By Lorraine Cliffe

Getting very excited doing last minute things and at 16.00 hrs Arthur is coming to pick us up to stay the night with them as we have to be up at 4.00 hrs in the morning to go to Heathrow airport our flight takes off at 12.00 hrs we land our time at 23.00 hrs, Thai time it will be 6.30 hrs in the morning. We then have a 6 hour wait in Bangkok airport before we board the flight to Ubon which will be an hours flight. Spent the night at Freda and Arthur's got here about 17.00 hrs. Had some tea and a shower then went to bed.
Arthur woke us up at 3.30 hrs in the morning we had breakfast then left the house at 4.15 hrs in the morning. It was a very long journey good job we left early as there was a couple of hold ups on the motorway one of them was an Eddie Stobbart lorry on fire. Finally arrived at Heathrow at 8.15 HRS went straight to the check in. After Tony had checked his scooter in he suddenly remembered we had left the charger to it in Arthurs car who was already on the way home. So we phoned Freda who luckily was able to phone Arthur, He then brought it back to us so Tony went to the departure lounge and I went back out side to meet him so panic over we got it phew!!!then i went back to Tony.

The airport staff at Heathrow were very good with Tony they got him a wheelchair and pushed him round to the departure room then got a motorised trolley to take him and me onto the plane where we met Noel Somrak and the kids. Then once on the plane which was flight TG911 we settled in and waited for take off. I was chuffed because I had a window seat. The plane took off with no problems then once it was up we had fruit and alcohol drinks I had 3 glasses of red wine then they came around with ear phones to listen to the telly if wanted, then a packet of nuts and a nice warm hot cloth to wash your face. They came around with the drinks trolley about 3 times. Then we had a lovely lunch which you can see the menu. Then they came around
with tea coffee and cold drinks as much as you like . Then they turned the lights off as we went through darkness because of the time zone and we just rested or tried to sleep or read. Then at 21.00 hrs our time which would have been 03.00 hrs Thai time they served us breakfast which again was nice and is in the menu. Then about an hour after that we started to land we landed 5.20 hrs Thai time 21.20hrs U.K. Time.

The weather is lovely very warm and sunny in Bangkok After we landed they took Tony and the rest of us through customs and passport control . We then collected our luggage and went to check in for the next flight to Ubon . We have a 6 hour wait in Bangkok so after we checked in went to a cafe for a cup of tea and something to eat Then Somrak and I went around the shops in the airport I spent 800 Bhats in boots which is nearly 20 pound in our money then we went back to the cafe to wait for our next flight which is only an hours trip will be very glad to get to bed we have totally missed a night and we are so tired. In Bangkok airport I managed to go onto the internet to let people know back home we had arrived okay. Anyway we finally got on our flight at14.15 hrs. On the flight we were given a cup of tea and a sandwich and a piece of cake.
The flight wasn't very long we landed at Ubon Airport at 15.45 hrs so it was just over an hours flight. When we got off the plane there was a wheelchair waiting for Tony to take us to collect our luggage then Tony went and got his hire car he had booked but there was a problem with it ,you couldn't get in to the back so after a while they got us another car which was a top of the range one it is fantastic and so comfortable with air conditioning to keep cool.

