The Woodpecker, February 1944



The Woodpecker, February 1944


A magazine produced by the 42 Air School, South Africa. News, articles, jokes and cartoons about airmen at the school.







A 23 page printed newsletter


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





[missing letters]e Woodpec[missing letters]

Vol. III. No. 5. FEBRUARY, 1944.

S.A. [missing word] Training Over 16,000 Flyers! – [missing Page No.]
Well – Cheerio, Hey! – [missing Page No.]
Should “42” Have Post-War Associations? [missing Page No.]
What Is This Thing – A Coon? – [missing Page No.]
Flying Hours Are Second Highest Ever – [missing Page No.]
Dinghies Saved Their Lives – [missing Page No.]
Wood Pickings by the Edito[missing letter] [missing Page No.]
Joe’s Journal – [missing Page No.]
What Others Say – [missing Page No.]
Ten Sons and Three Daughters – [missing Page No.]
Messages Recorded for Broadcast to U.K. – [missing Page No.]
Bandsmen Are Not On The Scrounge! – [missing Page No.]
42 Air School Swimming Gala – [missing Page No.]
Sport – [missing Page No.]
About Ourselves – [missing Page No.]


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[page header – THE WOODPECKER FEBRUARY, 1944]


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[underlined] GOOD SHOW – [/underlined]

S.A. Has Trained Over 16,000 Flyers!

[italics] The fact that the South African Joint Air Training Scheme has produced more than 16,000 members of aircrews – pilots, navigators, bombers and air gunners – in its three years of life has been revealed by Air Chief Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas, K.C.B., M.C., D.F.C., in an article in the Air Force magazine “Wings.” [/italics]

The King’s New Year Honours List awards for work in the South African Joint Air Training Scheme included the names of personnel in the South African Air Force, the S.A. Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the Royal Air Force.
The awards for the S.A.A.F. were one C.B., two C.B.E.s, six O.B.E.s, five M.B.E.s (a W.A.A.F. officer among them), and seventeen A.F.C.s.
Awards to the R.A.F.: one C.B., one O.B.E., one M.B.E., twelve A.F.C.s and one A.F.M.
None of these distinctions came to 42 Air School. [/inserted]

‘THE WOODPECKER’ makes no apologies for reprinting extracts from the recent special Empire Issue of “Wings” because it is good that we should know these things. It is good to know that South Africa alone has trained enough flyers – of the R.A.F., S.A.A.F. and Allied Air Forces – to man thousands and thousands of machines. It is good to know that we at 42 Air School have contributed our fair share to that total.


It is an unexciting battle to the average erk. It is without glamour. It is even misunderstood by some misguided folk who wonder why we aren’t “Up North.” But it is a battle which is being directed by some of the finest brains of the Air Forces of the United Nations – and the finest brains are only directed to the most important jobs. Too often do we forget what a vital part the Battle of Training is playing in the Battles of Berlin, of Italy, of Poland. How often do we feel as we spruce ourselves up to go into town (on nights when there is no flying), that there is something wrong in fighting a war this way? The smaller we are, the more insignificant our job, the less we imagine we are doing for the war effort.
But it is pure imagination. The job in South Africa is important, desperately important – a job someone had to do, a job for which we were privileged to be chosen.


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We may think our part is small, but in the vast org[missing letters][missing words] Nations militarism our views don’t count. But time and time [missing words] utterances do mean something have praised what we are doing [missing words] examining what other people – important people – think of us.
His Majesty the King has seen fit to make no fewer than 47 awards in the New Year Honours List, ranging from important Orders to an A.F.M., for work done by personnel in the Air Training Schmee [sic] in South Africa. Not one of these awards was won solely by the person receiving it; all the receipients [sic] will readily admit that they owe a debt to the people who helped them, to the clerks, the mechanics, the storekeepers, to the men who dished out meat and gravy in the cookhouses. These awards are an indirect tribute to all.

[underlined] NO MEDALS FOR TRAINING COMMAND [/underlined]

Again and again, great leaders have praised the training scheme. Mr. Winston Churchill calls it “the aerodrome of democracy,” Field Marshal Smuts has extolled the South African training organisation in many of his speeches.
Capt. The Rt. Hon. H.H. Balfour (British Under Secretary of State for Air) referred during his visit to South Africa last year to “the extreme value” of training. If we did not win the constant, ceaseless, sometimes dull, but always vital battle in training, we could win no other battle in the air, he said.
That sort of view is expressed so often by men whose opinions count that we cannot possibly ignore it.
In his article in “Wings,” Air Chief Marshal Sir Sholto-Douglas referred to the S.A. Scheme as “a most creditable offering to the main war effort,” and the comment of our own Director of Air Training in this country, Air Vice Marshal M.B. Frew is: “True it is today that the Battle of Europe is being won on the training fields of the Empire.”
Do we in South Africa, or our colleagues on training jobs in Rhodesia, Australia, New Zealand, India, Newfoundland and the U.S.A., need any more encouragement than that? We shouldn’t.
Meanwhile we must carry on our work, for the faster we work the sooner the air will be filled to capacity with well-crewed aircraft, the sooner the cities of Germany and Japan will be in ruins, the sooner the war will be over.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. – [italics] Emerson, 1852. [/italics]


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[underlined] [letter missing]HEIR “BOAT” HAS COME – [/underlined]

[photograph compilation]

[italics] Clear breaks with the earliest days of No. 42 Air School have occurred with the departure for the United Kingdom of many of those who arrived with the original R.A.F. Draft in 1941.
The breaks have occurred in batches – the first some little time ago, when remarkable scenes were witnessed on Port Elizabeth railway station, as the first part of the long journey began [/italics]

MANY of these R.A.F. men, who had been in the city for three years, left behind them wives, fiancées and girl friends. One young South African W.A.A.F. saw her R.A.F. husband go less than three weeks after their wedding, and joining the brides in their tears were many others. Even some of the W.A.A.F.’s had tears in their eyes as they left the platform!
It is no exaggeration to say that several hundred people waved goodbye to this first contingent, colleagues from the school and civilian friends from the city. The Military Band was in attendance and made the occasion all the more impressive with music of Home and “Auld Lang Syne,” probably played more sincerely than ever before, as the train moved out of the station. That toughest of old birds, Tubby Gregory, was visibly moved!
S/Ldr. D.E.R. Matthews was among the many officers on the platform – interesting because he was the only R.A.F. officer in Port Elizabeth to welcome the draft on their arrival, three years before, and now he was able to see some of them off again.
Eddie Tyas decided to go with the lads at the last moment, and was with difficulty persuaded to get off the train, Taffy Williams struggled through the crown to get the band to play “Men of Harlech” and was then passed into the train by a bodyguard of matelots, Norman Hewitt couldn’t resist taking a nominal roll to make sure everyone was there, even rumoured that the Adjutant had a copy of the M.D.C. in his pocket just in case. . . .
For those on the train and those on the platform, it was a farewell that will long be remembered as among the saddest in a service career, where there is always a “goodbe” [sic] to say to someone.

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[underlined] SUGGESTION – [/underlined]

Should “42” Have Post-War Association?

[italics] Should No. 42 Air School have its post-war Association, a “get-together-once-a-year” club for those who wish to recall old times and old friends when peace comes round again? This suggestion has been made by a senior N.C.O. on the unit and is presented to the station as a proposition. [/italics]

THE Commanding Officer approves of such an organisation if the officials can be found to run it, and if a number of minor difficulties can be overcome.
Suggestions are:
Membership for all who served at 42 Air School at any time and who wish to keep up old associations – open, of course, to R.A.F., S.A.A.F., W.A.A.F. and any other military personnel.
Annual dinners or meetings each year in both South Africa and England, each branch having its own officials but keeping in close touch.
“The Woodpecker” to be maintained as the Association magazine.
An appeal is made to any who are interested to send in names and/or suggestions to The Editor. Above all, people are required who are prepared to act as officials.

