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Down to earth.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesEven before I had officially left the Squadron I was summoned by Fg.Off. Brian Watson, the Flying Wing Adjutant, to come and see the Wing Commander Flying, Wg.Cdr. Hammer West.1
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI entered Brian's office and saluted, as was etiquette. Before my right arm had descended to my side Hammer West's voice said, almost all in one word, "Pod come in here and sit down." I entered, saluted, and sat on a chair in front of his desk. He then said "Pod, you won't salute me in here any more because from now on you're going to be my Adjutant and we are going to have to work together - got it?" He then went on to explain that I had a week to take over the job from Brian and that he would be released to join 4 Squadron. "Stick with it", he said, "and don't take any notice of posting instructions you might get because I'm going to see to it that you stay with me for the rest of your tour."
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAll in the space of ten minutes I had changed jobs and was at once out of my depth. As a Squadron pilot the Wing Commander Flying was someone to respect and be wary of. He was your Boss's Boss. Now I was to work not only for him, but with him - as his Adjutant. That took some swallowing.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAll credit must go to Brian for showing me, and explaining to me, what to do, and when and how to do it. He took me through the Orderly Room routine (I had a Corporal and two Leading Aircraftman Clerks), the filing system (I was responsible for Secret and Confidential files as well as those classified as Restricted), how to handle visitors, arrange for disciplinary charges to be heard, tea brews, Met Briefings, minute taking, and even taking the Wing Commander's pet bull terrier 'Pinto' for walkies. Swotting for promotion exams was a mere doddle compared with this! Brian also introduced me to the nuances and vagaries of AP 3184, the Manual of Service Writing, the contents of which I had to adhere to. I had to draft, sign, and disseminate weekly Flying Wing Routine Orders and keep a log of all telephone calls. Not only did I have to be welcoming to visitors, but also something of a disciplinarian. As with all Adjutants, I would be my Boss's sounding board - there to be sworn at when he 'blew his top' after something had gone wrong.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI remember the first time Des Browne, my ex-Boss came into my office and asked me if it was OK to see the WingCo. That was quite a surprise, if not actually a role reversal! I have to say that, whilst I made mistakes to begin with, I quickly settled to my new job and was accepted by all who had reason to come to, or through, my office, Group Captain Tom Prickett our Station Commander included.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesIn this new position I had dealings with Officers and personnel from other departments with whom I had had little or no previous contact. Flt.Lt. Les Knell, Station Adjutant, and I had to liaise with regard to parades, disciplinary, and organisational matters. Flt.Lt. Les Tweed was i/c personnel. Then there was Sqn. Ldr. Gilpin, the CO of 4 Squadron, Wg.Cdr. Alton the Regiment Wing CO, and Wg.Cdr. David Way who ran the Tech Wing. The one Senior Officer with whom I had little
1 His initials were C.S. West. His first name was Cyril (which he kept secret), but he was called John by everyone on first name terms with him. His wife was Nancy and they had two children. They lived in Senior Officers Married Quarters within the Station perimeter fence fairly close to the Officers Mess. [Click to see.] The SOMQs consisted of only four bungalows, occupied by the Station Commander Gp.Capt. Tom Prickett and his wife, the aforementioned West family, Wg.Cdr. Russell-Bell, Wing Commander commanding the Admin. Wing, and family, and Sqn.Ldr. Peter Gilpin, OC 4 Squadron, with his wife and family. Wing Commander Way, OC Technical Wing, was a bachelor and lived in the Mess. 'Shandy' was his pet Alsatian. Wg.Cdr. Alton, OC the RAF Regiment Wing, lived in the Officers Married Quarters outside the main gate, as did Sqn.Ldr. Des Browne, OC 93 Squadron (my old Boss), and his Australian wife.
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