Life at Cranwell started with the inevitable ‘fatigues’ which comprised unloading 1 cwt flour sacks from a railway truck and piling them to the ceiling in a large store. I am convinced that several days of this damaged the muscles in my back and since then they have been a problem.
My staff at Beachy Head were a curious mixture. A general duties airman kept the VHF transmitter in good order. He was a poacher in civilian life. At Christmas, he wondered how we would manage for Christmas lunch. I tried to get some extra rations from the RAF on the grounds that we had a 24 hour watch but had no luck. On Christmas Eve, my airman went out at night with a sack, and came back with six dead chickens from the local farm. He said the farmer had so many in his flock that he wouldn’t miss them. A likeable rogue! Most mornings, after I had climbed the hill, he would have tea ready and breakfast with rashers of bacon, sometimes with mushrooms. When I quizzed him about how he got the bacon he told me that he got it through the ‘black market’ and not to worry. Later, it transpired that he had a girlfriend in the ATS who worked in the cookhouse of the local barracks. She had stolen a side of bacon and given it to the airman. Nevertheless I had to strongly veto any further transactions. It was a good Christmas Day and the Unit had a party which went on to the small hours with piano and the WAAF’s had all dressed up in civilian clothes.