National Service (RAF) Association

Skip Navigation Links. THE NATIONAL SERVICE


The NS(RAF)A was formed in 2002 by a few ex RAF National Servicemen who thought that the era when National Service was common to all and was not only being forgotten but it was felt by so many that the recognised Veterans Associations did not cater for and were not interested in anything following WW2 ! - allied to that was the time factor which makes it necessary for this Association to be active now before it is too late for many of us. forex

To that end membership is open to ALL ex RAF National Servicemen and Regulars, WAAF and WRAF who served in the period 1939 to 1963 covered by the 2 National Service Acts of Parliament, when such service was compulsory for most of the young people of the day.

The aims of the Association are to create a forum for contact between members and to organise any such gatherings, be they local area Branches or our National events whereby members can come together for periods of social nostalgic comradeship.
(The Association does encourage participation of Partners at our events, the social side of our activities being very much to the fore).

The means of doing this is mainly via our superb quarterly magazine "The ASTRAL" (Sample pics in Gallery: Misc) plus this website and an annual AGM package weekend at a large hotel - (the venue of this popular weekend rotates North and South each year - 2003 Hayling Island / 2004 Scarborough / 2005 Llandudno / 2006 Blackpool / 2007 Eastbourne / 2008 Blackpool / 2009 Bracklesham bay, Chichester)/ 2010 Stafford, plus all members have access to the total membership lists (which includes the lists of camps the members served on during their time in the Service) and thus members have the means themselves to establish local contacts and arrange their own area and regional meetings.
We now have Branches up and running all over the UK.
These are: Borders/Dumfries: / Bristol: / Cambridge: / Cosford: / Derbyshire: / East Sussex: / Edinburgh: / Exeter: / Gloucester: / Hornchurch: / Swanley, Kent: / Royal Leamington Spa / Brigg, Lincs: / NE Surrey, SW London, Kenley: / North Wales: / Norwich: / Oxford: / Plymouth (Lunch Club) / South Wales: / Southend: / Sutton Coldfield: / Tyne, Tees: / West London: / West Sussex: / Wessex, Dorset: / West Yorkshire: / Wigan: / Wiltshire. (For details of local contacts tel 01782 516887 or e mail:

The NS(RAF)A Committee are all ex Veterans themselves who have volunteered to give freely of their time etc to run the Association for the benefit of its members without payment.

In our short history to date: we have held a first successful re union day at the site of the old no 11 School of RAF Recruit Training: RAF Hednesford in July 2003 and this was followed in April 2005 by a joint exercise with Staffordshire County Council, RAF Cosford and the local ATC Squadron with a ceremony at which an engraved 11 ton stone was unveiled to commemorate the existence of the camp.
(see our sister site:

2004 saw our first National re union and full Parade at the RAF Museum Cosford at which Air Commodore S R Sims presented 6 members with their recently awarded Suez Campaign medals. (See Gallery: Cosford 2004).
We continued to have this family day of RAF nostalgia in 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 and 2009 (where the principal Guest was Derek Twigg. MP Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans) with the full support of Air Commodore Sims, Air Commodore N W Gammon, Air Commodore C H Green and in 2011: Gropu Captian Johnston: all Commandants of DCAE Cosford and always with the input of an RAF Band, the BBMF aircraft and a full fixed bayonet Guard of Honour and this has now become the largest single Service Parade in the UK and the highlight of our activities.
The 2011 National re union and Parade was held on Sunday July 3rd. and apart from the Parade over 30 stands representing The Veterans Agency, SSAFA, RAF Benevolent Fund, - RAF Camps and Associations etc were present.
This day encompassed the "Family" of the RAF in that Veterans, current serving Personnel and ATC all had an input.
The Reviewing Officer was: Air Vice Marshal Mike Lloyd. RAF. (Air member for Personnel). who was accompanied by Group Captain J B Johnston. MBE MA BSc FIET CEng RAF. Commandant DCAE & RAF Cosford Station Commander: Special Guest was Gerald Howarth MP. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defence with the title of Minister for International Security Strategy.
On a beautiful sunny Day about 650 Veterans were on Parade and the total number of friends and families present topped the 3,500 mark.
The RAF Central Band led the Parade.

Regrettably the planned display by Spitfires from the BBMF was cancelled at the last minute due to mechanical problems with the Aircraft.
The NS(RAF)A project of a permanent display all about RAF National Service, inside the National Cold War Exhibition Hangar which has been 2 years in the making and funded entirely by NS(RAF)A members donations and consisting of 3 modules which were jointly unveiled by:
Gerald Howarth MP. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the
Ministry of Defence with the title of Minister for International Security
Strategy and he was accompanied by: Air Vice Marshal (Rtd) Peter Dye. OBE who is now the Director General of RAF Museum Services and Air Vice Marshall M Lloyd. (Air member for Personnel).

