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ORAL HISTORY - RON COLES - SUNDAY 11 JANUARY 1998.

Ron Coles was born 1935 and signed on as a regular in the Royal Air Force in 1954 and served 3 years until 1957. He was posted to Maintenance Command, 40 Group, Litchfield and assigned to No.2 Motor Transport Company. His rank was LAC.

He recalls that 40 Group Headquarters was at Bicester until 1953; at Lichfield 1954 to 1957, and then moved again. No.2 MT Co had a hangar for vehicles, a hangar for repairs, some dispatch riders and a pool of drivers and vehicles. He was one of two drivers loaned from the pool to Woodcote and was at 70MU for 3 or 4 months from mid 1955.

During that time he delivered to and collected from Woodcote and generally never had the need to stay overnight, especially as it was a civilian establishment and that there was no overnight accommodation on the site. If it was necessary to stay the night he had to go to RAF Shinfield Park.

Whilst at Woodcote he drove a Bedford S painted RAF blue with M40 on the door. (M for Maintenance, F = Fighter, B = Bomber etc). Otherwise he drove an Austin Loadstar and a Fordson Pantechnicon at other units. At that time RAF pool drivers towed a 9' wide 60' long 'Queen Mary' with a 4 wheel drive 1941 Crossley, whilst the civilian drivers used a new Bedford. He used his 'Queen Mary' to deliver Land Rovers and Dakota main frames, but not while at Woodcote.

Whilst he does not personally recall the Woodcote Fire Engine, he says that all Air Ministry ones were Austin K2 and red. Likewise the ambulance could have been an ancient Thornycroft. The works buses bringing in the civilian workers would have been Fordson 6 wheelers or Bedfords, all in RAF blue with a yellow disc on the front wing to show the weight limit.

Ron regularly visits the Woodcote Steam Rally and often visits the site of 70MU. He is connected with the making of videos of the Rally and has a keen interest in RAF vehicle transport. He has photos of his RAF days and transport but none of Woodcote.

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