The Flying Gopher January 1943

MFordTA1585520-170411-15.pdf

Title

The Flying Gopher January 1943

Description

This edition covers an Editorial, poems, the padres notes, romantic fiction, a car chase in London, a list of expenditure of the station's social funds, recollections of flying in the Great War, Christmas stories, Officers Mess gossip, a story about the snow blower, Sergeants Mess stories, sports news, stories from the station Flight groups.
Additionally there are two handwritten pages of radio notes.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1943-01

Contributor

Anne-Marie Watson

Rights

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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

25 printed sheets and two pages of handwritten notes

Language

Type

Identifier

MFordTA1585520-170411-15

Coverage

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

[Deleted] Garden Show [/deleted]

Grass Dance [deleted] Pubs [/deleted]

[Drawing of an aircraft flying over a single gravestone]

The Flying Gopher

JANUARY 1943

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[Drawing of an aircraft flying over a single gravestone]

The Flying Gopher

The Journal of The Royal Air Force, No,41, Service Flying Training School,
Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Published by the Kind Permission of Group Captain E.C. Emmett, M.C., D.F.C.

VOL.11. JANUARY, 1943 No. 2

Editorial

[Drawing of a thoughtful gopher with writing quill at a desk]

THE ad-less “Gopher” makes its bow. It is a thin creature, but you will find that appearances are deceptive. And that it contains almost the same amount of reading matter as its advertisement-padded predecessors. We hope you will find it no less interesting reading.

This is a memorable issue if only because every flight has rallied round and supplied us with the inside gen on its goings-on during the past month. This we think is a very good sign: we have been trying for some time to get a greater measure of contributions representative of you Maintenance and Flying Wing people, for it is you who really constitute the Unit; the rest of us are lesser, presumably necessary adjuncts.

We want your suggestions for improvement in your magazine. Tell us what you like and what you don’t like; if you know a chap who is a good cartoonist, or who has anything interesting to write about, persuade him to come out of his shell, and if he won’t come, let us know his name. We have our methods …

Deadline for copy will in future be the last day of the month. This means that everything topical will be at least two weeks old by the time it appears in print. We should, of course, prefer to serve it up warmer, but this is the best we can do with the production arrangements at our disposal. And by the way, when we fix that deadline, we shall be very glad to have as much copy as you can give us before that date, to save us any last-minute panic and excessive overtime.

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[Drawing of a Padre with wings, playing a harp]

BOMBS GONE

We’re sorry Flight Lieutenant Clarke
Prefers to leave you in the dark
Regarding his activities,
His likes, dislikes, proclivities,
His views regarding prohibition,
His most insistent inhibition …

We begged for something for the “Gopher,”
But this is all he’s written so far –

No Comments

[Signature]

We can but guess what his excuse
Can be for hiding thus the truth.

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SOLOSPROGGY
(With apologies to Lewis Carroll)

‘Twas flying, and the flaptious lac
Did tweek and puckle in his clogs.
The Gremlins lured, all ticipant,
And callous lurked instructor dogs.

Beware the Undercart my son,
The horn that blows, the lights that gleam.
Beware the Earlycheck, and shun
All aircraft on the starboard beam.

He took the gripple stick in hand,
He gave her boost, the waspie roared.
Fine was the pitch, the mixture rich.
He squeaked “I’m airborne! Praise the Lord!”

And so he reached the down-wind leg,
His throttle back, his wheels came down.
The cross-wind tension, pilot grim,
And crying “Gumptf,” came whiffling in.

“The circuit’s done, I haven’t spun”.
The gripple stick no longer slack,
He slipped it in, and with a grin
He came taxiffing back.

“And hast thou flown the Harvard bird?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Soloo! Solay!”
He chortled in his joy.

“MOONSHINE.”

THE PADRE PONDERS

The subject upon which to ponder is not difficult at this time of the year. For, by the time these words are read we shall have passed into another year with all its hopes.

The question which will come to the lips of many is “What has the new year in store for us?”

I think that one of the best mottoes to carry with us into and through the coming year is “Wise to resolve, and patient to perform.” Surely our past mistakes, our unwise choices, our impatience with places or people should convince us (if we are to transform obstacles into stepping stones) of the fruitfulness of both wisdom and patience.

What, then, of the future? Please God we shall experience times of happiness and joy, of peace and contentment, of encouragement and success. For. With these two weapons, wisdom and patience, in our hands, sorrow and loss, sickness and suffering, disappointment and disillusionment cannot destroy the inward peace.

When we look back on the failures of the past, let us remember that the present is ours, out of which a brighter future may be forged.

If any lesson has been learned from this little “pondering” let us practice it in our daily life; so that our own lives, the lives of others, and the welfare of our Station may be made sweeter by our presence. The will it be that which I wish you – “A Happy and Blessed New Year.”

Sincerely,

THE PADRE.

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[Underlined] OUR GRIPPING NEW SERIAL. [/underlined]

PRAIRIE PASSION

[Drawing of a girl sitting in a rocking chair, reading a book]

OUR red-head heroine, Gardenia Godlieb, intent in the pages of her book, was lounging in a rocking-chair in the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus K. Godlieb, Fifty-seventh and Tortoise, Pemmican, Sask., famed co-organisers of the Pemmican Parents’ Guild.

Slim, saucy, cherry-lipped Gardenia, her gorgeous green eyes sparkling with excitement, chewed her pointed blood-red fingernails feverishly as she read the gripping tale of life in the Active Air Force, a book lent her by her latest beau, D’Arcy Dwindleberry, a real live LAC. who ran the flying side of the nearby R.A.F. No. 48 S.F.T.S.

The telephone rang. With a snort of disgust at the interruption and a muttered “Blast!” Gardenia laid aside her book, obligingly laying it with the cover uppermost so that we could see the title. Ah! Small wonder that she was so absorbed in her reading, for the book was none other than a copy of C.A.P. 100.

“Hul-lo,” she said languidly, casting as admiring glance at her dainty pointed shoes. “Oh, hi-ya, Moytle … Yeah, fine … Yeah, they’re both out … Aw, jest reading … My romance? Oh, jest fine. I had to tell him last nite I wasn’t That Sort of Goyl … What, he kissed you? … An officer? … A Pilot Officer? Not a real Pilot Officer? … What, me jealous? … Say, lookit here, Moytle, if you think I’d ever be jealous of a skinny little squoit like you … Aw shucks! And say, lookit, I’ll tell you sump’n. How many rings does a Pilot Officer have? … What, only one? Well, lookit here, I’ll get to grips with an officer with two rings on his arm, so there! … Yes, I betcha … Why, you skinny alley-cat, you tailless gopher you …” But Myrtle had evidently rung off.

Returned to her rocking-chair, our heroine again took up the Pilot’s Primer. But she could not concentrate, and even the visions conjured up by that gripping story could not hold her attention long. You, gentle reader, our astute observer concealed behind the chiffonier, could see her gorgeous green eyes gallivanting around, gazing unseeing at the cuspidor, tastefully inscribed “A Present from the Prairie,” which sat conveniently on top of the piano.

At last, with a determined snort she jumped to her feet, flinging the Book into a corner. (Mark this well, Reader! This is sacrilege, the first sign of the decadence of our Gardenia. There will be other signs, for sure, but do not despair – goodness will triumph over sinful impetuous youth. And don’t forget, folks, next time you pop in at the groceteria, buy a packet of Gobbo Gingers-up the Glottis. Sixty-five cents a large packet.)

If we could have but entered into the mind of Gardenia at this moment, settling behind those gorgeous glittering green eyes, we should have witnessed the successive conception and rejection

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of a score of plans. Gardenia is a girl of her word, and find that Flight Lieutenant she will, or perish in the attempt.

