Interview with Stanley Shaw

Title

Interview with Stanley Shaw

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

2016-01-14

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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.

Format

01:45:54 audio recording

Language

Type

Identifier

AShawS160114

Coverage

Transcription

SC: Now that should be recording so we’ll put that just there.
SS: Lovely.
SC: I’ll stand it up if it will stay up. Yeah. So, we’re doing the interview today with Mr Stanley Shaw at your home address — 212 Waterford Drive, Chaddesden, Derby.
SS: Yes.
SC: I’m Steve Cooke. I’m doing the interview today. Thank you very much for inviting me into your house as well Stanley, to do the interview. I really appreciate it.
SS: Oh. it’s a pleasure. It’s a pleasure. [Peter]
SC: What I wanted to do was start in the early years and just ask you were you born and bred in Derby? And, why you wanted to join the RAF and the ATC?
SS: Yes. I was born at a very early age. 1926. Not a very good year. There was a general strike on.
SC: Oh yeah.
SS: Churchill sent the troops to kill the miners but we lived in a slum in Derby. Two, two room. Two up two down as we used to call it. No hot, no hot water, no gas. Copper, the dolly pegs and all that caper. And, well there was no fat kids running about in them days I can assure you.
SC: Yes.
SS: Because we lived practically on a diet of bread and, bread and jam or bread and dripping. Whatever was handy. But I was a sickly child. The doctor said, ‘If you can raise him till he’s seven he might pull through.’
SC: Gosh.
SS: But I was a regular attender at the Temple House Clinic for sunray treatment. Instead of going to the seaside my dad said Skegness was Russian propaganda. No such place. So, I had that and I wore teen glasses for a bit and an operational twitch and I succumbed. I was alright at school. Loved history. Loved history. And as I went on, about, I think I’d be about five or six Alan Cobham and his Flying Circus came to Derby and my dad had a bike in them days with a basket on the front and he used to take me everywhere. And I can remember, well and truly, going to this place, called it [Sentry?] meadows in Derby and lo and behold these ex-1914/18 aircraft — patched up, fabric jobs. Biplanes. The stunts they performed and you could have a trip up for five shillings.
SC: Wow.
SS: The problem was five shillings was a lot of money in those days.
SC: Yeah.
SS: So, there wasn’t much chance of that. And as I went on through the years I was very interested, very interested in aircraft. Always. That was the days of the Frog Models. You could buy a little one for five shilling in a box and you used to stick the wings on and increase the revs on the handle and it didn’t fly very well but at five bob. Good value for five bob. And took the Modern Wonder. That was another magazine at that time. Very very descriptive on aircraft — the Modern Wonder. And I had an uncle. Now, not many people had cars in those days. You were either a doctor or some exquisite person, a businessman, if you had a car and he had a, the old Flying Standard. And I think it was 1937 he took me and my father up to Hucknall which was the home of the Nottingham, the Nottingham Air Squadron. Defence. And they flew [pause] I just forget. Hawker Hinds. Hawker Hind biplanes. All silver and polished. They were beautiful they were. And then, that was in 1937. That’s, that’s when I saw the first Wellington. This black fabric covered job in the corner. A bit secret at that time. And then in 1938 he took me again and lo and behold we’d got Battles and they were the be all and end all. They could beat any fighter and all that which were a load of twaddle really. But very very interesting that was. And I said then, in 1938/’39 and I left school. I left school in Easter 1940 because my birthday is on January the 10th and in those days if you was born in the new year you didn’t qualify to leave at Christmas so I had to go till Easter.
SC: Yeah.
SS: That was a body blow that was. And I left school on the Friday and I started work on the Monday. No — plenty of jobs around in them days because the war was on and I worked at a garage. One interesting point in the garage when Dunkirk happened we had a complete battalion of squaddies got straight off the boat from Dunkirk. Shipped them up to Spondon village and they hadn’t got a rifle between them.
SC: Right.
SS: They’d got absolutely nothing. They’d come up here by train I should imagine and they had their headquarters in Spondon village and they kept their petrol supply at our garage and it was brown. No chance of knicking any because it was brown in colour [laughs] and I can remember in those days the military could acquire any vehicle. Civilian. They just walked up and say, ‘Thank you very much. That’s ours.’ And this battalion — the despatch rider was only about five foot tall and he’d got this twin, twin cylinder Matchless 1000.
SC: Right.
SS: Well, he used to bring it down to the garage and we used to fill his tank for him and somebody had to kick it started for him because he wasn’t strong enough to kick it. But I remember one morning I was filling a customer’s car and it was a bit misty and I heard this roar and we got, we got an anti-aircraft battery up in the village by this time up. On the rise there. And they’d got a Bofors gun and I heard this bang bang bang. I looked up and there was this German aircraft which is well known. This German aircraft flying which bombed Royce’s that morning.
SC: Gosh.
SS: He flew all the way down from, came in from Hull. Came down here and he bombed. He bombed Royce’s.
SC: Royce’s.
SS: And people say, ‘You didn’t see that did you?’ Well. just one of them things.
SC: Yeah.
SS: You saw it but I know one thing. The traverse of the gun was that low it was nearly knocking the chimney pots off because as it flew —
SC: Gosh.
SS: It was that low.
SC: Yeah.
SS: That they followed it and of course the lower it got the worse the firing got. I saw that and then also while I worked at the garage one day I looked up and there was an aeroplane with black crosses on it. I think it was a Junckers 88 reconnaissance flying, flying over and that was shot down at Lincoln on it’s, on its way back. A Spitfire shot that down. That was, and then Saturday lunchtime. I can remember it was a Saturday lunchtime when I was fourteen and a half and listening, listening to the — well you did listen to the news because it was all war and this chap from the Air Ministry got on and said, ‘We’re going to form a new arm of the air force. Pre-training for the air force because we’ve lost that many, you know, to Dunkirk and in France, the Battle of France, that we’re short. We need recruits urgently and we want them partially trained.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Which was a good deal for the RAF. It took a lot of weight off them. And I thought, right. And it said apply at your local councillor. Well, a councillor. I knew about councillors in them days but didn’t used to bother. Somebody said, ‘Mr Fred West at Borrowash,’ which is where we are. So I jumped on my old Vindec bike, scooters up there, hammers on his door. ‘What do you want?’ I said, ‘I’d like to join the Air Training Corps.’ He said, ‘I’ve not had the papers through yet.’ I was a bit pre you see and then I went to the first, I went to the first, well it wasn’t a parade. It was just the lads that were interested and I can remember it as plain as day. We went up to the Wilmot Arms at Borrowash and there was four of us. There was a chap called Austin Shaw that lived in Spondon. He became a pilot later on. There was a lad called George Wood and the lad called Bancroft and myself. We were the first four to get there and out of our four George Wood was shot down in 1944 on a Lanc. A Lancaster rear gunner and he was shot down and he’s buried in Bergen Op Zoom, Holland. I’ve never had occasion to go. I’ve been to Holland a couple times. I’d love to go and see because he got married and he had a baby and he never saw the baby. He never saw it. Very tragic. And from the four we blossomed. We blossomed. Everybody in Spondon and surrounding wanted to fly. Oh, they all wanted to fly. And we formed 1117 squadron and we got that big, we got that big we formed four flights — A, B, C and D.
SC: Wow.
SS: Which were Spondon, Territory Hill — Chaddesden, the racecourse and Chester Green. All the four flights. In all we were well over two hundred cadets.
SC: Gosh.
SS: Well over. And we had a civilian. He was an engineer at the Celanese at the time and he’d got a big house in Spondon with a big loft. And we had a ground staff. We had aircrew. They were studying navigation and everything appertaining. Morse code and everything and we were, well I was already an apprentice fitter so they made me a corporal because I’d got a bit more knowledge than they had. And, yeah and then came the days of visits to aerodromes. I think I’ve already mentioned about Burnaston. Managed to get a flip. We went to Burnaston for a week. Week’s camp. Roughed it a little bit as we thought and they’d got Tiger Moths and Magisters. Miles Magisters. And they were 16 AFTS Flight Training School. And from there we went to better things. We went to Ashbourne Aerodrome for a week which flew Whitleys and Ansons and Blenheims.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Well we had one officer, Mr Rigby. A rather nice chap. They took him up for a flight. They didn’t tell him where they were going and when he came back he told about these little black puffs of smoke behind the aeroplane. ‘Yes. That was flak, sir. We’ve been across to northern France having a shufty around and come back again.’ Didn’t tell him where he was going. Joy trip it was. Well, Ansons were the name of the game because you trained the pilot, navigator, wireless operator, bombardier all in the same aeroplane. So, we used to fly down to North Wales on the Brecon Beacons dropping these white, little white twenty five pounder bombs.
SC: Yeah.
