No. 214 (Federated Malay States) Squadron
Royal Air Force

STORIES AND TALL TALES FROM THE MESS

NOTE... WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you have a story you can share be it serious, amusing or otherwise we would love to hear from you. Any memories of events, places or things be it short or long, please send it along. ( If you still remember it after 60 years then it is important and should be here.

You can thank (or blame) P/O Bill Foskett for the inspiration for this section.
Please address all complaints, criticism or compliments to the aforementioned officer in triplicate on form RAF-7764A Section 9 along with form RAF-7784B and form 7764C in duplicate stating the reasons in full for such complaint, criticism or compliment. Upon reciept, in true RAF tradition it will be immediately misplaced, misfiled, misdirected and shuffled to the bottom of the pile. All Forms drawing attention to the bungling or incometence of any officer over the rank of Sergeant should be placed here.............

The following short stories have been kindly submitted by the individual authors as noted. They are in no particular order and represent a mixture of the serious, tragic, and humerous side of Squadron life. Keep in mind that these events took place over half a century ago, they are not intended to be detailed historical documents and there may be some errors. Remember also, two different people can see the same event from an entirely different perspective. All these stories however, give life to the Squadrons history without which this history becomes nothing more than a long dry list of names and pictures.

 A TIP OF THE HAT
By William Walker

At this time there was no flair path as such, what we had was a vessel similar to a watering can with a long spout.  Down the spout was a long Wick and the cans filled with paraffin.  This Wick was ignited and the vessels alternated down each side of so-called runway.  After a time Jerry used to get in the circuits as aircraft waited to land, and of course they became sitting ducks. They also had great fun picking off the aircraft tradesman whose additional duties consisted of lighting these flair paths, and whose job was to extinguish them during an air raid. In order to extinguish these monsters, one had to remove his field service cap and place it over the wick to douse it.  Not content with being used as  target practice by Jerry, the next morning, you were charged with destroying public property and made to pay for a new field service cap.

I will give you another example of that, the Wellington was notorious for the air intake catching fire, the reason for this was that as the pilot was instructed to start the engines, one of the ground staff tradesmen had to get behind the prop, open the flap door at the front of the engine and operate a KYgas pump to start the engine. This caused petrol to dump into the air intake and ignite. One then had to block it off, and because someone had already  used the plyboard to make a toy for his kiddy one had to use his cap. The air Ministry in this country are obsessed with what parts of the uniform are classed as public property, and no excuse on Earth will be accepted if they get damaged. To them it is justified to allow a plane and all its crew plus the equipment to burnout than to destroy your cap putting the fire out. Total damage 2/6 for cap 1 1/2 pence for Badge.

There goes the cap again !  
Some bright spark at the air Ministry decided to destroy the German crops by setting fire to the fields. To achieve this, this bright spark decided to place phosphorus in containers of water, and then when over the target pour it down the flare chute. Of course our friend never gave it a thought that it would stick to the sides of the flair chute, consequently it was high summer, and during the hot daylight hours fires were bursting all over the place, and of course, the poor old ground staffs had to sleep on and under the main planes in order to be on hand to douse the fires. Also they were getting burned because it was sticking to their hands.

 INDIAN NIGHTMARE
From
VOICES IN THE AIR 39/45
INCREDIBLE STORIES OF WORLD WAR 2 AIRMEN
by Laddie Lucas

The following is only an extract from the full story as told to Laddie Lucas by Ralph Fallows formerly of 214 Squadron.

INDIAN NIGHTMARE Ralph Fallows, Observer 215 Sqdn [ Winnipeg]
' Before winter of 41/42 we had been opping with 214Sqdn in 3 Group from Stradishall East Anglia  We were used to ops against Gernany but we were first heavy bombers to arrive in India'  Went on Mission [Long Haul] only map available finished 20 miles to north. Had sextants but NO tables, NO radio fix available, and NO met info.  Ploughed on 3 hrs using winds info given at briefing. Suddenly hit horrendous storm with extreme buffeting and blinding flashes. 'We fell out of the sky at an alarming angle when with wild surge of power the engines roared into life'  Suddenly Sammy in rear turret shouted over intercom 'This is bloody stupid Lets get to hell out of it'  At that we turned but we were hopelessly lost. Flew out of storm  Got rid of bombs in a river bed and Jim the pilot did a forced landing in a field which was hair raising after being in the air 8hrs 25 mins and with no fuel left and a bomb hung up on board. Four kites came back after 2 hrs and 1 crew was never heard of again.

Other than being an interesting story and yet another example of how crews had to pay with their lives from the incompetence of their superiors, it is also rare evidence that crews from the 214 had been robbed to staff the newly reformed 215 which was destined for the Middle East.

ENGLANDS LAST HOPE
  NeedlesNewsNothing
A short story by P/O Foskett

As far as India was concerned, we were fully trained and operational on Wellingtons at 15 OTU Harwell. Our posting was to India and at that time we were with Squadron Ldr, Packe as our pilot . In keeping with all overseas postings, we were given 9 different jabs (needles) before we left Harwell and told to report to the London Hospital of Tropical Diseases on the way home,  to receive the yellow fever jab. That one was in the backside, the others were in both arms and titties. (barbarians - the very thought makes one cringe) When I finally arrived at the Hampstead underground station with two fully loaded kit bags strung round my neck, I had a very high temperature and felt knackered. Tossing my bags onto the train,  I still remember to this day the train guard calling to his mate "Fred; here comes Englands last hope"  The next three days were spent recovering ! Then over the following six days I received 7 telegrams ( in those days it was by a uniformed lad on a bike) and each one was a different posting. Although it was reassuring to feel needed everywhere at once, The RAF's wisdom came seriously under question when I opened the 7th telegram informing me to revert to the status quo. All those jabs were for nothing !!

