo to play soccer on the town pitch. The Gwelo Amateur Sports Club kindly permitted personnel to use their pitches before Moffat grounds were prepared.

It came as a shock to sportsmen to find that they were due to compete in Cup matches almost upon arrival. Strenuous training on hard, dusty pitches was more of an ordeal than a pleasure after six weeks on board a troopship. But teams were turned out.

In its initial stages, Moffat sport owed much to the late. Sgt. Jimmy Morton, ' the Station's first physical training instructor. He worked untiringly until forced to enter Gwelo Hospital in June, 1942. His many friends were grieved to hear of his death, on 29th November, of the same year. He had almost complete control of sport until F/Lt. E. Holmes came as Sports Officer in May, 1942.

CRICKET

The first Officer I/c Cricket, and Captain of the First XI at Moffat, was F/Lt. Irvine. The station was fortunate to have him: a well-known Rhodesian all-rounder, he built up the strongest eleven ever to represent Moffat.

In Cadet Tommy Fox and Cpl. George Bottomley, he had two fine opening bowlers. Tommy, an Australian, and a very fast left-arm bowler, struck terror into the hearts of many batsmen. George, who played in the Bradford League in pre-war days, could bowl all day, beginning with fast out swingers, changing to medium-paced off-spinners. His batting was also of a high standard, and it was fitting that this great-hearted, ginger-haired player should have done so much to contribute to Moffat's R.A.T.G. Cup Final victory in 1942. Headquarters, were defeated at Salisbury by an innings and 30 runs. Bottomley, undismayed by the reputation of many Headquarters' players, took 15 wickets for only 48 runs in the game, and knocked up 70 with the bat. He was well supported by F/Lt. Irvine, who made 48, and (P/O) Marsden-Levy, who began Moffat's innings with a sound 33.

The following season (1942/3) opened with prospects none too bright. F/Lt. Irvine, P/O Marsden-Levv, Fox, and two other first team men had gone to pastures new. No new talent had reached the camp. But George Bottomley was still with us. He was well supported (as the spearhead of the attack) by (F/O) Jim Smalley, whilst L/A/Cs Tommy Sisson and Frank Goldsmith took frequent wickets. (F/O) " Lofty" Pearce and L/A/C Jimmy Mason were a good opening pair. L/A/C Dicky Ball made a welcome return to form with the bat. Dicky would play stylishly one moment, and attempt to emulate Jessop the next. Had he curbed himself a little, he must have scored many more runs. F/O Hodges was also a reliable bat.

This team retained the R.A.T.G. Cup for Moffat. Guinea Fowl were defeated in the first round. Bottomley took 6 for 40 in Guinea Fowl's first innings and Smalley 6 for 36 in their second.

The second round brought easy victory over Thornhill, in a one-innings game. Moffat 250 (Bottomley 99 — his grand innings being ended by a catch in the slips, from a slashed off-ball). Thornhill 125 (F/Lt. Horton, 5 wickets for 20).

The Cup Final was played on the Raylton Ground in Bulawayo, versus Heany. It was a very low-scoring game. Heany were dismissed for only 43, Bottomley again shining, with 7 for 10. Moffat did not fare very much better: their last wicket fell at 92. Only Bottomley (2.3) and Smalley (23 not out) readied double figures. But Heany's second-innings score of 50 left Moffat needing only two runs to win the cup for the second year in succession.

The 1943/44 season opened under the captaincy of Bottomley. Three new¬comers were F/Lt. Nick Garter, W/O Stroud, and Cadet "Duggie" Pratten, a tall, stylish left-hander. Only one match, against Gwelo Town Club, was lost in the first three months of the season. Frank Goldsmith, in particular, was well on top of his batting form. But by Christmas, Bottomley and Sisson had "caught the boat." The day after their departure, Moffat lost by one run to Thornhill in the second round of the Cup — rain limiting the match to one innings. This defeat seemed to bring about a loss of heart and form: several defeats were sustained, in spite of F/Lt. " Ginger" Bold's stubborn if monotonous defence as opening bat. Ginger's reply to the question, "How many runs did you score?" was invariably "Two and a half hours."

When the 1944/5 season arrived, only Goldsmith and Smalley of the old side remained. But several newcomers revealed great promise. W/O "Wally" Best played some of the most stylish innings ever seen at Moffat. S/Ldr. Pitt made several big scores, and Sgt. Jack Love, bowling with remarkable consistency, claimed many wickets. These three, along with Stroud and Goldsmith, had the honour of playing for the "Midlands" in. the Inter-Provincial matches, whilst Best turned out for R.A.T.G. against Rhodesia in March, 1945.

