Curriculum Vitae Barry Michael Smith



Curriculum Vitae Barry Michael Smith


Preface covers his training as an apprentice at RAF Halton and subsequent training as an electrical fitter at RAF St Athan. Outlines career with transition to ground engineer and then other postings. Continues with time as an instructor teaching a variety of technical subjects before a tour consisting of the design and manufacture of training aids. Outlines his final tours in Bahrain, RAF Benson and Brampton. Main CV covers early days, education and qualifications and a full description of his RAF career from apprentice at RAF Halton in 1948 until leaving the RAF in 1975. Concludes with his civilian career up to 1985.


Temporal Coverage




Five page printed document


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Preface to Barry's Curriculum Vitae 1 of 5

My initial training, a three year apprenticeship, at Royal Air Force Halton, was essentially directed towards aircraft electrical installations. A fourth 'improver' year at RAF St. Athan involved 3rd & 4th line servicing of electrical equipment & components. After a spell on Link trainer vacuum motors I was moved to AERS, which I think was Aircraft Electrical Repair Squadron. I subsequently worked on aircraft until 1952 although on becoming a Corporal Technician in 1951 I had become a Ground Electrician. From 1952 until 1957, by then at RAF Honington, I was employed on 1st. 2nd, & 3rd line servicing of Mechanical Transport, Marine Craft, Airfield Equipment & general Ground Equipment, including D4 Link Trainers.

Having volunteered for duties on Synthetic Trainers (Nearing my service exit date at 12 years I needed a job to go to in civvy street) I then spent two years in Civilian digs in Crawley (at Wendy Tantrum's house) with Messrs Redifon. After a 3 month comprehensive course on analogue simulation principles, theory of flight & associated subjects, we spent a further 3 months studying the Javelin Flight simulator, it's circuitry, computation processes, components & equipment. In fact writing the training/Service manual for the machine.

The next 18 months were spent, 'on the shop floor' actively engaged in Test & Calibration. With another RAF technician, one simulator was taken from a part wired, assembled shell to a "flying entity".

At the end of this fascinating period I was attached to Fighter Command Headquarters at Bentley Priory. My work there was to prove an exciting & rewarding experience with staff of Eng 5 (with W/O Doug Lendy, FIt/Lt Brian Catlin & Sqn Ldr D.T.Brown). Much of my work (including making the coffee) involved research & investigation into Special Occurrence Reports & Technical Defect Reports. Later I had specific responsibility & authority for the Electrical & Instrument aspects of the fitting out of the 'New' Electronic Servicing Centres being built at Fighter Stations. An important aspect of the task was liaison with builders, manufacturers, & fitting parties & I was able to contribute to the solution of several problems. Later, on the establishment of an office specifically for the electrical & instrument aspects of the Lightning I became the assistant to Sqn Ldr John Grossman.

My next period of employment was with the R.A.F Education Branch. After an exellent [sic] 3 month course at RAF School of Education, at RAF Uxbridge on Teaching Techniques, Educational Psychology & associated studies I began an enjoyable 4 year tour teaching a variety of subjects associated with Physics & electrical technology, including Inertial Navigation. (which preceded Satellite Navigation).

At the end of this period of secondment I was employed on the design & manufacture of Training Aids for a short time, (my boss was Flt/Lt Robin Cooper), when I was selected to instruct the new courses of Ground Electrical Craft Apprentices. The syllabus for which I helped to write.

Three years later, in 1969 I commenced a 13 month tour in Bahrain. During this time Pat, my wife spent 5 weeks with me there & I managed 5 weeks leave at home. The tour was followed by 18 months with Tactical Communications Wing of 38 Group at RAF Benson. I volunteered & was accepted into the Trade Standards & Testing organization. This initially involved setting exams for tradesmen to Chief Technician level, writing & monitoring the Multiple Choice Questions, setting & vetting of practical examinations & Trade Test tasks. Finally, at RAF Brampton, I wrote a range of Skill & Knowledge Specifications for various trades. Retiring from RAF in 1975.

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Curriculum Vitae Barry Michael Smith 11/5/1929 2 of 5

Relevant Numbers; National Identity DQGU22112 Service 582378 National Insurance AB362008C

[underlined] Early Days [/underlined]

Born at 242 Bath Rd. Kettering. Lodged at Mrs Auburns house on The Green in Stotfold until our New build house by Turby Gentle was ready at 19 Coppice Mead. Later renumbered 43. Started school at St.Mary's with Pat Trafford, who lived at number 7. Our Headmistress was Mrs Bonnet, who lived in a big detached house on the corner of The Green. At 7 I transferred to Stotfold Council Boys School. At this time I made my first 'model aeroplane from three logs. Recall Mum being in tears after Mr. Chamberlain announced the war on Sept 3rd, when I came in from the garden where I had been helping to dig "an Air Raid Shelter"!

