Celtic Illumination, part 185, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron
Please don’t think that the squadron shenanigans was all one sided. At Wildenrath there were three dispersals. One for us, the brilliant 92 Squadron, another for The Cod Squad and the third, the central dispersal, was used by visiting squadrons. These squadrons would be visiting Wildenrath so we would be aware of them and keep an eye out for roving groups who would no doubt be on the lookout for gizzits. Sometimes we would host a squadron which means we would eat sleep and drink with them. One such occasion was when we hosted a Danish squadron with their F16 aircraft.
If I was to use an American football flavoured metaphor I would say that the F16 was the quarterback, very sleek and nimble, whereas we with our F4 phantoms were the heavy mob, the big fellas at the front without whom you are going nowhere. The guy in charge was Mike Fleisher a lovely Danish fighter pilot. They had a twin sticker with them which means that with two people flying, either could control the aircraft. This was a basic function which would allow pilots to be trained on the aircraft. With us it allowed our pilots to fly with them and experience the aircraft themselves.
But it wasn’t just the aircrew who went flying, ground crew would put their name in a hat in the hope that they might be chosen for a jolly. We had an all ranks barbecue on the squadron and had cleared out one of the HAS’s. It was great fun. They were still some bits of equipment lying about. One item was a set of steps used to get into an aircraft which we would call a giraffe. One young pilot, one of our young fighter pilots, climbed his way to the top of one of these giraffes and I can remember standing beside J R, watching this young fellow, who was clearly off his head with the drink.
He was sipping his drink and then looked up as if to give a toast when he shouted “I’m a pilot! I can fly!” before leaping off the giraffe. This thing was ten to twelve feet high and as the rate of acceleration, due to gravity, is 9.8m per second squared you will be able to work out that he hit the ground , the concrete floor of the HAS, with one hell of a thump. He didn’t spill his drink, probably because he used the old trick of swallowing it before he jumped, but he did sprain his ankle. J R was not impressed as one of his pilots was now out of commission for a couple of weeks. At least we knew who would be making the tea and coffee for a while.
He wasn’t the only pilot with sore legs that evening as Mike Fleisher had sore legs too. Mike wasn’t daft enough or drunk enough to leap off a giraffe, well; not that night anyway, but he spent most of the evening asking Irene if she would like to have a flight in his F16. She was a lot prettier than most of the engineers and I had to slap Mike’s legs to bring him back into the real world. He was a great fellow and introduced me to the pleasures of pickled herring, dark rye bread and Akvavit, a sort of Danish schnapps. There were other social gatherings and as the ‘in’ place to be and the second home for most of our squadron was the rugby club we held a shindig for the visiting Danish ground crew. There were lots of meat balls, pickled herring and Akvavit.
There was a grand crowd attending not just both squadrons but many others from camp. I was quite surprised to see a small group of policemen there along with their wives as the police tended to stick to their own club which was appropriately named ‘Snoopies.’ The police were not really liked around camp, although tolerated in the rugby club. At one of their Christmas functions, in their own police social club, they were surprised to find their colleagues waiting outside with breathalysers, which perhaps goes a little way towards explaining why they were so mistrusted by everyone. The evening was progressing fine, lots of dancing and eating and drinking. The rugby club was spread over two main rooms, each with their own bar but the music was located in one room so that the other room was much quieter and allowed conversation. A group of us were hanging about in the quite room when John Roe came back in.
Now; no one had noticed John leave, not even his wife who he was propping up the bar with. However everyone noticed him as he came back in. The entrance was a single door into a small short corridor which then exploded into the main room. When anyone came in it was quite natural for most people to turn towards the door, see who it was and then continue with whatever they were doing, unless of course you wanted to get the attention of the person who has just come in. The situation was somewhat reversed as it was John who had managed to grab the attention of everyone in the quiet room. His penis was poking out of his trousers.
John walked over to the bar and took his place beside his wife. She hadn’t bothered looking at John as being married to the biggest animal in the air force she had probably seen much worse from him. A few giggles and laughs from those watching had her reassess the situation and she immediately scolded him. “John!” she hissed. John acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. She perhaps thought that direct action may be the best course for her and reached out to him, but John stepped away. “What?” he asked setting his drink down. John’s wife was pointing at his groin. “Your willie’s hanging out John! Put it away!” “No!” says John, who then turns and points at one of the policemen’s wives. “She took it out, so she can put it away.”
There was quite a reaction to this statement which resulted in lots of police dogs, fisticuffs, blue flashing lights, and uniformed fellows who were a bit hacked off that the only people who were willing to give statements were the police who had been attending the function. No one else there had seen or heard anything, apart from the fact that John hadn’t started it. John was handcuffed and led away. The policemen and their wives left the club and we continued with the party. It was about two hours later when the police came back in again. We were all surprised that they were looking for John, especially as they had led him away in handcuffs.
John had warned the police that he was claustrophobic. The police knew John and perhaps thought that he was just being belligerent but he was indeed claustrophobic. He asked them not to put him in a cell for he would ‘lose it.’ The policemen as usual knew best and threw John into a cell. John had gone through the roof and I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense. He actually kicked his way through the roof and out of the guardroom. One or two coppers did give chase but John told them to back off, that he was going home and that he would report to the guardroom first thing in the morning. The coppers decided to withdraw and re-group
The police didn’t believe him and had come back to the rugby club where they stopped the party so that they could search the club. All they had to do was go to John’s house where they would have found him with his feet up having a beer. Eventually they did and with some delicate negotiation and input from the medics, John was allowed to remain at his home under house arrest. He was court martialled for the incident and true to form couldn’t have cared less. I have to admit that after that most people entering the rugby club would have been checked a little more closely and I don’t mean making sure that their tie was straight.