Cricket Team
MOFFAT CRICKET TEAM. 1945.

REAR :
Cpl. Anderson, Merridew, Amos, Haye, Cpl. Hutchison, Goldsmith, Sgt.. Bailey.
SEATED :
W/O Best, F/O Smalley, W/O Stroud (Captain), G/Capt. C. Findlay, S/Ldr. Pitt, F/Lt. Carter, Sgt. Love.


In the Cup tournament, Moffat were defeated by H.Q. (semi-final). This despite a fine spell of bowling by Love, who took 5 for 70, in 23 overs.

Mention must be made of men who played for the Second XI for two or three seasons, and who were always ready to step into the first team to fill vacancies. Cpl. "Bill" Hart captained the second XI for three years, and his friend, L/A/C Tommy Waite, was a noteworthy all-rounder. Cpl. Daniels and L/A/C "Tubby" Clayton could usually be relied upon to take wickets, whilst Cpl. Clayton, and L/A/Cs Boad, Slidders, Dunscombe and Slack were regular and consistent players. In the fourth season, Sgt. Holmes took over the captaincy of the second team.

RUGBY

In the first season (1942) fixtures were almost purely local. Here the Moffat First XV ruled the roost, with convincing victories over Thornhill, Guinea Fowl, the Army Camp, Gwelo, Selukwe, Que Que, and Shabani.

At this time Moffat had a very fine pack of forwards, who frequently took complete control of the game. L/A/C "Taffy" Griffiths hooked remarkably well; burly "Taffy" Parker was always a tower of strength; Cpl. Dai Morgan, stocky and hard as nails, burrowed his way through like a bulldozer for many a try, and tackled with great ferocity. Cpls. McKevitt and Cockle, and L/A/Cs Harry Magee, "Chick" Munroe, and "Rocky" Kenyon could always be relied upon to play a hard untiring game. For part of that season, too, we had the assistance of Cadet Isaacs, Welsh International arid Leeds Rugby League forward.

The chief weakness lay in the three-quarters and halves, and the fullback problem often caused many headaches. There were good enough men in the "threes," but owing to the difficulty of finding a settled half-back combination, they had little chance to settle down, for often a wing man would play in the centre, and a centre at outside half. Several scrum-halves were tried. One or two would have been certain choices, but, being cadets, were on the camp for only a short time.

F/Lt. "Ginger" Wilson, captain of the First XV, on the left wing, was a very strong runner. His try against Thornhill on the Gwelo Ground, when he received a pass in his own "25," and beat four men before touching down under the posts, will long be remembered. His centre, L/A/C "Dicky" Ball, was a fine, all-round rugger player — strong running, powerful: accurate and powerful kicking and demon-like tackling made him a big factor in Moffat fifteens for three years. F/O " Charlie" Hodges was a speedy right winger, though lacking thrust, and F/O " Mickey " Bryant played many useful games at outside half and centre.

It was a great disappointment to Moffat when the First XV lost to Thornhill by the odd point in the second round of the Cup, for the result contradicted all previous form.

In the following season, three newcomers in Cadet Pratten (outside half), Waterworth and F/Lt. McCudden (in the second row) proved very welcome. With the latter pair, and Munroe, Parker, Dunscombe, Smalley, McKevitt and Magee, Moffat bad a pack which could hold its own against any eight in the Colony. Dai Morgan was installed at scrum-half. Mickey Bryant was moved to full-back. A safe catcher and strong kicker, playing consistently well, he turned out to be the best full-back ever to wear Moffat boots.

This side romped through all opposition in the Gwelo Area. High hopes were entertained that the 1943 Cup would come to the station. We thrashed Guinea Fowl 36—11 in the first round, Thornhill 11—3 in the second, drew a bye in the semi-final, and met Heany in the final on the Gwelo Ground. The result was sadly disappointing. It was a dour struggle, with forwards dominating the play. Neither team scored a try, and Heany won by virtue of two drop goals to a penalty goal.

The 1944 season opened with a big win over Thornhill. The side was : Bryant; Wilson, Ball, Drake, Hodges; Devenish, Smalley; Dunscombe, Morgan, Lyle, McCudden, Griffiths, McKevitt, Slack, Humble. Moffat supporters maintained that it was the best XV ever to represent the station.

Dai Morgan went back to the scrum as hooker: Smalley took up the scrum- half position; Pratten's place at outside half was taken by a newcomer, F/Lt. Devenish, and F/Lt. Tommy Lyle, the "medicine man," went into the front row, Munroe having caught the boat.

