RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

A Cautionary Tail…

The air show season is upon us and it’s a chance for people to get out and see some of the history of the RAF as well as some of the modern equipment that is in use today.

Some of the big shows can attract ten’s of thousands of people each day…and not all of them are there JUST for the aircraft. What follows is a cautionary tale that is a warning to all of us, not to take people at their face value…

Cosford holds a large airshow each year, which requires all the staff of the station to work – and when I was posted there, the task my section was given each year was to look after the Information and Lost Property tent. It was also the lost children tent too, which was, quite honestly the worst part of it…you saw all human life and a lot of emotions when there are lost children involved – but it is not that that I would like to blog about.

Anyway, one particular year it was a lovely sunny day and the flying display was reaching it’s climax, with the finale being the Red Arrows. We were all outside the tent awaiting their arrival when a gentleman turned up…’Is this the Lost Property tent? I’ve lost something.’ he asked.

I went inside with the gent, and I sat down to get the paperwork out to sort out whatever it was he had lost.

“Now, Sir, how can I help you?”

“Well, I have lost something – have you had a jacket handed in?”

I knew for a fact we hadn’t…”Sorry, Sir. No. No jackets handed in. I’ll take your details and if one is…then we’ll know where to return it.”

He gave his name and address and then I asked him to describe the jacket.

“It’s a lovely leather and sheepskin flying jacket. With patches. It’s got a woollen collar. Brown.”

Oh right. Not your bog standard ‘Next’ jacket, but probably an expensive one…

“You see,” he went on, “I was watching the Spitfire and Lancaster display and this chap came up and we started talking. He was a lovely fellow. We had a lovely chat about the old aircraft. And then he started talking about my jacket – saying it was probably like the old fighter pilots would wear. And then he asked if he could try it on. Well, of course I let him, and then we looked up at the Lancaster that was doing a lovely low-roll in the sky, and then when I turned around he seemed to have wandered off.”

I coughed a little. “Was he still wearing your jacket?”

“Yes. Poor chap must have got a bit confused and well, it is busy here today. I just wondered if he’s handed it in yet…?”

Well. How do I go on from here? What do you say to someone who has obviously had his expensive flying jacket stolen…almost from off his own back?

“Errrr, Sir…I think we might need to phone the police….”


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