Cat-like she paced the floor, and every time she passed the window it was a full-time job for us to restrain you gentle Reader from jumping up and spoiling the whole effect by falling on your knees and declaring your love for the gorgeous Gardenia. For the rays of the setting sun limned her glorious coiffure, which seemed to leap into flaming life at its touch. (Is your hair becoming to you? If not, you had better be coming to Brer Rabbit’s Drug Store for a bottle of Hippo – Hippo Helps the Hair Grow Gorgeous.)

At long last our heroine hit upon a plan which seemed to satisfy her; she stopped, and with a self-satisfied smirk which suffused her satin cheek she cried “A-ha!” and hurried from the room. This exclamation was fortunate, coming when it did, for our Gardenia’s smirk revealed to us watchers behind the chiffonier so perfect a set of pearly molars that we whistled loudly in unison (Dentyne chewing gum, Dentyne chewing gum. If you want to keep fit, chew a bit of it. Chew Dentyne chewing gum.) But all is well. Gardenia was too preoccupied with her own plans to hear us.

Upstairs, propriety forbade us to follow the lovely Miss Godlieb, but we had not long to wait. A moment later she came racing down again, and we turned aside to conceal our blushes as, in the speed of her descent, an unduly great proportion of her exquisitely formed lower limbs was revealed to our innocent gaze. She made for the telephone, and asked for – the Legion Hall!

“Is there a dance on? … Are many Air Force Officers there? …” She slammed back the receiver and was out of the house like a flash of glamourous greased lightning.

Quickly, Reader, let us follow her, and pray that we may save her from the consequences of her rash act, as she enters the Den of Iniquity.

(To be continued.)

PRAIRIE MADNESS

There’s a majesty in space
That rivals mountain’s weight …
There’s a frankness to a place
That has no bars nor gate –

The prairie stretches out and yields
Full length and breadth of soil
Bearing swaying wheat in fields
Through which the giant combines toil.

But man must seek for priceless gems
And so must leave the highway,
Following a trail between the stems
Of wheat – past the stack of hay,

On to open prairie wild,
Where tumble-weeds bloom and die,
And crocuses are beguiled
To nestle the turf where they lie.

Past the farm, down to the slough,
Where wilds ducks cry and trouble
The rush-fringed water, through
Each small pool and sodden stubble.

Nor does the charm pass with the day
As sunset reeks across the sky,
With warrior reds and stormy grey
To paint a majesty of fury –

A storm of dust, a thunder clap,
A sudden flash, a fork of flame –
Then part the clouds, and through the gap
Shines down the moon as if in shame.

H.G.V.

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STOP! POLICE!

This is the result of being caught yarning one night by the Ed. He asked for it, and here it is.

I remember those early days well – I’m going back nine or ten years now, mind you – but I still remember them well. I have good reason to do so. The first few days in uniform on the streets of London you never forget. The particular yarn I‘m going to spin you is of something which happened in my first few weeks of beat duty. I was on late turn (i.e. 2 to 10 p.m.). The time was about 7.30 p.m., and it was dark.

Having not been long out of Peel House, I was pretty full of everything, and my craze at that particular time was for remembering the list of stolen cars. Things were quiet, and I was doing no more than watch the flow of traffic, catching as many numbers as possible. After a few minutes of this, it happened. I repeated a number to myself and suddenly leaped about three feet into the air, and had my car list out before touching ground again. Yes, it was there – a Stolen Car!

I saw a glorious future ahead - my Great Chance – capture the car and the thief – commendations – promotion – and without delay I jumped into the roadway and stopped the nearest car. Standing on the running board, I yelled to the driver ”There’s a car ahead I want to catch – go like hell!”

The driver looked at me astonished – a gleam came into his eye.

“You mean it?” he said. “Flat out? No lights to stop me – no limits?”

I had time to nod, and then the fun started. The driver shot up the street like a bat out of Hades. His car was a V8 and it certainly could move.

After thirty seconds I realized that I was for it. I had one foot on the running board, and one hand on the door handle – the rest of me was swinging in the wind. The rush of air had me speechless. I couldn’t signal the driver to stop before he had to. I think he had dreamed of such a chance as this all his driving life, and he certainly saw to it that all his dreams came true. He passed everything there was to pass on the road, ignored traffic signals, drove on either side of the road or the pavement when there wasn’t room, kept his horn going steadily, and just kept flat out.

I had just about reached the limit of my endurance – my fingers were beginning to lose their grip on the door handle – when he leaned over to ask for further instructions. I think from the look on my face he saw I rather wanted to stop, and he started slowing down. When we were still doing a good 20-30 m.p.h. I couldn’t hold on any longer, and I went flat in the road, rolling over and over, and finishing up in a not too clean gutter.

I was sitting on the kerb when he came up to me – apologising for not having been able to catch the car for me – and all I could do was mumble some thanks and get rid of him. He left me there, and I was a sorry sight – greatcoat torn, bruised, skinned and filthy.

It took me ten minutes to find my helmet again. It cost me 2/6 for a taxi back to my beat, and when I got there I found I had missed a “ring in.” It took me another half hour to provide an excuse for that, and I spent the rest of the time till 10 p.m. getting myself clean.

That night after booking-in I retired to bed, a wiser and sadder man, realizing that in future when I saw a stolen car it would be much easier and couldn’t be less successful to carry out the official instructions, simply telephone to the proper quarter at Scotland Yard, and leave the rest to the squad cars.

EX-COPPER.

An airman in distant Ontario
Applied for a shift to the prairio.
But oh! When at last he got thario
And found all the prairie barrio
He had a most horrible scario,
And ran all the way back to Ontario.

The moral, we think, should be clario:
Ontario’s better than prairio.

[Drawings of two single flowers]

[Page break]

[Photograph of a mountain valley] BOW VALLEY]

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TAIL-END CHARLIE

The warm clad flyer shifts uneasily in his narrow perch – these turrets are not built for comfort; their’s is a stern purpose and the lives of others rest on this man’s shoulders. The restless, searching eyes are never still and the trained hand is never far from the compact but deadly little gun.

He knows his responsibilities and bears them with the confidence of a man who has been in tight corners before and has won through by his skill and coolness.

The keen eyes pause and narrow in their questing sweep as a small dark speck resolves in the haze of distance and grows. The speck becomes a shape and the shape – an aircraft, but still the eyes maintain their vigil, scanning the seemingly innocent blue of space; long and costly experience has endowed an extra sense that now warns quietly but insistently that danger threatens from another quarter. Away to the right a second winged shape confirms this inner warning.

An impatient hand slides to the gun trigger with the ease borne of practice while the cold eyes choose the nearer of the two slim silhouettes as the first target. The plane is nearer now, and the pilot’s head is dimly visible in the streamlined cockpit, peering ahead, with deadly concentration gauging the distance. Nearer yet, and the longing finger tenses around the tiny steel projection speeding on its grim mission.

A convulsive jerk and the gun has fired – the explosion is drowned in the crescendo of the engine’s roar, an angry red glare illuminates the startled features of the young pilot in the approaching plane. He opens his throttle and breaks away, his previous intentions forgotten – he now has troubles of his own. The figure in the turret shivers …

“It’s a bit of a bind being Aerodrome Control Pilot in this weather!” mutters the pupil, thrusting a fresh signal cartridge into his Very pistol in the turret on the yellow van …

J.S.R.H.

PRAIRIE LAMENT

The friendly flag at Weyburn is waving in the breeze,
The hard-worked Duty Pilots are all down on their knees;
We love to see it waving, its message glad to tell, -
For do we want to fly, Sir? I’ll say we do – Like H - !

And when they haul it down, Sir, our tears we cannot hide;
We push the kites around, Sir, and it’s ten below outside;
We start the censored engines, and they make a censored roar,
But if we had our way, Sir, we wouldn’t fly no more.