A week after the promising win at Thornhill, 40 points were scored at Que Que, all by the three quarters. But within a few weeks the entire three-quarter line had gone—team selection became a nightmare. The station was still strong in forwards, for W/O Becks, W/O Taylor and Cadet "Jock" Struthers had arrived.

By July, the team contained eleven forwards, three of whom were playing in the three-quarter line. Mickey Bryant moved into the threes to attempt to develop a little cohesion in the handling, and F/O Steve Smallman took his place at full¬back. It was such a team which startled Cranborne on the Police Ground in Salis¬bury, beating them 17—13—their only defeat in the 1944 season. Yet, a fortnight later, the same XV gave a poor exhibition when defeated 5—13 by Thornhill in the Cup second round.

S/Ldr. McCudden captained the R.A.T.G. XV which toured Northern Rhodesia in 1944.

Among those who were always ready to turn out for the 2nd XV, and often filled vacancies in the first team, were F/O Kenyon, F/Sgt. Hardy, F/Sgt. Armitage, Cpls. Beckett and Craig, and L/A/Cs Eccles, Harrison, Roberts, Senior, Scott, Robert¬son, and Pearson.


HOCKEY

Moffat was always able to turn out a side capable of giving the most redoubt¬able opponents a good game. Keen interest was shown in the Inter-Section Knock-out Competition — many a player received his hockey baptism in these matches.

It is interesting to recall the names of the 1942 side, which reached the R.A.T.G. Cup semi-final. L/A/C "Tubby" Gilbert was in goal. Sgt. John Rumsey and Cadet Smith were backs. Cpl. Robinson, F/O Howell, and W/O Whiting in the half-back line; whilst the forwards were Sgt. Chris. Ganley (centre), F/O Pearce and Sgt. Tabor (insides), and L/A/Cs Jones and Tommy Hedley (wingers). These men thrashed Thornhill 7—0 in the first round, and disposed of Guinea Fowl by three goals to nil in the second. Belvedere came to Moffat for the semi-final. We were leading by four goals to nil with 15 minutes to go, when Belvedere, or rather F/Lt. Downey, that versatile all-rounder, showed that they had other ideas about a Moffat "cert." Downey rammed home four goals in a quarter of an hour, making the final result a draw, 4—4. In the replay at Salisbury, Downey again proved a thorn in the Moffat flesh, scoring both Belvedere's goals, to Moffat's one.

The team were disappointing in 1943: they never settled down. Six players had left, and experiments made were not very successful. However, Thornhill were beaten in the Cup First Round once again—this time 5—1. Moffat should have been at home to Fowl in the second round, but elected to play on the latter's faster pitch. Perhaps this was a mistake, for Guinea Fowl won by three goals to one, and a well-earned victory it was. Moffat's cup team was: Gilbert; Cadet Rose, Rumsey; Robinson, Jones, Cadet .Dr Kock; Cadet Davies; Cadet Connett, Ganley, Cadet Dawkins, Sylvester.

The season 1944 opened with the team in good form. S/Ldr. "Doc" Burgess had come in at back, and there was a sound and settled half-back line in F/Sgt. Sorrell, Cadet Hill and Sgt. Tomkins. A great improvement was also seen in the forward line. It was Chris. Ganley's third season as the station's centre-forward, and Chris was always a rare goal-getter. As long ago as 1925 he represented the R.A.F. against the Royal Navy. In Cadets Eccleston and Welch, prolific goal- scorers themselves, he had two fine inside men; whilst W/O Stroud and L/A/C Stevens on the wings gave splendid support. In the first three months of the season, eleven matches were won, only one lost, and goals "for" totalled 60. But two weeks before the first round cup-tie, the "boat" claimed Gilbert, Ganley, Eccleston and Welch. It was hardly surprising that Moffat should go under to Thornhill. L/A/C Counter was a good substitute for Gilbert in goal, but the re-organised forward line had had no time to settle down.

It was not possible to run an Inter-Section hockey league, but many friendlies were played, and the Knock-out Competition aroused considerable interest. Main¬tenance had the honour of winning the cup three seasons in succession.

Many men, such as S/Ldr. Cole, P/O Ellis, P/O Budden, W/O Collins, W/O Bidwell, W/O Rose, Sgt. Carrington, Cpl. Lewis, and L/A/C Slidders kept the flag flying in the second team, and frequently acted as utility men in the first eleven.

