Hi ! I’m Steve Vaughan and I live over on Poplar Drive. I’ve been here for just over three and a half years now, and am very much enjoying life here with you lot. I have been told to write this – so with all humility ……………….
I was born and raised in Hampshire, in a little railway town called Eastleigh, near Southampton. My Dad raised the four of us on his own, in a small terrace house opposite the fire station. Leaving the County Secondary School at fifteen, I signed on for early entry into the Army, it was that or the railway.
I became a young soldier at the Army Apprentices College Harrogate in September 1970. It took them just fourteen weeks to make me lose three stone and gain three inches in height, turning me into the hunk I still am today.
Training to be a Radio Telegraphist, I did very well at the morse, ( had a Dan Dare Radio Station when I was 10 ! it had the morse on it ), so was selected along with some others for different training in the second year, for that of a Special Telegraphist. This is a bloke, who takes high-speed morse onto an (in those days), typewriter.
An intercept operator if you will, locate and utilise enemy frequencies, identify and locate their units, inform higher echelons of their doings!
From Harrogate, it was to Woodhouse Eaves, 224 Signal Squadron, a little camp just outside of Loughborough, where they made us go even higher with the speeds and also earn how to analyse what we had taken. For readers in the know, our test speeds were 23 – 25 – 23 wpm.
Except for a two-year period in the eighties where I became a temporary civilian, I spent the next twenty-seven years in many parts of the world, a lot of it is beautiful, isolated, woodland, practicing my trade.
Expanding my skills with Russian voice procedure, German voice procedure, Serbo-Croat, and Non-Voice procedures. (printers etc.). Radio direction finding, (D.F.) Radio finger printing (R.F.P.) and a few other odds and ends that all helped with what we were doing. By now and until the end of my service I was called an “Operator Electronic Warfare”, (amongst other things).
They standardised everyone with new titles but that’s the one we kept. Sounds better than “Telecommunications Operator Linguist” (ToOL). Sigh. Will I be dragged off and shot for telling you these things? No, I have consulted those who know, and I am now apparently so old, everything I know has been written about so many times, we are now all classed as dinosaurs from the cold war, it’s all old hat.
Also, when at school, two other passions were ignited, one was music by trumpet, and the other music by singing. Trumpet wise, I continued into Harrogate, becoming the solo trumpet of the college band. Then, after many years in the cold, only playing the Last Post at Remembrance ceremonies, and the odd tune in our “Soap Box” nights, I finally got to serve near a band I could play in and became the third cornet for the RAF Waddington band, and the Mareham Le Fen Silver Victory Band, later to become their Eb bass player for some years. Bill the regular moved somewhere else !!!
Making the move to slide from valves for a change and because there was no one else for the seat, means I am now the lead trombone in the Lincolnshire Hospitals Brass Band, which not only starred in this year’s fantastic charity day at the White Swan but is making a return appearance next year, September folks, take note !
The other thing was the singing, loved it, me first serious choir was the Mulheim an der Ruhr Police Choir. A huge German male voice choir, who between beers turned out superb performances. In Germany, these choirs were once as prolific as the Welsh pit choirs were at one time. Then the Horncastle Choral Society, The Gainsborough Choral Society, The Spa Singers (Woodhall), and finally, The City of Lincoln Male Voice Choir.
Who knows, maybe in the future we might start something up here at the Elms? ???? I left the Army in 1997, and have been a lorry and coach driver since. (Cab happy and love it), My present part time, and probably “Twilight” job is that of a runway sweeper. In my little sweeper lorry, early every morning at RAF Barkston Heath, by RAF Cranwell.
I go to many reunions, where I meet up with old comrades, and drink lots of beer, (under protest ), at one reunion, they make me sing “Rule Britannia” in front of a couple of hundred Germans, they join in, more to drown me out than with any gusto for the song.
I sorted through a great many park home parks before I found the Elms, and am damn glad to say I wasn’t wrong. I’ve met and made so many good friends and neighbours here, and am part of a genuinely caring community. Gold dust! The lovely ladies in reception are more like family members than workers, and the lads working around the park always find time for a cheery wave. I like it here.
Thanks for reading, mines a Carling xxx ???? (fewer calories than a Black Sheep, but half as tasty)
Cheers, Happy Retirement!