We wave the chocks away, Sir, and we leave the drome behind.
The censored hood comes over (another censored bind!)
The gyro spins like fun, Sir, I’m feeling cold and sick,
And P/O Prune up forward keeps yanking on the stick.

At last we’re back to earth, Sir, another hour to book,
And all the P/O gives us is a should-be-censored look;
But now we’re past all caring, as anyone can see,
And the only thing worth living for is Ops in ’43.

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Key Men – No. 5

O.C. “SPARKS”

[Photograph of a man sitting talking on the telephone]

The C.O.? No, I’m sorry. The Adjutant? No, not today. Squadron Leader Johnson is decorating the Recreation Hall … Will I do? Yes, the Adjutant’s adjutant …

What’s this, Corporal? A signal to sign? Oh, it’s alright by me if it’s alright with you …

Oh, Taylor, ask Greer if he’s seen the shorts we had on last week … He can’t find them? I mean the celluloid ones – no, not cellophane, fathead!

You like my overshoes, Harrison? What’s that? Remind you of boats? Don’t mention that word to me!

What was that, Williams? You don’t know the meaning of the word. Why, when I was in Jericho …

&@lb @H GZ@lb @lb&& J… Oh, so sorry, I was speaking in cypher. Here’s an easy one for you, anyway:

LLOR NO EHT TOAB.

YOUR MONEY

Very often we hear people saying “What happens to the P.S.I. funds? I don’t see what good we get from them?”

Last month we told you a little of some of the things which have been done for you from the Service Institute Funds. We give below the chief expenditures made from the Funds during the first year of the Station. The figures are accurate to within a dollar or two either way.

Billiard Tables (4) and Equipment … $2,388.00
Dance Band Instruments … 1,241,00
Military Band Instruments … 1,316.00
Library books … 150.00
Pianos and Radios … 465.00
Gramophone Records … 317.00
P.A. Unit … 300.00
Stage Props and Scenery, etc. … 200.00
Skates … 1,000.00
Sports Gear … 2,500.00
Washing Machines and Electric Irons … 239.00
Extra Messing during year ended December, 1942 … 3,410.00

In addition to the above many lesser grants and expenditures appear in the P.S.I. accounts, which are open for inspection by anyone at any time at S.H.Q.

Figures cannot lie. We hope you ae satisfied now that your money is well spent.

If you have any constructive suggestions regarding the administration of the Institute funds, we look to you to hand them on to any member of the P.S.I. Committee.

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LOOKING BACK

Capt. Charles A. Greene
(Late Flight Lieut. R.F.C., R.A.F.)

“Maurice Farmans, B.E. 2 c’s, R.E 8’s, D.H. 4’s, D.H. 9’s, 10’s and 11’s, Avros, Snipes and Bristol Fighters – what the devil is this man talking about?” asks P.O. Prune.

Perhaps I had better explain. These were some of our training and fighter machines of the last war. If I had space to draw them, then Prune would indeed think he had a hectic night in the Mess the night before.

Pictures of the Wright Brothers’ early machines will convey the lines of most of them and such dazzling speeds as 40 to 100 miles an hour cover their propulsion through space. Three ply, doped linen and lots of wires endeavoured to keep body and soul together, and although surprising, did so in about 80 per cent of our fighting craft.

How were they to manipulate? Well, I can best describe them by a simile. Have you ever driven, say, a Morris Cowley?

To seat me in a modern kite reminds me of the Rolls Royce, and as explained by quite a number of instructors, providing one still retains a good memory, then flying is easier today.

To sit on one of the old buses – well, it was like the Cowley – one definitely had to drive it, and even at its best it called for 100 per cent effort of concentration and real physical exertion in order to get the best out of it.

Do not think for a moment that I am old fashioned to the extent of being prejudiced, as I realize only too fully that what was to us a long flight is now only a testing flip, but from my simile what I would convey to the modern pilot is that in the old buses one did not get any automatic assistance wither from the machine or its instruments, and that they were solely an engine that had the habit of developing all kinds of mannerisms unwanted in the air, combined with a fuselage usually of thin wooden slats, doped canvas and, as we called them, bits of string to hold everything together.

Open cockpits, of course, were the order of the day, and no flying helmet unless the weather was really atrocious.

Parachutes were then in their infancy and although we were equipped with them, one never really wanted to join “The Caterpillar Club,” as a good average for opening safely was about seven out of ten, and one always feared that he would be one of the three which proved the rule.

Training? – well, I think it would appeal to you guys. Usually, if you were lucky it took three months. One month was occupied in getting absolutely perfectly physically fit, both in body and mind – to realize that for the first time in your life you were alive. Don’t misunderstand or underestimate the time of training. It was called “intensive” in official circles and by many another name in other circles.

You were either made or broken and always faced with R.T.U. (Returned to Unit). It was a 5.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. day, during which you were equipped as an Infantryman, including rifle, and underwent square training and plenty of slow marching, whilst the C.S.M. fired general knowledge questions at you, such as: “Where are you facing?” and “What was the chief item of war news this morning?” Failure to register usually brought the retort: “Fancy, you are going to be an officer and a gentleman and yet your mind does not work above the drill you are at present performing>” You are supposed to be drilling automatically, leaving your mind clear for any emergency that may arise.

Interlaced with squad drill was a form of compass bearings on foot, which combined compass readings with a route march, inasmuch as, given a number of bearings, one tramped the countryside to the given intersection and reported. Failure to report on several occasions would bring the inevitable R.T.U.

Rigging, engines (theoretical and practical), cameras, bombs and general aeronautics all found their allotted place in the syllabus.

From there on to your Flying School, where from the first few flips on a Maurice Farman (a pusher type) one progressed to a dual control on Avros. What a sensation when, unknown to yourself, the plane was landed and your

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instructor told you that you had done it “all by your little self.” I believe it was from that proud moment that one developed a “wing” chest and strode forward with an exaggerated thrust of the left shoulder. Fifteen hours of dual, and then your first solo. The sensations of this, your first solo, need no description from me. You have all experienced them and Anno Domini has not changed.

From then onwards, fear of R.T.U. became more distant, especially as the call for more pilots at that period strained the R.A.F. to its utmost.

Fifteen hours of fairly good solo flights, comprising bombing, aerobatics, etc. and you were booked for “the other side” or perhaps more specialized training for “lighter than air” craft. Often when one had finished and had that urge for a first encounter, one had to be content and have another three to four weeks’ training to fit one for a “Blimp” or a semi-rigid ship which was used very often in the last show for convoy work.

However, looking back, this had its brighter side, as one was pretty sure of surviving if on the “lighter than air” side of flying, whereas flying a heavier than air machine during this period was always a risk, even in the Mother Country, owing to the lack of knowledge and exercise by our designers and also rushed and short training. Do not think I am belittling our designers as this would be an unforgivable crime, but only years of development and wars can bring to almost finality the type of craft which we use today.

Good machines and lengthy instruction can bring only one result, and that is air supremacy; so, when the training seems long and you are itching to take your place among our front line men, remember this and try to realize that when your training is complete, you are 100 per cent pilot and have every chance of coming out on top.

GROUND SCHOOL GOSSIP

I’d much rather write “X“ Flight Notes than set down the doings of those who pass their days in this academic pile. Why? Well, in the first place there is so little difference between one month and another and secondly, while the school still possesses many “good types” there is a tendency with every change in our staff, for the School’s personnel to become less colourful! However, full of remorse and Canadian hospitality (in the reverse order) I, faithful stooge that I am, bring you the highlights of the school’s new news as furnished by D.R.O’s., Pupils Standing Orders, etc.

