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858206 Leading Aircraftman John Ronald Buckley, 925 and 974 Squadron
John Ronald Buckley was living as a teenager at Crossbank Strett, Oldham. On leaving school he joined the Wages Department of the
Oldham cotton machinery manufacturing firm, Platt Brothers, he was to work there for all of his working life with the exception
of his war service.
Platt Brothers Building (Roger May-Wikipedia)
His war service took him to the Middle East.
In April 1945 he returned back to Britain and married a W.R.E.N. hairdresser called Joan Dixon at Portsmouth in 1945. They then moved to
95 Birch Avenue, Chadderton, Near Oldham. Both became very active in the local Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Bowls Club at the Church Inn
at Chadderton Fold. They did not have any children but were aunt and uncle to a number of natural and honorary nephews and nieces.
John Ronald Buckley as a young man
We are indebted to the provision of this unique photographic record of his time in 925 and 974 Squadron.
From Left to right:
C. Beard, E. Walsh, B. Hargreaves, H. Brown, John Ronald Buckley 925 Squadron
Taken in April 1940 at the Mill Street Balloon Barrage Site, Bradford.
John Ronald Buckley and colleagues pose in front of their winch lorry.
John Ronald Buckley ( extreme left hand of second row from front) and 974 Squadron pose for the group photograph
Postings from one squadron to another were a constant fact of life, as an establishment needed men to fill the gaps, those considered
suitably able would be posted. At some point Ronald was posted from 925 Squadron to 974 which was being readied for a foreign posting.
When posted airmen would be kitted out and marched from their base to a railway station or rarely taken in lorries to a dockland destination,
typically Liverpool. Once there they would embark onto the troopship immediately and then sail out to the rendezvous point to join the convoy.
It is not known what ship he did sail away on but here are a number of items from that trip:
This is his meal ticket and was designed to ensure that airmen could only have one set of meals a day. It was clipped at each sitting and because there were often a few thousand on a ship meals were staggered in shifts or sittings. It appears that he got 3 meals a day, D- Dinner, T-Tea and B-Breakfast and was part of the second sitting.
Ronald appears never to have missed out!
Ronald was given a hammock at Deck C Amidships section "N" -1-56, I hope this may help identify the ship.
Ronald had a pass for 24 hours to leave the Imperial Forces Transit Camp at Clairwood, Durban, South Africa.
When in Durban, South Africa, troops like Ronald were given these maps to find their way around. Often emigrant resident families from the UK would hold up
a placard, such as "Cardiff". By this means they would seek out a man who was from their home town and host them for the day.
LAC Ronald Buckley in tropical uniform and shorts having a picnic with some wartime friends. It is not known who the
other two are but the girl is wearing a RAF sweetheart badge and the other man is in Air Force blue uniform with an LAC
badge. The location is not known but could be Alexandria.
A mix of Air Force uniforms this again seems to indicate Alexandria.
Ronald and three friends explore the gardens
Ronald and three friends explore the gardens
Typical tented accommodation, sandstorms and flies were the big nuisance
You had to make your own fun in those days, looks like the ukulele!
Ronald washing up in the desert sun.
Ronald enjoying welcome shade at his tent in the desert.
Ronald at his tent. Note the sandbags used to help with dust storms and offer some protection from a bomb exploding on the ground.
The ukulele was popular.
A barrage balloon on its bed surrounded by sandbags and firmly covered with a net to prevent it escaping in the wind.
Catching up with the "gen" of the day.
Canvas camp bed in a tent, how comfortable was that?
Relaxing on the camp bed.
Typical tenting arangements note the pole and concrete block, without those the tent was likely to get blown away.
Ronald had a two day stop over at this establishment in Beirut
974 Squadron Hockey Team season 1942-1943. Sport was considered an important aspect of RAF life in these camps. It provided exercise,
fitness and a degree of interest for other airmen to watch and enjoy.
858206 Leading Aircraftman John Ronald Buckley sent this picture to his mother, of him in tropical uniform in Jerusalem
in August 1943: "To Mum With Love, Ronnie."
More pictures to be added soon!!