roundel jsl spacer hunter1
Previous page List of Contents Next page
Wing to expect me. I would then, usually in normal uniform and often wearing a mackintosh and beret, climb aboard the aircraft, wave frantically to Air Traffic who probably couldn't see anything and weren't watching anyway, start up, and taxi the mile and a half to the Tech Wing hangar, being very careful to keep a good look out when crossing the runway in case an unexpected aircraft was landing. It was a good way to go for an early Saturday lunch.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesWinter evenings could be tedious and there was always the temptation to go to the bar. An alternative was to play skittles in the Bowling Alley on the road to the Mess. It was here also that the camp barber had his room. A new innovation was the conversion of the Bowling Alley also to act as a .22 target shooting rifle range. We held competitions, either bowling or shooting, in there on many evenings. Sometimes it was too cold and cheerless to venture from our rooms where we would sit and listen to the radio, write letters, or indulge in our hobbies. Some of us, instead, would occasionally foregather and play cards. Gambling, however, was absolutely forbidden.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesWe did fly, when ground conditions permitted, during some beautiful but brief clear periods later in the month. The emphasis, again, was on battle formation work, ciné quarter attacks on the flag, tail chases and high level interceptions at which I was able to further demonstrate my abilities at high altitude long range vision. Although I had to admit to myself that my headaches were beginning to affect me in the air.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAs pilots we had to be capable of servicing our aircraft and had to 'keep our hand in'. It was while standing on a wing helping the ground crew refuel a Sabre that I had inserted the filler nozzle into the wing tank and the fuel was flowing when the bowser pressure refuelling hose split and soaked me from head to foot in AVTAG. Fortunately there was no fire or I would have been fried alive. Stinking of aviation fuel, and my skin stinging all over from its effect, I was promptly taken back to my room to strip off, throw my flying suit and other clothing out of the window, and go and have a bath - with several changes of water. I took the rest of the day off. My clothes, left outside on some bushes at the back of the block overnight, soon lost the smell and, after Frau Pinnau had washed them, were none the worse. My flying suit likewise survived but was much cleaner after its soaking in fuel. It was fit for use again 24 hours later and had almost no residual smell.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI was only to fly a Sabre six more times. Four of these sorties were the now routine ciné quarter attacks and tail chases, each ending with a QGH. I flew an air-to-ground firing sortie at Meppen and my final flight, although I didn't know it at the time, was a 30 minute weather recce followed by a join-up and some close formation flying. That was on Friday, February the 4th.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesWhat had happened to stop me flying was that, towards the end of January Sqn.Ldr. Des Browne caught me using the crew room emergency oxygen rig when there wasn't any flying. I had been vomiting and had a belting headache and must have looked pretty grim. On seeing me he straight away told me to get in his Landrover, whereupon he personally drove me to Sick Quarters. I was seen by 'Doc' Hughes who questioned me closely about my condition. He wasn't very happy about me. The upshot of this was that he arranged for me to be interviewed and examined by a Medical Board. In the meantime, provided I didn't have a headache I could still fly.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesFg.Off. Gerry Busby flew me in the Station Flight Vampire T11 to Wildenrath on February 9th so that I could attend the Medical Board at the nearby RAF Hospital at Wegburg the same day. I had a small overnight bag with me.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI sat before the Board and was interviewed, medically examined, and interviewed again. Then I had to wait outside the room for a while. On being called back in, and now standing in front of four doctors, I was told that they had medically
Previous page List of Contents Next page
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes