Thank You, Mr. Cresswell
With all the hoopla surrounding the Royal Wedding I can’t help but recall the two years I spent in England. I was a medic in the USAF and was stationed at RAF Mildenhall, not too long a train ride from London. I worked in the 48th TAC Fighter Wing Hospital, assigned to the obstetrical unit.
England was a great relief after training at Gunter AFB outside Montgomery Alabama. The base commander welcomed us with a speech noting that the locals had certain “customs” that he didn’t agree with, but as their guests we should abide. When several of us black airmen went downtown we learned of their custom of a segregated bus stop.
Anyway when I got to England I was merely a “Yank” and treated fairly, which brings me to Victor Cresswell. Mr. Cresswell ran the Photo Hobby Shop on the base and was very encouraging as I took my first baby steps in photography. He gave me some basic direction in processing film and making prints. Since I was at an APO address I could get camera and lenses cheaper. I first bought a Pentax with 35 mm and 200 mm lenses. I put them to use at the usual tourist destinations of Buckingham Palace and Tower of London etc.
At this point I would also like to thank the two hobby shop regulars who laughed at me and my neophyte approach to photography. It was at that point that I decided to devote myself to be the best I could be.
Somewhere in the archives of the newspaper Stars and Stripes there is photograph by Airman Melvin Grier, it won first place in the Armed Forces Europe Photo Contest. Thank You, Mr. Cresswell.