Prior to the Christmas holiday, the C.G.I. gathered the staff together to wish them “All the Best.” A pupil peeking through the door of the lecture room during the proceedings was heard to remark “Oh Boy, if the Devil would only cast his net now”!

Returned from the festivities I decided that it might be of interest if I could find out how our GEN MEN passed their leisure during their five days break. Possibly I started a little too early in the day for, on interviewing the Chief Gun Man, I was greeted with a nasty scowl. “How did you enjoy Christmas?” I asked. “xx - // !! Oh my head – Get Out!” The Nav. instructors were next. “Bed at three in the morning and up again at twelve” was all I could get from this section. “That’s not news” I thought recalling that they had all been to Regina (Q. of the P.). Sgt. F.E. Carr was abrupt but civil. “I did nothing wrong,” was all he would say. WOPerational Sgt. Blacklock had little to say and the only statement he would make was “What with one thing and another, not to mention Command, I hardly noticed anything.” There was nothing being given away by Sgt. Jock. He said “They do the same in Moose Jaw as they do in most places.”

So now perhaps you see what I mean. These people are NOT NEWS and yet “The Gopher” cries for more.

ANSWERS TO PUPILS’ QUERIES

Q. I was playing cards with three sergeants and at one time there were five aces on the table at the same time. I did not say anything. But is this rare? – PUZZLED.

A. Yes and No. The ordinary civilian pack, except in race trains, etc., contains four aces only. But these things occur. You were quite right to make no comment.

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[Drawing of a Christmas Tree] CANADIAN CHRISTMAS

Canadian Christmas, 1942, now belongs to memory.

For a few days many of us escaped in some measure from the clutches of Service thought and routine, became warmly flesh and blood again, satiated the inner man, purged the spirit, and return invigorated to camp to work and grouse harder than before. How we behaved or misbehaved, what we did am what we should not have done, belongs not to these pages but to the pages of memory.

Those of us who stayed in Weyburn will not easily forget this Christmas. In the homes of our friends most of us spent at least a part of the Day, and we found there that cheerful friendship which has endeared you Canadians to us, only it now appeared in ever increased force. We became members of your families, and the Christmas we enjoyed with you proved a very good second best to those we remember in previous years on the other side of the Atlantic.

On the following Sunday our very good friends of the Hostess Club gave us a most enjoyable evening, and to them too, we are grateful.

Many of us left the camp, and in New York, Vancouver, Regina, Winnipeg, Chicago, Saskatoon, Calgary, Minneapolis, Toronto, Milestone, Lang, Ceylon, Minot, and many other places we found ourselves again. To all who helped in any measure, by a cheery greeting, a card, a gift, a smile, we say “Thank You!”

CHRISTMAS IN CAMP

Christmas or not, the war goes on, and many of us had to spend our Christmas in and around the camp. Our Christmas was none the less a festive season, however, and on later pages we reproduce some of the photographs taken by out photographer as he wandered around the camp.

The Christmas Spirit came really into evidence on December 22nd. True, for some time past we had been denied access to No. 2 Dining Hall, and coloured lights showing through its windows conspired with Christmas trees placed strategically around the camp to prove that the calendar wasn’t lying, and that it really was the eve of Christmas. But the Pantomime really brought this home to us, for to us from the Old Country the very word Pantomime has a Christmas ring.

If you saw the Panto, we think our photographs will remind you of it better than any write-up on these pages; if you missed it, the loss is yours, and nothing we can write will atone for it. But a word of thanks would not be out of place to Flight Lieutenant Whiteside, the producer, LAC. Wedd, writer of the lyrics, Len Churton, who attended to the musical side, and to all members of the cast and stage staff on a really splendid show.

Christmas Day brought the traditional Christmas Dinner, its production a triumph for the cookhouse staff, headed by F/Sgt. Towns, and its serving undertaken without major disaster by the Officers and Senior NC.Os. True, the Padre’s fingers looked milky, and we saw F/Lt. Whiteside with his hands literally full of pudding, but these were minor mishaps. We have it on reliable authority that Sister Johnson was issuing I.O.Us., there being a deplorable absence of mistletoe … A general issue of the latest of late passes brought a memorable day to a close.

On December 19th a special show had been organised in Weyburn for the local children, and a week later on Boxing Day a large number of children were entertained to a party in the camp, where fun and games were the order of the day.

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[Photograph of a man in uniform on a slide holding a child] Our younger visitors enjoy themselves on Boxing Day.

The handful of unfortunates who were compelled to spend their Christmas in Sick Quarters were not forgotten. On Christmas Eve, members of the concert party put on a show for their benefit, and Christmas Day itself was fully planned, from a visit by Father Christmas, suitably loaded, and a program of carols in the morning to a quiz and entertainment in the afternoon, and a film show in the evening.

We would rather have been at home, of course, but we think that our Christmas on the prairies could not easily be improved upon, and we offer our thanks to all those from C.O. and S/L. “A” to AC2 C and B who contributed in any way to our enjoyment.

[Photograph of men listening to music in the Sick Quarters] A Merry Christmas in the Sickery.

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OFFCIERS’ MESS (!)

Proposed New Club – Members to date: (in order of seniority): F/O Colchester, F/O Rutledge, F/Lt. Meyer, Lt. Brechin, P/O Jones (E.L.), F/Lt. Everett, P/O Hearn (Old Country member), P/O Butt.

Who are the Rats?

Which three girls were recently chosen “Miss Weyburn – 1943”?

Too good for words – F/O. Large

S-Kate-ing on thin ice – Fickle F/O. Frank.

Once upon a short time it was all BUTT – now we hear it is all but over.

We understand that F/O Wheeler retired early at the Mess Formal. Luckily F/O “Snake” St. John was standing by – and standing IN at the Pantomime a few evenings later.

We think F/O Hirsch gets wirsch and wirsch.

F/O Rutledge is seeing things from the ground – and singly for a few days.

Delightlful, d’lovely Delaney reappeared recently and was seen “flashing” at the Panto after a terrific reception.

After the last formal dance, F/O “Jonah” walked straight to his quarters. Surprising.

Heard at the “formal” – “No, the real one wears a moustache.”

S/Ldr. “Uppards” Greenwood was a recent winner at the Sergeants Draw.

They closed the Draw before P/O Coney could win the Bar Stools.

“Wingy” Johnson recently held a super-exclusive promotion party.

S/Ldr. Cox recently declared, quote: Everything matters now – including Victory.

Importers at the Formal Dance, P/O Gable-Pearce, F/O Dick Clancey and P/O (Brownjob) Bowering. P/O Jones contented himself with “Local Fare.”

The “formal” was a great success – many officers brought their ladies and pranced around to “Swinger” Churton and Company.

S/Ldr. Thomas was fortunately in town for the event. He departed for an unknown destination (by air, of course) at dawn the next morning.

Doc. Halson (Did you recognise him?) almost neglected F/Lt. Stealey’s and F/O Miller’s partners.

K.H. “Line-Shoot” Ledbrook left to entertain a new audience in New York.

Searchers for post-Formal entertainment rendezvoused at stately down-town McKinnon block. There seemed to be a shortage of taxis from Weyburn city that morning.

New Mess Motto: “Careless Talk Costs Wives.”

After a wet evening at the Sergeants’ Mess, P/O Riby is writing a new book – “Mein Dampf.”

P/O Carruthers’ recent stay in Station Hospital was brightened by a frequent charming visitor. Interviewed, F/Os. Wheeler and Reade and P/Os Webster and Parkin each said “What can I do about it?” Hart-less, we think.

Laidler-Whiteside scored a great success with his Station Panto. We understand he is working on a special Officers’ Panto, entitled “Doc and the Mess Talk.”

F/Lt. Morris wishes to thank all officers who recently presented him with a new best blue barathea.

