Can I just thank all the lads that responded to the dvd. One could never be surprised at what memories people have of Gan,for instance John Cooper[one of the first gannites]remembered the generator shed,Setch,the Griffin engines as the shack flew over the runway,Mike Coster drinking charlies on the MCU jetty.Everybody who replied had their own memories,from sitting in the Astra to one lad saying he had stood on a stonefish just off the sailing club ramp. One thing everybody agreed on was that the place was bound to have change after 30 or so years. I think my old 69/70 pal Derek did a great job producing the dvd,and anybody who has seen it,with the lads sitting on the sea wall,the sun going down and the request comes on from radio gan heaven im in heaven,if that did not put the biggest smile on your face,then you were never there.I have sent copies all over the world,from S Africa to Canada/USA and of course Aussie Ron,who replied and seemed subdued not like him,maybe it got to him...I wish one of the Qs that look at the site had asked for a copy,asI would have liked to have given aQ one,a dvd you understand!!!.Anyway I have half a dozen copies left if anybody wants.I have kept a copy for Trev Haycock if anyone can give me an address and an update on his condition.Trev would like this as it is of his time and I am sure it would perk him up..Right then boys keep the site nice and active and see if we can get a few more lads to post a message or two..Taff has some more good stuff to post on his next update,,keep posted Larry
Watched the DVD and was sober at the time.
So was trying to remember the hideouts on the island !!
its quite hard trying to remember the things that you did with a bottle of charlie in one hand and a bottle of pernod in the other (and that was just before breakfast)
OK, so I remember the occasional can of Tiger.
Does that still make me a bad person ???
I have had computer problems for some weeks now and have just got back on line to see your message about only a few copies of your DVD left. Am I too late?
Many thanks for sending on the DVD from your last visit to the island. Very professional and I think the title you finally decided upon - Paradise Faded is very apt. I have run it through a couple of times already and surely will do many more times in the future.
What really jogged my memory? For a start, the guy in KD at the end! Prior to seeing that, only the name rang bells. As regards the island and the buildings - I shall have to rerun the DVD you sent me from your previous visit to compare. Of course, the Astra, SHQ, Blue Lagoon, Jetty, Fire Station etc., all were recalled. You said you were in Block 47. I was in Block 60. I did not see any sign of that. I thought when you were panning back towards the domestic site from the Fedu end of the runway; I was going to get a sight of it. But then a tractor or some other vehicle passed in front of the camera and scene obscured. Lots of additional vegetation hid that area as well. I just cannot recall the number of the billet I was in when I returned to Gan for a 9 month tour in 1972. I returned to the same job on the same watch in Siggies as my previous tour but was accommodated in a different block. However, I did spend a couple of nights in Block 287 - the 2 storey one and didn't care for that at all.
The large boat alongside a building - wasn't that what they called a bugalloo or something similar? There seemed to be a lot more fruit bats around now. Do they still fly in from the other islands in late afternoon?
I heard you say you spent 12 months on Gan and never got off the island. How come? I thought everyone got a break - married ones going West and singlies mainly going East. I made it in 1969, along with 2 other Gannites, to Singapore for a few days and then cadged an indulgence flight on a RNZAF Bristol Freighter up to Butterworth. Had a few days on Penang island before a bus journey up to HaadYai in Southern Thailand. From there we took an overnight train (3rd class, I think, no sleepers anyway) to Bangkok. And then back down again to Singers by train. Certainly made a change from Gan.
Anyway Larry, I am indebted to you and I'll give you a buzz shortly. I am not quite sure when you are attending this reunion in Glasgow
G'day there Al,
If I remember block 287 was the transit block by the squash courts, and I think occupied by some of 'THE PARTY'
Do not remember much about 287 but I guess it was transit, as I was only accommodated there until I got a permanent billet a couple of days later. There was a guy in the room with me who had been there for some time. He had me out on the reef on my first night with torches looking for shells. The moray eels scared the life out of me! They didn't move until you were almost on top of them.
