Clangers – Peter Harris (20th)
I just remembered this among the many clangers I dropped.
In April 1955 after passing out from Apprentice Training at RAF Hereford, I was posted to RAF Little Rissington. I had a single room in the Barrack Block with central heating which after the wooden hut and coke stove at Hereford was luxury. I worked in the General Office looking after documents dealing with real people, and after a couple of months was moved on to Movements. Airmen going to the Far East went via PDU Innsworth, while those to Germany to the Hook of Harwich. One day I dealt with two airmen going to Germany and one to Innsworth. I thought I was pretty smart the way I looked after them until my WO, George Squires called me into his office and said I had sent the wrong people to the wrong places! Chastised, I kept my head well down. I was then sent as a member of an Emergency Wing to RAF Hornchurch during the National Rail Strike, a very good job, which involved me doing about three hours work a day, directing stranded airmen to assembly points. I slept on a camp bed next to the phone in the office in case any stranded airman in the London area required assistance Other than the foregoing I did very little other than be a passenger on an Anson flight to Little Rissington and return delivering my OC’s dirty washing to his MQ and collecting replacements. One day I had to march 90 airmen to their assembly point – without my Apprentice training I do not think I could have done that.
Also during my time at Little Rissington I was detached to the Care and Maintenance Party at RAF Moreton in Marsh. My only job was to redirect mail take it to the post office and complete the 1510? for airmens pay. There were 30 of us there comprising Aerial Erectors, Suppliers, Cooks and Admin. We all lived in the Officer’s Mess. We had a Flying Officer CO who lived out, came in about 10 and left about 4 each day. He never spoke to me for the month I was there. He kept his office door locked and anything needing to be signed I pushed under the door. He communicated with me by written notes. The first day I took the redirected mail to the PO, the MT Driver informed me that they never went back to camp before visiting a local cafe!!
I went back to normal duties in the Orderly Room still on Movements! A month or so later the WO called me into his office and said that my promotion to Corporal had arrived. After my clanger, I was sure he would not approve it. He told me to realise my potential and authorised my promotion and I was posted to RAF Ternhill.