Edinburgh University Air Squadron, 1946-1969
Summa Petunt Juvenes
Neil Henriksen 1951
When I joined in 1951, only 3.4% entered university from school. We were privileged. I left with an ordinary BSc and spent a year training on Harvards at Penhold in Alberta and T33 Silver Stars at Gimli by Lake Winnipeg where I got my wings. Back in UK the Suez crisis fuel shortage reduced my national service to twenty-one months. I taught maths, got a first class honours at Strathclyde and in 1982 became rector of The James Young High School. A fairly routine career for my student generation, I think.
The reunion caused a welling-up of memories that might not otherwise have surfaced. So many irresponsible, even dangerous adventures (inverted spins with CFI Douglas-Reid; taking the Harvard over the Columbia Icefields and severing a farmer’s power line when following the bends of the North Saskatchewan River) – so little attention to study; episodes which I need not have shut out for shame, such as the CO’s comment that at least we were in the same patch of sky when I made a wrong turn leading a formation at the Scone Trophy.
The Squadron gave the most indelible (formative?) experiences of my youth. I don’t think that, given the option, I would change them. Despite only remembering Ron Gardiner, Tom Kibble and Rex Holroyd, the rest of you were recognisably from the same stable. Listening to your varied careers and achievements was rewarding. Change that we have experienced over sixty years must be greater than that for any preceding generation over a similar period and recalling, reflecting and putting life into perspective occupies me more and more. I’m grateful to Ron and Tom Wilson for organising our meeting and hope we may meet again.