SS: If you hit anything — I don’t think so. Not very often. And as I say then the last camp I went to was a bomber, it was a proper bomber station at Hixon near Staffordshire. And Wellingtons. That was my first encounter with a Wellington and well, I mean the ATC were smart. I kid you not they were very smart and I was the right marker. So, I ,mean, this was an operational, this was an operational ‘drome with the erks wandering around with their knives and forks dangling on their belt. Dead scruffy because they’d probably been working all night. Caps on at fitter 2 angle. And we were there and we just paraded on the ground [unclear] all these lads used to stand there laughing. Smirking as well. ‘Bloody different when you get in mate.’ And we managed to get a trip there. But you see, OTUs are a bit different. Every OTU operation is a little bit different so the — our officer, he was the last. He was a World War One, First World War pilot and he, he was in charge of us and he said, ‘I’ve got you a trip.’ I thought, well I’m not really bothered really ‘cause I’m not into flying. ‘I’ve managed to get you a trip,’ you see. And it was this Wellington and we went down to the flight. They give you a mask and, you know oxygen bag, helmet and whatnot. Parachute. And we got on the truck that was taking the crew out on this test flight. Just come out the hangar. Apparently it had had a new wing fitted. And there was us sitting there. Our lads. Two lads sitting there, these hardened types sitting there, they said, ‘Have you got a date tonight?’ I don’t know what — ‘Have you got a date tonight?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘You can scrub around that,’ he said, ‘I expect the flaming wings are gonna fall off,’ This is just as we were starting trying. I was sitting there. I don’t want nothing to do with this sort of thing and we went and sat in it. And the lad I was with he’d never been up before. We went up and he started throwing it about and we looked out and there was a Mark I Mustang and we were on a little bit of aircraft fighter affiliation in which case you were, you know, you were swinging it about a bit. And we came, we finished that, came away from there and then, as I say, I volunteered. I did volunteer. I always meant going in and I was still working at Celanese. Apprentice fitter. Which meant I had to break my, I had to break my apprenticeship.
SC: Your apprenticeship.
SS: And well that was it. I mean I told them. I said, ‘I’ve been in the Air Training Corps all this time.’
SC: Yeah.
SS: ‘I don’t want to miss out,’ And — yes, I went from there and at that time we’d moved to Spondon. We lived in Spondon and we had six soldiers billeted with us. If you’d got a three-bedroom house —
SC: Right.
SS: And you got one room to spare you got, you got six squaddies because the British Celanese was a huge depot for armaments, lorries and anything. So all these lads were in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Working down there in civvy billets you see and how my mum used to feed them six I do not know.
SC: Yeah.
SS: ‘Cause they used to come in, you know, barely enough to keep them.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And you’d got to find food to keep them and rationing and what not. Queuing. And they were from all over the country. You know, different places they came from. Different accents. Of course I was about seventeen. Yeah. Seventeen and a half. Seventeen and three quarter. And I got my, I got my papers on the day before Christmas day and they were all, you know, ‘You’ll be alright,’ kind of thing. And yes, I was eighteen. I was eighteen on the one day and I went in the next.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Went in the next. Dad took me down to the station and well, I was, you see it wasn’t as if you had just been plucked out of civvy street like a lot of, a lot of lads were.
SC: Yeah.
SS: I mean these lads that were conscripted. They didn’t have the, they didn’t have the luxury of being pre-trained.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Now, when you, when you, as soon as you got on to Cardington which was a recruiting centre which did all the training and everything you was half qualified you know.
SC: Yeah
SS: I mean, the RAF, you know. Thank God somebody knows what they’re doing.
SC: Yeah.
SS: But the Air Training Corps were prefixed with the numbers 300. So, they looked at your number and 3002545 they knew straight away you were ex, ex-Training Corps and I was pretty fit. I was pretty fit in them days. And on the second day, no, the second week we were there we got this contingent. A contingent of West Indians come. The black lads from West Indies and January was cold.
SC: Right.
SS: I can assure you it was cold and they had a cross-country run. A cross country run. Starting out I think there was a hundred and forty four altogether. We were all in flights. Sections, you know. I think there was about nine flights altogether with about, what? Thirty lads in each. And you’d got an instructor. Corporal and a sergeant. And they had this cross country. Everybody had got to be in it. It didn’t matter if you could run or not. And there were, there’s two big hangars at Cardington where they used to store the airships. R101. Two big hangars and there was a narrow gap, like a road, down there. Well it was a cross country so I set off amongst the pack. Saw these big athletic West Indian lads. I don’t stand a cat in hell’s chance here. And I was running along and saw this chap with “Polytechnic Harriers” written on it. I thought that looks a bit interesting. He’ll be the right lad to follow.
SC: Yeah.
SS: So I get behind and as we ran through these hangars there was a bit of a wind blowing so luckily I was, I’ve tucked in behind and then when we got outside — about two hundred yards — that was the finishing line. So he’d had it when he got to the end of the road and I chuffed in and managed to get first. And this officer type came across — he give me, what was it? He gave me a thirty-shilling postal order.
SC: Wow.
SS: And gave me a leave, a leave pass for the weekend. Never been done before, you see because I mean before until you could march and look decent they didn’t let you out of Cardington.
SC: Yeah.
SS: You know, and I went home. And these soldiers, ‘What are you doing home then? Have they kicked you out already?’ I said, ‘No.’
SC: For coming first
SS: And when I got back again, of course it was steam trains then, you know. And always full.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Always. Derby station. And always this smoke used to hang about. Acrid smoke there was. If you went through a tunnel made sure all the windows were shut.
SC: Yeah.
SS: It used to puther in, and you’re like a —
SC: Yeah.
SS: And you come out the other side. And when I got back they were all lying in their bunks moaning and whatnot and I said, ‘What’s up?’ ‘We’ve had the inoculations today. Oh you know. We’ve had jabs and this that and the other.’ And I thought, well I’ve not had it. They said, ‘No. but you’ll get it tomorrow though.’ Yeah. I enjoyed that cross country running, twenty two mile march with half pack and rifle. And the chap that was in charge, a warrant officer, he was sixty-five odd and he marched at the front.
SC: Wow.
SS: He marched at the front and we went out. Had soup. Hot soup out of the kitchen and the jam butty sandwich and then we marched eleven miles back. We got just outside Bedford, and he said, ‘Now, you buggers, lift your eyes up. Don’t tell these civilians you’re sagging. Get yourself.’ And we did. Looked as if we’d just come up and started the march. But very very good. Did grenade throwing. Rifle. Firing the sten. The — what was it? The Browning machine gun. We fired that.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And very very very interesting that was. It was to get you fit.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Now the food was rough. I would say. The food was adequate. You got the calories and after six weeks training if they’d have said, ‘Stanley, run through that brick wall.’ I would have done. You’re like, you’re like butcher’s dogs you know.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And then that was all finished you see and then we got posted for training so they got me down. They got me down as air frames so, at Halton this was. A beautiful place. It was on the Rothschild estate.
SC: Gosh.
SS: Near Halton.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Buckinghamshire. Nearest village was Wendover which had a Church Army little tea place where you could have a [shine?] and a wad and we did six weeks intensive, intensive, riggers course.
SC: Yeah.
SS: We did the basic. Basic fitting. Now, I’d already been fitting and all this caper.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And they threw a great big piece of steel at you and said, ‘We want you to make something that is square and file it so that fits in there.’ Well, I thought, this is going to take weeks this is. So I looked — I had a look around. It was a big workshop and all the machines was belt driven in them days. A great big grindstone. So I thought — right. So, I sneaks down there with this and of course if you press down hard enough you get a great big shower of sparks.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And have you ever had that notice, feeling, that somebody is standing behind watching you? So, I thought. And it was a sergeant. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘Hello. What are you doing then?’ I said, ‘I’m fetching, I’m fetching some of this metal. I said, ‘There’s a heck of a lot to file off.’ He said, ‘That’s the idea.’ He said, ‘You’ll use a hacksaw and then you’ll file it into shape. No — no grinding mate. Here’s another piece of metal.’ Bigger than that one [laughs] But we did rigging. Very interesting that was. Rigging. But you see we didn’t rig the Tiger Moth which is a biplane which we spent two days with the dihedral boards, angles — this kind of — all the measurements and we couldn’t — it was a degree out. Couldn’t possibly get it. Couldn’t possibly get the dihedral on the wings and we told the instructor, ‘We’ve tried everything.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘You won’t,’ he said. ‘That’s why Brooklands Flying Club threw it out. It was no good.’ They didn’t tell you that before you started. And we went out on the grass airfield. We swung the propeller. That was an art. That was a Tiger Moth and you had to swing a propeller and then they got a clapped-out Spitfire and the idea was that the engine people, we were divided, airframes and engines. The engine people used to sit in the cockpit and airframe bods used to lean across the tail plane at the back. Of course when you revved the Spitfire the natural tendency was to tip up on its nose.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Or belt across the airfield — so — off the brake. So, we all lodged, lodged on the on the, across the tail to hold the tail down so if your cap blew off which it did mostly, about three fields away before you found it. But that was very interesting. And one incident. It was midsummer and we’re talking 1944 now. And no water on the camp. Run out of water so they sent us home. Sent us home for a week but just before we went the Americans were here by this time.
SC: Right.