Thanks for sending on the dates/info on the Glasgow reunion. Although I am back in Scotland now, I cannot make it there. (as I gather from another forum, you are detained in Oz as well. Sorry.
Regarding the getting off the island during your tour. I just had the 9 month version, which luckily for me included the Christmas period, but if push had come to shove, I would have gladly done the full 12 month stint. I managed to get a detachment to Singapore, to do trials between Singers/Gan/Hong Kong and Oz, which was only supposed to be for 2 weeks, but I managed to wangle the full 6 week trial, as the Captain i/c the pongo unit was from Aiberdeen, and when he found out I came from the same area, it was easy to get the extra 4 weeks. Oh the joys of Nee Soon and Bugis Street, just the beer, you understand!
Ah, Nee Soon! Yes. I was lucky enough to get a tour with the ANZUK force based at the Sembawang Naval Base, which was a little further up the road from Nee Soon. Made many visits there when the Gordon Highlanders were the resident battalion. That was some mob. Bugis Street featured more in my earlier Changi tour. Down town in the evening started in the Britannia Club nearly opposite the Raffles Hotel. Duty free booze there until closing time then you hit Bugis Street until they started clearing away the tables in the early hours of the morning. Taxi back to Changi in time for breakfast or if you had any dollars left, you went up market at the Hilton Hotel coffee shop in Orchard Road. Bugis Street was usually the place Gannites headed for on the first night of their mid tour leave!
I think we are getting a bit away from Larry's theme here!
Hey guys, I managed to come out of the draw for the UK mid tour and got married. !!!! Dont know if you lot remember but I certainly remember the telegrams from the wedding cos still got them. The highlight of the day was my wifes uncle reading them out and then he said this one is from all the boys in Gan..
Quote ¨If you snookered on the red go for the brown¨"
Needless to say I spent most of the rest of the day trying to explain it to the older relatives !!!!!
Ah the banter, cant remember now what I said but think I just got away with it. *******s !!!!!
If you still got any spare ones left, can you bring me one up to Glasgow?...there could be a (very) large scotch in it for you....i'll get Willie to buy it, but you can drink it.
Hello all,did the full 12 on Gan because I kept all my leave for when I got home,,married the girl and am still married to her 35yrs in june.Al Manson,that photo of me in KD at the end of the dvd is I think the only one I have in uniform.As regards Bugis, I did my time there in 66 on my way up to 33sqdn in Raaf Butterworth/Penang,as well as the Star hotel and the sqdns own bro/hotel the New Wah Seng in out of bounds Penang.Also went on leave in Singers and remember very little about it,all I remember was coming home and my deep sea box contained only an LP and a pair of flip flops. Mispent youth OK but I loved it...Keep it going Larry. PS a Q [scottish] came on and she is getting one from me..I will bring a few copies up to Glasgow...
You lucky lad, Wish I could give a Q one !!!!
Let me guess 'Q' = Lorraine ? Nice lady, sent a few reflections for the 'Memories' section.
Larry – I was thrilled to receive your DVD. When I climbed aboard the Gan crew coach for the last time on 29 March 1976, I never in my wildest dreams thought that I’d view footage of the island, circa 2005, from the comfort of home in the frozen North (snow blizzard having). What brilliant foresight to record your return visit for posterity - it’s an impressive production, with the correct balance of stills, video and commentary. As you say, the opening of the new international airport & influx of tourists could herald dramatic change. It would be a massive & expensive operation to demolish all the old military buildings and then ship rubble & debris off, but I’ve no doubt that a regeneration project is in the pipeline. My mind was whirling with the buzz of recognition; buildings, old signs, block numbers, names carved into concrete, golf course, Pakistani camp. The SWO would turn in his grave at evidence of wear and tear, the ‘paradise faded’, but there’s a surreal familiarity about it all. Ghosts from the past swept over me – noise from the jetty, cyclists in uniform, Gannites sunning themselves, oggin troggin, laughter from bars, Radio Gan. I shall treasure this and view it from time to time in my dotage, a wistful reminiscence. Thanks so much, it’s very much appreciated and typical of Gannite generosity. What a great bunch of lads.