Work is the best cure for all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind. – [italics] Carlyle. [/italics]


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[underlined] GOONERY GRIFF – [/underlined]
What Is This Thing – A Goon?
(By One of Them)

RETURNING from a cheesing trip to Knysna the other day, I folded up my prefabricated log and sank back in the W/Op’s easy chair to get a Q.D.M. on Grahamstown. Before dosing off I got Billy Cotton’s Band coming over well from the B.B.C., and was vaguely interested to hear a dance number called
“The Goon Song,” finale-ed by Cotton’s homely Thameside drawl telling me, “Now you know what a goon is!” Must have been too tired to catch the gen, but my dictionary says:
[italics] “GOON, one upon whom the cultural advantages of civilisation make little impression. From Gonad (Greek – gonê, germ), meaning a reproductive gland in rudimentary state, and Gnu, a ruminant quadruped, member of the order of herbiverous, hoofed mammels that chew the cud as the camel, goat, ox. Indigenous to South Africa.” [/italics]

So now we ALL know what a goon is.


MY CAMP STOOGE reports from the Goonery on a number of speeches made there during the past week. These are condensed as follow: – Navgoon Manser believes no woman can resist the combination of good looks and bad thoughts. (Possibly why they call him “Manser the Metro-mancer”). Hyde, 25 A.N.’s “military analyst,” who has been studying Stalin’s tactics on the Eastern Front, states war in Europe will end August this year. Navgoon Felix, voicing politics from Palestine, says “Let’s have the American.” (Okay, Heinz, they’re yours). Bombgoon Brockfield, dealing with food shortage in Europe: “I know just the W/O Cook to send them.”


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“THE SERVICE COOKS overseas show they can not only take [missing words] as well.” – (Ida Lupino in “Mail Call”).

HEARD IN THE Airmen’s Tank – “What’s the difference between a Bombgoon and a Baboon?”
“I don’t know.”
“Neither do I.”

Next please!
“What’s the difference between a Navgoon and a Baboon?”
“A Baboon can get there without a W/Op.”


HIGHSPOT performances of the month. Goon badges of merit go to:
(1) The 25 A.B. quintette who rocked the Sports Office by turning in an all-time record of 72 secs. for the 300 yards Fitness Canter.
(2) Bombgoon “Vector” Jones for discovering a wind of Nil m.p.h. which blew from 270 degrees.
(3) Navgoon Judson for the alteration of Course to maintain Course which brought him to Kirkwood dead on E.T.A.
(4) Bombgoon Appleyard for his introduction of the “Canadian Red on Red” technique to service bombing.

WITH Admiral Benbow at sea again for a few days, we cull this titbit from his C.E.B. gen book. Commenting on goon misspellings, the examiners burst into rhyme thus: –
[italics] Some pupils make us weary
With their “Very” pistols – Verey
That’s the spelling aye approved
And “pidgeon” wants the “d” removed. [/italics]

HOMEWARD BOUND. Goons catching the boat – this is the latest gen from Blighty apropos things to take back. Food situation greatly improved, but meat still short. Tinned meats (other than bully) appreciated. Good idea take economic meats like tinned chicken breasts (boneless), lobster, mutton, which go [sic] long way and are unobtainable in U.K. Tinned fruit scarce, too, but jams in good supply. Cigs in Blighty cost 2/4 per 20, so stock up with the[missing letter]. Wines; spirits prohibitive (sherry, pre-war cooking brand, costs 45/- bott[missing letters]

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Housewives short of drapery nick-nacks – “poppers” (fasteners for dresses), hooks and eyes, etc. Warning re silk stockings: see size large enough, ensure quality will stand up to U.K. climate. Watches, high-priced, scarce, at home, would make welcome gifts. Clothing (pyjamas, sports shirts, bathing trunks) require coupons which you don’t get as an N.C.O.

NORTHWARD BOUND. Mentioning names, there’s a business-minded goon loose who is bringing out a “Goon’s Guide to the Orient.” This tasteful little booklet purports to show how goons can quickly acquire knowledge of the Arabic tongue which will “open the portals of the mysterious East and reduce the complex problems of bizarre civilisations to the simplicity of a Mercator’s chart.” Every page abounds with phrases like “How do you do, baby?” (Enta kweiss bint); “Come over here” (Tala henna); “You’re a smashing bit of stuff” (Enta kweiss kateer bint); “How much?” (Kam feloose). Seems there’s more in Mercator’s chart than meets the eye.

BLACK MARKET for very new goons. Protect yourself against officialdom by investing in the following. Supplies strictly limited.
FOUNTAIN CAP BADGE. Ideal for parades. Your scruffy cap badge will be the target for the inspecting officer. When he bends to get a good look at it you squeeze a rubber bulb and he gets a spray of red ink all over his best blue.
JOKE BEER BOTTLE. Here’s the jest the S.W.O. will fall for. Send him a bottle on his birthday. Looks and tastes like Castle Lager but contains concentrated dose of camphorated oil and prune juice.
SOAP VEGETABLES. Try this on the Orderly Officer. Put one of the life-like vegetables on your lunch-plate and get him to taste it. Then watch the N.C.O. i/c Cookhouse drop in the can.


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[underlined] No. 3 SQUADRON – [/underlined]

Flying Hours Are Second Highest Ever!

[italics] L.G.G. refers to many things in his monthly article – to departures and arrivals, broadcasting, sporting activities and trade test boards. But from his copy we pick out a few words which are the most important of all:
“On the working side, No. 3 Squadron put up a record number of flying hours in January – the second highest ever recorded on the unit, and in February we hope to surpass this.”
Here is the remainder of his article: [/italics]

A new arrival signs the U.T.1’s

JANUARY was an eventful month for the Squadron. More and more of our comrades have gone on their way home again, and we are constantly waiting for F/Sgt. Hewitt to publish further lists of lucky people. He always seems a bit reluctant to do so, and in case, hates to admit that he never has any “boat gen.” Anyway, we wish our old friends a safe trip home and assure them that they are not forgotten. So Jock Good, Cpl. Foy, Clp. Waterfield, Cpl. Youde, Cpl. Godfrey, don’t forget to send us the latest griff from home when you get there, and perhaps the Editor will allow a small space headed “Hints for Airmen on reaching their Native Land.” We shall need them when we eventually get there; what with the price of beer, fags, etc., we shall all be lost.
Everyone in the Squadron must admit they had truly a wonderful send-off, and I think the majority of the credit must go to Sgt. Thompson and his Band for their fine turn-out. Sgt. Thompson thought he had let himself in for many similar farewells, but the next batch to go saw him on the train and not with the baton!
THE Squadron were a little annoyed at the reference in a local paper to the noise made by “our” aircraft, but I think the writer was answered very aptly by a number of correspondents and no further reference is needed from us on the subject.


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SPORTING activities saw us badly left behind in the swimmin[missing words] lack of training though, as the three teams put in quite a lo[missing words] hours; hence the keenness! The football teams are shortly to star[missing words] their paces. Collins, our goalkeeper of last season, will be missed [missing words] is now in No. 4 Squadron, but will be replaced very ably by A/[missing words] We would like to warn other Squadrons that we have definitely got some pro’s this year, and no flannel like last year, when a certain Squadron on hearing these rumours proceeded to do a spot of “Internal Posting” (the Cups are on view by day or night). Anyway all the Squadron are looking forward to the soccer season starting again, as it seems the only sport to which the Squadron give 100% support. Tubby Gregory’s voice will be sadly missed on the touch-line at all matches and for his assistance to the teams last season.

WE WELCOME some new faces to the Squadron this month. F/Sgt. Benecke who is now in charge of Anson Section, arrived from “up North” and has proved himself a worthy “type.” F/Sgt. Pomery-Ward, who has taken over the Oxford side of the Squadron, also from “up North,” is at present on a Senior N.C.O.s Course. We hope to see him again on the termination of his sojourn at Lyttelton. Air/Sgt. Lay also joins the Oxford Section; very worthy “type,” observed trashing almost the first night he was here at a local hop.

