My story starts with
a visit of Alan Cobham's Flying Circus to Skegness, which gave me
my first taste for flying. Playing truant from school, a lucky meeting
secured me a free flight in the Youth of Britain passenger plane.
In 1939, whilst working
for Lloyds Bank in Cromer, I applied to the RAF Volunteer Reserve
for pilot training. I became a sergeant-pilot-under-training - No.754636.
Training took place in Norwich in the evenings and on Sundays. My
first solo flight took place that summer in a Miles Magister aircraft.
I was mobilised the day
before war was declared against Germany on the 2nd September 1939.
However, it was an anti-climax, as most of our instructors at Norwich
had departed to regular units and there was little for us to do.
Much of my time was spent improving my tennis and dabbling in pig
farming. Eventually, in November 1939, I was posted to No 5 Initial
Training Wing (ITW) at Hastings - living in a requisitioned hotel
in Warrior Square, St Leonards. Morale was low, there were few instructors
and we made slow progress towards becoming pilots. However, by chance
on a double date, I met Deirdre Mumford (who was to become my wife).
It was love at second sight on a golfing weekend in Bexhill and
love blossomed slowly over the coming months due to curfews.
After Hitler had invaded
France, those of us in No 5 ITW started to be dispersed to flying
schools. In May 1940, I was dispatched to Elementary Flying School
at Prestwick to train on Tiger Moths. At the end of the six-weeks,
only three-quarters of the course passed and the rest were transferred
to non-pilot duties. Fortunately I got through, in spite of being
ill for part of the time. Next it was to Anstey for two weeks for
advanced aerobatics and instrument flying instruction. During this
time I continued writing regularly to Deirdre, who was now settled
in Barclays Bank in Lewes.
Claude Berry Savory
Youth of Britain
Lloyds Bank, Cromer
RAF Volunteer Reserve
No 5 Initial Training Wing, Hastings
Elementary Flying School, Prestwick
Barclays Bank, Lewes
7 Cromer 1939
Miles Magister, RAF VR Unit at Norwich Aug.1939
Beryl Fox and me October 1939
Del, Scratch, Deirdre and me, No5 ITW St Leonards, March 1940
Scratch, Deirdre and me, Bexhill, April 1940
Me, Bill Holland & girlfriend, Prestwick EFTS, June 1940
Open-cockpit flying clothing, Prestwick EFTS, June 1940
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