 "N" for Nut's
by F/L A.C. Wallace

The following is an excerpt from a letter F/L Wallace wrote to Geoff Shattock in 1996 (pilot) in where he describes a raid on Rostock on the 20th of April 1943 when they were approaching the target (Heinkel Works) and nervous a rear gunner  in the Stirling in front of them opened fire on them shooting Geoff through the leg and generally ventilating the plane.


" It was on April 20, and we took off  at  2157  on ` N for nuts'.  Weather was very good and we could get a landfall as we crossed the coast somewhere around  Cromer . Got good Gee fixes for a while then  took some Polaris shots when we ran out of Gee range. We were routed a long way north, and crossed the Danish  coast pretty well on track at nearly 56 degrees N.,  at the south end of Rinkabing Fjord. There was some flak, and by this time  you had come right down to treetop height.

From there on it got quite exciting,  probably  one of the most exciting  times of my life. Having got a good pinpoint at the coast and having no further nav aids, I came up and sat with you prepared to map read us the rest of the way.  We could see the tank defences along the coast  (mainly big sort of angle iron contraptions). The trees went by in an alarming way, and we could see doors being flung open and even people standing in the light of their homes. Dickie remarked that we could almost tell people we'd been in Denmark rather than over it. We crossed Denmark fairly fast (Jutland , that is),  and crossed  Fyn,  Langland and Lolland. These are what they are called now but I'm not sure they were that on my chart. At one point there was a lot of light flak around and some of it was coming right at us.  I should recall that the term `light flak ` refers to the type ( Bofors with  tracer) rather than to the severity!  Hunt was in the front turret and started yelling  "Those sons of bitches!", and opened fire on them . Tommy and Dickie  joined in and I'm not sure whether we shut them up or just drew attention to ourselves.                     

As we reached the open Baltic Sea, you climbed to about 3000 ft., and all was clear as day. I could see all the land marks and we turned on about 200 T. to Rostock, soon in sight.  However, as we drew closer, it was obvious that Jerry had put up a massive smoke screen over the whole area; in fact, the  "Bomber Command War Diaries", a remarkable publication, states that as a result, the bombing was scattered.   This was no town blitz- we were after the Heinkel Works. As we started our target run as best we could, I saw a Stirling weaving a bit ahead of us. Then there was a rather unpleasant bang, and you said something like "Oh, Jesus Christ!"  Then you said `take that!', referring to the control stick.  Then you called "Hunt, come up here quick!" As the only even remotely qualified second pilot, he let the bombs go and came up and took over the controls.

I gave Hunt a course to steer. I told him to steer 015M for 10 minutes and then turn on 315. Then I went and found a flashlight and got your flying boot off.   It was full of blood and there was a hole through your leg below the knee. I got the medical kit and put a shell dressing on it, but didn't try any fancy hemostasis because I was sure it would quit bleeding O.K. All this messing around in the dark took a while, about 20-25 minutes, and when I got back up with Hunt he was still steering 015 - either he hadn't heard me or didn't have a watch. I looked out and could see clearly the Copenhagen area right ahead.  So we turned on about 270 and headed for home. In answer to your recent comment, I can't imagine that anyone even remotely thought of bailing out.

The trip back was pretty uneventful. You described the amount of pain you had as about equal to a severe toothache. You soon took over the controls and declined any more help. I offered to shoot some codeine into you with some very neat little gadgets in the medical kit, but you were obviously scared it might destroy your razor-sharp awareness. Smitty  radioed ahead something like: Pilot wounded; all O.K. When we got to base the Waaf on Flying Control asked: "What is the nature of your wounds?" and you answered that you had a bullet in the calf of your leg. You set it down perfectly and were whisked away to the hospital.  Next day the ground crew found that ONE bullet had cut off the cockpit lighting,  cut out the hydraulic exactor control of one port engine, gone through your leg, mangled some of my charts, and still had enough zip to make a dent in the armour plating beside my navigation table.

 It was a bad night for 3 Group (20/04/1943) - we lost 8 of 80 planes and didn't do a good job. Also a lot of people who got back were shot up with some killed including one gunner from 214."

This is probablly the most comprehensive listing of cigarettes available during WW2 that was ever assembled.

All of these were either sent from Canada to Germany or were traded for amongst POWs. All were available between 1941 and 1945. Complements of POW Sgt. Marshall Johnson, 214 Squadron.

Buckingham, Brittish Console, Players, Sweet Caporal, Gold Flake, Winchester, Scotch Blends, Capatan, State Express 444, State Express 333, State Express 555, State Express 777, Senoir Service, Fifteens, Churchman, Royal Oak, Gallahers, Black Cat, Tenners, Rum & Maple, Raleigh, Wild Woodbines, Chesterfield, Camela, Juno, Roy, Diana Martins, Old Gold, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Twenty Grand, R6, Canadian Legion, Phillip Morris, Torch, Riverhead Gold, Doux Caporals, Eligant, Wrights, Helas, Plane, Helas, Junak, Haudegen, Domino, Drava, Tenners, Marchorkows, Haudegen, Papastratos

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