DURING the month a number of the Squadron were allowed to broadcast home.
The picking of names was done by the O.C. and in a very fair manner. Airmen who were expecting to proceed to the United Kingdom and new arrivals to the country under one year’s service in the Union were not allowed to participate, giving the people with two to two-and-a-half years’ service in the Union the priority.

THE RESULTS of the last trade test are out and we are pleased to see an appreciable number of new L.A.C.s, far too many in fact to record their names here. Most of the new wearers of the “Props” are new arrivals within the last nine months.

ONE MORE polite inquiry before we finish. Who does all the work in No. 4 Squadron when they arrange a shooting match?

Bishop Wilkins prophesied that the time would come when gentlemen, when going on a journey, would call for their wings as regularly as they call for their boots. – [italics] Maria Edgeworth, 1802. [/italics]


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[underlined] MEN AMONG US – [/underlined]

Dinghies Saved Their Lives! [drawing]

[italics] The stories of how an officer and an airman now stationed at 42 Air School saved their lives by taking to rubber dinghies – one in the Mediterranean, the other in the Indian Ocean – have become known by the granting of membership of the Goldfish Club to Flying Officer Jack Liversidge and Cpl. Robert Harris, both of the Royal Air Force. [/italics]

THE Goldfish Club – for those who escape death by the use of an emergency dinghy – is on a per with the other two exclusive organisations, the Caterpillar Club, for those who save their lives by parachute, and the Order of the Boot, for those who walk back to base after having to abandon their aircraft in the Western Desert.
F/O Liversidge is entitled to the Order of the Boot as well as the Goldfish Badge (illustrated above), which is wore under the lapel of the tunic.
In January last year he was returning to base from a raid on Tripoli when his aircraft was forced into the Mediterranean about eighty miles from Malta. Through a rough night, from midnight until six o’clock in the morning, he and other members of the crew kept themselves afloat in a dinghy. They were picked up by an R.A.F. motor launch and were landed at Malta about fourteen hours after going into the sea.
Cpl. Harris and companions with him are believed to be the first to have received the Goldfish Badge by taking to dinghies off the South African coast.
Harris was the wireless operator in an aircraft which was forced on to the sea off East London in November, 1942. Badly injured when the machine struck the water – he broke his neck, a leg and a hand! – he has no idea how he managed to get away from the aircraft. His first memory was finding himself some twenty yards away, being helped into the dinghy by his three companions.
“We were in the dinghy for about an hour,” Harris told “The Woodpecker” recently, “and were then picked up by a destroyer and landed at a South African port.”
Despite his severe injuries, Harris, who has been at 42 Air School som[missing letter] fifteen months, has quite recovered from his injuries and is attached to “[missing letters] Flight Signals section.

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Wood Peckings . . . . . . . by The Editor

RECENT references in “The Woodpecker” to medals for R.A.F. people in South Africa have met with criticism. “Wearing the S.A. Medal would show we’d been away from the war.” “What difference does it make?” and “Rather have the Boat” are typical of overheard comments.

So “The Woodpecker” closes the discussion – until official decision is arrived at – with the following quotation from Veldschoen’s S.A.A.F. News of the Month in Waterkloof’s “Tale Spin”:
“We notice that even the South African Home Front will be privileged under the latest regulations (by the award of the South African Service Medal). This privilege,” he continues, “is indeed a great encouragement to those less fortunate than their brothers in the firing line, and it makes us realise that our efforts are and have been appreciated.
“But what of our friends in the R.A.F.? Why have they been left out? Surely their work, in this country and at home, justifies the granting of the same decoration as we South Africans?
“We can but hope that this sorry state of affairs will soon be remedied.”


So there it is.

DISCUSSION rages in Brooklyn’s “Erk” on the eternal subject, “Are parades really necessary?”
Ball was opened by a correspondent with the comment: “What encouragement is it to overtime workers to see the number of working hours wasted . . . . on a parade whose object is obscure?”

Commanding Officer Lt.-Col. J.A.B. Sandenbergh’s reply was that “the personnel of this station are primarily soldiers and secondly artisans, and the parades are not undertaken for the fun of it, but because in the experience of military forces and military organisations throughout the thousands of armies in every nation on the face of the globe, parades have been found to be an essential adjunct to military efficiency.”

An anonymous Erk took up the cudgels in the January issue and challenged the C.O.’s opinion that Air Force personnel are “primarily soldiers, secondly artisans.”


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“It should be admitted,” was his contention, “that for all round efficiency in the use of air power, the artisan must be left to carry on the work for which he has been trained. That is, the artisan is first and foremost an artisan – not part time soldier-cum-labourer. Every man-hour wasted here means a slackening off in the number of aircrews trained and a corresponding lessening of our air blitz. . . . So, as the Prime Minister of England would have us, “Let us gird up our loins, and to the fight” – and not to the parade ground.”
What a tribute it is to the broad-minded tolerance of the modern service that C.O. and Erk are able to cross swords in public print on such a controversial topic.

THE intelligentsia of “42” still don’t appear able to make up their minds to promote a Debating Society. At Witbank, their debating organisation is discussing all the subjects which are most popular in barrack room melees.
At a meeting at the end of last year, for instance, a majority of 20-6 decided that swing music was degenerate. This month the society planned to discuss the propositions that birth control increases immortality and that post-war reconstruction will be impossible with Socialism.

Those are all subjects which are discussed privately time and time again on this unit; why shouldn‘t we have a debating society so that the whole camp may be enlightened?

Debating Societies can be extremely beneficial by radiating to many the views and opinions of the few. There is little doubt that they are a popular diversion in Prisoner of War camps; in fact, Cyril Watling, in one of his broadcasts over B.B.C. wavelengths revealed how debates with a post-war value were held by men who had banded themselves together as a farmers’ association in an Italian P.O.W. camp.
The members of this group are men of Tobruk – Springboks captured there and now in German hands in Northern Italy. The members hold regular meetings and lectures are given by agricultural experts. That the discussions are serious is shown by one of the resolutions which was sent home to South Africa. It was a request for more railways to serve the farming areas of the Union, accompanied by an



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[underlined] EDITOR’S WOOD PECKINGS – (Continued) [/underlined]

enquiry as to when income tax is likely to be reduced!

EVERY now and then “chain letters” come into the news. They are disparaged, cursed and ridiculed – yet they still thrive. A correspondent in the “Eastern Province Herald” took up the same old line recently, while an editorial in Heany’s “Afraf” also deplored “these childish chain letters,” which are “foolish at any time, criminal in war time.
“A more effective method of wasting time, paper and money would be hard to find,” says “Afraf’s” leader writer. “In fact, we condemn it as an excellent war effort – for Germany.”

Chain letters assume two forms. One is that by which good luck is supposed to result from making copies and forwarding anonymously to a specified number of friends. The other is the one in which you send 6d. to the person at the top of the list, put your own name at the bottom and send off a number of copies to credulous acquaintances.

A new one arrived in “The Woodpecker” office this month, though, which would really appear to have its possibilities! It read:
“Dear Old Friend, – This chain was started in Reno in the hope of bringing happiness to tired husbands. Unlike most chains, this one requires no money. Simply send a copy of this letter to five male friends, then bundle up your wife and send her to the fellow whose name appears at the top of the list. When your name works to the top you will, in return, receive 15,176 gorgeous girls. Have faith. Do not break the chain. One man broke it and got his wife back again!”

Anyone want to try it?

OFTEN asked question when “Air Commodore” Winston Churchill appears on the news reels is whether he is really entitled to wear R.A.F. wings. Technically – in that he has not worked through the arduous series of courses required – he is not entitled to wear them, but no one will doubt his moral entitlement.

He was granted honorary wings in April last year, “out of kindness,” as he himself described it.
“Kindness brevets” must be a very unusual award. It would be interesting to know how many others have the distinction.

