On the Rust we do not often write about the same event from different perspectives but I was at the lunch referred to by JS Bird in his post yesterday. I would like to share some anecdotes with you.
Conversation turned to our fathers as two brothers present had a parent who had served in Fleet Air Arm. One commented that as an accountant he was in fact purser on HMS Illustrious and had never in fact landed a plane on an aircraft carrier. I was able to match the tale with one of my own dear father who was conscripted to RAF Uxbridge as a medical officer in 1948. His wing commander, a keen sailor, was a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. His wife preferred to go shopping at Harrods so he asked my father if he would sail with him. My father readily accepted.
On one trip the Wing Commander asked my father how long he had been a Flight Lieutenant. After my father replied he said” Well then Tickler it’s about time we promoted you to Squadron Leader.” There was a batch of flight lieutenants some of who had seen war service and all of whom, unlike my father, had been in a plane. My father who had yet to get off the ground was promoted over them. It rather reminded of the witty words of Gilbert and Sullivan’s song “Ruler of the Queen’s Navy” in:
“Landsmen , wherever you may be
if you wish to rise to the top of the tree
stick close to your desk and never go to sea
and you will be the ruler of the Queen’s Navy.”