Interview with Monty Felton

Title

Interview with Monty Felton

Description

Monty grew up in Croydon and became an articled accountant in London before joining the RAF. Training at the Initial Training Wing in Torquay was followed by RAF Bishops Court in Northern Ireland and RAF Kinloss, which had a flight simulation room. He was then posted to RAF Rufforth in Yorkshire where he was introduced to the Halifax four-engined bomber, before going to 10 Squadron at RAF Melbourne. Monty describes his relatively experienced crew, including George Dark as pilot and Eric Barnard as rear gunner, who remained a close friend. He flew 21 trips with George and a further 11 operations with Flight Lieutenant Wood. The first outing was a ‘bullseye’, a flight where they entered Germany and then turned back to mislead the enemy. Briefings would include meteorological forecasts of wind and speed direction at varying heights up to the time of the target. He discusses how navigation was carried out and the use of navigation aids, such as Gee. Monty went on several operations to the Ruhr. He recounts how their aircraft had to divert to an American airbase at Knettishall in Suffolk, which flew B-17s. In another, they lost two engines yet successfully flew back to RAF Melbourne. Monty runs through a typical operations’ day, including the briefings and debriefings. He depicts how they would fly doglegs to confuse the enemy and the navigators would throw out packets of aluminium strips, code named Window. He goes on to describe his off-duty life, including trips to York and ‘Betty’s Bar’ (precursor of Bettys Tearooms) which had a mirror inscribed by aircrew in the basement. There were dances in the De Grey Rooms. Monty was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, which he believes was just because they were an experienced crew. Monty contrasts the American and RAF treatment of Lack of Moral Fibre. After his tour, Monty was sent to a number of RAF stations before being demobbed in 1946. He qualified as a chartered accountant, setting up his own accountancy practice. Monty finishes by discussing his attitude to the war and Bomber Command, and disappointment over the lack of recognition given to it.

Creator

Date

2022-11-14

Temporal Coverage

Language

Type

Format

01:51:16 Audio Recording

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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.

