me 9 months old

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I was born 25 January 1962 at Lawn Farm (now demolished) in Ruyton XI Towns. On the 26th I was rushed into hospital with breathing difficulties and christened William. On surviving, my name was registered as Robert James William and I was baptised again on the 1st of April 1962. I was supposed to be Robert James so I had the same initials as my father but as William had already been used this had to be kept.
We moved to Walton on the 16 March of 1963 when dad got a job as an agricultural labourer at Ercall Park, High Ercall working for Norman Crow.

From an early age I, like many of my age in or around High Ercall at that time attended Sunday school. Later when I was about 10 I joined the choir at St Michaels and all Angels Church in High Ercall along with my three younger sisters. I continued singing there until I was about 15. The vicar at the time, Stephen Bailey, ran a group called Pathfinders, which we also joined, this was very much like a youth club and every year during the summer break from school we used to spend time away staying in a different part of the country, usually at a closed boarding school.
I also joined the Air Training Corps (1119 Squadron, Shrewsbury) until I was 16; it was probably this more than anything else that guided me to eventually choosing a career in the Royal Air Force.

Having no vehicle in the family meant that days out were either Sunday school trips or ones organised by the Royal British Legion. Our childhood family summer holidays were usually spent in a caravan at Borth for a week, although dad never went with us, to afford this mum used to work on the farm potato picking along with many other mums from the area.

My first school was High Ercall Primary School, looking back at it; this was probably the most enjoyable part of my pre adult educational life. This was followed by Orleton Park Secondary school for one year, then Charlton Secondary Modern school, when the education system changed to comprehensive, both Schools are in Wellington. I certainly don’t look back at my time at Charlton with fondness or affection or has being “the best years of my life”, the only thing that comes to mind about senior school was that, compared to normal working life, it had an extremely short working week with an excessive amount of frequent holidays.

My teen working life was on the farm that dad worked on, either stacking bales or potato picking, by this time the back breaking work of picking off the field had been replaced with a ride on machine. Throughout the early years of my life we grew all our own vegetables either in the garden or various patches of land locally. Over the autumn to early spring season’s dad and other workers used to take tractors and trailers and as many willing children as possible to the farms woods and collect fallen trees for firewood, which was generally all brought back to our house and logged on the big saw bench.

I joined the RAF on the 26 March 1979. Starting at Swinderby (Lincoln) for basic training, moving to Locking (Weston-Super-Mare) for basic electronics training, then on to my first proper posting at St Athan (South Wales), working in Ground Radio, from there I returned to Locking for further electronics training.
Next came Henlow (Bedfordshire) where I worked calibrating test equipment, before moving to Cosford and again working in Ground Radio. From there I went to Valley (Anglesey), working in Ground Radio and when that went civilianised I moved to North Luffenham (Rutland) until that closed and moved to Sealand (Chester) both of which were spent repairing certain navigational equipments. Leaving there my last posting was to Brize Norton (Oxfordshire) returning to Ground Radio and officially leaving on 24 January 2002.
Interspersed with this was a total of 16 months on West Falkland and visits to other RAF stations either completing additional training, doing installation work or repairing and / or calibrating navigational equipment.
Work in Ground Radio entails maintaining and repairing Navigational aids, RADAR, Air Traffic Control display equipment and ground to air communications, amongst other things.
I now do a similar job working for a company, FB Heliservices, at RAF Shawbury.

In 1989 I bought the house that my parents were living in and when I left the Air Force in 2002 I moved back in. In September of that year my parents moved into a bungalow due to my father's failing health.

As well as researching and working on this website in my spare time I also inherited several old machines, one being a 5 HP Lister CS which was originally used by my granddad at Box Tree cottage, Ruyton XI Towns to generate electricity. When the house was connected to the mains electricity supply it was then used with a saw bench. These were moved to our house in the early 1970s and in regular use up until we had Calor gas central heating installed in 1992. Having no use for the saw bench it was later disposed of, something I’m now regretting. I run the engine occasionally during the summer months and hope to mount it on a trolley in the future when I find one. Something else that came down the same line was a late 1930s Trusty Tractor, this we used for the gardening having plough, ridger and tine attachments, my dad and I took it apart in the middle 1980s meaning to do it up but somehow never got round to it. At the beginning of 2006 I found all the bits that I could and started work on it. The engine (a steel JAP model 5) was seized but that I stripped and rebuilt and had the magneto repaired, most of the body parts were surprisingly quite solid although the toolbox above the gearbox was badly corroded, as were the handles. Both of these items were put into the forge at Preston Brockhurst for repair, in March of 2008 I managed to purchase 2 other tractors as spares so I hope to get that project finished this year before building work to my house commences, one of the tractors I got as spares I think is worthy of being repaired, so another project ready for me to start.

Updated: 01/05/2008

My Family Tree

In line with the rest of this site, this is an 'in progress' job. This is what got me started. In January of 2000 I decided to look in to where my Ridgway line came from, I'm yet to get very far with that as I sort of meandered a little and went in search of my mothers blood line as she was fostered at 18 months old. This I managed with considerable help from various people whom I 'met' on the internet.

This link leads to some of the research I have done on my ancestry there is more but this only shows the direct ancestry.

   01 Jan 09

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