Genius is one part inspiration,
Three parts perspiration. – [italics] American saying. [/italics]

What anyone bears willingly he bears easily. – [italics] Latin Proverb. [/italics]

Here’s to the Girl with the Golden Shoes,
Eats my dinner, drinks my booze,
Then goes home to mother to snooze,

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[inserted] EDITED by JOE SOAP [/inserted]
Joe’s Journal



“Not Me” Say Those Interviewed

“THEY are saying,” writes a correspondent to “Joe’s Journal,” “that one of our brand new Flight Lieutenants earned the name of ‘Granny Killer’ after being seen four Saturdays in succession leading charming local matron up bioscope steps.”

In thirst for gen, Joe sent out Ace Reporter to interview likely Flight Lieuts. on the station.
Bell and Boxhall Twins hotly denied complicity. “We may get up to some mischief,” said Ding-Dong, “but not grannies. Try one of the trashing types.”
So we tried “Woodpecker” Hindley. He would hardly talk. “Mothers maybe, but grannies no,” was only comment, which made us wonder a bit; then on to Bushy Parks, who was so busy with unexpected flow of free beer that he couldn’t spare time.
Gardner, Malley and Cummings greeted query with cold stares. “You know our wives are in town,” they hissed. “What chance do we get.”
Only other we could think of was officer-goon Gandy, but then he’s a busy pupil. It couldn’t possibly be him. . . .

Who was the W/Op Corporal who put a colleague on a charge, looked round fiercely and commented: “Now you see what happens to people who cross my path?”

The boys want to know why Joan no longer relies on the runner to trapse round goon classrooms?


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“Frisking in Sand”

SOCIAL informer writes from Humewood: Everybody happy in the Valley, including Bombgoons Brockfield, Hooper, Irving, Kelsey, Archibald and Berry . . . . Navgoons Judson, Smee and Bellew frisking in the sand with a widow and two little ‘uns . . . . Selwyn buying ice cones for three cuties . . . . “Gaffer” Rothney ton teaching Rhona to swim . . . . listening to the band . . . . Andy Ander-Bombgoon Reilley, in pink shorts, the envy of feminine eyes.

From the Hotel Front: Mr. G . . . n seen creasing pants in Market Square after bout with Al Kohol. Unidentified sergeant on reconnaissance in popular lounge, pelting “ladies” (Line!) with grapes.

“Beer for Fitness” says the goons’ favourite swimming teacher, who practises what she preaches, even if she does have to be rescued by Mr. B., from a fate as bad as the Merchant Navy.

Who is the Corporal Armourer who is not allowed to play in the Station Military Band, because “his wife will not let him”?
Joe wonders if his wife will let him do Fire Piquet!

Shook Joe rigid when someone pointed out that Lt. Hi-de-hi was turning his charms to the hospital and the swimming baths these days. Solves the transport problem when her car Gows [sic] so well, doesn’t it?

Report of an Air Mechanic in the Cookhouse who told an L.A.C. to report to him at 08.00 hours – at the Doubell [sic].

It is understood that an officer in the Armament Section invests so much in National Savings Certificates that he can’t even afford to pay for the erks’ tea which he consumes.


It is understood that at a recent braaivleis in town, Sgt. Bill Lafferty tried to sing, with the result that the fire went out and the guests went in.
Try again, Bing.

We heard that F/Sgt. Sturgeon played third triangle with the Station Band at “Good Hope” the other week. Has it anything to do with the lusty quart of free beer he was seen quaffing with the band later in the afternoon?

Eddie Tyas getting athletic these days; seen dashing up and down the length (or is it width) of the swimming baths, and now we hear he has challenged a member of the fair sex to a set of singles at tennis.

Hear entomologist Leslie Berry has added some fine new specimens to his collection. The boys in T.43 say he walked into his bunk one night and they were sitting up in bed for him.

What about that concert airmen in the “Tank” have been talking about for a year now? Rehearsals take place every night, so turns should be up to scratch. Paddy Jackson sings “Ireland for the Irish,” Tex talks about virgin chicken, George Glass trots out own version of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and Bradley adds intellectual touch – “Abide With Me.”

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Waiting for Next Season

OLD SPORT of rambling being revived through Headquarters Orderly Room campaign.
Ramblers Liston, Hewitt, Davies and Burlton – majority H.Q. clerk types – have admitted Sargie Pearl to “42” Rambling Club, together with a dozen other cuties.
Successful outing was had (plus a jolly good time by all) at the Willows recently.
Do we watch D.R.O.s for next sesh?

“Anne due Toit, imported from 42, did a short fling with the head of flying affairs – head of the stationery flying put on his number one approach – and a de Reuck number one approach is something.” – Extract from Kowie’s “Drogue.”

Suggest that the authorities at the next swimming gala have a race stipulating “arms – breast-stroke, legs – crawl kick.” Joe knows a Sergeant who would enter.

Flap in Training Wing Orderly Room caused by W.A.A.F. Sgt. who corrected stencil with “Aubert’s Almond and Honey Cream” (elegant preparation for hands, arms and face), then tried to remove with Mlle Elizabeth Arden’s latest in nail polish.

What Flight Sergeant’s wife always collects hubby from passing out “do’s” at 9.30 . . . . just in case?

We’ve heard of some ways of getting well organised with the fair sex, but F/Sgt. Bailiff takes the palm this month. Threw girl’s dog in the sea when she wasn’t looking, went in fully clothed, rescued it, applied artificial respiration and Bob’s your uncle as well as his.

Sam West still waiting on that boat. Someone give him the griff; they’ve stopped building boats. The future lies in the air.

Heard about the electrician who went up to Kassonga on leave, worked three days on the house lighting and then decided to remuster?

In last month’s issue, F/Sgt. Gaze described Joe Soap as an “oaf”. In his plodding manner Joe looked up the definition in the dictionary – “an idiot; simpleton; clumsy, awkward fellow; lout.” Well, Joe wonders if it is a case of the ‘kettle calling the pot black’ – no one knows Joe but we all know Chiefie Gaze. Anyway, he might have pressed his slacks before taking part in a wedding photograph.

It is rumoured that one living-out storebasher in “T” stores stayed behind and worked late until 16.45 one day in January. What’s the matter Stead; stocktaking electric sparks?

There’s a story that’s supposed to be true of a Port Elizabeth youngster of four. Told that the gentleman who would be visiting Mommie that evening was Sergeant . . . . . ., he remarked: “But he’s not a gentleman, he’s a ‘R.A.F.’”


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Now King of Drogue Towers

FOR magnificent prunery in the air, L.A.C. Jeffcock receives Joe Soap’s Order of the Boot.
Having left behind bits and pieces to release final drogue after gunnery flight, Jeffcock appeals to pilot.
“Throw out your boot,” was advice of exasperated driver, who probably didn’t know what else to suggest anyway.
So Jeffcock did.
Only trouble is that he’s still searching bush for one item of foot apparel!

It is rumoured that wedding bells will soon be ringing for another R.A.F. type in “T” Stores.
Long runs the “Fox,” but he is caught at last – or is it just another case of failure to crack the “atom”?

Joe’s monthly award goes to Capt. Richardson for initiative, courage and devotion to duty in trying to locate a “grating, foot, wood” deficient on his inventory.

What’s cooking? Many an erk is seen hanging over the kitchen door at the Camp Hospital. What are the boys hungry for Lofty?

Have you heard of the newly arrived ACH/GD who, when in town, BELLOWS that he is a pupil air-gunner on a course?

Jenny Lee’s advice to medical orderlies on the eve of their wedding: “You only need take your carpet slippers, in case of a fire.”

Famous saying – Paddy Sharkey: “The only course I went on was a race-course.”

Joe wonders why a W.A.A.F. cook was posted from the Camp Hospital to Air Records Office – early morning tea?

It is worth going back to Old Year’s Night to recall that Cyril (of the River of Jordan) was enjoying himself at midnight kissing a fair damsel, when a Captain tapped him gently on the shoulder and asked, “Do you mind if I have my wife when you’ve quite finished with her?”

Is it fear of Joe that compels Sgt. Williamson to hide “The Woodpecker” Box under the bar counter, or is it because the Sergeants’ Mess has lost its one-time sense of humour? However, nothing stops Joe getting his (or her as the case may be) gen. There is the 4 Squadron F/Sgt. who, after trying to ram a petrol bowser, said, “I have ridden a bicycle since I was a schoolboy and this is the first accident I have had.” The Sergeants’ Mess has some queer Wallers.