In Thailand if you want to keep cool in the car you turn on the air conditioning if you want too get warm you open the car window opposite to U.K.. At the airport we met Somraks Mum Dad brothers and sister they came to meet us. We also met Jim Curtis and his grandaughter Mod She was very pleased with her chocolate . By Somraks Dad I was given a Bamboo coconut stick and some fruit. Then we got into the car to follow Noel to the Hotel which was about an hour and a half from Ubon. As we were driving out of Ubon it was totally crazy and very scary I had never seen so many
motorbikes all over the road,all ages were driving and some times 3 on a bike no crash helmets they were coming from every where Tony was very glad when we left that behind. Any way we finally reached the Pudin Hotel it was about 18.30 hrs, we checked in
everything in our room and crashed out.
Until we heard knocking on the door at 7.30 next morning which was Noel because we had no phone contact to him then so he came to see what we wanted to do. Any way he left and we said come back at 8.30 hrs. In the meantime I had a shower and Tony ordered 2 breakfasts which was 2 eggs a round piece of meat which is there
Bacon and some mini sausages 2 rounds of toast with butter and jam and a cup of tea. The hotel is a very nice place we have a big room with air conditioning shower king size bed ground floor room number 111. The staff are very friendly any thing you want they will get you and every time Tony goes out on his scooter because they only have steps some one is there to help him. They also have 2 lovely big swimming pools which are spotlessly clean. Also we are by 2 markets one just by the hotel which is clothes and shoes etc the other one a little bit further down the road is food where they cook chicken sausages and all sorts of other food. Anyway Noel came back at 8.30 and we followed him to Somraks parents house when we got there they all made us feel very welcome we had a cup of tea some mini bananas and Somrak made noodles with pork. After Tony was itching to get to the airfield so Tony and Noel went off to the airfield and I stayed with Somrak. We sat outside, Somraks Dad showed me the rice machine working and the Papaya tree and they are growing chillies and all types of fruit. After a tour of the garden we sat outside and had a drink and I then peeled a
huge papaya and made a salad for lunch and somrak had crab with it but I had it plain. A couple of hours later Tony and Noel came back so after a cup of tea they then took us to a big market but we missed most of it because they pack up about 3.0clock because of the heat. So what we did then was went to some shops near by and had a look around then Noel went home and we came back to hotel and had another early night because we were still a little jet lagged we had a cup of tea . Noel lent us there traveling kettle so we can make our own tea whenever we want then we both went to sleep until the morning.
We woke up in the morning about 08.00 had a cup of tea then ordered 2 breakfasts. After we had that we got showered and dressed then decided to surprise Noel and turned up at there house. Again they made us feel very welcome made us a cup of tea even though

they had a house full Somraks sister and son were there plus 2 other people. Also Somraks mum has very kindly done our washing for us. After a cup of tea we went to Amnat Charoen to see the Golden Bhuddah solid gold it is. We put some flowers in a basket lit a candle and incense sticks and put them in the sand knelt on a big rug and prayed to him and I also asked him to change my luck. Every one came to the Golden Bhuddha except Somraks Mum and Dad. We then got some food from a roadside vendor which was chicken and papaya salad and sticky rice and sat at the picnic tables to eat it, then an ice cream cart came by so we had an ice cream which was 10 Bhats. We went then to a big superstore it had lots of
different shops inside it it was very nice and big. Then after we headed back to the hotel stopping at Tesco on the way for some beers for Tonys friend Taff who arrived at the Pudin in the afternoon for a few days. When we got back to the Pudin he was
there to meet Tony he went for something to eat while we sorted ourselves out.

Then after He and his Wife came to our room for a beer and a chat. His Wife is Thai Her name is Nuit she is very nice. Then after they left we went to the 7/11 for something to eat and a phone top up. Came back to hotel had a sandwich and cake then went to bed.

Woke up at 8.30 had a cup of tea then Tony got ready to go to the airfield with Noel Taff and his Wife and off they went about 9.45hrs.In the meantime i got dressed and went for a walk to the market by the 7/11 and got a few nibbles chicken garlic bread some sweet stuff then came back to hotel to wait for Tony who came back about 13.00 hrs We had a cup of tea and some of the nibbles then had a rest on the bed. Then about 15.00 hrs we went to Steves English Cafe just down the road and I had fish and chips Tony had cottage pie and chips 2 cups of teas it was lovely and only cost 250 Bhats which is £5 in English for 2. then after that We had a short ride then I went around the market brought a little purse which was 40 Bhats which is about 80 pence in U.K. money. Then we came back to the hotel watched the telly and had a rest then Taff came for a drink and a chat then shower and bed.



