The Camp Magazine of RAF Wratting Common. This is the first issue and features articles of general interest, poems, sports and activity reports and witty comments about station life.




11 printed sheets


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Being the Camp Magazine of R.A.F. Station, Wratting Common.

(Editors - F/L. Sole and P/O. Whyte).


The price charged is to cover the cost of production only. Any excess will be given to the C.O.'s Benevolent Fund.

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Editorial – "Can you take it? – Page 2
Stolen Goods – Page 2
Foundation Stones, by the C.O. – Pages 3 & 4
Our 'Apply Family – Page 4
Sectional News – Page 5
We'll Live Again (Poem) – Page 5
Wingless Wonders – Page 6
What's On – Page 7
Dark Deeds – Page 8
Things we would like to Know – Page 8
Found in Camp Post Censor Check – Page 9
Poem – Page 10
The Escapist – Page 11
Worth Fighting For – Page 11
Gentlemen You May Smile – Page 12

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The first issue of [italics] Diversion [/italics] is out! Did you help to produce it? The material submitted for publication showed great promise, but there is unfortunately too much apathy and passive interest.

This is your Magazine, and in all seriousness unless you support it, it will fade out before it is under way. It is not enough to leave the work to others and then read our current copy. If you are unable to write anything tell us your ideas and we'll readily express them for you.

A number of ideas and features have been incorporated in this Magazine and we hope they will prove popular but we must have your help with items and suggestions for improvement. We want to increase the interest of our Diversion and make it really representative of all sections of the Camp. Please forgive our stern fatherly lecture, but we do want our Station Magazine to be at least as good as those published by other Stations, don't we?

The Station Commander has contributed to this, our first issue, and the Squadron Commander and other Senior Officers have promised to send us contributions for future editions.

Meanwhile, our thanks are due to all who have helped to produce this effort. Initial diffidence in the submission of material will soon be overcome and we ask you all to let us have anything and everything which you believe to be of interest. Starred items are regular features – please help us to keep them going.

One last word, if you send in something to us and are unable to find it in the next issue – remember – we must maintain a balance of the various types of articles and also – we can't send all our finest goods in one shipment!


[italic] Picturesque Speech and Patter (taken from "Readers Digest" for those who cannot afford the time or money to peruse the original items). [/italic]

"A fine mistry rain – 'feather rain' as we in China say" – Iian Suyin.
"The elms go down main street arm-in-arm" – George Bly Shaw.
"Brown wigwams of corn shocks" – R. H. Wilkinson.
"The rusty light of an autumn moon" – Karl Detzer
"The wind shuffled the crisp leaves and dealt them again" – Allyn L. Acosta.
"The sea like a piece of velvet, brushed the wrong way" – W. S. Maugham.
"I dropped in to drink it over" – Sam Justice.
"Wooden swearing – that's what my mother called it when we banged doors and slammed things" – Mae Wright.
"Machine guns gulping at the belts of bullets" – David Goodis.
"The tanks crawl ahead slowly, then stop and point like bird dogs" – Newsweek.
"Club members slouched in leather chairs as comfortable as potted plants" – Howard Whitman.
“The way she pushed around you’d think she came from a long line of revolving doors” – Walter Winchel.
"The children tumbled about, notching memoranda of their accidents in their knees" – Chas. Dickens.


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Time and again one hears the Royal Air Force referred to as "a young service". Indeed the frequent references to its youth tend to leave on the mind an impression that our weapons and our ways have been hastily evolved under the pressure of the events of the present war.

It is true that our Service has not tradition comparable with those of the Royal Navy and the Army, nor the experience of wars throughout hundreds of years on which to mould our methods. There is for example nothing in Royal Air Force parlance so expressive as that magic phrase "A ship of the line." – nor have we any equivalents of the classical works on the art of war on land and sea, to teach us how to fight our battles.

Eventually we shall have traditions and a proud place in the history books. Of that there is no doubt. In the meantime we have foundation stones, laid by our predecessors and by ourselves – foundation stones on which the whole structure of the Royal Air Force has been erected and has stood the buffets of the fortunes of war.

