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to encourage parents to give their offspring cod liver oil and orange juice, he read out aloud the message ‘See That He Gets His!’ Deservedly or not, I was given a fair bit of leave which was spent getting integrated into the family, visiting my parents up in Redcar in North Yorkshire and in staying for a time with Margaret’s brother Len and his family in Rugby, where the two girls, Mary and Celia, were a little older and probably knew that I really did wear my officer’s hat at the correct, very slight angle. It was just good to be back to where the fields were a proper green and the grass was of a proper texture, even though it was mid-winter and the sun, if it actually had shone, would have done nothing to get anyone’s knees or any other part of the body the colour which was compulsory in Southern Rhodesia. I was summoned without much delay to attend for examination at the Central Medical Board of the RAF on January 14th and I duly found the Board just behind Tottenham Court Road and not in the Kingsway building where I had my first experience of the CMB in 1934.


This time, I tried hard to hear everything that was said and to strain to hear the hum in the headphones as they put me through the audiogram tests. Success! They knew quite well from the tests that I was slightly deaf, but pilots were not two a penny – even in those times their training was reputed to cost something like £10,000, which would be a fortune today. So they passed me. Presumably my blood pressure, though it had remained high, gave them no cause for concern and my eyesight, which my medical in 1934 had warned might be subject to early myopia, was still no problem. I was passed in the category A1H BH, which meant I was fit for any flying but should operate from the home base, the UK. Shortly after that medical I got news of my posting. I had wondered if, as


a very experienced instructor, I would be retained in Training Command to carry on with that job. But the posting was to No. 3 (P) AFU at South Cerney in Gloucestershire, just outside the town of Cirencester. I was destined to fly on operations and it was, to be honest, just a slight shock to think I was perhaps going to be shot at! But I got over that very quickly and accepted that it was time someone with my RAF history should be exposed to a bit of danger. I suppose, now, that AFU must have stood for Advanced Flying Unit, and I was attached to it from March 8th until the 25th of April and once again I found myself flying the Oxford, but from the pupil’s seat. The usual progressive exercises were followed through, and I found them somewhat frustrating. I possibly had as many hours on the Oxford as any of my instructors and, in the first part of the course, there was little that was new to me. I do well remember that on March 8th, having started the course on February 24th, I was subjected to a Progress Test by one S/Ldr Sayers. I remember it because I knew I was handling the Oxford as impeccably as I was able during that test, and I knew there was little if anything that he could fault – I had done too many progress tests in the other seat not to know what was happening. And my feelings were confirmed when


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