SS: And the air was full of Forts and Liberators and this Fort come steaming around. Of course, we’d only got a grass airfield at Halton. Come steaming around and lowered his undercarriage. By the way, already on the camp was two hundred WAAFs. By this name of the game the girls were coming in and taking, and taking the place of the blokes. Doing the same job. Mechanics.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And of course they trained in one part. We trained in the other. And this Fort landed and the doors opened and these lads fell out with all their fur lined clobber and the you know, Mae Wests, yellow Mae Wests and smoking cigars. Of course, these girls descended on them. [laughs] I think they survived to go. To take off again. They said they’d lost their way. They’d lost their way. And yeah, we came back off leave and then it was posting time then. Then you were fully trained or thought you were and then life began in earnest then. Life really began. And we formed up outside for the postings and, ‘You go there.’ ‘You go there.’ ‘You go there.’ Oh, by the way does anyone, anyone here like to volunteer for flight engineers. Well, at this time the chop rate was very very high. In some cases you were probably losing two out of four, you know. Which was bad really. So, air crew, they was at a premium. They weren’t training them fast enough but they got these lads overseas in Canada and south so they were beginning to filter through but until then the flight engineer’s course, it was different of course. When they took the four engine bombers over they did away with the second pilot. They had to look after the four engines. They had the flight engineers who used to look after the fuel and the revs and all that caper and the workings of the aircraft and they were the second, more or less the second dickie.
SC: Yeah.
SS: I think they were trained how to fly straight and level. Not to land it.
SC: No.
SS: Not to land the thing. But, ‘Any volunteers?’ And if there was you got a white flash on your cap you know. That was for going on to aircrew. And this chap came up and he said, ‘Right,’ he said, ‘Salvage.’ I said, ‘Eh?’ He said, ‘Salvage.’ I said, ‘Have I spent flaming all this time training in all this and I’m going on salvage?’ He said, ‘Not the salvage you mean.’ He said, ‘You’ll be posted to 54 Maintenance, Repair And Salvage Unit, at Cambridge.’ He said, ‘On Trumpington Road.’ He said, ‘That is where all the stuff is kept. The slings and the cranes and the low loaders. All the tools appertaining,’ he says, and, ‘You’ll be part of a salvage party which, there was nine, there was nine salvage parties and it were your job that if any aircraft crashes whether it American, Free French, RAF, anything — you will go out and you will bring it back. If it’s a CatE1 that’ll be a sweep up. You’ll just take your dustpan out and your brush and that’ll be it. It’s completely scrap.
SC: Gosh.
SS: Or you catch a CatB. Now a CatB has belly flopped or it had a slight landing accident and it was stripped down carefully. Quickly but carefully. And that, in the case of the Lancaster, which was seven low loaders, Queen Mary’s, which was stripped it off in to different parts. All the engines came out on one loader. The wings, the tail, the fins and everything. And then the wings, they took the wings off and they were leant on sideways. So, and some were wide loads, you know. I mean there was no danger of [laughs] they just went through a town and demolished everything that was on the sides. And yes it was quite, quite an interesting job and we got, we were billeted in Jesus College, Cambridge.
SC: Gosh.
SS: Among the graduates you see.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And the poky hole. I don’t know. No wonder them graduates used to hang themselves you know. You used to go up these little winding stairs. All the paintwork was dark green wood or dark brown and we got four metal beds and three biscuits and a couple of blankets and of course next door to the camp. And if you hadn’t got a bicycle, everybody got a bicycle but if you hadn’t got a mortar board and a gown they didn’t take much different but we used to dine in the great dining hall.
SC: Wow.
SS: And we had three long tables and then one across the top. The one on the top the professors and top people sat. And just here we had the officers and the warrant officers for our lot and then we had the bods in the middle. And then on this one we had the undergrads. And we had our own, own mess. Cookery. The WAAFs. We had some lovely meals. The other lads going to theirs coming back with a half a tomato and a lettuce and you know we were fed pretty well. And we were there for quite a time and then we went to Newmarket. Now, Newmarket was a grass ‘drome and it was on the, on the racecourse itself.
SC: Right.
SS: And — but whilst we were at Cambridge, I’ll start there. While we was at Cambridge I think nearly every week we had a crash. Every week. It didn’t matter where they landed. Where they landed. If they landed in water, trees, open land — and just give you a couple of incidents. A couple of incidents. I can’t give you them all because I can remember them all but you’ll be here ‘til [laughs] The first one we went to was a Lancaster at a place called Mepal. Now, that was a Bomber Command station and we went up there and that was the first one I’d been on. And there was a little lad — he was called an ACHGD. That means Aircraft Hand General Duties. So, they put him with us to keep him out the road I think. And this sergeant, a Sergeant Donovan, he was brilliant on the makeup, the weight-up of the human body to counterbalance. He was very good sticking bods up to balance the thing up if we hadn’t got the right tackle. And this Lanc was in the hangar so we were fetching the nose section off and we got the slings, what we thought were the proper ones and when we lifted it it was slightly nose heavy which means we couldn’t lower it down on to the low loader in the right position. So, we said to this little lad, ‘Climb up there and sit in the end there to balance it.’ Well the next thing it dipped and this lad fell out, bust his arm and the sergeant said, very sympathetic, he said, ‘Get off up to the sick station. Sick quarters,’ and this little lad went up and he said he just nose-dived in a Halifax. And they said, ‘Well where was this?’ He said, ‘Well, in the hangar —‘ and of course it wasn’t a Halifax. It was a Lancaster.
SC: A Lancaster.
SS: But he didn’t go out with us again because he’d broken his arm. But that was one of the easy ones but then you started on the really bad ones. We went to a place called Chedburgh which is quite near Newmarket. That was a, that was a Heavy Conversion Unit using the four engine Stirling bomber which the pilot was twenty two foot of the ground before you, before you took off or anything. Of course, the angle and the wing it had a huge undercarriage and what they’d done to get it in the hangar which was, the wingspan was too long to get it in the hangar, they’d taken some off the wings which made it. If you got up to seventeen thousand foot in a Stirling you was very lucky. Very very lucky. They’d no altitude at all. And we went, we went on this one and he said, ‘There’s a Stirling. It’s still on the runway with a canopy missing and then there’s another one just to the side. That’s crashed.’ So, we went, we went up to this place. Chedburgh. And there was the Stirling sitting on the end of runway still on its legs and the canopy had gone. What had happened, it was standing on the runway waiting to take off. The other Stirling — it was night — the other Stirling was coming on and I don’t know what happened but one of his undercarriage wheels which was huge, huge tyre had struck the top of the canopy. Knocked it off. And the pilot who was sitting up there he was, he was on the dashboard. He was a goner. He was on the board. What was left of him.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And it were hot. It was quite warm and of course the first thing they did was climbed up in to the cockpit. You got that for a start. I was only eighteen at the time so, you know, it was just a little bit unnerving. And we got that and then we had to strip the other Stirling down but they towed that one into a hangar, stuck a new canopy on it and that was ready for off again.
SC: Gosh.
SS: The worst one we did was a Liberator. This was in 1945. A Liberator. In those days, in 1945, Norfolk, Suffolk and all the eastern counties the ground and the air throbbed because you’d got a thousand American four engine bombers climbing out because they’d got to get altitude and they had these special planes called Judas. They called them Judas because they went back to the ‘drome. The other ones didn’t. It had all coloured in stripes and balls and flash colours and they used to fly alongside the other aircraft firing verey cartridges like a shepherd and his sheep getting them all into form because they’d all got to be stacked in the correct formation which was better to defend theirselves before they set out. And you could just imagine these going around and around. The air was alive.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And we got this message. We went to Ely. Just outside Ely. We took a road from Ely to Downham Market. The main road. A place called Black Horse Fen. Well in the fen district, the soil, you could thrust your arm and up to your elbow — it was black. Beautiful black soil. Right for agriculture. And we went to pick up a Liberator and the first thing — when we got there it was still smoking. Still smoke coming out of it and dogs running about. That was a bad sign. And here was the back end. The fin and rudder and the rear turret and the two waist gunners.
SC: Yeah.
SS: It had gone like that. It had blown up at sixteen thousand foot with the one — I don’t, they don’t know what happened but I think American crews tended to get, have a fag you know.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And the Liberator, as soon as you climbed you could smell hundred octane petrol and this thing, this thing had blown up with a full bomb load on board.
SC: Gosh.
SS: And it had spread about three miles. You’d got this tail end here with the two waist gunners in. You’d got like a depression in the ground. That was where one of them had got blown out and his chute hadn’t opened. So that was how he landed. The nose section — there was five in there. That had really gone in. That’s what was burning and nothing smells worse than a burning aircraft. The wing was missing. The four engines — they might, you might have placed them like that, in four. And the bombs were underneath the engines.