Dad had been transferred to No 6 MU at Brize Norton & we were allocated a new build house at 3 Springfield Oval, Witney into which we moved in 1940. I went to the Batt Central School placed in the A stream, in which I stayed, I suspect from parental design, rather than aptitude. I very much enjoyed woodwork which we did on a Friday afternoon & Gardening on another afternoon. With Mr. Goldsmith I first developed an interest in things 'organic' & indeed things chemical in general. Mr. Goldsmith made a significant impact on me, which coloured the whole of my life.

[underlined] Education & Qualifications [/underlined]

As one of the two students in my school to get 'homework' (another parental intervention!) I was enabled to 'just pass' the entrance exam for an RAF Apprenticeship. While awaiting the result my mother got me employed by Mr. Mullard as an optical tens maker; my first job in 1944. This turned out to be short term, until we found I had 'passed' for Halton.

Starting at Halton on Feb. 13th 1945 I JUST managed to 'pass out' in March 1948. Most of us were posted to 32 MU at RAF St. Athan for 'improver' training (which I think most of us needed.)

Under W/O " Tubby" Lockhart I passed the CCTB board to gain my AC1 & soon (one of the first in the entry) to be promoted Acting Corporal. Subsequently I obtained Forces Preliminary Examinations in 5 subjects & GCSE's in English Language, Human Biology, & Electrics/Electronics. One attempt at French, even with Madame Long's superb efforts, was a failure..

In 1951 I attended a 10 week course at RAF Stoke Heath on electro plating. Much later I discovered that all the notes we had taken long hand had been converted into Air Publication 880.

I did gain my Ordinary National Certificate in electrics & passed the first two years of the Higher National, but didn't complete it. I attended a 3 month Junior Education Officers Course at RAF Uxbridge & I later obtained a City & Guilds Technical Teachers Certificate at Aylesbury College. As part of my mustering as a Synthetic Trainer Fitter I followed a 12 month period of training/education at Redifon factory in Crawley. At RAF Upwood I attended a 3 weeks Senior Trade Management Course & a one week extra mural course at Aston University on programmed Learning & Teaching Machines.

[underlined] Royal Air Force Career [/underlined]

[underlined] 1948 -1950 [/underlined] At RAF St. Athan: Complete overhaul of "Link Trainer" Vacuum motors, UKX generators (fitted to Lancaster) E5A generators (fitted to North American Harvard), & Type 9 Control Panels.

1950 -1952 At RAF Cranwell as AC1/LAC/JT 1st & 2nd line servicing of Harvard & Prentice Promoted substantive corporal. Given choice of air or ground specialism for promotion? 'advancement’ to Corporal Technician. I chose the Ground option.

1952n - 1954 In Malta; after a week on HMS Vengeance (a light fleet carrier) on her way to Australia for sale; in charge of deck party's chipping off rust from the flight deck with club hammers (much to the distress of the sailors on the cable deck beneath). In charge of 3rd/4th line electrical servicing of MT vehicles at 137 MU RAF Safi. With 3 civilian electricians Mr. J. Cuchceri. Andrew Zarb & Tony Debattista. Who became life long friends.

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3 of 5

John Tony & Andrew were superb workers & among their commanding skills was an ability to fabricate new wiring looms for AEC's, Hillman Minx, Standard Vanguard, & even the Coles Crane. Way out of my league!

I then worked at 1351 (incidentally my HAA members number) Marine Craft Unit (MCU) at Marsa
Schlokk [sic] (O/C Fit. Lt Fisher.) Where, with 2 Airmen, we handled the electrical aspects of a High Speed Launch. Two pinnaces & two flying boat tenders. In addition there were the occasional Airborne Life-boats in for routine inspection. When I asked my 1st reporting Officer, FIt Lt Caple'(Capable Caple' a Dam Buster I believe) why my promotion to Sergeant had been refused, replied "First you always want a hair cut & second you're never here". Can't argue with that! However Flt. Lt Lindley (my 2nd reporting officer said " If I'd known you were near promotion I'd have given you a better assessment"
1954 -55 Wintered for 3 months at RAF Rufforth, Yorks (commuting to Aylesbury by my old Hillman Minx, with no heater, & a dodgy wiper). In charge of a battery charging room of the 60MU Recovery & Salvage Unit. This was an unpleasant period, but I did join the chess club & helped them win the only away match we played, in York. I stayed in a small wooden but with a central stove, quite the worst accommodation I experienced.

