In late January 1955, I travelled by train with some other recruitsto R.A.F. Cardington, a famous airfield in Bedfordshire where theairships R101 and R102 were built. The hangers where they werehoused were still there and were immense. But we weren’t there tosee the hangers, we were to be inducted into the R.A.F.We were there for about a week in which time we were givenanother medical, issued with our uniforms and given the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty. Surprisingly, care was taken that theuniforms actually fitted and some were altered by tailors to fit theindividual. We were shown how to take care of the clothing andhow to press them, etc. by an airman who was assigned to us asguide while we were there. He said the usual practice was foreveryone to chip in and he would buy an electric iron for us to usewhile we were there and before we left it would be raffled amongus. I was a bit suspicious about giving him money as we didn’tknow how much the iron cost but we all chipped in as we neededan iron.Apart from pressing our uniforms, another use for the iron was toremove the raised dimples from the toecaps of our brand new bootsso that we could start putting a high polish on them. Anothermethod was to rub the toecaps with the heated handle of atoothbrush but it would be weeks before we achieved the resultwhich would please the NCOs.The berets which accompanied our working blues had to be shrunkinto shape so that they looked smart. So they were soaked in warmwater for ages then pulled on to your head and pulled to one sideso that it lay against the side of the head. Everyone had their ownideas for achieving the right effect and some were successful andothers not.The buttons of our dress uniform were brass plated and had to bepolished. Later in our service we could dispense with this bypurchasing, quite legitimately, anodised buttons which did not needpolishing. We also had to put blue blanco on all our webbing andpouches.