This time it was to Cosford, this was the Second School Of Technical Training.
Here I went through my old routine of training again. Having completed the training,
I came out as a qualified fitter, which gave me far more responsibility for the
aircraft engines than I had previously had. It was a pleasant experience; once
again I saw all the different types of aircrafts and how they worked. This time,
I learnt far more about them.
Having completed the course as a qualified fitter, I was posted to Oakington, onto 4242 Squadron. These were York aircraft. Now the York aircraft had four engines, a very square bodied frame and was the latest type of transport aircraft. I was quite happy with the old Merlins .The people who had been on bomber aircraft during the war were now being retrained onto civilian types of aircraft. These York aircraft mainly were used to transport goods and personnel. I had my own crew of flight mechanics and my job was the responsibility for removing and replacing props, as and when required along with replacing engines when their flying time had been completed.
On one occasion, which I remember very well, we were detailed on the Saturday dinner time, just before we were due to go on weekend leave, that an aircraft was coming in and it would be required to go out again on the Monday morning to the Far East to bring some of the lads back from the Japanese area of the war. These were ex Prisoners Of War of the Japanese and were unable to return by sea. I asked my crew for volunteers to get this aircraft ready, so it could go to bring the lads back home. I had a full crew volunteer, so we proceeded. We removed two propellers, two engines, replaced the engines with new ones and replaced the props. I had to check these procedures at all points, as I was responsible for all this. The aircraft was fully checked and I signed it off as ready to fly. I reported in to my Commanding Officer and to my surprise, he in formed me that a crew would be coming straight out to fly the aircraft-I would be required to go with them.
My role was to go with the crew on a full circuit, to make sure that the aircraft engines and props were fully functional. We took off and went up into the air. As we flew along, I was waiting to be told that I would be dropped off, but as time passed, and as I looked out of the window, I realised that we were flying north and heading towards Scotland. We did in fact go to Scotland, where upon I went up to the door, into the front compartment and knocked. The aircrew looked at me with astonishment, that I was in the back-they had forgotten all about me going with them! They had gone off into a training flight for a new aircrew .As it was impossible to do anything about it, the only thing I could do was to sit tight and wait until they had finished. Eventually, as we were over Scotland, I was asked to go into the cabin and the pilot apologised to me for forgetting me. To compensate me, he asked if I would like to sit in the other seat and watch from the front. I said, “yes” as I had never flown in the cockpit of one of these aircraft before-fighter aircraft only have one seat. As I sat there, the pilot asked me if I would like to take over the controls. I said “yes” and he turned the aircraft from being over Glasgow to heading towards Edinburgh. I then took full control, putting my two feet into the steering compartments for the rudder and took the steering joystick. The pilot told me to keep it at 27,000 feet and follow the road down below. This was the main road from Glasgow to Edinburgh-he then apologised for the long flight, when I should be at home getting some sleep! As we carried on, we eventually flew over Edinburgh and I returned to the back of the aircraft. Prior to my return, the pilot asked me where I lived, I told him Hull on the River Humber-he smiled, and said he would let me know when we were approaching and I could go forward and have a look.