During a recent visit of Vanbourgh Castle School I was privileged to be given the task of co-ordinating various activities on and off the Station for those splendidly behaved boys.
Seldom in my Service career has any secondary duty given me such pleasure as this one did.
Rather than give a laboured report of their various activities I would like to let the boys speak for themselves in a selection of unexpurgated letters sent by them after their visit.
Oi/c Youth Club
One of our visits into Holland, as guests of the Youth Club, was to the Philips exhibition known as Evoluon.
We entered the 'Flying Saucer' type building into a complicated mass of electronics. It is interesting to note that when you cross the barrier into the building an electronic number adds one on. You can go up into the three galleries pressing different buttons and getting interesting results. There is also a place where there are cubicles with buttons and the type of music written down on the side. You can press one button and get some opera music and you can press another and get up-to-date music. You can also hire a cassette recorded commentary. The first gallery is mainly industrial, Gallery Two is technological and Gallery Three is about civilisation and our scientific research. There are also telephones dotted around so you can listen to a little commentary. Down below is a library, cinema and restaurant where we had our lunch. There were sweet machines and a souvenir counter.
When we left we headed for Eurostrand. When we arrived most of us went swimming in the lake, while others went wandering around. When the swimmers began to come out, in amusement arcade expected fifteen more boys! The arcade was quite good, fairly large, and most of the machines were 25 cents or 50 cents. There are lots of shops where you can buy souvenirs or ice creams. It is like a holiday camp there and very enjoyable. When we left we began quite a long journey through Dutch and German countryside. We would like to express our gratitude to the Youth Club, Fit Lt Broughton and C/T Palmer for taking us out.
On Saturday 26th July we went to Overloon and Arnhem. Overloon was the better of the two places. Most of the exhibits there are from the Battle of the Maas. There was a battle at Overloon but not so important. At Overloon they have tanks, anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft guns, an American Mitchell bomber and a Spitfire. They also have armoured cars, rocket launchers, flying bombs and memorials. They have a large transparent-roofed house. In this they had guns and models of German soldiers. After we seen all this we had lunch there. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Arnhem was not quite as good but it did have some interesting things. It had windmills which were used for making polders and energy. It has a little house where a lady sat making pottery. Some of the boys bought pots there. On the bridge looking down, there were great big massives fish! The largest was at least a foot! What I thought was ridiculous was 25 cents for the lavatory. But that was quite good as well! It was very kind of Sgt Cooper to take us out and I would like to thank him on behalf of all the boys.
On Tuesday 29th July we were taken by bus to Koln. It was the first opportunity we had of travelling on autobahns and some of the boys entertained themselves by counting Volkswagen 'Beetles'. We went first to the Zoo. It was very well laid out and all the animals were in good condition. After lunch we went to the Aquarium. The most interesting fish were the piranha and the electric eel; above the latter was an electric impulse screen. We also visited the insectarium; bees and ants could be seen at closed quarters and it was possible to walk through a butterfly enclosure. There were also reptiles to be seen but most of the snakes were asleep. The trip on the Rhine was rather disappointing as our boat did not travel very far but kept on stopping at various boarding places. It was a very comfortable boat and we were given several drinks. Our day in Koln ended with a return trip on the cable car high over the Rhine, which was a great way to end a visit to a famous city. I should like to thank Sqn Ldr A. Walker and Sgt Sharp for taking us on a superb trip in lovely weather and for buying so many cooling refreshments for us.