Decorated pilot and author, now living in Australia, shares his memories of Judd, his incredible flying career and his highly acclaimed book....
|17 Jun 2020|
I was born in 1932 which makes me 88 now in 2020. My father Hugh Laming was a British journalist who was in the Spanish Civil War and the British Army 1939-45. We lived in Malta before the war where my father was a journalist for the Malta Chronicle. We returned to England in 1939 and I spent the war years with relatives in Sheerness, Cranbrook and Tonbridge.
Prior to leaving England for Australia in 1947, I attended The Judd School from 1941 to 1947, and it was a very happy time for me, despite the death of my mother Lilian in 1939 of TB. I was then age seven living in Cranbrook with elderly relatives.
I moved from Cranbrook to Tonbridge in 1941 where I boarded with various kind people while attending Judd. I remember I lived at 6 Goldsmid Rd and 58 Deakin Leas, Tonbridge. This photo above was taken during a cadet camp which took place in about 1945 at Walton-on-Naze in Essex. I recognise the faces of everyone in the front row as Judd School boys but I cannot recall their names. I am the boy in the front row second from the left, kneeling and wearing a white singlet; others in the group may have been Army cadets from another school in Kent.
In those days there were only about 350 students at The Judd School and the best teacher I had was Mr Harris, our Geography master. He lived a few houses from my digs in Deakin Leas during the war. I mentioned him in the opening part to my book as his stories of the South Seas of the Pacific were so interesting that I always wanted to see these places for myself. The Head Masters at Judd during my time there were Mr Lloyd-Morgan (1941) and Mr F. Taylor (1944?). Both were wonderfully kind men loved by all the students.
(Normally the book will arrive in your postal address within two weeks as it is printed in UK)
The front cover of the book shows the runway at Nauru Island which was the home of Air Nauru, the airline John flew for in the Central Pacific region.
The photo of the Boeing 737 on the front cover was taken by John in circa 1983 from the air traffic control tower on Nauru. He described how the aircraft was flying down the runway at high speed at 50 feet, it had just flown in from Hong Kong where it had a new paint job, and the President of Nauru asked the pilot, Captain Maurie Baston, to carry out a low run down the runway to show off the aircraft to the population of Nauru. (Nauru was a tiny island that took just 30 minutes to drive around in a car and a population then of 6000 people). The other photo on the cover was a Mustang fighter John was flying at the time while in formation with a Lincoln bomber near Townsville in Australia. John explained how you can just see the Townsville coastline in the background. The third small photo of an aircraft at the top of the cover picture, all Photo-shopped together, is the Lincoln bomber he used to fly.
During his time with the RAAF, he flew a wide variety of planes, including Mustang, Vampire, Lincoln, Convair, Viscount, Dakota, and HS748. He even once flew a borrowed RAN Sea Fury!
With more than 23,500 flying hours, John Laming holds a current ATPL, CASA Delegation for instrument rating tests on the Boeing 737 simulator, and a current Grade 1 instructor rating. He is also an accomplished author with many published articles on a variety of aviation subjects to his name.
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