SC: Wow.
SS: So, they called the bomb disposal squad. They came out. They said, ‘Well we couldn’t actually get the bombs until you get the engines out.’ So, oh. Well in them days you didn’t have the, we had cranes, the Coles crane. And then there was one with a long, long gib what — didn’t use, didn’t use that so very often. But if the ground was soft you was bogged down pretty well and had to use the steel mattings and of course you had to get the engines up first. ‘Don’t touch that’ [laughs] ‘Be careful lad,’ [laughs] And we didn’t get the nose out at all. We just filled it back in because I mean it was sitting there and what looked like a flying suit. Pulled this arm. Arm you see. So we just covered it in. But the farmers were, and the Air Ministry were very very careful about the ammunition because Americans used a .5 which is rather bigger than a 303.
SC: Yeah.
SS: I mean the 303s were like peashooters and these .5s they’d huge belts with them. I mean some of the Fortresses carried thirteen guns. Thirteen .5s. That is a lot of ammunition. Well, I don’t think the Liberator carried quite as much as that but you see when an aircraft crashed everything went all ways and it was nothing for a farmer with his tractor —
SC: Yeah.
SS: To run over a belt of .5s and frighten himself to death.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Of course there used to, used to be explosive. What’s them? Tracer bullets and all the lot. So, you made sure that it was pretty clear and for some reason there’s a farmer. He said, ‘There’s a wing.’ There’s a wing gone in his farmyard. So, we thought, well it must be this one. Well the Liberator’s a Davis wing which is about a hundred and four wing span I think. Very, very thin camber. Not as good as a Fortress in formation because they tend to wander around a little bit. But we went there and he said, ‘Since this thing crashed,’ he says, ‘My fowls have stopped laying.’ He said, ‘No eggs and they’ve stopped laying.’ So, we thought, ‘Oh it must have been the shock so,’ and he said, ‘I’ve got a wireless set as well.’ So, we thought — wireless set. Good. We’ve got one for the truck. We haven’t got one for the truck and he brings it out and it’s a big yellow box like that with a handle on it and he said, ‘And you might as well have this as well.’ It was like a big cardboard tube. And it was a emergency transmitter. When they landed in a dinghy they used to crank the handle and they needed a kite with the aerial in this to — there was a great big aluminium and silk kite. Six foot.
SC: Wow.
SS: So, moi had that. I had that. A trophy. And of course, this thing was no good. It could only send out a signal. That’s all.
SC: Ah.
SS: And anyway, with the [unclear] crane with the big jib we got to, we managed to get it out into the yard and the wing, unless you’ve got the correct lifting tackle it balanced but if there’s some knocked off the end it unbalanced it. Well, as we lifted this wing the flaps lowered and we was knee deep in eggs. These fowls had got inside the flaps laying their eggs. They’d not gone under the hedge. And it was caps and what’s the name, jackets at the ready. I think we lived on eggs for a month after that. But you see that, that was one of the lighter sides and one of the dead sides. Went to a place just outside Cambridge called Bourn. Bourn. That was a PFF station. Pathfinder unit. Mosquitoes. And they called us out to this one. They said, ‘It’s crashed in a field adjacent to the airfield.’ So, we buggered off there. On the way up there we gazed at the side of the road and there was a Catalina. Now a Catalina in anybody’s language is a flying boat.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Well I don’t know what had had happened to this thing but it was perched up on the grass there on a bit of a hill. So of course we had to stop and have a look at it. See what was happening. And then we went on to Bourn and went into this field and there was two big gouges right up the field. Right up the field. Like two big [unclear] and as you walked up —one engine, half a wing, another engine, well, bits practically until we got to the end and there was the cockpit and there was the cockpit floor. No canopy. The control column. That was it. You wouldn’t stand a dog’s chance in that. No way. And of course partial amount of balsawood the Mosquito. All the bomb bay — it was balsa planks. Ideal if you were an aero modeller. Beautiful. But the rest were plywood, you see and spruce. And we thought, right. Well we started work and looked down the field and this couple, one holding on to the other’s shoulders come crawling up and jeez. That was the crew. That was the crew. And they’d belly flopped it and ran it. And the reason the navigator had jiggered his ankle - couldn’t get out what was left of the cockpit fast enough and he’d jiggered his ankle up. But —
SC: But they’d survived.
SS: That was them. That was them. Oh dear. You know, some, some were lucky. Some were not. We went, we were called out to Tempsford. Now Tempsford is near Duxford and it was a squadron for special duties. Dropping spies and arms to the, you know, the Maquis and whatnot. They had numerous kind of aircraft. They’d Hudsons, Stirlings. They operated Halifaxes and — a real special job. Nobody said anything about Tempsford. And one of their aircraft had crashed. The tail had broke off and the tail, the fin and the rudder — where the entrance door was, looked as if the ring of rivets around there had sheared off so the tail and the turret had fallen into a school playground.
SC: Oh gosh.
SS: With the, of course, the rear gunner was still in it and then the other thing was a right mess. It was a right mess. And it crashed into somebody’s garden and the family that lived there they’d lost their son over Germany a couple of weeks before. So they, they got it on their doorstep. But that were, some, but I want to finish up on a lighter note. A lighter note. New Year’s Day. I can remember it. The day before New Year’s Day 1944/45 we were sitting and it was cold. And it had snowed. The weather was a bit naughty. And they came in. We were squatting around the stove and they said, ‘There’s a Mitchell at Swanton Morley they want stripped for spares.’ Lovely. So off we go. Pile all the stuff in the wagon. Off to Swanton Morley. Not a long run from Newmarket and we gets there. Signed in at the station. We’ve come for so and so — that’s the number of the aircraft. It’s over there. Anyway, we gets over there and it’s on the airfield, and this thing — it glinted. It was sun. It was bright snow. Piled high on either side and this aircraft glinting in the sun. You needed sunglasses to get near it. Is it? Is it? That’s the number.
SC: Yeah.
SS: That’s the number. ‘Right lads. Axes out. Shear the brake line.’ Out of the blue this little jeep come howling around the peri track at four thousand mile an hour. Like this. ‘Whoa. Whoa.’ And this officer got out. He said, ‘This aircraft is flying on operations in thirty minutes time.’ And our sergeant looked at him. He said, ‘This aircraft will never fly again.’ [laughs]. So, they’d got the wrong number. Their fault not ours.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And they said, our sergeant said, ‘Well where’s ours then?’ He said, ‘Well down this slope in to the hangar,’ and in the early days the Americans used to paint their aircraft olive green and this one had got a 75 millimetre canon stuffed up the nose and the big rack to put the shells in because they used to go ship busting from there. Used to fly low level and these 75 mill — the shell would go straight through a ship.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And that was its job. And there it was. All forlorn. Battle weary. Like this. And , well, we had to get this thing off the airfield, down this slope, into the hangar. Well there was about three foot of snow on either side and the slope down was like a ski run.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Just like [unclear] like this. Ice. So, we thought how are we going to do this. Well of course the brakes had gone. We’d had to chop the brake lines. So, how are we going to do? Well it was a three wheeler, no steering job. Well there was a hole through the wheel. I thought well if we get a crowbar and stick through that hole we should be able to steer it and get the party truck with two ropes around and they said, ‘We’ll try it that way.’ We tried towing it down first and that didn’t work very well. So, they said right, we’ll put the truck behind and we’ll go slowly and let it go. And it didn’t work. And I was on the front, on the crowbar and I thought, and I looked and this wheel — and this wheel — we’d lost control and it just swung around and lodged itself on the top of the snowdrift. But I mean it was a laugh that was. A sheer laugh. But I’ll never forget that officer’s face when he said, ‘It’ll never fly again.’ And well that was, and then the war came to pretty near the end and they said, ‘Right. What we’re going to do— we’re going up to Brize Norton. All the German aircraft are up there that we captured — and they’re going to have to take them down to Hyde Park, London. There’s also a Lancaster at Kemble near Gloucester and this Lancaster has got to be stripped down. You use the low loaders and you’re going to take it to Hyde Park and assemble it. Take it from Hyde park to Chelmsford. Colchester.’ Army. A hundred percent army. ‘And put it up in a kid’s playground and then you’re going to take it to Chelmsford.’ This is to show the public —
SC: Yeah.
SS: What did the damage. Now, the aircraft were complete. What they were at Kemble. I’ve got a picture. They lined up. They’d flown from Manchester. Built, built on contract, finished off, short hop to Kemble.
SC: Yeah.
SS: For scrap.
SC: Yeah.
SS: All that much money. So, they selected this aircraft. I’ve got a picture of it there, and took it down to Hyde Park. And we stayed at the Grand Central Hotel. It was a transit camp. Bare boards. Four steel beds and three biscuits and a blanket. That was it. And we put this aircraft up along with the Messerschmitt 109. I’ve actually sat in a Heinkel 163 rocket plane.
SC: Gosh.
SS: The Arado. Tell my lads, I tell my lads and, ‘You were a lucky bugger.’ And I said, ‘Well you were just there at the time.’
SC: Yeah
SS: We were assembling this Lancaster and this chap came up and he said, ‘Are you alright lads?’ We said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘What do you do for entertainment?’ Course RAF weren’t paid. Ground crew. They weren’t paid. I mean two, what was it? Two pound. Two pound a fortnight. You know, you couldn’t make headway with that and he said, he said, ‘Would you — would you care for two tickets?’ He said, ‘The Marble Arch Pavilion,’ he said, ‘Showing Henry V. The premier of Henry V.’ He said, ‘Would you like to go along this afternoon. Free ice cream when you got there.’ And that was nice.