[underlined] 1955 -1957 [/underlined]

RAF Cottesmore, Rutland (an exchange posting hopefully closer to home) but for a few weeks only. I had time to start to play snooker & blow up a few balloons for the Corporal's club Christmas do, before we all moved to RAF Honnington [sic] where I was in charge of Battery Charging rooms, Airfield lighting, & Link Trainers. During this time I qualified as a Senior Technician & (also) subsequently accepted promotion to Sergeant. During this time I stripped, derusted & hand painted the Hillman Minx with Dulux paint. A not very successful venture as the autumn brought condensation as just one of the problems with painting in the open. On promotion to Sergeant I was immediately selected for Mess caterer duties (running the mess bar) For me, a casual drinker a daunting task. A steep teaming curve resulted in a pleasant fortnight over the Christmas period in which I managed to cover my drinks, cigarettes & a small profit with a complete bar stock check by the mess treasurer each morning. During this period a decision needed to be made on future career prospects as I approached the end of my 12 year commitment. In the event I applied to sign on & was rejected. Volunteering for Synthetic trainer duties I was informed I needed at least 3 years further service. & was accepted for an extension of 3 years!

[underlined] 1957-1959 [/underlined]

Attached to Messrs Redifon (Crawley) On a comprehensive course on the Gloucester Javelin Flight Simulator followed by an extensive period of Test & Calibration duties at the factory. We took one from a "part wired shell" on the factory floor to a "Flying Entity" with some support from Redifon Staff. During this period I was remustered as E Fitt G (Q-Syn-JF) (Qualified Synthetic Trainer Fitter- Javelin Fighter).

1959 --1961 My Simulator was postponed to be modified into a mark 9 with reheat. & I obtained an attachment to Fighter Command HQ in Eng 5 at Bentley Priory. Where my immediate boss was Fit. Lt Brian Catlin & Eng. 5 was Sqn. Ldr. DT Brown. Here, apart from becoming "the coffee boy" I was involved in Staff work on many aspects of electrical/Instrument Aircraft & Ground Equipment. This involved research investigation into Special Occurrence Reports (Accidents) & liaison with other departments. During this period I qualified as Chief Technician & was promoted. I believe I was responsible for the first use of X-rays for diagnosis of an electrical fault in the Royal Air Force. At this point Non Destructive Testing was in it's infancy. The switch fault causing “Runaway Tail Trim” in Hunters (& I believe Canberras) was identified with 3 view x-rays of the offending switch by my Dentist! The manufacturer "Rotax" was criticised. During this time I had specific individual responsibility for the establishment of Electronic Servicing Centres in Fighter Command. They were uniquely developed separately from those already set up for Bomber Command, but Bomber Command installation teams were employed.

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[underlined] 1959 -1961 [/underlined] continued

My duties included design, layout & provision of power supplies for instrument & electrical servicing benches & test equipment, Liaison with Builders & Manufacturers, & Fitting Parties. Later it became necessary to establish an office exclusively for the electrical/instrument aspects of the English Electric Lightning, when I was appointed office assistant to Sqn.Ldr John Grossman, when the Command started to equip with those aircraft which incorporated the developed OR 946 Project (The advanced integrated weapons system.)

[underlined] 1961-1969 [/underlined]

As the preceding attachment was coming to an end I volunteered for secondment to the Education Branch & was accepted as a Junior Education Officer. After a 3 month Instructional Technique Course at RAF School of Education at Uxbridge I taught physics, mechanics & Inertial Navigation & then, at Halton, Electrical Science to ONC standard to 3 year Aircraft Apprentices. This later included setting & marking of ONC examination question papers. This was followed, on return to basic trade, by a short period designing & building Training Aids, & then being appointed to take charge of a small group of civilian & service instructors in order to develop & establish all aspects of preparation & implementation of a syllabus for the first courses of Apprentice Ground Electrical Fitters.

[underlined] 1969 -1970 [/underlined]

Selected for an unaccompanied tour at RAF Muharraq in Bahrain, Five weeks of which my wife spent with me in Manama & five weeks I spent on leave in UK, effectively foreshortening, what was, a pleasant 13 month "unaccompanied" tour. My compatriot George Stuart, who became a W/O MT fitter ensured we always had "wheels' & I am sure ours was the only SNCO's bunk with a thick white carpet, indeed the only one with a carpet! I briefly rubbed shoulders with Sqn/Ldr John Grossman, with whom I had worked at Bentley Priory. I was able to persuade the Station Commander to allow me to build a functioning indoor .22 rifle range, which became a well supported recreational facility. One outstanding memory was one morning, cycling to work I saw a USA Globemaster standing on the pan (it had landed the previous evening) with it's battery just "hanging " on it's connecting cables, OUTSIDE the aircraft. I didn't report it as I was confident someone would notice it before it attempted to taxi for take off! A lot of leisure time was spent Sailing as crew, Swimming (I learned to swim a length underwater) Shooting & helping George with his private motor repairs. A luxury in the mess was Barracuda steak brought up from Salala [sic] by Ardet. (The Argosy Aircraft Detachment)

