Wednesday the 18th was voting day here, so we decided to get that over with early,
and set up an installation in Long Beach Mall to spread the good word about slope soaring
and to see if we could attract new members. We packed a few differing gliders
and made for the mall. What a success it was as we handed out at least 50 flyers to interested people,
who upon seeing the gliders spread out asked that first and all imporatnt question…
Where’s the motors?
….which inevitably lead to some lengthy explanations of the basis of gliding.
Amongst which the kids bashed away at the simulator on hand and a slope video
spooled over and over again in the background.
A huge thanks to the TOSSers who spared the time to get to the mall
and spend some time spreading the news.
Two stories that fascinated me very much were told to me in a fifteen minute stretch and go as such…
With the P38 lightning on show as the scale component of slope,
I was approached by an elderly gentleman who’s story went as such.
He was a bombardier during the war, first on Wellington bombers
and then later in the war posted to Italy to as bombardier on Liberators.
He recalls that a Negro squadron was posted down the alley who flew P38 Lightning’s,
and when the Liberators would go up the Lightning’s would come in
and take cover under the Liberators wings so close that the Liberators were hardly able to bank
into a turn without taking the P38 Lightning’s out. We had a great old chin wag and then he left.
A little later a younger women approached with her mother ,
who pointed at the P38 Lightning and said her husband had shot one of those down.
Friendly fire I asked?
Confusion struck until the explanation broke that he was German and hence on the “other” side.
After the war they moved to South Africa and hence we were having this chat.
Posted in North Africa, a P38 lightining came on a strafing run and he took a few shots with his rifle
and damaged the P38 Lightning, forcing the pilot to land.
Upon which the pilot of the P38 Lightning and the German captor shared
the captors last bottle of champagne together, before the pilot was shifted off to the prison camp.
Boy did that make the shopping trip worth while,
and these stories told in a small village called Fish Hoek, in Cape Town, at the end of Africa.
It would be amazing to hear how many other stories are still floating
out there, and to meet the people who are left to tell them….