This post is about a set of colour slides I bought which contained a slice of history in the form of some photos of RAF Seletar in Singapore.
Boxes or bundles?
Whenever I buy old photos or slides from online sales, it is always a bit of a mystery as to exactly what is going to turn up. There are normally a couple of pictures which have been taken with a phone camera, or sometimes some scans, but it’s impossible to know exactly what I’ve bought until the package turns up and I can take a proper look.
I’ve realised over the last few months that old colour slides are sold by people who presumably work in the house clearance business with the slides bundled from various different sources and sold in sets of between 200 to 500. This is good in a way because it results in variety, but it also means that it’s unlikely there will be a full set of anything of interest. Because of this, I’ve started to look at buying collections of slides which are sold in the slide cases that people used to use to hold their family photo collections. This is more risky in a way, because there might be 200 images of someone’s garden, but occasionally a gem will turn up.
While I was looking for such a box, I found a set for sale which was not only a slide case of original pictures, but the slides in it were 127 format film which are somewhat rarer than 35mm and capable of being better quality images. Since the box was a ‘Buy it now’ sale, and only £10 I took the plunge and bought it.
Photos of RAF Seletar
When it turned up, and after a bit of investigation, I found that the pictures in it were taken in Singapore in the mid 1960s and included many photos of RAF Seletar which was the RAF base in Singapore at the time. It seems that the collection was probably taken by a serving RAF officer who lived at the base and liked to take photographs.
Most of the pictures were taken on film which was presumably available locally rather than well known makes, although there are also some Ektachrome slides. The majority of the images are good quality and have retained their colour and definition well which is probably the result of them being kept in the slide box with a packet of Silica Gel rather than in the individual boxes they would have been returned from the lab in.
Enclosed in the box with the slides was an index sheet which lists locations and subjects, but unfortunately the slides aren’t numbered or identified in any way, and the positions on the index sheet don’t match the slides in the box – at least they didn’t when the slides reached me.
The images from the RAF base are particularly interesting and cover both the inside of the staff quarters, and the facilities around the base along with some shots of helicopters and military vehicles. I’ve included some copies of the pictures below, but there are other pictures as well which you can see by following this link and using the ‘series’ tab.
Interestingly, some of the areas around Singapore shown in the pictures were re-developed in the 1980s and so have completely changed, so these pictures really are a slice of history.