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while yelling his drunken head off for someone to turn off the supplies at some unknown master valves. This went on for about an hour until, somehow, with assistance, the flow was staunched, I think with whittled sticks torn from a nearby tree and rammed into the pipes. And they called us Officers and Gentlemen!
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesOne of our less responsible sports was bicycle polo. This took place on the Mess lawn, usually between the two flying Squadrons, after someone had made the challenge during a Saturday lunchtime session in the bar. Weapons used were hockey sticks, a hard ball, and bikes purloined from just about anywhere, including those on loan from the Station Warrant Officer's Bicycle Store. There were almost no rules. Thwacks on ankles were not unknown and could be as frequent as hits on the ball. The 'game' stopped after sufficient players had fallen off, bicycles damaged, or players hurt! [Click to see more.] A stop was put to this 'sport' after Warrant Officer Dale, the SWO, found his bikes were getting damaged and reported the matter to the CO.15

Video showing SEN-012 clip from Ken Senar's film.   Game of bicycle polo between 4 and 93 Squadrons (and others) on the Mess lawn.   This highly irregular event was not without its consequences owing to the damage caused to the croquet gear and to the Station Bicycles which had been purloined for the game from all corners of the camp!   [Click to see more].   Then cut back to: Close ups of Dennis Tann's kitten and with Self (mustached).   Flt.Lt. Les Knell, the Station Adjutant, walks past (in dark specs).   Flt.Lt. Tony Vasey (dark hair and handlebar moustache) in close-up with his black kitten.   `Sandy' the Alsatian belonging to Wg.Cdr. Way (i/c Tech Wing) - not seen himself.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesFlt.Lt. 'Wilbur' Wright, Station Signals Officer, had recently moved into the Mess following a break-up of his marriage. His room was in one of the old Luftwaffe Officers blocks overlooking the Mess lawn. There were upstairs dormer rooms in these blocks which were not usually occupied. Wilbur, though, being keen on model railways, had taken over one of these for his hobby. Over time he built up a layout of considerable size and complexity, so much so that he needed a hand with its construction and operation. As a result of chance conversations both Tommy Balfour (of 93) and I became closely involved with 'Wilbur's trains'. The three of us spent many long and happy hours up there. The amount of wiring involved was considerable, with lengths of large multi-core telephone cable linking complex sections to the relevant control panels. It became well known in the Mess and there were frequent visitors to this Märklin HO gauge layout. It even became a subject of inspection, more out of curiosity and genuine interest than officialdom, by the CO after Saturday morning parades. Almost everyone was disappointed when Wilbur was posted back to the UK, and watched him drive off with huge chunks of layout strapped to the roof rack on his car. [Click to see.]
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesPay, of course, was of considerable importance to everyone. The Airmen had Pay Parades fortnightly. These irksome occasions meant standing, sometimes for an hour or more, waiting for everyone's name to be called out in alphabetical order. It was usual for there to be a Paying Officer and two Witnessing Officers. I dreaded being nominated as a Paying Officer because of the amount of notes which had to be counted out, something at which I was absolutely no use. It never happened, but I was a Witnessing Officer more than once and each time there was neither a surplus nor a deficiency, something which would have given rise to an enquiry, with any deficiency being made up from one's personal funds.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesOur own pay, or 'Emoluments' as they were called, was paid directly by Government nominated bankers directly into our private bank accounts each month. In Germany, however, there were strict currency controls and we could elect, through the Station Accounts Office, to draw a portion of our pay in either Deutschmarks or BAFSVs.16 The German currency was for use off camp, whereas all on-camp transactions were done in BAFSVs, with only penny and halfpenny coins being used for small change. Large amounts such as Mess bills were settled by personal cheque. It could be difficult when going on leave because BAFSVs were not accepted in the UK, so it was always advisable to keep some Sterling back from the previous leave for these occasions until it was possible to call at a Bank. The official, and fixed, exchange rate was 12DM for £1-0-6d. Pounds Sterling, whether in BAFSVs or not, had the same value.
15 A filmed sequence of this is held at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon.
16 BAFSVs = British Armed Forces Special Vouchers. We all called them 'Baffs'. The lowest denomination was a 3d note and the highest, I heard, was a £5 note although I never saw one.
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