The Fife Flyer - Scottish Pilot (RAF)
$[name] was born in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland on $[birthdate]. Home was a wee But `n’ Ben in the small fishing hamlet of Cellardyke located on the North shore of the River Forth where the river meets the gray and tempestuous North Sea.One of four children he was raised with his three sisters in this small bustling fishing community. He lived in the `East End’ opposite the cottage of the great Captain Rodger, once owner of the Tea Clipper ‘Taeping’ and within only yards of the harbour and the sea.
His parents and generations before them were all fisherfolk and their lives were totally dependent on the ‘silver darling’, the herring that filled the seas around Scotland and which provided a staple diet for all.
As a child $[first name] was up at first light to the harbour - pennies to be earned, money to help support the family. At an early age he was apprenticed to a local engineering shop and soon after passed the entrance exams for the nearby Waid Naval Orphan Academy for the sons of poor mariners and fishermen. It was here that his education truly flourished!
It was in 1935 he first became truly aware of, and involved with aircraft. A local doctor building a Mignet HM.14 Flying Flea desperately sought help from the local trades, $[first name] curiosity got the better of him and so it began. All of his spare time was spent in the Hangar (cow shed) eagerly watching, listening and assisting where possible. His urge to` fly the Flea' became too great and eventually his begging and pleading paid off – this event was to change his life forever.
In late 1937 $[name] was eventually accepted as pupil pilot on a two-month, civilian-run, elementary training course where he learnt aviation theory and logged 55 hours flying. On completion $[first name] was selected by the RAF for commissioning and was sent to RAF Duxbridge for Officer training then onward to complete the comprehensive RAF flying training and to gain his wings.
On 16 October 1939, only one month after declaration of war, Luftwaffe JU88 bombers of 1./KG30 conducted the very first air attack of the war on UK soil when Royal Naval warships were bombed only a short distance away up the river Forth. Soon after, a lone HE-111 being pursued by fighters after failing to attack it’s target at RAF Leuchars, jettisoned it’s stick of 8 bombs upon the community in Cellardyke - For $[name] the war was now becoming very personal.
After tours on both 602 and 603 Squadrons based in Scotland, $[name] was desperate to be amongst the action, war in Europe was raging and he was having no part of it. Having submitted numerous unsuccessful posting applications he was eventually called before the Squadron commander. “ $[first name] you lucky sod, the last application has gone through. You’re posted with immediate effect. So $[startRank] $[lastName] get your bum down to $[startSquadronName]. Good luck and stay safe, the 2TAF deserve you”... Oh yes, you’re travel warrant is on the Admin desk!