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Mr Kenneth Arthur Bovingdon

the RAF Benevolent Fund
https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/rafbf/Celebrations/Find?celebrationsSectionName=RemembrancePages&name=kennethbovingdon
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Dear Friends/Family, I have recently set up a page in the RAF Benevolent Fund Memorial Book and wanted to share it with you. Through this page we can share memories, photographs and videos of $personFirstName$ as well as raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. To view page and add your memories, just click on the following link: $findPersonLink$ Thanks!
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Remembered by: Phyllis Bovingdon

Date added: 14 Mar 2011

Kenneth Arthur Bovingdon LAC Fitter Armourer: 1431179

Ken served in the RAF from 1941 to 1946. He was sent to Skegness in June 1941 for training, he would have been 20 years old - the first photograph of Ken would have probably been taken at this time. He was in Lossiemouth at some time and in October 1941 in Manby on a G.A.S course.

Ken was eventually posted to Shaibah, Iraq in 1944. He remained there until late 1945. He saw out the last few months of his service until final demob in August 1946, at the HQ Orderly Room, Monte Casino, where he was ‘misemployed’ as they called it, as a typist. He did in fact become a very fast typist using only four fingers!

His unit in Shaibah was MV 119. The men had to put together all the docked up planes, mainly Blenheims, which were being sent on to the Russian Front. I remember him telling me the temperatures were so hot they could only work on the aircraft for half an hour at a time because the metal would burn their hands and they only worked in shorts as their shirts would have been soaked by perspiration in seconds. When they were having a few beers they used to sing a song called ‘Those Shaibah Blues’.

Those Shaibah Blues - The Song of 244 Squadron and Kindred Spirits (sung to the tune of “A Little Bit of Heaven”)

'Oh a little bit of Heaven fell from the sky one day,
and it settled in the ocean in a spot not far away
And when the Air Force saw it sure it looked so bleak and bare,
they said “That’s what we’re looking for, we’ll put the Squadron there”.

So they sent out river gunboats, armoured cars and S.H.Q and they sent the famous Two Four Four in to the blinkin’ blue.  But peechi I’ll be going to a land that’s far remote,
and till that day you’ll hear me say “Roll on that blinkin’ boat!”

I’ve got those Shai-bah Blues, Shai-bah Blues
I’m fed – up, and I’m cheesed off, and I’m blue,
I tried to learn the lingo but it fairly got my goat.
The only words that I know are “Roll on that blinkin’ boat!”
I’ve got those Shai-bah Blues, Shai-bah Blues.
I’m fed up, and I’m cheesed off, and I’m blue.

So we sent out Vickers Vincents, Blenheim Fives, and Wimpies too,
and we called up all the Oxfords, Harts and old Valentias too.
But though we flew to oceans and the desert so remote,
the only thing it taught us was “Roll on that blinkin’ boat!”

I’ve got those Shai-bah Blues, Shai-bah Blues.
I’m fed up, and I’m cheesed off, and I’m blue.'

After leaving the RAF Ken became a Civil Servant at the British Council, London. Until he died aged 85 on the 23rd March, 2006 he and I were members of the Shoreham-By –Sea RAF Association and helped to run the Shoreham Airshow. Up to the present day the show has produced just over £1.6 million for RAFA. I still belong to the Association and help with the show.

Ken never forgot his service days and we were able to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary in 2004, just two years before he died.
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