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Flight Sergeant Jones on duty in Qastina

In 1945 Ron Jones was a Flight Sergeant, Wireless Operator, flying around the Middle East and to India in Dakotas. He once spent ten days in Qastina where he enjoyed being introduced to a new tipple (cherry brandy and lemonade) but also was responsible for his crew's turn on guard duty as attempts were frequently made to bomb aircraft on the ground.

(Transcript)

"We were based at Qastina which was not a very great distance from Lydda and I was perhaps fortunate only to be there for ten days. But I was the only NCO of our crew, the others were officers, and it was down to the NCOs to be in charge because of possible raids on the aircraft by the Palestinians, the Arab Palestinians. So one night, though I was only there ten days, it was my turn to be in charge of the night guards of the aircraft. So, I wasn't provided with any weapon but the half a dozen or so aircraftsmen, they weren't soldiers, were provided with rifles and, I trust, with ammunitition. They had to patrol the perimeter where the aircraft were parked. How positive a deterrent they might have been to the Arabs I know not. However, I decided to ensconce myself in the cockpit of a parked Dakota aircraft while the aircraftsmen were doing their patrol.

After some time a voice said, "Here sarge, come and have look at this". And so I came down out of the aircraft and there on the ground was this rather peculiar-looking animal. Or... call it an animal. And it was about nine inches long and it looked as if it had two front legs; something like a lizard that had lost its rear legs. But on closer examination it proved to be a snake that had managed to swallow a frog up to its bent elbows.

So, not knowing anything about the native fauna I decided to despatch the animal, went and got the emergency axe from the aircraft and chopped it in half which I assume made the snake cough because the frog hopped out and disappeared into the dispersal area. After which I returned to my seat in the cockpit until the end of my turn on duty.

In the morning when I came out of the aircraft, not a sign of the snake so some other animal must have come across and had a hearty meal.

That is my story, that is my song, I've been in this airforce too blooming long, So roll on to Rodney, the Nelson, Renown. We can't say the Hood becouse that one's gone down. This is my story, this is my song."

Interview 1st December 2009. Sadly 'Young' Ron died in 2011.