11th April 1953 Jever to Wahn and then Wahn to Treviso.
Then 13th till 16th April Operation BETFOR TRUST. Can't remember the details, most likely a NATO
to practice co-operations with an allied country (Italy). I flew 10 ops. in 4 days. On the last day (16th April) flew 6 sorties,
4 operational and the other 2 flypasts in the battle area at the end of the exercise.
Then back home to Jever, this time in one hop, the next day.
Secondary training aspect was full load take off
(ammo and full drop tanks) - no problem from Jever's tarmac runway. Great fun from Treviso's PSP
steel planking) runway laid down on grass - the din was terrific! So as you can guess the (I think) army also played
an important part, practising laying that ton heavy planking for us. We also used tents for accommodation.
Somewhere in our cellar there's a photo of me sitting on my camp stool in the opening of my tent, writing to
a letter in which the infamous comment "aber die Kanale stinken so" appears.
During our short off duty time we made Venice unhappy. Jolliest encounter was when some of us met a
London taxi being driven by four Australian GIRLS. That evening was really WILD, Tony Vasey
(not necessarily together with the Ozzies) in a singular effort of sheer masculinity. (Does that sound decent enough
- or perhaps indecent enough!)
I still possess a lapel badge from the 51st Stormo Caccia, an Italian fighter squadron, from those days.
MUCH later when I resuscitated my ancient UK PPL
at Latina just south of Rome in 1980, the CFI
nominally checked my flying ability was Colonel Toxiri, who as it turned out, was the boss of an Italian Vampire
squadron at roughly the same time as I was in Treviso.
It was fun flying with him. After checking my logbook (Vampires and Canberras, IRE
) he decided it
would be much more interesting gadding around the sky rather than doing boring circuits and bumps with me.
Once we returned from sightseeing down south along the coast where the gigolos and their girlfriends
lay about on the beaches. Approach at 2.000ft and overfly the airfield, Toxiri said. Overhead he leaned across,
closing the throttle of the Cessna, then switched off the ignition and pulled out the key. Now land he said.
On another occasion he showed me how to take off without having his hands on the yoke, using only the
trimmer and rudder. Both "exercises" most entertaining.