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No 32 Armament Fitters

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Front L to R: Doug (Pommy) Peers, Baz Faulkner, Montgomery, Dawson
Mid: Green, Jackson, Eastwood, Archer, Neville
Front: Ross, Thompson, Dick Hails, Knight, , Brian Macklin, Newbery
Absent: Barry Weston

 

 

 

 

At last, One has been inspired to try and bang out a little story.  
         
Last week-end I decided to clean out behind the bar, and low and behold, I found a beer mug made out of a Canberra starter cartridge.           

Bobby Thompson and I arrived at Willie-Town as new fitters on the 1st Sept. '67, and just as we were turning into the main gate,   A3-43 plowed into the road just in front of us.  (Sadly, that was the first of three fatal crashes that I was to witness over the next ten years ).  And with Bobby's influence, we were both posted into 2OCU Sabre, (Bobby was there as a Mech).

That was when I first met one of the worlds greatest gentlemen, Chiefy Gibbs (but thats another story).   There was also a lanky bloke by the name of nose-picka? Ring-picka? Oh I remember, Graham Pickering, (actually Graham must be getting even taller, I see from his picture that he has grown up through his hair) . Anyway he at some time had procured some TX starter carts and a length of brass round stock, and on the old lathe in the back of the section (an old Igloo hut behind the main hanger) was turning out some very nice 50cal cartridges, and with a little help from Graham, I made one too! (or was that a little hinerance from me Graham?). 
Anyway, then it was time to disarm the starter carts, which meant pulling out the big lump of  cordite and knocking out the primer, which was replaced with a silver coin. Threepence, I think?   Then it was time to dispose of the cordite, now, well one may ask, why didn't 'we' just take it to 481 ammo dump for disposal, but no, 'we' (me and some-other-fool) take it to the other side of the strip, about where the BAe hanger now is, which was an old dump of old aircraft bits. 

'We', being clever young gunnies know that this is going to cause a large amount of smoke, which may be seen by the tower.  'We' decide to hide it in a Vampire blast panel that we found, those of you that know, one tube was blanked of, and that was where we shoved it. Can't remember how we lit it, but we did, and that was when the poo hit the paddle.
The blast panel took off, straight for the strip, trailing a large plume of white smoke, and leaving a dead straight line of little bush fires back to the feet of two astonished wide-eyed boys!  One would not believe how far that bloody thing went in half a second. And with much shouting and stamping of feet we defeated the flames, retrieved the panel, jumped into the blitz wagon, and high-tailed it back to the section.
As we wandered back through the door, Chiefy quietly asked "And did we learn anything from our little adventure today Young Richard?"..... "Yes Sir"......"Good"....and that was the last word said about the 'situation'. 

All the bits were cleaned up and taken to 481 to be silver soldered together, where the WO/ic saw the 50cal's and wanted them broken down (Didn't believe that we made 'em!) 
Chiefy to the rescue with a little WO to WO chat, so they were put together, sent to town and chromed. And for the next forty years dragged half way around the world..... 
The chrome is starting to bubble around the base, and from memory, it wasn't that good to drink out of but it has once again found it's way to the front of the bar.....  

Hope this is worth a read,                                    

Dicky Hails.

 

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