SC: That’s —
SS: He just came and said, ‘Would you like to go?’
SC: Yeah.
SS: So we saw Henry V.
SC: Wow.
SS: And that — that was smashing. Now, we took it to Colchester. Army. And we had our meals at the army barracks. We were the only, they left two of us behind to look and of course being keen on aircraft we showed hundreds of visitors through, you know. Letting them, letting the kids sit in the gun turrets and explained everything to them and we used to go for meals and the cooks used to sit, you know, in the morning.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Used to go for breakfast and we had these great big trays of bacon that had been soaking for about an hour, you know. ‘Help yourself lads.’ Oh, it was Shangri La that was.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Shangri La. And then we took it to — from Colchester, this kiddies playground. It had got about a twelve foot fence all the way around and this little old lady came up. She said, ‘He must have been a very clever pilot.’ We said, ‘Well, why’s that?’ ‘To land it in here.’ We were just putting it together. And then we went to Chelmsford and we were putting it up on some waste ground outside a pub. Ideal. Ideal. We’d just got it there a couple of days and this low loader pulled in from Newmarket. He said, ‘What’s your last three.’ I said, ‘545.’ ‘Right.’ he said, ‘They want you back at Newmarket. You’ve been posted.’ Oh very nice indeed. So, I went back and give me leave. And I went to Heaton Park, Manchester. Cold again. Freezing. January. December this one. It was freezing. Everywhere was froze up. There was no water. This was on the camp. No water. And we lived in Nissen huts. There was no thermal. Nothing. Just got a, just got a stove in the middle with a pipe up and we couldn’t burn coal because there was no coal to burn. The coal was outside behind a barbed wire fence and we were guarding it, guarding the coal, couldn’t use it. To stop the civilians from pinching it. And came home on leave and went back again and we were posted Medlock. The Medlock route to Egypt. Medlock. That means across France by locomotive.
SC: Ah.
SS: Yes. So, 4 o’clock in the morning we caught a train from Manchester down to Newhaven. We spent the night at Newhaven. We caught the tide the next morning. Early tide. On the Empire Daffodil which was a paddle steamer which had taken part in the Dunkirk evacuation.
SC: Wow.
SS: Across to Dunkirk — Dieppe. Dieppe had had a rough time and we went to this transit camp that had got duck boards over the mud to stop you from dropping off and disappearing. Got these French ladies with the fur coats and what not dishing out the food. Another bloke giving you French currency and you were going across France in thirty six hours from Dieppe, from Dieppe via Paris. On the outskirts. French rolling stock. The RAF had used it as a target for nearly four years.
SC: Yeah.
SS: There was holes in it. I think it was air conditioned. They call it air conditioning. Steam engine locomotive and we went from Dieppe, Bram, Neuvy-Pailloux, Limoges, and the scenery. I mean it was early morning. It was January. Early morning. Beautiful. And I remember there was no corridor on the train. No corridor. They were all departments. Eight bods in a compartment. Wooden seats. And the only place to sleep — you know the racks you used to have with the nets.
SC: Oh yeah. I know. Yeah.
SS: We took it in turns to have a kip in there. Couldn’t sleep on wooden seats. And they said, ‘You’ll have a hot meal at Bram.’ Oh, we thought, well so, we got off. I think we had a jam buttie. Got back on the train. Didn’t get no hot meal. Unless well, how are they going to do it or are they going to go along the roof and tip it along. Never got a hot meal. Landed at Toulon. Southern France. Thirty six hours it took. Right the way through France. And the first thing we saw in the harbour was the French pride — The Richelieu battleship with the two guns poked out the water. Scuttled.
SC: Gosh.
SS: That was it. Two ladies in bikinis ‘cause it was on the Riviera, you see. Two ladies from the Salvation Army with buns and a cuppa. Salvation Army. I always give to them. They’re the — anywhere — they’re there. Then we thought — right, a bit of a rest now. No. ‘Your ship is out there.’ The SS Orbita. The SS Orbita. So, we went across there and they give you a ticket. You got your kit bag and all your belongings and you started going down and down and down. [EC two deck. EC two?] deck. Where’s that? Two decks lower than the rats [laughs] Three days across to, across to Portshead through Corsica, Sardinia and then through the straits between Sicily and Italy. The Palermo. Well the Luftwaffe had bombed the hell out of us from that base.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Down to the happy land of egg white. Egypt.
SC: Yeah. Yeah.
SS: Transit camp for fourteen days at Kasfareet. We travelled from Portshead down to Kasfareet. Kasfareet on the Canal Zone by Egyptian State Railway with wooden shutters. No glass. Wooden shutters. And we said, ‘Well, what have you got wooden shutters for?’ Well, you’ll see. Well the first native village we passed we were bombarded with brick ends stands. They didn’t like us then you know.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Welcome back filthy British. We stayed at the transit camp at Kasfareet and then back up to Portshead and caught the SS Cape Town Castle. Oh luxury. Luxury. They had a band on board. They’d got all these blokes going back to India. They’d been to Blighty on leave and they were going back. All brown. All nut brown. There was us. Khaki drill. Just left you two inches white to get a tan. Red eagles. And we got on there. And on the Orbita we’d had hammocks. Forty four to a mess deck and they were that close when you turned over everybody like sardines. Like that.
SC: Yeah.
SS: The trouble was if you didn’t know how to tie a knot during the night many a crash where the bloody hammock had collapsed and bods was on the floor. This was lowered down. You know. Lowered down. Very nice. But we was only on for three days down the Red Sea and I think they must have taken wind that, ‘Where are you going lad?’ ‘Aden.’ They took great pity on us. Great pity. And we landed at Aden and it was about a hundred. Over a hundred degrees. The humidity. Shocking. And we all piled there on the quayside with our bags and it was amazing. The water. They used to bring fresh water up you know. And these Arabs would sell you anything.
SC: Yeah.
SS: They would sell you anything. And one came up and they also have a good shufty around to see if anybody of any importance, ‘Would you like to buy a diamond?’ And they’d bring this diamond out. You’ve never seen anything like it. Stolen from Farouk’s palace last night. And you’d say, ‘Does it cut glass?’ And it had a porthole. It had a porthole. [unclear] It hadn’t cut anything. Like this. But they’d sell you anything. The finest, the finest salesmen in the world. Arabs. When we got on the quayside boiling, sweltering, this chap came out. A warrant officer. Oh dear. He looked as if he’d just fell out of a [unclear] window. The creases in his trousers. Beautiful. Nut brown. Bright blue eyes. Been out in Aden for two years. Dark. He was mahogany. Got desert boots on. They weren’t issued, you know. They weren’t. Desert boots were never issued but I think you could wear, if you were officers you could wear them. He said, ‘Right, chaps. You’re now in Aden. British protectorate of the colony,’ he said, ‘And as you know. Ladies.’ He said, ‘Well Khormaksar,’ he said, ‘Is the RAF’s camp. He said, ‘Just outside — a couple of miles,’ he said, ‘There’s a native village. And he said, ‘And there are girl’s in there,’ he said, ‘Well, it’s completely out of bounds.’ He said, ‘That place has been shut since Lady Astor. Lady Astor’s daughter had problems with somebody and she shut it.’ Oh. He said , ‘And in any case,’ he said, ‘The girls here,’ he says, ‘They’ve all got disease,’ he said, ‘There’s eighty percent, eighty percent got gonorrhoea.’ Oh. He said. ‘And there’s fifteen percent got syphilis.’ The lad’s said five percent, that’s five percent. And he said, ‘The other five percent have got both,’ [laughs] so that was it.
SC: Yeah.
SS: That was it as regards and if you wanted a monk’s existence that was, that was the place but from there we settled in.
[Phone ringing]
SS: There’s your phone.
SC: Oh sorry. Let me just turn that off.
[Recording paused]
SC: Yeah. That’s going again.
SS: Oh yes. After a week settling in, now, Aden had got barrack blocks. Beautiful. Lemon tiles. [unclear?]. That was the air conditioning and they said, ‘Right. You’ll be attached to the communication flight.’ I thought very jolly that. They’d got Wellingtons. They’d been converted from bombers into passenger carrying aircraft. That’s a, that’s a tale that is. And we’ve also got two Albacore’s with the wings. Airborne. I think the navy dropped them off because they didn’t want them. They stand very high. And so we reported, reported to the communication flight. He said, ‘Right. Rigger.’ Well the Wellington is a rigger’s nightmare because it’s covered in fabric and fabric in a hot climate comes off regularly. Regularly. And we’d got six Wellingtons and another one was the AOCs aircraft. Air Officer Commanding. Very posh. MF455 and mine was HC968. Well, I think the lads that we took over from had been there two years And they actually had a march in Aden. Never been done before in the air force. It wasn’t a riot it was a march past the governor’s office because they’d been there two years. Now, two years in a climate like that is a bit naughty.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Used to lie in bed staring into space. They’d got the ten mile stare. You know, like this. You could tell how long they’d been there the way they looked. Of course they thought the world of us, you know where we could go down and take them and they took us down and just gave us a quick look around. ‘Right. It’s yours.’ And they said, ‘Well, yeah,’ they said, ‘But it’s your aeroplane. You’ll look after that. Where that goes you go.’ I said, ‘Yeah well,’ I said, ‘I’m not aircrew actually.’ ‘Well if you look in your paperwork you agree to sign on any of his majesty’s aircraft or boat.’ So they’d got you by the short and curlies you see. And that was it. So, they said, ‘Right. Well, yours is going pilot familiarisation. There’s a warrant officer coming up in charge of it. Pilot Officer Parrott. He’s instructor and you’ll go up and get a bit of familiarisation what it’s like.’ So, right, got there. Got the KD on. Sitting there. I thought, sniff, sniff, sniff — smell of smoke. That’s funny. I looked out and pft pft pft — the propeller had feathered. I thought, oh it looks like we’ve got a fire in the engine. Well that would be the first flight and the last flight then because when these things hit you’ve got a forty gallon tank, a hundred octane tank, above the nacelle which they start on and switch off and go on to mains and they land on them. And if a Wimpy touches that like that they erupt straight over. So then the cockpit filled with smoke. I thought, ‘Deary me.’ We’d got parachutes on but I didn’t want to use them. And this Pilot Parrott, he got the warrant officer out of the seat who was flying it and flew an asymmetric — made a perfect landing. Perfect. On one engine. So that’s a good start, I thought. That’s a good start. And then I got quite, we went all over the place. Different flights. Went u/s mainly but the trouble was where we went to it was an RAF station. You got [unclear] in East Africa, down to Mogadishu, Nairobi, Djibouti, REAN, Solala, Misera, Eritrea and we used to go u/s a lot. Of course the aircraft were old, you see. So you had to look after them and all these RAF stations, they called them stations, it was just like an airstrip with an officer and six bods showing the flag of the Union Jack.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Showing the flag. And they’d all got well stocked with beer. And for us it was a night stop. For them it was a bit of company. So all the aircrew and ground crew we all got absolutely —
SC: Yeah.
SS: We’d got to get up next morning. Well the Wellington isn’t pressurised. You can open the windows in flight. So, the pilot said, ‘We’ll be alright because if you lead me up the ladder and put my hands on the column and when we get to — ’ and we never flew over six thousand feet — got no oxygen. Yeah. ‘We’ll get up there and open the windows and a bit of fresh air around. Soon blow away.’ Now these things they’d got eighteen passenger seats in. Eighteen passengers seats. And the one on car seats, car seat, whicker seats. Any seat. Screwed into the floor. It was a plywood floor. Screwed into the floor. Every passenger had got a Mae West and a parachute. They’d have never got out that door. They’d never have got out that door. Never in a million years. And they didn’t tell them that. We didn’t think about that. The dinghy in the back — they’d taken the turret out, left the doors on and there was a ten man dinghy in there. Well if you count six crew and eighteen passengers that don’t go into a ten man dinghy. But you didn’t —
SC: Yeah.
SS: And we used to fly across the shark infested Indian ocean. You know. It was all by the board. But I didn’t like flying but I never got accustomed. Never got paid, you know.
SC: No.
SS: I think the RAF owe me. If it was a shilling a day they owe me a bit of money.
SC: Yeah.
SS: But I never enquired into it but we — and we did a year there. Did a year there. I started cycling there. I formed the — the Cycling Club was already there but it was a bit of a shed. So the word in the RAF is scrounging stuff. Very good at scrounging and we built an old, an English replica bar with a black and white ceiling and built and the bar, built the bar and the seats went around and got a, we got an arrangement with the NAAFI manager to get stuff a bit cheaper. So, whisky was twelve and six a bottle, gin was eight and six a bottle. And all the beer was Canadian. Dows. And we acquired a big fridge. A big American fridge. It was broke but we’d also got an arrangement with the chiefy in the cookhouse for the ice.
SC: Yeah.
SS: So we kept it and we had our own bar. And unfortunately, well, fortunately the prices was much cheaper than the officer’s mess. Well we had, the cycling we had eight bicycles and thirty eight members which means periodically you got a ride out.
SC: Yeah.
SS: But a large amount of officers joined us because the drinks were only half the price of what they were paying in the mess until groupie cottoned on to it. Of course Friday night is dressing night, you know and they’d hardly got anybody in the mess. But, yeah, I got a certificate of service which, I’d never seen one before. I’ve asked my lad. He said, ‘No. Not a certificate.’ Signed by the Air Commanding Officer Middle East thanking me for my devotion to duty. But on one occasion we were flying to Djibouti with six army blokes on board. Djibouti was a French place just across the sea there and just sitting back enjoying the flip there and bang. A bit ominous. And on the Wellington you’ve got an astrodome like that which you can stand on the lid like that and have a look around and looked up and I this chap’s head and shoulder through the front cockpit. I thought, ‘Oh, dear that’s rather strange.’ And the hatch, the hatch had just blown open at the front.
SC: Right.
SS: You can’t land a Wimpy without a hatch because as soon as you put the nose down the airflow fills the aircraft and won’t balance. So this chap was mucking about. So it was my job to close the hatches but it was that hot in Aden we left them open to let a bit of air, cool air in otherwise —
SC: Yeah.
SS: You burned yourself. And it’s the pilot’s job to lock it. Well I hadn’t closed them and he hadn’t locked it. They were open like that. And one closes like that, the other closes like that. Lip there and then a handle. Well he wasn’t doing very well — this second dicky. I said, ‘I’ll have a go.’ So I wrapped the parachute harness behind me, I said, ‘You hold on to this because if I get blown out I want someone at the end of it.’ And I climbed up there and after about three attempts you get this shut. And when it come to do that you trap your fingers ‘cause you’ve got to get them on the [unclear]. They blew open a couple of times and all the rivets was coming out. I thought, if they come off that’s it. But I managed to close them, locked it and got all black nails, you know, getting them trapped. But as I say just, little glimpse. Flying down to Nairobi. Made a very bad landing at Mogadishu ‘cause Mogadishu you might have heard of that on the news. Mogadishu. As you’re flying there’s only one single runway because the Italians captured it when they captured East Africa and it was one of the main Italian airbases. Regia Aeronautica. And it had got two Minarets on one end. This side was sea. And here was the edge of the cliffs.
SC: Gosh.
SS: So, you’d only got one chance. If it was a crosswind well it was a bit dickie. Well we’d got full of passengers. The brigadier was taking the family and the kids down to Nairobi where it was a bit cooler and we came in we got this crosswind. So Mr Parrott, our saviour on the first trip, was flying it with a Flight Lieutenant Mac Williams. An excellent pilot. But Mr Parrott was flying it and we came in and got it slightly wrong. Really it was a controlled crash. And when you hear women and kids screaming in the back end there and we came in and they had to swing it around like that and try and get it like that. It didn’t happen like that. We landed on one wheel and then we went down a bit more and a bit more. Well after about the sixth time you lose airspeed and it’s a complete — come to a shuddering halt. Well, I don’t think, I don’t think the passengers were very happy about it but there again —
SC: Yeah.
SS: They’re not flying it. Mr Mac Williams took Mr Parrott around the back end of the machine and said. ‘You’ll never land another. Not with me mate. Where did you do your flying?’ [unclear]. I was doing my checks and the elevator, the operator, the elevator spar which operates the elevator — it’s controlled by a series of little wheels which are made out of cast iron. Three wheels. The bar’s there and the three wheels accuate it and you couldn’t put oil on. We used to put [pause] oh you used to put it on bike chains as well. Like black.
SC: Graphite type.
SS: Graphite.
SC: Yeah.
SS: That’s the stuff. The problem was, you see, Khormaksar and all these airfields — they were sand and salt. They weren’t, they weren’t proper concrete. So when you, when you opened up the throttles up, you opened the throttles you held your stick back which brought the elevators up which caught the dust.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Which dropped it down into the rollers which wore flat you see. Well you could adjust these rollers. You used to unscrew and just ratchet it around a little bit but there comes a point when you can’t adjust any more. And I was doing my checks and I said to Mac, I said, ‘We’ve got a problem here Mac.’ He said, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘Well you should only have a maximum — at maximum a sixty fourth of an inch plate. At maximum.’ I said, ‘We’ve got a little bit more than that.’ He said, ‘How much more?’ He said, ‘Well.’ ‘What do you think? I said, ‘Well there’s no accommodation here for these women and kids and whatnot,’ and I said, ‘I’ll adjust as best I can —’ I said, ‘But that’s it. I’ll sign it if you’ll fly it.’ So it was a — what’s the name? A Catch 22. So, anyway I adjusted them and got them all back again next morning. On the way down to Nairobi, Mount Kenya with the snow on the top. We were there with our shorts on and bloody khaki drill and we couldn’t get up any higher. Six thousand. Six thousand foot. ‘Cause we’d got no oxygen you see. I think Mount Kenya is about eleven thousand or something like that and — vibration back end. It was down there. This torsionbar goes straight with the elevators on. That was bouncing up and down. So I went to the control column. The control column was going like this. I said, I didn’t say, ‘Houston we’ve got a problem.’ There was no Houston then. I said, ‘I think we’ve got a little problem down the back end. I know what I’ll do. I’ll sit, I’ll sit on the spar.’ So, the elsan bucket, it hadn’t got a proper toilet. It was just a chemical hole and a little plywood door. That was to stop any prying eyes you see. So there was the elsan. There was the bar. So, I sat on the bar like this [laughs] And Mac rings Nairobi. Fire engines and ambulances and the station warrant officer. Engineering. So, we comes in and made a nice approach. Nice landing. And as we come in saw this line of ambulances and line of fire engines. Waiting for it. Oh dear. I stayed behind locking things and I heard this voice, ‘Where’s the rigger?’ Poked my head around the door. Station warrant officer. He said, ‘Did you know this aircraft was like this?’ I said, ‘Have you asked the pilot yet? Have you spoken to him?’ I said, ‘It was a [pause] it was a choice between stopping there and waiting for spares which might have taken days or taking the risk.’ ‘Oh,’ he said. And they wheeled it straight into the hangar. Didn’t see it for seven days. They had to use their own lathes and whatnot to turn because they’d got not spares and they were cast iron. They weren’t, they weren’t steel. And we had a little trip. Nairobi. If you hadn’t got a lot of money — very upper class. And then came the magic day. It’s fit. So they rolls it out. Air test. And on a RAF ‘drome you had what you called a duty crew. They serviced any aircraft that comes in. It was their job to service it and get it out. And they were all sitting around. And he asked, ‘Would you like a pleasure flip?’ Pleasure flip. Well, I think we had six of them on board. Plenty of room. And just outside Nairobi there’s this game park. I’ve since been talking to a lady, a coloured lady from Nairobi and I was telling her about this episode. I said, ‘’We flew across to Ngong Hills.’ She said, ‘No. Not Ngong.’ She said, ‘No N. No N. Pronounced Ngong but no N.’ Like magic K in [unclear] isn’t it?