[underlined] 1970 -1972 [/underlined]

On returning to UK I was posted to 38 Group Signals at RAF Benson. Here I was in charge of a small group of electricians, a part of a Tactical Communications Team. This involved the maintenance & servicing of a wide range of Electrical Ground Equipment. At one point I was selected to accompany a field team to RAF Goose Bay to carry out field tests (in arctic conditions), of our communications equipment (in particular aerials). We found ourselves much better equipped for arctic conditions than the airmen who were stationed there for a whole tour of duty,

In an attempt to manipulate my career a little I volunteered for duties with the Central Trade Test Board, which was set up at RAF Halton. I went to Swanton Morley for a selection interview & was accepted. My posting to RAF Halton was soon promulgated.

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[underlined] 1972 -1975 [/underlined] 5 of 5

I became part of the Trade Standards & Testing organization of the RAF, initially at Halton & subsequently at RAF Brampton. The task included writing & assessing questions in a Multiple Choice Question Library (essentially electrical/electronic bias) & the production, setting & marking of tests for all ranks……from…..from Aircraft Apprentice to Chief Technician in the Ground Electrical Fitter trade. Subsequently, as part of a small team, at RAF Brampton, I was engaged in the assembly of Skill & Knowledge Specifications for all `Ground' Trades. These "Objective Statements of Individually Identified Tasks" were couched in specific Behavioural Terms & ranged (for me) over many ground trade boundaries, from Aircraft Engineering to Safety Equipment & from Medical & Marine craft to Musical skills.

[underlined] 1975 – 1985 [/underlined]

Civilian Career

On leaving the RAF, accepting voluntary redundancy, when my rank & trade & birthday appeared in POR'S, I was offered work with Messrs Burroughs Machines as an Electrical/mechanical Foreman at £50 per week (if I worked nights). I told the boss that I couldn't afford to pay my income tax on such a salary. After six months on enhanced unemployment benefit I was appointed, at RAF Halton as a Civilian Instructor. teaching Ground Electrical Apprentices in accordance with the new Skill & Knowledge Specifications, which I had helped to write, & had been teaching in 1969. The training of Ground Electrical Apprentices was then transferred to RAF St. Athan. I was offered the opportunity to transfer to the Aircraft side but declined. I applied for a post as lecturer at Southall College of Technology (Air Engineering Department) & was accepted. During this period I taught British Airways Aircraft & Ground Electrical & Instrument Engineer Apprentices & overseas students, School Link (Technology Acquaintance courses) as well as Libyan Airways service & civilian aircraft technicians. I wrote & taught NVQ's helped to incorporate IT into teaching profiles & examination techniques. I took early retirement on change of college status to 6th form college & the demise of the Aeronautical Engineering Department under Mr. Alf Fox, as British Airways closed their Apprentice Scheme.


I first took an interest in sport at RAF Cranwell in 1952 I started to train for the Station sports but was posted to RAF Safi in Malta before the event. Here I continued, won a few events & was selected for Command training. I became interested in small & (later) full bore shooting under Fl/Lt Cumnor-Price. The interest continued & I was able to take up the sport again when I was posted to RAF Honington in 1956-57 where I won several matches at the Suffolk County Shoot. In particular I picked up the Courtney-Warner Trophy (a superb rose bowl which I couldn't keep). Pat & I purchased our Whittington/Westminster chime clock in Bury-St.-Edmunds from the winnings at that meet. I shot for Bomber & Training Commands &, with Sqn/Ldr Tom Gilroy, won the RAF Bren gun run-down shoot in 1967 (he was later asked by a fighter pilot mate "Who was that old feller you won the bren gun with?") (Tom later dropped his Buccaneer in the Irish Sea & only one wheel & a bone dome were recovered) Occasionally among the Top Hundred at Bisley, Dallied in amateur dramatics. Secretary Aylesbury Gardening Society for 17 years. Life Member & Life Vice President. Vice President Aylesbury & Halton Branch RAFA. Married to Pat in 1950. Set up first home in flat by The Modern Imperial Hotel in Sliema Malta GC. We were blessed with 5 daughters & 11 Grandchildren. Pat widowed me on 8th October 1991.



B M Smith, “Curriculum Vitae Barry Michael Smith,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024,

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