Frontier Former Editor

May 13, 2006

Merry olde England

Filed under: Cornwall, Guy Fawkes, old times — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:23 pm

I spent my fourth, fifth and sixth years in Cornwall when my father was stationed at a U.S. Navy facility (I’ll leave the description at that) on a Royal Air Force station – RAF St. Mawgan – from 1965 to 1968, so my first really coherent memories started there.
We lived in an old Royal Air Force officers housing complex. – row houses with fair-sized gardens in the rear. A field at the rear of our row of houses separated us from the local school.
The neighborhood was just across the road from RAF St. Eval, which had been closed just six years earlier. A couple of large, late WW II hangars still stood, and the runways and hardstands were still visible through the weeds growing there. Some local folks raced small cars around the runways, and the U.S. Navy and RAF families celebrated Guy Fawkes Night by burning a rather elaborate effigy on top of a huge pyre of scrap wood each November.
St. Eval had also housed U.S. Army Air Force bomber crews flying anti-U-boat patrols over the North Atlantic around 1942-43
A shepherd led his flock every morning and afternoon through the neighborhood. Grocery shopping consisted of trips every few days to the butcher and baker, while a greengrocer brought his van through every two or three days. Once a week, we drove into Newquay to visit the supermarket, or the NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) grocery van stopped in the neighborhood.
We also had a small Navy Exchange at the ‘facility,’ which was more like a general store than your typical post or base exchange. We got our Cokes and other touches of home from there. I had my first Tootsie Pop when the storekeeper handed me one. My first Oreo was in England.
I don’t remember my first plane flight – it was to England. I do remember my second flight – it was to the United States. I also saw my first iceberg on that flight, from 40,000 feet.
My third plane flight was that same day, from McGuire Air Force Base to National Airport. That night, in a nearby motel, I saw my first episode of Star Trek.
A few months later, I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.
I had missed a couple of years of things on television, like race riots and Vietnam.
Maybe I’ll write some more about this.

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5 Comments »

  1. Hi! I was your father’s commanding officer. You will never know how much trouble getting that small NavEX was. It took a long battle, Please respond with your name and email address and I shall have some of my five children contact you. You will probably know most of them.

    Comment by L.K.Weber — February 24, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

  2. Dear mother of God! Thank you for responding. My name is Mike Still, and my e-mail address is m_still@comcast.net.

    My father was a 1st or 2nd class petty officer and electrician’s mate, Roger Still.

    You may remember a Gunner’s Mate Westover. He passed on a few years ago.

    I look forward to more exchanges (no pun intended).

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — February 25, 2008 @ 12:48 am

  3. Hi Mike…… what a small world. I am Larry Weber’s second child, second daugher. I have such fond memories of that place. Do you remember playing soccer on the big field in the middle of all the quarters? And the fish & chips truck that came around? Did you attend Trevisker school? How old were you during that time? I was 8 in ’65 & 11 in ’69. I remember Guy Fawkes day well! and playing in those bunkers, Christmas parties at RAF St. Mawgan, the NAAFI (grocery store) etc. etc. What is your website about?
    Cathleen

    Comment by Cathleen Weber Machaby — February 25, 2008 @ 7:36 am

  4. I was 3 when I got there and 6 when I left. Yes, I remember the field well – especially all the nettles when rolling around in the grass.

    And yes, I was a Trevisker ‘alumnus.’ Hidden well away are school pics in those itchy wool coats and shorts.

    I remember going out to the fish and chips van every Saturday before whatever the equivalent of American Bandstand came on.

    I started this blog about two years ago to write on things that a newspaper editor dare not get caught writing under his or her own name.

    I’ll be passing on your father’s e-mails to my dad, and I look forward to writing more with all of you. We may end up having to start a blog just on St. Mawgan.

    I agree – I lived through four base postings – Little Creek, St. Mawgan, Pensacola and Norfolk, and this was probably the best one in my memories.

    Here’s some more posts on St. Eval and St. Mawgan, including a recent photo of St. Eval:

    https://frontiereditor.wordpress.com/2006/05/17/more-tales-from-england/

    https://frontiereditor.wordpress.com/2006/05/14/bird-watching-in-england/

    https://frontiereditor.wordpress.com/2007/08/09/growing-up-in-cornwall/

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — February 25, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  5. Hey Cathleen,
    Now have time to catch up. How are you, miss you and our great adventures. Don’t you just Love Google.

    Comment by MaryEllen Wilkinson — January 7, 2010 @ 3:43 pm


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