of the unexpected was behind me, or so I thought. Immediate inspection
revealed turbine blade damage, but all was not over. Sqn.Ldr. Des Browne
to his office and debriefed me and questioned why I hadn't landed at Oldenburg
rather than risk coming back to Jever. My spontaneous answer was to the effect that
I didn't have my beret with me. There's no doubt about it at all that I got a rigid
bollocking off him for further endangering one of the Queen's aircraft, and that in
spite of my having taken a risk to save money and inconvenience by bringing XB913
back to Jever. I wondered afterwards what he would have said had I landed at
I flew three more times that day, including another dog fight, high level formation practice, and finished off with a formation low level strike - on Oldenburg
- of all places!
Next morning, at Met Briefing in Flying Wing HQ, I had to stand up and tell the other pilots what had happened, and the relight procedure I used. Two other pilots,
, and 'Podge' Page
, both of 93
, had recently had flame-outs and had
had to do the same. In this way everyone was reminded of the procedures by those
with first-hand experience.
Four more formation sorties, with me flying as No.2 or No.4, on the last day of the month, and all of a similar nature, rounded off 1954 as far as flying was
The usual Christmas rituals and festivities took place. The Sergeants visited our Mess and we visited theirs, then all of us served the Airmen their Christmas lunch as
per standard RAF procedures.
During the Christmas and New Year period there was a fancy-dress party in the Mess. This primarily involved 'A' and 'B' Flights of 4
and 93 Squadrons
competition. An ad hoc group of suitably lubricated Officers from other departments
were the judges. There was much prior planning and preparation for the event. Al
, 'B' Flight Commander, gathered us for a discussion and council of war. It
was decided that he would go suitably attired as King Farouk and the rest of us as
his harem. Those of us living in the Mess were at an immediate disadvantage with
regard to supplies of materials and 'clothing', but we made do with what we had.
Out of the curtains in my room I sewed up a dress and made a yashmak out of a
white handkerchief. For those occasions when the yashmak had to be removed, as
when drinking and eating, I decided I'd better shave off my moustache so as to, as
'Princess Pod', maintain the illusion of femininity. Others shaved their chests and
wore bras borrowed from our batwomen and stuffed them with socks. 'LuLu'
was one of these (with a nickname like that he didn't have much
option). Lipstick and rouge were used and eyebrows were altered with boot polish.
Sandals (desert wellies) and gym shoes were worn. Bernie Revnell
found some earrings
and wore those. We looked like a right pack of poofs when we arrived in the
Mess, lifting our skirts and flaunting our 'feminine' virtues as we paraded behind our
'King'. The evening was a riot and many questionable invitations were made - and
declined! We, 'B' Flight, won the prize - drinks bought for us by the rest of those