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El Adem
Reminisce 2

Some memories of people and places.
Do you know anybody mentioned on these pages?

Les Simkins

[From Don]:

I would particularly like to ask if anybody remembers (from anywhere)

Roger Anthony (Les) Simkins.

He served at El Adem and the Bombing Range 1961-3 and if you were there this picture is how you would remember him.
I personally remember him well both from the Bombing Range where he spent most of his time barefoot on the hot sand and with the cigarette as shown, and from R.A.F. Locking at Weston-Super-Mare.

He also served at R.A.F. Tiree and R.A.F. Innsworth in Gloucestershire.

The specific reason for asking is that sadly Les passed away in October 2007 aged 68 and his son Steve is very keen to learn anything he can of his father's earlier days. You can make contact through me, initially.

Hello Don,
My name is Rex Williams or known at RAF El Adem as Cpl Rex Williams Ground wireless fitter at El Adem Tower 1960/61.
Part of my work was to visit Les at the bombing range every Friday to make sure all was well.

I was greatly saddened by the news that Les had passed away in 2007. I liked him very much we had a lot in common. I particularly liked his laid back attitude to the RAF and all authority.
I remember he used to go barefoot at the bombing range and let his hair grow as nature wanted! As I remember he was in charge of the Naafi Bar there (Not a good idea).
He told me about the CO feeling very generous bought a round of drinks for all the chaps there but never paid for it . I think Les had to fork out for that. Because of his barefoot business he was thought to be going native so his next posting I believe was Germany so if he went native there at least he would be European!!
I am happy to chat to his son if he so wishes.
Best wishes to all, a good website I shall return of course.
Rex Williams.

I remember well building that bar (not NAAFI), we (three of us) made proper hardboard partitioning and a false ceiling. I did the flush lighting and some of the copper nailing. There was a false fireplace and because we were 'young' Les christened us after the three musketeers and our names were written on that fireplace, I was either Athos or Porthos, I think the latter (but memory fades) and Les was D'Artagnan.
Les had a tape recorder and record player which we wired through to the bar from the nissan hut next door. We took it in turns to go and change records but the tape was easier and so took priority, with the effect of burning the music sequence into the brain for many years to come. [Don]

And now... more pictures from Dave Austin.
Group L-R:- Maurice Webb. John Fleet. Tony Earl. Geoff Simmonds. Butch Pym. Olive Brittan. Andy Amos. Taff Austin. Smudge Smith. Jimmy Collins.
Group 1 L-R:- Tony Hurst. Willy Hunter. Ozzie Oswood. Andy Amos. Me(Taff Austin). Sgt Jimmy Collins (with the fez). Maurice Webb. Tony (Duke) Earl. Brummie Attwood (Kneeling).
C crew farewell to Sgt Jimmy Collins
Hunter down Who forgot to put the wheels down then?

Group 2 Me [Dave(Taff)Austin]. and Sgt Jimmy Collins (with fez)
Hunter through windscreen
Maurice Webb, Billy Williams Maurice Webb, Billy Williams
Derna Pass, Libya Derna Pass

Some information and pictures taken on a nostalgia visit by David Wilson

Found your site recently with a reference to the Shell filling station in Tobruk. I was at El Adem 1958-1960 and used to fill up my old ex WD BSA there before returning to camp. I enclose a picture from that time, could that be Mohamed Ezzideen in the image? I returned to Tobruk in 2005 on a nostalgia trip with the TEARS group, see their website.
David Wilson.

Regarding the nostalgia trip I wanted to go very much and it turned out to be even more than we could have hoped for and I was certainly not disappointed.
I have in fact been on two nostalgia trips and the second 7 day visit there were around 50 in the party.
Regarding change, yes Tobruk is about 100 times bigger, now has dual carriage ways and some traffic lights although I could still find recognisable buildings.
Tobruk has a major oil terminal and an adjoining power station which sends pylons across the desert in all direction.

The coaches were not permitted to travel unaccompanied but pedestrians or taxi travellers were free to be independent.
The high light of the visit was to travel to the former RAF EL ADEM where we had reasonable freedom of the domestic site; there are some new buildings but a great deal of dereliction.

Astra Cinema Do you recognise this? Inside the Astra, still with the same seating on two levels.

I remember operating the projector one evening as a stand-in, especially the 'striking' of the carbon arc by gently moving the carbon rods closer to each other. [Don]

Shell Garage The Shell garage between El Adem - Tobruk.
Is this Mr Azzadeen?

Astra Cinema Visiting party at the Astra
5 Barrack Blocks, 2 now roofless The 5 barrack blocks, 2 now roofless.
Brian, Bill, Leighton Brian Stannard, Bill Graves, Leighton (Taff) Boliver.

Hi Don
I just found your page and it has brought back some very old memories.
I worked at TASS, 68 – 70 and believe I was one of the last RAF personnel to complete a full two year tour at El Adem.

On my first day there, I went to the Airmen’s Mess and sat at a table along with an old Corporal. He was eating a salad and had his pet tortoise eating the salad too from the other side of the plate!

I lived in one of the twynams along with Brian Stannard, Leighton (Taff) Boliver and Bill Graves.
Working in TASS I also knew Dave Johnson who I see has also posted some comments. I have attached some photos of those mentioned if you care to use them.

Best Regards
Tony Dow

El Adem El Adem

Hi Don,
Reading Tony Dow's memory of sharing a table with a chap who was sharing a salad with his tortoise, I remember when I worked in the NAAFI Tobruk office, the driver for the then CO at El Adem Group Captain Ken Hubbard came to pay his NAAFI account and I was amazed to see something running around under his shirt at waistband level.
When I asked what on earth it was he told me it was his pet jerboa, which he fished out of his shirt to prove he wasn't kidding.

Odd pets were the norm the Met boys had a chameleon that would crawl up the wire of the table lamp beside you to have a look who had come calling.
Trish Dawson