Terry's Mountain Rescue posting is refused.
On our return to Uxbridge, Jane took her papers to a friend in the station headquarters and had them copied. She sent the copies off to her brother and we prepared ourselves for a long and frustrating wait.
A few weeks later, I left the restroom on my way to the control office and Vinny was walking towards me with a huge grin on his face. "There's a memo for you as well in the office," Vinny said. "I've been accepted for mountain rescue and I've got a posting to RAF Valley." He put his hands into the air. "Prepare yourself Wales, Wilkes is coming."
I walked off to the office and came back out opening a small brown envelope.
MOUNTAIN RESCUE. APPLICATION DENIED DUE TO LACK OF EXPERIENCE.I looked at the note in disbelief. Surely, they had things the wrong way round, I was more senior and experienced than Vinny. I saw one of the sergeants in the yard and walked over to him. "What's all this, Sarge?" I said. "Vinny's been accepted over me, that can't be right."
The sergeant looked at me. It was clear I was angry and the sergeant knew it was completely out of character. He looked at the memo. "The form you handed in had to be passed to the MT Officer for comment. He probably recommended Wilkes over you because he wanted to get rid of him."
"Well the MTO is a selfish bastard."
The sergeant must have agreed or at least had some sympathy for me because he didn't turn from sarge to sergeant and start shouting, he just shrugged his shoulders and walked off.
I walked back to the control office and looked in at Corporal Sawyer. "Can you ask if I can see the MTO?" The corporal walked across, tapped on the hatch and stood waiting until it opened. He spoke briefly to the officer then looked back across to me. "The MTO will see you now," he said.
The MTO was a Flight Lieutenant, a friendly down to earth man who despite my earlier outburst was well respected and liked by all his personnel. "Ah, I wanted to see you," he said as I walked into his office. "I suppose you are here over that mountain rescue application? I don't suppose you're aware as to why you were turned down are you?"
"I've got an idea, sir."
"Well your idea is probably wrong. Anyway, you've been on standby draft for a month, but your standby has been up-rated. You have to report to Corporal Keen at Station Headquarters later this morning. It looks like you're going to Libya."
I was shocked, but delighted by the news. "That's great, sir, thank you."
"Don't thank me, if it were left to me you wouldn't be going, but it's out of my hands. It's a detachment so we won't even get a replacement and no doubt we'll be short staffed until you return."
I walked across the yard to the restroom. As well as Vinny, Jane was there with half a dozen other drivers. I just had time to announce my news before the yard corporal followed me into the room.
"Right all of you that haven't got a run, grab a broom and clear some of these bloody leaves. Jane, Campbell has reported sick, you've been booked on the ration truck. Terry, the MTO has stood you down for the morning. You're to be at station headquarters at eleven-thirty."
Jane walked across to me as the others walked out. "I bet you're well pleased. I wish I was going with you." She gave a smile at the grin of satisfaction on my face. "Will you write to me and let me know how you're getting on?"
"Course I will, Jane, you're a very special girl and I'm gonna miss you, but it's only a detachment and I'll soon be back."
"Would you have missed me if you had got Vinny's posting to Wales?"
"Of course, but I would've kept in touch. You wouldn't get rid of me that easily."
"We'll have to go out for a drink before you go." She put her hands on my shoulders and it caught me by surprise as she reached over and began to kiss me. I had no trouble responding and we stood in the middle of the restroom locked in a passionate embrace.
The corporal looked in. "Pack it in you two. I don't want to see none of that while you're on duty. Go and check your truck, Dale, you have to deliver to Kenley today you know. And Mansfield, if you don't want the morning off, I can soon find you something to do. Though perhaps a cold shower might do the pair of you some good."
I reported to Corporal Keen and received my instructions, I prepared my kit ready to leave at a moment's notice, but there were no further developments and the weeks drew in towards Christmas.
It was Saturday night, I met Jane outside her block and we walked out of the camp through the small side gate and crossed the road to The Eight Bells. Because the public house was in the town, as well as being just outside the camp gates, it was a popular place and always seemed to be busy, but Jane managed to get an empty table.