Much pushing and grunting as he gets on the tram,
It’s no one important – just Wordingham.

It is rumoured that, in early anticipation of the realisation of his two ambitions, F/Sgt. Wing has purchased a ship’s life-belt, emblazoned with “galloping-horses.”

Who was the one-time armourer at Cape Town, now a goon at 42, who was overheard to say, “I am sure one of the Joe Soaps is a woman.”
Joe wonders why he is so emphatic?

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What Others Say . . . .

[underlined] WOODBROOK – [/underlined]

ONCE again we’ve done it. This time it’s the RA.F. Benevolent Fund. The figures recently issued from Pretoria show that 48 Air School easily leads all other air schools. The purpose of this Fund is to aid any member of the R.A.F. who finds himself – or herself – in financial difficulties beyond his (or her) control. Needless to say, the Fund does a grand job of work. We asked the Accounts Section whether all R.A.F. personnel on the station contribute to this worthy cause, and their answer was that only 80 per cent do at present.
Come on you odd 20. Let’s make this a 100 per cent effort. The standard contribution for airmen is only one-eighth of a day’s pay each quarter – and you won’t miss that.
[italics] [Proportion of contributions at 42 Air School is 67 per cent. Any of the remainder can fill up the appropriate form in Accounts Section. – EDITOR, “WOODPECKER”] [/italics]

[underlined] WATERKLOOF – [/underlined]

[underlined] Official Journal of 23 Air School, Waterkloof, Protoria [/underlined]

WATERKLOOF has long been the premier S.F.T.S. of South Africa. The few must maintain the record of the many. That record is very imposing. The accident rate for the past four months, for instance, has been exceptionally good and, in the analysis of accidents for S.F.T.S.’s against flying hours, Waterkloof’s position has been:
July . . . 2nd
August . . . 2nd
October . . . 1st
September . . . 1st

This reflects great credit upon both Flying and Maintenance Wings and it is essential that the Number One position be maintained, whatever the difficulties that lie ahead.

[underlined] MILNER PARK – [/underlined]


FOR the benefit of the “newies,” the Efficiency Competition is held monthly and every Flight in the Unit competes.
To judge which is the best flight the following procedure is adopted.
100 marks are given to each flight and deductions are made from this as follows:
5 marks for each day’s absence,
3 marks for each “On report,”
2 marks for each “Sick,”
1 mark for each “Excused duty.”
Behaviour, progress and interest in workshops also determine which flights are to be considered.
This month Flight 29 of Wing 2 are to be congratulated on winning the Efficiency Shield for November with the very excellent total of 99%, with Flight 36 of Wing 3 second.

[underlined] HEANY, S. RHODESIA – [/underlined]


THE United Nations are marching forward on all fronts and it appears to many that it may not be too long before the lights of Europe do go up again, though much hard work and danger lie ahead. Yet we must be prepared for that time, and it is up to us to learn to demarcate between the rational and irrational, to disentangle

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one want from another, to realise when we are seeking the satisfaction of hungry emotions and when pursuing rationally the means to a conscious end. We should develop an elementary introspection and ask, “What do I really want?” the test of our democracy will be the way in which we are all ready to accept civic responsibilities by playing our part in the electoral machinery and exerting an enlightened public opinion on matters concerned with our Government.

[underlined] THORNHILL, S. RHODESIA – [/underlined]

[Slipstream drawing]

ACCORDING to newspaper and radio reports published over the last few months, victory in 1944 is not just a remote possibility. Eye-witness accounts, both neutral and German, now reinforced by the reports of repatriated prisoners of war, agree that the German people have lost the war just as we British are convinced that we have already won it.
When victory does come, however, we still have our duty to the country; we cannot afford to slacken our efforts and to adopt an air of complacency. Hitler may feel that, even if he loses the war, he may gain some victory out of defeat by our consequent slackening in the war effort after the armistice. Complacency can bring defeat even after victory.
Naturally we shall indulge in a “binge” and are entitled to celebrate the armistic [sic] exuberantly when it comes, but we must not let this blind us to the duties that lie ahead.
Not only have we our own country to rebuild, but we have our duties to neutrals and even to Germany itself.
It will mean much to lasting peace if we try to understand these problems now. The difficulties of the French, the Belgians, the Dutch, the Czechs, the Poles, the Jugoslavs, the Nordic states – even of the Germans – will be very much our problem.


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[underlined] PERSONNEL PROWLINGS – [/underlined]

Ten Sons and Three Daughters!

[italics] The list of births – ten sons and three daughters for both R.A.F. and U.D.F. personnel – has reached a “new high” this month. [/italics]

CONGRATULATIONS to lucky fathers:-
W/O H.J. Martens – daughter, Valmai;
Sgt. E. Bray – son, Rodney William;
Cpl. G.L. Wright – daughter, Yvonne;
Cpl. L. Worley – son, Leslie Michael George;
L.A.C. J.K. Miller – son, George Boyce;
L.A.C. J.J. Myson – son, Alick Johnston;
L.A.C. J. Moore – son, Terrence James;
L.A.C. E. Jennings – son, Geoffrey Frederick;
L.A.C. A.H. Bassom – son, Alfred Henry;
A/M H.C. Slack – son, Norman Peter;
A/M R. Roberts – son, Richard Michael Rundele;
A/M J.M. Koekemoer - daughter, Katy Christina; and
A.C.1 W.Morrison – son, William McIntyre.

[inserted] NOT SO LUCKY!
There’s a story in Brooklyn’s “Erk” that a R.A.F. sergeant at Youngsfield went through the whole paraphernalia of getting permission to marry a W.A.A.F., i.e. cable to England, banns read in England, Home Office permission, Padré’s permission and C.O.’s permission – and then couldn’t get the girl’s permission! [/inserted]

Two more R.A.F. types have joined the ninety-odd of their colleagues who are already living out of camp, their wives in the great majority of cases being South African girls. The latest to capture daughters of South Africa are:
Cpl. A.Young, who married Miss Iris J. Fellows, at St. Mary’s, Port Elizabeth; and
L.A.C. H. Fowler, who married Miss Aletta Muller, in the Salvation Army Hall, Cradock.
One of “42’s” original settlers, Tommy Scotcher, who arrived an A.C. storebasher and is now a P/O instructor at East London, was married in December to Miss Joyce Campbell.
THERE have been a few promotions, too. Within the Sergeants’ Mess, F/Sgt. G.P. Venter is now a Warrant Officer, and Sgt. L.W. Bowtell has put up his “crown.” New corporals are A/M’s C.S. Ikin and M.J. Lotter.
ODDLY enough, only one 1st G.C. up to the time of going to Press – for Cadet Navigator J. Powell.


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[underlined] ON THE AIR – [/underlined]

Messages Recorded For Broadcast to U.K.

[italics] No. 42 Air School took the first step towards going “on the air” on B.B.C. home wavelengths when three officers, twelve N.C.O.’s and nine airmen travelled to the Grahamstown studios of the S.A.B.C. last month to record messages which are to be re-broadcast in the United Kingdom, to wives relatives and friends. [/italics]

THE broadcasters were chosen on individual merits and circumstances, those whose return to United Kingdom is imminent and those with wives of families in South Africa being generally excluded. Of the remainder, married men and those with special reasons were given preference. The choice of personnel appears to have been generally accepted as a fair one.
The lucky ones were W/Cdr. Tucker, F/Lt. Hindley, P/O Fletcher, F/Sgts. Waller, Hewitt and McLagan, Sgts. Baher, Sweetland, Thompson and Walters, Cpls. Blowers, Crerar, Lewin, Sherman and O’Dell, L.A.C.’s Walker, Kilby, Anderson, Penman, Wilson, Birnie, Samways, Williams and Durford.

