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125 Halton Apprentice Entry Web Site

Miscellaneous

This is where you will find general 125 Entry, apprentice or other RAF related items 

Pensions
 
If you completed 12 or more years service and have been in civvy street a while you may well be out of touch with what your preserved pension is worth or have even forgotten about it.  Now that pensions are a major topic it's worth checking up on it.  Having served on the pension council of my present company and carried my own checks I can throw some light on the subject.  First of all while there is a RAF pension website but it won't give you any info on your pension because it appears the system of pay and pensions has radically altered since the seventies and eighties and the site only deals with the current ystem. 
 
When you left the RAF you will have been given a pension figure and over the years this has been increased by the retail price index (RPI).  In fact if you did 12 years coming out in say 1987 you will find your pension has nearly doubled. 
 
If like me the information you were given on your pension on leaving the RAF was virtually non existant, here are are some tips:
  • Write to RAF Innsworth (pensions) or e-mail at memsec@forpen.co.uk and request an update remembering to inform them of your current address and service number.
  • Each year the figure is increased by the RPI for SEPTEMBER
  • You have to APPLY for your pension around six months before your 60th birthday, note they won't contact you, (most other pension schemes will contact you prior to retirement) the MOD obviously likes to be different and may of course be hoping you forget!
  • You will receive a one off lump sum 3 x the annual pension plus the pension.    

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The Last Laugh

 

In 1984 with three years still to go (and having been told that signing on was extremely unlikely) I decided to embark on buying my first house.  And oh boy did that cause problems. First having found a place some 45 miles from the camp everyone in authority kicked up a bit of a stink.  (Houses nearer the camp were simply beyond me financially).  Then the next bit of aggravation came, I  had to seek permission to go in search of a phone box to make calls to chase Solicitors and Estate Agents and was usually late back from lunch in the process, all this marked me down badly that year on assessments, by a boss who had his own place too.  Later I got a transfer nearer home but then had a run in over missing the start of a couple of tacivals.    The worst thing about all this, was the services at the time were supposedly encouraging house buying too, ok until one actually did it, I think the whole thing probably killed of any final chances of me signing on.  21+ years on though I look back and know I made the right decision.

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A Winter's Tale

 

The vast quantities of snow we had in February 2009 reminded me of the last time I saw that amount.  It was 1982, while I was stationed at Brawdy.  I forget the actual day but it was in the February of that year.  I was working on the late shift and it was known the snow was coming.  When it did arrive our illustrious bosses dithered before finally agreeing to send everyone home.  I stayed behind with a mate, Ian Hendry, who had volunteered to lock up before we both started the 14 mile drive back to quarters in Haverfordwest.  I was in front and started to descend Newgale hill, as I applied the brakes my car spun 180 degrees and slowly slipped downwards.  (Further down was a very sharp left hand bend and a drop of about 350 feet into the sea!  Admittedly there was a steel barrier there but can’t say I was too keen on finding out how good it was.  I managed to jam the car into the grassy bank on the opposite side and stopped about a cars length away from a very hysterical Irish woman had ground to a halt coming up the other way.  On seeing what had happened Ian stopped and by this time others from the camp had also reached the top of the hill and also stopped. They managed to get my car moving again and fortunately I got it back up, the hill.  The Irish woman’s car however could not be got to the top so it was left just off the road further down the hill.  Well we all got back to the camp and all group elected to stay there, silly people as it turned out.  Ian and I however decided to walk back, quite why I am not sure but walk we did.  On the way we got a partial lift with a farmer in a 4x4 for about half the distance and then we continued on foot to a pub.  By this time it was about mid night and we could see chinks of light showing so we knocked on the door.  When the landlord gingerly opened the door we found quite few people in there still drinking!  Maybe he thought the police were out to do him.  Wales was a bit funny about drinking laws in those days.  We had a couple of pints each then continued on arriving home in the small wee hours.  The weather conditions that night were appalling and it was not a night I will ever forget.  As it turned out nothing moved for ten days and those guys that stayed behind finally got airlifted back to quarters about seven days later.  I returned to camp on day ten to retrive my car, a Vauhall Victor FE, amazingly it started first time but I wasn't allowed to take it of the camp, the Station Commander had put a ban out for safey reasons!  So I had to hitch a lift back to quarters and recovered the car a couple of days later.   

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Pegasus Bridge

 

My curent job occasionally takes me abroad, usually to carry out supplier and installation site audits, (installation being fibre optic cables on to power lines).    In Jul 2009 I carried out one of these site audits very close to Pegasus Bridge, (which of course was the first bit of France to be liberated during WWII) and I had time to stop off to visit on my way back to the ferry.  The photos I took can be found:  http://picasaweb.google.com/britbrat56/PegasusBridgeCaenFrance#

They may be of interest to some readers of this site.  The troops were landed by Horsa gliders and it was quite amazing just how close to the bridge they landed.

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Bournemouth Airshow 2009

 

Here is a link to some pics I took at this year's airshow, they include the Vulcan, the Lanc and of course the Red Arrows.

http://picasaweb.google.com/britbrat56/BournemouthAirshow2009#

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Return to Edinburgh

 

In October 2009 I had the opportunity via work to take a trip back to Edinburgh, my first, (and to Scotland), since the route lining the 125th did the route lining for the Queen's 1975 visit with the Swedish King, a gap of 34 years!  While I was there I have a little bit of time for a wonder around and took some photos.  They can be seen here:  http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/britbrat56/ReturnToEdinburgh#

 

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