627 Squadron in retirement

 

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At First Sight
Keeping The Ground Crew Warm

Heard on telephone. while book chapters being collected, persuaded, forced, cajoled, blackmailed, prised, wrenched out of quite remarkably willing contributors:

Ex Aircrew Member to ex Ground Crew Member:
“I take my hat off to you chaps, I don’t know how you stuck it week after week out in that Lincolnshire weather on dispersals in the middle of nowhere and in the middle of winter”

A compliment indeed from a 100 plus operations Navigator. We for our part could never quite understand how they stuck it night after night. All we could do was our best to make sure the aircraft remained in one working piece for as long as it took, enemy action excepted.

Actually the secret of our survival on the dispersals in all that weather was the engine tent, Mk something or other, steel tube frame, waxed canvas cover, lace up front (or back when on Mossie), four or five bodies inside all swearing about the weather generated quite a lot of warmth.

But the real lifesaver in winter was the warmth from the inverted Gunk lid, filled with 100 octane and in which was floated several pieces of string, ends held above the surface with locking wire (C Stores) and lit with a lighter made from a cartridge case or spare length of “glycol tube-copper-Merlin for the use of”.

 New arrivals and the unwary had these lighters filled with the carbon tet from extinguishers - it smelled highly inflammable and recipient was told it was “better for you than lighting your fag with 100 octane as this contained lead”. Don’t know who was greener in those days!  

Copyright 1943-2012 627 Squadron in Retirement or as credited