Dalcross - now Inverness airport - is situated about 7 miles from Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. During world war two it was used as an aircrew training base because of its almost fog free conditions and also its remoteness from enemy attack. 

However this little tale is about life there in the early 1950's when it was reopened during the Korean War as No. 8 Advanced Flying Training School, Royal Air Force. 

Email:  mr.mo15@bigpond.com

 

I was born in Ardersier which lies halfway between Dalcross and the then depot of the Seaforth Highlanders, Fort George.  

My first venture into the music world was when, together with the under mentioned musicians we formed the

 

No. 8 A.F.T.S.,  Royal Air Force Dance Band, Dalcross.  The original band members included: 

  Ian Austin                         Piano,          Dumfries   Jim "Get a grip o'yersel" Gray,  Drums, Dennistoun
  George "Tug" Wilson     Bass/Sax,    Lochwinnoch   Geordie "Bent finger" Richardson,      Durham
  Tommy Lavery                Guitar,         Glasgow  

  Maurice Horsburgh   Accordion,      Arderiser

  Bill Miller                        Trumpet,       Glasgow

  Bob Carr                               Bass,     Durham

  Charlie McLean              Accordion,   Macrahanish

  

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Northern Meeting Ballroom Inverness 1954

     Corporals' Mess     

RAF Dalcross 1953

       Officers' Mess                RAF Dalcross 1954

We were all sober!

The Quartet which went to

Isle of Man    

 

They were a great bunch of guys, some national service and others enlisted. Fortunately it was in the pre crack, cocaine and speed era. Another great advantage, head banging "music" had not yet been inflicted upon the populace. 

People still conversed with each other in dance halls, sign language was only used by the hearing impaired. To say we enjoyed ourselves was an understatement. 

In the north of Scotland in the 50's, music was in the doldrums and when this band appeared with "new blood" from the south things started to happen.

Dances were held on the RAF station and young ladies arrived by the double decker bus load. 

The Band was booked for most venues in Northern Scotland from Dounreay (Atomic Power Station) in the north - which was then under construction - to Aberdeen in the East and out to the Western Isles. 

Amongst the venues in which we played was the "Northern Meeting Rooms" in Inverness, home of the "Royal Highland Ball".

Our first resident summer season booking was at the "Ben Wyvis Hotel" Strathpeffer where we entertained the residents plus visiting coach parties. 

At that time Military Dance Bands were not recognized as a separate entity, only as part of the Military Band. Bill Miller the trumpet player designed the above badge, it was sent to the Air Ministry for approval and it was accepted. 

As far as I know this may still be the only officially recognized Dance Band in the Royal Air Force.

I also worked on a casual basis with  Royal Air Force Dance Band Kinloss - then Coastal Command and with the Fleet Air Arm Dance Band at HMS "Fulmar"  R.N.A.S., Lossiemouth.

When the members of the band got demobbed, we formed a Quartet with Ian Austin, piano; Tug Wilson, sax/bass, Tommy Lavery, guitar and myself. We spent some time rehearsing in Ardersier and Dumfries, and on the advice of Joe Daniels of "Hot Shots" fame, we travelled to Birmingham, England for an audition which was successful, and as a result got our first professional summer season booking in the Isle of Man. This can be viewed from the index page.

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