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over for drinks in their Mess. Some, of course, opted to do neither and attended Morning Service in the Station Chapel. At one o'clock we all, from both Messes, entered the Airmens Mess to serve lunch, as was traditional throughout the Royal Air Force. Hilarity began as we entered the building. There were cheers and not a few good humoured cat-calls. Some Erks were in fancy dress and one character, in drag and wearing make-up, stood out from the rest. We served an excellent roast turkey dinner, with soup to start, and Christmas pud to follow, all amid much banter and jollity. Then came the CO's address. As he stood up, the character in drag went up to him and stood by him throughout, showing a gartered leg and making lewd gestures at the Groupie during his light-hearted speech. That part of the festivities over, we were cheered, took a bow, and departed for our own dinners.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesTo say that the Christmas dinner served to us in our own Mess was more than adequate was an understatement in itself. I had soup followed by the main course served on a large plate laden with a full turkey leg and some breast, sausages, stuffing, and a range of vegetables, with gravy and sauces served from jugs on the table. Afterwards Christmas pudding and cheese and biscuits were available. All was accompanied by appropriate wines. Neither I nor anybody else that day could eat everything put before us, but many of us tried. Some, regrettably made themselves almost ill in the attempt. Uniforms were loosened to make room, but to little effect. Sated, almost to a man, we staggered away back to our rooms to sleep it off.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAlmost no-one turned up for afternoon tea, but most managed a light dinner. Soon afterwards, Fred Maycock, an able pianist from 4 Squadron, was thumping out popular song tunes on the minstrel gallery piano. It was an admirable performance peppered with one or two risqué ditties. Drink was flowing again, and Officers and their wives from the married patch came and joined us for an extremely convivial evening to Fred's accompaniment.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesSaturday, Boxing Day, was quiet indeed. The traditional Officers v Sergeants football match was a non-starter owing to a lack of players. Everyone took it easy, for the next day was a full working day on which there was much preparation to be done.

Video showing SEN-019 clip from Ken Senar's film.   TITLE: "Sylt Next Stop" - Sunday 27Dec53.   Live air to air gunnery training was done each year at RAF Sylt where Squadrons went on detachment for about a fortnight.   The Island of Sylt is at the far north west corner of German Schleswig Holstein and is connected to the mainland by a railway across the Hindenburg Damm causeway.   The 93 Sqn MT convoy, mostly Thorneycroft 3 ton trucks, prepares to set off.   Fg.Off Doug Fewell is present near to the Squadron landrover.   The Squadron emblem, an escarbuncle (shield boss) is seen on a vehicle door.   En route along the Bremen-Hamburg autobahn (noticeably almost devoid of any other traffic in those days).   [Web Master wonders how long the unguarded scaffolding stand would last under the bridge in today's traffic?!]
TITLE: "A Sortie from Sylt".   Filmed on a clear January day in 1954, this sequence shows a trip on an Air Sea Rescue launch, one of two on station there.   They were used on range safety duties whenever there was live firing.   Leaving the harbour at List for duty.   (The harbour froze over the next day).   Further shots then depict: The wake when at speed.   Captain - Fg.Off. Pete Saunders - in woolly hat.   The sighting of a ship too close to the range for safety.   The writing of a signal to be sent to warn the ship away.   The shore showing houses at Westerland, the principal town on the island.   (In summer the dunes were used as a [German] nudist bathing area).   Fg.Off. Doug Fewell, passenger on liaison visit (with self).   A Meteor overflying.   Tempest drogue towing aircraft (without drogue).   Tempest 'beating up' the launch for the camera.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI was up early in the morning and, with bags packed, had an early breakfast before making my way to the Squadron hangar to check everything was in order for the 07.30 start of our journey to Sylt. Official records state that I had a Landrover and only two Thorneycrofts in the convoy but that is wide of the truth. I recollect there being about six vehicles, maybe one or two more. There was a delay because one of the wagons wouldn't start, no matter how hard the driver swung the starting handle. On my approaching the scene he was heard to mutter "It's like walking a dead frigging cow" (or similar). He was sweating profusely, so I told him to take a break. After a brief conversation with Chiefy Blair and Corporal Hudson, my driver, I went over and swung the handle myself. Just one turn, and it started. After more expletives, and a grin from me, the driver climbed aboard and we started on our way. After calling at the Airmens Mess for hayboxes containing victuals, and a large, insulated, full, tea urn, which we placed in the Landrover, we set off through the gate and out on to the open road. Our vehicle, as lead vehicle, carried a blue flag, the wagon with the ammunition on board carried a red flag, and the final vehicle carrying emergency toolkits carried a green one.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI sat in the front for a while, Corporal Hudson drove, and Johnny MacKnish and another Corporal sat in the back. Progress was good. After an hour or so we stopped for 5 minutes break and a mug of tea for everyone. It was decided to press on as fast as possible to try to get through Hamburg as early as we could, but there was a long way to go yet. We moved off again and, after passing through Bremen, joined the Autobahn. Traffic was quiet so, as discussed earlier as a possibility, and at
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