There is now a superb 2 hour professional DVD available of the whole days events and a copies @ £10; each are available from Mr Honey. Tel 01782 516887 or e mail:
A gallery of photographs can be seen on website: / Cosford 2011.
Our thanks got to the combined efforts of NS(RAF)A Committee and members, The Staff of the RAF Museum and the Museum Volunteers, The Commandant and Staff of DCAE Cosford and the 4 ATC Sqdns whose combined efforts made this a day to remember.
2012 re union and Parade at the RAF Museum at Cosford is being planned with the Proposed date of Sunday 20th MAY.
A free day of RAF nostalgia for any ex RAF and their families, not to be missed.
Further details from: Mr Honey: 01782 516887 or email:

UK Membership of the Association is currently £10 per annum, OVERSEAS £12.

Click here to download the membership application form.

please make all cheques payable to:- NS(RAF)A - (if overseas in Sterling please) and application for membership - with a stamp for return postage - should be made to our Membership Secretary:
John Kent, Dunelm, Denford Road. Longsdon, Stoke on Trent. Staffs. ST9 9QG. E mail:

Veteran to Veteran

When a Veteran leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased, and others, who may have already retired, wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.
1. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.

2. We know in the Military life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet.

3. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the Military world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing.

Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' and merely being allowed to leave 'active' duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

NOW... Civilian Friends vs. Veteran Friends Comparisons:

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have cried with you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will stand by you no matter what the crowd does.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are for life.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences...
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, 'You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!' Then carry you home safely and put you to bed...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will forward this.
A veteran - whether active, retired, served one hitch, or reserve is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'My Queen and My Country ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life'.

From one Veteran to another, it's an honour to be in your company.
Thank you for your service to our country and defending the freedoms we enjoy.
National Service actually !

The uniforms gone ! Farewell to the days
of stiff blue collars and disciplined ways.
No more in the mirror will our stiff self be seen
a well turned out Airman with brasses that gleamed.

For 24 months we were soberly dressed
like tailors dummies with everything pressed..
With eagles on shoulders to starboard and port
plus ramrod postures as we'd been taught.

Now let "T" shirts be "T" shirts or, rarely suits
may be proudly worn, though without those black boots.
Polyester ties are still acceptable
but bright designs might make DI's excitable !

So lets have light Chino's with never a crease
as it's only ourselves we now have to please.
As we chat and relax, now and again
over a pint or two with those who remain.

Really we're still young, Tom, Jock and Taffy,
who once enjoyed tea and a wad in the NAAFI.
In those golden years when we all looked alike
and promised each other we would'nt get tight.

Today we make do with fly pasts and shows
dabbing a damp eye and blowing our nose,
As we bore the youngsters with what we have done,
to which they respond, "World War Two - or One" ?

Tony Buckler.

Conditions applying to the Gallery:

"Crown Copyright" is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. (Web site licence ref: D/IPR/1X/4/3/3)".
This material may be accessed and downloaded on to electronic, magnetic, optical or similar storage media, provided that such activities are for private research, study or in house use only.
This material must not be copied, distributed, published or sold without permission of the Controller of HMSO.
To date this website has only displayed photographs applicable to the Reception and Squarebashing RAF Units.
I have now added a Gallery for photographs which indicate Branches and for people looking for lost Pals in those photographs, any photographs for this Gallery should be sent to me @ with as much information as possible.
(As webmaster I reserve the right to select the photographs I think are of a quality or subject matter to warrant being included. PGH).
With regard to the photographs shown, all have been donated for use on the site, they are not in any sequential order - they are in the order "as they came to me" - and any additions donated will also be added in the same way, when indexed they are then re allocated to a folder designated for a specific RAF recruit Training Camp or Reception Unit to simplify access.
Basic information is on the photographs but a fuller index will be held by the website coordinators of any other information to hand or names of people on them.
I am always in search of any more visual information, the actual site photographs, within the Recruit Training Camps - where they were taken - for instance.
Many photographs have been reduced in PIXEL size to save space, on your computer you can open them out again to get more clarity if desired.
However if not on broadband please be patient as photographs download.
If you wish to donate photographs for inclusion on the site -especially those that depict a part of the old Recruit Training Camps - then please contact me with as much information about the photograph as you can remember. E mail:
With regard to any other photographs held in our archive from RAF STATIONS - other than Recruit Training Camps - access to these will be available on request
For any enquiry about any photograph on the web site please give the INDEX No: shown on the photograph.
Thank you for visiting the site.

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