Identifier

AFeltonM221114, PFeltonM2201

Transcription

NM: So, today is the 14th of November. I’m with Monty Felton, DFC in his home in North London. My name is Nigel Moore and I’m going to ask Monty about his service with Bomber Command. So, Monty can you start at the beginning and can you start to tell me when and where you were born and about your childhood and growing up?
MF: I was born on the 6th of November 1923. In fact, it was my ninety ninth birthday on Sunday before last. When I was, I was born in Middlesex Hospital. Not Central Middlesex but Middlesex Hospital which was off Oxford Street in London and as I understand it Winston Churchill was born in the same place. Not that that makes me any more famous but there we are. When I was a young baby we moved to Thornton Heath which is a suburb of Croydon and we lived over the tailor’s shop which my dad had opened. We lived in very modest accommodation. It was an old property. We didn’t have a bathroom and to go to the lavatory one had to go around the back. So as you can see my background was not exactly very exotic. Nevertheless, we coped. I can’t ever remember being short of a meal and I was well looked after. We lived there, I went to school just up the road and then I got a scholarship to Selhurst Grammar School which was in West Croydon. Not too far. When I was at school at Selhurst Grammar this was a fee paying school but they took in scholarship boys and I was one of them. If we go through now to the beginning of the war Selhurst Grammar were evacuated to I suppose what was thought to be a safer area but in fact it was Brighton and Hove which I would have thought was even more vulnerable. We went there in the very first day or two of the war and I went to I think it was Brighton and Hove Grammar School. We shared. They went in the morning, we went in the afternoon or vice versa and I took my what was then matriculation exams which is really the equivalent of today’s GCSE. And having taken the exams I got home and I suppose I must have got home around about March April 1940. I then got a job with a firm of chartered accountants in Doctor’s Commons which was a small turning near the Bank of England and was occupied very largely by firms of solicitors and accountants. Doctor’s Commons doesn’t exist anymore but it does get mentioned two or three times by Dickens in “David Copperfield” and in “Pickwick Papers”. I’m a very keen reader of classics. Particularly Charles Dickens. Where are we now? I got this job at accountants and after being there for a very short time I became articled. That means that you had to serve five years articles because there was no other way that you yourself could sit the exams and become a chartered accountant. The procedure in those days was the firm to whom you were articled charged a premium which was normally about two hundred and fifty guineas. Lord knows what’s the equivalent of that today but it’s a large sum of money. My dad didn’t have two hundred and fifty guineas and as I’ve said before I doubt if he had two hundred and fifty buttons. But the arrangement was made that I would pay off this money over the very small salary that I would earn over the five year period. In fact, it didn’t really happen because after about eighteen months I then joined the RAF and my articles ran on and indeed expired before I left the RAF. So we got a bit of a [laughs] a bit of a bargain in that respect. It’s strange because if somebody starts to work for a firm of chartered accountants today they get a decent salary and they receive tuition. When I joined this firm I remember the man I was articled to was named Horace Brett and he never spent one moment teaching me anything. In the firm there was a chap working there who was two or three years older than me and he was flying about in the room and he was going to become an RAF ace and was very sure of himself. He went off to have an interview. I think in those days the interviews were in I think it was Bush House in Aldwych. He had this interview full of confidence and they turned him down. So either he suggested or I got the bright idea that I’d go for an interview entirely confident that if they’d turned him down they certainly wouldn’t accept me but for some peculiar reason they did. So I continued working for a while and then I was sent off for my medical. I think I went to Catterick and it was a very detailed medical and I again I thought well I’ve never been anywhere, I’ve lived a very protected life and I thought they won’t accept me. I’m not the right material. I’m not a big strong fella. But they did accept me. So after the medical I was then called up and I went for the first two weeks of my RAF career if I can call it such. I went to Lord’s Cricket Ground to be kitted up and then I stayed in a block of flats in Prince Albert Road called Viceroy Court which was a rather swish block of flats but not when we of the RAF went there because they stripped out everything of any value including the carpets. The whole lot. And we slept in not double bunks but three in a bunk. We stayed there for a couple of weeks. We had some corporal chap busying us about but we did learn cleanliness. Not personal cleanliness but cleanliness of keeping the room. If he found a speck of dust we were in trouble. We had our night vision test in the next door block of flats called Bentinck Court, I imagine they both blocks are still there and I think there were sixteen images flashed on to a screen. We sat in a dark room and you had to identify them. They were things like a Maltese Cross, a silhouette of an aeroplane, that sort of thing. I think the pass mark was twelve. I scored eight and I think they, they decided I’d have to sit the exam again which I did and the second time I scored seven but it made not the slightest difference. Everything proceeded as if I was an ex, absolute expert. From the flats in Prince Albert Road let me think. I was then sent to ITW, Initial Training Wing in Torquay and we stayed in the Grand Hotel which was near the station but again it was a posh hotel but was stripped out of anything that mattered. And I think we were in ITW for about three or four months. I can’t remember. And the purpose of ITW was number one to teach us the principles of navigation and secondly to get us really fit. All the time I’m believing that I will never get anywhere near an aeroplane. I won’t go into the detail of navigation because people will already know but in essence if you’re flying an aeroplane the wind direction and the speed of the wind carries the aeroplane in the same way as a tide carries a boat and therefore the navigator has to work out what the pilot should be flying. What track he should be flying so that taking in to account the wind he got correctly from A to B. So we used to sit at ITW in what was really a school room and learn on pencil and paper the calculations and the principles of navigation. We also were made fit. We marched at a very much quicker pace than normal. We went for runs and after a run we ended up in the sea and we were really put through it. So that by the time we completed ITW we were in really good shape and as I’ve mentioned so often from that moment onwards we didn’t have any need to have physical exercise and by the time we got to a bomber squadron our condition was probably infinitely worse than before we ever started. I suppose this is typical of the RAF. When I finished at ITW I was then posted to a airfield at Bishops Court, Northern Ireland which was, I don’t know, eight or ten miles or so from Belfast. It was strange because most chaps, pilots and navigators were sent for training either to Canada or to what was then southern Rhodesia. For some reason or another they sent me and I’m not sure, it might have been one other chap they sent me to Northern Ireland. The result of which of course I finished my training appreciably quicker than those who had gone abroad. At Bishops Court we flew Ansons. Comparatively small two engined aircraft. I’d never flown in an aeroplane before. On my first flight I sat in my navigator’s position and was promptly sick which wasn’t exactly very distinguishing. We flew about a hundred hours or so, part day and part night in Northern Ireland. And I don’t know if it’s really of any interest but on our day off we used to go into Belfast and we used to feed ourselves at a store there which was called I think Robinson Cleaver but I’m not certain. What I do know is we used to go there for lunch and have turkey with all the trimmings and then we went back at the end of the day for supper and had chicken and chips. Northern Ireland went all well at Bishops Court and at the end of the course I passed and became a navigator and instead of being an AC2, Aircraftsman Second Class which was known as the lowest form of animal life I then became a sergeant. Every, not just me, everybody who passed became a sergeant. Interestingly enough when I’d finished they marked my logbook, ‘A well above navigator.’ And in retrospect because navigators were much fewer than pilots everybody who entered the RAF wanted to be a pilot. Many navigators were blokes that didn’t pass as pilots but that didn’t happen to me. So I was a well above average navigator which in retrospect I rather suspect that many others were also well above average navigators. But I was then sergeant. Can I break for a moment?
