Mere Gen Christmas 1943



Mere Gen Christmas 1943


A duplicated magazine produced by the personnel at Branston Mere Y station. It contains 'in' jokes, stories, a quiz, poems and cartoons.


IBCC Digital Archive




Bradley Froggatt
Steve Baldwin


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit and


34 page duplicated magazine





Temporal Coverage


[Royal air force crest]

[Underlined] Mere Gen [/Underlined]

Christmas 1943

Holly leaf

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[Underlined] DON’T [/Underlined] LET YOUR PAL GO FOR A BURTON OVER A BASS.

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[Editorial insignia] 70

[Underlined] XMAS GREETINGS [/Underlined]

Now then, registered customers! About this Christmas business. As we’re all hoping this is going to be the last Christmas of the war, it looks as if this is going to be the last Christmas “Mere Gen”! So, in wishing you “All the best”, let me thank you for your support (and your shillings!) during the past year. We do appreciate the interest you have shown in our efforts during 1943 and trust you will be subscribing regularly in 1944. And so, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, one and all!
Fred Bolt.

As a newcomer to the Station I would like to thank you all for the way you have helped me settle so quickly and also to wish you a very happy Xmas and prosperous New Year. [Underlined] Here’s to lots more “ops” [/underlined].! [sic]
Frank Potts.

In wishing everybody the proverbial Merry Xmas and Happy New Year may I express my appreciation of your interest in my recent sickness.
G.R. Batley.

May I, on behalf of the WAAF personnel at East Mere House and myself, extent to our fellow comrades and all concerned, our very best wishes for a jolly Xmas and Good New Year.
Morag Morrison.. [sic]

May I wish you all a very Merry Xmas (including the Evening Watch- poor souls!) and that the New Year will bring for you an abundance of Health and Happiness.
Harold Speak.

On behalf of the perpetrators of “Mere Gen” I thank you for your interest and support of the Mag. and hasten to wish you all a Merry Xmas and may the New Year bring “goodwill” and the all-important peace.
Ted Liddell.

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S. O. Scott sends seasonal greetings to all for the Xmas “festivities” and good wishes for the New Year.

The Officer i/c wishes to extend greetings to all ranks and wishes all a very Happy Xmas and a prosperous New Year!

It is with great pleasure that I accept F/Lt. Irving’s invitation to me to use the medium of your excellent “Mere Gen” to pass to all Ranks my Best Wishes for a Jolly Christmas and a successful New Year.

Congratulations to you all on your worthy achievements during 1943.

W.G. Swanborough.

Wing Commander.

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[Underlined] Reproduced from Twenty-six Group Monthly Newsletter [/Underlined]
(by kind permission of the Author)

[Underlined] THE ROAD TO PROMOTION [/underlined]

Our Signals personnel have always been keen on their job and willing to co-operate on all phases of their work, from long hours of employment at a stretch to being called out in the middle of the night to repair an aerial which has blown down or become damaged in a gale.
They have also been at the front in social matters, whether it be arranging a Dance or putting up a show at Christmas. Many “Old Hands” will remember the famous “boat” dinners with their attendant displays when drafts abroad were preparing for home after a monotonous two year in Iraq, Transjordan or some other isolated place, but which were now beginning to appear on the horizon again.
Their work was carried out efficiently and cheerfully (this was the days of peace) and their training had been long and facilities for such, ample. Those peace-time men had themselves chosen the Service for their career; they expected to be sent abroad and accepted all the discomforts, the inconveniences and the partings as well as the pleasure of service life.
The very great majority of these men, who had to wait years for promotion, are now Officers or Warrant Officers and their places have been filled by others, many of whom would probably have placed a Service career very low down on a list of their inclinations. How are they re-acting to this compulsory service life and training? What kind of a show are they putting up? This opinion is entirely personnel but the answer to the first is, I think, “that whatever our inclination, there is a war on, and we have just got to win it”. Secondly, “they are doing splendidly”. Both these answers apply equally to the woman.
The reason they are doing splendidly is not so much because they are highly efficient, but because they are doing their best after a short period of training which is unsatisfactory but unavoidable.
But what of their faults?
In peace-time if a man lost a tool or damaged an instrument,

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he had to pay for it. He was highly trained and if a thing did not work he was capable of and took a pride in repairing it. Every item of equipment was registered and had to be accounted for. The Air Force was allowed a certain sum of money annually and this could not – expect in exceptional circumstance – be exceeded. To-day, however, all that is changed, equipment is now in abundant supply and in many cases no accoint [sic] is kept, but that is no reason why it should be wasted, and perhaps the greatest fault one now finds amongst our tradesmen is the tendency to throw aside a faulty item and get a new one rather than to repair the old one and save the new.
One other fault is, that whilst the majority are keen to obtain advancement, there is a tendency to expect promotion without a great deal of exertion to gain the additional knowledge and ability which warrants it. This is probably due to long hours of work and lack of easy opportunity, but it should be remembered the greater the knowledge absorbed now the greater the benefit to be gained after the war, not only for those remaining in the service, but also for those returning to civil life, when in both spheres there will be no easy road to promotion but intensive competition for the better jobs.

