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John Sutton came to me in a panic one day. He, as Officer i/c Station Flight, had just been granted powers of Subordinate Commander and, with such powers, had authority to hear a charge. One of his Airmen had allegedly done something untoward, a Form 252 had been made out, and John had to hear the case. Poor John wasn't at all sure what was expected of him, or how to go about such things. All he had learned during training had suddenly vaporised in his mind. As it happened the Boss was due to take a more serious charge himself that afternoon in his office. I asked if John could attend as Officer Under Instruction. The Boss agreed, so I was able to run through the procedure as I knew it with John and, during the actual hearing (I usually attended such events anyway), John was able to watch. John, more worried than the accused, duly took his charge the following morning. It was a minor offence and the miscreant was awarded 4 days CB.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes93 Squadron went on their scheduled gunnery detachment to Sylt. What I didn't know when I was with the Squadron was that the necessary Movement Order authorising the detachment had to be drawn up by the Flying Wing Adjutant. Nobody had told me that, not even Brian Watson. Rapidly seeking out similar orders from old files I hastily drafted out the necessary document, had it duly signed, and published it to all parties on the standard distribution list. Wrong! I had totally omitted the Station Equipment Section. The Equipment Officer, Sqn.Ldr. 'Andy' Skene was not at all pleased. He said that the move could not take place without equipment (ie aircraft and any other materials of any kind), and that he could not agree to such a move without his being informed and the required equipment summarised. I had quickly to redraft the document, cancel the previous issue, get the new version authorised and re-issue it. Panic over!
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe Sylt detachment was in warm summer weather and some of the tales with which I was regaled upon the Squadron's return are hardly repeatable. Low flying over pairs of naked bodies in sand dunes, first time nudist ventures by pilots who were apprehensive about their bodily reactions in the presence of the naked opposite sex, fat Germans, and gritty intimate encounters with obliging Fräuleins in the marram grass, and so forth. Photographs were brought back and gloated over. Bare arse beach was the subject of discussion for some weeks afterwards. The majority of less randy Squadron members, although having the innate animal curiosity of all men in their very early 20s, were appalled at such behaviour. At the end of the detachment George Hickman, who had replaced me as Squadron MTO, proudly told me that he had brought the convoy back direct to Jever in a single day without the usual overnight stop at Ütersen.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI had to stand in as Intelligence Officer, in addition to my own duties, when Alan Fairfax took three weeks leave. With working in reasonably close proximity we knew each other fairly well, but I knew little of the detail of what he did. This came as a revelation when he had to brief me. He had a vast knowledge of Eastern European military hardware and maintained a locked display room of such data for use at times of special aircrew visits. He also kept tabs on the latest SOXMIS activities reported in the area and had to inform me of attempts by a 'named person' with regard to his attempted spying activities on behalf of the Eastern Bloc.5 One thing that did strike me as particularly relevant to me personally was the log he kept of the reported sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects (later popularly but erroneously termed 'Flying Saucers'). This log showed the number of sightings and the similarity
5 SOXMIS = the coded name for the Soviet Military Mission. The Soviets, being a party to the post war agreement regarding the division and running of Germany, had authorised military access to travel in West Germany for routine inspection purposes. They were not authorised to come within a prescribed distance of certain military installations, of which Jever was one. This was ignored in practice and both SOXMIS and BRIXMIS, the British equivalent, both covertly and overtly took every opportunity to monitor and update themselves on the other's (potential enemy's) military activities and perceived intentions. The named person also mentioned later made his escape via Lübeck to East Germany. He had been employed in Technical Wing and had been closely monitored.
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