Finished reading TF Neils " A Fighter in my sights". A truly great book which I recommend before BoB is out since Tom describes this fighting close and personal. Anyway, there are also many things that made me laugh out loud so I thought I should share one with you.
This episode takes place during Toms training at No. 8 FTS during a night flying sortie.
When Flight Sergeant Betty and I finally became airborne, we were one of several aircraft in the air. We took off into the night and having made several successful landings, I turned off the end of the flarepath intending to return to the taxi-post and thence, with the sanctioning green wink of the Aldis, to the point of take off at the first flare. As I bumped slowly across the uneven grass in absolute darkness, I was quite pleased with myself and much comforted by the silence of my instructor in the back.
Having reached the taxy-post, I halted briefly before the green blink of the Aldis flashed in my direction. I then opened up and, the whine of the engine rising, the Hart started to trundle ahead. But only for a second or two before the aircraft came to an untidy halt. Perplexed, I tried to edge forward again but the aircraft wouldn’t respond. Furthermore, there was the most unpleasant ‘Thwacking’ noise from somewhere ahead.
I sat and thought. Funny! Something wrong with the propeller? The engine? Or the aircraft, even? I couldn’t have taxied into anything as there was only one building on the airfield and that was miles away. I strained my eyes into the blackness but could see nothing. I was about to make some comment when I heard a flow of quietly eloquent but very unbiblical language from behind me. Good heavens! Swearing! From Flight Sergeant Betty? Surely not! What on earth had come over the man?
The ‘Thwacking’ continuing, I suggested that I might switch off and investigate. Betty agreed with a sigh, clearly crushed by the enormity of what he suspected to be our misfortune.
I climbed out and, dropping to the ground, felt my way round to the front by touch, soon to find myself treading on bits of my own propeller - and walking into the chewed-up wing of another Hart. Another Hart!
I looked up into the darkness and all I could distinguish was a pale smudge which, on closer scrutiny, turned out to be the very anxious face of Sergeant Osmand. Thereafter, there followed one of the silliest conversations I have ever had with anyone.
I heard myself saying, ‘Hello! What are you doing here?’
‘Doing here! I’m sitting in my cockpit, that’s what! You’ve just taxied into me!’
‘Me? But how did you get here?’
‘Get here! I’ve been here for ages.’
‘You can’t have!’
‘Well I jolly well have! Anyhow, I’ve just been given a green.’
‘But that was for me.’
‘No it wasn’t!’
‘Yes it was!’
Suddenly , the circumstances and the absurdity fo our exchange was such that I had to suppress a powerful urge to giggle. On reflection, it was a mercy that I did.
Can not help seeing John Cleese and Michael Palin doing this as a scetch.