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POST 1962 LIONS TOUR  

 

On returning from the 1962 Lions tour HJC was approached by Huddersfield rugby League team to turn professional which he rejected. He chose to take up a permanent commission in the RAF till age 55 with an option of retiring with a pension at age 40. Later that year he trained as a Parachute Jumping Instructor at RAF Abingdon. Whilst there HJC recalls ‘I got up at 4.00 am did two parachute jumps before 8.00 am, changed and drove to St. Pancras station to catch the mid-day train to Edinburgh with the RAF XV, was taken by coach to Hawick to play v Scottish XV under floodlights, returned to Edinburgh station to catch the midnight sleeper train back to London. Returning to RAF Abingdon. I was back at work by 10.00 am only to be asked ‘Where were you yesterday? On another skive?’

RAF v Navy - try or no try ? this one definitely wasn't sent upstairs

  He subsequently served at Aldershot with 16 Para Brigade firstly for 2 years as a Flight Lieutenant and later for 4 years as a Squadron Leader, OC RAF Detachment of 36 RAF personnel. It was during this time in January 1972 he was in the Brigade HQ Officers Mess when it was blown up by the IRA in reprisal for the Bloody Sunday massacres. Seven people were killed that day but HJC was lucky to survive receiving 32 stiches in cuts from flying glass. He also spent 2 years in the Duke of Yorks HQ in the Kings Road Chelsea with 44 Para Brigade, the Territorials, followed by 2 years as a test parachutist at RAF Boscombe Down. Whilst at Boscombe Down HJC experienced HALO parachuting (High Altitude – Low Opening). Wearing protective clothing against the minus 30 degree centigrade temperature at altitude, and using oxygen throughout, he jumped several times from 25,000ft above ground level. 

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HJC leaving a 'perfectly serviceable' aircraft

 

 

 

COMBINED SERVICES XV TOUR OF CANADA

  

The team flew in a RAF Brittania, staying at Gander Newfoundland before arriving in Halifax Nova Scotia for the first match. Whilst there they were taken to famous lobster town of Cape Breton. Sitting outside in the bright cold air, they managed to eat more lobsters than ever before but had to work hard to get at the flesh by cracking them themselves! Playing in Toronto, the team stayed at the Royal York Hotel, the largest in the Commonwealth at that time. It was there that a former American football player, Kaye Vaughan was tasked to guide them. He was a larger than life character both in stature and personality who was married to Lucie Wheeler the Olympic Alpine ski racer. Some of the team were entertained at their home and were invited into the basement where all their sporting trophies were displayed. It was here that each showed the other an aspect of their own game. After lots of ribbing about American footballers being ‘soft’ needing all that padding, Kaye told Tigger Godwin, the 17 stone Navy prop, to put his arms across his midriff to protect himself. Kaye then made an explosive tackle on him, lifting him 5 yards backwards. Kaye was then made to scrum down, as hooker, between Tigger and Tug Wilson (RAF prop) against three of the team. As they scrummed down, the props headed Kaye from each side and he came up in a dazed state. Points were made and scored by both sides that day. The team visited Niagara Falls on route to Boston to play their final match in the USA before returning home.  

 

RAF V Army at Twickers

NEARING RETIREMENT FROM RUGBY

At the age of 34 HJC played for the RAF v Loughborough Collages. He marked a very fast young man with a huge side-step and he recognised real talent in him. That student was T.G.R. Davies (Gerald) who went on to represent Wales and the Lion’s and is now a legend.
At age 35, now relegated to full back he was playing in the RAF Command final of that year. He dropped four consecutive high balls (up and unders), heard some harsh words from Leighton Jenkins and decided to retire ‘to get to know the names of my children’ he said.
After retirement HJC continued his involvement in Rugby by becoming an RAF and Middlesex selector.

 

 Beauty Competition. - HJC was invited to be a Judge with Sid James and Miss GB- Jackie Malloy. The compere was Michael Aspel and cabaret by Lance Percival. 
The invitation was from an old friend and Saints player, Frank Barlow. He went on to become the Chief Executive of The Financial Times an Chairman of Sky BSB. and was knighted for his work there.

 

 


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