[Underlined] ACKNOWLEDGEMENT [/Underlined]

We are extremely grateful to L.A.C. Field and Mrs. Chas. Stear who respectively raffled on behalf of the Mag. two fountain pens and a superb doll. The pens were won by L.A.C. s Gaffney and Jones (Davey) and the doll by Cpl. Jean Grantham, and some £4. 9. 6 went into the Mag funds, to make possible this extra large Xmas number.
The Editor.

[Underlined] “MERE GEN” XMAS FREE GIFT SCHEME [/Underlined}
Please note the serial number of your Mag. It may mean you are one of the lucky people to profit by our free Gift Scheme. After the Mags. have been sold we are drawing 15 lucky numbers and the holder of these Mag. numbers are entitled to a prize on application to the Editorial Board. The list of numbers will be published on the official notice board.
The Editor.

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[6 Pictures]

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[underlined] Items received too late for classification [/underlined]

Cpl. Burbury’s hut colleagues insist that she is in dire need of new pair pf pyjamas – preferably complete with cord – “trousers for the keeping up of! (See Xmas Gift Cartoon)

For what it is worth we reproduce a recent “Steve Hendry-ism”

“When I was in civvy street, I never went out with more than one boy at a time- now I don’t care.” Safety in numbers?

[Underlined] Situations Vacant. [/Underlined]

Editor required for this Mag.

The position calls for someone prepared to accept the colossal salary now offered, a flair for persistently pestering people, an acceptance of a social unpopularity, a reluctance to hurt people’s feelings, an ability to spell and a willingness to dedicate “days off” etc. to the pursuit of contributions, “copy”, printers, raffles, cartoonists, complaints, etc. etc.

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[Underlined] OF MICE AND MEN [/Underlined]

A light still burned in the dispensary, and on the bench a bunsen was still burning, its spluttering flame seeming to fill the atmosphere with a subdued roar. Over its blue ghostly flame the analyser, white overalled and rubber gloved, was holding a pasty-looking solid, balanced on the end of a metal spatula.
This mysterious substance crackled and spat, sending out a pungent vapour which made its torturer hold his face away with obvious distaste and horror.
Beside the bunsen burner stood a strange piece of apparatus. There was a gleaming copper coil mounted on an oblong piece of light-coloured wood, somewhat like a miniature platform; attached to each end of the coil and forming an oblong grid was more copper. There were also at each end of the platform more metal fittings, at one end a metal claw loosely secured by a staple.
After a while the queer-looking mass on the spatula changed colour, but still sent out its horrible odour. The analyser then laid it gently on the bench and, after a moment or two, he transferred the substance very carefully to the metal claws of the machine.
Starting to manipulate the copper grid he had some difficulty in getting it in the position he desired; he also appeared to be apprehensive and in great fear, for after a short time he sighed and stood back and started wiping beads of perspiration from his forehead with his handkerchief.
He now lifted the entire apparatus and walked very cautiously from the dispensary towards the door which opened on to the corridor where he placed it very gingerly in the cabinet that had been left open.
Returning to the dispensary, he turned off the bunsen and very carefully wiped away all traces of his recent operations.
He then switched out all the lights, and a few moments later was gone, quickly and silently.
Lighting a cigarette with hands that slightly trembled he disappeared into the darkness muttering “I wonder if I shall catch that damn mouse to-night”.

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“THEY” say

A woman is as old as she looks.
And a man is old when he stops looking!

[Underlined] STATION QUIZ COMPETITION [/underlined]

Here is a competition – without prizes – about yourselves and the Station. See if you can answer the following questions correctly and remember the Editor’s decision is binding!

1. Which is the “dim watch”?
2. Which is the “glam’rous [sic] watch”?
3. Which is the “binding watch”?
4. (a) Who are the T.W.s, and (b) how did this sobriquet arise?
5. Who are the “Darlings”?
6. Whose christian names are John Archibald Gerald Fitzroy?
7. Who is “Plug”? (Steady, boys, Steady! Ed.)
8. Who is a very able member of the S.L.G.A?
9. Who frequently says with feeling, “Why, my little son could have done better”?
10. How man A.M. Constables’ names do you know? (Their real names please, not your own epithets – Ed.)
11. Is F/Sgt. Pitman older than L.A.C. Greenhalgh?
12. Who are the “Geordies” on the Station?
13. Who is the only university graduate on the Station?

The following is a pungent, yet poetic postscript to our platitude on platonic friendship, in October’s Mere Gen.

It really is very ironic
To believe that a friendship platonic,
No matter the basis,
“The just going places”
Can live without “Love” as a “tonic”

L.A.C. J. W. Moore (Fitting Party)

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[Underlined] XMAS MERE GEN HONOURS LIST [/underlined]

We have decided that certain personalities on the Station deserve honourable mention on account of public or official activities or other attributes as set out below.
If you have been omitted we claim your indulgence, as doubtless “Mere Gen Records” are holding up the publication!

Sgt. Barnes for her very tolerant acceptance of some rather deadly “Mere Gen Quiz Flak”!

L.A.C. Porter for his constant consideration for L.A.C. Porter.

Messrs. William Reynolds and George Creasey for devotion to duty which has seldom been surpassed!

The Orderly Room for their efficient handling of the weekly rations.

L.A.C.W. Fitzpatrick inasmuch [sic] as she brought the romantic freshness of youth into the life of at least one L.A.C.

