RAF Music Group Photographs

This week we have a pair of group shots of airmen during the Second World War:SKM_C284e18021611150

SKM_C284e18021611150 - CopyBoth these photographs seem to have been taken at the same time and judging by the central man holding a small ukulele it is possible that they were a small amateur music group that entertained their fellow airmen. Both photographs have some basic captions on the back and from these we can put a first name to each of the men. We have Alec:SKM_C284e18021611150 - Copy (2)Mac:SKM_C284e18021611150 - Copy (3)Digger:SKM_C284e18021611150 - Copy (4)‘Me’ (sadly we do not have this chap’s name as he was the one who wrote the caption):SKM_C284e18021611150 - Copy (5)Les:SKM_C284e18021611150 - Copy (6)And John:SKM_C284e18021611150 - Copy (7)The back of the photographs also tells us that this was taken in June 1943 at Downing College. Downing College was, and indeed still is, a university college in Cambridge but its buildings were taken over by the RAF at the start of the Second World War for the training of officers. This did not seem to last too long and the college lost its lodgers before the war ended. These cadets can easily be identified by the white flashes on their field service caps:SKM_C284e18021611150 - Copy - CopyFor more information on the RAF officer cadet FS caps please look here.

Throughout the time Downing College was used by the RAF, it remained open as a university with the two jostling for space. Mike Archer went up to Cambridge as an undergraduate in 1942:

In 1942 I gained a State Scholarship to read maths at Downing College, Cambridge. This was an eventful year: the tragedy of Pearl Harbour followed by the wonderful achievements of Montgomery at El Alamein. Needless to say the spirits of the students rose and fell in tune with the events. The college had three story blocks with four double rooms on each floor served by one bathroom, so each bedroom had its pair of chamber pots. The morning after Montgomery’s success had become known we arose to see the whole length of the roof of one wing adorned with a line of chamber pots and a large board reading ‘THE NIGHT WE LICKED THE JERRIES’.

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