Jane sat down as the barmaid rushed across to serve me, although there were people at the bar who had been waiting longer than I had. The barmaid was chatty towards me and watched me as I walked back to the table with the drinks. Jane stared at her. The girl grinned then looked away.
"I think she fancies you, Terry."
I looked about the room. "Who?"
"Miss World, behind the bar."
I laughed. "Oh her! Not my type, too many blokes chatting her up, anyway, I'm quite happy to be with you."
"What do you think blokes don't chat me up?"
"I didn't say that, did I? I said I'm happy to be with you."
"I thought you've been avoiding me. We haven't been out on our own for ages."
"Don't be silly. It's just that things have been a bit hectic lately, with all this standby business and I had that heavy drinking session with Vinny before he left. Then there was his replacement Bob, I had to show him around."
"Bob, he's moved in with you and Mark, hasn't he?"
"Yeah, he moved into Vinny's bedspace, so it worked out good. Bob don't seem a bad bloke. He's from Yorkshire. Apparently, his old man's got a few quid, owns a haulage firm or something." I gave a laugh. "He saw you walking across the MT yard. He fancies you and asked if I would put in a good word for him."
"And what did you say?"
"I said that you were unavailable." I grinned as I saw the huge smile across Jane's face.
"Funny enough," she said. "I saw him smiling at me the other day. He tried to chat me up as well, but I ignored him. Didn't know he was rich though."
"He's not, his old man is. I don't detect a hint of gold-digging here, do I?"
"No, but I'll just keep it in mind. I'll have to get married one day and it might as well be to a rich man."
"Well I'm not rich and neither is my dad."
"And you don't want to get married anyway."
"I've never said that, have I? I just don't want to get married until I'm in my thirties; too much living to do."
"You haven't got the hump with me now have you?"
"No, why would I have the hump? Anyway, have you heard anything from your brother yet?"
"No. I was wondering if we could go to your house again next weekend. If you don't mind we could call round to see him."
"I can't, Jane. I'm not allowed out of town. I had to tell the guardroom I'd be in here tonight and we are only over the road. But you can go. You can stay at my house anyway, my mum and dad won't mind, they like you."
"I don't fancy going round Tommy's house on my own, especially uninvited."
"Maybe Marion will go with you."
"No, I've got two weeks leave at Christmas, I think I'll write him another letter and see if I can stay there for a few days before I go home."
We finished our drinks and got up to go over to the NAAFI. As we were leaving, the Barmaid looked over at me and smiled. I knew Jane had noticed her and I made sure I didn't return the smile.
We spent a few more evenings together in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but the intimacy of our first sexual encounter on the way back from Ruislip was not repeated.
Tommy was full of joy at his discovery. His research had paid off and he had it in black and white, official, his sister Jane had not died as a child, she had been adopted. However, there was more, from the papers she had sent him, there was no doubt whatsoever that Jane was his sister. He rushed down the street in his excitement to catch the bus home so he could tell his wife the wonderful news. He decided not to write to Jane, but to go across to Uxbridge that very evening and give her the news personally.
Further along the street, a man had just left a public bar. He had been drinking with his friends all afternoon and was setting off for home. He drove off in a black Ford Zodiac and, even though it was a restricted speed area, the car was soon travelling at forty miles an hour. He saw an attractive young woman walking along the pavement and sounded his horn and gawped at her as he passed, thinking she may be interested in him, but she carried on walking and ignored him. He looked forward again too late to avoid clipping the side of a bus that was travelling in the opposite direction. Pulling hard on the steering wheel he swerved to the left, lost control and mounted the pavement.
The car hit Tommy and knocked him over the top of the car with his body twisting and somersaulting before crashing to the ground. A crowd gathered around as he lay on the pavement unconscious and bleeding. Two off-duty nurses hurried over to him and were doing what they could to keep his heart going until the ambulance arrived.
The Zodiac had come to rest against some steps outside an office block and as the driver staggered from the car, he was arrested by a police officer. The papers that meant so much to Tommy were scattered over the road and they blew about in the breeze as the ambulance pulled up.