Lothario Sarge made us parade ground pariahs

ANYONE who put time in at RAF Credenhill, near Hereford, will have known Haircut Davies. He must have had a proper name, but was never called anything other than Haircut by all ranks. I was once asked in passing by a distracted-looking squadron leader i

ANYONE who put time in at RAF Credenhill, near Hereford, will have known Haircut Davies.

He must have had a proper name, but was never called anything other than Haircut by all ranks.

I was once asked in passing by a distracted-looking squadron leader if I'd seen Haircut about, and neither of us thought anything of it.

Station warrant officer Davies acquired the nickname form his oft-exercised habit of coming up behind erks and quietly intoning in their ears "get a haircut, airman."


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In these shaven-head days, Haircut would have to think of something else, I suppose.

He didn't lack a sense of humour, so might well opt for "grow some hair, airman," were he still around.

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I had the luck to be there the day Haircut's funny bone was tickled so much he fell about laughing.

The station's weekly Wednesday afternoon parade had just begun tuning up for the Air Officer Commanding's visit, a couple of months ahead.

Haircut stood ramrod stiff at the saluting base in the persona of the AOC.

Quite how it came about was a baffler, but suddenly one section of the parade, marching in column of route, ploughed clean through the flank of another.

Airmen scattered like ninepins before everything could be brought to a halt.

Haircut reeled, helpless, while order was restored.

We enjoyed a grandstand view of the whole thing from the side of the square, rather than on it.

For 62 CTC, as we were known, never managed to get on a single parade during our three-and-a-bit months at Credenhill.

Through no fault of our own we became the parade ground pariahs.

The blame for this lay with 62's course instructor, Sgt Haskins, who was skiving for as long as possible after an arm injury.

A 6ft plus beanpole, with bottle lens glasses that magnified his pale eyes to match tombstone teeth, Alfred Haskins was genial enough, but not even his mum could mistake him for Cary Grant.

Yet to our amazement he was carrying on with a married lady in the town.

We learned this when our sergeant turned up one morning with an arm in plaster and grinning all over his lugubrious mug.

With bashful pride, he related how the night before he'd been with his squeeze in the upstairs front of her terraced house when hubby unexpectedly came home.

Hustled out of the window and told to shin down the drainpipe on the left, our bold NCO belatedly found his left wasn't the same as hers.

It wasn't much of a fall into the geraniums, but enough to break his left forearm.

Since hubby did some kind of muscular nightwork, Haskins felt he'd got off lightly, all things considered.

He also got off taking 62 CTC on the Wednesday parades, which job he smugly handed over to our senior man, a self-important shortarse Brummie, who gloried in the opportunity.

We were all delighted the first time he marched us on to the square and a corporal came over and demanded: "Who the hell are you lot?"

Snapping to attention, Brum proudly replied: "Sixty-two CTC, all present, corporal."

"Well, piss off - you're nothing to do with us", he was sourly ordered.

Undeterred, Brummie marched us around all four sides of the square, suffering two further stinging rebuffs, before we told him we'd just as soon form up at ease beside it and watch.

And that, unbelievably, remained the parade ground fate of 62 CTC, despite our indignant efforts to be accepted on it.

We tried various ways to do this.

Once, the 21 of us adroitly attached ourselves in perfect step to the end of a column entering the square.

For once unnoticed, we thought we'd cracked it. But the numbering off found us out.

In the end, we settled for marching purposefully back and forth amid columns assembling in the flight lines for those parades, vengefully hoping to disrupt things.

By the big day, all of 62 CTC had been posted elsewhere, anyway.

But at least Haircut didn't miss us on Credenhill's AOC parade.

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