Lorraine Lee (Sassenach in the Highlands)
I apologise Lorraine, just being a normal gannite with the usual urges.
No offence taken at all Ron - in fact, I nearly collapsed in a fit of giggles.
Hi Loraine if you ever had the misfortune to have seen Ron naked then you would have definitely collapsed in fit of giggles.
Hi Lorraine if you ever had the misfortune to have seen Ron naked then you would have definitely collapsed in a fit of giggles.
I still have the lithe body, but now its just relaxed muscle, but there again if you get some gt wheels on your zimmer frame, you can get to the bar and back before closing time.
Sorry it's taken me 13 hours to reply but a gal has to compose herself. Gerry and Ron - were you hermits of Hittadu? The island was always shrouded in mystery. I bumped into gannites on leave down route from time to time. I remember one who performed a stunning Travolta/Little Richard style solo on the dance floor in Limassol. He ended up doing the splits and got a standing ovation.
Did anyone ever get onto Wilingili? Also, how far out were you allowed to swim? I recall eating garoupa fish on Gan - did you ever have locally sourced food in the mess, or was it all shipped in from Blighty? What happened to the mountain of rubbish, was it destined for landfill on Sri lanka or horror of horrors dumped at sea? Trivia - but would be interested to know.
Ron you have the body of a 20 year old but his parents say they will go the police if you dont give him back !!!
Lorraine, is this University challenge with all the questions. Most of the gannites can hardly remember their names after 9 or 12 months on tiger beer !!!!
As for willingili, I remember her. She was always very willing. !!!!! Hitadu hermits, no I always a fan of Hermans hermits.
Sorry Lorraine - but was your actual gannite resident,
the only travelling was with the sub-aqua club, which was next door to the marine bar - so didn't have to travel far for nightly entertainment.
Strewth lads, hampered mental performance and addled by the sun. Is there no one out there who remembers factoids domestic, geographical & environmental about Gan.
Shall have to make competence test a little easier.
Your starter for 10:
1. How many bars were there on the island (excluding marine bar)?
2. How many ml in a bottle of Tiger Beer (1 fl oz = 28.4130625 ml)
3. Bonus question for 5:
What was the average lefspan (in months) of a flip flop?
For lefspan read lifespan
My flip-flops lasted right up until 1999, and then they suffered cat4 damage on the Full moon resort in of all places the northern mali atoll only 600 miles from Gan. They were buried with full military honours on the beach and as luck would have it, the very next day after a storm during the night I managed to salvage a left and a right flip flop off of the beach, okay they're not a matching pair but good for another 20 years
Regards Lorraines queries.I went to willingili 05,with the Shangri-la contracts manager,to see the start of the new hotel complex.the island itself is very overgrown but will be some place if it matches the proposed development..As regards the rubbish on Gan the started digging sections out of the reef and tipping then backfilling.Then for the swimming...I learned to swim on Gan,but I was that hard up I had to learn to swim with one hand--I needed the other one to keep my underpants up !!!!Then I am surprised that Lorraine did not bump into Nobby,he also used to do the splits,but usually from ear to ear from the fan in the marine or any uther bar,is that right??? Larry
Answer to your questions
2. More than a mouthful
3. Depends on who was wearing them at the time.
You won't get any sense out of Gerry or Ron, Lorraine.
The both had the lobotomy before they went to Gan and never had it reversed when they got back to blighty!
Ron was evicted from England and now lives in Oz, and Gerry, well that's an even stranger tale.
Keep posting girl, you are the only one that makes any sense
Tony, I only had the lobotomy so that I could be your friend and equal......And it still was'nt enough to get down to your level !!!!
As you can see Lorraine, this site exists not only for learning and knowledge but is also useful for sacarsm and taking the p.ss.
