A Lad in the RAF.
The Auster Man.
["Don't want no water, no oil, no chocks. Just don't touch a thing!": Sketch by Joe Bosher 1959.]
Don't Touch a Bloody Thing.
Whilst serving with the RAF at Church Fenton around 1958(ish) I worked on the Station Flight. Apart from servicing our own Anson and Provost aircraft we also dealt with visiting aircraft at times. This entailed marshaling, parking, checking oil and refueling many different types of aircraft.
Most of these visitors were military aircraft but not all. Visiting small civil aircraft, some owned by local businessmen, would use our airfield for short stop-offs. The Station Flight ground crew shared out the responsibilities of receiving and servicing any incoming visitor. On one occasion, when it was my turn to do the honours, the aircraft was recognised as an Auster we had seen before.
I used to wind this particular Auster owner up by rushing out wearing my dayglow jacket carrying marshaling bats, chocks and a big oil can. If the bowser driver was around he would join in the fun by jumping in the driving seat and starting it up.
The poor man would land, taxi and stop on the grass some distance away from of the parking area, leap out and use his own chocks to park. Then he would rush towards me waving his hands shouting something like "Don't touch a bloody thing. Its costing me a fortune coming here." He would then moan on that it cost him money every time I touched the plane. I think he said 7/6 for using our chocks?
Normally marshalling was quite informal but if a squadron arrived we used bats or wands. Because we had a Flying Training Group Headquarters (forget the number) there were occasions to marshall posh aircraft. For air rank official planes we wore white overalls and were inspected by the SWO for shiny boots and buttons, even those that couldn't be seen.
Let's Hear Your Stories.
I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any stories about this aircraft; humorous, technical or historical. Any aircraft marshalling stories? Please use the Feedback Form to contact me briefly, in the first instance.
Joe Bosher (74th).