Cpl. Rolls for her prodigious gastronomic feats; on the occasion which has won for this special mention she disposed of three dinners, four bars of chocolate, 3 apples (the property of Cpl. Morrison), four sulphur tablets and a bottle of Sal Volatile! Nice going Betty – in fact “Hips Hips” Hooray!

Pat Buckingham for her invariable charm, docile nature, her reluctance to exercise sarcasm and her aversion for the opposite sex!

Jack Tones for his gallant plunge into matrimony!

Jack Gaffney who is now reputed to have a liquid capacity of 15 pints per session!

Cpl. Liddell on his patriotism in joining the Home Guard!

Dot Barton for a slimness which is really baffling!

Steve Hendry for a frankness which is at times staggering!

Cpl. Johnson for his efforts as a chemical warfare worker! [Inserted] Fire [/Inserted] Fighter – remember those ghastly Tuesdays?

Cpl. Skipworth for her efforts as the protagonist of Cheadle! Awarded the distinguished insignia of the order of Gorgeous Garrulous Guffers!

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L.A.C.W. Bassford for her unfavourable comparison of “Mere Gen” with some provincial rag – the Dunstable Gazette! We sincerely and honestly appreciated your criticism. (But it hasn’t done us a scrap of good. Ed!)

Phyl Carr for her capture of Sgt. Norman and the materialisation of our first station wedding!

F/Lt. Irving for his venture into the business of rearing pigs!

Baffling Berry as the enigma of the year.

“Hutch” for the proudest parent of the year.

“Pud Rice” for outstanding cheerfulness and sheer “joie de vivre”

Dot Wallace for sheer “oomphemininity” [sic]!

Cpl. Royle for his incomparable “spit and polish boots”!

Sheila Edwards – one of the few nice girls left.

Sher Cooper as the ideal husband of the year!

Kasher Langley as the ideal wife!

Kath Fenn for her invariable politeness.

Helen Kerr as one who has proved the reality of platonic friendship.! [sic]

Many years ago, Christmas 19 – something-or-other – the many Christmas grottoes had been open in the large stores, shop windows were dressed in true Christmassy [sic] fashion. The spirit of Christmas was in the air, and since Christmas is not complete without ghosts, ghosts there had to be. Our rival gang – the “Red Hand Gang”, who could only sport the top of an Allsop beer bottle as badge of membership to be worn on jersey or jacket, were first in the field with a ghost. A poor ghost, made from a swede turnip from which the centre had been removed, eyes, nose and mouth out, to show through the light of a candle placed inside before the top had been replaced. The ghost head was placed in a hedge

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and packed underneath with newspaper to very good effect.

Though, as I say, a poor ghost, it caused much annoyance to our Gang, the “White Horse Gang” – a much superior organisation who adorned themselves with silver-plated white horses taken from the centre of a King’s regiment badge – steps had therefore to be taken to counter this affront to our dignity. A real live ghost was the solution, so a real live ghost it had to be.

It was about this time that a notice appeared in the window of a very large residence stating “House to Let”. Fate was being kind, for before one could have a haunted house, even though one had a ghost, it was essential to have the house. Here was the house, and at the next meeting of the “W.H.G.” a scheme was drawn up to use our ghost and the empty house.

The Gang, hereinafter called “the ghosts”, reported at the appointed time and place complete with bedsheet and chain, the latter having been removed, without detection, from an outside lavatory, the former smuggled from the beds of “the ghosts”, under jersey or jacket.

Just after dark entrance was gained by removing a grating and forcing the scullery window. Candles were lit and “the ghosts” proceeded to their haunts, the first storey bedroom. Sheets were thrown over the heads and with chains trailing on the floor, “the ghosts” moved across the window.

Down in the street old ladies screamed, men quickened their step, younger people actually ran, the ghosts were real – dozens of people had seen them – the neighbourhood buzzed with various tales which lost none of their vigour by being re-told.

On later escapades “the ghosts” emitted blood-curdling howls when disinterested passers-by failed to look up at the windows when they came within range.

After a week or so the boldest of the local residents,

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backed up by the corpulent, flat-footed representative of the law set out to lay “the ghosts”. Unfortunately their entrance was the same as ours, and we were caught.... white sheeted. Only the appeals of many mothers saved “the ghosts” from a visit to the Juvenile Court.

Strange – that part of a ghost’s anatomy commonly known as the posterior is very material, and particularly sensitive to a leather strap!


[Underlined] TERSE VERSE [/Underlined]

Why, I say old boy, that girl’s got bunions!
Quite so, old man, - but she knows her onions!

Twinkle, twinkle little Hollywood star,
Went for a ride in her boy friend’s car.
What she committed is not freely admitted,
But now that she’s knittin’ [sic]-
It’s not “Bundles for Britain”!

(For W.A.A.F. who are partial to Army Lts.)

We freely extend these tips-
After sweetly surrendering the lips
Be sure to spit out the pips!

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The most remarkable occurrence in a year of remarkable occurrences was the publication in the bi-century issue of the “Mere, Branston and Potterhanworth Recorder and Blankney Chronicle” of the following letter.

The University,
Sugar-Beet Friday.


