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