NM: Of course you may.
MF: I’ll get myself a drink of water.
NM: Of course. No problem at all. You’re doing really well.
[recording paused]
MF: Right. Right. I left Bishops Court and I was posted to an airfield in, at Kinloss in Scotland and there we continued our training on Whitleys which were again old two engine aircraft. They were known as flying coffins because that was the something resembling the shape of the fuselage. We flew again day and night. It was a little more dicey because Scotland’s got a lot of mountains. So hopefully we got through alright. One of the experiences I had at Kinloss is we went in to, I say we, individually went into a room which was a simulation of flying a trip. You sat at a desk. You had all the navigation equipment. You were given a target. There was a noise as if the engines of an aeroplane were working and it was hard work because the only difference from normal is the clock went at twice the speed. So you had to do your best to get cracking. That takes into account Kinloss. From Kinloss I was posted I think to Rufforth in Yorkshire where we were introduced for the first time ever to the Halifax four engined bomber. As I’ve said so often we of the Halifax people have always been a bit cross that the Lancaster is the beginning and the end of everything. The Lancaster. The Halifax was the poor relation. Exactly the same as in Fighter Command. You ask fifty people what aircraft flew in Fighter Command forty nine would say the Spitfire. With a bit of luck one might say the Hurricane and the Hurricane did exactly the same job. At Rufforth we started flying with the Halifax and one of the things that happened was our pilot and the crew went on circuits and bumps. What that was is you flew in, you took off, flew in a wide circle around the airfield, came in to land, bumped the wheels on the runway and then took off again and did this circle trip perhaps three or four times. I, of course, you didn’t need a navigator just to circle the airfield, albeit a wide circle and I never believed in flying if I didn’t need to so I used to stop at home. Stop in the airfield and if it was night I would go to bed. After training at Rufford, Rufforth I think the airfield was called we were then posted to Melbourne which was Number 10. Number 10 Squadron. Melbourne being a little village about eight or ten miles from York. The first thing that happened is you had to build a crew. This meant that for the first time ever because so far I’d only mixed with navigators, for the first time we were in rooms where we met pilots and engineers and wireless operators and bomb aimers. The whole thing. And the plan was that you would see people that you thought that you might like and somebody might like you and you’d get together and before you’ve finished you’ve got a crew. I remember I saw a young chap who was a pilot and I thought well he looks reasonably decent. I said, ‘Have you got a navigator?’ He said, ‘No.’ ‘Right.’ We were together. I think it might have been the next day but I’m not sure whether it was any longer I was called into perhaps the adjutants office or somebody’s office and told that I was flying in the crew of George Dark who was the pilot. I didn’t have any choice. What happened was they built a, in all modestly say a rather special crew. George Dark was a man of about thirty three. A very experienced aviator. Had never been on ops but had been a, had been an instructor and he knew how to fly. My mid-upper gunner and my wireless operator were both starting their second tour. My bomb aimer was a highly educated man from I believe Czechoslovakia. A bit older than me. Perhaps four or five years older. Spoke the most beautiful elegant English. A bit snooty because we were all a bit below his level. My rear gunner trained in Canada and he really became top of his class because he was given a commission straightaway as soon as he’d finished training. He, his name was Eric Barnard. He was my best friend and we remained friends until he died which was perhaps five or six years ago. In fact, he was, when he was I think eighty eight and a half he remarried having been on his own for many years. He remarried and at eighty I was his best man. I don’t suppose that happens all that often. Where are we now? We started off at Melbourne and our first outing was what was called a bullseye and that was a flight as if we were going on a raid. We entered into Germany but then we turned back and came home. The idea being that we would be ahead of the main stream and it was thought we might mislead the Germans as to where the target really was. The main problem a navigator had was the direction of the wind and the speed of the wind because if there was no wind there would be no need for a navigator because you would just, the pilot would just fly where he had to go and that would be the end of it. The, the briefing we had before an operation included the Met, the Met people and they would give us a forecast of what the windspeed and direction would be at varying, varying heights up to the time of the target. So if you were flying to Hanover you would be told what the windspeed and direction was going up to say twenty thousand feet. Now, invariably our first turning point from York was Reading and we flew at say two thousand feet to Reading. It didn’t often happen but very occasionally the forecast wind for Melbourne to Reading wasn’t right so we’d then would wonder what it was going to be like at thirty thousand feet but we struggled. We got there, thank the lord and moreso we got back. With George we did a total of twenty one trips. Everything went pretty well. The only trouble was that after several trips George began to get trouble with his throat and a result of that is sometimes when we ought to have been on a raid we weren’t because he wasn’t fit and it got to the stage sometimes that if we weren’t on a raid other crews would all say, ‘Well, George Dark’s crew are not on. It must be an easy target tonight.’ Eventually after we did twenty one trips George couldn’t continue. So I had to find another pilot. Strangely enough I was on leave and I travelled back on the train from Euston to York and I met a bloke whose name, whose surname was Wood and he was a pilot and wanted a navigator. Thank you very much. I thought that the next day when we got to Melbourne we would have a trip or two for the next two or three days to get used to each other. It didn’t happen like that. The next night we were on ops. With George although the discipline in the air was very strict obviously we still spoke to each other in a friendly way. For example, if I saw the pilot was off course by five degrees I’d say, ‘George, you’re off course. Get back on.’ And if I wanted although it was unusual to speak to my friend Eric who was in the rear bubble, in the rear turret I’d say, ‘Eric, how are you doing?’ ‘Fine.’ With Flight Lieutenant Wood he was a very serious man and believed in following the rules exactly. The result of that was that when I flew with Flight Lieutenant Wood if I wanted him I’d say, ‘Pilot to navigator.’ I beg your pardon. I would say, ‘Navigator to pilot.’ And if he wanted me he would say, ‘Pilot to navigator.’ It was very formal. I keep referring him, referring to him as Flight Lieutenant Wood because although I flew with him on eleven operations I never knew his first name. Very odd. Very odd. Anyway, we finished our tour of thirty two trips and as I’ve said so often by the grace of God I did the tour and never got so much as a scratch.
NM: I think that’s a very compelling story but can I take you back a little bit?
MF: Please.
NM: You obviously became a navigator very very early in your RAF career. How come you got identified as a navigator quite so early as the ITW?
MF: Yeah.
NM: Were you, did you volunteer to be a navigator and say that’s what you wanted or were you selected as a navigator? How, how did you get to be navigator?