In your last issue dated 25th July, 1814, you make much of the invention of a contraption which you refer to as a steam engine, by some upstart named Stephenson. Seeing that you devoted so much space to such a crude, noisy and dirty creation, I am hoping that you will have the good taste to bring the attention of your readers to a far more important invention. I refer, of course, to the “Seeoveroscope” which has been devised by Prof. Ivan Isobarovitch, the distinguished Balonian scientist who is at present a refugee in this country. By means of the “Seeoveroscope” it is possible to see into the future day by day; to see what your neighbours will be doing to-morrow, or to predict the time of the rent-man’s visit. Indeed there is no limit to its usefulness and in view of the great benefits which it will confer on mankind, the University has decided to confer on the inventor the Hon. Degree of D.Sc. (Br) as a mark of appreciation of this great work.

Yours etc.
Nathaniel Gumboil.

The letter, which was printed in TATISH [sic], the original language of the district, caused such a sensation that a number of A.M. constables completely forgot their strenuous duties for a whole week, and congregated daily in the “Waggon” to discuss the phenomenon. Foreign spies descended on Branston in shoals disguised either as compatriots of Prof. Isobarovitch, complete with outsize face fungus, or, joy of joys, in the role of the glamourous blonde from the “Careless Talk” poster. To add to this confusion, unscrupulous business interests sent their agents to try and gain possession of the “Seeoveroscope”. The locals were not inactive. The local “Gestapo H.Q.” at the

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village grocer’s store strove might and main for possession, in order to maintain their supremacy as “gen” merchants which for half a century has attracted more custom than the quality of all their wares combined. In fact, fantastic as it may seem, it has been reported that for eighteen hours twelve and a half minutes, no mention was made in this establishment of the ”goings on” of the airmen and W.A.A.F., so engrossed were the populace in this invention.

Prof. Isobarovitch dare not move a handstir [sic] without escort, and a well known special constable was called on night and day to protect with the result that the “Special” had to neglect his allotment and the price of cabbage rose steeply as the market was cornered by an unscrupulous Air Raid Warden.

The Editor of the “M.B & P. Gazette and Blankley Chronicle” one Gabriel Van Twinkle , surveyed the situation with unholy joy, then withdrew to Potterhanworth Woods, changed into a hedgehog and hibernated until such time as some world-shaking event merits another edition of his august periodical.

Alas, the editors of “Mere Gen” were denied such a means of escape and as the only responsible (ahem!) newspaper in the district we decided to uphold the magnificent tradition of the Press and obtain possession of all the good things we could get hold of – purely in the national interest of course. After prolonged negotiations we have at last obtained possession of the “Seeoveroscope” in exchange for the C.O’s sugar ration and two tame Gremlins, and in this and future issues we hope to make use of this truly astonishing device for the edification and amusement of our admiring public.

Foot – unfortunately Gabriel Van Twinkle was the only living person who understood “TATISH” [sic] the language in which the “Chronical” was written and the other articles are therefore lost to the world to the unquestioned impoverishment of Art and Science for generations to come. H.S.

With the aid of our newly acquired Seeoveroscope we took a look into the pages of “Who’s Who” for 1973. Here is one

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page in which we were especially interested: -

[Underlined] “Who will be Who in 1973.” [/Underlined]

[Underlined] IRVING. [/Underlined] Born at the age of 0 this celebrated personage laid an early claim to fame by being champion lollypop eater of Birkenhead at the age of five. Between that date and his retirement last year he has held many important official appointments, some of which are tabulated below.

1910. Champion runner of Black Street School.
1911. Head Boy, Blank Street School.
1911 1/2 Ex-head boy, Blank Street School.
1915. Principal chief office boy – Ex P.C. Office boy.
1916. Labourer, “CollosoConstruction [sic] Co. Ltd.”
1916 2/3 Managing Director, “Colloso Construction Co.Ltd.”
[Underlined] 1927. [/Underlined] A.C.2. Royal Air Force.
1929. AC.1 Royal Air Force.
1943. O.C., R.A.F. Station.
1945. Viceroy of India.
1946. Station Master at Potterhanworth.
1947. H.M Ambassador to Branston.
1949. Sanitary Inspector, Upper Tooting.
1954. Governor-General of Canada.
1961. Insurance Agent.
1962. Governor of Bank of England.
1964. Coffee Stall Keeper.
1967. Manager “Splendiferous” Hotel.
1969. Guest, H.M. Prison, Dartmoor.
1970. Governor, H.M. Prison, Dartmoor.
1971. i/c Shove-halfpenny, Lincoln Fair.
1972. Member of the Stock Exchange.
1972 1/2. Retired.

Another glance into the future with the aid of the Seeoveroscope.

“The Daily Wail”. 22nd December 19--.

At Blankton Borough Police Court yesterday Mr. Murray Alcorn was prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit in a mechanically driven bath chair. Defendant, who is 101 not

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out, appeared in court in the vehicle in question, to which was fitted a morse key and loud speaker, and insisted that the entire proceedings should be conducted in morse code. The Inspector of Police made objection to this, but withdrew the objection after being chased round the court room ten times by the infuriated defendant complete with bath chair.

The presiding magistrate Mr. George Fensom J.P., was heard to remark to his fellow beaks that no matter what language they spoke he would salt defendant as he had waited sixty years for a chance such as this. After a heated exchange of morse signals the court pronounced sentence that Alcorn should have the spring taken from his morse key and be fined the sum of £891. 10. 11 3/4. He left the court gibbering incoherently in morse. The other magistrates were Mrs Doreen Hett, J. P., and Miss Bunty Standford, J.P.


