Does anyone remember Albert Royston Johns RAF Catering was on Xmas island during bomb tests

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Valerie Lindley
Joined: 17/10/2016
Posts: 1
Does anyone remember Albert Royston Johns RAF Catering was on Xmas island during bomb tests

My father Roy Johns was on Christmas Island during the bomb tests. He worked in the RAF catering . He sadly passed away in March 2001 aged 70 years. We have photos of his friends who were on Xmas island at the same time. If you or your relative were there and knew my dad, please get in touch .  Val Johns Lindley.

V Lindley

Chris Fish
Chris Fish's picture
Joined: 18/11/2011
Posts: 120

Hi Val.

Sorry I am to know you have lost your Father, as I make it out he would have been 85 this year.  Unfortunately we are all getting older and men of your Fathers age may have died.  I am in my late 77 year.   I keep looking on this Site to see if there is any one who I knew while on Christmas Island and found no one.  I have looked on the Site Forces Reunited and again found no one.  Have you looked on Nuclear Veteran Association.   The Royal Air Force Association.  National and local.  I put some of this down to our age as some men may not be compute literate.  I was fortunate that back in the late 1980's when my job became redundant I was able to get on Computer Courses.  One of the things I had to do was sit for hours and learn to touch type, with various Computer Typing Tutor Programs.   One I got familiar with is Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.  I had a great time at learning about computers.  This computer I have, I built many years ago.  In computer technology is a bit slow and out of date though I have it running on Windows 10.  

You have not said if your father was there in 1957 to late 1958 or he was on Christmas Island In 1962 when Britain and America tested 25 bombs in eleven weeks.

Have you looked on the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Site.   There is a DVD amy842.  The film is in 2 parts, it is called Operation Grapple.  The setting up of Grapple Command and the dropping of Britain's  First Thermonuclear Bomb off of Malden Island, Grapple X.  The following two Y and Z. off Malden Island 300 hundred mile south of the Equator.  Later test were carried out at South East Point, Christmas Island.  Christmas Island is about 100 hundred miles North of the Equator.  There is another Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean and governed by Australia.  This is not the Christmas Island that was used for British Nuclear Tests.

If I remember correctly Warren Karno in his book The Grapple and the Guinea Pig mentions about catering personnel.  I saw the book on Amazon and made a purchase.  Very interesting and done in straight language. There are other books and one is titled Megaton Breakfasts.  I mention that this book has descriptive heavy language.  The writer was on Christmas Island in 1962.  A different Camp of Christmas Island than I knew when I came home in 1960.

I do trust, you will find some of your fathers colleagues and get to chat over the internet with them.  It is a very small world.  When younger with my parents we lived in different parts of England.  Southall, Middlesex, Brandon, West Suffolk, Hereford City, Herefordshire, Heathfield in East Sussex.   Moving to Heathfield I had to find new employment the business that i applied for a job took me into employment.  I learnt that the fellow who had left to join the R. A, F. had given me his job.   I was called up for national service while living in Heathfield, going to Brighton for medical and going through the routine for going into as elected by me the RAF. F.  Done the basic training and was posted after trade training to  R. A. F. Northolt, Middlesex.  Served there until embarkation to Christmas Island.  It was down at R..A. F. Innsworth that I met up with the fellow Allen ??? who had given me the place of employment back in 1957 in Heathfield.  Another one on returning home from Christmas Island I was posted to RAF. Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, living on Conningsby Camp.  One Friday David a colleague said did any one want a lift over towards and beyond Leicester.  As my Father and Mother had moved to Wymondham, Norfolk while in the R. A. F. it was easier to get from Leicester to Bury, Lancashire than to Wymondham.  Dave pulled up a Leicester Station and said our weekend farewells.  I went into the booking office and asked for a Forces Return to Bury, Lancs.  The man at the window said the train for  Manchester is now pulling out.  Comeback for the 19.00 hour next train for Manchester.  I went of around Leicester and went back for the Manchester Train.  Train came in and in those days trains had side corridors. Got in and walked along and passing people, I saw a compartment with two empty seats.  I said to the lady are throes seats both vacant.  She replied the one by the window  is vacant the other is my husbands, he's out in the corridor.  I sat down by the window seat and the train moved out of Leicester Station.  A few minutes later the gentleman came sat down and started talking to the lady.  I sat, yes listening for a few minutes.  I could not hold back longer and say excuse me, is your name Jack ??? .  He said yes and I told him I was Chris Fish.  It was my uncle and his wife going to Matlock for a conference.  That was the last time I saw my uncle and his wife.  Later as through family circles we learnt they had moved to Barrow in Furness.

The Jack Pot is Ken who was with us a Woodhall Spa, Conningsby purchased a Lanchester Car.  It was said the be the poor mans Daimler Car.  Ken live in Ipswich and the nearest he would get me to getting home to Wymonham was by dropping me off on  the A11 at Thetford before he took the road to Bury St Edmonds.  I started walking out of Thetford along the A11, and hadn't gone far as I was thumbing a lift and this car pulled up along side me.  I thought for a moment is was Ken who had come back but no if was another fellow in a Lanchester Car similar to Ken's.  The man asked where did I want and replied Norwich.  He said right get in and away we went.  Had a bit of a chat about this and that asking where I was stationed and explained   He then said where do you actually want and my reply was Wymondham.  He said actually where in Wymondham do you want.  I said well it doe's not really matter but drop me in Wymondham and I can walk from there.  He said I am going to Barnham Broom and my reply was I live at Hill House, Barnham Broom, Road.  Into Wymondham and up Barnham Broom Road and the man drops me outside of the gate to our house.

Years later I was able to do a similar lift for a chap who was going home for the weekend from RAF. Cranwell, Lincolnshire.  I was going to my Brother's at Bury, Lamcs.  I would cutup across country via Leeds and onto the M62.  The fellow lived in Leeds and I was able to drop him of close to his home.  It was his wish that he got out where he did.

Val may I wish you all the best in your project of search and trust I will hear you have found some of Your Fathers Friend.  Do keep looking on  persons may come on and give you some information.  

Kind Regards from me Chris Fish.




Hi Paul and Dennis,

Thanks for your mail.  Pleased to see that you have obtained some details that will allow you to track back on one of the routes taken to Christmas Island.

Just would like to point out if you have not tried look

Joined: 29/01/2018
Posts: 1

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