At First Sight
At Second Sight
BEF Al Faw Video '05
At First Sight
Wally Of “B” Flight - J. B. 'Wally' Walton.
first recollections of joining 627 Squadron were of course at
Huntingdon railway station. I had come from Kettering by bus after
having a meal with a friend of my father and on telephoning RAF Wyton
to see if there was any transport, they said it was at the railway
station. On getting there I was lucky, as the lorry was just due to
leave. I was feeling rather miserable and sorry for myself as I thought
I would not know anybody at the new station, but as I was hauled aboard
the vehicle, somebody shouted “It’s Wal” and I knew I was amongst some
of my old Malta friends, who had returned to England on the same ship,
having been on Malta throughout the entire siege. We were known as the
“Luqa Harriers as we could do a sprint to a shelter quicker than any
I forget how long we stayed at Wyton, but one incident sticks in my
mind. Several of us ‘ex Maltas’ had just arrived in the cook-house for
lunch when there was a terrific explosion. We dived under a table,
thinking that jerry had sneaked in as they were accustomed to doing in
Malta and dropped a load on the aerodrome. Being bomb-happy from our
Malta experiences, it frightened me to death. In fact, we were told
later, a 5,000lb “Blockbuster” had dropped from a Lancaster when
someone pressed the wrong switch, and, being a “Blockbuster” it had
detonated. Aircraft and personnel in the immediate vicinity had
We moved to Oakington in due course and I quite enjoyed being there,
except for the fact that it was rather awkward getting home on leave,
the train service from Cambridge to Nottingham being very poor, and a
roundabout route. Apart from that, I had a further 15 miles to my home.
We had some great nights at the local pub “The Boot and Shoe” in Long
Stanton, when they had any beer, which was, of course, in very short
supply at the time. One night we decided to go to another pub in the
same village, known as “The Green Dragon” and a certain Sergeant, who
shall be nameless, stated that he knew of a short cut. We all had
bikes, of course, and we set off - the next thing we heard was a splash
- the said Sergeant was in the village pond, and a good laugh was
enjoyed by all, probably with one exception.
Two incidents stand out in my mind regarding Oakington. The first was
the take-off on the initial flight of one of our Mosquitos loaded with
a 4,000lb “Cookie” bomb. We didn’t think it would get off the ground
with such a load and our dispersal being at the end of the runway in
use, we all mounted our bikes and rode away as fast as we could.
Needless to say, the aircraft took off without much effort, as the
Mossies did frequently thereafter.
The second incident was when we were towing one of the ‘kites’ into the
hangar for inspection and whoever was sat at the controls I cannot
remember, but he must have selected the undercarriage “up” and the
aircraft landed firmly on its belly, damaging the airscrews and wheel
doors. The culprit came in for quite a lot of ribbing from the lads and
Chiefy was not at all pleased. I forget the period of “Jankers” he got.
At one period at Oakington the squadron carried out thirty three
operations in forty two days with 100% serviceabvility and H.Q
No.8(PFF) Group sent a signal complimenting all the air and ground
crews on the achievement.
So, on to Woodhall Spa, which suited me fine, as it was a simple matter
for me to get home on a day off. Apart from this, there was a liberty
bus every night from the camp to Boston and this was well patronised by
lads wishing to seek entertainment such as the cinema, pubs or the
Gliderdrome for dancing.
I recall a really hectic party given by the aircrews for all the ground
crews. It was held in one of the large Nissen huts on a dispersal site.
Beer was in very short supply in those days, so, nothing ventured,
nothing gained, Chiefy Garton contacted Bateman’s Brewery in Wainfleet
and they very kindly let us have a 40 gallon barrel of bitter, which
was duly emptied in a very short space of time, and so we returned to
our billets. The next party I attended was for “B” Flight only and was
held at the “Gate Inn’, on the Boston Road, Coningsby. Another notable
I went on several air tests in aircraft at Woodhall, and also an odd
practice bombing trip to the Wainfleet range. On one of these trips I
mentioned to the aircrew that my mother and father were on holiday at
Mablethorpe, just a few miles down the coast from Wainfleet and so
after they had completed their bombing run we carried on just skimming
the sand hills, past Skegness and on to Mablethorpe where the Pilot, I
think it must have been P.O Devigne, banked steeply and selected the
street where my parents were staying, next to the railway station, and
carried out a low level run at chimneypot height, turning again steeply
and returning in the opposite direction. It was fantastic hut when we
landed I was very sick.
An incident I remember very well was on New Year’s Eve. I was seeing
the aircraft into the “B” Flight hangar after an operation when some
clown started sending “A” Flight aircraft into the same hangar. This
caused a lot of sorting out when we were trying to get finished as
quickly possible in order to get to the NAAFI for a New Year Pint
before the canteen closed. There was quite a bit of bad language flying
about that night.
I will leave others to comment on the various operations the squadron
carried out as the powers that be very seldom gave us details,
presumably for security reasons. It was a very good life in the RAF,
especially on 627 Squadron. They were, with very few exceptions, a
decent lot of lads and we were very lucky to have such a close knit and
happy squadron. There was, as with every unit, the bad apple in the
barrel, but we just ignored them, and got on with the job in hand.
After all these years it is extremely difficult to remember the names
of fellow erks on the squadron, but I recall Ernie Ludlow (also ex
Malta) Jack Marriott and a fellow named Turrington. If you happen to
read this any of you - Hello lads!
Copyright © 1943-2012 627 Squadron in Retirement or as