[Underlined] NEWS FROM THE M.E [/Underlined]

From out of the blue comes news of a former prominent Waddite – Cpl. Jack Pyne – who together with his colleagues “over there” have been eagerly reading Mere Gen. They send us Xmas Greetings and our thought are most surely with those fellows we knew and served with, this Christmastide! May we soon be all together again! In the meantime, Jack has sent us what he describes as “one or two pieces of doggerel or mongrel which he has knocked out while chewing sand” Thanks a lot, 651572 Cpl. J. H. Pyne.

1. They take off – land – take off again,
They cross, recross in the skies,
What’s on? Well, we never get that “gen”
Not M.E’s, Spits- just Flies.

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What am I?
I dance the sky,
I’m rather shy
A little sly,
And often lie
But never try
My eggs to fry
Tho’ bye and bye,
I heave a sigh,
Cause soon I die,
You’re right first time old boy – a fly!

3. [Underlined] The Officers, the N.C.Os, the Men. [/Underlined]

Now there, the Officers, the N.C.O.s, the Men,
We all belong to this or that of them,
Our own rank it may be low
But we’re all needed for this Show
We have the Officers, the N.C.O.s, the Men.

Now the Officer he’s a decent fellow when
He goes to tap the Sergeant for some ‘gen’
And the Sergeant he will smirk,
As he goes to ask the Erk,
We have the Officers, the N.C.O. s, the Men.

Now the Sergeant he’s a decent fellow, but
He’s rather apt at times to lose his nut.
For when the C.O’s on the ‘phone,
He stands up – though he’s alone,
We have the Officers, the N.C.O’s, the Men.

Now the Erk’s a decent fellow though,
At times he’s apt to be a little slow,
For when he’s put upon fatigues,
He always say he’s “on his knees”
We have the Officers, the N.C.O’s, the Men.

Now the Officer drinks his whisky in the Mess,
And the sergeant likes the same, or more, or less,
But the Erk if he is able,
Likes his beer upon the table,
We have the Officers, the N.C.O’s, the Men.

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In his cups the Officer tells his tales of woe,
And the Sergeant tells of service life pre-war,
But when the Erk his beer has gone,
He’ll take anybody on,
We have the Officers, the N.C.O’s, the Men.

Now the Officer likes his songs a trifle witty,
And the Sergeant likes a sentimental ditty,
But the Erk right from his throat,
Shouts “Roll on the blinking Boat”
We have the Officers, the N.C.O’s, the men.

But they all work together pretty well,
And when this war is over, who can tell?
When we’re back in civvy street,
How the different ones we’ll meet
Who’ve been the Officers, the N.C.O’s, the Men.

4. After being bitten by, and then reading Havelock Ellis’s “Essay on the Mosquito”

Should you start twitching and turning
Your neck – and you utter a curse:
As you feel such as small pinpricks burning,
When uncovered portions they pierce:
Remember! You’re swearing at Nature,
Quintessence of all that should be,
I’m sure that she can’t mean to hurt you,
For the “Mossie’s” a lady you see.

Cpl. J.H.P. 651572.
276 Wing. R.A.F. M.E.F.

??? [Sic} {underlined] QUIZ [/Underlined] ??? [sic]

A newly promoted Waaf (Guff) Corporal (no longer with us) taking an unnatural interest in a visiting Flight Lt., who seemed equally disposed to “cater” for her tastes!
Blondie Barnes admits that her first love is in the Navy and that her attachment to a Canadian Corporal is not to be interpreted as unfaithfulness, as it is merely to prevent her from “becoming morbid”

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[underlined] QUIZ [/Underliend] (continued)

Who are the Waafs with more than a passing interest in a certain prominent Cinema Organist?

Cpl. Akenhead – very self conscious with a ravishing pair of fur-lined gloves and a brand new 2nd. Lt. – both looking rather bewildered in the “Local”!

We note with no little interest that Daisy Wiles and Steve Hendry who in their day had one very common “interest” have since “his” departure found ample consolation with the Artillery!

Bernard Wynn is nursing a not-so-secret passion for Cowgirl Standford!

Cpl. Burbury is to be congratulated on bringing the Waaf “would be gold diggers” into the social lives of the neighbouring Yankee “oil diggers”! In this connection is it true that Vera Lee is studying basic Americanese in order to further her conquest of A.J.?

Joan Carruthers baling out of her civilian “affaire [sic]”?

While we offer our congratulations to “Bunny” Ryan on her engagement to a “Sky Pilot”, we must deplore her very sudden change of attitude to matrimony!

On the very vexed question of marriage,
Our Bunny gave a negative barrage!
[inserted] Not for her to be wed, but a career instead [/inserted]
To go thro’ life as a wife was – well – ‘ill-bred”!
Our doubts she dismissed – conceit of mere Men,
So now let us give you the Gen,
She had heard spinster tales of being left in the lurch,
And that, fellowmen, is why she’s embracing the Church!

We send greetings to L.A.C. Black who has had a protracted sick leave. May we assure this laddie from Glasgie [sic], that his financial future is assured, as the C.O. has authorised payment of 8d. in respect of a bus fare he claimed!

