THE FOUR MINUTE EGG

THE FOUR MINUTE EGG

THE FOUR MINUTE EGG

A nice Brown egg

  During my tenure of office as OC 228 OCU one of my duties was to administer RAF law to any
unfortunates that are under my command and cross the line. The following is a true story and no
Chickens were harmed during the typing of this text.

I’m sifting through files when the Flight Sergeant knocks on the door and brings me yet another
file and says when I have read it will I contact OC Admin Wing as he wants to talk to me about it.
I duly read the document about one of our Junior Technicians who it seems, from the report, was
at a wedding in Stamford and after the reception they were going back to RAF Wittering on the
A1. No sooner had they joined at the round-about than a Police Motorway patrol car had
followed them the short distance to the base and stopped them at the guardroom. The Junior
Tech was not over the limit, having only had 2 beers and a glass of champagne, and I’m quite
sure the Police knew they could not get a prosecution in a Civilian Court and had therefore
handed the case over to the RAF for them to deal with it……. now it has fallen in my lap to be
Judge, jury and executioner!

I ring Wing Commander Admin and he tells me he wants ME to make an EXAMPLE of this airman.
I tell him I will hear the case and render my findings in an appropriate manner.

Here come de “JUDGE”

On the day of the case I’m doing an airtest on the Lancaster Bomber in the morning and when
I return to the office I’m dressed in my BBMF black flying suit and black leather jacket, somewhat
appropriate for the judge. The Flight Sergeant brings in all the trappings and books on Queen’s
Regulations and the Manual of Air Force Law with all the references tagged in case I decide to
go down any particular avenue. I read what my options are, what punishments I can give
(quite horrendous) and what options the accused has.

The Flight pops back in and asks if I’m ready and so it begins. RRRR”ten…..shun! LEFT/RIGHT/
LEFT/RIGHT…HALT! and the party arrives in my office with the accused flanked by the armed
escort. The escort and Flight depart and now in front of me is an immaculate Junior Tech with
creases you could cut paper on, boots like mirrors…..could have stepped out of a recruiting
brochure. He is not allowed to wear a hat, just in case he throws it at me, and his haircut is
equally immaculate.

Accused and escort enter

I read him the charge sheet and ask him if he understands it and then how he wants to plead.
Everything follows along the set lines. I then give him the chance to tell me what happened and
why he doesn’t deserve to be flogged and then hung, drawn and quartered.

Yes, he went to the wedding, had 2 beers and then a glass of champagne to toast the couple
and then it was time to go back to the base in his friend’s car with two lady friends. The other
three were all “well away” and after driving half a mile he told the driver, who was weaving
about, to pull over and he would drive as he wasn’t drunk and in fact had always been a
teetotaller. When they got to the A1 the police car was at the roundabout and the girls were
waving at the police and because of the fact they had obviously been to a wedding the police
followed them to the main gate at RAF Wittering.

So having heard his version of the story, and having read this young man’s service record which
was blemish free with exceptional performance ratings it now comes down to his choice. He can
either elect trial by Court Marshall or he can accept my punishment.

We go through his options, he can either elect  Court Marshall and I shake my head while
wincing!….or he can accept my punishment, and here I nod several times while smiling. I then
review what the punishments COULD be, first what could happen at Court Marshall, again
shaking my head, or what “my powers” are while nodding again.

“Very well Junior Technician ******, you are aware of your options ?”  ” Do you wish to go to
Court Marshall, or do you accept my punishment ?”

” I accept your punishment Sir”

“Junior Technician ******, The Lincolnshire Police have not charged you with a DUI and have
referred the matter to the Royal Air Force for summary punishment. You have pleaded GUILTY to
the charge as stated and have elected to accept my punishment. Having reviewed all the
evidence in this case and having heard your statement under oath my sentence is”……………

“You are to go forth from this place and BOIL AN EGG FOR 4 MINUTES, and there but for the
Grace of God Go I!”

The look on this young man’s face was something else! … I think I might just have caught the
hint of a smile and I think there might just have been one on my face as well.

Squadron Leader Tony Down RAF

O.C. 228 Operational Conversion Unit

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