We are seeing great and heroic stories of wartime heroes, but what of Women?

January 8

In 1942 Britain asked the US to build for us the new British Specification B24, Liberator four engine Bomber. The first plane was sent from Arizona to St Johns, Newfoundland, flying by day with five crew, they made the journey in three days, the Pilot and Engineer were both British, on landing they went immediately to the canteen Bar and got stuck into that Canadian Beer.

The plane was refuelled  and checked over; the new  pilot clambered alone into the Cockpit, started the aircraft and took off into the black evening sky, flying completely alone, using only compass, air speed indicator and a height above sea level indicator, the flyer had to leave the seat (No Automatic Pilots during the War),  manually alter, propeller pitch control, fuel control valves, supercharger controls, engineering information dials, as well as making tea and sandwiches for the many hour flight, not forgetting taking a ‘pee!

As the Sunrise in the East came over the Horizon the part-time Aviator had to prepare to land the massive bomber on the long runway at Keflavick in Iceland, where at last the young Woman would go to the female quarters and sleep.  She would hand over to another Aircraft Delivery Pilot, who would take the plane to Prestwick in Scotland and thence to Manchester where the MEN would take over to do the really dangerous work.

It is worth noting that this Bomber had never before made this journey, in fact no Bomber had ever crossed the Atlantic before.

John Cook

ps  No SHE didn’t get a medal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Cook flies in.

December 18

My Son Nicholas found himself in Guildford last evening and telephoned me an invitation to Dinner, I dismissed his thought of him taking a train to me and was soon in my trusty Car.

I now own one of those things you stick to the windscreen which, to my amazement speaks!.  I bought her to help me to find the R.N. Club at Portsmouth but although I read the nine word

instructions over and over, not a squeak did the lady make,  I took her to my old pal, Peter Jackman and after clicking a button only fifty times he had the gadget ready to Drive.

Triumphantly I drove to the Portsmouth Club, a nightmare of  that City’s Topography.  After a fine Christmas Lunch I regained the Car, clicked the button another fifty times, not a word would the

magic voice speak, I followed the “Out of City” signs and was soon back to the Motorway.

I sped to Guildford arriving there about 6pm, in the traffic mayhem I found myself at the wrong end of a one way street.  A foreign gentleman approached and No he did not know this Hotel, wait

said I , I have this contraption on the back seat;  he leapt at its throat with both hands and have pressed the buttons again only fifty times said Goodbye (in almost perfect English)….the Woman

told me to turn around and go the other way, I did and without too much trouble found the Hotel, found the Reception Desk, found a tall foreign gentleman and with the greatest amount of

confusion the gentleman found my Son.

It was a wonderful evening in one of these American’esque Hotels, there were at least six of these tall Floor Walkers to be seen in Reception and Dining area all of them in dark suits and

wearing these daft pointed toes (Sinbad) shoes.  The Waitress who served us was a middle aged Lady prim and helpful, the food was good, everything went very well….my Son leant over and took

the Salad off of my plate eating every morsel.  Nicholas has lived in France now most of his life, so I forgive him.

 

 

 

The ever wonderful Penny sticks to her Guns.

November 8

Last evening had dinner with my friend Penny, she has agreed to go Carol Singing with me again this year. I think that will be the third year in a row.  Over the lovely food we discussed the rights and wrongs of the world, which we have done on previous occasions.  I made the point that I like our Prime Minister and would probably vote for him, however am I wrong or did the Leader of the Opposition, kick over the First Domino of the Western World’s proposal to attack Syria and in so doing did the French Domino fall followed by the American one.  That being the case, I will have to reconsider my ever important Vote and take into account those Women and Children of our young soldiers who would have certainly died in that action, to say nothing of the slaughter of the Syrian Men Women and Children.

Penny on the other hand felt strongly that those Tyrants, Saddam Husayn,  Assad and all others who take the life of those who oppose their dictatorship, must have their cumuppance, no matter how many people are lost   in delivering that cumuppance.  She felt that those who use force of arms to dominate their own people, must be punished. Whereas my feeling was to let the Dictator, Dictate, if it is going to cost the  lives of Half a Million Human Beings to dislodge him.

Penny believes in Principle whereas I only believe in Numbers.

 

 

 

 

Peter Webberley joins the Campaign to name the SCOTT-PAINE Bridge

November 5

Peter Webberley has joined the fight to name the Southampton Woolston Bridge, The Scott-Paine Bridge,

Just one of the points Peter makes;

Scott-Paine was an innovator who started the world’s first International Passenger Airline which later blossomed into Imperial Airways and later still became BRITISH AIRWAYS.

1940, Message from Father in the US; “Sally Forth Elizabeth”

October 11

 

 

Teenager Elizabeth Scott-Paine looked again at the

message and couldn’t believe her eyes.  Life for her

was wonderful at the moment, she was involved with

what was to become her life long passion,.. Horses.

The young lady had to immediately remove herself

from the Riding School of  Major  Cave-Humphroy,

(for Advanced Riders and Teachers), where she was

taking her exams to take her,  I:O:H   ( Institute of

Horse).   She had never dreamt of disobeying any of

her Father’s wishes, and so with a heavy heart she

left Imber Court and within a few hours presented

herself at the Flying Boat Dock in Poole, Dorset. She

had Ten Pounds in her Pocket.