MF: Well, it’s only that when I was accepted as a member, as a prospective member of aircrew I chose to be a navigator simply because I thought I’d never be a pilot. I mean I couldn’t drive a car, I only used a bicycle and I was very good at maths at school. So I thought a navigator would be the right position for me although in truth you didn’t need any maths at all to be a navigator because it was all calculation and when you were actually flying a bomber you had navigation aids. You had, the most useful tool was called Gee which was a cathode, a cathode ray tube. A round tube where you would get two signals and if you plotted the signals on your map where the signals crossed was where you were. The only trouble was that the Germans used to send up what was called Grass which was like blades of grass covering the lines on the cathode ray tubes so eventually the Grass was such that you couldn’t pick up the signal and then we got the system where we changed the cathode ray tube, the cathode ray tube into another one and it was sort of all cat and mouse but as I said we got there and we got back.
NM: So what was the dates of your tour? When did you start your first operation through to your thirty second.
MF: Now, this is difficult because I’m not, I’m very good at remembering but I’m not all that terribly good on dates. Let me think [pause] I think I finished the tour shortly after D-Day.
NM: So the summer of ’44.
MF: Yes. Maybe a bit later than that. Because of George’s throat trouble we were on the squadron a lot longer than most crews because most crews who were successful in completing the tour took perhaps four or five months at the most and I think we were on the squadron for probably seven months at least.
NM: Ok. So you started late ’43 then. Your, your tour.
MF: Something like that. As I say it’s difficult to remember dates. I’m good at events but not on dates.
NM: So thirty two operations. You must, were any of those stand out operations? What were your targets and what were the, any particular incidents —
MF: Yes.
NM: You can remember?
MF: Yeah. One of the areas that we went to a few times was the Ruhr. The Ruhr was the heavy industrial area of Germany and there were lots of raids on the Ruhr. I think I went twice to Essen and once to Duisburg and once to Bochum and I also went once to Dortmund. And as I’ve mentioned previously my son who is a very keen Tottenham Hotspur supporter his team some several months ago played the Dortmund team in Germany and he went with a group of people and I think stayed a night or two. Now, I remember saying to him, ‘If you get chatting with any of the locals don’t tell them your dad visited here many many years ago.’ Apart from the Ruhr incidentally going off at a tangent there was a chap, I hope Neil it wasn’t you, I don’t think it would have been. There was a chap appeared on the tv programme “Mastermind” and his specialist subject on which he was answering, answering questions was Bomber Command and he was very very knowledgeable and the questions that he was asked I didn’t know the answers to. But there was one question that he was asked that he didn’t know the answer and I did and that is, ‘What was the name given to the Ruhr area where many raids took place.’ The answer is it was known as Happy Valley. He didn’t know this. Another incident of some concern is that at one time we went on a afternoon raid. We didn’t do many, many daylights but we went on an afternoon raid to somewhere or other, I can’t remember where and when we turned to come home we were told that our airfield at Melbourne was fog bound and we were diverted to an American airfield in Knettishall which was in Suffolk. They flew flying fortresses and they’d never had an RAF bomber there before and they were really very generous to us. They made a fuss of us. I smoked in those days and I had an American navigator attached himself to me and I said, ‘Could you get me a pack of twenty fags?’ Off he went to the PX and came back with a carton of two hundred. Life was very different there. We stayed I think for two nights. The reason was that the Halifax had Bristol Hercules engines and one of our engines engines sounded a bit dodgy so we had to wait for an engineer to come and put it right. For breakfast for example we would have scrambled eggs. Real eggs not the powdered stuff of those days. Scrambled eggs. As much as you liked. Maple syrup. It was all very very nice. In the evening they had a dance there. They had, I think they were called, “String of Pearls Orchestra,” who played all the Glenn Miller stuff and they imported a coach load of young ladies up from London for dancing partners for the American aircrew. But it was very proper because the girls were very clearly escorted and looked after. That was Knettishall. The next real adventure was that we took off one night, again I can’t remember the target I’ve got an idea it might have been Hamburg although we did go to Hamburg on some other occasion. We took off one night and immediately lost an engine. Now, normally if you lost an engine halfway on to, on to the target you’d continue on the basis of press on regardless but you wouldn’t set off on a raid with only three engines. The drill was that you then had to fly out to into the North Sea I think for about seventeen miles and drop your load in to the sea because you couldn’t come back and land with a bomb load. So we did this. We flew out, did our bomb drop, turned around and immediately lost a second engine both engines being on the same side. On the starboard side. Now this was where George distinguished himself because he could fly [emphasis] and I think we started back and I think we began to lose a bit of height but he kept, he kept us going. Now, I then planned a course to take us to Carnaby. Carnaby was an emergency airfield in York, in Yorkshire. There were three. Three emergency airfields. One was Manston and strangely enough this is, Manston is where all the boat people crossing the Channel these days are being put in the first instance. One was in Manston, one was in Woodbridge in Suffolk and one was Carnaby in York. The, these airfields didn’t have bombers. They, I don’t think they had aeroplanes at all but what they did have was very long and very wide runways so that if an aircraft was in trouble it would have a much better chance of landing because the pilot had the space. So I plotted a course. A course to Carnaby and when we were getting near Carnaby and I’ve said before I’m not making this up believe me when we got near to Carnaby George said, ‘I think we’ll go on to Melbourne because I’ve got a dental appointment tomorrow.’ So I then replotted a course from Carnaby to Melbourne. When we got there they could see that we were flying on two engines. We got down. The station ambulance and the station fire engine met us but thank the lord they weren’t needed. I think really that takes me to the end of the first stage of all I want to tell you but you may want to raise something.
NM: Yeah. Did you go further afield than the Ruhr? Did you go to places like Peenemunde or Berlin? Nuremberg.
MF: No. I never went to Berlin, I never went to Nuremberg and I didn’t go to Dresden.
NM: No. You finished before. Long before Dresden hadn’t you? That’s right. So does any one of your operations apart from this one where you came back on two engines does any one of your operations stand out with anti-aircraft fire or fighters or —
MF: Well, I know on one operation the rear gunner saw a night fighter and we did a corkscrew which was a bit horrendous and I think he claimed to have shot down the night fighter but it was never verified. That was a bit shall I say, I can say adventurous at ninety nine years old. It wasn’t adventurous at the time. Anything special? Well, I’ve told you about our supposed landing at Carnaby. I’ve told you about our trip to the flying fortress airfield. No. I don’t think anything very special.
NM: Okay. Can you talk me through a day when operations were on? From the time you got up.
MF: Yes.
NM: Through to the —
