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.
It 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.
The 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
pleased with our performance and said so.
That 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
was very amused at what had been said when I told him
about it at my party that evening.
Not 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
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
. So as not to give the game away by displaying driver's ranks, all
drivers wore plain clean denims.
Parade, Fly-past (almost in low cloud), Drive-past, and Inspection
passed off uneventfully and with a satisfactory outcome. The AOC
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.