Woke up at .8.00 hrs got dressed then went down the road to Steves with Taff and Nuit for an English Breakfast then met Noel at the petrol station where Tony filled the car up with petrol cost 1400 Bhats then all 6 of us went to Mukdahan for the day where there was a huge market all along the promenade by the side of the river
Mekong and also all along the bottom like in a very long cave spent lots of money got lots of souvenirs to take back home. Then after that we went to Somraks sisters in Mukdahan for a cup of tea and had banana pancakes very nice. Then we all headed home stopping off at the big Tesco in Mukdahan to get a few odds and ends then
came back had a shower changed then went to Noel and somraks for dinner with Taff and Nuit had lots to eat and a good few hours there then came home to bed.
Got up at 7.30 because Taff and Nuit were leaving to go to Ubon. After they left we had Breakfast at Steves then decided to go to the airfield as we were on our own today so Tony drove to the air field and we took some pictures. Then Tony let me drive the car it was great first time ever I have driven a automatic loved it. Then we
came back and I had a look around the market. Then we came back to the hotel room and had a few hours just lying on the bed because I wasn't feeling to well. I had a shower then we went to Steves for tea and had steak chips salad and coleslaw and a cup of tea which all came to 310 Bhats £6.20 U.K. for two. Then went to get a couple of odds and ends then came back to hotel. Noel and family turned up to book some rooms for bucks party Tony went out to talk to them. Then we just relaxed on the bed watched telly had a shower then went to sleep.
Woke up at 8.30 hrs had a cup of tea got showered and dressed and went for breakfast at Steves had full English. Then after that came back to hotel for a lazy day as the weather was so hot I still wasn't feeling to good and all the others had gone to Ubon for the F.EP.O.W. Remembrance parade. Tony did not go as he didn't want to leave me cos of my illness. About 15.30hrs we went to Tesco for some odds and ends and some beer. As Noel was bringing back Jim and Mod. Also Mick and Terry from the other group decided to come back to the Pudin tonight instead of tomorrow with the
others. So Tony met them all when they came they had a beer then got changed ready to go to Steves for tea. We went to Steves for tea and we all had steak chips salad and coleslaw and Tony had an Omelette it was lovely then I came back to the hotel and left Tony talking there.

 ANANT THE NIGHT PORTER (ex sgts mess )
In the morning Anant the the night porter who used to work at the camp in the Sgts mess woke Tony up at 06.00 hrs because he was going to the air field and village while it was cool He took Jim Curtis Terry Evans and Mick Allan in his jeep to the air field.  At the airfield all 4 of them were filled with nostalgia and they all began to explore the area that used to be the camp. It was very exciting finding all the different places where the different buildings had been. They gave the camp a thorough searching mostly they found concrete remains of where the buildings had been. There was only 3 bits of metal left these were the old posts that were Nashgate. They then moved out of the camp between two concrete plinths that were the main entrance towards the concrete parking apron and then on to the main runway. They then went down the
runway searching for the culverts that went completely under the runway. They had trouble finding them until an old boot boy pulled up on a small motor cycle he introduced himself as Lem. Jim asked him if he remembered Hippo

Lem ( the Thai sitting down ) then started to sing the Muffin man, the song that Hippo taught all the village boys 46 years ago. With the evidence that Lem was a genuine boot boy they asked if he knew where the culverts were. Lem then showed them both of the culverts, 3 good finds they had were a bootboy and 2 culverts. They then met up with Anant who still lives in the village he is a good friend of Jim. Anant then showed them to an old Thai ladies place. She was an old dhobi girl she now has a Thai restaurant where they had cold drinks. They looked at their watches and found it was time to come back to the hotel. They had been out there for about 5 hours. In the meantime I stayed at hotel and went in the pool. When Tony got back we had a cup of tea then he met with the group again to go back to the airfield to do a little service for the 3 lads that were killed out there in the 1960s

At the remembrance service which was led by 3 Bhuddist monks with the much appreciated help of Somraks Father. The ceremony was very reverent and it filled every one with emotion. After this ceremony the main party then did there own exploration of the camp and airfield Tony put his jeep at the disposal of the people
with difficulty in walking. Then came back to hotel during this time I went back into the pool. When they came back we had a shower and a cup of tea then we all went to Steves for tea then came back to the hotel and went by the pool and had a couple of drinks with Jim and Mod I then came to bed and left Tony talking very nice evening.

