Dave the Dipper
Brian Wadham

Dave and BrianThe photograph shows myself and Dvr Dave Norris working hard at the R.A.F. Abingdon Detachment of 47 Coy R.A.S.C (AD). Remember the vehicle and its lovely gearbox?

If you were an articulate National Service Air Despatcher in the 1950s one was often called up on “Orders” to “discuss” the possibility of signing on to regular service — such was my lot on three occasions.

I was recalled to Watchfield from the R.A.F. Abingdon detachment in late summer 1954 together with Dvr Dave Norris — I will not dwell on my part of the interview, but Dave was asked what career he intended to follow on his return to civilian life.

O.C.: “So Norris what shall become of you when you leave Air Despatch?”
Norris: “I shall go back to being a Dipper, sir.”
O.C.: “What does a Dipper do Norris?”
Norris: “He earns at least £20.00 a week dipping.”
OC.: “Dipping what exactly?”
Norris: “Oil tanks at the Thurrock oil terminal sir, where I was before I was called up””
O.C.: “Thank you Norris. March him out Mr. Sheath.”
The O.C. moves to window and gazes out, “I should look into this dipping business”, says he, “I would without doubt be a sight better off than a Major in the R.A.S.C.”

Where are you now Dave the Dipper?

Editor: Dave and Brian have been reunited.

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