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Mike's I could have been a mass killer!

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I was called up for compulsive military service when I reached age 18, could have done two years but opted in for three to get the extra pay - and wider choice of jobs, they said!!!

During my 3rd year we went to a small island off the coast of Denmark, Sylt a very nice place to go to for 3 months. I was in the RAF and we went there for pilots to practise firing their guns out at sea.

I was in charge of a small team and our job was to service and change the guns on the plane after every sortie. It's routine but we had to work quite fast as the planes turned round quickly so there was no time to relax.

On one occasion I climbed into the cockpit and shouted out to one of the team were they finished and was it was okay to test fire the guns (they didn't actually fire as it was a test). Someone shouted out "Yes, go ahead". So I pulled the trigger.

In the space of a second or two I managed to fire off almost a dozen 30mm rounds; that is a lot of power! Fortunately the plane was aimed at a large mound for just such an event! After the initial shock I climbed out of the plane and ran over to the mound to check for bullet holes, they were near to the end of the mound.

We used to guide the planes in after landing and they had taxied in and It was only later that it came into my mind that if the mound was about 50 yards away from the plane and if the plane had been a foot or so further to the right and a slight angle to the right then most of the bullets would have missed the mound and gone across the runways until they hit something - like a house, perhaps! It was a shuddering thought.

For my trouble I got 7 days of work in the guardhouse whenever I wasn't working. It was some time later that we heard on a Sunday radio show - Family Favourites or Forces Favourite, that they (sent in by some guys I knew from another squadron) played a song for me "I didn't know the gun was loaded!"

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