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Plumbers – by Des Stewart (1961-62)

There we were, two Plumbers, working late until 19:00hrs. So we decided to go to the NAAFI first and have a pint, go back to the billet to get changed and join the rest of the lads in the bar. That was the plan, but it never materialised.

The first pint was quickly followed by number 2, then three, then I forgot. We, the squadron lads, made our way back to the billett around 11:45ish and finally got into bed around 00:30. Someone was having a laugh as 15 minutes later the alarm sounded. How we made it to the hanger opposite the Malcolm Club was a mystery and we managed to get the aircraft ready whilst on autopilot. On uncovering one cockpit we found one of the airframe drivers sitting in the seat, oxgen mask on and doing his best to sober up before he flew! Luckily it was just a Station Alert and the aircraft just had to taxi around the airfield. Quite ironic really as I became an Health & Safety Consultant!

On another occasion (1962?) we went to Chivenor for APC as Sylt had closed the previous year. One of the Corporal’s had driven over in his Opel Cadet from Gutersloh. Coming back from Ilfracombe after a good night out, we were stopped by the police, demanding to know what the funny number plate was. The driver explained where we were from, etc, and everything became friendly. The police asked if we’d had a good time and asked if we had been drinking to which one of our number asked if they would like us to whistle a tune. We were told to hop it before any awkward questions were asked. Just as well really as there were three bods in the front seat, six in the back and two in the boot. Overloaded? Not really! Happy times.