“After doing the usual rounds of signing in we were allocated to ‘watches ‘ – much of the traditions of the RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) seem to have survived into Coastal Command. On a morning watch we would parade in the hangar for prayers by the chaplain and then allocated duties. The watch system gave 1 day off in 8. The work was fairly routine – daily inspections, in between flight inspections, refuelling, plug changes but even this could be difficult since there was a general shortage of tools and overalls. Coins of the realm were much in evidence when removing and replacing engine cowlings. There was also a shortage of aircraft covers which often meant leaving aircraft overnight exposed to the elements and in the morning it was virtually impossible to start the aircraft engines without the prolonged use of hot air blowers. One other job I recall was emptying 4 gallon petrol cans into the main station petrol tank – these were leftovers from the unsuccessful Norwegian campaign. On the night watch for our meal we would be marched down to the Airmen’s Mess which was situated about ¼ – ½ mile from the main camp, the meals were good and you seldom needed to make use of the NAAFI. A YMCA van used to call during the night watch.”
Pay parade was near the SWO’s (Jack Sutherland?) office. Coming where he did in the alphabet he said:
“There were so many Johns and Jones I thought my turn would never come.”
Extracted from RAF Silloth – Wartime memories of the men and women who knew the airfield at Silloth when it was operational. Ed. Maggie Clowes. Retyped by Chris Graham.