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I particularly think back about my own Flight Commander, S/Ldr Pat Tipping, who married Elizabeth Walsh, the daughter of a well-known Oxford solicitor, whilst I served under him in ‘A’ Flight. He asked me to be his best man, and Margaret and I saw him safely married in our favourite city. Now I was going to say goodbye to the family too, and by this time we were indeed a family. John had been born on January 17th of 1941, happily whilst I was flying from Brize


S/Ldr Pat Tipping and Elizabeth Walsh, 1941


Norton near at hand. Margaret had gone into the Acland Nursing Home in the Banbury Road and all had been well. We had wanted to give him two names, and for the first we followed the good Scots custom of naming him for his paternal grandfather, for fortunately John was also the name of Margaret’s father. For his second name, Anthony, we picked on the name of my good friend P/O Tony Tisdall, one of the Oxford and Cambridge University Air Squadron group with whom I had started my wartime flying at Burnaston in December 1939. Tony had since been killed in action, so John Anthony Kilpatrick, now just seven months old, would carry his name just because we had liked both Tony and the name he thus passed on. I managed to leave behind, when I set sail for Southern Rhodesia at the beginning of September, a few ciné films for Margaret to expose and record his progress whilst I was abroad, although at the time there did seem to be a chance that she would be allowed to bring him out and join me there. Alas! The pressure on sea transport to take troops to the Far East was building up to the extent that no more families could be allowed to follow, and she had to stay with John in her parents’s home for the next twenty eight months of my absence abroad.


In the time at Brize Norton I had progressed from being a Pilot Officer, the Acting bit of my rank having been dropped after the first six months, to a full- blown Flying Officer and had been able to sew on my broader single stripe in December 1940. My RAF daily rate of pay, which had started at eleven shillings and tenpence (about 58p) a day, improved to something like twelve shillings and sixpence (62 1


shillings and twopence (91p ) as a Flying Officer. There was a wife’s allowance, but I can no longer remember what it was. Not that it mattered – United Steels


46


/2p) when the ‘Acting’ was dropped, and then to eighteen


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