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ORAL HISTORY - RAY DAVIES - SUNDAY 11 JANUARY 1998.
Ray Davies was born in 1930 and joined the Royal Air Force on National Service in 1950. He was posted to Maintenance Command, 40 Group, Bicester and assigned to No.2 Motor Transport Company. His rank was LAC.
As a pool driver at Bicester he delivered to and collected from various RAF Stations and MUs as directed. Sometimes he would be away from Bicester for periods as long as 8 months without returning to base whilst on continuous loans to individual bases.
He was at Woodcote for about 3 months at the end of 1950 and the beginning of 1951. He remembers seeing New Year Eve 1951 in on Reading Station platform, in the snow, whilst waiting for a train to take him home.
His overnight lodging allowance, when on the road, was 13s 4d per night and a 4s daily subsistence allowance for meals. However bearing in mind he only collected from/delivered to Woodcote then he had no occasion to sleep there of a night. If the need arose, and bearing in mind that there were no living quarters there then, he would go to RAF Shinfield Park to spend the night.
Whilst at Woodcote he drove a Bedford QL lorry from the Maintenance Group 40 pool, which was painted RAF blue, had a RAF roundel painted on it, and bore the number M40. He did menial tasks such as collecting from Pangbourne station. Whilst at Pangbourne station waiting for the train/unloading he watched the first diesel locomotives on test runs to and from Paddington. He recalls that the AOC of Woodcote always helped with the menial tasks.
He recalls that only the Corporals were allowed to drive the 'Queen Marys', and as he can only recall one Corporal at Woodcote so assumes that there must have been one 'Queen Mary' trailer stationed there then.
Ray recalls that he mainly delivered/collected furniture and remembers delivering to Woodcote a consignment of married quarters furniture taken from a USAAF base. The furniture was beyond repair and was to be dumped at No.1 Site. He waited until the civilians were all seated and having their 'elevenses' and told them that he had a load of furniture to dump. They just said 'Okay' and told him to get on with it. He then took the lorry around to the dumping site and unloaded it, but kept back some furniture, including a sofa, for himself, as no one ever checked the loads.
He also remembers losing a bed head, wrapped in a cocoa nut fibre gym mat to prevent scratching, on one consignment and recalls that Woodcote always had stacks of timber laying around for furniture making.