Friends reunited

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A Banchory man rediscovered a former RAF friend he had not spoken to in over 60 years, thanks to the Piper.

Ray Davies, who lives in the West Midlands, and John McDonald, of Auchattie, did National Service together in 1951, when John was 19.

Ray wrote to the Piper last week asking if anyone knew the whereabouts of John, who he believed lived in the Banchory area. John saw the letter and got in touch for the first time since 1951.

John, of Hillhead House, Auchattie, said: “We were both with No2 MT Company RAF Bicester and both in the transport department. I was waiting to pass my driving test, so during that period I had to go as the second man to help with trailers.

“I was with Ray for about four weeks on that job, then I took leave,” said John, 79. “When I returned from leave I was put onto something else and then I got into driving myself and was a driver with the RAF for the rest of my National Service, til November 1952.

“We hadn’t spoken to each other for 60 years – he was so thrilled. We’d a long chat on the phone and he is going to send me a photo of the old RAF truck we were in for four weeks. I have also dug out some of my old RAF photos – this is really quite something!”

Ray, 80, of Stourbridge, said: “I was a lorry driver and if we had a task where we had a trailer, they gave us a second man. John was my second man and looked after my trailer.

“We used RAF Locking as a stop-over when we were running between an airfield near Exeter and Lytham-St-Anne’s – a long haul in those days when the speed limit for lorries was only 20mph!

“We got on well but one day he had to go home because it was deer-stalking time and that was the last I saw of him.

“One of my other friends had found John but had then lost touch with him, but being a silver surfer, I thought I’d have a go at finding him myself, using the internet.”

Ray, a retired auto-electrician for West Midlands Passenger Transport, said: “I never thought I’d hear from him – it was great to get that phone call and we had lots of memories to catch up on.

“I hope to meet up with him some day.”