Celtic Illumination, part 178, In the club.
The squadron got a new commanding officer. It was Wing Commander John Rooum. At that time the television programme Dallas was quite popular so the nick name of J R stuck with him. He was a lovely fellow and not only as a fighter pilot could he walk around with the top button of his jacket undone, he had a special tie. The Martin-Baker tie club. What do you mean you don’t know what that is? Fair enough, if I have to. Martin-Baker are the world’s leading producer of ejector seats. Anyone who has had their life saved by using a Martin-Baker ejector seat automatically becomes a member of the club. They are awarded a special tie and certificate although the ability to walk away from a crash would probably be appreciated more.
J R was a great C O and I saw him stick up for any member of his squadron when they faced stupid or false accusations. Of course he couldn’t help in every situation. I had gone in to the ground crew crew room one day and was having a bit of banter with the boys. Dave Magee was sitting having a coffee and he said to me “I think someone’s having a bit of a laugh with you.” Dave reached in to the X Y Z compartment, on the mail rack, and brought out a letter. He handed it to me and I could see from the postmark and the writing that it was from my mother. It was the address that confused me for the letter was address to the Roman Catholic Padre on 92 squadron.
I stuck the letter in my pocket and wondered what on earth was going on. I waited until I was alone on the ops desk and opened it. It was indeed from my mother and it was aimed at a priest, any priest that was in some way connected to the squadron. In the letter she stated that my marrying outside of the church had caused my father so much grief that it had killed him. Now I know that a blog or two ago I admitted to being an international criminal but this was taking things a bit too far. I was concerned that I had opened a letter not intended for me and wasn’t sure if I had committed a crime or not but what worried me more was how sad these people were.
I didn’t know if I should respond to the letter and I wasn’t sure if I should let Irene know about it. If another letter followed on, which I would miss, and made reference to the one I had intercepted I could be in trouble. She asked the priest to find me and bring me back into the church along with Irene for otherwise any children we would have would be bastards. I was embarrassed that people could be so stupid, so didn’t reply to the letter but did show it to Irene because I felt that the pervert priest had a hand in it and if that was the case there could be more to come.
I tried to ignore the negative vibes that were emanating from Ireland and concentrated on my own little family that was about to increase by fifty per cent. We had finished Sunday lunch and Irene announced that in her opinion I should be taking her to the hospital. We loaded up the Beetle and headed for Wegberg. As with most fathers, escorting their partner who is now in labour to hospital, and being an international criminal, I flouted the speed limits and got to Wegberg in double quick time. As a military hospital it was very regimented but the service was second to none.
I can remember we went straight into a delivery room, which meant having to pass through a lounge where a good half dozen, heavily pregnant, women sat. Irene began to give birth and I didn’t like it one little bit. I felt so utterly useless as she lay there quite obviously in pain and discomfort and being unable to do anything for her. Irene was a good strong woman and began to give birth. I on the other hand fainted. As I had been told all my life that my mother had died giving birth to me, I was terrified that the same should happen again. Seems that Ireland was intending to have a good hold of my mind for some time to come.
The nurses had a good laugh that a roughie toughie from 92 squadron had fainted and I promise you I didn’t have the time or the inclination to inform them why. Irene produced a healthy wee boy who we named Gerard. As we came out of the delivery suite the midwife in charge addressed the women in the lounge by saying. “Now ladies, that’s how you are supposed to do it.” I returned to Erkelenz and grabbed a box of cigars from the flat before wandering over to a local German pub where, as tradition dictates, I would wet the baby’s head. The first time I had gone in to a German pub in Erkelenz I had a feeling of déjà vu. It was like being back on mountain rescue and going in to a pub in North Welsh Wales where the locals would start speaking Welsh and treat you as an outsider.
Of course this was Germany and they didn’t start speaking Welsh, they would be speaking German, but my haircut sort of gave my occupation away. However I discovered that by saying I was Irish and not mentioning the air force I was always welcomed with open arms. While socialising with local Germans, you would often see them react when someone who was obviously British forces come in. Similarly at work I wandered around offering everyone a King Edward cigar and informing them of the arrival of our special little man. We got Irene and Gerard home and started to learn how to bring up children.
One of the first things I had to do was register Gerard’s birth with the British consulate. I contacted them and filled out the appropriate forms thinking no more about the matter. I was a little surprised to have the paperwork returned along with a refusal as I had supplied the wrong paperwork. I immediately thought that this would be your typical clerk with their head up their arse so contacted them wanting to know why my application had been rejected, I mean it’s not as if I was a bloody foreigner. To prove who I was I had a certificate of birth but they wanted my birth certificate. My certificate of birth, which I had used to join the air force, showed my name, my date of birth and place of birth.
The birth certificate shows this as well but it also shows the names and address of your biological parents. As I had been born in Northern Ireland and given to the nuns, because my mother had died giving birth to me I was not allowed to have my birth certificate, I could only have a certificate of birth. This may be confusing for you, so how do you think I felt. I contacted the embassy and stated that as they, the civil service, would not give me a birth certificate how on earth could I produce one for them. The fellow at the consulate was not interested. I adopted a similar attitude and told him that I couldn’t care less about their pathetic rules. He acknowledged my annoyance but warned me that my son would now be eligible for national service in Germany.
I had never thought about the system before and wasn’t that worried about Gerard having to serve in the German military, might do him some good. I was angry that anyone else in the United Kingdom could have their birth certificate, even adopted people, but not in Northern Ireland. It felt as if it just wasn’t my family members who were nutters so I began to write letters demanding that I should be treated as an equal. I have to admit I was enjoying sending letters to the politicians. It must have been about this time that the double top secret cabal who had organised my life realised that I would now start to unravel the mystery around my life, their control of my life and their plan to prepare me for the throne of Ireland.