Let us examine some of those foundations which were the work – sometimes the life work – of our predecessors. Picture a famous fighter aerodrome near London, year 1931. Taking off are three Gloster Gamecocks – surely one of the most delightful little aircraft ever built. They are the last of the single-seat fighters of the Great War style, tiny bi-planes mounting two guns and with controls of the lightness of a feather. These three take off, perform the most complicated and perfectly synchronised aerobactics [sic], form up again and land in formation. The whole time while in formation, even while taxying on the ground, the distance between them has remained so invariably at half-a span that they seem as though linked together by some invisible structure.

That the onlooker has seen a superb display of flying is unquestioned. He has, in fact, seen a practice for the R.A.F. Display at Hendon. What he has not seen is that the pilots were setting a standard in fighter teamwork and co-ordinated flying which would one day result in 185 German aircraft being shot down over Southern England in one tremendous, glorious day of Royal Air Force achievement.

Let us look for our nest foundation stone in the East. A famous Squadron occupies an aerodrome which is, in fact, nothing but a collection of buildings, fenced about with a barbed-wire barricade, on a perfectly featureless piece of yellow desert. To-morrow all the squadrons' Wapiti's – trusty veterans of years of desert flying – are to go "down the Gulf" as a peacetime warning that tribal wars must be kept clear of Imperial Airways landing grounds. A momentous conference is taking place in the Flight-Commander's office where the Flight Sergeant has reported that one of the aircraft must have an engine change.

Soon it will be mid-day and after mid-day the temperature in the tin-roofed hangars will rise to over 125 degrees. Men, if they are to retain their health, will be asleep in their billets, waiting for the cool of the evening before coming to life again in a tolerable temperature. The Flight-Commander sorrowfully resigns himself to the fact that the aircraft will not be ready for the start at crack of dawn to-morrow, and that the Flight will be one aircraft short. The pilot too is disappointed, but resigned, until at three o'clock in the afternoon, obeying a "hunch" he steps out into the shattering, blinding glare and heat and makes his way to the hangars. There, sure enough, the "dead" engine is being taken out and the replacement stands ready for installation. The Squadron fly one short? Not b______ likely!


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So, on this occasion and innumerable others like it, voluntarily and unknowingly, were set the standards of technical serviceability which have carried the Royal Air Force from strength to strength through the long ordeal of strategical bombing which will, in large measure, decide the outcome of the present war.

These are foundation stones – the good solid basis on which our Service has been and is being built. Some day, from these foundations, will arise traditions.

L. J. C.


The dorn broak wunce agane wiv a blindin bang and the zooloos (as our lait guvnor used to call the erks) cood be seen pushing out to the kites alarfing and assinging as thai alwais are in the mornins 'cos thai ave all spent the nite before in the locals.

The mad flight-sarjent wot sum calls Willie (and others ain't so perlite) is screamin and ollering at the top of is vois but the zooloos don't take no notis cos them wot aint got 'angovers are wot thai call "brarsed."

Ours laiter the bloaks wot drives the kites kum along looking all unappy and sorrowful like becors thai are all cheesed off and the wevver is duff any way too.

Evenchooly, very much laiter, all the kites sumhow stagger orf and the fun begins. The alligators – as flite corls 'em – ave a battle wiv the pielot becors they are out to lose im or kill im and thai make desprit attempts by givin im foney corses to steer and dog legs (becors a pielot's bark is wers than is bite). The Bom aimers chime in wiv duff pin points and the wop joins in the gaim wiv ropey W/r gen.

But sum ours laiter thai all get overhead and the pielot, disgusted like, dives at the runway and wiv a blinding bang arrives oam. Then the flite commander sees im and tairs im orf a strip and ses next time a intervoo will follow wiv sumwun who noes the score.