MF: Now that I can do. On the squadron you’d wake up about eight o’clock or whatever and go and have some breakfast. And if there was going to be ops that night you knew the first call would come at about ten, 10.30 which is when the crew list went up. So if you were on ops that night you knew about half past ten. So there was then an anxious period until about 1 o’clock when you were waiting to hear what the target was. 1 o’clock you would have some lunch and then you would have your first briefing when they advised you of the target. When they advised you of the height you would fly whether you were flying on the first, second or third wave. And one of the points when you went to a target is you never flew straight there. You flew in doglegs. All designed to confuse the enemy. Also in that connection one of the things that bombers did was to throw out packets of strips of metal like aluminium. Aluminium strips which was called Window and that was indeed, on the Halifax that was the job of the navigator because the navigator was in the nose of the aeroplane. Not right in the nose because the bomb aimer was in the nose. The navigator was sat behind the bomb aimer and there were two little steps up to the main body of the aircraft. On one of the steps there was a flap and if you folded back the flap it was open and that’s where you deposited the packages of Window. That was the navigator’s job. Where was I?
NM: Describing your briefing.
MF: Oh yes. Thank you. You see. I don’t remember as well as I should. Yes. So, you’d have your briefing and then you’d go off and have a meal. The meal was always egg, sausage, bacon, chips. A nice meal. Then you would go back for a further briefing when the Met officer would tell you all about what the windspeed and direction would be. And I think one or two other officers spoke to you, gave you information and then you got dressed. Now, most of the crew, I think all of the crew except me dressed in Bomber Command clothing. That was a very thick fur lined jacket, fur lined boots and so on. The nose of the Halifax was quite warm for some reason. I never put a jacket on. I never put boots on. I was comfortable. The only thing I did have is as I suppose all navigators I used to have some silk gloves because you needed to use your hands in maps, drawing diagrams on maps and so on and if you didn’t have gloves your hands would freeze up. For example, if you were flying and wanted to have a pee there was an Elsan at the end of the aircraft but if you went back to the Elsan and came back again you would need to take a oxygen bottle because once you got to over fifteen thousand feet you needed to have oxygen. If you took the oxygen bottle in your hand by the time you got back the bottle was frozen to your hand and that could have been awful. Oxygen was absolutely necessary because after fifteen thousand feet if you didn’t have oxygen you would eventually die. So yes, you had your briefing and conversely when you’d finished your raid and landed you then had a debriefing. You went into a room. Each crew sat, sat a different table and you were, every member of the crew was asked questions relative to the job they did. So I was asked, ‘What was the wind like?’ ‘What was the target like?’ ‘Did you get to the target?’ All of that sort of stuff. I often remember saying that at one debriefing there was a rather elderly chap sitting next to me who I didn’t take any notice of because you know, you’re tired. You want to get home. You want to get back, have a meal and get to bed. He was saying, asking me all sorts of little questions and I was getting more and more irritable and I eventually remember much to my shame saying to him, ‘Well, if you’re so interested why don’t go on the dot dot dot trip.’ He didn’t say a word but somebody nudged me and they told me that he was a high ranking officer with gold on around his cap who was making a survey or making enquiries and he was very nice. He knew I was tired and he didn’t report me. He didn’t say a single word. And after the debrief, well when you got to the debriefing on the table was cigarettes, tea and rum and then you left the debriefing and went back and had the same meal as you’d had before the trip and then you wanted to get to bed.
NM: Yes, I can imagine. I can imagine. What about off duty? What was the off duty like?
MF: Sorry?
NM: What was the off-duty life like at the station when you weren’t flying operations?
MF: Yes. That’s a very interesting question. Off duty people were very laid back. I mean for example halfway through my tour I met somebody when I was walking about. I was a sergeant. Somebody said to me, ‘You’re now an officer. Go and get yourself measured for an officer’s uniform.’ Just like that. No, whys and wherefors. So I became a pilot officer. Now, it was all very relaxed so that if anybody was to salute you on the squadron you’d have a heart attack because that didn’t happen. So I became an officer. The only difference was I lived in the, I dined in the officer’s mess instead of in the sergeant’s mess. I don’t doubt that the food was exactly the same. As I think several of the crew were given commissions at the same time. The only difference was we were allocated a batwoman, a WAAF batwoman and all she did for us was to make our beds in the morning. But as I’ve said previously my mid-upper gunner was a Welshman. A very well-built robust man, a good looking man and he spoke with, he spoke with a Welsh lilt and Rose, the batwoman I think did rather more than make his bed but there we are.
NM: So did you socialise with the rest of the crew? Did you go to pubs? Dances?
MF: Well no. I socialised with Eric. We used to go, you’ve prompted my memory, we used to go when we were on a night off into York. We’d go on the local bus. The first thing we would normally do is go to have a drink. I wasn’t a drinker. I mean one pint of beer was every bit as much as I could manage but we’d go for a drink at what was called Betty’s Bar. Bettys Bar was crowded with RAF, with bomber people having a drink and in the basement of Betty’s Bar was a very big mirror where aircrew used to scratch their names. Betty’s Bar, after the war became Betty’s Tea Rooms and it became very very fashionable with visitors to York. Particularly Americans. It was an expensive afternoon to have a tea there and people lined up to get in. But the mirror I believe was still there although it was badly cracked and I think there were one or two other branches of Betty’s Tea Rooms. When we were in York there was a building not far from the abbey called the De Grey rooms and on the first floor of De Grey rooms there used to be a little dance. Two or three musicians and local ladies and there was dancing there. I never got very successful because I wasn’t a big handsome fella but nevertheless that was the De Grey rooms. Now, Eric and I, I’m rather going off at a tangent if you don’t mind. Eric and I used to go back to York after we’d both been demobbed. Some years after. We used to go back every year to visit Melbourne and we used to go on to the airfield and there was a caretaker’s building at the entrance and we used to ask him if we could drive on because the main runway was still in being. It was, Melbourne was an experimental farm or something of that sort but we used to drive to the end of the runway and I had a fairly powerful car and we used to drive down, get up to a hundred miles an hour as if we were going to take off. Yes. We used to go, oh when we used to go back to visit York we’d go to Betty’s. We’d go to the, Hole in the Wall which was a well-known pub not far from the De Grey rooms and we’d go to the De Grey rooms which on the second, on the first floor instead of being a dance place was a second hand books, book dealers and we went fairly regularly. I mention incidentally my mid-upper gunner the handsome Welshman after some years he lived a very spectacular life. He ended up as a painter in Paris and he also was in South Africa and he’d been married I think about three times but he got ill and he was ended up in an RAF Benevolent Fund sponsored place in, now what was the name of the place? I can’t remember at the moment. It got quite famous this place of some years ago. It was given, it was given some honour. I can’t remember. But he was in a home there and we used to visit him. Eric and I used to visit him once a year and I used to smuggle a bottle of Scotch in for him. But then in due time he died. He became wheelchair bound and eventually he joined the aircraft in the sky.
NM: So, how did you cope with the strains of operations?
