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my way to the bar which was accessed either directly from the hall or through folding doors under the minstrel gallery in the anteroom. Wolfgang and Herbert were the bar stewards. While stood chatting over glasses of Coca-Cola the Station Commander, Group Captain Powel-Sheddon, wartime Battle of Britain fighter ace, came in. He saw that I was a stranger and walked across to me and asked who I was. When I said my name was Senar he chuckled and stammered out "Well from now on I'll call you 'Pod'." From then on it was by that soubriquet that I was to be known for the rest of my RAF career!3
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAfter a polite pause I withdrew from the bar and returned to my room to finish unpacking, set my alarm clock, and retire for the night.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI slept only fitfully at first, in spite of being tired after my travels, because of the almost continuous night flying activity. At one stage I looked out of my window to see, in what little visible sky there was, searchlight beams scanning the cloud base. There was also the noise of other occupants coming into the block at various times in the night.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesNext morning, on going to breakfast, I met Johnny MacKnish again. He introduced me briefly to some other members of the Squadron whose names I had difficulty remembering. Then it was down to work. As when one is posted to any new Station I had to go through the 'Arrival' procedure. This involved my being given a small Arrival Card which had to be signed by all the departments with which I would be expected routinely to come into contact during my stay. 'Arriving' meant much walking: Equipment Section, Personnel, and Accounts were the main ones, but with the addition of maybe a dozen more, and the various offices being so far apart on a Station as big as Jever, it took me well over half a day to nearly complete. It was one way of finding my way around and learning the shortest route on foot along the brick paved roads and paths through the trees between buildings. I still had to gain signatures from my Squadron which was based in a hangar on the opposite side of the airfield to the domestic site. As well as personnel in RAF uniform there were others in Wehrmacht style bottle-green uniforms. These were GSO members. The GSO, or German Service Organisation, was made up entirely of German personnel employed by the RAF on maintenance, driving, cleaning, vehicle maintenance, gardening, and other support duties. They lived in a barracks in a remote corner of the camp. Most of these men had become totally separated from, or lost, their families owing to the ravages of war and were glad of this sort of employment.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesGetting from one side of the airfield to the other involved a journey of about a mile and a half to go clear round the end of the 2000 yard 29 -11 runway. It was usual to either hitch a lift on a service vehicle or to use the hourly 3-ton truck bus service run by the Duty Squadron's MT Section.4
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI hitched a lift and, instead of being taken to the Squadron hangar, was driven into the forest where the Squadron was occupying a tented camp for the duration of the exercise. I was introduced to 93 Squadron Boss, Sqn.Ldr. 'Bob' Allen, who asked me questions about my RAF and civilian background, allocated me to 'B' Flight, introduced me to Flt.Lt. Keith Pearch, 'B' Flight Commander, and signed my arrival card. I also found that my new nickname 'Pod' had preceded me! I stayed for a while chatting to other Squadron pilots, including Sgt. 'Dickie' Knight, Flt.Sgt. 'Shrubby' Shrubsole, Flt.Sgt. Telfer and his Alsatian dog, Plt.Off. 'Bernie' Revnell (nephew of Ethel Revnell the stage comedienne), 'Al' Ramsay, 'Sandy' Sanderson (son of a Padre
3 Group Captain Powel-Sheddon had a very bad stammer and, as a result was known to many (behind his back) as 'Fo-Fo'. Another possible reason for this was that his full names were George ffolliot Powel-Sheddon and his unusual middle name may have been the prompt. He was also known conversationally as either 'The Groupie' or 'The CO'. He died in November 1994. Squadron COs were usually known as Squadron 'Bosses'.
4 MT = Mechanical Transport. In a Tactical Air Force each Squadron had its own MT Section so as to be capable of packing up its equipment and moving it to another operational site with maximum efficiency in the least time.
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