Sunday, 17 May 2015

Bar fights

RAF Lossiemouth

Royal Navy Vs Royal Air Force / England Vs Scotland

Saturday nights
During my tour at RAF Lossiemouth, Morayshire, Scotland there were many bar fights on Saturday evenings. At one point the station commander decided to instigate a "flying picket" system. Groups of airmen would be assigned to go in to the bar, and attempt to break the fights up. I was one such airman. 

Like many other coastal stations, Lossiemouth was once a naval air base, and the conflict between the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force personnel was an open sore. Add to that there was a large contingent of English on a base in Scotland, and you have a situation as volatile as dropping a match in a barrel of kerosene. 

The weekend I was to be part of the picket squad, my sergeant told me on the Friday before. I had but one question to ask What am I armed with? 
Not fully understanding the situation he replied What do you mean, Al? You're going in as you are. This comes from the station commander.
I expanded my situation, by explaining the situation I would face. You want me to go in to a bar, with a fight between the Navy, and our guys on a Saturday night, unarmed. The only way I am going near the fight is if I have at least a pick axe handle for self-defence. You can charge me with refusing an order, but there is NO way I'm going in unarmed.

My sergeant nodded, and no more was said. The situation on Saturday's never got better during my two years, but the pickets were never sent in. Probably because my opinion was one which many men shared.

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