[inserted] BROADCASTS TO R.A.F. FROM U.K.?
An interesting sidelight on the broadcast by 42 Air School personnel to the United Kingdom is a suggestion by Mrs. E. Minards, mother of L.A.C. C.H. Minards, that relatives in the United Kingdom should have the opportunity of broadcasting to husbands and sons in South Africa.
Inferring a two-way broadcast, Mrs. Minards says (in a letter to the Editor), “nothing would please us more than to be able to speak to our boys after all this time. I have myself written to the B.B.C. and hope for a reply.” [/inserted]

Cpl. Goodwin was unable to travel to the studio, but his message was read for him.
“For those who had never stood before a microphone before – and they were obviously in the majority – it was something of an experience,” writes one of those who took part. “We have seen so many radio studios in films and magazines, that there was nothing strange about sitting in a typical one. We were all pretty nervous, though, and imbued with the awful fear that we should ‘lose the place’ in our script, emit a squeaky or husky voice, cough horribly or trip over the wire to the microphone!
“Fortunately, none of us did, and everything went off splendidly. After a dummy run, came the real thing, our voices being relayed to Johannesburg and recorded there.


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“Then we had the most remarkable experience of all – our own voices were played back to us, just as our relatives will hear them in the United Kingdom! Each one disagreed with the broadcasting officials that that could possibly be his own voice, but it wasn’t much use arguing! No one, however, seemed prepared to admit whether he was disappointed or pleased at how he is heard by the rest of the world!
“We searched for traces of dialect, which we fondly imagined still gave away the districts in Britain we had left. Even Norman Hewitt’s Yorkshire twang seemed to vanish, while L.A.C. Walker came out with a typical South African ‘Cheerio, just now!’ Maybe it is we have been overseas too long (D. of A.P. to note), maybe we have lost our English accents and developed a South African one. We shall only know when we all return home again.”

[underlined] STOP PRESS [/underlined]

As we go to Press, the South African Broadcasting Corporation advises that the recorded messages were successfully beamed from the Cape Town studios on February 2.
It is not known when the messages will be broadcast in England, but sometime in February is probable.

U.K. Gathering of Port Elizabethans

Letter from F/Lt. A.L. (“Robbie”) Roberts, original Settler at Port Elizabeth, now back in the United Kingdom, tells of many 42 Air School people gathering together at a Royal Air Force station in England. They include, in addition to Roberts himself, S/Ldrs. A.R. Macdonald and G.H. Smith, F/Lt. Jimmy Rail, F/O Bill Harvey, P/O’s Foers, Lawson and Lawrence (of 6 A.N.), also Sgts. Alger and Bickers of a later A.N. course.
Quite a gathering of the clans!


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[underlined] FOR INFORMATION – [/underlined]

Bandsmen Are Not On The Scrounge!

[italics] Members of the 42 Air School Military Band are not on a glorious scrounge! That is the attitude taken by Sgt. S.L. Thompson, whose activities with the baton and the organisation have helped to make this band one of the best known in Port Elizabeth. [/italics]

“A CERTAIN N.C.O.,” writes Sgt. Thompson, “is reported to have have [sic] stated that bandsmen are ‘scroungers’ who ‘join us’ to evade station duties. Be it known to all and sundry who care to read D.R.O.s that bandsmen on this station carry out so many duties that they have very little time to themselves.
Anybody disputing this statement is at liberty to discuss it with the bandmaster,” he adds, “together with the question of debit balances and income tax deductions, in the Accounts Section on Monday afternoons!”
The parades and concerts attended by the Military Band take up a great deal of leisure time in themselves, in addition to which there are hours and hours of rehearsals, usually in the evenings after work.

“The Army has [italics] always [/italics] recognised the importance of music – its cheering and inspiring qualities. Most of us will remember the thrilling story from the last war. Men were lying all round in the last stages of exhaustion – it was in the old market place at St. Quentin. Their Commanding Officer, Sir Tom Bridges, found a tin whistle and a toy drum, and, with the primitive music produced from those instruments, he roused those men to their feet and marched them to safety.” – [italics] Wynford Reynolds, organiser of the B.B.C. “Music While You Work” programmes, in an overseas talk. [/italics][/inserted]

January was quite a typical sort of month for the band, with one or two bright spots.
On Saturday, January 8, the Air Force Band, and a section of the Driftsands Corps of Drums, took transport for ‘Good Hope,’ where Captain Hornblower and his piratical horde made merry for the benefit of the Port Elizabeth children. The band provided incidental music for the party and for a large scale game of ‘musical chairs,’ winding up the afternoon with the ‘Retreat.’ The last order “splice the main brace” was obeyed with alacrity!


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A large detachment of S.A.A.F. personnel said good-bye to Port Elizabeth. It was ordained that they should parade from Westbourne Oval to the railway Station, and so, of course, the bands were called out. It was a gruelling march, in almost tropical heat, (the “wobble pump” experts nearly passed out) but, in the words of one Commanding Officer, “large crowds turned out for the send off, and the troops taking part thoroughly enjoyed the march through town.”
The band was again on the railway station to play off a batch of the original 28 Draft, homeward bound. They were given “Blighty” music, and by request, “Will ye no come back again” (rather subtle that) and “Auld Lang Syne.”
The last job, before going to Press, was a camp concert at Driftsands. The band gave a mixed programme, ranging from overture to community selection, and were ably supported by artists chosen from D.A.S. personnel. The very enthusiastic reception which we received was encouragement to do more of this sort of thing in future.

Since the above article was written, Sgt. Thompson has left No. 42 Air School for the U.K. The invitation to discuss band matters in Accounts Section on Monday afternoons, therefore, no longer applies! – Editor, “Woodpecker.”

More W.A.A.F. Promotions

There have been more W.A.A.F. promotions during the month, Corporals Elaine Wassman and Jenny Eales going up to Sergeant, while A/W “Dixie” Sayer becomes a Corporal.


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[underlined] 1,750 SEE – [/underlined]

16. Rubber Dinghy Demonstration.
18. Ladies’ open Diving. Dives as per [missing words]

[italics] Estimated as the biggest crowd ever to attend a swimming gala in Port Elizabeth, over 1,750 spectators, service and civilian, packed the stands at St. George’s Swimming Baths to see the 42 Air School Military Gala at the end of January.
Gate money amounted to over £123. [/italics]

IN addition to Port Elizabeth military units, teams travelled from Grahamstown and Port Alfred to take part. Against these visiting and local teams, 42 Air School won all the inter-service events.
The standard of swimming and diving showed an improvement on the 1943 gala, and in addition to the more sterotyped [sic] events there was a water polo match between 42 Air School and the Rest, a Dinghy demonstration (organised by F/O John Dovey, D.F.M.) and a comic diving display by Lt. Stanton and Cadet Lauder.
The polo match was very even, the Rest overrunning 42 A.S. in the initial stages. But unfitness told, leaving the long experience of Jackie Wyman on the Rest side and Lts. Stanton and Horn, 42 A.S., to come into its own and dominate the game. After the first swim up, the Rest missed a sitter when Sgt. Jones found himself open and decided on a backflip which missed, but he scored soon afterwards from close in. The Rest scored once again giving them a 2 goal lead. 42 then made a determined attempt and reduced the lead through Lt. Horn. The score was 2-1 for the Rest at half time.
After change of ends, Lt. Stanton scored once more for 42. Soon after Cpl. v.d. Spuy put the Rest up again with a lucky back-flick from the side of the bath. 42 again attached hotly and equalised through Lt. Horn. Sgt. Wyman once again put the Rest in the lead with a long clever shot, but 42 once more equalised just before time.
Result, 4-4.

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50 YDS. MEN’S DASH (SERVICES ONLY). – 1, Lt. Horn (42 A.S.); 2, Lt. Tindall (42 A.S.); 3, Lt. Hutchison (43 A.S.) & Cadet Trewartha (Goodhope). Time: 27 secs.
The swimming in this event was a big improvement on that of last season. Of 28 entries, no fewer than 12 competitors clocked under 30 secs. Lt. Tindall of 42 Air School has a perfect style and improves every time he goes into the water.

