Celtic Illumination, part 132, Heads or tails?
There I was, at fifty thousand feet, with nothing on the clock but the maker’s name. Well; actually I wasn’t, Peter Browne and myself were in a small room with two female flavoured ladies. Now before any of you preverts start getting ideas, let me explain. The room we were in was the guard room at Swanton Morley. One of those fine ladies was Sergeant Lillywhite, a policeman woman and the other fine lady was Sergeant Avril Gough, who was in charge of the WRAF block.
Neither Peter nor I had told anyone that we had actually carried out the knicker raid, so I have always wondered how we had ended up in the frame. At Watton we had collected as many of the knickers as we could and stuffed them into a large brown envelope. We had two envelopes if I remember correctly, but many of the garments had been destroyed by being cut away from the flag pole or from the Sergeant in the Lodge going ballistic.
It was all good natured, we thought. We came in, sat down, handed over the knickers and waited to hear our fate. Lillywhite and Gough wanted to know how we had managed to get in to the WRAF block. Peter and I both refused to give full details of how we actually arranged entry, so we just said that we had happened upon an open window. Then Sergeant Lillywhite began to outline our position. She informed us that we now faced a court-martial for a list of offences. Breaking and entering, theft and trespass were three of the charges that I can remember but she read out a list of half a dozen or more.
She had of course said the magical words that would stop a charging bison at fifty feet, which was ‘court-martial.’ This was serious stuff and could very well see both Peter and myself end up in the military prison at Colchester. We tried to negotiate and explained that we had returned a good number of garments. I didn’t really understand when she said that none of the girls wanted the underwear back, because they didn’t know what we had been doing with it. It took a wee while for that to sink in. The moment I understood that they were suggesting that I had some sort of perversion saw me starting to panic. By all means send me to a military prison, but don’t call me a pervert.
A compromise was then offered. A list would be put on the notice board in the WRAF block. Any WRAF could put their name on the list and how much it would cost to replace their knickers. If Peter and I agreed to pay the complete amount, no official charges would be brought against us. We agreed, and if you think it took me a while to understand that I was accused of being a pervert think how long it took me to understand that this list could be open to abuse. There was no way of knowing who had knickers stolen, or how many, and of what quality, and if young ladies decided to wear the finest silk available who were we to argue.
We were allowed to leave Swanton Morley with a police receipt for the kickers we had returned, a copy of which is attached to the previous blog. We were then told that we were banned, for life, from Swanton Morley. This was a bit of a blow as both Peter and I played rugby occasionally for Swanton and I would go gliding with Jed from Swanton. However such was our fate so we returned to Watton to find out that we had been invited to Swanton rugby club that evening as they were holding a dance in our honour.
Even a ban from the RAF police couldn’t stop neither Peter nor myself from missing a good party. I do remember when we entered Swanton rugby club that they made us stand in the middle of the dance floor and played the song by Saint Cecilia, ‘Leap up and down with your knickers in the air.’
Thankfully I still had my part time job with John Fellingham so there would be a few extra Shekels available to cover the lingerie bill when it came. Even though I had promised myself to be a good boy, trouble seemed to follow me around. All I wanted to do was move on, get back to aircrew. One day I was doing something to a car engine, on John Fellingham’s car lot, when I noticed a pair of feet come up alongside of me. I didn’t recognise the feet, so came out of the engine compartment to see if I knew who the feet belonged to. I did. It was my good friend the Wing Commander.
“I didn’t know you worked here,” he said, smiling and looking about.
“Just helping out,” I lied, while wiping my hands on the duty oily rag. “Aren’t you supposed to ask me permission to have a part time job?” asked the Wing Commander, which of course said far much more than the actual words he had spoken. Yes I should have filled out a general application and have had the pleasure of being his obedient servant, requesting his permission to have a part time job. I realised that this fellow was never going to approve any application I made. He was the senior failed fast jet pilot with the personality of a dressing table. At least his name fitted him, Brown. Wing Commander Brown.
I never did formally ask for permission to have a part time job. As far as I was concerned Brown wasn’t playing by the rules, he was making them up as he went along, what he didn’t expect, was that I could play that game just as well as he. It wasn’t the money or the experience that kept me at John Fellingham’s. I learned that a group of second hand car dealers throughout Norfolk had an ‘understanding’. Once a week, John would take three cars, that hadn’t sold or had any customer interest or attention, and move them to another dealer twenty miles away. We would bring three different cars back to Watton.
This meant that every week I would be driving various cars all over the place and it was fun. Sometimes white knuckle fun, as I remember driving a Mini Cooper that was stuck in second gear, from Coltishall to Watton, going through Norwich at rush hour. As I had stated before, John Fellingham was a Jaguar freak. He actually owned and raced a D type Jaguar. This was beautiful machine and although initially I was only allowed to wash and polish it I eventually managed to get him to let me take it around Snetterton race track and ever since that day I can confirm that I too am now a Jaguar addict.