We woke up at 08.00 hrs had a cup of tea got dressed then met some of the others and went to Steves for breakfast. After that I left Tony at Steves talking because I was going to Mukdahan with the others in the mini bus. There were only about 9 that went and along the road we met Noel and Somrak who were going with us in there
jeep. We got to Mukdahan about 10.30 hrs I went round with Jock Smart and his wife Agnes I showed them around the market and Jock did a lot of bargaining for me saved me some money and he brought me a drink of coke. Bought a lot more souvenirs to take home. We all then met up at 13.30 hrs . and went on to Tesco for
something to eat most of us had a K F C and an ice cream then we went back to the mini bus and came back. Tony and some others were at Steves so they dropped us off there and we had a cup of tea. While I was out with the group Tony returned to the camp and airfield with Terry Evens Mick Allen John Lloyd Alan Myers and Arthur Nix and Ray Hough They dropped off Alan Myers and Arthur Nix in the village and they went back into the camp and airfield to do more exploring. Tony said it was good to have John Loyd and his pictures. After they had a drink at Steves they all left to go back to Ubon so we all said our goodbyes until Thursday. After they went Tony and me had fish and chips and Mod had a Burger and Jim paid for all our meals for all the running around that Tony did .When Tony and I came back to the hotel we went for a swim with Mod and Jim it was a lovely evening we sat by the pool with beer and crisps most of the evening with Jim and Mod then when it got late we went to bed.




Woke up at 08.00 hrs went to Steves for breakfast then as we were leaving Jim ran down to us and said what about if we went to Ubon with him and Noels family and he would buy us lunch at this restaurant by the river so we thought why not we had nothing planned. So off we went with Jim and Mod in the car and followed Noel back to Ubon when we got there we went into a big store called Robinsons it is very similar to our Debenhams and very expensive. When we got there Somrak went to the cafe to feed Kinnerie. So Mod and Kat and myself went for a look around then
Kat was hungry so her mum and dad took her to K F C .
MOD (Jim's granddaughter)
Meanwhile Mod and I went to a ice cream bar I had a knickerbocker Glory and Nat had a big Sundae it was gorgeous and we had a glass of coke for all that it was only 250Bhats which in English is £5.36 in UK money which is good. Then after we had
finished Noel and family came in and brought the kids an ice cream so me and Mod went for a wonder round. In the meantime Tony and Jim went off. Jim showed Tony to the riverside in Ubon and he could see the main bridge from underneath the bridge. They then drove along the river bank on the way back they stopped for ice cold drink which Tony said was very welcome. Then as arranged after an hour Jim phoned Noel to find out whether we had finished shopping Noel said that we would be about an hour and a half yet so Tony and Jim went to Jims house where Jim showed Tony his
garden full of different fruit trees and his chickens. Back to us shopping we were expecting Tony and Jim to pick us up in an hour when Mod asked where they were Noel turned around and said they are going to be another hour which did not please Mod and myself. We had had enough the shop was to expensive and there was nothing else to do so Noel and Somrak went inside and Mod said you going back in and Noel said we haven't started shopping yet. So Mod and myself sat on a bench outside in the hot sun as there was  nothing else to do and hoping to see Tony come. When Noel and Somrak came outside Mod asked him to ring Jim any way it ended up us all going to the river restaurant in the truck to meet them both and I was riding in the open back it was only 10 mins down the road . We met Tony and Jim by the lake and then drove up to this restaurant it was over looking the river it was lovely. Jim ordered a mixture of food as me and Tony don't like hot stuff we had fresh fish from the river cooked Thai style and another big white fish papaya salad sticky rice shrimps fried in breadcrumbs
and the others had a very hot like Thai veg soup hot papaya salad and as much ice and coke or water as you wanted we were there a good couple of hours. After that Jim invited us back to see his house so off we went which was only about 10mins away from the restaurant.
When we got there we met his daughter who was lovely she gave us an ice cold water some small oranges and cut up some pomegranite which was really enjoyable. Then Tony got his scooter out for one of Jims relations who had suffered from Polio and had difficulty walking so he could compare it to his own 3 wheel hand driven cycle. Then Jims little grandson called Baloo wanted a go so Tony put him on and he loved it crashed into the gate a couple of times but he had a good time and when Tony went to put it away he screamed because he wanted to go on again. We also met Mods sister and cousin Jims chickens also, in the front garden he has a Papaya tree growing with quite a few on it. One thing is for sure Jim has a lovely house. Any way about 15.30 hrs we decided to leave but Somrak had to feed Kinerie so we waited for her to finish and we left about 15.50. Mod went on her motor scooter to show us the way back to the airport then from there we were okay got back to hotel about 7.30 and Steve was shut we missed him so we went to room had a few nibbles then went to bed.