Final, approaching the midnight our, I walks sloely down the rode wiv the mad flite sarjent and noebody speeks a werd until someone parses im in the blackout and ses "Ow are yer Willie," and as ee vanished into the darkness I can eer im mutter in replie – "BRARSED MATE - BRARSED."


Her eyes they were as black as jet,
This charming girl I knew,
I kissed her and her husband came –
Now mine are jet black too!

Roses are blue,
Violets are pink,
Immediately after
The thirteenth drink.

As I have gone through life I've learnt
Some lips were meant to kiss –
Some weren't!


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*SECTIONAL NEWS (or around the Camp in monthly instalments).
A Conducted Tour.

If you, unhappy reader, should ever venture to tour this far flung outpost there is one spot you should visit. I, of course, refer to Technical Wing H.Q. Here you can be sure of a ready welcome, so join me and we will enter the portals of this edifice of knowledge.

After a preliminary call on the W.O., who will greet us cordially, take our fingerprints, tell us to get a haircut and wait outside, we enter one of the imposing array of doors. Here we shall be received with old-world courtesy by the Sergeant and introduced to the Orderly Room. The first impression is usually one of surprise, for contrary to the general rule, and unlike similar institutions in the vicinity, the atmosphere is one of concentrated industry, and we find a small but highly efficient staff dealing with a vast quantity of technical correspondence which emanates from the "master mind" in the inner sanctum (first door on the right as you go in).

It is rumoured that this is the only Orderly Room on the Station in which there is sufficient work for all members of the staff to be employed at the same time, but this is doubtless an exaggeration, for the writer distinctly remembers that on one occasion when he visited an Orderly Room nearby he was greatly shaken to find everyone present busily engaged on those arduous tasks eloquently described by themselves (N.B., not the Daily Express crossword).

After a welcome cup of tea we must regretfully say farewell to this Seat of Learning, observing as we go the attractive roped surround which has been erected to keep away the motley crowd. – (With Apologies).


We'll live again in history as momentous days go down
On the roll of England's battle field for honour and renown;
Eager eyes will glisten as they read of brave deeds done,
Pride rise in every bosom over glory that's been won;
'Tis true there will be moments when we're filled with doubt and fear,
It won't be always good news – the news that we shall hear
In learnng of the actions in which glorious deeds are done
We'll stop and wonder with whose life that victory was won;
Our faith will sway and falter if we think of every loss
As the main deciding factor that we win or lose the toss,
British feet will never falter, British hands will never tire
As they raise the British Standard high, yet higher still and higher,
British hearts will never weaken, British courage never fail,
And even when they're facing death, their souls will never quail;
They'll face each weary hardship for with courage they were born
Knowing well the darkest hour is just before the dawn.


It's a funny world –
If a man gets money he's a grafter,
If he keeps it he's a capitalist,
If he spends it he's a playboy,
If he doesn't get it he's a ne'er-do-well,
If he doesn't try to get it he lacks ambition,
If he gets it without working for it he's a parasite,
And if he accumulates it after a life-time of hard work, he's a sucker.


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Folks eulogize pilot and air navigator.
Bomb aimer and W/op and A.g.
But none care a jot for the cream of the lot
We Gen men the Fitters - 2E.

We absorbed all our culture from Sabre and Vulture,
Our zeal for real gen never shrinks,
There's no mystery for us, in Cyclone or Taurus
In Merlin, Pegusus or Lynx.

Despite their fine titles, we uncover their vitals,
Peer into their inards and find
The source of their wheezes, their coughs and their sneezes,
And why they spit, splutter and grind.

We acknowledge no betters, when we tune carbureters
And adjust contact breakers with care,
We toil with real passion in exemplary fashion
To rejuvenate kites for the air.

And when there's conjection on petrol injection
You'll find us all expert, you'll see,
We're sure Daimler-Benz's cause teutonic frenzies
But not so to Fitters-2E.

We effect to despise every fellow that flies,
All pilots we think are a bore,
If we had our way, they'd have much reduced pay,
As aeroplane driver – Group 4.

