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brass with messages from each of them, and a Karsh colour photograph of Her Majesty on the first page with a warm message from her too. And there, right in the middle of the glossy brochure, was my article spread over two centre pages. If I had known it was even remotely likely to be used I would have been more careful in composing it. But there it was, and here it is now, for it does something to describe what flying was like out there in Southern Rhodesia, so I make no apologies for it. The article was preceded by a note headed ‘A Bouquet for Instructors’, which read:


‘There is no doubt that most of us attending this Reunion can


significantly attribute our presence here to the excellence of the flying training we received under the British Commonwealth Air Training Programme. We take this opportunity to recognise, with appreciation, the patience and dedication of all Flying Instructors, the unsung heroes of the War.’


Then there followed the heading for the article followed by a short note about the author which I need not repeat here. This was the article:


REMINISCENCES OF A FLYING INSTRUCTOR


With one proviso, it must surely be the case that wartime flying training in what was then called Southern Rhodesia produced a record of success which few other parts of the world could have equalled. The outstanding feature of that training was the climate it enjoyed and the weather and the weather conditions which resulted. The proviso can only be that the weather was, indeed, too good. After a year of instructing on Oxfords at Brize Norton, the writer was


posted to No. 22 SFTS, Thornhill, to carry on instructing, this time on Harvards, at this grass airfield on the edge of Gwelo, the Colony’s fourth ‘city’. The posting lasted two years to the day, from October 10th 1941 to October 10th 1943; and the remarkable feature of that experience was that during the whole of those two years a full flying training programme was carried out on every day except one. That day was lost not because of anything the weather was doing up aloft but because torrential rain had so soaked the grass field that it was wisely decided not to spoil its surface by allowing any traffic on it for 24 hours. Southern Rhodesian weather was utterly predictable. The dry or


‘winter’ season lasted from March until October, to be followed by a similar six-month period of the wet or ‘summer’ season. Consistently throughout the dry months the sky was a clear, bright, blue dome. No drop of rain, no hint of cloud relieved what for many became the sheer monotony of


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