Woke up a little later was 9.15 hrs got dressed and went to Steves for breakfast there was also some Irish people there who were staying at the Pudin so we got talking to them. Then after breakfast we came back to hotel and just lounged around it was so hot then we decided to pack the souvenirs into a case luckily we are okay with weight as that was worrying us a little. Then after a cup of tea we went out to the 7/11 to get a top up. Then we phoned Noel to see what he was doing and they had been out visiting family and were on the way back . After that we went back to Steves and had
steak chips and salad and a cup of tea. Then Tony went on Annas computer while Anna and myself went to the market we had a good time together. Anna gave me friendship bracelet and said don't forget her we are going to keep in touch when we get home. I brought some pancakes and some clothes for my grandchildren and Anna brought some squid to eat yuk. We popped in to the hairdressers to see how much it was to have my nails painted which is 80 Bhats which is £1.72 and 200 Bhats to dye my hair which is £4.00 altogether it will cost me £6.00 for both so I am having it
done tomorrow can't wait. We then went back to Steves had a cold drink and then i came back for a shower then not long after that Tony came back with anant.

Woke up at 08.30 hrs had a cup of tea got dressed then went to Steves for breakfast. Then after Breakfast I went down to the hair dresser where I had my Nails done and had my hair dyed Thai black it looks so nice and I really enjoyed myself with the nails they soak them in water scrub them get rid of all dead skin around nails cut
them and shape them then put cream on then the nail polish I had 2 lots on then they do the same with the feet. My hair she put like a cream all over first then the dye then when ready it is washed and massaged 4 times then they dry it and shape it with the hair dryer and it all cost 280bachs. And you feel so good after it. And it only took an hour and a half. After I walked back to show Steve and Anna. Then I came back to the hotel room to meet Tony who said I looked beautiful. We then had a cup of tea and went out to the airfield for the final time and Tony took me through the village
and explained things to me and showed me where they laid the flowers for those that were killed.

Then he took me to anants house where I took some pictures of it. Then after we went to Tesco Lotus for a few things then came back to hotel because it was so hot. When we got back 4 Thai girls were doing our room so I took a picture of them all on the bed with Tony. Then we had a cup of tea and some cakes that I brought at Lotus then just chilled out for a while as we have long journey ahead of us starting soon We then went to Steves for something to eat then went back to the hotel for a shower. Then Anant came to our room and I took his photograph and he did a reading for the future for us. Then after that we went to bed

