I joined the Royal Air Force in June 1961 and played for friends a couple of times in the NAAFI Club at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey later that year. I was posted to RAF Ballykelly in Northern Ireland in November 1961 and tried to get a band together without success so I sold my bass and tried to learn ordinary guitar.
In 1963 I met three ex-RAF Halton apprentices and we formed a band called The Sonics. I couldn't afford a new bass so I bought a second hand white Rossetti Solid 7 and fitted it with the thickest flat-wound bottom four Monopole guitar strings I could find.
We played guitar instrumentals at first and then, in May 1963, added vocals, mainly Beatles and Eddie Cochran numbers, to our repertoire. We played at Limavady Agricultural Hall, Faughanvale dance hall, and the RAF families club at Ballykelly, and did a couple of open-air rehearsals to entertain our colleagues. (Our guitarist from that period has several numbers on YouTube - you can get them by keying in bravosuk - he goes under the name of Monty Zoomer. One of them, "The Letter" has Singapore visuals).
In July 1963 I was posted to RAF Changi. In 1964 I was asked to stand in for the bass-guitarist in a band called The Crests for one gig because he was returning to the UK. I did a couple of unsatisfactory rehearsals with them but I wasn't sure that their repertoire of instrumentals would go down well with kids fresh out from Swinging England who were fans of the Beatles and the Stones. In addition, although I was familiar with the band's repertoire, they played in piano keys rather than guitar keys, and I was given a terrible cheap bass to play. (I had made a small solid bass from a lump of teak with a guitar neck screwed to it but someone stood on it and it fell to pieces).
We changed our name to The Desperadoes (image) and played a very bad set at Fairey Point to kids who hated instrumentals. In addition, I didn't have a bass amp so they plugged me into the loudspeaker system which made my playing echo around the enclosed end-of-pier dance hall. Dreadful. I was glad to leave them and I have no idea how long they continued afterwards.
Image/article: Allan Thompson Collection. All Rights Reserved.