Let's get one thing straight first, yes, I did have a date with a 'Q', but I think she got upset when we went to the movies and sat in the second row, the best thing about it was, Tony, Rod, Willie and Jerry just drooling,
can't imagine why - they all dated the same girl Rosie Palm.
I remember a couple of female Aqm's at the Gan sports day. I was running in the 200 metres and was wearing boxer shorts, as I entered the straight my pecker slipped out and was waving from side to side impeding the other runners. I came second, but if they'd had a photi finish I'm sure I'd have won by a length. The Aqm was handing out the prizes. She wanted to meet me afterwards, but I was having none of it. Booze-up later and we're all clamouring round this Aqm. It was a close call between the muscle bound pti and the rest - I had been disqualified for vomiting. Anyway, I follows the pti and his new mate back to his room from a discrete distance and pressed my earhole up against his wooden shutter and listened to the sounds of turgid foreplay, he must of heard my heavy breathing cos he shouted "eff off shipperley", how did he know it was me?
Crikey – Nobby seems to be an all round sportsman, a previous post suggested RAF gymnastics team and/or an air conditioning engineer. I must say, despite talk of over-relaxation and alcoholic poisoning, most gannites looked the picture of health on gazomie flights. Must have been the outdoor life and fringe sports – one handed swimming towards the breakers etc. I trust that Ron is perfecting Larry’s ingenious multi-tasking manoeuvres somewhere along the Great Barrier Reef. Apropos underwater pursuits, we were always warned to wear long sleeved tops when snorkelling. One girl on the squadron ended up in Gan medical centre with third degree burns - used to be classed as self inflicted injury. I don’t know whether she’d used the early seventies answer to the St Tropez tanning system, i.e. olive oil. Were gannites issued with 9 months supply of suncream or did you settle for a full fry-up? Also, did you have those salt tablets in foil containers, on tables, in the mess? The Force only knows what that did to the blood pressure.
Interesting re. proposed luxury development on Willingili. Hope that lots of jobs will be created for the locals. I noticed the website photos of Maldivians who used to work on Gan. I seem to recall several named Didi.
I knew his brother, do-wah didi...
We used coconut milk for sun tan, learnt that from Changi.
Coconut oil suncream. We used to get a bottle from Ali Clump for 6d go out to the end of the jetty (Hittadu) smother ourselves in it as say "Oh Lord, fry me like a chip"
Andy Knowles has got the details for me and I'm hoping to get back to Hittadu for the day in August.
No, what you did was go to work in your monsoon cape, rain or shine, and any other time just go out at night, so that nasty yellow thing in the sky didnt burn you. I know, I was that airman!!
Looking forward to meeting you all in Glasgow. Pleased I did not meet Nobby in the 200mtrs as I have already suffered from whiplash,although a 3cm red mark would not have hurt that much.I never did see anyone try the fan-dance,but we did have a storeman ie Willie the frog,whos party piece was putting a small frog in his beer and swallowing it.Resulted in a casevac.Gave him an enema in Singers and flushed out a bucketfull of frogspawn.Next, wasnt it great to have Lorraine come on to the site,and just look at the way it took off again..There must be 1000snd of lads out there to tell a story or two,and just look at the response...Regards Willingilli the website if yo want a look is www.shangri-la.com plenty of info on the proposed resort..Anyone got a mobile if I get lost in Glasgow....Larry
Jeez, what a load of crap you self centred egotists talk, all Lorraine wanted was a bit of sense (fat chance of that from you lot)toa few simple questions (obviously too difficult for you lot).
Lorraine, if you want sensible answers, i'm your man, I was always the quiet sensible one of the bunch, well, somebody had to, and it was only through my hard work and diligence that they all got back reasonably sane.
We all know about you Rod,
Rooting the roomboy, wearing mascara and suspenders to breakfast every Sunday, remember we told you not to wear the flip flops, but you wouldn't listen to us, red shoes high heels, and to top it all, you had to wear that nurses outfit for the easter parade, just in case JC dropped his cross again. Can't imagine what you are going to wear to the reunion ???
