RAF Shinfield Park

Headquarters Flying Training Command 

(27th May 1940 - 1st June 1968)

John Horler  EMail johnhorler@tiscali.co.uk

Notes on my service

I was stationed at HQ Flying Training Command, RAF Shinfield Park During 1951 and part of 1952.

I have recently come across a drawing that was done by one of my hut mates, George Giddings. I have no knowledge of him since that time, but from his artistic skill feel sure that he has done will since.

Although it is a long time ago I still  have fond memories of my time in Reading as I married a local girl after my demob. I was there during my period of National Service. I was a teleprinter operator working in the  signals office of HQ FTC . Cameras were not as plentiful then as they are today and unfortunately I do not have any photos of that era. I do recall my hut in which were most of the equipment section personnel, including one young AC who used to practice his singing scales early in the morning, his name was Stuart Burrows who went on to achieve fame as an international  singer.

As I was a shift worker, often working nights I have many memories of cycling from Whitenights Park up the Shinfield Road to the HQ Buildings.

I was a keen and reasonable Hockey player at the time and spent a substantial time playing for the station team.

Thinking about the old days in the RAF has  prompted me to look out an old scrap book. I have posted a Photo of the Hockey Team which won the 23 Group Cup - Back Row 3rd from Right is I M Clarke who subsequently went on to be selected for England. Sadly he died a few years ago. Also enclosed are Menu Cards for the Christmas Dinners for 1950 & 51

NOTE from Webmaster: John emailed on 12 Feb 2016 the following with regard to information on S/Ldr Ted Wilcox:

I have been catching up with the latest on the web site. You are asking for information on Sqdn/Ldr Ted Wilcox.

 Although it is now a distant memory I recall a member of the Hockey team by that name which is pictured on the website at


 If I am correct please pass on.


… and further:

You are stretching my memory to its limit but I think he is the 5th on the right back row (the only one wearing glasses)

Further NOTE from Webmaster: Joan (daughter of S/Ldr Wilcox) emailed a reply on 13 Feb 2016 as follows:

Dear Andre

You do such a good job! Congratulations.

 I enjoyed seeing the photo of the hockey team but even before I opened it, I knew it wouldn't include my father. He was an excellent rugby player in his day but not by Shinfield days. And I never heard of him playing hockey. So, not Ted Wilcox, I'm afraid. 

Kind regards

NOTE from Webmaster: John emailed on 20 Sep 2020 in reply to a group email introducing the new site:

Hello Andre,

Thank you for your message, I have checked the new site and as far as I can see all the information is correct.

My wife and I were talking recently about the old days. She is a Reading girl and comes from the Shinfield Road area.  I first met her at a Dance in the NAFFI in the Whitenights Park camp - that was 70 years ago. How time passes and sadly many of the guys that served with me are no longer about.

It is good that you are keeping up with technology and are meeting occasionally on Zoom. I use this frequently for meetings during these difficult times.  I would enjoy joining you although it is unlightly to meet anybody that I know from my days at Shinfield Park.


Click any picture to enlarge

‘The hockey team

‘The hockey team

Gittings 1951 drawing

‘The hockey team

‘Two Xmas menus

‘The hockey team

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© Andre Francis 2020