As the Crow Flys Risk
“RISE AND SHINE, YOU SCABBY LAYABOUTS!” Shouted Bomber Hill, “Sort out your ablutions and assemble outside in thirty minutes for a briefing, and that’s AN ORDER !, you can catch up on yer sleep on the journey out.”
The briefing had been arranged by Blossom before the troop stepped onto the Beverly, to inform them that the aircraft was due to stop off at RAF Muharrag in Bahrain to refuel before flying on to RAF Shalala in Oman.
The troops clambered aboard the plane with all their kit straight after the briefing and the pilot wasted no time before taxing out onto the runway precisely at 0600 hrs.
Just after take off the men settled down to play cards, “ Hey up lads, just realised summit!, old Sick Leave is still we us, thought he’d a jumped ship by an,” commented Corporal Bing Crosby jokingly in his broad Yorkshire accent. “Suppose yer think that’s funny Crosby!” Sick Leave said grumbling under his breath as he chewed on half an old Mars bar which he’d just found in the top pocket of his combat jacket.
Corporal Bing Crosby who’s home town was in Sheffield South Yorkshire, had been stationed with ‘Red Troop’ for well over two years now and had seen action in Northern Ireland, as well as serving with NATO troops in Sierra Leone, so he was well versed in how to handle himself in a combat zone and was looking forward to action in the Gulf State of Oman. Unlike Sick Leave, Lance Corporal Paul Silver, who had spent most of his time in the Royal Military Police behind a desk in the NATO Headquarters building in Brussels, and had decided that he now wanted to see a bit of action, so he had applied for a transfer to 19 Brigade RMP Cherry Tree Camp in Colchester, and was excepted due to working with NATO.
“Right you lot listen in, ” said Sergeant Bomber Hill. “We will soon be landing in Muharrag so I don’t want anyone wondering off to go sightseeing, were only there for a short stay to refuel, so get some grub down you from the NAFFI and get back to the aircraft ’ Two Tweet Fourth With, GET IT! I don’t want to have to come looking for anyone is that understood”, said Bomber sternly.
“No problem Sarg ! we will all make sure ‘Sick Leave’ doesn’t do a runner,” shouted Corporal Robert Lang laughing out loud from the rear of the plane.
Corporal Lang nicknamed (The Dog) was the joker of the pack, but hard as nails and with mussels to prove it. He was well known on the streets of Hong Kong where praise doesn’t come lightly. Whilst stationed with the RMP in the colony during the 1960s The Dog made his reputation by arresting any soldier, sailor, or airman that stepped out of line in the bars and brothels on Hong Kong Island, and that included officers and all members of the United States Fleet who had arrived in Hong Kong for repatriation leave.
As instructed the troop were soon strapped back into their seats ready for takeoff within the hour, much to the relief of their Troop Sergeant Bomber Hill.
Ten minutes into the flight and the Beverly troop plane hit a large pocket of warm Gulf air which serverly shook the plane and sent some of the troops kit bags rolling to the rear of the plane. “See I told you what these bloody planes were capable of Torchy!” Shouted Woody, who was sat holding onto his seat belt for dear life looking like death warmed up.
“I suppose you want your mummy with you to hold yer bloody hand Woody,” commented Sergent Bomber Hill. “Well get use to it lad because life is going to get a dam sight rougher than this very shortly.” No one said a word but just stared at one another, as the plane started to level off onto a smoother flight path once again, to the great relief of the troop.
An hour into the flight and Blossom came out of the flight deck after talking with the captain, “ Listen up lads!, The captain has just informed me that were in for a rough landing on RAF Shalala airfield. Rebels in the surrounding hills are sending a barage of mortar shells down on the camp which may mean a quick in out exit for the Beverly, so I want every man Jack of you to be ready to jump off the plane and onto the airfield as soon as we land. The captain will do his best to zigzag and slow down to a safe speed for everyone to jump clear, but he will not stop under any circumstanses and will take off again as soon as everyones off the plane with their weapons and equipment. IS THAT UNDERSTOOD ?”
“Boy I wasnt expecting that Sir,” commented Sick Leave, “Expect the unexpected from now on Sick Leave, AND GET USE TO IT!,” growled Blossom.
“Here we go, Buckle up lads!” Shouted the captain over the Tannoy system, as he put the plane into a slow steep dive situation, which made everyones head feel light and their stomacks churn up. The Beverly circled the runway and the captain checked out the surrounding hills and countryside before placing the aircraft on a heading towards the airfield landing lights.The captain spotted smoke coming from the centre of the camp, and more smoke driffting upwards from the runway.
“Zulu One to control tower!, Zulu One to control tower!, whats the situation down there?” Shouted the captain over the radio, and back came the reply, “ Not good im afraid Zulu One, rebels shelling the camp and airfield, risky landing I’m afraid, do you want to abort ?”
“Zulu One to control tower, not possible I’m afraid, instructed to land cargo ASAP, Please clear runway for drop off , as I will be taking off immediately cargo deployed “OK Zulu One, keep on heading 857 Delta,south west of runway, Artillery cover fire will commence on landing, GOOD LUCK !”