RAF Brize Norton Scott Remembers

Jerrel Scott

Scott was at Brize Norton 1963-65

Memories by Jerrell Scott

Memories of Brize Norton

I was stationed at Shilling Air Force Base, Salina, Kansas and was offered an assignment with The Atomic Energy Commission in California. It appeared to be a good job and I would still be in the USAF but I would wear civilian clothes while on duty working in their computer room. Not wanting to leave Kansas I turned it down and about a month later I received orders for Brize Norton. If that was their way of getting back at me for declining the assignment it surely failed as I really enjoyed the two years I spent in England.

I arrived at Brize Norton in 1963 and stayed until the base was turned back over to the RAF in 1965. I was assigned to Base Supply and worked in the computer room. The countryside, London, Oxford, snow, fog and just being in a country outside the USA was exciting. Being from a small town in Texas this was really something. There came a big snowfall one winter and the base just closed down, nothing moving. We all got up for breakfast as usual and I heard someone running up and down the hall celebrating and hollering that we did not have to report for work and that we ought to take a look see outside. It must have snowed about two feet and the snowdrift covered the windows on the backside of our room. This was great news as I love to sleep late so I just went back to bed. About an hour later my roommate came bursting thru the door and said everyone had to report out front for a snow removal detail on the runway. The plan was to dig out the snow around the runway lights. We decided the heck with that and we would just ignore that nonsense. We could hear the First Sergeant coming down the hall knocking on everyone’s door and ordering all of us to meet him outside in thirty minutes. We did not know what to do because we could not escape out of the windows for all the snow so my roommate put his key into the slot and turned it a bit so that no one outside could open it. He banged on our door for a while and said I know y’all are in there so open up or face some consequences later. We did not dare open the door and luckily got out of the detail and nothing was said. Some of our friends that did go out said it was just plain miserable duty.

One Sunday morning I heard a commotion outside our window. We lived upstairs in the barracks and I looked out to see what the heck was going on. There was about six dogs and twenty horses and riders and they were all dressed up in red coats, white trousers and black caps and boots getting ready for a fox hunt. The bugler sounded for the hunt to begin and the little fox ran straight for the front gate with all the dogs and riders behind him. I hope the little fox got away but it sure was an entertaining way to start the day.

Sometimes we would catch a bus on the base and they would take us to the London Palladium to see a show, put us up in a Hotel and treat us to a fine dinner, free of charge. The next day after breakfast and a little sightseeing they would take us back to the base. I do not know for sure who arranged this or footed the bill but was told the people of England sponsored these trips and I tried to go on all of them. I was very grateful as was everyone who went. Thanks again. Other weekends we would go to London and just walk around Piccadilly Circus and enjoy the atmosphere and the street performers. We would catch the last train out of Victoria Station to Oxford and usually hitchhike back to the base. Not having a lot of money we did a lot of hitchhiking and it was real easy to get a ride. Somehow they knew we were Americans, Yanks as they called us, and it did not take very long before someone offered us a ride. When the driver found out I was from Texas it seemed to make his day and would ask me how many horses and guns I owned. When I told him that Texas had actually joined the twentieth century and that we did have paved roads and large modern cities and that I did not own a horse or lots of guns was a big let down but I don’t think I convinced him. He still wanted Texas to be the wild west as depicted in the movies. It was fun making friends with the English and sharing our stories. The heavy fog scared the heck out of me. When you could only see a few feet in front of the car the driver would just look down at the reflectors in the middle of the road and just keep on driving fast and it worked but it was scary. Also, the roundabouts were frightening and you would just have to be from the States to appreciate this. Driving on the left side of the road with the driver sitting behind the wheel on the right side of the car entering into a roundabout in the left lane was to say the least, exciting. It took me a few trips before I finally accepted this.

Just outside the main gate on the right side this nice Little Ole Lady would let us pick apples from her tree. We noticed the apple trees while walking along the fence one day and finally got up enough courage to ask her if we might have a few. She would give us a bag and we picked some for her, also. I think she enjoyed our visits and sometimes ask us in for tea and we would talk about the USA and she would tell us stories about living in England during WWII. She was very interesting and I hope she had a long healthy life. She was most likely in her late sixties when we knew her and I do not remember her name but she was very nice to us.

I had some great friends I worked with in the computer room and we were in the ceremony when the base was turned back over to the RAF in 1965. That was quite an event with the bands and high ranking officers from both sides. Three friends in particular Charles Gurganus, Michael Martin, and Fortunato Aldape. I hope to hear from Charles (Chuck) and on my way to Vietnam in 1967 I met up with Mike in Seattle, Washington. We were going to the same base so that was nice seeing him again. I am not sure what happened to him because after a couple of months at Phu Cat,Vietnam we got orders to separate bases and I have not heard from him since. I hope he made it out OK and hope he will write me if he reads this letter. I was searching the internet one day and was able to find Al (Tito) Aldape on the web site at the Community College where he is a department head. My wife, Paulette and I have been to Laredo on two occasions to visit with them.

Three years ago Paulette and I took a trip to Europe and was fortunate enough to visit Brize Norton. It has not changed much but it brought back some good memories. I was doing some research on the base and I came across someone who has a web site for the communities around the base. After e-mailing him several times about what we wanted to do he volunteered to come to our Hotel in London and take us back to Brize. He also drove us around the countryside and made sure we got on the right bus to London. We sincerely appreciate what he did for us. This year, 2003, that man David Oakey, his wife Rosemary and their son, James came to Texas and for nine days we drove them around the central and southern part of Texas, going deep sea fishing and visiting San Antonio and Dallas. We enjoyed their visit and hope they return someday.

If anyone reads this and remembers me please write or e-mail.

My address,

Jerell Scott

450 Whitetail Crk Dr

China Spring, Texas 76633

 e-mail, s cott@promptwireless.com


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