SOCCER

Soccer has always held pride of place as the premier cool season sport. Two or three Inter-Section games were played each week throughout the entire season. Maintenance had the honour of winning the League Championship Trophy four seasons in succession. It was a different story in the " Knock-Out" Cup Competition, played for in the second, third and fourth seasons. Administrative wing, Sergeants' Mess, and "A" Flight were winners respectively. It was fitting that "A" Flight should capture it in the third season — they appeared in all three finals.'

Moffat never brought, off any sensational feat in Inter-Station football. Good players we had in plenty, and often the play of the first team forwards was a treat to watch. But goals count, and in many games it was lack of finish which made all the difference.

The first full season, 1942, was perhaps the most disappointing. Three teams were entered in the local Holborn League, and though our First XI finished a close second to Thornhill (a deciding match having to be played for the championship), the side never really settled down. In those days, L/A/C Bob Bushell was always a certainty as goalie; whilst F/O Jackie Allen, L/A/C Gilbert and L/A/C "Tich" Hall competed for the full-back positions. As halves we had Sgt. Ward (centre-half), L/A/Cs Brien and Muir. L/A/C "Chunky" Green was a dangerous centre-forward, quick off the mark, a strong shot, but unlucky with injuries. Cpl. Jackie Hassall and L/A/C Jackie Whitmarsh—the latter captain of the side — were scheming, industrious inside men. Wingmen were not so easy to select. L/A/Cs Tommy Riley and Moore were tried on the right, and Sgt. Jock Sutherland and L/A/C Patterson on the left. Moffat went out of the R.A.T.G. Cup Competition in the first round that year, defeated 2—0 by Thornhill.

In many ways, 1943 was Moffat's most successful season. There were many changes. George Bottomley went to right back from the forwards, partnering Hall. L/A/Cs Borrowman or "Lofty" Pearson could play at centre-half, with Jock Watt and Paddy Finn right and left halves respectively. Archie Muir left the halves to play centre-forward. Whitmarsh, again captain, was still inside-left and Hassall at inside-right. Frank Goldsmith was on the left wing. The outside-right position was not easily settled: Sgt. Robb, Cpl. Hope, and L/A/C Brewer filled it at various times.

Good wins were scored early in the season against Induna, Thornhill and Cranborne. Then followed an unsettled period, but by the time the Cup matches came round, the team was playing pretty football. Thornhill were defeated on their own ground, 2—1. The. second round saw Moffat away to Guinea Fowl. Disappoint¬ment was the lot of the many fans who went by special train to see the game; Guinea Fowl emerged victorious by three goals to two. A month later, Moffat had the consolation of winning the Shiff-Jacobson Cup, defeating Thornhill by 1—0 in the final.

Early in September, 1943, a combined R.A.F. and S.A.A.F. side from the Union toured Rhodesia. In the match at Gwelo (Union winning 5—1), Moffat had five representatives in the Gwelo Area eleven — Whitmarsh, Muir, Hope, Bushell, and Hassall,

The 1944 season opened promisingly: there seemed to be an abundance of talent. Victories by four-goal margins were gained over Thornhill, Guinea Fowl, Induna, and Belvedere. There was keen competition for many positions. Bob Bushell was a certainty in goal. At full-back, Cpl. Guy, Cpl. Smith; Cadet Boitoult, F/Sgt. Craigen and Jackie Allen were available. Sgt. Ward established himself at centre- half until posted home. Among the halves were Sgt. Hughes, Muir, McKay, and Phillips. The forwards never really settled down. Throughout the season a number of cadets were tried, but as they were " birds of passage," the policy was a question¬able one. Thus, three cadets —Robbins, Simms and Grant — figured as centre-forwards. Grant was the most dangerous centre Moffat ever turned out, some of his first-time shots scoring remarkable goals.

On the right wing, W/O Smith and Sgt. Gibbons competed, until Cadet French arrived, and became an automatic choice. Hassall and F/Sgt. Stamper were first choices for the inside forwards, Whitmarsh having left us. Brewster and Bruzas also came into the team frequently. Sgt. Peters was a fine centre-half.

Moffat went out of the Cup in the first round. Playing on the Gwelo Ground, they drew 2—2 with Thornhill, but in the replay, played at Thornhill, the Moffat boys were well below form, and were defeated 3—0.

Moffat was always well represented in the Inter-Area matches of 1944: on one occasion (versus Bulawayo Area), supplying no fewer than 10 of the Gwelo side. The highest honour was achieved by Bob Bushell, who was chosen for the R.A.T.G. team to tour the Union.

