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cram course. Fascinatingly interesting as it was, there was far too much technical detail to absorb in the time available. We snatched a quick lunch and were crammed with even more technical information before boarding the Anson for a late flight back to Jever. With a good tail wind the old 'Annie' did the trip in an hour and ten minutes.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI did not fly again until the 9th of December. Why I didn't fly for so long is not now remembered, especially when, in spite of variable weather, the Squadron was airborne most days. It is possible that I was doing inventory checks, a stint as Orderly Officer, duties as MTO and/or work in connection with the PSI gardens. All these duties could add up to, and take, a considerable amount of time, especially after my absence at Sylt and Wunstorf.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesIt was during this period that Brian Iles took the opportunity to come to my room to use my film editing equipment and projector so as to cut and edit the film of his and Sandy Sanderson's flight to and from Bulawayo. The finished version, which I was privileged to see first, was shown many times on the Station. With their commentary and anecdotes it made extremely interesting and entertaining viewing.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesSomeone decided that living-in Officers should attend a weekly 'Dinner Night' in the Mess. This was additional to the usual monthly Dining In Nights and occasional other formal gatherings. Dress for these evenings was to be Dinner Jacket. We suffered these evenings for some weeks before we protested. On such evenings we could not go off-camp because there wasn't time, neither could any of us pursue our hobbies, sport, or other interests. To us, they were an imposition, especially when married Officers could go home and do what they liked. Some opinionated married senior individual thought that these weekly evenings would be 'good for us'! "Do as I say, but don't do as I do" was the maxim that applied in this instance. It took several bold young Officers to voice an opinion, and tactfully and carefully protest, at a Mess Meeting. There was much mumbling among senior married Officers before it was conceded that we had more than a little justification for complaint. Station Commander's Confidential Orders were amended accordingly. We signed as having read them (as we had to do regularly), and our lives returned to normal following the removal of this imposition.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesWhen I did fly in December, which was rarely because of bad weather, the Christmas Grant and other distractions, the sorties came thick and fast.2 On the 9th I flew twice. The trips were a half hour weather recce and low flying beneath an almost impossibly low cloud base. Next day, the 10th, I was aloft four times, all of them formation sorties in good weather, with me as No.2. It was during the first of these sorties that I was able to prove conclusively that I had better than average long distance sight at altitude. I had the ability to 'range' my eyes when searching for other aircraft, and to pick them out well before anyone else in the same formation.3 This annoyed my leader but he had to concede that I was right in every case. This attribute of mine was of immense use when flying on Battle Flight and when practising pair on pair interceptions and during quarter attacks under ground radar control.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI flew four more times the following day. Sorties varied between low level battle formation, low level cross-country flying and target attacks, and high level tail chases, including formation take-offs and landings, with some preliminary formation aerobatics thrown in. Flights so far this month varied in duration of between 30 and 45 minutes.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesTuesday, December the 14th, proved to be an eventful day. I flew again four times. In my first sortie I flew as No.4 in a high level battle formation, followed by an
2 Grant = time off.
3 Usually, if there is nothing to focus on, one's eyes automatically come to rest on a point only a matter of a few feet ahead. It takes a conscious effort to overcome this normality. I had the ability to do this.
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