1943 Saying – “Where there’s Hope, there’s Life.”

“Uncle Tom” Isaac is due back any day from a trip to “lil ol” New York. He just could not believe all those stories Dick Clancy, Doc Halson and Lionel Wheeler told him.

Heard at the Formal – “No, No, that one’s her husband.”

Decorating Dixon helped to make the Mess bright for the festivities.

He himself was well lit at the dance.

Which Medical Officer did NOT receive a greeting card from the local undertaker?

Which Officer – uninvited to Hawaiian party in McKinnon block – attempted to force-land on the doorstep during night flying? Sarong thing to do.

F/O Wheeler was found asleep in the Mess at midnight recently, (contrary to O.M. Regs. And C.O. No. 14). Dreaming of a White Christmas?

Incidentally C.O. No. 14 was to our surprise introduced the very day “Flash” Henley departed on Christmas leave for a date with the stork.

An Officer BELIEVED to be F/Lt. Collingwood was recently seen in the Mess.

(Continued at foot of page 15.)

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CORRESPNDENCE

To: O.C. Works and Bricks
From: L.A.C. F---.

Sir,

I beg to submit this report on a collision with one of your vehicles, together with my suggestions as to the way in which repetition of this accident may best be avoided, which latter are submitted in accordance with D.R.O. No. 310, dated 30th December, 1942.

2. At 4.49 p.m. B-U-L-O-V-A Bulova Watch Time on December 30th, whilst proceeding on my lawful way about the camo I was made the recipient of a large quantity of snow, blown into the air by a large moving object, yellow in color (colour), which was engaged in clearing the road running between the Drill Hall and Airmen’s Mess. This machine is, I gather, known as a Snow Blower, and in operation it attempts to remove hard caked snow from the camp roads by picking it up by means of a form of scoop and blowing it backward through a bent chimney.

3. But I do not wish, Sir, to question the efficacy of this device at the present time, so I will continue with my account of the collision. As I turned into the road on which the collision occurred, I walked into the cloud of snow blown back from the blower. I was, of course, totally unaware that it originated from a machine, and, believing myself caught in a blizzard, took appropriate action, lowering my head, placing my hands in the pockets of my greatcoat, and proceeding in small stumbling paces, cursing vehemently between clenched teeth.

4. As I proceeded in this manner, head well down, flaps down too (20 cents), my groundspeed evidently was greater than that of the blower, with the result that I came into collision with the rear of the said machine. Fortunately neither your machine nor myself sustained serious injury, and apart from the inconvenience of having a large quantity of snow deposited upon my person, I was to all intents and purposes able to continue on my way to my biller.

5. In order that further incidents of this sort, from which the airman concerned will not always of necessity escape unscathed, may be prevented, I beg to suggest that a signal hooter be affixed to the machine to indicate its presence to anyone traversing the same road as the machine. Failing this, I suggest that a suitably colored or coloured dye be injected into the snow before it is expelled from the machine, in order that personnel may be able readily to distinguish between a blizzard and the handiwork of the snow blower. (It is observed that even in Canada a maroon blizzard is something of a rarity).

6. I submit Sir, that until some precautionary measures are taken this aforesaid Snow Blower constitutes a serious hazard to the life and limb of many an innocent airman, and should be withdrawn from service.

I am, etc.,

R.W.F.,

We are pleased to record that S/Ldr. Cox has had no further Safe trouble.

Even P/O Ellis put up a new decoration for Christmas.

Does P/O Germain really like Station Orderly Officer Duties?

F/O Thomas’s car and a tractor recently made Weyburn city.

At the Formal, when someone asked F/Lt. Stealey for the loan of his partner for a dance, Stealey looked quite Stealey – if you know what we mean.

Showers – even when greatcoats are worn – are to be taken only in accordance with D.R.O. No. 303 dated 21/12/42.

Is P/O Whitfield Prim and Proper?

Heard after the Formal – Doc. Halson’s remark: “I feel like a million dollars – overdraft.”

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A SHORT HISTORY OF B FLIGHT

ON the occasion of our impending first anniversary as a flight, we are, without any apology, about to reminisce.

It is not generally remembered that “B” Flight was in existence even before the first course started flying, for the purpose of getting our five kites into the air, equipped with two parachutes, held together thanks to Mrs Hancocks’ foresight in providing the C.I. with equipment to overcome all eventualities, and also to “convert” our T.E. instructors. We boasted at that time three experiences S.E. pilots, F/O (now F/Lt.) Stealey, F/O Jones, and P/O Greenhalgh, all of whom had the glorious total of 30 hours on type, and three who were in need of conversion, having nil hours, to wit F/O Provenzano, ex Eagle Squadron, and our first graduate to the U.S. Army Air Corps, Sgt. De Roeck, now a P/O at Kingston, and Sgt. Easterman, now Flight Sergeant, and of course F/Sgt. Rowlands (now W.O.), who managed miracles of maintenance with approximately one screwdriver.

During the first three weeks of flying, which were probably the finest three weeks of flying weather we have yet experienced at Weyburn, some of us were duly converted, and others departed to commence instruction of the never-to-be-forgotten 36 Course. F/O (“When I was on ‘ops’”) Provenzano was still Flight Commander, F/O (now F/Lt. and the Boss) Bennett had joined us, and the remainder were F/O Steadley, P/O Greenhalgh, P/O Large (alias P/O Prune), and F/Sgt. “Tubby Sebastian” Earp (“I’m tired of flying”).

And with the beginning of No. 36 Course began also our efforts to find heat, and our curiously coincident movement from hangar to hangar to hangar. Thus every few days we were bundled into a new hangar, there to huddle together in the Flight Commander’s office, wearing greatcoats, flying clothing, and newly acquired winter hats, with flaps down, into, and across, and down wind.

In spite of it all, though, and in spite also of the fact that the chequered flag became more and more familiar, No. 36 Course began to go solo, and everyone started learning about our flying machine. “Chiefy” Rowlands began to acquire more tools, and in their spare time the ground crew – Molloy, Parker, Hardstaffe, Thompson and Allin, supervised by Corporals Tomes and Westwood, constructed chocks or just used blocks of wood. Bradford even went to sleep over his charts.

Then came the thaw - and Buttress. On the F. 17s appeared the magic words “From Buttress – to Buttress,” and Ansons took off with staggering loads of potential pilots. The most remarkable things were done at Weyburn and at Buttress to keep the aircraft serviceable, and words cannot describe the extraordinary way in which “Chiefy” Rowlands and “Robby” did their splendid jobs of work. The telephone worked overtime, the ground crew worked overtime, and the aircrew sometimes got stuck. But of Buttress more in the next issue. The whole episode deserves a magazine to itself.

EVERY DEBIT

Once more the festive season is past, together with its usual complement of full stomachs and hangovers, and regretfully the Accounts Wallahs realize that they must put their noses to the grindstone once more and keep their pencils well sharpened. It is with feelings of great trepidation that we look forward to the New Year, with Pay Accounts wondering how many more procedures are to be thrust upon them, and equipment living in dread of the Auditors’ forthcoming descent to disturb their somnolent calm.

At the time of writing, most of the staff have not returned from their Xmas leave and it occurs to us who are left to wonder what sort of a line our “Rush – this is for a soldier” A/G. has been shooting to his tootsie from Brooklyn, whether our resident of Berkley Square has really got himself married in Lethbridge, how many girls in Minneapolis now have broken hearts over those two gallant heroes of the skies Cpls. Luffman and Warren; whether Cpl. Longstaffe really did tell the folks in Chicago that his “A” only means Auxiliary, and whether Cp. Drewery has been “nipping around smartly” in spite of his “Blighty” feet. However all our questions and many more will be answered in a few days and so we sink back into our lethargy with the inevitable cry “Roll on the Boat.”

