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was consumed and some had very sore heads afterwards. When the bill was added up and shared between us, each of us paid less than £5 for drinks, and that included the cost of our own drinks consumed throughout the whole month.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesIt was during June that several changes were made within the Squadron hangar. Coincident with this, a decision was made to adorn our aircraft with our recently designed and approved Squadron markings. It was decided that all would be ready for the Station Commander's Inspection of our facilities on the morning of the 26th, our 21st party day.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe crew room was moved to the previously little used other side of the hangar. The room chosen was the one in which I had all my MT vehicle tool kits laid out. These had to be moved to a new, smaller, location. This task side-tracked me from the main effort of shifting furniture, flying-kit lockers, parachutes, and other gear from an upstairs room on one side of the hangar to another on the other side. In the meantime other offices had to be cleared and moved, as well as the aircraft painted with the new insignia. Not to be left out, I made sure that, during the intervals when the stencil for the escarbuncle on the tail fins was not in use, it was 'snatched' by one of my drivers so that the same could be painted on all our vehicle doors. This caused a minor altercation because Flt.Sgt. Chiefy Blair had curved the stencil to match the curve on the fins, whereas my lads flattened it to use on their doors. There was some 'heat of the moment' protestings but all was sorted out, done, and ready in time for the inspection. Group Captain Powel-Sheddon was pleased with our performance and said so.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThat was not all for me. After the hangar inspection the CO was scheduled to visit my PSI gardens. From standing to attention in the hangar, in the next moment, as soon as I dared, I ran about three hundred yards to the greenhouses to line up Herr Goldbaum and his gardeners before the CO's driver could get him there in his car. The CO, not realising he was going to meet me again, in a different capacity, so soon, was quite surprised at seeing me again and asked me how I got there in time! That inspection went well too. Afterwards, though, one of the new gardeners asked Herr Goldbaum who the CO was, never having seen him before. The conversation went - "Herr Goldbaum, wer was das?", to which the reply came "Mein Freund, das war Gott!"1 The CO was very amused at what had been said when I told him about it at my party that evening.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesNot only had we recently had the Queen's Birthday Parade and the CO's Parade and inspection, we were due for the annual AOC's Parade and Inspection on the first day of July. There was more square-bashing and polishing up of drill for almost all Station personnel, namely 2 flying Squadrons, 2 RAF Regiment Squadrons, and 2 more Squadrons of personnel from the Technical and Admin Wings who made up the parade. Added to this was a Squadron fly-past and a vehicle drive-past. The RAF Regiment Armoured Car Squadron practised formation driving almost endlessly. They had to, for there was little enough vision for the drivers through the tiny grid-like windscreen.2 Our Squadron wasn't going to be upstaged by this so I hastily organised a six-vehicle line abreast drive-past of our cleanest Thorneycroft 3-tonners resplendent in new Squadron markings. Some of my drivers weren't quite up to such precision driving so they were replaced by the more experienced NCOs. So as not to give the game away by displaying driver's ranks, all drivers wore plain clean denims. The AOC's Parade, Fly-past (almost in low cloud), Drive-past, and Inspection passed off uneventfully and with a satisfactory outcome. The AOC was pleased enough with our performance to award us a one-day stand-down. Praise indeed! He
1 Translated: "Herr Goldbaum, who was that?" Answer: "My friend, that was God".
2 Some of us had, on a previous occasion, been given the opportunity to drive a Daimler armoured car. It was a claustrophobic experience with forward visibility limited to what could be seen through the narrow slatted visor.
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