I finished the ground school course and got my licenses and was then notified that I was posted to Hamble, near Southampton to take an Aero Cadet course. [William (Billy) Gill was one of the many chaps I met at Hamble. He later served with me after the war in 1957 as Squadron C.O. , Night Fighters, at R.A.F. Wahn, in Germany, finaly retiring as an Air Vice Marshal with a D.S.O.]. At the end of the course all of us were posted to No.8 Flying Training School at Montrose, Scotland. When I arrived at Montrose I found that I would be partnered off with another pilot and that we would work together for the rest of the course. Sometimes I would be flying and sometimes he would be flying. His name was Peter Scott and he later became the Best Man at my wedding the following year. A month or so later my mother and father came up and stayed at a hotel in Stonehaven, just along the road on the edge of the aerodrome. They stayed there for a week or so and I was able to go along and have dinner with them most nights while they were there. I also got to know a very charming girl who had lost her mother and was there on holiday with her father and we became good friends for a week or so. We went to dances together and that was most enjoyable. My mother said, "Don't forget that you're engaged", so I had to behave myself.

Royal Air Force, Montrose, was situated between Aberdeen in the North and Dundee in the South, with the sea on one side of the aerodrome and the town on the other. The aerodrome itself was a grass airfield with sand all round it, very sandy, which used to blow up into clouds of dust in strong winds. We were equipped with Hawker Hart and Audax aircraft. The Audax had a rear gunner, whereas the pilot training aircraft had two seats for the pilot and instructor. The fighter boys trained on Furies. Training took place on alternate days with flying in the morning and ground school in the afternoon etc., depending on the weather. We had church parades one Sunday a month with an accompanying band of bagpipes and drums. We had one guest night a month, again accompanied by the bagpipe band. When we had finished our main flying training at Montrose, the course flew down to Sutton Bridge for about three weeks, doing air firing and practice bombing. From there the passing out parade took place at Montrose, we were given our wings and that was the end of the course. Most of us got a posting to a station that we had asked for, or near enough. After a fortnight's leave, I went off to my posting at 215 Squadron, Drifield, which had Handley Page Harrows.

These were huge, high winged, monoplanes and were supposed to be for transport or bombing. I found them very heavy to handle and far too large for one pilot to sit on his own doing circuits and bumps. Still, we managed, and at the end of my period when I was due to be released I was sent for by the Station Commander and asked if I wanted to stay on and take a short service commission. I told him that I had already obtained my ground engineers 'A' & 'C' licences and that I would prefer to get back into civil aviation and stay a reserve officer. So I was placed onto the R.A.F. reserve, Officers Class 'A', with training of about a fortnight or three weeks once a year, at a flying training school.

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