Nostalgia: John’s anniversary of Nordic expedition for RAF Cranwell recruits

John Hale (in the background) behind expedition leader Flt Lt Mike Cole in Norway. EMN-170317-145557001
John Hale (in the background) behind expedition leader Flt Lt Mike Cole in Norway. EMN-170317-145557001

This year marks a milestone for former RAF man John Hale of Sleaford.

He was one of a group of nine officers and airmen from RAF College Cranwell and one from Waddington who went on a two-week Trenchard Award expedition on skis and dog sleds in southern Norway 50 years ago.

He was going through old photos when he found a cutting from the Sleaford Standard.

An SAC at the time, he and the group trudged across the glacier plateau of Hardanger-jokulen. They fought their way through a vicious snow storm which claimed 14 lives.

“We skied around 100km and it was my first time aged just 18,” he said.

He recalls the British military were very popular, being greeted by school children. He said: “It is the first time I have had a round of applause getting off a train!”

Expedition leader Flt Lt Mike Cole later led a hovercraft expedition up the Amazon.