for, carrying out First Line servicing of Sabre
aircraft. A Certificate is pasted in my
Log Book to that effect.
Next morning, Saturday October the 28th, will not easily be forgotten. After using an amount of subterfuge, which initially involved me recording, from
when I was diverted there, when the next CO's
Parade would be (this
Saturday), and some accurate planning and co-ordination, I found myself flying as
No.4 in a four-ship formation. The official briefing was for us to practise battle
and a tail chase. Whilst that was done for a time, the real (unofficial)
purpose was to impress our old Boss, Bob Allen
, who would be on parade with the
entire Station. To do so, the first pair broke off from our official exercise and went
low level while Sandy Sanderson
and I went high level. We commenced our dive as
the low level pair were approaching Fassberg. Timing it to a nicety, the low pair did
a single pass beat-up of the parade ground just as our sonic booms hit the same area.
Satisfied that we had done a good job, we formed up again and returned to base. On
landing we were at once summoned to Wg.Cdr. West's
office. The Station
, as I recollect, was there as well. We were told, in no uncertain terms,
that we had overflown Fassberg airfield at low altitude without permission, and
generally disrupted the parade. And we had broken some windows. We were each
fined £5, to be put into the CO's
charity fund, and given a thorough dressing-down.
It was not the outcome we had expected. On saluting and leaving the room, but
before we were out of earshot, we were called back in and informally praised for
our planning and efforts and reminded, quietly, and with a smile this time, not to try
that sort of thing again.
Al Ramsay (left) and I met a tame bear whilst walking in the Harz Mountains.
Fg.Off. Al Ramsay
and I, on the last
weekend of October when the Station was stood down for two days, were granted permission to leave early on the Friday for a weekend away. A
British Forces Leave Centre was still open at Bad Harzburg and that was our destination, where we booked in to the Officers Hotel for two
nights. The picturesque town had not suffered any war damage; being one of the last to be occupied it was never fought over. The Harz
Mountains scenery was beautiful, although the highest mountain, Brocken, of Walpurgisnacht fame, was clearly visible bristling with antennae
across the border in the Russian Zone. The weather was kind and still reasonably warm. We enjoyed walking in the town and surrounding
woodland in the relaxed off-duty atmosphere. The shops were good and well stocked. On the Saturday afternoon we hired a taxi to take us to a
building site! This was no ordinary building site, it was to see the new Okertalsperre (Oker valley dam) being built.2
The enormity of the
project spanning the river gorge was quite something to behold, to the point that we must have stayed for well over an hour watching the
activity. I shall never forget the dinner we had in the hotel that evening. I had the most luscious, tenderest
2 I visited the completed dam during a visit to Germany in the early 1970s. I have to say it was a disappointment
because, by then, the dam had mellowed into the countryside and was nowhere near as spectacular, big as it was,
as when it was under construction.