Today, my Dad recalls a visit to Cyprus although is more vague on how he got back to base!
In the main flying continued all the time along the lines previously described. Different periods were spent at sea with occasional returns to Malta to land the squadrons for a couple of days then re-embark again to continue the flying programme.
At various intervals the ship made one day visits to various locations not always to tie up alongside the quay but often to anchor off the shore. There mainly 24 hour stops that I describe are not necessarily in chronological order (because of my memory lapse).
We were the usual threesome, Sam Turner, Harry Flowers (Daisy) and I was we wandered down the gangway onto the quay . We were amazed to see orange trees growing wild in the rough road off the quay and simply plucked one each off the tree as we passed.
We were put into lorries and driven about 3 miles out of Larnaca were the sandy beach stretched for miles and simply deposited on the beach to our own devices. The only sign of habitation was a hut about as big as a garden shed made of wood and dried palm leaves. There was an elderly Cypriot there and the hut contained bottles of brandy (Cyprus produced) powerful gut-rot. This brandy could be bought dirt cheap and all the matelots indulged.
Everyone was three sheets to the win when the ship’s boat came to pick us up off the beach. I never remember getting back on board but I must have pulled myself up to pass scrutiny by the duty officer because I didn’t finish up in the cells. Sam was as bad. I don’t know about Daisy.
Sam and I saw the Leading Seaman of our mess and told him we were going to disappear until we sobered up. We both spent the next three days in the Parachute Section, temperatures over 100 degrees F and feeling as if we were dying.