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.
Nabthorpe 3rd May - 3rd June 1945
The station was still under expansion
construction when the squadron arrived. The first memories are of
being billeted in wooden huts with no doors, windows, or fly
screens. Each man was issued with a mosquito net for his bed space,
but I do not remember how we rigged them. I do vividly recall the
unique experience of awakening in the morning, under the net, with a
white frost on the airfield on several occasions. The frost
disappeared by 0830 and we were in khaki shirts and shorts. The
weather was sunny and clear, and we were all fascinated by the deep
blue colour of the Blue Mountains, about 30 miles up the road.
There were other aeroplanes on the
station; one of the 1700 series squadrons of Fireflies was there as
was a R.A.A.F squadron of Wirraways which, we believed, were a
souped up Harvard. One of 1843 pilots crashed a Wirraway on an
illicit flight, I think being killed.
VE Day came after we had been at
Schofields about a week. We had had a week or so alongside in Sydney
for runs ashore. On VE Day, we were given leave, and went into
Sydney expecting a bit of a rave up.
We were bitterly disappointed. Sydney
was closed by 1700. The following day, the newspapers reported that
some members of the BPF congregated in Martin Place to celebrate,
but were moved on by Police. Everyone drifted back to Central
station where it was found that there had been a sudden rail strike.
We had all used the train from Blacktown station into the city.
A CPO rang the airfield to explain our
predicament, and all manner of transport was sent to retrieve us. I
returned on a 5 ton flat top truck, with no cover or sides or
tailboard - on a night of frost. I was frozen stiff - so much for VE
Day celebrations (Wait until VJ Day!). There were nevertheless some
celebrations at Nabthorpe, with a day off and a special menu
especially dinner. I still have the menu.
There was no shortage of milk as there
had been on board. All these things were important to a bunch of
late teenagers! The Aussie beer took a lot of getting used to, being
all lager type (according to Jack, un-adulterated horse piss!). Our
last beer venue had been Eglinton where there was no shortage of our
favourite tipple, Guinness porter, so the change to Aussie beer - in
ridiculously small glasses - was an awful contrast.
After a month at Schofields, the
Squadron again moved, this time to
MONAB 6 at Maryborough in Queensland.