But with every due stress we are glad to confess
We are proud of our place in the sun,
We do our full share, so that up in the air
You've the technical edge on the Hun.

The Editor's reply :-

Oily Fitters 2E, greasy, grimy ye be,
But we're proud of the mark of your trade
More skill to your spanners, screwdrivers and hammers
Keep em ticking – we'll all make the grade.


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Sports and Entertainments Page of Past and Coming Events.


To the surprise of many it is to be announced shortly that we have a soccer team – yes – here on the Station. What's more – they're good! But they need your support, and bags of it. So this is to give you the gen, when they are playing and where!

Now you have all read the [indecipherable word] Station sports sheets – well in future all information will be here on this page allotted to us.


Again we are coping with entertainments and on Jan. 13/14th, you'll be able to see Edward G. Robinson in "Double Indemnity, " a film which rates ***. Then on Jan. 17/18th, an American army farce entitled "See here Private Hargrove," you'll either like this film or hate it! I rate it **. Next on Jan. 20/21th [sic], we see Bob Hope in "Thanks for the Memory," you're sure to laugh, so ***. Following this on Jan. 24/25th, we have "The Beautiful Cheat," score ***. On Jan. 27/28th, "Murder in Thornton Square," *** a real thriller – see this one! Lastly, on Jan. 31st, another American Air Force Film for which we give ** – for those who like 'em.


On Tuesday, Jan. 23rd, we have a really first-class show, when th [sic] R.C.A.F. present "W. Debs." If you saw the last Canadian show you'll not miss this one, and if you didn't it was your loss, so don't let this go by.

Now to prove that we are genuinely trying to look after your entertainment (wer'e [sic] big hearted that way!) – for those who like music, The Bomber Command Orchestra will visit us on Thursday, Jan. 25th, and give their performance at 20.00 hrs. in the New Naafi – a really wizard show this!


If it's rhythm you seek
We've a dance once a week
And a really hot band on the job;
There may not be beer
We can't have that there 'ere
But you can't expect more for a bob.

There are girls by the score
No S.P.'s on the door
It's your welfare we have in our heart;
And we put the lights low,
For a short spell, you know,
So get here or below, that's your part.

Dance Band – This is now static and plays at all Station functions. But if you play – or you! – we can always increase the number of players to advantage.

Station Concert Party – The Concert Party are putting on their first show on Jan. 29/30th. Now as this is their first effort and is taking all their spare time, roll up and give them a hand – let's see what they can do.

Dramatic Society – It is proposed to form a Station Dramatic Society. Sgt. Jackson (Waaf.) of the Operations Staff is acting as Secretary and will be glad to hear of any interested Waafs or Airmen.

(Sports & Entertainments Officer)


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One Sunday afternoon some while ago, I was passing down the corridor on the way to my room, when I noticed the door of F/Lt. __________'s room standing ajar. Just as I passed he looked out and said in a quiet, but determined fashion, "I say, old boy, will you do me a favour?" Being well bred, I said, "Certainly, what can I do for you?" He looked me squarely between the eyes and still in a strained voice said, "Would you lock me in my wardrobe, old boy?" "Jehosophat," I thought, "what's this?" Has he, whom we always suspected of eccentricity, but never insanity __________ has he gone batty at last. And then I noticed IT. Being polite, I could no more than glance hastily at IT. Could it be _________, surely not __________ yes, it looked like a slip of __________, but that was impossible. Was this pillar of the Station, this outstanding man among men, this bewiskered Lothario, this love-lorn swain finally going to end it all? Had he finally decided, that since wedded bliss was impossible, single loneliness was unendurable? Being courageous myself, I admire courage in others, so I decided not to attempt to reason with him. Accordingly I stood aside as he bent down, slid into the floor of the wardrobe and covered his legs and body with an old dressing gown. Slowly I shut one door and bolted it down. Then with heavy heart, but resolute mind, I swung the other half in as well. A brief moment I stood to with a hasty prayer for him and mutter an inaudible goodbye. Just as I was about to steal sadly away, a muffled voice shouted, "I say, old boy, would you close the bottom right-hand side a little tighter. If the least bit of light gets in it simply ruins these wretched Black Market films, and I don't want to spoil another spool!"


