February 1966 – Victor XL513 lands at Gan with a fire in the bomb bay. After initial repairs by Handley Page Working Party, I am part of the team sent by RAF Wittering to recover the aircraft.
We arrive in a Comet IV from Lyneham in May. – Blistering heat. The working day is 7am to 1pm with a further evening shift when necessary.
Afternoons either swimming or hacking a golf ball round the ‘golf course’ on the far side of the runway. If you lose the ball a helpful local will find it – for a shilling!
Evening at the sergeants Mess rehydrating on beer.
It is here, sitting under the palm trees, that we listen to the World Cup Final. Euphoria as England score twice in extra time. Finally XL513 is fully repaired and it’s time for me to re-install the NBS boxes and test the system. Wonder of wonders everything works! Two days later we watch the aircraft take off and head for home. Time to pack up and follow suit.
I arrive home rather tanned after six weeks in the tropics. My three-year old daughter takes one look and declares ‘That’s not my daddy.’