Sunday, 1 February 2009

A Short History of a Nearly Nobody

In No Particular Order!
Why, might you ask, would a young man like me be hanging on the wing of a "Gloster Javalin" all weather night fighter at 06:30 on a cold and frosty morning in the early nineteen sixties?
Well it is simple really.
The Cold War was at its height, and I was a young Radar mechanic based at RAF Duxford (now famous for the Aircraft Museum).
My normal job was working in the warm Radar Repair workshop on the side of the airfield. However, everyone who had a cushy job like mine, also had to have an emergency reserve job that they could be called upon to carry out in an emergency.
The Cold War was real!
My reserve duty was that of an Armorer and I had to assist with the loading of the twenty millimeter cannon shells when the aircraft returned from a sortie. And on this particular morning we were practicing this particular task. As it happens, the aircraft had been flying, but the guns had not been fired. So we unloaded and loaded the shells again just to make sure we could really do it. They (the shells) were very cold and white with frost, and heavy too. Never mind, perhaps this would be the first, and last time that I would be called upon to play Armorer. As it happened it was.

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