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SERGEANTS’ MESS NOTES

Many farewells this month. At last “Chiefy” Brockington is on the boat and he has taken with him Sgt. “Blondie” Evans. Brock had a great send off from the gang and no doubt he will remember the Mess-on-the-prairies for many years to come.

* * *

We shall miss Tom Riby. Tom has now received his commission and his departure from our Mess to the Officers’ coincided with our losing Ryck Ryckman on posting to Winnipeg and W.O. Doug Campbell who has been whisked across Canada to somewhere in New Brunswick. Thus most of the Sergeants’ Mess Concert Party left us in one day. It only eaves Hal Jones and Frank Hartnell, and rumour has it that Hal Jones in sweating on the boat and may be away shortly.

* * *

The Quiz programme on Saturday nights has “caught on” and the “Oscar” (now worth $6) has not yet been won.

* * *

Members who stayed in camp over Xmas were treated to a very unusual sight for someone shaved off half of Flight Sergeant Harrison’s moustache off. He was very proud of his half moustache until he woke up on Boxing Day morning and looked in the mirror.

Visitor to the Mess was W.O. Sowerby who paid us a call from Penhold; at the request of Lofty Rainey he did he celebrated settee act. A table of four sat up till the early hours binding about the past.

* * *

The Xmas Draw was a wow.

Over $200 in prizes were distributed during the evening and Mrs. Hancocks and Mrs. Ayres presided over the draw. Amongst the winners were the Group Captain, S/L. “A”, Wing Commander Hancocks, and the two gem prizes went to P/O. Coney who won a Bottle and a Cocktail Set.

A packet of ExLax was won by F/Lt. Ross.

* * *

And, in conclusion, we enquire whether “Tubby” Earp has built that road from Estevan to Froude? … If Flight Sergeant Holland ever reads D.R.O.’s …? If Bob Betts can do A.C.P. by remote control from Regina? … Who smacked the geranium at Ron Gee’s house? … Is Dick Richardson really posted to Servicing? … Was Sgt. Blacklock playing in an orchestra at Command …?

STORES GOSSIP

Amidst masses of inventories, vouchers, C.A.Ps., and all the other paraphernalia connected with our job, and faced with the pleasant prospect of five days absence from it all ahead of us, we are attempting to contribute our monthly effort to this month’s “Gopher.”

Our building has recently been caged in and put outside the camp gates. There have been several rumors floating around as to why this has been done, but we can assure you that it wasn’t done to keep you out – we can never hope to do that it seems! We are pleased to observe, however, that with the aid of Station Standing Orders, D.R.Os., our prominent notice board, and umpteen verbal instruction, people are generally getting to know our hours of business.

A year or so ago we were housed temporarily in No. 5 Hangar, trying to post vouchers with one gloved hand and tend a smoking stove with the other – and thinking of home. Today we are permanently settled within our cage, working in comparative comfort (if no one leaves the door open!) – and still thinking of home. Who knows, tomorrow may see our dreams coming true – and pigs might fly!

At the moment we are looking forward, like everyone else, to a well-earned rest, and – curse it! there goes that bell. “Yes, Sir, the Padre’s inventory is ready … No, Sir, there are no clothing parades today … Yes, Sir, the paper work’s almost up to date. … Er, can I have an early chit, Sir?”

Look out, Winnipeg, here I come!

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SPORTS

[Drawing of a man playing basketball]

BOXING

The major sporting event of the month was the first Station Boxing Tournament, held in the Drill Hall on December 15th. A very good evening’s entertainment was enjoyed by a large crowd. Several of the contestants seemed rather short of training, but the standard of boxing was generally high.

The results were as follows:

LAC. Thompson beat LAC. Jones (k.o.).
LAC. Walters beat Cpl. Tate on points.
LAC. Marshall beat AC. Howard on points.
Cpl. Farley beat LAC. Harris in the second round.
LAC. Willis beat AC. Annear on points.
Cpl. Roberts beat LAC. Adams on points.
LAC. Recile beat LAC. Taylor on points.
LAC. Stokes beat AC. Scott on points.

During the interval a mock “pro” bout was fought to a bitter and surprising end. It took the form of a challenge match between “Delayed Action” Hartnell and “Tornado” Robinson. The former, in spite of a flagrant disregard of the training rules regarding smoking (he entered the ring behind an outsize cigar) administered the k.o. with such paralyzing effect that it was not until the arrival of the stretcher that his opponent fell to the floor.

Another boxing tournament is planned for 17th February. There is plenty of time between now and that date for training. There must be many people on the camp who have sufficient knowledge of boxing at least to make a showing. We hope that they will come along, and thereby encourage others to take part. Pilot Officer Ryley, who organized the first tournament, has several assistants, all of whom are eager and willing to instruct and help you in any way they can. Take advantage of their knowledge, and turn up to the practices in the Drill Hall.

BASKETBALL

Most of us are very much beginners at this game, and in order to help us the Weyburn Collegiate team have offered to come up to the camp and show us how. We have already met them once in Weyburn, when the Station was beaten during extra time by 32 points to 26. This is a pretty good effort for our first game, but the result is not the important point. What mattered most was that those who played saw their mistakes, learned something about tactics, particularly the zone defence, which presents a very formidable barrier. The Collegiate team will be visiting the camp shortly to give us another game, and we hope that as many of you as possible will come along to take advantage of this opportunity of seeing the game.

[Drawings]

A drunk in Manitoba
Thought he sang like Tauba
His neighbors talked it oba,
And shot him dead – and soba.

The moral then, is woba
Tide him, drunk or soba,
Who sings like Richard Tauba
And lives in Manitoba.

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THAT CHRISTMAS DINNER

AT YOUR SERVICE

[Photograph of a group of people behind dining tables]

…BUT YOU SHOULD SEE IT AT CHRISTMAS!

[Photograph of rows of dining tables in a decorated canteen]

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[Drawing of a chequered flag] Around the Hangars

H

We wrote the most brilliant notes ever for the December issue, but like so many of our ace pupes on cross-countries, they got lost for no apparent reason. This month, however, we are rather at a loss, as there has been so little flying that the pupes have had little chance to do anything very Prune-like; no ground loops, no prangs, no nothing … Or can it be because we are so efficient?

First let us congratulate Flight Lieutenant Walker on his elevation to the Temple as Examining Officer. However, we also sympathise, as owing to the size of courses he will have to insinuate himself into the back seats of the despised buzz-boxes rather more often than he would wish.

We also extend a welcome to our new Skipper, F/O. Griffiths, who has already made his presence felt by subletting all the awkward jobs to each and every one of his stooges. We haven’t seen F/O. Miller out in the garden with his pick and spade.

Have any flights evolved new formulae for the “hours flown” charts? If so, please give us the gen, as the ever-increasing red sector is demoralising us, and the coffee flag is flying so regularly that our timekeeper hasn’t a chance to use his abundant supply of sharp pencils.

We cannot be accused of lack of keenness, as our skipper is always off to Lang before daylight to examine the weather from all angles – has the two hours I.F. per month anything to do with this? And what else but our enthusiasm can have caused the flare path party to ask for danger money?

G

Since we last wrote, some changes have taken place in the Flight, notably:

P/O. Stevenson’s carrying the whip around for Chief Ledbrook, who is visiting happier hunting grounds.

P/O. Nairn is growing a moustache to confuse his pupils.

P/O. Jones became of age!

And P/O. Gerdes has become a total abstainer since becoming a victim of a savage attack by hordes of pink elephants.

Sergeant Evans was suddenly snatched from us and posted far away, together with Taff Bevan and Snag Allen. Although he Backbone of the Flight has gone, we hide our tears as best we can and carry on. At least we have now two vacant chairs, and can sleep in comparative peace. We take this opportunity of welcoming Sgt. Patton and AC.s Meara and Bellamy, and would like them to know that if things ever become complicated poison can be obtained from Watts at a cost of two cents.

