The following photos and story were sent in by:-
3146404 A.C.2. Keith Lee RAF West Kirby about May 1955.
Above photo was taken at Insworth.
Keith is 2nd from right, sitting down.
Cookhouse R.A.F. Sundern, Germany.
Gate R.A.F. Sundern.
Hotel for Officers, NCO's etc.
After leaving West Kirby I went to Raf Innsworth Gloucestershire for training as a Cook.
After passing trade tests I was posted to Germany, taken to Goch North Rhine-West phalia to await my posting then to RAF Sundern Nr Gutersloh West phalia.
Head quarters No 2 Group 2nd Tactical Air Force.
It was a base of 1,500 personal, that was a lot of breakfasts lunches, and dinners per day plus evening shift. Breakfast meant over 3,000 pieces of toast, 3,000 pieces of bacon 1,500 eggs, 1,500 sausages, tomatoes etc, It was a shock to the system at first after cooking for about twenty people at training camp. Dinner 3xoil drum of potatoes 1x45 of onions, lots of tears done at 5.00am
The other shock came when taken to your billets four or six to a room parquet flooring , rifle rack [never used ] brick built buildings, central heating, showers and toilets next to your room.
After a while I was asked if I would work with a German pastry Chef and camp bread maker, so I was happy to do that, I spent a day with him learning what he did the next day he died and I was given his job, I must add that it was nothing to do with me or my cooking. Things went well and I started to get some help from new intakes because it was a big task. Things would happen like at two am I was woken up and told the German bakers who supplied the rest of our bread for our camp had gone on strike and they wanted 1,500 hundred bread rolls for breakfast.
One day I was sent for by the W.O. and he said I have had my eye on you since you came to the camp, and I want you to volunteer for a job that I have in mind. I said what is it? He said volunteer, my reply Sir my father and brother were in the REME and they said never volunteer for anything in the forces. He looked at me and said quite right son! now will you volunteer, so I said o.k. He said thank you? pack your kit be at the guard Room 8 am and you will be moving. Next day at the guard room I was put on a RAF BUS and off I went about half an hour later I was told to get off so I did and I said where do I go from here, as I was in the middle of Gutersloh He pointed to a Hotel and said there and then drove off. I went in and they just said come un- zi! they were German speaking staff and took me to the top of the Hotel and into a room and said hereine!. I unpacked my gear then went down stairs and found someone who could speak English and they informed me that I was now the Chef for the Hotel for Officers, NCO’s wives and families, I spent the rest of my service there until it was given back to the German family who owned it. I had about three months left before demob so back to RAF Sundern I was then used to fill in for people going on leave.
I was posted to RAF Handorf Munster to replace a Cook who was absent so on arriving I found a place to sleep and reported next day for work, I was asked what I could do in cooking I said whatever you want, the flight said can you cook pastry, yes! You have got the job.
At the end of my first day I had the orderly Officer saying he has had a complaint. So I was taken to him, what was the complaint I asked He wanted to know why had they never had pastries like this before? Puzzled I said I don’t understand , and he said did you make these? Yes! He implied they were like shop cakes, I had forgotten that working in a hotel and being pastry Chef for all this time it was normal to present them as I did to Officers and NCOs wives and families. I must admit I felt sorry for the chap who came back later off leave he would have to keep it up. Sorry to him, never did meet him.
The following item and photos, was sent in by Roy Gray.
Hi there Les,
My name is Roy, I am one of those lost cooks you have been looking for, now aged 82, 83 in December.
I was called up 2nd March 1948 Padgate, West Kirby, for square bashing, Cosford for some considerable time, as trainee cook, (in Falton Block), Sergeants mess, Officers mess and airmens mess.
Then for further training at Halton for a further eight weeks, I thought it would never end, making Ac1 and shipped to Raf Sundern, transfered to Regiment 20 LAA and was there for 7 months. From 2 march until my demob in Nov 49, I took a lot of pictures when I was there, I seem to have lost nearly all of them, prior to me emigrating in 1957.
These pictures were taken when we were on our way as cooks in a convoy with the regiment to Sylt,
some time in 49. I am the miserable one in uniform, and standing outside the tent the other cooks were playing silly bugers, the pictures turned out lousy mainly because I have copied them with my webcam, they weren't all that crash hot before. We had a mix of cooks including army cooks, the two on the left are army cooks the one on the right is RAF, his name was goldstraw.
I put a new page for Sylt, but these photos should have been on the Sundern page.
One above, looking through the Main Gate.
Roy today, 17/07/2012.
The following photo and info, sent in by Roy.
This is the picture I have just got from google earth, its a screenshot of the former RAF Sundern. The main gate in the other picture I sent, is at 9 oclock just going of the screen, where the road exits, showing the two guard rooms with the road going between, I hope this is of interest, as a lot of former RAF bods, besides cooks, we cooked for approx 1500 at the time.