The official splitting of the inevitable, inseparable, Gledhill-Beard combine is understood to have had far-reaching effects on the Social “Ops” of aircrew as far distant as Syston! For days the current catchword was “What’s a B without a G? [sic]

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Sergt. Barnes hastily relinquishing her American “interests” to welcome a “Rafite” from India.

Sudbrooke’s “Signal” Social Set are doing much to brighten the lives of Mesdames Brentley, Buckingham, Morris, Akenhead! Let’s hope they won’t feel the [underlined] ‘draft’ [/underlined]!”

The inimitable Pere Shemilt doing a social round since his evacuation to Branston.

Why did Sgt. Ripley spend the initial part of her leave in a neighbouring Waaf Sgt’s Mess?

Has Jeannie with the “two stripes air” experience a change of heart? Hence her trips to Martin and references to John?

May we anticipate the cementing of a romantic friendship between the inimitable “Morag” and that self-effacing L.A.C. Fred Palin?

A victim of “Commissionism” – diminutive Pixie Bentley! And isn’t “Royston” a duckie name for a Lieutenant?

Can it be that Phyl Goddard has done little to “ward” off the attentions of a certain L.A.C?

Did Brian Tighe enjoy his 2 a.m. patrol to Wragby Road in such charming company?

Jack Bellerby denies the rumour that he has been offered a directorship of the Astoria Ltd., but admits that he is i/c blackouts – at the Astoria!

At least one dashing R.A. 2nd. Lt. has captured the attentions, presumably temporarily, of a Waaf hitherto partial to a civilian!

“Lucky Laycock” doing more “Billing” then “Cooing “with a sweet natured honeyed L.A.C.W.?

L.A.C. Fensom gathering up the threads of a previous “heavy romance”?

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It was Christmas 1954 – the world war of ’39 was but dimly effacing itself from our minds and the over-vaunted post-war planning had done much to destroy the spirit of Xmas we had known in those pre-war days. However, Charles Dickens and his immortal Christmas Carol went on, serenely capturing the fancy of schoolboys from year to year and conjuring up in their youthful minds the rather frightening but irresistible topic of Ghosts!

My boy Clive, a precocious youth some 10 years old and invariably termed by his mother as a block off the old chip, came home for the Xmas hols. Full of this Ghost doctrine! I had been assured that a public school education fosters an independence of thought and by gad they had made a good job of Clive! In some strange distorted fashion he had decided that a neighbour of ours, a Mr. Spouge, was the living incarnation of the Dickensian Mr. Scrooge. Admittedly, Mr. Spouge looked the part – a wizened face that shrunk into the depths of a weird bowler hat and a lanky ungainly figure, coupled with an unpleasant manner and a disinclination to spend readily (if at all) had first attracted my prodigy. Then when Clive struck up an acquaintance with some black faced butcher’s by named Twitchit, who proved to be the son of some wretchedly paid clerk employed by Spouge- here was a ready-made Cratchit family!

I was compelled to listen to the whole story frequently and gradually I realised in my parental folly, that a plot was being hatched, to which I was to be invited (in a manner Clive had inherited from his mother!) to be an accessory before and after the fact! I gathered that even Clive had some doubts about a real ghost materialising on Xmas Eve and “gulling” old Spouge into seeing the error of his ways, and inducing him to subsidise the Twitchits! However, to allow for such an unpardonable lapse of memory by Ghosts Associated Ltd., [underlined] I [/underlined] was to play the role and out-dracula the efforts of the Ghosts of Xmas past, present and future! Well, we discussed the plot man to man fashion and I eventually admitted I was yellow! He was visibly disappointed – what was he going to tell the fellows in the 3rd form next term, etc. etc. However it was left at that and Xmas Eve found me celebrating at the club in no uncertain fashion. As the evening proceeded, I begun to think more and more of Spouge and

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the idea of my being a ghost seemed less absurd with each toast we drank. In a sudden fit of muddled decisiveness I snatched up a large white table cloth and staggering out of the Club I headed for the Spouge mansion. I went round to the tradesman’s entrance, clumsily opened a small window and eventually made a rather noisy entry. I struggled to my feet, draped myself in the table cloth and turned to find my intended victim glaring at me, not as a terrified Scrooge, but as an outraged householder. He thumped me on the head with some object and then oblivion for the Ghost of Xmas present.

Oh yes, there was a sequel. I spent Xmas day in the local jail until my solicitor could square the matter up – but what is more important – I held pride of place with Clive’s 3rd form contemporaries for months to come.

[Underlined] STATIONALITIES [sic] [/underlined]

[underlined] Arrivals, [/underlined] – we welcome to our station the following newcomers.
S/O Scott. Cpl. Jewell.
Cpls. Gordon, Pickersgill, Howlett and Cpl William Walker Pickles, A.C Simmons and Spouse, L.A.C.W. Pickup, L.A.C.W. Jump and A.C.W. Crawley

[Underlined] Departures [/underlined] – Our good wishes go with those who left us since our last issue:-
S/O. Mitchell, Sgt. Freeman, L.A.C.W.s Pyle, Petch, Wisdom, Paul, Stafford and Wilson.
L.A.C.s Bill Inches and G.Hickman (who have since been made Corporals)

It is a pleasing feature of our Xmas number that we have much congratulating to do – here it is

W.A.A.F. Sgts. Ripley and Davies.
Cpls. Morrison, Wallace, Burbury, Rollo, Skipworth, Taylorson and Cole.
R.A.F. Cpls. Dale, Batley, Speak, Hutchinson, Linke, Freeman, Adams M.R.J., Taylor, Buchanan and Connor.

