changing over on the 1st of July. 93 Squadron
kept its Sabres
until much later.8
had 30mm Aden cannon which used electrically fired ammunition. This
meant that new armouries had to be built to store it. All of them bristled with
lightning conductors as a precaution against the frequent summer thunderstorms
usually experienced in hot weather.
Other building work was also going ahead at Jever. Just one item, among
many, was the construction of a new camp cinema. This was sited in virgin forest to
the rear of Station Headquarters [Click to see.
] and would eventually replace the now inadequate
old wooden Astra Cinema at the far extremity of the married quarters. Also the old
red brick pavé roads were being covered with tarmac, so changing the previous
comfortable appearance of the place.
Superimposed on this period of change was Exercise 'Carte Blanche' which
placed Jever on a mock war footing. My Boss
wanted a bed in his office for the
duration. This I duly attended to, at the same time arranging for my own bed to be
transferred to my office. Thus I spent the disturbed night of my 22nd birthday
supposedly asleep, but awakened periodically by photo-reconnaissance aircraft
flying along the runway dropping explosive photoflashes on intruder missions. Each
time that happened the Boss
would leap out of his bed and brief me on what he
wanted me to say in the latest SITREP
I endeared myself to him the next night
by sleeping right through two such raids! Give him his due, he didn't bother waking
me, making the SITREPs
out himself instead.
On the morning of Wednesday August 3rd, I attended Met briefing as usual but
well before the briefing was over, I was called back to my office to take what could
have been an important phone call. In the event, it was a routine matter and, instead
of returning for the last few minutes of the briefing I stayed at my desk. I heard the
meeting break up and the pilots chatting afterwards as they made their way along
the corridor. There was knock on my door. I shouted "Come in", and in walked
Fg.Off. Ted Scott
of 93 Squadron
. As was customary he saluted. He then walked
right up to the front of my desk. He stood for a moment, and before I could say
anything, he announced "I am flying your aeroplane today, Pod. Good-bye". With
that he put out his hand, shook hands with me, saluted, and marched out. Whilst I
thought his behaviour a little strange at the time, I passed the matter off and settled
down to my daily routine.
A little over an hour later, the panic phone rang in the Boss's
office. I ran in, but
he was there and had already picked up the receiver. His face changed as he came
out with some expletive or other and then said "Thank you" to the caller. The Boss
looked at me and said "Ted Scott's
bought it. He's gone into the ground at Meppen.
I'm going there now. You'd better come with me because you know the way". I
rushed to Alan Fairfax's
office, told him the news, and got him to stand in for me
until we came back. In the meantime, the WingCo
had told the CO
and was on his
way to his car waiting for me as I had had to go back to fetch my cap. With the Boss
at the wheel, and with his facility for demon driving, we arrived at Meppen in what
must have been record time. There, at the range, was a dark hole in the black peaty ground, with the Range Safety Officer at its edge looking into it in shocked
incredulity. It was gradually filling with brown water. Little was to be seen of my old
, XB 548
, 'P' Papa, or 'P' Pod as it was known when it was mine. There were
bits lying around and it appeared as though Ted
had flown straight into the target.
He, or what was left of him, was in that hole, in the wreckage, under the slowly rising
8 They kept their Sabres
until after I had left Jever. I had the opportunity to sit in a Hunter
and did not fit in the cockpit, neither could I have ejected safely because of my long legs being in contact with the instrument panel. I was
told that had I still been with the Squadron
when my tour was over that I would probably have been transferred
on to Canberras.
= Situation Report. This was a document used to inform a headquarters of a locally changing tactical
situation in war conditions.