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York to Ceylon
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Below is an e-mail I received today from Gerry Taylor following on my "ditty" about the journey by York to Ceylon, [click here to read article] (well that's what it was called then). I'm also in touch with Frank Coleman who was in the band with me and between us we will hopefully put together a few more reminiscences of our year cruising around the Indian Ocean and the Gulf, oh happy days. Well they are when you look backwards as the mind has a way of forgetting all the times you would rather not remember.

It appears Gerry's journey back was just as eventful as our journey out but I think we got the best of the overnight accommodation.

Hope you can make some use of it.

Best regards

Ian (Epps)


Hi Ian.

I have been reading with great interest your memories of the Avro York flight out to Ceylon. I reckon that it could have been the same aircraft that I returned home on to the UK from Singapore with some of the HMS Terror band. It took 4 days (4 Nov.-7 Nov. 1954).

It was the first time I had flown, and looking back I remember it was a most eventful trip.

We boarded the plane at Changi airfield early in the morning. It was raining at the time and I quite clearly remember the stewardess walking down the cabin sticking plasters on the roof in an attempt to stop the water leaks. First overnight stop was in Calcutta. After the cabin door opened an Indian chappie complete with dhoti came on board and started spraying the cabin and us with some sort if disinfectant, probably DDT. Bloody cheek! We stayed at a very grand hotel, The Great North-eastern I think. We split off into pairs and were allocated a suite of rooms between us, complete with turbaned servants.After a sumptuous dinner we ventured outside for a look round, and this was of course another world of utter poverty and degradation. We soon retreated back inside.

Next day we continued our flight to the Gulf area. Apparently the hotel bookings for that night had got cocked up some how Instead of Bahrain, we ended up in an Arab dosshouse in Basra. What a comedown!

Yes, I also remember the method of navigation to the Mediterranean (follow the pipeline) onto our last overnight stay in Malta.

Next day on to Stanstead, then by bus to Goodge Street in London. This was where we were checked out before being released for some leave complete with ration coupons. After living the 'Life of Reilly' in Singapore for 2 years, we came down to earth with a big bump. I remember that November was very cold and foggy. Gerry was not a happy bunny.

Anyway, I hope I haven't bored you with all this prattle.

Best wishes,

Gerry Taylour

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