The Open Door

A Lucky Escape: Jon Turner, 386 Troop

After I had joined 386 Troop of 47 Air Despatch Squadron in the autumn of 1970 I was a very enthusiastic young troop commander and keen to ensure that I could do anything that the lads could do.

One of my crew commanders was Corporal Bond and he took me up for a two man sortie, and for the life of me I cannot remember what we were despatching, other than that I think it was a pallet from the rear door of a Hercules. I had not attended my formal crew commanders course and was therefore learning ‘on the job’, as this may have been my first, if not second, sortie. Corporal Bond instructed me to pull the parachute bags back into the aircraft and so I leapt to the tailgate in order to show that I had no fear and started pulling in the bags. I thought this darn hard work and then suddenly fell on my backside when they were just about inside the aircraft. Upon looking round I saw that Corporal Bond was performing a tug of war on my safety harness as I had clipped on to the wrong wire and would have ended up flying at the back of the aircraft with the parachute sacks but for his extremely prompt action in noticing what I had done.

Both of us promised not to tell on each other. Me for not wanting to look like the fool that I was and he not wanting to receive an enormous rocket from the Master Air Despatcher.

I have not seen Corporal Bond since I left the squadron at the end of 1970 but if he reads this I do hope that he is well and can remember the incident.

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