[Underlined] Awarded G.C’s. [/Underlined]
L.A.C.W. Rice, L.A.C’s Fensom, Gaffney, Woodfine, Maher, Rylance, Greenhalgh, Field.

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[Underlined] Marriages. [/Underlined] – We extend hearty congratulations to Cpl. Jack Tones and to A.C.W. Carmen S. Barche on the occasion of their marriage which took place at St. Cuthberts, Heaton, Bradford, on 8th November, 1943.

[Underlined] Engagements. [/Underlined] – L.A.C.W. Brenda (Bunny) O’Ryan to Captain John Galbraith (Sky-Pilot)
L.A.C.W. Vera Lee to Cpl. David Davidson, RECCE.

[Underlined] 21st Birthdays [Underlined] – L.A.C.W. Rene Newport on 17th November, 1943.
Cpl. “Blondie” Barnes on 27th November, 1943.

[Underlined] Sick. [/Underlined] We are pleased to have Cpl. Batley with us again after his recent illness.
L.A.C. Black is progressing favourably and we hope that he will soon be back at Branston.
L.A.C.W. Beasley is now well again.

[Underlined] PROMOTION TALK [/Underlined]
Some priceless examples of what is being said by those lucky enough to be promoted and what is being left unsaid by those not so lucky.

1. Two newly promoted Corporals scanning D.R.O’s for announcement of their Corporal’s stripes – One says to the other “I say, shall we put in to see the “old man” for our third?”

2. (a) I don’t want the tapes – it’s the money that interests me.
(b) I’m not bothered about the money, but I should like my tapes.

3. My “bruvver Sid” has been in the Army three months and he is a Sergeant.

4. Corporals! I’ve shot ‘em!

5. A brand new WAAF Corporal, rather bewildered, makes a statement to the press on her elevation – Quote – It seems rather silly because we can’t do much after all, can we? (This is not Guff. Ed.)

6. Now inpeace [sic] time it took an L.A.C. 35 years to become a Cpl!

7. It’s so difficult to explain to the folks at home why I don’t get on!

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8. Fancy him/her getting his/her tapes. I taught them the job, and look at me!

9. From a WAAF Cpl. “I shall try to do my best for the girls” (I know a R.A.F. Cpl. who echoes these sentiments- Ed.)

10. (a) I [Underlined] think [/underlined] I’ll remuster!
(b) I [Underlined] think [/underlined] I’ll apply for posting!
(c) I [Underlined] think [/underlined] I’ll see the C.O.!
(d) I [Underlined] think [/underlined] mine must be through on records!
(e) I [Underlined] think [/underlined] the war will soon be over – so what do tapes matter!

11. Is it true that those who haven’t got their tapes are getting Xmas/New Year leave?

And so it goes on!

[Underlined] LEST WE FORGET [/underlined]

Cpls. Royle and Laycock ask us to point out that the first three years are the worst in the life of any Corporal.

[Underlined] XMAS PRESENTS [/underlined]

Xmas has once again brought with it the very vexed problem of shopping, and we fear that few of us will either receive or be able to give presents we would desire. However, Mere Gen with its usual magnanimity – although unable to hold out any hope of any materialisation of these gifts – has set out below what is considered to be a list of ideal gifts for certain of our contemporaries.
We can well imagine the glee with which Madelin Gledhill would unwrap an affluent P.O. from his celluloid wrapping, or W.O. Noble’s grin of satisfaction as he tugged a new “Scooter” out of his Service sock. For Bill Reynolds we recommend (not without ulterior motive) a new pair of hair clippers and for K.A.B.E. Jones (alias AVO) we have in mind a learned treatise on “psychology of the unconscious mind”. Bunty Standford pleads for a performing cow, Jack Bellerby gets a season ticket at the Astoria, Playboy Howard a Bill Reynold’s haircut, and Flight Sgt. Thomson an embossed voucher book and a carton of “C” stores.

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Mesdames Beard, Barton, Wallace, would appreciate Clive Jive’s book on how to “Jitter without Bugging” and perhaps we might offer to Sgt. Norman and Cpl. Tones that best seller “Wise Wedlock”! To Harold Speak goes a comprehensive policy insuring against discharge under para 65 something, Tom Vasey merits his dozen platform tickets and Tubby Unsworth deserves one more goose! We will content ourselves by giving Austerity Allman mere advice – an offer which Cpl. Robertson spurned – saying he preferred a dove-tailed joint (to quote Potterhanworth woodwork academy) and pass on to F/Sgt. Pitman a forage cap. Jack Tweedie has a priority for a repatriated haggis and to all lonely Waaf we offer a series of heavy dates with our neighbouring Yankees from “Boom-Town”! We hope to secure the option on a neighbouring farm horse for Joan Carruthers’ riding exploits, while to L.A.C.W. Billington goes a riding crop and George Fensom will surely welcome two Van Heusen new service pattern collars fitted with an anti S.P. device! Mickie Beard gets a giant package of chewing gum and I think we really ought to provide “Luscious Laura” with a suitable husband, while a priority order for an alarm clock for Cpl. Jewel would relieve the anxiety of N.C.O’s i/c midnight to 0800 watch. Well there you are – that’s all – Oh yes, – we nearly forgot F/Lt. Irving. We think W.O. Noble’s “Second front” Scooter should fall to his lot and solve his transport problem!