Lt. Horn and Lt. Tindall, 1st and 2nd in 50 yards Services dash.

50 YDS. WOMEN’S DASH (SERVICES ONLY. [SIC] – 1, Sgt. J. Burrell (42 A.S.); 2, Cpl. J. Cross (42 A.S.); 3, L/Bdr. Lester (Heavy Battery). Time: 33.8 secs.
Joyce Burrell swam a good race to beat Joey Cross by 3 yds., in 3 secs. faster than last season’s time. Twelve entries were received for this event.
MEN’S OPEN DIVING. – 1, T. Furmston (93.6 points); 2, R. O’Neil (91.6 points); 3, R. Horn (87.4 points).
A big improvement by all competitors on diving performances in recent years. Only one bad dive in the whole competition. Tommy Furmston and R. O’Neil were constantly good in all their dives while Ronnie Horn was not much inferior.
200 YDS. MEN’S INTER-SERVICES TEAM RACE. – 1, 42 Air School (Lts. Horn, Stanton, Tindall and Marais); 2, 43 Air School; 3, H.M.S. Goodhope. Time: 1 min. 50 secs.
Once again 42 Air School proved too hot for the opposition with their team averaging 27.5 secs. per man, which is remarkably good swimming for a services team. It was an excellent race with seven teams competing. 42 beat their previous time by 6 secs. Lt. Hutchison, 43 Air School, swam an excellent last lap for his team.
133 1/3 YDS. WOMEN’S INTER-SERVICES TEAM RACE. – 1, 42 Air School (Lt. Spencer Watson, Sgts. Burrell, Harrington and Cpl. Cross); 2, S.A.C.S.; 3, S.S.S. Time: 1 min. 31.6 secs.
42 Air School with their good all round team had no difficulty in winning in the very fast average time of 22.9 secs. per member, every one swimming well.


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LIFE SAVING (MEN). – 1, Tony Cook; 2, Lt. Levy; 3, P. Stewart. [missing word] 34.4 secs.
A novelty in swimming, which proved very attractive and interesting besides being most useful, showing how quickly a body that has sunk to the bottom can be recovered and rescued.
LIFE SAVING RACE (WOMEN). – 1, Rona Burrell; 2, Pauline Rauch; 3, Cpl. Cross. Time: 42.9 secs.
50 YDS. 42 AIR SCHOOL PUPILS. – 1, L.A.C. Bryan (24 A.B.); 2, Cpl. Philips (23 A.B.); 3, L.A.C. Daniel (25 A.B.). Time 1 min. 27.8 secs.
The A.B.’s certainly made a clean sweep, filling all three places after a very even duel between Bryan and Philips.
50 YDS. OFFICERS’ DASH. – 1, Lt. Hutchison (43 A.S.); 2, Lt. Tindall (42 A.S.); 3, Lt. Marais (42 A.S.). Time: 27.3 secs.
Lt. Hutchison showed his class by winning this event in faster time than he returned in the Services 50 yards and turning the tables on Lt. Tindall. A good race, improving last year’s time by nearly 3 secs.
DINGHY DERBY. – 1, 42 Air School (Cpl. Evans and L.A.C. Moran; right and left of dinghy in picture on page 35); 2, Crash Boat; 3, Driftsands.
The gale blowing spoilt this event somewhat, as the dinghies had blown the length of the bath before the men had adjusted hood and apron. The opening of and construction of the dinghies proved to be more interesting than the race. 42 Air School fully deserved their good win.
WOMEN’S OPEN DIVING. – 1, Lily Davidson (101.4 points); 2, Cpl. Graham (88.2 points); 3, Rhona Murrell (82.4 points).
Here again the standard was a big improvement on that of last year, Lily once more proving herself to win the event twice in succession.
PUPILS’ INTER-COURSE TEAM RACE. – 1, 24 Air Navigators; 2, 23 Air Bombers; 3, 26 Air Navigators. Time: 1 min. 27.8 secs.
With all ten teams competing the event had to be swum in widths instead of lengths, and here the Navigators turned the tables on the Bombers by filling 1st and 3 [sic] places. The winning team averaged 21.9 secs per man, which was fair.
42 AIR SCHOOL INTER-SECTION TEAM RACE CHAMPIONSHIP. – 1, Navigation Section (Lts. Stanton, Glendinning, Birkett and P/O Dovey); 2, “B” Flight; 3, Nondescripts. Time: 1 min. 16.4 secs.
As far as 42 Air School was concerned this was the most important event of the whole gala. Every section possible entered a team, 14 teams in all toeing the mark. Through Lt. Tindall, “B” Flight got a silent lead which they could not maintain. Navigation, who took the lead after the second leg, recorded a close win from “B” Flight and Nondescripts in the record time of 1 min. 16.4 secs., an average of 19.1 per man.
2 WIDTHS GIRLS (12 and under). – [italics] “A” Division [/italics]: 1, Adrian Rauch; 2, Hilary Cook; 3, Gaynor Horn. Time: 23.9 secs. [italics] “B” Division [/italics]: 1, Joan Wheal; 2, Yvonne Wheal; 3, Peggie Mason. Time: 30.3 secs.


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2 WIDTHS BOYS (12 and under). – [italics] “A” Division [/italics]: 1, Ronnie Horn; 2, N. Trump; 3, Roger Richardson. Time: 20.3 secs. [italics] “B” Division [/italics]: 1, [missing letters]rek Staples; 2, Clive Reed; 3, Robson Connocher. Time: 23.5 secs.
100 YDS. GIRLS UNDER 18 E.P. BREAST STROKE CHAMPIONSHIP. – 1, Lily Davidson; 2, Pauline Rauch. Time: 1 min. 32.4 secs.
100 YDS. BOYS UNDER 16 E.P. CHAMPIONSHIP. – 1, J. Bishop; 2, E. Stevens; 3, R. Prentice. Time 65.6 secs.
50 YDS. GIRLS 16 AND UNDER. – [italics] “A” Division [/italics]: 1, Joan Horn; 2, Mary Hops; 3, Lily Davidson. Time: 32.3 secs. [italics] “B” Division [/italics]: 1, H. Baynes; 2, P. Forster; 3, Hilary Kent. Time: 35.7 secs.
50 YDS. BOYS 16 AND UNDER. – [italics] “A” Division [/italics]: 1, E. Nicholson; 2, R. Crosby; 3, C. Alexander. Time: 27.5 secs. [italics] “B” Division [/italics]: 1, A. Robertson; 2, I. Lewis; 3, A.G. Blackburn. Time: 29 secs. [italics] “C” Division [/italics]: 1, J. Mortimer; 2, P. Koyd; 3, F. Soloman. Time: 32.6 secs.

It rather occurs to me that it is the common people who [italics] do [/italics] things. – [italics] Stephen Leacock. [/italics]

The best work in the world is done on the quiet. – ([italics] Proverb [/italics]).

Bacchus has drowned more men than Nepture. – [italics] Dr. Fuller’s Gnomologia, 1732. [/italics]

Our patience will achieve more than our force. – [italics] Edmond Burke, 1788. [/italics]

Licker talks mighty loud w’en it git loose from de jug. – [italics] J.C. Harris, author of Brer Rabbit. [/italics]

Enthusiasm is the genius of all sincerity. – [italics] Lord Lytton, 1834. [/italics]

Active correspondents for various parts of the Air School are still required, particularly in the Flights and among the goons. Full length articles should be submitted to The Editor, at “Q” Stores, while snippets of gossip should be sent to The Editor or put in “Woodpecker” Boxes.
There is also plenty of room for more artists to submit drawings and sketches, generally of a humorous, topical and local character. Candid camera or other interesting photographs are also acceptable. These should be sent direct to the Editor. [/inserted]

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[underlined] AIR SCHOOL SPORT – [/underlined]

Added Interest . . . . . . . . Shown in Tennis

[italics] Added interest is being shown in tennis on the station, and the second round in both the men’s and women’s leagues commenced during January. Spirit was keen but unfortunately all league games played were lost. [/italics]

THE feminine side has been a little weak but has been putting up a plucky fight against experienced league players. The men suffered their first defeat of the season when they met Ack Ack on 23.1.44. Our team was not at full strength through the absence of Lt. Bond and Cpl. Lyall, and ran up against a hot team in Ack Ack, who had the E.P. runner-up, Cpl. Midgley playing for them. It was a very good match producing excellent tennis which made it thoroughly enjoyable. “42” eventually lost by 3 games.
In the first round, 42 Air School (men) easily headed the log with 5 matches played and 5 matches won, scoring 10 points against Fortress with 6 points, who are reflected second on the log.
Our ladies did well to obtain fourth place in the ladies’ log with 4 points against the leaders’ (S.S.S.) 10.
The results of the three matches were:–
42 A.S. (ladies), 39 games, lost to Fortress, 60 games, by 21.
42 A.S. (ladies), 31 games, lost to S.A.A., 37 games, by 37.
42 A.S. (ladies), 39 games, lost to Fortress, 60 games, by 21.