1. Ooh dat ooh say ooh dat? And is Foo related to Joe?
2. Which Senior Officer lost his arrow at Hastings in 1066?
3. How does one find the aiming point?
4. If you still appreciate income tax jokes? And if you are still thankful for your single state?
5. Should laundry always come back on a Saturday night?
6. What has happened to a certain Orderly Room's duplicating ink? Is it true that a certain L.A.C. is using it as shaving cream?
7. Which erk was heard to remark – "What only 93% for my board? I must have lost 7% for dirty buttons!"
8. And did he check up on K.R.'s to see if "props" could be worn on overalls?
9. Is it true that mention of "swinging a compass" brings on a sudden increase of "swinging the lead" in a certain section?
10. If you have found a nice dispersal spot?
11. If it is true that a certain Scotch "woman-hater" has decided to get his own back on the wedding present racket?
12. If black horses breed pick elephants?
13. And does a certain W/op. send morse with a Welsh accent?
14. If history will record the invasion of Cambridge by U.S. troops?
15. If you have made a contribution to Diversion?
16. If not, why not?


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Dear Ma,

I'm passing the time by just sitting in camp
'Cos I haven't a bob to go out on the ramp.
I'm writing this letter, but haven't a stamp. –
How I love you – Dear Ma.

Dear Ma,
Our rotten old chiefy is on such a bind.
He's got me brassed off with his groans and his grind,
He says I'm a scrounge and the curse of mankind –
How I love him – Dear Ma.

Dear Ma,
There's no flying to-day as the weather is bad,
But do they let us off – oh no, that's where we're had,
We've to clean out a hangar to please the old lad, –
How I love it – Dear Ma.

[inserted] [sketch] [/inserted]

Dear Ma,
Can you give me the gen on my girl friend at home,
I've five others right here, each thinks she's mine alone,
Do you think that she'll wait till this laddie comes home?
How I doubt it – Dear Ma.

Dear Ma,
I'm really afraid this is all for to-day,
It's a heck of a time until our next pay-day,
So I'll borrow a tanner to send this away, –
How I wish for some good luck – Dear Ma.



Arab: A fellow who gets out of bed and takes the sheet with him.
Optimist: A man who marries his secretary, thinking he'll be able to keep dictating to her.
Squaw: A pistol packin' mamma with a rear gunner.
Hula Girl: A swing shift in a grass skirt. –
Gay Nineties: When the men looked gay and the women looked 90 – BERTRAM HALE.
Bachelor: An eligible mass of obstinacy surrounded by suspicion.


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Spring has touched the barren brown
And down
The gentle slope they call a "hill" in Lincolnshire, a mist
Of green is kissed
By early morning sun and mid-day shower
And when the hour
Of neither dark nor light is here, a bird
Is heard

He sits upon a water-tower and sings;
Into the dusk pure silver notes he flings
And all around the quiet camp they fall –
A call
To those who have forgotten lovely things
Like blackbird trills, and stiffly quivering wings.

That such a humble, little-throated bird
Should sit up there,
As if he owned and ruled the very air,
And challenge with a limpid semi-breve,
The voices of the bombers as they leave.


You're sure that you are right,
How fine and strong!
But were you ever just as sure
– and wrong?


"And it wasn't till after I had shot it down that I realised it wasn't a buzz-bomb, it was a comet!"
"The weather was so bad – even the eagles on my buttons were walking!"
"I wouldn't mind volunteering for P.F.F., but this place couldn't spare me!"
"As long as the war lasts till I've had my next leave – I dont [sic] mind!"
"We flew so low our R/G. got 2 telephone numbers and his face covered in lipstick!"



RAF Wratting Common, “Diversion,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 13, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/35969.

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