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[4 Pictures]

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[Underlined] HAYSTACK HUMOUR [/underlined]
[4 Pictures]

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[Underlined] “IT’S MOIDER [sic]”! She says. [/Underlined]

I had been married for three years and had no children to my adorable husband whom I cherished with undying devotion. On our third anniversary he arrived home from the House of Commons earlier than usual. He kissed me and straightway said “Don’t remind me, Dear, I’ve got it here in my pocket”, and saying this he deposited his hand into his pocket and withdrew a flat box which he at once handed to me. It was my anniversary present. As he extracted the small object from his pocket a photograph also fluttered out and came to rest on the carpet at my feet, face downwards. My husband tried hard not to look concerned but as I stooped to pick it up he also followed suit and the result was that we both got a nasty crack on the head. My husband, being a terribly stout man, could not retrieve his balance in time and rolled on to his back, giving me full access to the photograph. I picked it up, trying to show as little haste as possible, and when I turned it over I recognised the features portrayed there as belonging to one of my pals when I was in the Air Force. In a secluded corner was written the words “To my one and only darling Andrew. With all my love” and on the back was written “Remember June 3rd?”

My husband had managed to scramble to his feet by this time holding his head. Needless to say his head was as bald as a billiard ball and therefore offered not the least protection for the abuse it had just received. He held out his hand for the picture which I handed him without any hesitation. I proceeded to unwrap my present, but without the slightest interest as to what was inside. The actual present itself was diamond bracelet for which I thanked him and showed my appreciation by planting a kiss upon his dear bald pate.

The silence was broken by the luncheon gong. I took his arm and as we walked to the dining hall my numbed brain kept repeating “the 3rd of June”. “The 3rd of June”. But I could not connect anything with that date.

Not a word was exchanged throughout the mean [sic] and then I remember. On the 3rd of June Andrew had gone away for a weekend on business. Could he possibly have been making an excuse? Had he really attended an important meeting in Newcastle or had he really been to see Pat? If my presumption about the visit to

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Pat was correct, whatever could she, a charming girl, see in Andrew. I often wondered what I saw in him myself. Surely she wasn’t attracted to his position as an M.P., or could she? Pat always was one for men who could provide minks etc. No! That was my jealous subconscious mind providing excuses.

Not another word was passed that night with relation to the photograph. My husband I presume was under the impression that I had not seen it. I could not bear to sleep in his room that night so I excused myself by saying I had a headache and so slept in o [sic] one of the guest rooms.

The next day, when he had gone to business, I searched his room and found, not only letters from Pat but also romantic letters referring to similar weekends spent with Eva, another of my friends in the WAAF.

That was too much for me. I sent the garedner [sic] home early and borrowed some of his weed killer and prepared tea in the usual way, but remembering to add a terrific amount of this strong poison. I brewed myself a special cup free from weed killer. Andrew had not returned home at half past nine that evening but I had wisely kept the tea in the oven. (I had dispensed with the maid’s services for a week). Suddenly a loud tattoo was beat upon the front door. I opened it to find four, no six, men in deep black. They had brought Andrew’s body home after he had been knocked down by a buss

I pretended to be distressed, but how could I be genuinely sorry after what had happened. They took his body upstairs and I asked them if they would care for some tea, to which they replied “yes.”. [sic]

Forgetting about the “special tea” I had prepared for my husband, I poured them each a cup of tea, and before half an hour had elapsed, there was not one corpse in the house, but seven.

Having such a terrible memory, I could not understand them doing such a ridiculous thing as sliding silently to the ground without a word so I begun [sic]to kick them and hit them with anything I could lay my hands on. But still they wouldn’t move

Well! I didn’t want them in my house in such a speechless state so I rang up a policeman to hand [sic] them thrown out. That did it!
(Contd. On page 36)

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Present for you

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I am writing this from the State Penitentiary. I should be hanged to-morrow at twelve for wilful murder. But, instead, I’m being transferred to the asylum.
I’m Mad!!! [sic]
D. Cole.

[Underlined] DIVINE NIGHT. [/Underlined]

No moon, no stars – only the flower-scented dark:
A night bird calling and my heart at peace,
My yesterdays are all forgot and my tomorrows are a thousand moons away,
Lo, I can see more clear than day the perfect damask rose, dew wet and sweet,
The night-stock opening wide its heart to fling its scent upon the glamoured [sic] air,
My giant trees that wait in holiness, in prayer and dreams,
Lo, can I hear the voice of dying flowers, faded and fallen to the dust,
Giving their praise for their brief hour of joy;
Can I hear the drowsy twitter of the nested birds,
Night! I would sing to thee, so tender are thy gifts,
Pale sleep that bears us on its wistful barque unto our land of heart’s desire,
Thy boon of darkness end of quiet, so that our souls can catch the message of God,
Did we but lean to Him through thy slow hours,
Then would the world forget its follies and its woes,
Ah! shower thy tenderness tonight upon a world wounded by bloodshed and by war,
Cool Night! Thou hast he ear of God; He walks with thee
Entreat Him to be kind!



“Mere Gen Christmas 1943,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 19, 2020,

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