A Passion for Flying: 8,000 hours of RAF Flying by Tom Eeles

By Tom Eeles

The tale of team Captain Tom Eeles who served within the RAF for forty four years and totalled over 8000 hours of flying in twenty-eight diverse plane varieties. Tom entered RAF collage Cranwell in 1961, he received his RAF wings in 1963.

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Goethe always carried violet seeds on his country walks and scattered them. The violet held a secret. Along the hedgerow that ran down to the cliffs at Hordle deep purple violets grew — perhaps no more than a dozen plants. I stumbled across them late one sunny March afternoon as I came up the cliff path from the sea. They were hidden in a small recess. I stood for some moments dazzled by them. Day after day I returned from the dull regimental existence of an English 37 MODERN NATURE boarding school to my secret garden - the first of many that blossomed in my dreams.

It wakes me through the bedroom window and then stays with me all day. There are no trees or hills to hide it. When it sets over the flatlands in the west I sit and watch it on a throne-like chair that I rescued from a rubbish dump. I never miss the setting sun, however cold the weather. Tonight it hangs huge and scarlet after a day of dark clouds. It appears for a few brief minutes, a perfect circle before disappearing - then the darkness comes rushing across the sky to embrace the inky timbers of Prospect Cottage; but before the light is extinguished the house reflects gold, or, as this evening, blazes ruby, its panes of glass a dazzling scarlet.

On it is a reading lamp of tarnished copper, two pewter mugs full of stamps, loose change, paperclips, several bottles of ink, and pens, envelopes, scraps of paper on which to make notes for this diary, an iron spittoon used as an ashtray; in the centre a lead tobacco box in the shape of a little Victorian cottage, in which I keep my chequebook and money. To the left and right against the wall are two Red Cross medicine chests 32 MARCH from an army surplus store; here I keep my clothes. A large oak chest dominates the room: it has 15th century panels carved with decorative ogee arches, perhaps once part of a rood screen.

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