(1939-09-24) Reporting for Duty
Details for Reporting For Duty
Summary: Alan checks in at his new squadron
Date: 1939-09-24
Location: RAF Biggin Hill

It's a standard 1930's RAF base, a little south of London. Airfields are mostly literally that, fields. There's a tarmac'd runway, but a lot more fields. There are fighterpens for keeping the planes in, and away from bombing raids. And there's brick buildings. Lots and lots of them. There's also an armed sentry on the front gate. Just to keep things clear

A black cab pulls up at the main gate, and Alan disembarks, in still reasonably well-pressed uniform, despite the fact he's been travelling half the day. He settles up woth the driver, and presents his papers to the sentry. "Pilot Officer Martin, reporting for duty."

In the Squadron Commander's Office, Flight Lieutenant Faulkner has stopped by for a visit, and sits wearing his 'Hairy Mary' blouse and turtleneck in a chair on one side of Guy's desk. "So, the blasted sprog was probably three feet off my wingtip. I told him to get some time in, before he gets someone hurt. But it was a ruddy near run thing."

Guy is lounging in his chair, with his feet up on the desk. He's in uniform jacket, with his flying jacket and Mae West slung on a hatstand by the door, "Thanks. I'll trust you to work with him. Oh, and I plan on abandoning Fighter Command set attack systems. The 'single file' thing gives the Hun maximum concentration of fire. I won't have that done to my chaps! En-masse, out of the sun! It was true with a Camel… it's true with a Spitfire!"

Alan is let in, pointed over to the station buildings. Finds a spot outside, at least short term, to dump his holdall, and (after checking with the CO's batman, one assumes), knocks on the Squadron Leader's door.

"If it came from their airships, you can imagine it doesn't work all that well." Faulner replies, reaching into his blouse pocket for a pack of Senior Service. "If the Krauts are coming here, though, we're probably going to be meeting them from the ground." Tap, tap, tap, and then the flick of a lighter and the louder clack of it closing as his hands come back together.

Guy starts to reply, explaining about RDF, when the knock comes, "Enter!"

Alan does as instructed, delivering a crisp salute, fortunately to the correct one of the pair. "Sir. Pilot Officer Martin reporting for duty, sir."

"My, my. And I suppose he scrubs behind his ears, as well." Faulkner says, with a bit of a laugh, as he takes a long drag off the cigarette as he lets Guy handle business.

Guy leans over, and snags his cap, pops it on, and returns the salute, then removes it again, and tosses it into his 'in' tray. "Come on in, and have a chat, Martin. I'm Squadron Leader Grosvenor. This is Flight Lieutenant Faulkner. You'll be in his Flight. Welcome to 812." He leans back into his chair, and stretches out his left leg with a little wince, "I've not finished reading the file. So, shall we say, you get to summarise for me?"

Alan blinks. Does, however, take that as a cue to remove /his/ cap with considerable relief. "Um. Right, sir." A half-shrug. "Just passed out from Cranwell. Top marks on flying." As if it was nothing much. "Clare, Cambridge, top second in Maths and a cricket Blue." A pause. "And I believe you /might/ have known my father, sir. Captain Martin. No 32 Squadron RFC."

"Seems like they've decided to put all the Cambridge chaps in the same Squadron." Faulkner says, then stands and offers his hand, "Cheers, old son. Welcome to the war. Such as it is, for the moment."

Guy whistles, "And put you under an Oxford man. Bad luck, chaps." There's amusement there, in a dry sort of way, "Ah…. Yes. Yes, Archie Martin!" He's suddenly serious, "Touch luck, old man. '18 was a bad year. They say we were winning for it, but… didn't always feel that way!"

Alan accepts Faulkner's hand, a firm shake. "Pleased to meet you, sir." He grins a touch at Guy. "I'll manage, sir." Sobering a touch. "I was only about four at the time…" He shrugs. "Mother took it hard."

"Yes, very sorry about your father, old son. Anyway, have a seat, the Old Man hath spoken." Faulkner sits back down in his own seat, ashing his cigarette. "So, how much time have you got in a Spit?"

Guy nods, and then crosses his hands over his waist, "Alright. Here's the thing. I know they teach you well in Cranwell. Excellent. They teach you, however, what they think the rules are. I think they're wrong. So, you and Birdie here are going to be spending a lot of time up there. I want you to get back to the simple things. Consciousness of the sun. Height. Speed. Target practice. Awareness of where your wingmen are. The rest are details. But I don't plan on any of the damn fool set attacks. My squadron attacks with all of the guns firing at the same time, at least for the first dive. After that, it'll get messy." He rubs his chin, "That's about it. Oh, and we're to concentrate on any escorts. The bombers are for the Hurricanes."

Alan finds a seat, listening. To Faulkner, "Only a couple of hours, sir. Most of it was in a Magister, but I've had about ten hours in a Hurricane." He nods to Guy. "Understood, sir." A quick flash of a grin. "I may have lost some marks in tactics this past year for not agreeing, either."

"Bloody hell." Faulkner says, "They really are sending them out raw, aren't they?" He sighs and continues to smoke, then gives a little snort, "We focus on the MEs and let the Hurri'cans handle the Stukkas. Roger that, Skipper."

Guy says, "Not his fault, Birdie. Not his fault. You've got… oh… probably best part of a week before I expect you to be _fully_ operational, Martin. So… I want you logging hours in a Spit. You don't try and handle anything that's not coming after you, alright? But I'm afraid that will be on top of any scrambles we get. Try not to get killed if it gets hairy?""

Alan nods, grins. "I'll do my best, Sir. Not fond of getting killed myself, truth to tell." He hunts in his unform jacket pocket, produces a pipe and a tobacco pouch, starts to fill the former. "So how many of us are there so far?"

"Oh, we'll be full up in no time. The brass say so, and they're never wrong. Well, as long as none of us go for a Burton in the meanwhile." Faulkner puts out his first cigarette and reaches for a second, though he takes his time, not /quite/ chaining it up yet.

Guy says, "Twelve of us, including me. Three flight lieutenants. 3 Flying officers. Two pilot officers. You're the second. Three Sergeants. Two still to arrive. Plus ground crew.""

Alan nods. Almost too casually, "Seeing much action, sirs?"

Faulkner coughs, "In which war? This one?" Faulkner looks over at Guy, letting him answer.

Guy says, "A few scrambles. We're yet to have a pop at them. It's been a few tip and runs. Nothing substantial. Yet. But it'll come."

Alan grins at Faulkner. "Um, yes, sir. I was four months old when the last one started."

"Yes, well, the Squabbling Bleeder and I were there, that was the joke, lad. But don't worry, I'm sure you'll have more than ample opportunity to cheat the reaper and the Hun this time. It'll be hot work soon, I suspect." Faulkner nods to Guy, "We'll get him up, don't worry about that. Mock dogfights, the whole yard."

Guy gives a firm nod. "Alright, chaps. Get settled in, Martin. And then get up in the air. Oh… and word of advice? Get a barrel of beer, and find out who your mechanics team are going to be. Then give it to 'em."

Alan mmhms. "Advice noted, sir." He eyes the packed but unlit pipe. "I assume I have a bed assigned somewhere."

Faulkner lights another cigarette as he stands up and walks over to the hatrack, where he picks up his cover and plops it on his head at the appropriately rakish angle. "I'll show you to the barracks." He nods to Guy, "Sir."

Guy waves the pair away, "Yes, yes, shoo." He reaches for a sheaf of papers concealed by his cap in the in-tray.

Alan stands, retrieving his cap, and nods. "Sir."

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