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passing interest that among the group was an old school pal of mine who had been in the CCF with me. We were each surprised to meet. But it was not the last time that we would meet in the RAF.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe PSI gardens were a thorough going business staffed by a number of GSO men under the supervision of head gardener Herr Goldbaum. Officially, the prime duty of the gardens was to produce flowering plants for the ornamental gardens at the Guardroom, Station Headquarters, Officers Mess, and other significant locations on the Station. The secondary task was to produce plants and flowers for sale in the PSI Shop to the married patch and, added to this, the production of fresh vegetables, both for use in the Messes to supplement basic rations, and for sale in the PSI Shop.2 The shop itself was run by volunteer ladies from the married patch.3
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe market garden, for that is what it was, was about two acres in extent and had three large greenhouses. One was a 'stove' or hothouse, the other a 'moderate' house, and the third was only heated enough to keep the frost out. The garden was situated in a clearing in the forest on the far side of the airfield, behind some concealed hard-standings not far from 93 Squadron hangar. Add to this the area of land either side of the ring road at the end of the airfield (nearly four acres in extent) which was used for growing potatoes and other crops, and the 'parish' for which I was responsible became significant.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesIt is relevant here to mention that there was a pig farm near 4 Squadron hangar. This was the responsibility of Danny Daniels. He had over 100 pigs, a boar and several breeding sows under his command. GSO staff were employed to look after it. My connection with the pig farm stems only from the time when I looked after things for Danny when he went on leave (he did the same for me), and the fact that quantities of pig manure were used by my gardeners and on the farm to augment supplies from the stables of the equitation facility.4
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesProfits from the gardens and farm went into PSI funds. It was my responsibility to make sure that, after all official garden expenses and messing supplies were covered, the sale of products via the shop turned in a profit. With the skill of the gardeners, and the fertility of the soil, this was no trouble. Few on the Station knew of the 'behind the scenes' activities of my gardeners. I was officially responsible for the gardens to Wg.Cdr. Russell-Bell, Wing Commander Admin., with whom I had to liaise, especially when it came to harvest time on the open farm. I left it to him to arrange for the necessary Wednesday sports afternoons to be used for the grossly unpopular task of potato picking, and, in the following year, to arrange for a local farmer to sow, and later harvest, a crop of barley which was sold for PSI funds.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe gardens, as with all Station facilities, were subject to periodic inspections, usually after Saturday morning parade. As soon as the parade was over I would hasten to the gardens and warn Herr Goldbaum what was afoot. He then made sure the gardeners looked busy, and together we would wait for the inspecting Officer, usually the Station Commander. On one such morning Wg.Cdr. Russell-Bell came instead and promptly criticised the rows of vegetables for not being straight! As if in retribution, one of the Squadrons, seconds later, and just as Wg.Cdr. Russell-Bell had
2 PSI = President of the Station Institute. This was an 'On Station' organisation run by a committee and concerned itself with the sales of plants, crops, etc., grown on the Station land, the NAAFI, Malcolm Club, SSAFA, and other welfare facilities which may be present. On small Stations this hardly existed, but on a large Station like Jever it had a significant influence on the running of matters of welfare.
3 The shop was built on, or close to, the site of what had been the families hostel building. This building, one of the few wooden ones at Jever (the Cinema was another), had burned down just before my arrival. Those families lodging there lost all their possessions, but there was no injury or loss of life. Flt.Sgt. Telfer of 93 Squadron was one of the unfortunates.
4 This facility and stables were run by a GSO man who was an ex-cavalryman. It was overseen by Brian Watson of 4 Squadron and was located to the rear of Flying Wing Headquarters. It was used primarily by families, although anybody could use the facility and take riding lessons for a modest fee.

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