My Diana Dors bust got a few whistles on base egg-drop
OUR old Lincolnshire airfield I d no longer recognise, apparently. Seems it s long been a housing estate. One time billet mate Ray tells me this after a recent trip back there from his Liverpool home for a nostalgic look around. All he found of what was o
OUR old Lincolnshire airfield I'd no longer recognise, apparently. Seems it's long been a housing estate.
One time billet mate Ray tells me this after a recent trip back there from his Liverpool home for a nostalgic look around.
All he found of what was once virtually a village was a plaque marking the site. Ray was deflated to see so much history thus tidied away, as if now almost an afterthought.
He was further chagrined to discover thoroughly modernised, the pub, where, once a month our crowd dined royally in the cosy back parlour at seven-and-six a head.
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None of it is really a surprise. Ages ago I learned our station - not operational anymore - had been "mothballed" for use should some disaster create a flood of refugees. Such unfortunates would have been surely much cheered with our billets there.
The six, three-storey barrack blocks, two long rooms per floor flanking stairs, boasted central heating, airy windows, and Wembley-type shower rooms and ablutions. For us erks, it was appreciated luxury after elsewhere's antiquities.
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Posted there from RAF Credenhill, near Hereford, the rail journey took me a long day, via Birmingham and Grimsby, to a final branch line destination with the splendidly-rural name of Grimoldby Halt.
It was night when I arrived. A voice shouted something incomprehensible in the dark. "Is this Grimoldby Halt?" I yelled. "Ar, Grimleby," came a reply. I was to learn later the locals never bothered with the "old" bit.
Well-used to such as me, the one porter saw the train off before taking my travel warrant.
Chuckling at my kit-bag and the other clobber, he said: "Posted-in, eh? Least you a'nt no rifle, like we ad at Wipers!"
I told him dad was there. In no time the deserted little platform resounded to our chorus of "Mademoiselle from Armentieres, inky pinky, parlez-vous?"
Friends for life!
As he showed by rushing outside and waylaying a passing van to give me a lift to the camp.
The driver, Harold Jackson, was a civilian employee there, in the air equipment section I was sent to. Over the following 18 months we became good mates.
Harold had a small-holding and regularly sent me home to Ilford on my 48s with two-dozen free-range eggs.
Word got about, and before long folks were asking if there were any spare.
"Plenty," said Harold.
Bringing a loaded van on camp was no trouble, but he couldn't go charging all over it with boxes of eggs. I could, though.
In and out all day on the section bike, visiting SHQ, signals, air traffic, and various hangars, I'd attract scant notice and lose even less time dropping off Harold's eggs.
I did get some attention, with occasional mickey-take wolf-whistles as I sped by with the front of my working blue stuffed with empty egg boxes, that gave me a Diana Dors bust.
No mug, the section CO, Squadron Leader Clarke, saw that eggs went to those wanted on our side workwise.
Air equipment was never short of a lorry, for instance.
Once, Squaddie, with pilot officer McDiarmid and me, famously drove there and back to Carlisle's maintenance unit, where he smash-and-grabbed the kite modifications our repeated immediate Operational Requirement Signals had not obtained.
The station's big annual operation was flying Lincolns non-stop over the Pole to Tokyo, refuelled in the air by Greenland's Americans.
That epic effort used to get on Pathe Gazette at the cinema, and for a week Louth's Odeon would be packed nightly with us proud erks, regardless of the film showing.
No mention on that newsreel, fortunately, of the luxuries, which our capacious Lincolns smuggled back from Tokyo. I once copped a stinger from Geordie section colleague LACW Patterson for smirking about how she came by several pairs of nylons.
The egg sideline couldn't rival the long-haul Lincolns, but was part of a vibrant station life.
To the extent a joker, who was later to be a Liverpool Echo cartoonist, circulated one drawing of an egg-headed Harold and me in front of a shop labelled Jackson and Smith Ltd.
Maybe I should put up another plaque?