I have decided to move along more rapidly with this story…
It was on Malta that Norman discovered his Pilot, “The Baron” was quite adept with a revolver.
Baron had awoken to find his wallet being rifled through-and in a rage had chased the burglar across the roof of their mess firing after him.
After a particularly hectic party one night our pair of Flying Officers retired to their room with their roommate Pat Rapson, all pretty “clattered”, and had gone to bed with the light on.
“Turn that bloody light out” shouted Pat.
“Turn the bloody light out yourself” Norman shouted back.
Bang! Baron shot the light out with a single shot.
It was some weeks after they left Malta they heard Police had captured a burglar, with a pronounced limp-he had a bullet in his leg. Norman was to note, “Dangerous things, guns!”
Our intrepid pair were to move within the month to the forward air base at Pomigliano, near Naples along with ground crews. This would be their first “op” with Sticky up too as Flight Commander.
Amidst much miserable flying weather an incident occurred (Author‟s note: years later stories of Sticky’s jeep would permeate through the ranks of the aircrew, and to their families, and this incident may have been the start of it)
Baron and Norman had gone to Naples and while there visited the “Arizona Club”, a den of dubious repute, an obvious attraction to anybody wanting “booze” and female company, even though it was more akin to a wild west Saloon, undoubtedly run by the local mafia.
“Sticky has been grumbling about his lack of transport-what a boon a Jeep would be.”
So whilst “shopping” in Naples Baron and Norman decide to visit the Arizona Club. However what grabs their attention is parked right outside, with the key in the ignition.
“Sticky wants a Jeep-Sticky deserves a Jeep-he shall have a Jeep, so off we go. So much quicker to get back to camp this way too! Presenting his new toy to the boss we notice a certain lack of enthusiasm on his part-in fact he was torn between joy at the acquisition and concern about the possible inquisition. ‘There will be one hell of a row’ quoth he.”
Despite furious denials the Squadron were visited by a representative from the Provost Marshall’s Office, who insisted he search the Station. The Jeep meanwhile was pushed from a tent, around the perimeter track into a wood, and back into a tent again.
“Never the less it was considered too dicey to hang onto the thing and by then Sticky’s enthusiasm for the Jeep idea had waned”. Subsequently it was decided to quietly deposit the Jeep back outside the Arizona Club, where it had been “found”. (After a trip to Pompeii!!) This was duly carried out by Don Kimpton and Norman Conquer.
However within days B flight would be reunited with the rest of the Squadron at Alghero in Sardinia, their “new” base.
The Baron and Dave Atherton
Their time there would pass without incident, well, almost.
To be continued…