MF: That’s again an interesting question. Basically, you coped because you hadn’t got the nerve to pack up. Now, what happened was as a navigator I had a window which I, a little small window. I don’t know why it was there but it was there and I had to draw a curtain across because you needed an Anglepoise lamp to work and that would show a light. Every trip I made I never ever drew the curtain to see what was happening down below. I never saw the fires. I never saw anything. I thought I’m better off putting my nose down and doing my map work and thank you very much. But to answer your question very seldom a chap found he couldn’t go on and he went what was called LMF. That’s lack of moral fibre. If he went out LMF the authorities treated him very badly. He was stripped of his rank and he became a nonentity. Unlike the Americans who apparently if one of their chaps went LMF they sent him back to the States for psychological treatment and then got him back to the UK for flying again. I didn’t feel better or worse for the whole tour. I gave a little chat to the school of my granddaughter when they were seven year old boys and girls. I only chatted for ten minutes just to give them the flavour and of course I was very careful as to what I said. One little girl said at the end, ‘Were you frightened on your first trip?’ And I said to her, ‘No, my dear. I wasn’t frightened on my first trip. I was frightened on every trip.’ And it’s absolutely true but I didn’t feel any worse or any better. The only time I felt better was when I landed on the last trip.
NM: And you knew it was the last trip. Yeah. So you were awarded the DFC at the end of your tour. Was the, was it a cumulative award or was it for any particular incident?
MF: I think the only reason I got the DFC and two or three others of the crew did as well was simply because we were made a special crew as I mentioned at the, earlier in this discussion. As I said the pilot was a very experienced man. We had two chaps doing their second tour. We did our tour. We got there every time. We got back every time. We did what we were designed to do and I didn’t do anything what one would call particularly brave or heroic or heroic. I just did my job.
NM: So what happened when your tour finished?
MF: Well, we now enter a new area. Let me have a drink of water and I’ll go on.
NM: Of course. Take a break.
MF: How far do you want me to go?
NM: As far as you want.
MF: When my tour finished the RAF really didn’t know what to do with ex-aircrew blokes who’d done their tours. They had to do something with them but excuse me [coughs]
NM: Are you alright to carry on?
MF: Yeah.
NM: Are you sure?
MF: They had to do something but we had no skill other than flying bombers. They sent me to an RAF base in Hereford. I think it would be a good idea if you don’t mind shall we stop and I’ll make a cup of coffee?
NM: Yes. That’s absolutely fine. Absolutely. Are you alright to carry on?
MF: Sorry?
NM: Are you alright to carry on.
MF: Yeah. I will be.
NM: Okay. Alright.
MF: Will you have coffee?
NM: Yes, please if there’s one going. Thank you very much.
MF: Yeah.
NM: Its much appreciated.
MF: I get a bit shaky. My hands are inclined to shake.
NM: You’re doing brilliantly.
MF: Help yourself.
NM: I’ll just grab one of those. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. You’re doing brilliantly to be independent at ninety nine.
MF: Well, [pause] life can be a bit difficult these days because my wife has dementia and she’s not very good. She’s very cheerful at times but we have really bad times too.
NM: Yes.
MF: And I spend, we have a carer comes in for an hour every morning but I don’t know how long we’re going to be able to continue.
NM: I understand. My mother in law’s has got dementia.
MF: Really?
NM: So I know. I know what you’re going through. Yeah.
MF: I say to my kids you know all the problems that we have now will be solved is if I pop off and my wife can go into a nice, a very nice care home. But I don’t plan on popping off any sooner than I need.
NM: Very glad to hear it.
MF: Help yourself please.
NM: I’m fine. I’m fine. Thank you.
[recording paused]
NM: Okay. Yes. So, yes, you were sent to Hereford.
MF: Yes. Hereford was not an airfield. There were no aircraft there but it was an RAF base where they trained accountants. That is accountants to work within the RAF. We went there and I met up there with a, I don’t know a couple of dozen also ex-bomber people and the idea was that they were going to train us all as accountants. What happened is that young men who entered the Air Force direct to be an accountant they were given a commission to pilot officers, went to Hereford for their training. When they got there they were all sprogs. All new. They used to on their first day on the parade ground they got together, fall in, left turn, quick march and that sort of thing. They tried to do the same thing with us ex-bomber people but we didn’t do that sort of thing. I mean we used to turn up if we were sent to parade at 9 o’clock we’d turn up more or less, more or less within time. Some of us had caps on. Some didn’t. Some had ties. Most of us were smoking. I was a heavy smoker. But we came to terms eventually but none of us were interested in this accounting lark so we did our course, six weeks, eight weeks whatever, sat the exams and everyone failed. And as I’ve said one bloke only just failed and that was me. So they offered for me to do another three weeks when I would pass but I declined this offer. So as a punishment they sent me with all the AC2s, AC1s working there, all the chaps that were in trouble they sent me with this lot to pick potatoes. I think this was about September. Well, we went to a farm and the drill was you worked in pairs each holding one corner of a sack and the tractor went and threw up the potatoes and we picked them. I was there for I think four days. I had a marvellous time. The weather was beautiful. We used, you can imagine we didn’t exactly exert ourselves but we used to pick some potatoes and have a rest. Pick a few more. Then the farmer owner used to provide us with hot sweet tea, cheddar cheese, as much as you wanted and crispy bread and we really enjoyed ourselves. After four days they called me off this because they could see we were getting nowhere. So they then sent me to an airfield at Halfpenny Green which is near Wolverhampton. When I got to Halfpenny Green there were I think Ansons there and what happened at Halfpenny Green was that navigators who had trained in Canada and had come back to the UK had to have a course, a sort of acclimatisation or whatever you’d call it. So you used, they used to do sort of cross country journeys, I suppose an hour and a half or thereabouts and they made me do the same. And I was very experienced but nevertheless they all, these blokes all took off on their Ansons and I had too as well. Fortunately, the pilots there were also ex-aircrew chaps so I never took this very seriously. I would say, ‘Look just fly over here and fly over there and then fly back and thank you very much.’ So, we were there for about, oh I don’t know a few to a couple of months. Strangely enough one of the navigators who’d come back from Canada who I became friendly with was a bloke called David Hawkins. After the war I qualified as a chartered accountant which I’ll come to later if if you want me to go that far. He also qualified a year after me. I entered the profession. He went in to industry and he ended up as a main board director at Nat West Bank. But we were very matey and he made big bucks but it made no difference. We were good friends. Unfortunately, towards the end he also became a subject of dementia. What used to happen we used to meet two, every couple of months with our wives for a meal and he would say to me, ‘Monty, you play golf don’t you?’ I’d say, ‘No, Dave.’ I was the only person in the world that called him Dave. I’d say, ‘No, Dave. I play tennis.’ During the course of the dinner he would ask me this at least eight times and it was a shame but you know. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
NM: Indeed. That’s right.
