Death of a Fighter Pilot
RAF Hornchurch July 1940
‘SCRAMBLE! SCRAMBLE! SCRAMBLE!’ The alarm was shouted loudly into his ear and it startled him to the fullest possible extent. He had been asleep, dozing peacefully in the large wicker garden chair. Indeed he was still not fully awake as pure reflex took over, launching him to his feet. He rose, instinctively reaching for his flying helmet and goggles - but something was wrong, very wrong, for as he fumbled for the headgear, so he plunged headlong to the ground, landing awkwardly. A galaxy of stars burst within his head as the painful impact knocked the wind from his lungs.
In a state of panicked confusion he struggled to free his feet in order to stand, but he could not regain his footing, for his flying boots were bound tightly together with a silk scarf and he merely ended up thrashing around in an ungainly fashion, like some kind of large comical maggot.
The sound of mirth was hearty and Colin grimaced as he looked up and saw the gleeful faces of his tormentors framed against the vast blue summer sky.
His boots had been tied firmly together with an impossible knot and he was having difficulty in finding any dignified way of getting to his feet. Judging by the reaction it received, each failed attempt was adding to the hilarity of the overall situation. The whole flight were now laughing fit to burst - So he gave up the struggle and joined in the prank by simply laying there on the ground and pretending he didn’t give a hoot, feigning carefree sleep.
Ambulance Driver, Lance Corporal Mavis Digby bent over him and placing her mouth close to his ear, she whispered ‘Welcome to 65 Squadron!’ And with that she kissed his cheek.
He felt like a complete fool lying there face down in the sweet grass, but he was grinning all the same.
Colin and Mavis celebrated their 60th Wedding anniversary in 2004. Colin suffered a beating ‘for fun’ when their flat was burgled in 2005. The ‘youths’ that broke in – took £65 in cash and Colin’s medals. Colin never recovered from his injuries and died in hospital two weeks later.
His DFC medal was sold on EBAY two weeks ago.
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