In second teams, many men gave valiant service — among them, L/A/C Jock Blythe, a great-hearted, splendid goal-keeper; Sisson, Gilbert and Theobald (backs); Pearson, Waite, Finn (halves); Crowther, Jones, Appleby, Andrews, Harrison, Sgt. Gibbons, Bowman, and Cpl. Jock Watt (forwards).

Mention must be made of F/Lt. Wakefield ("Wakers"), and F/Lt "Jock" Manson, who held successively. the position of Officer I/c Soccer. Both took a keen interest in the game, and were always to be seen at trial and station matches. Then, too, Cpl. Bill Williams and F/Sgt. Jock Craigen both worked hard training and coaching.

Sgt's Soccer Team
SERGEANTS' SOCCER TEAM 1943 INTERSECTION WINNERS.

REAR : Sgts. Staff, Robb, Hexter, Ashby, Ward, Gibbons, W/O Cook.
FRONT : Sgts. Targar, Barnett, Carrington, Allen Hill.


BOXING

There were no representatives from Moffat at the Inter-Station Boxing Championships of 1942. A few men, such as W/O McGregor, L/A/Cs Westlake, Melrose, Ryder and "Timber" Woods were interested, but training facilities were almost negligible at that time. "Timber" Woods was, however, in the R.A.F. team which went to the Union. Unfortunately, in his Johannesburg bout, Timber was disqualified in the third round. Cpl. Harboard (who won the R.A.T.G. flyweight championship whilst at I.T.W.) was selected to box for the R.A.F. versus the Army, after being posted to Moffat. He knocked out his opponent in the first round.

There was far more interest in 1943, thanks to F/O Jarvis (Officer I/c), and F/Sgt. Wright, trainer and boxer himself. Two Station Tournaments were held, in January and March. The outstanding boxer was Cadet Jock Hunter, middleweight — formerly of the Metropolitan Police. Jock was our only entry for the 1943 Championships. He boxed through from the preliminaries to win the middleweight championship, and scored 9 points for Moffat.

A boxing ring had been erected in the gymnasium hangar by the time the 1944 Championships came round. This aroused more interest, and although F/Sgt. Wright had departed, F/Sgt. Jock Craigen was a very keen trainer. For the first time a Moffat team, with the exception of a heavy, was entered. It was composed of: Cpl. Reed (Fly), Cadet Lesson (Bantam), L/A/C "Paddy" Milton (Feather), L/A/C Malcolm (Light), Cadet Barrell (Welter), W/O Jock Humble (Middle) and L/A/C Connolly (Light-heavy). Reed and Malcolm went out in the prelims, to the eventual winners of the flyweight and lightweight championships. Only Humble and Leeson won through to the semi-finals, at which stage Jock Humble lost to L/A/C Fisher (who won the middle-weight championship). Cadet Leeson lost in the bantam final, to L/A/C Lambert, of Belvedere.

Moffat's best performance was seen in the R.A.T.G. Championships of 1945, when they finished third with 18 points, to Heany — winners with 22 points, and Thornhill — second with 21 points. Moffat could not muster a full team — being without a Bantam, Middle, and Heavy-weight. However, the five boxers who represented the Station fought gamely to earn the points. They were: L/A/C Godfrey, Flyweight; L/A/C Milton, Featherweight; L/A/C Sayers, Lightweight; Sgt Saunders, Welterweight; and Cadet Marsh, Light-Heavyweight.

L/A/C Milton disposed of L/A/C Carroll, last year's R.A.T.G. Champion, to win the Featherweight title. Cadet Marsh won the Light Heavyweight honours, and Sgt. Saunders was T.K.Od. in the third round of the final of the Welterweight class, after a gruelling battle against L/A/C Tsirindanis (ex Rhodesian Champion).

Of the above named boxers, L/A/C Milton and Cadet Marsh, were chosen to represent R.A.T.G. in the Inter-Services Tournament held in Salisbury. Cadet Marsh won the Light Heavyweight title in this tournament with a K.O. in the first round.

TENNIS

The Moffat tennis team has never been quite strong enough to go far in the R.A.T.G. Championship. Perhaps our strongest team was that of late 1942—F/O Kendall and P/O Hussar (officer cadets), P/O Gash, L/A/Cs Brook, Clarke, O'Brien, Stevens, and Spencer. Unfortunately, the team was depleted by the time the Cup games came round, and though there were many willing players, such as Sgt. Tabor, Sgt. Hassall, L/A/Cs Jimmy Newton, Ernie Theobald, Edwards, Brook, and Cpl. Maurice Doe, the side could not make the grade.