MF: I don’t know what’s led me on to talking about, anyway, we went to Halfpenny Green and I finished a course there and once the course had finished again they didn’t know what to do with me. So they sent me to an airfield in, near Doncaster where there were Oxfords, twin engined Oxfords at Doncaster as I say. And this place was where pilots coming back to the UK from abroad, from probably the Middle East or somewhere like that had to have an acclimatisation. So I saw nobody took any real notice of me because as you will have been told time and again provided you had some papers in your hand and walked about looking busy nobody interfered with you. I appointed myself navigation officer of this arrangement for new pilots. They used to do a fortnight, two weeks training flying these Oxford aircraft around about and I used to set as self-appointed navigation officer I used to set the trip for them and when they went off I used to sit in my office and do whatever I wanted and they all came back. After quite a while the powers that be had said, ‘You’ve got to fly once a week.’ Because these blokes used to fly most days. Most days for a fortnight. So I was required to fly once a week which I didn’t really like very much and when the list came in of the next intake I used to have a look at all the blokes and pick the pilots that I thought was most reliable and I used to do a little trip and that was that. So in due course I finished at Doncaster. We’re now getting to about let me think [pause] we’re getting now to about the end of 1945. Perhaps a bit earlier. Perhaps a bit sooner. Perhaps about September ’45. Something like that. Anyway, I finished at Doncaster and they then sent me on indefinite leave which was fine. I was engaged to my late wife then. Her parents had a big flat in Chiswick. Unfortunately, my mother had died in nineteen, I can remember, in December 1941. I was in the RAF of course and after the war my father packed up and went to live with one of my sisters in Southend. Westcliffe. So I stayed with my girlfriend’s parents and they were very nice to me and I was on indefinite leave which went on for a few months. I then, I think it must have been about December, December ’45. Thereabouts. I was on indefinite leave. I then married my late wife in July ’46. She was, I was twenty, not quite twenty three. My grandchildren are amazed because nobody gets married at that sort of age anymore. My late wife was two days short of twenty one and in those days under twenty one you had to get permission from the bride’s father and I was very very fond of my late wife’s father and I used to tell him I didn’t, ‘I got permission from you. I got permission from you. It was a big mistake.’ But we had fun. Anyway, after a few months, about June ’46 I was summoned to RAF Uxbridge and I was given a job which I didn’t really have a clue about dealing with the paperwork of chaps who were being repatriated to their home, home countries Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and so on. Chaps who had finished their periods and were ready to be demobbed. And what I had to do was to look at their papers and I had a couple of rubber stamps which I had to stamp and I really didn’t have much idea what I was doing and I wasn’t very interested either and I banged the rubber stamps all over the place. Off they went. Everybody was very happy. One thing I must tell you when I was at Uxbridge this would have been about September 1946 they had a dining in night. You may know about dining in nights but it’s an evening when all of us, when I married I got a sleeping out pass. All officers had to stay in for dinner that night. Best blues on, all properly turned out and you all sat down and you had a meal and they had port and you passed the port. Took it from the right hand and passed it to the right hand of the chap sitting on your left. All very formal. When I was there they they said to me I don’t know who, the commanding officers or whatever, I shall be Mr Vice. Which meant that either during the meal or before the meal, I can’t remember the chairman appointed for the night would say, ‘Mr Vice. The King.’ Was it the King in ’46? Yes, it was. ‘Mr Vice, the King.’ And my job was to stand up and say, ‘Gentlemen, the King.’ All stood up and had a drink. I think the reason I had this very auspicious appointment was because I was ex-aircrew and they didn’t have these sort of people at Uxbridge. Anyway, got to December I was demobbed. Blow me I was demobbing all these people at Uxbridge and they sent me up to Padgate to get demobbed which I did. Now, that’s the end of RAF. Whether you want me to continue into my private life thereafter I don’t know.
NM: I would very much like you to please.
MF: Sorry?
NM: I would very much like you to continue.
MF: Oh well, right.
NM: Life after the RAF.
MF: Sorry?
NM: Life after the RAF.
MF: Very good. Up to when?
NM: This morning if you want.
MF: What? [laughs]
NM: Up to this morning if you want.
MF: Oh, deary me. Right. In January ’47 I wasn’t qualified of course although my articles had expired. I got a job with a firm of chartered accountants in Oxford Street, Levy Hyams and Co who you won’t need too much imagination well to come to the conclusion they were a Jewish firm and we’re Jewish as you will have gathered. I worked for them but I had to think in terms of becoming chartered myself and I’d previously before I entered the RAF did a correspondence course. But I couldn’t attune myself to the idea of doing a correspondence course while I, while things had changed so much so after I’d been working at this firm for, I don’t know six months I enrolled at the City of London College which was in Moorgate. And I worked very hard in that period because I worked from nine to five in the office and then I used to grab a sandwich and a coffee, go to the City of London College and sit for lectures between about six and 9 o’clock and this happened Monday to Friday. So I did this and then in November ’48 I sat my exams and became a chartered accountant. Of course, by November ’48 I was married to the lady I mentioned to you earlier and my first son was born, I think in the August of 1948. So I continued working once I’d qualified for the firm in Oxford Street and they then put me into a separate office so I didn’t go out doing any auditing any more but I dealt with tax matters and correspondence and so on. After, I don’t know eighteen months or whatever I thought I’m not doing this. I’m going to set up on my own. So I packed up. When I gave my notice in they said, ‘Oh well, we had intended to ask you to join the firm as a partner.’ But it was too late then. So I started on my own. I was living in Fulham at the time. When I got married we got the top part of a house in Fulham which I rented and I lived there until 1951 and for my sins I became a fan of Fulham Football Club and I still am. God help me. So I set up on my own and we, I bought a three bedroomed semi-detached house in Fulham in 1951 because I lived in the flat. Not in Fulham. I’m misleading you. I bought a three bedroomed semi-detached house in Greenford in 1951 having lived in Fulham for five years from ’46 to ’51 and I set up on my own account. All I had was a card table, a typewriter and I was sort of in business and I had one client. So I had to make a living. So I then started lecturing. Lecturing would-be bank people in bookkeeping and so on. I used to go there a couple of nights a week and earn a few bob. I also got to working a job for a correspondence course marking papers of other people’s that were studying and also I got two jobs doing part time stuff for two other firms of accountants. Strangely enough one of the firms I worked for they had a client of big coffee importers and exporters and I did their audit and when the chap I worked for either died or retired they asked me to take the account over as my own client. And that continued all the way through my career. I also worked for a, I think an unqualified chap who had an office in Kilburn and he had a client who was a solicitor and in due course again the solicitor instructed me and eventually there was a firm of solicitors of, I think four partners and various clerks and I had them as clients until I retired. After a while the solicitors had offices in Half Moon Street on the third floor of a quite old building but it was a prestigious address. Half Moon Street, London W1. Turning off Piccadilly. So I got two rooms on the fourth floor. There was no lift and the lavatory was two and a half floors down and mainly I used to visit clients because I couldn’t expect clients to come up this old building for four floors. But anyway, I progressed and I made a living. I then got I was in Half Moon Street for quite a few years and at one time I got my first car and Dave Hawkins who I mentioned earlier in this discussion came with me and picked up this car. It was a Standard Eight from showrooms in Berkeley Square. I was frightened to drive home and he drove the car home to Greenford for me. Subsequently you could drive to the West End. You could park in Piccadilly. You could park in Half Moon Street but it became less and less available. Eventually I used to drive up and park in Hyde Park because you could park in the perimeter there. But after a while I would find I’d park the car in the morning I couldn’t remember where it was in the evening. But we got by. So I then got offices in Wembley Park. It used to be the Prudential and it was basically a shop with one office behind. I worked there and then I got one partner and we extended out the back. And then I got two more junior partners and we extended. We extended again at the back and I continued to work there until I retired in December 19 [pause] wait a moment in December 2090. That’s right. Thirty two years ago.