On behalf of the ground crew we wish to thank Mr. Stevenson and the other instructors for kindly remembering them at Christmas, and can assure them that from now on their engines will fire on all cylinders.

LAC. Staines was so good in the Pantomime that we have asked him to put on a floor show in the instructors’ room. Corporal Bryan, with the kind permission of the boys, is doing his part; he has promised to swallow broken glass, followed by two pints of liquid cement.

Doctor Watkinson, having enjoyed a White Christmas, is now ready to resume his advice to those contemplating marriage. All such advice is free, and satisfaction cannot be guaranteed.

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A

Christmas fills the mind of everyone, and those not in the process of being blackmailed are busy blackmailing.

Here are some gems we have picked up whilst passing through Pete’s hangar:

“In only five days I spent $1.50. Expensive places, these farms!”

“I’ll send you a mink coat, several diamond rings, and a box of Kleenex.” (The Kleenex has arrived.)

“Remember the wizard blonde and that brunette, like Lamarr, and that redhead – gosh, that redhead!” Heard three carriages away on the train: “I don’t worry, I’ll be home by April!”

Enough of that! Let’s switch on the microphone concealed in the pupils’ room …

One of our pupils seems very fortunate in his allocation of instructors: it seems he struck a prima donna. When asked what his first experience of a Harvard was like, he replied: “Well, I wouldn’t say they were quiet, but what shook me was their vocal ability. I looked up to ask my instructor where the music came from over the inter-comm. but I decided against it when all I could see in the rear vision mirror was a set of gleaming teeth and a quivering moustache.”

We seem to be blessed with a brilliant pair of financiers amongst the “A” Flight ground crew; rumour has it that Birch and Love can turn a five dollar bill into a hundred quarters. We envy them.

They say our Ledbury is flying high these days. Perhaps those pyjamas have gone to his head.

Our ex-boy, Blondie, seems to have the real Service spirit, always opens his eyes at Reveille, picks up a paper, lights a cigarette, and lies back to reap the benefits of his early morning work. He must enjoy listening to the Australian vernacular, or perhaps he’s only young and wants to learn to swear.

Heard a Certain Sergeant talking about a Kiwi from Aotearoa. Seems this Kiwi took an unholy delight in demonstrating advanced aerobatics to a certain pupil of his who had been partaking of the holiday spirit. But why the blazes turn around and ask with a cynical smile “Did you like that last one?” You have to be polite in war time, more’s the pity.

They tell me the Calgary air is very bracing these days, and is an ideal place for war-weary tourists to regain their lost vitality. But the tourists we saw there the other day, the vitality they discovered didn’t leave them with that Vitamin A look. But is might have been Vitamin E …

It seems a certain Squad Commander was once a Navy man. But we don’t think it’s quite the thing to whistle “Anchors Aweigh” when he calls at 6 a.m. These “wallabies” certainly have queer habits.

We, the “boys,” and the Boss himself would like to take this opportunity of wishing one and all the very best of New Years.

Back to the old grind now? Let’s do that, eh?

F

Amid a fanfare of gosports in harmony, “F” Flight, No. 64 Course, passes from grim reality to colourful memory. When jet-propelled stratocraft are landing at Weyburn airport, senile greasemonkeys will foregather to relate how, back in ’42, they helped to pull the chocks away for the Flight that set up the all-time flying record. U/t riggers of future autogyro limousines will listen in awe to an octogenarian propswinger telling of how they set the night flying record at 41 S.F.T.S. Nor will the tale of E. and F Flights’ joint night-flying figures lose anything in the telling.

Hark ye, pupes of 1943, the times set up by the last of the 1942 courses …. (Deleted by censor).

Such an achievement can only be celebrated in one manner. To the accompaniment of the whirling drone of props in fully fine, a virgin aircraft, unsullied by pupes, was wheeled forth from the immediate reserve. Threefold D.I.s were scrupulously and ceremoniously performed by airmen with not less than two G.C. stripes each. A brave and selfless pilot stood forth to perform the ceremony. Amid much wailing and lamentation he took the p lane forth to Lang and dashed it headlong into the ground. A fitting dedication. The pieces were gathered and used as gremlin charms. (N.B. Courses to follow please note that this ceremony can only be performed by a ginger-headed airman.)

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But though the letters of loved ones flowed into the officers’ mess some days before the Wings Parade, members of the Flight feel they have failed lamentably. Despite all their efforts, P/O. Hopeful still tries to land his kite as though it were fitted with skis. Sergeant Netherlands’ acquaintance with accommodating duty pilots has Improved faster than his flying. P/O. Sedge still insists upon practising aerobatics long after the chequered flag goes up.

Stoogepilots Twister and Deadly were of course beyond hope when they came here, and it would take more than a hurricane to drag W/O. Blessemall from his bed before noon.

We have done our best, but there was too much for one course to do. Training the C.I. to lower the undercart and not the flaps is a job for future courses. To them we hand over the controls, in the earnest hope that they in their turn will leave their instructors a little better than they find them.

And so, with a flourish of chequered flags, the last of the 1942 courses passes on.

X

Its me agane, Joe. They avnt found im yet (Willy Prangit I mene.) The F.C. (see larst munth for wot that menes) cuddent tell yew ware e wos (Willy) on akownt of no wun to releave Im (the F.C.) on the Arty. He opes to ave is tail reddy by nex munths gofer.

December was wot they call Instrukters Paradice they rushed into the krew room shouting Bagzerclamp and Werzertee evry day and after droring lots to se hoo ad to bind the pupes spent the mornin playing poker. Of corse we ad to clene the kites long after every wun ad gorn. It’s the same the ole world over as they say. Cor thares that sarjint agane he binds us rigid orl day. “Yor kite as bin down 2 minits … The egzaminin officer wonts is nashin in arfanour” … “Wossermrrer wiv 72” … “Pushumin pushumout pushumin. “26 mister Ross sez …”

Why didn’t I join the army?

Appy noo yer.

Joe.

C

It is now two months since “C” Flight last contributed to these columns, but in a general glow of benevolence engendered by the prospect of five days buckshee leave, we are prompted to ask a few questions:

Which u/t always takes an unopened packet of English Players with his to Link?

Which instructors will become of age next month? And will they then really be allowed to go up without a pupe as a safety pilot?

If a u/t drops his pencil on a Cross Country, Willie slow roll to recover it?

Who caught the clock on Christmas Eve?

Does No. – always fly with a side panel off?

Is there a future in O.O. or is it just for old times sake?

There are a lot more things we want to know, but the train is due in any time now, so here we go.

Happy New Year, fellows!

E

We must apologise for missing out on last month’s Flight Notes. We hope the “Gopher” sales didn’t drop too badly.

Once more another course of dashing aviators has come and gone. The best of luck and Happy Landings to all of No. 64 Course!

Calling Cpl. Cooper, “D” Flight! Please send over your chief gremlin catcher. Two of your pets are tying knots in our aileron control cables.

Welcome to Cpl. Cocks, who has joined us from Majors. They say he went away at Christmas and came back with a cute bride. Congratulations, Cpl. And Mrs. Cocks, and Best Wishes from the Flight.

Congratulations to P/O. Riby on obtaining his commission.

Before we leave our crew room and go off on our New Yea’s grant, we cast an eye on the Serviceability Board. We are most surprised to see that all our aircraft are serviceable! This would call for investigation at any other time, but we’ve got to run like mad for that train, although it’s bound to be late.

