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fter that wonderful family reunion I had to get myself to the RAF hospital unit at Cosford, near Wolverhampton, for the delousing check which was, for me, so unnecessary and for some other formalities which I forget. I got over there somehow by train and then was determined to get back to the Squadron to hear what news I could gather of the crew and their movements, and at the same time to pick up my Vauxhall which was still parked there. The quickest way to Full Sutton was a train from Wolverhampton to York overnight, and I managed to snatch a few hours of sleep in it before we arrived there at 04.30 hours, an unconscionable time to arrive anywhere. I reported to the Transport Office on the station, which was fortunately open even at that hour, and enquired about possible transport to Full Sutton which, I was told, would be at 07.30 hours at the earliest. I did not feel at all like waiting around in the dim surroundings of York Station for another three hours. What trouble could it possibly be just to walk? It was a mere 13 miles, and I had done twice as much as that on many days of the German saga. I knew the way, so off I set, thoroughly enjoying a solitary walk through the May countryside, and reached Full Sutton just as the first of the aircrews were thinking about starting breakfast. I learned little more than Margaret and I between us knew of the crew, for the others were actually flown back from Germany later than I had managed by having reported sick, but I was able to give the Squadron the news I had of them. I went down to the crew room of ‘B’ Flight a little later, and there it was that I found the boys boasting of their ‘deep penetration’ raids on Germany since our departure, and where I got that free entry in the Flight Linebook when I claimed to have penetrated Germany further on foot than they had in the air.


Demobbed A


I saw Group Captain Udall,the Station Commander, and Wing Commander Forbes, our O/C Flying, and they congratulated me on the crew’s good fortune in getting away with it.


‘And what,’ they asked, ‘do you now want to do?’ ‘It’s not what I want to do,’ I replied, ‘It’s what I want to be!’ They knew exactly what I meant, and the Group Captain sent for an airman to whom he dictated a signal for Air Ministry in London, the message being that 76321 Flight Lieutenant Kilpatrick should be posted back to 77 Squadron with the rank of Squadron Leader at the end of his PoW leave. The Vauxhall started with no trouble at all, and off I went on that leave, complete with no less than the standard issue of 800 clothing coupons which real, long-serving PoWs were given. They made me quite popular with all members of the family. I really needed none myself, for my proper uniform of tunic etc. had been recovered from the Squadron in good shape. I enjoyed my leave and its release from the bothers of the preceding weeks.


153


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