Rod, when you said to Loraine. "I'm your man".
Have you not told anyone about that op you had some years ago ???? You know the one where we now have to call you " Chantelle" !!!!!!!
That was a bit severe Rod, I remember you having the op as well, snip, snip and Rod's your auntie!!
Larry, were you serious abouth the mobile phone query?
Just been to Shangri-la website, definitely a step up in class to the Equator village. I especially liked the idea of the karoake room. Perhaps we can find a bar in Glasgow with it - although I say it myself you have'nt lived til you've heard my rendition of "Delilah", and my "Nobody's Child" aint bad either.
Anybody thought of inviting our new mate Lorraine? It'll be like the old days with Gerry and me after the same bird and him missing out.
Ye, will definitely be looking out for a Karaoke bar.
Great to hear Nobby sing Delilah and will enjoy singing our usual lyrics. "I felt the knife in my hand and Nobby never sang again "
As for you getting all the birds. Yep that was correct as all of them looked like they had just aditioned for an episode "The Munsters "
I’m building up an invaluable picture of Gan culture & characters through this thread, but breathe easy, I shan’t gate crash gannite bonding/Tom Jones karaoke session in Glasgie. Some things are sacred Nobby. Which reminds me, I do think it charming that Rod made the effort to dress for the mess – true colonial spirit. Many thanks for the tips re. coconut oil & tanning, though midge repellent is order of the day here on latitude 57.2. I did wonder how many of you were volunteers for Paradise Isle? I can appreciate the advantages that a Gan posting would have over the likes of Saxa Vord and Henlow. Also, there was an opportunity to save for Minis, marriages and mortgages - better option than incentives offered at the Common Cold Research Centre, Porton Down. Looking back, military pay was not so great before the mid seventies hike and I don’t think gannites were truly rewarded for the X factor. No wonder gambling syndicates re. frog racing etc operated. Larry mentioned a dearth of the creatures on visit 2005, so apart from Willie swallowing the small ones you must have exercised them all to death. Good to see fruit bats still in abundance; I also remember the eternal patter of ‘chit chats’ scurrying along walls of transit blocks. I don’t suppose the Shangri-la group will feature such delights at proposed hotel complex on Willingili/Villingili. Their ‘Whispering Palms Lounge’, ‘Soft Rock Café’ & ‘Naner’s Juice Bar’ seem a world away......
Hells teeth lads, I think we've been rumbled. Sounds as though Lorraine is beginning to understand us...does that mean there is hope for (some) of us yet?.
I Just went for the beer,
I don't think it was the sound of chit-chats pounding on the wall, I can confirm that it was the Duty Moonie on night manouvers.
As to the frog racing, did you know that frogs can't jump nor swim after injecting 2cc of mercury.
Will be ZGN for a couple of days - going into hospital in half an hour tonight.
So see you in a couple of days.
Yes, the bit about just going for the beer was true, but the thing Ron did'nt tell you was that when he got the ale, he did'nt bring any back, unless you count the cans that he drank!
Ron, let us know how you come on asap,and best wishes..Nobby, if we end up in karaoke,I am afraid you have got competition as another lad who is coming Dave[genuine-geordie]Wilkin also does Delilah as well as his Gan special--Tony Bennets SanFrancisco,and he tells me ,he has actually had (ladies)throw underwear at him,mind that is down in Cambridge and I dont know if the girls are a bit more (receptive ) down there,but if the two of you get those Glasgow fillies warmed up we might never get back home on sunday.I cant wait...Larry
Very best wishes to Ron for a speedy recovery.
Ron, hope you have speedy recovery. I remember the last time Rod went into hospital. The surgeon said it was the most difficult operation he had ever performed trying to get Rod's wallet out of his back pocket. !!!!!
As for Karaoke, I do a mean Buddy Holly. All I need is a plane, a foggy night and the Big Bopper with me.
See ya in Glesgie !!!!!
My Elvis is unbeatable....its probably the best impersonation ever done of him......quite happy to perform it if we find a karaoke bar....