CRICKET seems to have got in the doldrums as far as the inter-section games are concerned, only City League games being played during January.
On the 9th there was a Fortress game against Grahamstown and Port Alfred combined, and we had five players from this station representing Fortress, Lts. Edwards and Bond, Sgt. Waldeck, Cpl. Lyall and Cpl. Barnes. Lt. Edwards earned the distinction of successfully captaining the side which won by 132 runs. Cpl. Lyall took 7 wickets for 32 runs while the fielding of Lt. Bond was an object lesson, surpassing anything yet seen this season.
Seven City League games were played during the month. Four were won and three lost, one by the “A” and two by the “B” team. Seven batting performances of 30 and over were recorded. P/O Mills made the highest score with 59, while Capt. Spence got a useful double of 38 and 35, Lt. Bond doing the same with 41 and 30, followed by Rusling 45 and Vines 30. Only three bowling feats of 4 or more wickets were registered. A/M Scheckle obtained 5 for 26, which included the hat trick, the first of the season. Cpl. Lyall got 4 for 9 and Goetsch 4 for 2.


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[underlined] By Lt. F.J. Horn [/underlined]

In the City League logs our “A” team occupied first position at the end of January, with 12 matches played; 7 wins, 3 loses, 2 draws – 16 points.
“B” team occupied third position with 8 matches, having won 4, lost 3 and drawn 1, giving 9 points – three behind the leaders, M.T.T. School.
Results of the seven City League matches played were:–
42 A.S. “A” (86) beat Driftsands (51) by 35 runs.
42 A.S. “B” (76) lost to M.T.T. “A” (119) by 43 runs.
42 A.S. “A” (130 for 5) beat Pirates (128) by 5 wickets.
42 A.S. “B” (74) lost to M.T.T. “A” (144 for 7) by 70 runs.
42 A.S. “A” (118) lost to Union (119 for 6) by 4 wickets.
42 A.S. “B” (78) beat M.T.T. “B” (44) by 34 runs.
42 A.S. “B” (200 for 6) beat M.T.T. “A” (52) by 4 wickets and 148 runs.

[inserted] SOCCER AGAIN!
In spite of scorching weather, a sudden urge to “have a kick round” has developed among the soccer fans. Several impromptu challenge matches have already been played on the aerodrome – resulting more in lost weight than improvement in style!
The soccer season will soon be opening officially, but will be the poorer this season for the loss of W/O “Tubby” Gregory, who has left for the United Kingdom. [/inserted]


RECENTLY our golfers have been getting matches fairly regularly with two representative Fortress matches in which Capt. Vigne, Lt. Collins, Lt. Bond, Lt. Norval, Lt. Stirk and Cpl. Dunn had the honour of representing Fortress against Fairview and Walmer.
Besides the above, 42 Air School were challenged to play against Fairview on the Fairview Course on 23.1.44 with a team of ten players. Fairview won by 5 to 4 3/4.


THE W.A.A.F.s are taking a keen interest in Squash and there is a regular turn out on the Squash courts most nights. Cpl. Fuller is to be congratulated on the fine progress she has made.


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BADMINTON STILL POP[missing letters]

[missing letters]MINTON still continues to be very popular and [missing words] Y.M.C.A. Sgt. Perks has developed into a really [missing words] Cpls. Steele and Tee are also making very good progress [missing words]


MARY SPENCER-WATSON, Stella Nillson, Ethel Har[missing letters] [missing words] Eileen Tonks and Jessie Post made up the “42” [missing words] Teniquoit Tourney held at the Oval on 22.1.44. We too[missing letters] [missing words]


Postings and pending postings are interfering with reheasal[missing words] Williams’ “Night Must Fall,” the latest dramatic venture of [missing words] Air School. The posting of Les Banks has been a great [missing words] gap in the cast.
Among five of the certainties so far, however, are [missing words] Grayne [missing letters]onnie Visser (as Mrs. Bramson), Leone Phillip[missing letters] [missing words] Jill Lawrie (as Dora) and Ted Carter (as Hurbert). Prod[missing letters] [missing words] of Leslie T. Berry.


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[partial advertisement]

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[missing letters]UT OURSELVES

[missing words] The Woodpecker” is copyright and must not be reproduced [missing words] the Editor or unless due acknowledgement is made.
[missing words] from all serving men and women of 42 Air School and Drift- [missing words] [missing letters]embers of the W.A.A.F., C.P.S., S.A.W.A.S. and other organ- [missing words] far as possible an endeavour will be made to return manu- [missing words] Editor cannot be responsible for contributions that are [missing words] [missing letters]uld be original and unpublished and authenticated with the [missing words] the contributor, not necessarily for publication. They should be [missing words], on one side of the paper and should rarely exceed 1,500 words.
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Captain F.S. Stapleton, D.S.O., D.F.C., R.A.F.
Lieutenant G.L. Hindley, R.A.F.V.R.
[missing words] [missing letters]s (in this issue): Lt. F.J. Horn, S.A.A.F.; F/Sgt. L.G. Gaze, R.A.F.;
[missing words] Thompson, R.A.F.V.R.; Sgt. E. Tonks, W.A.A.F.; Cpl. A.W. Linger-Harris, [missing words] L.A.C. J.M. Templeton, R.A.F.V.R.; Miss N. Perry, S.A.W.A.S., and others.
[missing words] issue): Lt. M.H. Tester (ex-42 A.S.); F/Sgt. A.C. Campbell (ex-42 A.S.); [missing words] Gaze, R.A.F.; Cpl. J. Bell, R.A.F.
[missing words] : Station Photographic Section, and other sources.
[missing words] J. Baker, R.A.F.V.R.
[missing words] R.C. Parks, R.A.F., and Airwoman G. Roux, W.A.A.F. [missing words] R.B. Beavington, R.A.F.V.R.

BACK NUMBE[missing letters]

[missing letters] Woodpecker” contained in Volumes [missing words] from October 1941 to September 1942 and from Nov./Dec. 1942 to Septem[missing letters]ocks of which are completely exhausted: Nov./Dec. 1942 January 1943.
In Volume III, copies of the October, November, December 1943 and January 1944 issues are still available at the usual price of 6d.
THE demand for “The Woodpecker” is so great that regular readers are strongly advised to make sure of their copies by forwarding order and remittance to The Editor, “The Woodpecker,” No. 42 Air School, Port Elizabeth.


The March “Woodpecker” will be published in four weeks’ time – on Friday, 24.3.44.
All copy, drawings, photographs, suggestions, etc. should be in the hands of the Editor (available in “Q” Stores) or put in “Woodpecker” Boxes by Friday, 10.3.44, to ensure inclusion.
“Woodpecker” Boxes are to be found at the Main Guard Room, opposite the Station Notice Board and in the Sergeants’ Mess.
Correspondents not at the Air School are advised to post copy to reach the Editor by 10.3.44.
Only copy of a particularly urgent nature should be submitted after that date.



42 Air School, RAF, “The Woodpecker, February 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 29, 2023,

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