|On How he came to be a test pilot|
I think I was due at Sealand in September and as a sort of swan song I went down and picked up Willie Wilson who was then Chief Test Pilot at Farnborough and was a great friend of mine and said let’s go up to London and have a bit of a party. We left Farnborough and drove up through Windsor Great Park. There was an [Messerschmitt] ME109 on its belly, in the Park, and then we carried on to Langley Aerodrome near Slough where Willie suggested we should go in and have a cup of coffee with ‘George’ Bulman who was then Chief Test Pilot.
We had a cup of coffee and were talking generally and we found that they had just lost two pilots; Dick Rinell who had been shot down and Russell Stracey who had been killed in a forced landing in a Hurricane. George turned to me and said, “Do you fly?”, and I said, “Yes I’ve flown a bit”, and he said, “Well we’re a bit short of pilots at the moment, would you like to come here as a test pilot?”.
I remembered the film of Clarke Gable in Test Pilot and test pilots seemed to have a fairly good time in life; got all the girls, drank themselves into a frenzy and got a lot of nice flying in, so I said, “Good God I’d simply love to come here but I’m actually a mining engineer,