A Cracker from Terry Morse


    Central Pacific 1963/64.
 

Today, Radio Kapoi Honolulu reported severe storms in the area of Christmas Island, a spotter plane has flown over the Island and reports that it is mostly submerged, there is no sign of life, and no radio communication. But! In Twynham Two something stirs, itís Taff Williams, and wonder of wonders heís lobbing the fags! We are all lying on our pits waiting for the rain to stop, thereís Les Mawson, Tom Bartley, Ernie Hodgetts, John Barker, Dennis Clifford, and yours truly Terry Morse, we are 20 Field Sqdn RE Petroleum Fitters (ish). Those Iíve forgotten can get in touch and tell me so.

Luxury aircraft to New York, then to San Francisco, and finally Hickham airbase Honolulu, then cheese sandwiches and a netting bag hanging in the hold of, I think, an Argosy. This is how we arrived. It seems like yesterday, but mind you most of my memories seem like yesterday, it was the sun and the weirdoís, not to mention some of the islands inhabitants.

One of my first jobs ,was to take my gang of Gilbertese, and a tractor and trailer, down to the Tank Farm and collect up all the old pieces of pipeline then take 'em down and throw it in the sea, easy peasy, you would have thought, but no.
Three days into my contract and Iím still demonstrating how I want the job done, I am totally knackered Iíve unloaded most of the trailers on my own coz, the Gilboís donít understand , then one of our Officers walked by, ďwhy donít you just tell them what you want done?Ē he said. ďthey donít speak EnglishĒ I say. ďoh yes they doĒ he says  ďtheyíre all taught English at King George the Fifth School on Ellis islandĒ!! Forty years on Iím still not speaking to any of the articles.

Remember the Blue Lagoon Cinema? I saw that old bawdy comedy Tom Jones, in fact I saw it again a few weeks ago on ITV, but I digress, on the Island I went with my mate John Barker and as per usual we sat down in front of our white painted crinkly tin screen, and down came the rain, it doesn't often rain , but when it does, well John and I were OK we had the biggest plastic bag you have ever seen, it went over the two of us and our chairs, after a couple of minutes we had to cut some eyeholes coz it steamed up and we couldn't see the screen, anyway just as the credits were rolling some bright spark asked if we wanted to see it again, so we did! Same film same rain, Whatever happened to Fred Quimby??

At this point I wanted to insert a picture taken on the Island this is ( Surf, ) but, can you remember the name of the beach? Letís hope Chatty can work his magic. (reckon it's Poland beach Terry. Great memories!)

I recall, after an evenings frivolity, leaving the NAAFI with friend John and suggesting we should swim the length of the pool. (this being the shortest route to our hut) John wasn't keen coz he was wearing his new Sampson watch. No problem sayís I, give it to me, which he did. I promptly took off my watch coz Iím bloody quick like that, he didn't want to spoil his watch and nor did I. Without a care in the world I put both watches in my pocket, dived in the pool swam to the other end , got out carefully handed John his watch. For which he thanked me profusely.  We never mentioned the incident again until now!
 

Christmas Day Christmas Dinner.
 

Served by the Officers and senior ranks, we all swore blind it was Grapple Bird, and all those tins of fags. Wild Woodbine in tins of Fifty packed by the East India Company which ceased trading about 1926, we still smoked 'em. (no wonder they were wild, been in a bloody tin for donkeys years) I visited X Site with a few lads and a few beers, to do a bit of snorkelling and swimming. We had a Cpl Bob Burlison with us who, armed with his trusty CO2 harpoon gun, was looking around for something to shoot at. Well, he looked in this fairly big hole, and he could see a pair of eyes looking at him, ever the pillock Bob pokes his pointed bit into the hole. There followed a sight that you will not believe.

Bob came up out of the water like heíd been shot from a gun and you know that little lizard that runs across water? Well Iím telling you he learned it from our Bob, he was wearing fins (both of them were come to think of it). Bob is sprinting across the water and six inches behind him there is one bloody irate shark, and heís not a little shark. I tell you, when Bob landed by me he was totally dry. I donít think he ever went swimming again.

Iím sorry to say that Iíve only found three photographs, one of that beach,(see photo).  One taken on our way out to try and catch Sailfin. (see photo),  one taken on the side of the football pitch from left to right itís me. Terry with the hat Taffy Williams and with his back to us is Ernie Hodgetts. (see photo),  Come on you guys where are you???????   

Till the next time Best regards Terry
 

Thanks for the call Pete, I needed a nudge and thanks for the super site more power to your elbow. Cheers Terry

 ©: Terry Morse 26 April 2003