Several men played regularly and worked hard to run Inter-Section Leagues and competitions for two or three years, F/Sgt, Smith, Sgt. Tomkins, Brook, Sharpe, and Newton, all played a big part in running Moffat tennis. Many enjoyable trips were made, to Salisbury, Bulawayo, Selukwe, Gatooma, and Que Que — to play service and civilian teams; and for two years we competed in the local league.

SWIMMING

A few keen men — Sgt. Ford, L/A/Cs Johnnie Marter (also a fine diver), " Straw " Webster, Barnard, and Kestin — organised a water polo team during the first two years, and visits were made to Guinea Fowl, Selukwe, and Shabani.

When the swimming pool was opened (September, 1943) serious attempts were made to form a strong water-polo side. Kestin has gone, but we now had F/Sgt. Welfare (goal), Marter, Webster, Burnell, Barnard, Dixon, and Cadets Jenkins and Dixon. By Christmas they had become a well-knit team: it was with confidence that we prepared for the Gwelo Inter-Station Competition, for the Botes Trophy.

Cadet McCormick was a fine back-stroke swimmer; in Cadet Mann we had a splendid diver and the fastest breast-stroke seen at Moffat; whilst a formidable relay-team was constituted by F/O Odendaal, Cadets Hyde, Jenkins, and Armstrong. But two weeks before the competition we lost a host of valuable men through postings. Nevertheless, we finished a close second (19 points to 21) to Guinea Fowl in the Botes Trophy Competition.

When the 1944/45 season opened, we had as Officer I/c Swimming, S/Ldr. T. Roe, a fine water-polo player and swimmer, who had represented the R.A.F. in England. Unfortunately, this Was a very unsettled period at Moffat, as the station was gradually closing down, and though S/Ldr. Roe worked hard—he held five training classes every week — it was uphill work; teams were constantly broken up.

L/A/C Tilbury was our only representative at the 1945 Inter-Station Swimming Championship. He established an R.A.T.G. record with a plunge of 65½ feet.

GOLF

In 1942, Sgt. Jerry Williams appeared in the R.A.T.G. Tournament, winning the prizes for the best 18 holes and best 36 holes.

The Moffat team won the Gwelo Golf Club League Championship in 1943- Fourth place was gained, a few weeks later, in the Senior Competition at the R.A.T.G. Tournament. The team included S/Ldr. Humphries, S/Ldr. Mills, F/O Haycraft, F/Sgt. Burns, Sgt. Williams, Sgt. Tabor, L/A/Cs Bushell, Gordon, McLean, Shields, and Cpl. Stubbs. Sgt. Tabor won the morning and day medal competitions, and S/Ldr. Humphries the afternoon medal competition.

Moffat won the Junior Team Championship, and came third in the senior event, at the 1944 Tournament. Representing Moffat were S/Ldr. Mills, F/Sgt. Burns, Jerry Williams, Sgt. Ireland, Cpl. Gibson, L/A/Cs Girvan, Douglas and Murray. L/A/C Douglas won the 18-hole morning and 36-hole medals.

ATHLETICS

A sound, balanced team, perhaps not quite up to R.A.T.G. Championship standard, has usually been turned out. Outstanding were F/Lt. "Ginger" Wilson and W/O Moseley, both fine sprinters, hurdlers and high-jumpers. F/O Hodges could run a beautiful quarter-mile.

The Moffat tug-o'-war team reached the final at the Inter-Station Athletics Meetings in 1942 and 1943.

BASEBALL

It has always been difficult to run a Moffat baseball side, because of the lack of opposition in the Gwelo Area: Moffat and Thornhill met frequently. After the first disastrous result (Thornhill won 100-1), the Moffat players began to take a more serious interest, and the majority of these local "Derbies" found Moffat comfortable winners. Enthusiasts included F/O Warne, F/Sgts. Caunce, Armitage and Smith, Cpl. Taffy Thomas, and L/A/Cs Finn, Cleasby, Ackerman, Kent, Greenwood, Ashforth, Charlton, Patterson and Hall. Occasional matches were played with Cranborne and Heany — the best performance by the Moffat team being at home, against Heany, when the latter won 10-7

THANKS

Moffat sportsmen are grateful to all the good people of Rhodesia — too numerous to mention by name — who have helped Moffat sport — to the donors of the many trophies — to those who have given or loaned equipment in emergency -— to those who have entertained (and right royally) our players — and to those who have met us on the field of play. A big "thank you," too, is due to the Gwelo Amateur Sports Club, for the permission to use their pitches for Inter-Station matches.

Final Passing Out Parade


THE FINAL PARADE

On Saturday, 14th April, 1945, the final parade at Moffat was held.

