Extract from the reminiscences of Aircraft Artificer 4th Class (Ordinance) Maurice Ayling, formerly of 1843 Squadron,, working up in Australia as a part of the reserve No. 3 Carrier Air Group. HMS Nabswick 16th - 28th July

 

 

...Our next move [from Maryborough] was ordered for July 15th...

 

This time we flew, to Jervis Bay, courtesy of the newly formed Transport Command of the R.A.A.F and its Dakotas.  This was a major exercise, requiring packaging such as we had never before experienced.   The Dakota, in which I flew, with a load of Sqdn ground equipment and personal baggage, had "City of Portsmouth" painted on its nose. It turned out to be a rather unusual experience. It was very hot when we emplaned, and we were in shorts and shirt sleeves.  Not long after take off, a Flight Sgt. told us that there was bad weather ahead and that the pilot had decided to fly above it. It was later asserted that we had been to 12,000ft; however high we did go, as the Dakota was unlined and un-pressurised, hoar frost formed on the inside skin.

 

 We were sitting in un-cushioned, tin paratroop seats, and were absolutely frozen.  The weather was bad all the way to Jervis Bay, but as we descended, so the frost melted and dripped all over us. It became obvious that we were approaching landing through the clag, but suddenly the throttles opened up again and the aeroplane climbed. The pilot had made a close approach to a gravel extraction site, mistaking it for the runway on which we eventually landed, wet enough before piling out into pouring rain.

Although I believe that "Nabswick" moved to Jervis Bay in May, there was little evidence of it on our part of the airfield. There were no buildings but I suppose the MONAB equipment was scattered around the place.

 

I seem to recall some assistance from the Australian Army. We were divided into batches of half a dozen or so, each batch being given a tent to erect. We could all pull a Corsair to pieces and re-assemble it again, but a tent was beyond most of us. I am sure it was soldiers who assisted in this operation, but it was a terribly soggy caper. There were camp beds and duck boards and it appeared utterly incongruous to me to have my kit bag, hammock, green case, and tool box among them.  There cannot have been many sailors who had their complete hammock clews, nettles, lashing, mattress, pillow, and blanket, stretched out on a canvas camp bed! MONAB personnel had their Army type mess traps, but the Sqdn lads had only their knife, fork, spoon, and mug.

 

I forget now just how we fed, but there was a field kitchen type of arrangement at which we queued in the rain, taking the offering to our tents and eating it sitting on our beds. However, in local parlance, it was 'bonza tucker'.

 

 I am afraid that all I can remember about "Nabswick" was the squalor, and that we thought it to be an out station of Nowra for which we were destined. In retrospect, we were probably using "Nabswick" as a MONAB was meant to be used. Although all other MONABS used by the Squadron were recorded on my Service Certificate, there is no record of "Nabswick", it being recorded as part of my "Nabbington" time. We never even saw Jervis Bay!

 

We moved out, by road, about ten or fifteen miles to Nowra, also in the rain.

Maurice Ayling

 

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