Cpl Kimberley Veteran’s Visit to Waddington
92 year old Corporal Peter Kimberley returned to RAF Waddington this week for the first time in nearly 70 years to see how the base has changed since he last served here during WWII. Peter joined the RAF on the 16th May 1941; his 18th birthday. Following his basic training at Blackpool he arrived at RAF Waddington in the summer of 1941 the year the mighty AVRO Lancaster Bomber entered service with the RAF.
Specialising as MT driver, Peter drove a variety of vehicles in support of the flying operations at the base. His duties were varied and would range from transporting aircrew around the base or to their waiting aircraft, to driving the aircraft re-fuelling bowsers. Often he would be at the wheel of a fire engine deployed in an emergency to attend to an aircraft that had crash landed at the base. Peter recalled the “bomb runs” he and his colleagues used to do in their trucks to RAF Norton Disney which supplied bombs, ammunition and oxygen to RAF Hemswell, RAF Waddington and RAF Scampton. It wasn’t unusual for Peter to be carrying 2 x 2000lb bombs on his truck and the same again in a trailer he’d be towing; some of the bombs with the paint still wet such was the demand for munitions at the height of the War. Peter smiles as he recalls how one of his colleagues took a corner slightly too fast one day and gave some livestock the fright of their lives as the 2000lb bombs came tumbling towards them as they lazily grazed in a nearby field. No casualties on this occasion thankfully.
During his visit Peter was shown around the RAF Waddington Heritage Centre by Mr Chris Dean. The Heritage Centre is home to numerous exhibits some of which date back to the time when he was based here. He also took in a tour of the station with Sgt Claire Protheroe and Flt Lt Dave Lusk which gave him the opportunity to see the historical infrastructure that still remains from when he was last here. What had been Peter’s accommodation block is now the Stations Training and Development Flight. Peter recalls RAF Waddington with real affection. Strong friendships were formed and he remembers with real fondness his buddy Corporal “Don” Donaldson with whom he kept in touch with long after the War finished. He also remembers that the girls in the Mechanical Transport Section were the best looking on base!
Peter said: It’s been wonderful to re-visit RAF Waddington as I have such fond memories of it. I can remember that on my 21st Birthday I was hauled outside and covered in lipstick by the WAAFS which I thought was very funny.
Peter was posted to Singapore in 1943 until he was demobbed in 1945. He returned home to Garforth where in August 1946 he married the beautiful Rita. They went on to have two daughters; Carol and Heather. Aged 92 (nearly 93) he still drives and thinks nothing of hopping in to his Ford KA on a regular occasion to visit family nearby.
Flt Lt Dave Lusk who helped to host Peter and his family said: “It’s been such a pleasure to meet Peter and to listen to him recounting his time in Service at RAF Waddington and overseas. I think what’s clear is that whilst so much has changed over the years, so much remains the same. Service men and women past and present form those strong bonds to both our comrades and to the Service which stay with us forever”.