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P. 10
How time flies
By Val the Peach
A totally chance meeting with Peter Hatch of the West Kent RC at the KCA
Reliability Trial this year. Peter and Tony had not seen one another for
decades almost since completing their National Service in the RAF back
in 1958-1960 where they followed similar paths regarding cycling activities
of training and racing for the RAF. Although not in the same Command
numerous competitions were organised by the RAF for their own personnel
and also inter-services events. The advantage of riding for whatever branch
of the armed services you were in, you could live like a poorly paid
semi-professional ie eat, race, sleep. The RAF also paid the 'boys' 28/6d
a week (£1.44 in today's currency), mind you individuals had full board and
a itchy uniform just to look the part. The biggest drawback for Tony was
that he had to be on base to collect his weekly pay otherwise it was retained
until you attended a pay parade, where everyone lined up, and came forward
when their number was called, you had to slam to attention salute smartly
and accept your envelope with a loud 'SIR' at the end. Tony travelled all
over the country subsequently was rarely on base so had to rely very heavily
on the bank of Mum and Dad. When he was available for a pay parade
though it was 'Christmas' all the way !

In order to take the semi professional path everyone was committed to
riding for the RAF team, Tony riding for Technical Training Command and
Peter for the Bomber Command. They would meet up week after week at
various events which included either road races, time trials or track
meetings throughout the country. As far as road races were concerned
the events started at an RAF base, taking to roads in the vicinity for the
event and undertaking the sprint finish back on base. If the event was
more than one day duration, accommodation for the whole field would be in
makeshift barracks on site. Not always as comfortable as you would need
and eating in the NAFFI sometimes left much to be desired. One event
they both recalled vividly was the last RAF 5 day road race promoted on
25th-29 May 1959, (Monday to Friday). Tony's overall placing was 8 th
however Peter came in 3 from a start list of 40. Tony had never seen

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