SC: Yeah.
SS: And down on the deck chasing the game and then, looking out, the ground staff had re-fuelled it and the cover which covers the petrol tank had got a metal clip on it. Well they forgot to do that and this flap is on line with the lift line on the wing and it was coming up. Lifting and spoiling the airflow. So we had to land just a little bit quicker than normal. You know, to stop the wing from stalling then, you know.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And little incidences. And then the last flip of all before we came away. We’d been to Mogadishu to pick this spare aircraft up. We’d repaired it and we were coming back in formation and we were coming back about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and selected undercarriage down. No lights. No lights — you don’t know whether it’s down or not. Now if it’s, if it’s not down you’ve got problems. If one wheel’s down you’ve got problems still. But we’d thirteen on board and we’d got — thirteen on board — we’d got six parachutes. I got one ‘cause I was part of the and oh we’d got a problem so he rung up. Rung up the tower and said, ‘We’ve got no undercarriage lights. Warning lights.’ Oh. Groupie. Got groupie down. Group Captain Snaith. He said, ‘Right,’ he said, told the skipper, ‘Fly past slowly as if you’re landing and drop your flaps. Drop your wheels and I’ll have a shufty if they’re down.’ So, he throttled right back, put the flap down, dropped the wheels. Well we thought they were alright. And he said, ‘Well everything seems to be ok,’ he said, ‘But of course I’m in the control tower and you’re out there.’ So, he said, ‘Well try flying over, [unclear] and get up to six thousand,’ he said, ‘And come down in a steep dive and pull up sharply and you’ll lock them down.’
SC: Lock.
SS: Very nice. And anyway, we did that but the chap that had done the daily inspection and should have checked all this he was on board.
SC: Right.
SS: So, we said, ‘What are you going to do about this?’ He said it might be a [ball cock?]. It could be. Anyway, we come in. Perfect landing. So that was the last trip. So the first trip in it and the last trip — they were a bit naughty. But just before we came away number 8 Squadron was stationed permanently at Aden. Khormaksar. Don’t know why. Since 1926 they were stationed there permanently. Something had gone wrong. They put up a black I think and they were there permanently. Now, they’d got Mosquitoes. Silver. Lovely jobs. Did a lot of reconnaissance work and one officer, the boat was in, he’d got [his boat] packed. He’d got his bag packed and everything and there was a young lad that used to drive. I think only about nineteen, used to drive the towing tractor. Virgil his name was. And there was a lot, there was more killed on last flights, you know, ‘We’ll just go up and have go.’ More killed. Cobber Kain in, during the French — he killed himself in a Hurricane. Inverted flight. And he said, ‘I’m just taking the kite up for a trip.’ But this lad hadn’t flown before. So he packed him in, puts him in, put a ‘chute on him and what not and took off. And they’d got a bombing range just outside the airfield. And they did a couple of, a couple of runs. Third run. Big bang, cloud of smoke. Gone in. That was about 10 o’clock in the morning. We buried him at two.
SC: Gosh.
SS: ‘Cause you had to do out there. It was that hot. So that was I mean ready for [boating?] and everything but there were more on these last, last trips. But, yeah, and then we came home. And my group number had come up. Fifty eight. My demob number. And I should have stopped in. Oh I wish now. I would have stopped in and made a career of it but came the shiny jobs and the buttons and the painting of the white lines, and the white belts and [unclear?] I didn’t care for that. And the air force had really — well it had to do because it was no longer a fighting force. And back to Heaton Park.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Not Heaton Park. Just outside. Just outside Preston. Warton. Kitted out. Beautiful suit. Pinstripe suit. Trilby. Mac. I’ve never been so well dressed in my life. There were lads. The spivs outside on the station giving you five pounds. Shoes, socks, suit, shirt, underwear. Giving the lads five quid to take it off your hands. I mean five quid in them days.
SC: A lot of money.
SS: Was more than a week’s wage wasn’t it? But then I did that and I went back to Celanese. Finished my apprenticeship off and on to Royces. Ten years building jet engines. Chilwell — working on Rolls Royce engines for the Comet tank. Went on engine test and then back to Royce’s. I went to Royce’s then building the oil engine. I went on experimental fuel injection which was a lovely job ‘till they bought Sentinals at Shrewsbury and I was down to go and then they didn’t take me. They said, ‘We’ll give you a good job on Aero.’ I thought, beautiful. And I went from fuel injection pump that big to a Comet engine. An Avon.
SC: Wow.
SS: One for the Lightning and went right through Avon, Nene, the one that the Viscount used. The nice little one. Just forget the name of that. On to the RCO 42. Conway. The Spey and the dreaded Tyne. The dreaded Tyne. Then the money wasn’t — I’d got a family of three then and the money wasn’t awfully good.
SC: Right.
SS: Not for the job you were doing. And only two of you built an engine in them days.
SC: Gosh.
SS: None of these days you can walk around and have a look. None of that. And of course, they were all built by hand. And I went back. My dad said Celanese — or Courtaulds — they’re were building a new nylon plant and they want fitters desperately. So there weren’t much doing at the time and engine build at Royce’s you was built, the more you did you were built on a bonus. Well if there’s no parts to put on the engine.
SC: Yeah.
SS: So I asked the foreman. I said, ‘There’s not much doing here. I’m going to slip up to Courtaulds,’ which I did and I went up. I was thirty eight at the time and I went in and the engineer was a racing cyclist from the Derby Mercury. He said, ‘What are you doing here?’ I said, ‘I’ve come for a job.’ So, he said, ‘I desperately need fitters.’ He said, ‘Can you work overtime?’ I said, ‘I can do as much as you want.’ He said, ‘Right. What can I —?’ I said, ‘I’ll hand my notice in when I get back,’ I said ‘And then I’ll join you on Monday.’ ‘Right.’ So, I went back, handed my notice in and they brought it back. They said, ‘You can’t leave.’ I said, ‘You’re joking.’ He said, ‘No. You can’t leave.’ He said, ‘Oh no.’ he said, ‘You’re contracted here.’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ So, I had to go and see the superintendent. So he said, ‘Well, what’s the exact trouble.’ I said, ‘Well put it like this Walter. Walter Hampton this is. I said, ‘Have you got your own house?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Have you got a car?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Do you go on foreign holidays?’ ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well I don’t. I’ve got none of them things.’ I said, ‘I’m on rather, a job that is what you call very valuable.’ I mean, jet engines. You couldn’t make any mistakes on them you know and he said, ‘Well you’re getting seven and six an hour. I said, ‘Of course I am.’ I said, ‘An inspector’s getting twelve and six an hour and he’s only looking at it. I’m doing the work, he’s only looking at it. And if it’s wrong it’s me. It’s not him.’ I said, I said, ‘He’s a wicket keeper.’ I said, ‘And he lets stuff through and all.’ And he kicked me out and then a couple of days later this chap arrived from main works with his bowler hat and his briefcase. He said, ‘Right. You want to leave.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Right, ‘ he said, ‘Six weeks. You’ll work six weeks’ notice.’ I thought oh dearie me. Jumped on the little Bantam. Went flying back up to Courtaulds. I said, and I saw Ted, he said, ‘You’re having a spot of trouble.’ I said, ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ He said, ‘Well, right, how long have you got to work?’ I said, ‘Six weeks.’ ‘Right,’ he said, ‘May the 8th which is Whit Monday.’ He said, ‘You start on May the 8th, Whit Monday.’ He said, ‘You’ll get treble time and a day off in lieu.’ He said, ‘How much overtime can you work?’ He said, ‘You can work till 10 o’clock every night if you want,’ he said, ‘We want all these machines in. You know. Installing.’ And he said every Saturday and Sunday,’ [laughs] every Saturday and Sunday. Well, in a month I got my first car. The Ford Pop. Sixty five pound. Ten pound down and the rest when you get it from [unclear] garage.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And as I said I worked there and I finished. I worked a little bit extra because I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t feel like leaving. And I did a lot of experimental work and a lot of — made, made Courtaulds a lot of money because on this nylon you had to do what you could with it. Twist it, stretch it and all that caper. And it was purely development work. I enjoyed that. And then they shut, they shut the plant down. Seven hundred and eighty. Bang. Just like that. So, I stayed on a little bit to sort the machines out and sell stuff and they promised me a job. So, when, when we finished finally I went up to the office the labour bloke said, ‘Right,’ he said, ‘I’ve got all your redundancy papers ready.’ I said, ‘Well you know what you can do with them.’ I said, ‘They promised us a job.’ ‘Oh.’ he said, ‘Well,’ he said, ‘Things have altered.’ He said, ‘The two chaps that you were going to replace they have gone up to the worst plant on the firm. CA Department. Where all the chemicals is and acids.’ He said, ‘They left spinning,’ he said, ‘Now if you contact them and ask them if they want to go back to spinning or do they want to stop on CA. They’ll stop on CA because it’s thruppence an hour more because it’s dirt money. Danger money more or less,’ and he said, ‘And you’ll go back on to spinning.’ I said, ‘That’s alright.’ I said, I were building, when I came out the RAF I was building spinning machines on that where you’re going to send me. So, roll back the years.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And he said, ‘Can you fit a spinning pump?’ I said, ‘Well put it this way. We put these machines in in 1947 so I think I’m a bit qualified.’ And then I did — I worked longer there and I went to the twenty five years dinner and I sat next to one of the directors. He said, ‘How old are you?’ I said. ‘You never are.’ I said, ‘I am.’ He says, ‘Well do you feel like, do you feel like packing up?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t feel like packing up.’ He said, ‘Do you think you could still —?’ ‘Of course I could still do the job.’ He said, ‘Well you needn’t leave, you know.’ Well, when I went back my foreman was doing his nut. ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.’ So, when I went back they were queuing up for my job. The lads. So, I went back and I said, ‘Well I’m staying.’ ‘You can’t do that. You can’t stay.’ I said, ‘Well go and ask Mr White. The director. I’ve had a word with him.’ And I saw the engineer. He said, ‘Right,’ he said, ‘It’s like this.’ He said, ‘Things aren’t very well at the moment. Things aren’t doing well.’ He said, ‘What we’ll do is — a three monthly basis,’ he said. ‘After three months if you want to pack up you pack up. After three months if things run into a —?’ I said, ‘That’s fair enough. That’s fair enough.’ And they give me a marvellous party coming away. They said, how many, how many, well by now the firm was, you know [they lost big ?] They said, ‘How many people do you know on the firm?’ I said, ‘About all of them.’ He said, ‘You’re not having that lot.’ He said, ‘You can have a hundred.’ I said, ‘That fair enough.’ So the wife picked us up in a taxi and — a marvellous meal. And the engineer, he said ‘I don’t know what to say about this, lad,’ he said, he said, ‘He’s had rather — he’s had rather an interesting — so he gets like a toilet, have you seen these things. Paper that goes like that. So, he picks it up. He said, ‘Right.’ He said, ‘You started here.’ I said, ‘I didn’t,’ He said, I said, ‘No. I didn’t. I started at [unclear]’ ‘Oh. And then you moved on’ I said, ‘No. I didn’t move on to there.’ So, he let this paper go and it went like this and he said, ‘Well I’m not going to say anymore,’ he said, ‘Because what I’m going to tell you will be wrong in any case.’ But, and never once in my life, never once have I got up in the morning and said, ‘I don’t want to go today.’ Because work is your life really. I mean that is it and if and the problem is if a person’s not happy in the job he’s doing it does more damage.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Because he goes knowing very well that he’s not going to have a very good day and that in itself and and it rubs off because when he gets home from a day’s work, his wife, he makes his wife have it because — it’s not her fault.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And the kids. It’s not the kids fault.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And that’s why, when I lost, I nursed the wife for about seven years from here. So we did eighteen years up at the aero park every Sunday.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Fetching the aircraft in because there was only moi who knew how to go about it. Hunter from Alconbury. The Lightning from Warton. A Saudi Lightning from Warton. The Canberra from Cosford. All these different places.
SC: Yeah.
SS: I thoroughly enjoyed it. I helped to build it. Helped to move it across and then of course when Jan used to go up every Sunday, you know, make stuff. A buffet. And really get involved there. I was the vice chairman.
SC: And just, just for the recording.
SS: Yeah.
SC: That’s the aero park at East Midlands Airport.
SS: Yeah.
SC: Yes.
SS: It started in 1984.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And we’d already got one aircraft. Graham Vale’s Varsity which is still there and he’s still the chairman because if he goes the Varsity goes. But we used to run the Varsity because the Varsity is a tin Wellington.
SC: Right.
SS: It’s exactly the same as a Wellington but its metal. Exactly the same. Apart from the turrets which don’t [unclear]. And yeah. The flying club used to give us eighty quids worth of hundred octane petrol. It wouldn’t run on eighty. A hundred octane. So the old bowsers used to come and squeeze in and we had a twenty minute run. Used to run port starboard in the cockpit. [unclear] For the public.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Run it for the public. And for us. And it would have flown. That thing. I would. It would have flown because we’d got the revs and everything on it. And yes, I did eighteen years there. British Legion. All by the side is we ran a discotheque club 1969 ‘til ‘83 up at theCelanese club here. Every Sunday night, teenagers disco, we had the finest disco light display stereo in Derby. All done free. Did it all for the firm, you know because it was for the firm. And then we did ballroom dancing. Strictly tempo. Sequence dancing. Then I became a — I’d always been in the British Legion at Spondon and I became entertainments officer. And I used to do — I did the VE dance. The VJ dance. Did numerous charities for Gurkha regiments, [FIPO?]. All these different. Every farthing went to charity. Did a lot of charity work and of course when Jannie was really poorly we couldn’t do it anymore. And I hope I’m a Christian. I hope I’m a Christian and I used to go to chapel and of course the last few days I couldn’t go because she was poorly and finally after three trips to the hospital they’d been treating her for [pause] what’s the name — shingles. And it was aggressive leukaemia. And so, I nursed her all through that and they had her in for two days and decided — for you it’s the Liverpool pathway. So, you get no choice. You don’t get any choice at all. Just withdraw medication, food, liquid.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Everything. And that was nearly six years ago which was, when you’ve been married fifty eight years.
SC: Gosh
SS: Where I’m working now I met her. At the Angler’s Arms. Used to call it the Stranglers Arms. And when I was cycling I had one or two crashes and I remember one August had a right crash and busted my collar bone. And we used to go there to the little dances that used to be on a Friday night and that’s where I met her. It wasn’t love at first sight. No. I had my twenty four inch bottoms. Yellow socks. Brothel creepers. Suit shoulders out here. Draped shape. Looked more like a gangster when I put it on. And she was a clippy on the Derby Corporation. She’d been a nurse but she caught everything that was going and was advised to get an outdoor job. There’s nothing more outdoor than an open double decker.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And then yeah, we got three. Three. I’ve got two sons. One’s — what is he now? I’ve got a daughter fifty nine. The son is fifty seven and then the young one is fifty this year. Numerous grandchildren. And I think to myself sheer luck. Sheer luck. If I walk — I had bronchial pneumonia a couple of years ago and that knocked me for six. If I walk about fifty yards now I’m jiggered. Absolutely jiggered. Can’t get my —. Considering, I smoked for over twenty years. Seventy years, sorry. Smoked for seventy years. I started with a clay pipe and a packet of tuppeny sage with no onion. And the pipe used to glow. The bowl used to glow red hot. And then of course when you’re fourteen you automatically become a man and you start on the old Park Drive Woodbine. You graduate to the full Capstan and overseas they used to throw them at you by the hundred, you know. They used to throw them by the hundred but they never said anything.
SC: No. No.
SS: And I worked in blue Asbestos at Courtaulds for over thirty years.
SC: Gosh.
SS: And as I say — this dance. I tried to get in touch with them I worked with. There’s only two. The rest I worked with in engineering have gone.
SC: Yeah. Yeah.
SS: Just —
SC: Yeah.
SS: But there again — pure luck. Pure luck. And they say, ‘Oh you do look well. Oh, you do look well.’ But you do.
SC: And you do.
SS: I get up in the morning sometimes you know and I think, no. But I used to work five days a week. Sometimes six.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Looking for these, a lot of them younger myself and I found out I could sit and talk to them.
SC: Yeah.
SS: We were on the same wavelength.
SC: Yeah.
SS: If you’re ninety and they’re around about that age you can talk about the old times. The bad old days and you can work your way through the wireless set, the television.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And you can have — always wind up laughing.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And I loved music. I can go, I’ve got three hundred LPs. Singles. I love music. I play music like a therapy. But when we’re not playing music and you’re sitting in the lounge and one of them suddenly starts singing and they all join in and they’re the old music hall songs that Florrie Forde used to sing and it is. I’ve worked in a lot of places and this is the most happiest place I’ve ever worked because there’s somebody worse than you.
SC: Yeah.
SS: But the only trouble is you make friends with them. You sit and talk for hours and then one morning you go in and they say [unclear?] passed away in the night.
SC: Yeah.
SS: And I’ve been there getting on for five years and we’ve lost forty.
SC: Yeah.
SS: Which is about par, you know, it’s par for the course.
SC: Yeah.
SS: But I don’t grieve. I don’t grieve for them because in fact they’re going to a better place because half of them they can’t see. They can’t walk. They can’t. And really you wouldn’t treat a dog like that.
SC: Yeah.
SS: You wouldn’t treat a dog like that.
SC: I’m going to switch this off now.
SS: Lovely.
SC: ‘Cause I think —

Collection

Citation

Steve Cooke, “Interview with Stanley Shaw,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 10, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/8764.

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