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This Message Has Been Received From Peter Riddiford
Re: Mick Gates photo of Jimmy Eyles, Cheeta Watson and others in front of Comet

This photo must have been taken after April 1950. I left 19th April 1950 just as the regiment was being re-equipped with Comets.The day I was leaving I took a Comet on a shaking down run up the A1. I left late as I had to hand in my kit but Geordie Thompson (Staff Sergeant and a real gent) found me a trainee to stand watch in the turret. I stopped in Catterick village to post a parcel, nearly tripping over an officer as I dismounted. Being late we did not hang about through the village and on reaching the A1 it was necessary to overtake a large lorry. That made the driver a bit white as we passed!

Finally caught up with the others at a hard standing only to be told that Capt Bill Garbutt had me put under open arrest! He gave no explanation so I was wondering who had shopped me.

Knowing I was due out late that afternoon he took me back to camp in "the flying bomb" his personnal tank minus the turret which the fitters - including Paddy Wallace - had built for him from a demonstration hull from the training wing. Only one problem - no AB413 so all the instructers drew extra fuel to keep him mobile!

My crime? I had driven over the grass verge outside the gym so he told me to get a brush and clean it up. A great guy was Capt Bill and I had the privilege of corresponding with his son, then Major Garbutt but now I believe Col, during the first Iraq war. I had spotted him on television and instantly recognised the father in him. I am sure Bill was very proud of his son and the regiment in general.

Sorry to have rambled on but one of the privilages of advancing age!

Peter Riddiford (Riddy)

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