Celtic Illumination, part 131, A brief relapse.
I went to see the admin sergeant, Mitch, to arrange an interview with the Wing Commander. Mitch was an evil sod, and I had first met him at Valley. I didn’t really want to see Mitch but I had to go through the process in order to apply for aircrew. I didn’t want to see the Wing Commander for he was no great fan of mine either. He sometimes would officiate as a rugby referee. The first time I encountered him as a referee, we were all changed and warming up on the pitch. Someone came over and told me that the referee wanted me in the changing rooms. I went in and was surprised to see the Wing Commander.
He told me that he would have his eye on me throughout the game and that if I made one wrong move I would be sent off. We all were young fit men and we played hard. It was such an insult to have someone suggest that I was a dirty player, I really was quite offended. As you can imagine, I didn’t enjoy that match one bit. And this was the fellow I now had to ask permission from to apply for aircrew. Mitch said that he would inform me of the date and time of the interview. I was excited for I had done everything that had been asked of me, and in some cases, more.
On the day of the interview I arrived at Mitch’s office to find two other fellows waiting. One was Tim Lort and the other was Andy Swetman. Tim wanted to be considered for pilot, Andy wanted sergeant aircrew, as loadmaster, and I wanted sergeant aircrew air electronics. Tim was so full of life; sometimes it was hard for him to control it. He was an absolutely lovely fellow and it must have been such a blow when the Wing Commander laughed him out of his office stating, that in his opinion, Tim would never make Corporal, never mind aircrew.
Andy was told to pass an aircrew medical and his application would be approved. I was told the same. Basically both Andy and myself carried a few pounds of extra weight. I couldn’t believe how hard Andy trained. I remember that I had been training, and was off to the bar for a beer, when I saw Andy, covered from head to toe in black plastic bin bags, and disco dancing himself to death in the function room. We had a fully equipped gymnasium at Watton which was run by an air force PTI, a physical training instructor. This PTI was a member of the British Olympic bobsleigh team and spent all his time training. I put my case in his hands.
I had also managed to get myself a new motor car from John Fellingham. It was a Ford Cortina mark three. Nothing special but it got me from A to B. It got me to many other places too one of which was Swanton Morley. Swanton Morley was another non flying RAF station in Norfolk. It was beginning to establish itself as the home of the computer network that would eventually manage the air force. We had no interest in computers only the operators. Many of whom were pretty young female flavoured WRAF’s.
There was a large group of us who got together and went en masse to Swanton. There was a function planned which was an electric piss up. We moved in and were having a good evening and were planning some devilment when one of the guys. That’s one of our guys, told the RAF police at Swanton that we were up to no good. The RAF police arrived, with dogs, and told us to leave Swanton Morley. Normally you would argue with an RAF copper, or thump them, but you gave the dogs respect. We left.
Myself and Peter Brown had a different idea. We left Swanton Morley but parked up in the first layby we found. The other guys went back to Watton hoping to catch last orders at the bar in the Lodge. Peter and I smoked some cigarettes and we discussed what had had happened. There was no way we could allow such a slur on our good name. How awful to get thrown out of somewhere without even having done anything wrong. We would have to rectify matters. We would have to go back to Swanton Morley and make a statement.
We drove back in and went back into the dance. Peter wasn’t as devilishly handsome as I was, but he still managed to pick up a young lady almost as quickly as I had done. We entertained them and plied them with drink so that they would invite us back to their rooms in the WRAF block. All WRAF blocks were strictly off limits to male personnel. The young ladies took us back to their rooms and we studied examples of their embroidery. I excused myself and went to the toilets, where I opened a window and then left it so that it could be opened from the outside.
Having spent sufficient time admiring the young ladies handiwork Peter and I left. We returned to my car and again smoked a cigarette or two waiting for them to fall asleep. After twenty minutes or so, Peter and I went back to the WRAF block and found the window I had opened. We crept in and then on our bellies crawled round the WRAF block and in and out of about thirty rooms, each with a sleeping lady. I was amazed that at basic training I had spent such a long time crawling around forests, and along tunnels, in such a fashion wondering if I would ever be required to use such a method of travel and here I was using it now.
I had to say the military has its good points for every room was laid out in a similar fashion, as were the dressing tables. Top right hand drawer contained the ladies under garments. So Peter and I crawled around the WRAF block and stole all the knickers. We both were wearing black leather jackets, so had zipped them up and were stuffing the knickers down our fronts. I have to say that we were giggling our heads off when we returned to the car. We drove back to Watton knowing that we would most certainly have left our mark.
As we entered Watton we noticed that the station ensign was still flying. This main flag should of course be raised at dawn and lowered at sunset. Peter and I decided it would be a laugh to lower it but attach a few pairs of knickers along the ropes so that it looked more like one of those naval displays. We did so and moved on to the Lodge. We decorated all the hanging pictures and lights with various pairs of knickers and then left a trail along the main corridor on all the door handles.
I was still giggling my head off when I got into bed. The next day both Peter and myself, were not due into work until lunch time, so we had a leisurely start to the day. We kept our heads down as there seemed to be a bit of commotion going on around the camp. The sergeant in charge of the Lodge was going around collecting knickers from here, there and everywhere and was telling everyone he encountered that he wasn’t happy about it and would find out who was responsible. He still hadn’t found out who the master moonshiners were, so I didn’t worry about him. As we drove to work we noticed the RAF police cutting knickers from the flag pole with their pen knifes. Seems that whoever had tied them on, knew how to tie knots.
As Pete and I walked in to Eastern we received such a cheer, it was heart-warming but it also informed us that the whole fecking camp knew who the culprits were. Mitch seemed to enjoy finding us and informing us that the Wing Commander wanted to see us. I remember Peter and myself standing in front of the Wing Commander. “Gentleman,” he began, and I thought at least that’s a good start, he’s not calling us animals or anything. “Gentlemen,” he said. “I want to thank you for raising the morale of this camp beyond anything I could have imagined.” He paused and smiled at us. We really didn’t know what to say.
“Unfortunately,” he continued. “The police at RAF Swanton Morley want to see you and they want you to take back all the knickers.” Ah, we thought, secretly hoping the RAF police would take a similar view. The Wing Commander nodded his head and Peter and I went to leave his office. I paused and asked. “When do they want us?” “Right now,” he said. “You had better not keep them waiting. Oh, and by the way, I think we had better put your aircrew application on hold for a while.”