The tenth entry in this series has been made possible by Bill Hustwayte, a Javelin Navigator (See: http://www.seekanddestroy.info/videos.html):
No 41 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Wattisham 1958 – A recollection.
A notable member of the squadron in 1958 was Flight Lieutenant Nicky Varanand who, as the squadron members were to discover, was a Thai prince and a member of the Siamese royal family and a cousin of Prince Bira the well known racing driver of that era.
He didn’t boast about this fact and only that he was enormously wealthy did one realize his background. Personal number plates were unknown during this time but Nicky had 5 – NV1, NV2, NV3, NV4 and NV5 this being a Vespa scooter on which he rode to the squadron; the remainder were expensive vehicles in the “roller’ class. He joined the RAF in 1942 and his seniority enabled him and his wife, Pamela, to move directly into a married quarter. During ‘Halyard’ over Christmas 1958 he invited the night standby crews to lunch at his home. Upon knocking, the door was opened by his butler, who had come from the family home in Surrey especially to serve drinks and canapés!!
In 1965. whilst serving on No 48 Squadron at Changi, I had a sortie to Bangkok. Whilst there I remembered that Nicky had retired from the RAF and returned to Thailand to fly commercially with Thai Airlines and then attempt to form Varanand Air and later Air Siam. The receptionist at the hotel, after a lot of heel clicking and bowing, arranged a phone call to Nicky. A long chat enabled me to catch up with his news and was disappointed to hear that he had divorced his wife and now had a Thai bride.
Nicky died in 1990 aged just 68. (Seen in the Times Obituary column.)
More info on Prince Varanand came be found on Wikipedia under VARANDA DHAVAJ.
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