Woke up at 7.00 finished packing had a shower then went to Steves for a big breakfast. I got some pictures developed. Then we went back to the hotel paid up and packed the car then sat in it waiting for Noel.About 11.30 Noel and all the family turned up so we then followed them to Ubon airport for our flight to Bangkok We arrived at the airport checked our luggage in then went for a delicious cream coffee and Tony had Tea. Jim and Mod came to the airport to see us off so we had a chat to them. Then at 14.50 hrs we boarded the plane for Bangkok. It took off at 15.15 hrs. while on the flight we had a sandwich cup of tea and a cake and fruit juice, then we landed at 16.30 hrs in Bangkok. After we went through passport control we went to find place where we could leave our luggage over night we found it and it was 200 bhats for 2 suitcases which is £4 U.K. money. After that Noel had organized a mini bus taxi to take us to the Manhatten Hotel which was about 40 mins from the airport. So we all piled into it and off we went. The streets of Bangkok were chaotic so many cars and people out and about I didn't think much off it so when we got to the hotel they gave us a glass of Guava fruit while we checked in. We then went to our rooms and we did not like ours as it had 3 single beds in it so we asked if they had a double and they did so we moved rooms. Then we heard a knock on the door it was Noel asking if I wanted to go to Mac Donalds with them and there friend they met in Bangkok, But I said no I was going to stay with Tony and have a meal at the hotel. A little later on we decided to order room service Tony had a burger and chips I had Pumpkin leek and potato soup chips and a cup of tea and it was 800 Bhats altogether which is £16 in UK money. And it was terrible Tony had no cheese and it was supposed to have been a cheese burger and the tea was cold. Anyway after that I had a shower then we went to bed. Got up at 07.00 hrs next
morning we went to Breakfast in the hotel where it was a Buffet style Breakfast again not very nice I couldn't eat mine. Then after that I went back to the room and called the porter to come and take our bags down then we sat in the foyer waiting for Noel and family. At 9.30hrs they came down checked out and got into a mini bus taxi for Bangkok airport. When we arrived we went and got our luggage then checked it all in and Tony had a wheel chair we met some of the others and talked to them then we went and got some duty free then Tony and I then sat at this cafe and had a lovely cream coffee Tony had a tea. Then 2 of Tonys mates went for a drink I pushed Tony to them and he sat talking to them while I had a look around duty free shops and got a few more souvenirs then I went back to Tony and we both had some melon. Then the porter came and got Tony and pushed him to the gate to board the plane. We then
boarded the plane for a very long 12 hour flight home. Luckly we had 4 seats to ourselves the plane wasn't full we were well fed 2 meals and sandwiches and as as much tea coffee water pop or alcohol as you wanted. And just before we landed all the women were given an Orchid. I was very cold and asked them if I could keep the blanket around me when we got off the plane at first they said no then just as we were leaving they let have a new one to take I was so grateful for it. We landed at 18.50 hrs because we had to circle London twice to wait to land. Then a porter came with a
wheelchair to take us through passport and customs we went straight through. Then collected luggage and scooter went through customs no problem and then met Arthur who was waiting for us. Went to the car loaded it and came home got home about 10.45. It was a lovely holiday an experience I will never forget and so glad Tony got to the airfield I was amazed by it. It was lovely to see the real thing after seeing the pictures. We have made a lot of new friends who we are keeping in touch with. The Thais are so friendly and full of smiles and always willing to help you.


  1. Great Blog and a wonderful account of your holiday. Thank you for saying nice things about my house. Jim Curtis, Ubon.

  2. Lovely blog, and great story of the holidays and pictures.

  3. anthony brian george cliffeJanuary 3, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    nice one dad you always wanted to get back to your airfield i love you

  4. Lovely to read your story, makes me wish I had been there even though it sounds a very different place to how it was in our days there.

  5. What a great article ,I thoroughly enjoyed it ,sitting here reading it made me quite nostalgic, just like I was experiencing it myself, you sound just as enthusiastic as my wife vron when she visited the village for the first time in 1990, hope you enjoy your next trip, jl

  6. well that was great reading i bet you are looking forward to the next holiday i would !!!!lovley reading

  7. what great memories,would love to have come but things are not good at the moment. Thanks to your Mrs it was good reading,I bet you were chuffed to see some of the OLD boys again well done, regards Trevor Letford ex 59 living in Cyprus

  8. What a great read! All the best from the RAE


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