Elizabeth jumped into the 30ft Sea Plane Tender which

took her to the enormous  Flying Boat, the engines

roared and the plane eventually took off into the bright

morning sky.  Four hours later she landed in Spain, the

craft re-fuelled and quickly took off again towards

Gibraltar, re-fuelled again and stayed for the night at

the South of France.  The Flying Boat of the day, could

fly less than four hours before landing for fuel, then as

now, passengers have to disembark for this purpose, then

continue their journey, thus Elizabeth had to endure not

less than twelve take-offs and twelve landings as well as

four nights in Hotels on the route. All of these movements

requiring one of Father’s Sea plane Tenders to move the

passengers and crew, the Royal Mail, freight and baggage.

Eventually they arrived at Mombasa in Kenya where she

was transferred to a six-seat plane which took her to Umtali.

Then one last stage in the Mail Plane where she sat next to

the Pilot in this very small Aircraft;  Bulawayo was reached

as the dusk crept over the horizon. This Town in Rhodesia

was to be her new home for the next Ten Years.

The cost of this flight:- a little over six hundred pounds.

Elizabeth Scott- Paine with her savings bought a little motor car

for sixty pounds and a Pony for another sixty pounds.  From this

small beginning, she built her life as a horse woman, built her

own stables and made her living from them, joined the RAF as a

Driver, drove Ambulances, Busses and Three Ton Lorries…..

Found time to court and marry a ‘Wellington’ Pilot, have two kids

and live happily ever after.

Elizabeth lives on in Salisbury (England), where I visit her at least

once a week, our main topic of conversation? Hubert Scott-Paine

and my Campaign to have the Woolston Bridge named after him.

john Cook

1940 prices,  10 cigarettes, 10pence (4p)

War Widows Pension, £22 per annum

Average council Rent  8 shillings per week (40p)

Children’s pocket money 3 to 6d  (1 to 3p)

UKIP or not to UKIP that was my question

September 23

The UKIP incident of Mr Bloom throwing a copy of the TV  Times at the wolves got me interested, I watched the Parliament channel for more than two hours, saw Mr Blooms speech and what do you know it was a good speech, a lot of sensible planning for their term in office (they are bound to get some seats), then two other well educated gentlemen giving speeches at least as good as any Conservative ones, particularly about Higher Education, then a down to earth talk by their outgoing President;  that settled it for me!

I will give them a chance for my vote at the ballot box, there really is more substance in that Party than just Lafarge (spelling).  Had Tea yesterday afternoon with an elderly couple at Christchurch, the old man almost at once asked me………..John, what do you think about UKIP?

First World War – Our Teenager at the Front

September 19

Seventeen year old Bertie Stubbings, kissed his Mum goodbye and before his eighteenth Birthday was fighting in France, wounded in the Somme, captured and spent the rest of the war in a German Prison Camp then home to Peace and work. The young man, always clever with his hands, took up the trade of Fine Art Blacksmith; leaving behind him the Slaughter of France, he applied his wonderful God Given skill to religious articles of worship. Today you can see his Altar Cross on the High Altar at Washington Cathedral, where Presidents as well as the Common Man have lain in State. Or nearer to hand at Wells Cathedral in Somerset, where his work again on the High Altar, has been seen for more than half a century already. The young Soldier, although wounded in battle, and decorated with The Legion of Honour went on to live to the age of One Hundred Years. (pictured on the day of ‘his century)
Details, pictures etc. supplied by; Mr. and Mrs. Stubbings

RASC Humber goes to Great Yarmouth

September 4

I will be a member of the crew when Humber sails the ten miles from Lowestoft to the Great Yarmouth Festival on Friday 6th September 2013.  She will accompany  the Royal Navy MTB 102. I have been three times before on that vessel and will sleep on her over three nights  in my normal cabin.  I have only slept two nights in the Wardroom and am never shy in telling visitors, “I don’t know weather I slept on Churchill’s bunk, or was it Eisenhowers?” When the two great men were on her as they inspected the beaches before ‘D’ Day.   Humber is the older sister of our  boat, RASC Garth, which is just about to leave its moorings in Sandwich under the control of its new skipper, Tom Lash, Chairman.

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival.

September 3

Spoke on the ‘phone this morning to Richard Basey of MTB 102 fame, I am to go as crew on either ’102

or RASC Humber, both are going this year.  Last year over the two days 40,000 visitors came to see us,

together with six other craft.  I met with many interesting people including the local Vicar who was having a

pint or two at a Real Ale festival at a local Pub.  I had met the Mayor, the Lord Sheriff and his Lady, plus about 500

others;  I am looking forward to the trip.

This Sunday I  was down on RASC Garth at Sandwich again meeting the many visitors to the town.

Jimmy Nunn, a small man with a Big History

September 3

Yesterday I called on Jimmy at the Old Peoples Home in Marchwood, the young lady who attended me, asked does he know you well, would he have worked with you? That sounded ominous, I replied, that I worked for him for many years at British Military Powerboat Trust; the beautiful very slim and most elegant female who was very definitely from the Indian Sub-Continent, moved away her simple grey dress emphasising her delicate colour.

She came back and told be he was asleep in front of the Television, I looked for just a moment, the TV was big and colourful, six old ladies were watching,  all in those high backed Hospital Chairs, Jimmy was bent almost double in his, the Indian Princess touched his sleeve gently but he did not stir,  I signed the Visitors Book and went away….Old men cry very easily, so it was no surprise for me to shed a tear as I drove home (recently his family sold me Jimmy’s car), so I am not likely to forget him visit or no visit. One day I shall write a few more lines about his war work- in Weybridge and Washington,  John

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