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B

After having disposed of No. 62 Course in the usual manner, we turned, not without a twinge of uneasiness (or was it remorse?) to the purveying of gen to No. 70 Course, who eventually took to the air after waiting nearly a week for the notorious Canadian winter to demonstrate to what lengths it would go in order to keep them on the ground. (“Oh, yes, in Canada there are 360 flying days each year.”)

Meanwhile Sgt. Dakeyne went into retirement, recovering from the mumps, going on sick leave, filling up clearance certificates, pushing out the boat, buying a uniform, and eventually emerged a Pilot Officer, complete with a lofty winter cap. He is now hovering uncertainly between Minneapolis, Weyburn, and Calgary, and is the recipient of our most sincere congratulations for having at last vacated the position of “Joe,” the occupation of which is now undisputed.

“The Boss’s” time is now taken up with trying to think of things to tell Cpl. Lambeth to invent, and with murmuring “What a beautiful chart; not a mark on it!” whereas P/O. Dixon is always as busy as anything, drawing, writing peremptory instructions, and contributing greatly to the growth of grey hair on Sgt. Tomes’ head by putting unserviceable any aeroplane he lays eyes on. Flight Sergeant Plummer gets so disturbed about it that he sometimes puts the other leg up on the table.

We have lost two of the ground crew, LAC. Mark and AC. Huck, due to sudden activity on board the Boat. While we are sorry to see them go, we cannot commiserate with them. We are more than envious.

Hitler has no advantages over Flying Wing Headquarters when it comes to New Orders. They are so prolific that P/O. Knowles takes them up and down the tow-line with him. He says they take his mind off things.

D

Great news! LAC. Birkhead has at last caught The Boat, after sweating on the top line for several months past. When the news was broken to him he sighed and said he didn’t want to go, and they had to escort him round the camp to make sure he got his clearance certificate signed.

We welcome to the Flight Cpl. Thompson. He takes the place of Cpl. Fearon, now thoroughly organised at Moose Jaw, to judge from recent reports.

Since one of our pupes, LAC. Marshall, won his boxing bout in the recent Boxing Tournament LAC. Steele has been fancying his chances as a professional. Thanks to the excellent advice of LAC. Morley, he can now beat up his own shadow.

F/O. Rutledge is getting rather worried over one of his pupes, tall, dark and handsome Romeo Marriott, who is now wandering around with a far-away look in those “come-hither” eyes of his. We wonder who it can be this time …?

The whole Flight Was amazed the other day at the sight of “Flash” Harris, told to deliver a message to F/O. Stephen. As the weather was cold, “Flash” quickened his step almost to running pace. Amid great applause from the lads he charged down the tarmac, past F/Lt. Martin, who was so surprised that he dropped his parachute, and at last reached the brave Sir Galahad of the skies. “Dual only, Sir!” he panted, and then turned around and thundered back into the hangar.

LAC. Horrocks claims the entire credit for this amazing occurrence. And we must agree that his cocoa is a most dangerous brew.

B.J.C.

You know, getting out this magazine is no picnic. If we print light stuff, people say we are silly.

If we don’t, they say we are too serious.

If we clip things from other magazines, we are too lazy to write ourselves.

If we don’t, we are too fond of our own stuff.

If we don’t print contributions, we don’t appreciate real genius.

If we do print them, the magazine is full of junk.

What would you do, chum?

23

[Page break]

WOPPORTUNISM

I have discovered a secret weapon. No, not that sort of Secret Weapon the Ground School instructors tell you is a deadly secret, and no telling tales out of School, yet which every magazine you read makes a point of revealing I full detail. No, my Secret Weapon is the fully aerobatic gopher.

In this game of Commish. Last week my Flight Commander taxied into the kite I was trying to start up. He didn’t noticeably damage it. There I was. And there was he. I knew he couldn’t make it, but he wasn’t going to call out a joe to yank his tail wheel round with a pupe as an audience. I felt a sudden push, and he swung gaily into position. That, he thought, was that.

And it very nearly was. But, my dear Sir, not quite. For there comes a day when the editor of any station magazine goes into a flat spin. That day is known to the initiated as the day of going to press. Pat him on the back and hand him a manuscript right then, and he’ll grab the vilest piece of blackmail as “copy.”

Now, then … Is it Commish? Or do I … ?

So much for the preamble. Did it ever occur to you to apply the gen that drops from the lips of that clan of paragons, the Wireless Ops, to wider spheres of experience? For instance, that preamble text-ending business …? Can’t you just heat those ex-brats beginning “Now, when you’ve been in the Service as long as I have …” Preamble. Just plain preamble. Ultimately you find they’ve about as much service (and a fellow who can find nothing more to boast about than the length of time he has been in the R.A.F. is nearer the lunatic asylum than those fellows who put on skates and “crack the whip” there) – about a much service, I say, as the fellow I met at Grove Court. He had just learned to say “brassed” with the correct slant, and was complaining bitterly of life in the R.A.F. I asked him how long he had been in. “All day!” he replied.

The Walrus and the Carpenter were walking to and fro’;
They binded rigidly to see such quantities of snow.
“If seven erks with seven brooms should sweep for half a year,
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“They’d then please Sergeant Cur?”

“How the heck would I know …
And anyway, who cares,” said Chips, who always was a cantankerous old codger.

THERE [underlined] IS [/underlined] A “FUTURE” IN IT

At the Christmas dinner the Commanding Officer congratulated the Unit on the way in which everyone on the Station had worked together to make the Unit a happy one.

Here at Weyburn we have probably as full a program of recreational, social and entertainment events as any R.A.F. Station, but in most cases all the work is done by a handful of enthusiasts, who give up much more of their time and energy than we should reasonably expect of them.

It is very easy to criticise destructively, but destructive criticism is generally valueless. The only person qualified to engage in constructive criticism is the fellow who is good at that very job himself, or who at least has ideas which would be much more valuable if they were presented before the show or whatever it is which is being put on. There is no place at this Unit for the back seat driver.

Shall we see to it that during this second year of No. 41 each of us finds a job to do in which he really can play his part in promoting the happiness of his fellows. The Bands, the Concert Party, the Dramatic Society, the Male Chorus, and – yes, you guessed it! – this magazine, will be especially glad of your assistance.

The Flying Gopher is published on the 15th of each month by and for the entertainment of the personnel of No. 41 S.F.T.S. (R.A.F.) at Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada. Printed for the Publishers by the Weyburn Review.

24

[Page break]

state it reflects the sky-waves of H/F & M/F

[Underlined] SKIP distance [/underlined]

[Diagram]

No reception between attenuation of ground wave & return to earth of sky wave.

[Deleted Night [/deleted] wave for D/F is ground. Reflection no good. [Diagram]

347. P/O WATSON SELF 1 hr

1 AB 2 3 3m 4567 10 20 22

[Page break]

[Underlined] Frequency Grouping [/underlined]

M/F 1000 K/Cs to 3000 K/Cs

H/F 3000 K/Cs to 30,000 K/Cs

V/HF 30,000 K/Cs + over.

MF long ground wave for Direct communications + DF. [Diagram] Sky wave absorbed by heaviside

HF Shorter ground wave suitable for short distance D.F.

Long Distance on reflected sky wave heaviside layer. [Diagram]

VHF. Short, easily attenuated ground waves.

Sky wave. Due to high frequency penetrates heaviside layer does not return to earth.

[Underlined] Height of aircraft [/underlined]

Min height for D/F is 2000 ft.

[Underlined] Heaviside Layer [/underlined]

A layer of ionised air about 200 miles above earth’s surface.

In the daytime Heavyside layer is not very dense, with the result that it can absorb the sky waves of M/F & H/F At night time the layer descends & contracts & becomes denser. In this

Collection

Citation

41 SFTS Weyburn, “The Flying Gopher January 1943,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 25, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/24330.

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