The Late Peter Giddens
Introduction to the Material by John Giddens
I have been looking once again at your excellent revised RAF Seletar Web Site and seen your request for additional historical information. Perhaps I can help.
By way of introduction, I currently live on Seletar Camp (14/16 Sussex Gardens) and have done since 1997. I am also a private pilot and fly from Seletar airfield with the Republic of Singapore Flying Club .
More interestingly from your RAF Seletar Association point of view, my father Peter Giddens served here at Seletar with the RAF from 30th Dec 1951 to 4th June 1954 . At that time he was a Pilot Officer and later Flight Lieutenant with No 81 (PR) Squadron flying initially Spitfire Mk XIX and Mk XVIII. The squadron converted to Meteors in August 1953 and sold the Spitfires to the Royal Thai Air Force including the last remaining operational RAF Spitfire PS888 (See photo 04 attached). Dad eventually served more than 30 years in the RAF, finally retiring as a WgCdr in 1980.
Dad passed away in 2001, but in his retirement he visited my family several times in Singapore, explored the new Seletar and told us his stories of life and flying here in the 1950s. After he died I inherited his Flying Log Books and a fairly huge collection of photographs which I now keep as much treasured family heirlooms at my house in Seletar. My father wrote his memoirs (never published!) in the form of lots of short stories about different periods of his life, much of it about the RAF, and there is one about his arrival in Singapore and flying Spitfires at RAF Seletar that you might find interesting for your web site. Unfortunately it was written on a typewriter in the days before PCs. However, I have scanned it and it is attached in .pdf format: "Spitfires in Singapore".
In addition I have attached a selection of a few of my father's photographs of Flying in Singapore in the early 1950s that you might find interesting. The long file names are fairly self explanatory.
I hope that you find this interesting information for addition to your web site history. Please feel free to use it however you wish, I don't claim any copyright on Dad's material, and I am sure he would be pleased to see it used to add to your RAF Seletar history. Of course what I have sent is only a small part of the information I have here in Seletar, so if you are here in the future or want some further information about something in particular please drop me a line. I have communicated with David Taylor previously and sent him some of my father's photographs (although I can't remember which ones now), but circumstances have always prevented me from attending one of the RAF Seletar Association gatherings at Sue Amey's house. Maybe next time!
Best Regards and congratulations on an excellent web site,
The material above and the "Spitfires in Singapore" memoir were received by email on Sunday 8th May 2005. The PDF version is no longer on the site.
On August 17th 2005, John sent a large collection of photographs. These are now organised into three galleries, links below.
The titles on the photos are John's file names; they are very descriptive.