The Presentation Flight — composed of the last two courses (Air Gunners and Navigators) — was drawn up on the parade ground before the saluting base. Behind them Station personnel paraded in three squadrons, together with the Askari Corps.

The Air Officer Commanding R.A.T.G., Air Vice Marshal C. W. Meredith, C.B.,C.B.E., A.F.C., attended the ceremony.

After a full inspection of the graduating cadets, the Station Commander out¬lined the results of their courses. He was followed by the A.O.C.; who summarised Moffat's work and achievements over the past three and three-quarter years.

The initial policy of having one course at the Station had, he said, given way to the "staggering" of courses. A 40% increase of output had resulted. Of the Gunners' courses at Moffat, Air Vice Marshal Meredith said that they had achieved the best results of any school in the Empire Air Training Scheme. This standard- plus that of the navigators — had been recognised both in the Middle East and in the United Kingdom. So far as they could be traced at that time, one D.F.C. and bar, ten D.F.C’s and four D.F.M’s had been awarded to Moffat-trained men.

The A.O.C. paid tribute to Group Captain Findlay, and to the instructors and ground-staff of the Station. Their work had, he said, been carried out most conscientiously and efficiently, and they were entitled to feel proud of the results achieved.

Over 300 civilians were present at the large parade. The Chaplin School band played music and marches, and the Minister of Air, Sir Ernest Lucas Guest, K.B.E., MP., took the salute at the March Past.

Present at the parade was Wing Commander L. J. Dixon, A.F.C., former Officer in charge of Flying at Moffat—who flew the first aircraft to the camp in 1941.

The aircrew brevets were presented to the cadets, and after the ceremony, guests were entertained on the lawns of the swimming pool.

We have reached the last page of this little story. We do not suggest that any guide to momentous events has been revealed dramatically here. But one day, perhaps, men who were at Moffat will look back, musing on the hours spent with '' Jack" or with ‘Tommy": will remember the trifling incidents of a seemingly strange yesterday. Memory mellows: it sets into perspective: polishes and adds new, unrealised touches. So that, whilst set against the cataclysm of global warfare, these Moffat days may be insignificant, to the men who lived them they will become part of a past .... They "did their bit."
It has not been possible to tell the story in complete and absolute detail. Descriptions and explanations of training have, of necessity, been curtailed. To the casual reader, in fact, it may seem that the lighter side of life was of more concern. But these pages do not recall the ordinary, patient work, the unspectacular labours', nor do they speak of the human feelings of monotony and homesickness. There have been long days of setback in this war, and perhaps it is only to-day, with victory in Europe, that we cast a glance back over our shoulders, and see how the tree was planted ....and how it grew, slowly and surely.

Roll of honour

We honour the memory of the following, who died on active service, - while serving at Moffat

A.C. I. D. HARLING.
SGT. K. C. GOLDING.
A/S/U C. A. MCNABB.
A/S/U R. MARTIN.
SGT. J. MCMORTON.
SGT. W. A. BAILLIE.
A/S/U G. D., BUCHAN.
A/S/U D. COFORD.
L/A/C A. L. BLISS.
L/A/C E. A. CLEWS.
F/SGT. C. LAYCOCK.
F/LT. A. E. CHALLENGER.
SGT. P. MATETICH.
CADET E. T. ODAMS.
CADET A. 6. DONAGHY.
L/A/C N. WHEATLEY.
SGT. J. D. SCOTT.
* L/A/C M. A. ROBINSON.
L/A/C N. BROCKLEHURST.
L/A/C L. BEDDOWS.
CADET E. B. RICHARDS

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them "...

VALE

The training done by this Station is part of the tissue of victory. Genius begins great works, “like the Empire Air Training Scheme, but labour alone finishes them.
Victory is now assured because the Battle of Training, unglamorous and laborious, is won. And thus we take leave of all who have gone forth from Moffat and say "Good hunting and good luck."

"C.F.
--------------------------------------------------

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

ORAFs records it thanks to”
The Rhodesia Air Training Group for use of the booklet
The various authors that wrote the article and records.

Special thanks to Barbara and Baldi Baldwin for making this booklet available to ORAFs and appreciates the great lengths that the Baldwin’s did to get this document to ORAFs.
Thank you both.

Of special interest is that Barbara’s Dad is the photo entitled
” SEVEN MOFFAT-TRAINED OFFICERS, WHO RETURNED TO THE STATION AS INSTRUCTORS.: Refer F/O Smith

Re-compiled by Eddy Norris begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting for use on ORAFs.