[redacted]

I then retired in December 2090 and have done nothing meaningful since apart from amusing myself in my office.
NM: And playing tennis I gather. You mentioned that earlier didn’t you? So how have you occupied yourself during your retirement?
MF: Sorry?
NM: How do you have any hobbies you carried on during your —
MF: Yes, I —
NM: Retirement?
MF: Yes. I can’t remember [pause] twenty five years ago before I retired I started to play tennis and I got very committed to tennis because I found it enormously enjoyable. I was pretty, I’d never played before so I had to learn and I was never what you’d call a good tennis player but I played in clubs and I could hold my own. And I played two or three times a week regularly and I got immense pleasure. I played to win but I’d have a lot of fun and I joined different clubs because one club packed up and another one moved. All sorts of problems. Tennis players generally find over the years they’re moving from one club to another but I played and I had great enjoyment for tennis and I made lots of friends. I stopped playing tennis because I wasn’t in good form and I packed up about [pause] let me think. I went into hospital 2013. About 2010. No, that doesn’t. Yes. About twenty no not twenty I’m losing [pause] about twenty one. I retired at 2190. No. I’m getting a bit confused. I retired in 2090.
NM: 1990.
MF: That’s thirty two years ago.
NM: Yeah. Yeah.
MF: I played tennis. Once I’d started and I stopped playing tennis in twenty two.
NM: 2002.
MF: About twenty two o eight.
NM: Okay. Yeah.
MF: The reason being that I wasn’t in the best of condition and in 2013 I went into a hospital. I went into a hospital and I had some surgery which I got over well but, and I was still very active but I’d packed up tennis. And then about a year after that I had a pacemaker fitted because while I was in hospital as a result of the operation I had a mild heart attack which kept me in hospital much longer than we’d budgeted for and I had a pacemaker fitted when I was ninety. And now in two and a half weeks’ time I’ve got to go into hospital. I think just for the day to have the battery replaced. Like you replaced your battery which I’m not looking forward to but I hope it will be pretty simple.
NM: I’m sure it will be.
MF: And I’m told that there are not a lot of chaps who have a pacemaker fitted at age ninety who go back for a refit.
NM: Good to hear. Good to hear.
MF: And that I think my friend more or less brings you up to date.
NM: I think it does. I think that’s excellent. Just one more question going back to your time in Bomber Command what do you when you look back and reflect on your time in Bomber Command what are your main thoughts?
MF: Well, I can answer that. I never have had a moment’s regret at dropping bombs on Germany. I’m conscious of the bombing that the Germans carried out in the UK especially in London, in Coventry, in Liverpool, in Plymouth. Incessant bombing in London in particular with a lot of, lots of death. I’m very conscious of six million Jews dying in the Holocaust. I’ve spoken often about Dresden. I didn’t bomb Dresden and there was big talk of two hundred thousand people being killed there because the place ended up in a fire storm. It wasn’t but I think it’s conceded there was a heavy death roll of about twenty five thousand. I’ve got no conscience about it at all [pause] And I still haven’t today. I took the view my job was to get the aircraft to the target, to drop the bombs and to get home.
NM: And how do you feel about the way that Bomber Command itself has been perceived since the war?
MF: That again is a very pointed question. When the war finished, no. Let me go back. When it was agreed there would be a raid on Dresden and after the raid lots of people complained. Canon Collins I think the man’s name was. Made a big big fuss. The raid was perfectly justified. The Russians wanted it. Churchill agreed to it. It was a big railway place where armaments were moved and that was the justification of the raid. Afterwards, Churchill washed his hands of Dresden. He didn’t want to know. When Churchill made his victory speech after the war in Germany finished he mentioned all of the branches of the three Services, he never mentioned Bomber Command. When campaign medals were handed out Bomber Command didn’t get one. There was a big campaign, I think in the Daily Express which is not a paper I read trying to encourage the powers that be to award a campaign medal to Bomber Command. It never worked. Ultimately and this is only a handful of years ago Bomber Command were awarded a clasp to their victory medal at exactly the same time as the seamen who were doing the north, the North Sea around, around to the north of Russia to deliver them armaments they were awarded a campaign medal. Not Bomber Command. Lots of people have had plenty to say about Bomber Command but I don’t stand for any of it. When Bomber Harris’ statue was erected in the Strand there was a service for Bomber Command people in the Bomber Command church which was St Clement Danes and the late Queen Mother who was Bomber Command patron attended. I went with my friend Eric. I always tell everybody I was probably the only Jewish chap there and I was sitting behind a pillar and I couldn’t see anything. But it was a good service. We then walked across and there was going to be a reception in the hall of the Law Courts which is more or less where the statue was. Some, I don’t use too many profane words but some group threw red paint on to Harris’ statue. But nevertheless we went into the Law Courts, we had a drink or two and it was very nice. And the one regret and I have this regret to this day when I went in [pause] what’s his name? You see you get as old as me you can’t remember. What was his name? He was married to Sue Ryder.
NM: Leonard Cheshire.
MF: Sorry?
NM: Leonard Cheshire.
MF: Thank you. Thank you very much. I went in and Leonard Cheshire who was ill at that time and he was in a sort of almost bed wheelchair and he was close, as close to me as you are and I very much regret perhaps I was diverted I didn’t have the opportunity to go up to him and pay him my respects. And I’m still sorry about it. But anyway, there we are.
NM: So have you been to see in your old stomping ground at Piccadilly the Bomber Command Memorial on Piccadilly.
MF: Yes. Yes, I have been there. The one in Green Park.
NM: Correct.
MF: And it’s very impressive.
NM: Yeah.
MF: It’s very impressive.
NM: Were you involved at all when it was opened?
MF: No. I haven’t been involved in any particular capacity. Only as an old sod of the, of the Command but nothing else.
NM: Okay. Well, I think that’s an excellent place to finish so —
MF: Oh, well that’s very good.
NM: Monty, can I thank you very much for your time and your memories and your service of course.
MF: Well —
NM: Its much appreciated.
MF: It’s been, it’s been very interesting for me. I never thought I’d keep going this long but as you will have gathered from all of this and gathered from the, my talk at Bentley Priory I, I’m not frightened to talk.
NM: With such clarity as well. Excellent.
MF: Funnily enough, Nigel. I’ll say one more thing.
NM: Of course.
MF: And then I’ll shut up. I was telling somebody only a few days ago, somebody who had been to Bentley Priory I’m able if I’m given notice because Bentley Priory I just didn’t just talk off the cuff I’d spent quite a time preparing things. But then I didn’t need any notice because I knew what I was going to say. I could stand up and talk to two hundred people without batting an eyelid. Conversely, I used to be invited because of clients I used to be invited to functions. Sometimes functions when they had a, perhaps a little cabaret or whatever. A little show. In those days, I don’t think it happens these days masonic dinners. They might have a comedian and they might have four young lady dancers and very often these dancers used to come down, pick on a man take them up to the stage and the man would put a funny hat on or something and dance or whatever. A girl would come up to me, I would be if necessary very rude because I would die rather than go up on to a stage and dance in front of people and yet I can go up and talk. It’s odd isn’t it?
NM: Well, we’re all different aren’t we and that’s —
MF: Yeah.
NM: That’s you.
MF: Well, there you are.
NM: Very good. Excellent. Well, thank you very much again for your time.
MF: No. Not at all. I hope I’ve done you justice.
NM: Well I think you’ve done yourself justice brilliantly.
MF: Lovely.

Collection

Citation

Nigel Moore, “Interview with Monty Felton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 17, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/40605.

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