I regularly lament my failure to talk with dad about his time with the squadron. Bizarrely, one small snippet of station life he did share centered around the after diner antics in the mess. To put none too finer point on the subject, it essentially involved, dropped trousers, a vigorous expulsion of a combustible gas and a cigarette lighter – Bob’s recollection being that a gentleman by the name of ‘Toddy’ was able, almost by request to kiss the ceiling of the mess hall with his emissions……..
At the time, I took these tales with a pinch of salt and since starting my research, to be honest have considered the tale as, well a rather minor aspect of history, but today I stumbled upon the following that certainly confirms the practice, if not clarifying the identity of ‘Toddy’.
The following extract comes from ‘Royal Blue’, this story is an extract from a letter written to Stan Brooks, an airman with No. 75 Squadron, (RAF Feltwell), by Gwyn Martin, one of his contemporaries. Both men served at Feltwell during the early War years and both of them became German Prisoners of War. The account, given in the letter, is a refreshing snapshot of what life was like on the Station when the crews were being rested. It may occur to some readers that perhaps young men have not changed all that much over the years. The story was prepared by Dan Engle and can be read in full here
I remember the occasion of the Duke of Kent’s visit for the celebrations of Jimmy Ward’s VC, or was it some other event. It was certainly the night of a fart lighting competition in the Sergeants Mess snooker room. The consumption of beer had been greater than normal. The darkened room was periodically lit by sheets of blue flame as each fart was fired by a Ronson lighter. The contest for the most successful flame was in full swing when the SWO appeared in the door of the darkened room and shouted, “Room attention for his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent”. Someone answers from the safety of the darkness, “Tell him to fuck off, till I’ve lit this big bluey”. Without further comment there was a noise like thunder and the lit bluey was the best of the night, a right Royal fart. It was the SWO in the doorway and it could have been HRH in the corridor behind him, on one point there could be no argument – the SWO was as pissed as we were.
Based on the research material I have to hand, I believe 2 individuals might be ‘Toddy’ from Bob’s stories – if they are not I apologise – If one is, I’d love to know……
TODD F/Sgt R, RAF. (755708) WOAG 6 Jul 1943? to ……..?…….. c/w ……..
TODD Sgt W J, RAF. (546595) FE 9 Oct 1943 to x Jul 1944 c/w F H Turner then R B Berney.