with me, Brian
bought an 8mm movie camera to record their trip. I gave him some
brief advice as to how best to use it.
The safe range of the M18 was little over 300 miles, so they had to resort to island hopping when crossing the Mediterranean. Then in Africa their route was
determined by the availability of airstrips which had refuelling facilities, some of
them very primitive indeed.
set off on Tuesday July the 20th, taking off from the perimeter
track at Jever. Within a day or two a telegram arrived in the Mess from 'Brandy'
very briefly reporting their progress. These telegrams arrived every few days and
were eagerly anticipated and read by all Officers. It became almost a ritual to look in
the letter rack for their latest news. Suffice it to say, their flights out and back were
entirely without mishap. They, and their aircraft, returned unscathed to Jever some
six weeks later. I was on leave at the time.
I did not fly during the whole of August. There was mostly poor weather
following the August Bank Holiday stand down. It was during this time that I was
involved with my extraneous duties and was attending lectures from Flt.Lt. Phillips
in the Education Section preparatory to my taking my Promotion Exams later in the
year. That did not mean, though, that I was never at the Squadron
. On a day when
there was flying I happened to be on the Squadron
hard-standing watching the
activity when a Sabre
started up, waved 'chocks away', and the chain of one of the
main wheel chocks caught and wrapped round the wheel. The Marshal signalled the
pilot to stop immediately but didn't then know what to do, so looked to me. Using
hand signals in the noise, I conveyed a message to both Marshal and pilot to hold
still. I then crawled forward under the wing and released the chain, but before I
could crawl away the aircraft moved off, turning as it did so. I had to lie flat to the
ground, hands over head, while the jet blast passed over me. I came to no harm
although there was some concern as to my well-being. Some months later I repeated
this action, again without hurt to myself.
During the early part of August, Group Captain Powel-Sheddon
left Jever and was replaced as Station Commander by Group Captain Tom Prickett