This recompilation was completed for no finanacial gain but rather to retain and expand on the memories of what happened in Rhodesia during the WW II period.

If copied then please credit ORAFs and those mentioned by ORAFs.

I hope you enjoyed the story
Eddy Norris
Napier (South Africa)
April 2010

Pleased to advise that ORAFs has managed to secure photos of the Headstone for some of the members detailed on the Roll of Honour.
All photos made available to ORAFs by Nick Meikle. Thanks Nick
All Headstones were located in the Gwelo Cemetery in Rhodesia


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8 Comments:

At 12 June 2010 at 09:07 , Blogger Ron said...

Great read. Thanks for posting it. Ron Janson

 
At 12 June 2010 at 21:03 , Blogger Maureen said...

I have a lovely photo album that my father Bert Allcock made from his days in Gwelo. The "T"Foo Productions Unlimited Inc.All the names mentioned further up in the "productions" are photographed in all their finery. Was just sorry not to see Dad's name amongst them as he was in various guises too. Maureen Allen

 
At 18 July 2010 at 13:21 , Blogger bevvy said...

Great to see this coming up,as i am in the middle of doing my Family Tree Project,,,My father, Charles Findlay Beveridge,is directly named after Charles Findlay,as he was his Uncle,therefore my Great Uncle.Fantastic to see this come to light......Stuart A Beveridge

 
At 19 July 2010 at 11:07 , Blogger OLSEN said...

I really enjoyed reading your description of life at Moffat. My father Ken Matthews was also based there and kept a photo album of friends and travels during this time. I saw a photo of Rusty & Shirley Theobald on the ORAF blog and would love to know if he is the same " Theo" who is in my Dad's album ?? If he was also at Moffat then he could be..

 
At 30 July 2010 at 17:07 , Blogger Hampshire Hog said...

An Uncle I do not recall as I was just 3 years old when he died at RAF Moffat.

I am so grateful for tis article as it helps me build up a jig saw of information about him but slowly.

He is listed on Page 25 as A/S/U C A Mc Nabb.

I may have known about the details of his death but have sadly long forgotten.

He was not mush talked about as it was so difficult for his parents.

He was No 6 of a family of 6 and was his Fathers pride and joy.

A teacher --for short period- he joined up and was sent to Rhodesia for training and died on 24 /06/ 1942.

I will continue my quest.

Is it possible to visit C W G C Site in GWERU ??

No one form the whole family has been.

Looking at all of the other information I have been able to find there seems to have been a high incidence of death among Trainees.!!

Can anyone point me in the direction of other sources of information/

With best wishes to all who post


Denis Findlay

Yes strange---Findlay is a name that featured strongly at Moffat

 
At 4 August 2010 at 16:54 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Dear Hampshire Hog

May I please ask you to mail me on orafs11@gmail.com

I have a photo of the headstone which was received to assist the CWGC but once I have your details I will mail you a copy

Regards
Eddy Norris

 
At 3 November 2010 at 05:10 , Blogger Cyril said...

Good evening to all, a special greeting to Eddy Norris in acknowledgement and appreciation of the great work and service you have provided, re ex Rhodesian service personal and their families.

On the 7th March 2010 I sent Eddy an e-mail requesting assistance re my uncle Flt Sgt A.B.Woodvine and my bio-logical father F/O C.J.Murphy. attached is a snippet of that e-mail. ( F/O Cyril Joseph Murphy, ex RAF Mr Murphy is my biological father, this is all the information i know of him. He was a instructor at RATG, Moffat Airfield, Gwelo during the war. Married my mother on 25th September 1943, St Mary's Bulawayo. Went back to England at wars end and returned to take up a position as Superintendent of Goods of Rhodesia Railways in Bulawayo. I have no other info on him, no photos, not anything.!!
Any information on either of these gentlemen would be greatly appreciated. Good health, go well
Cyril Dennison.) quote-unquote.

On the 2nd November 2010 I recieved a E-mail from a relative in the UK, a Lady was'nt even aware of, she adivised me she had photos of my father, and also enclosed the photo contained in this publication "seven Moffat trained officers who returned to train others". I cannot believe my luck this has given me a whole new avenue to explore and seek information, Thanks Eddy and to all contributors,
Regards, Cyril Dennison.

 
At 13 April 2015 at 16:27 , Blogger Matt Bushell said...

Thanks for sharing the above a great read. "L/A/C Bob Bushell" mentioned above was my Father and he always batted questions about the war away with "Oh I just played a lot of Football". Turns out he played golf too! You live and learn.

 

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