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From Yorkshire to the Azores - playing football!

by BBC Scotland

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Archive List > Royal Air Force

Contributed by 
BBC Scotland
People in story: 
Ted Harris
Location of story: 
Skipton, North Yorkshire
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 August 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Margaret Ingle on behalf of Ted Harris and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I left Grammar school when I was 17 and decided to volunteer for the RAF. But they told me I was too young and instead I was sent to agricultural college at Skipton.

I spent most of my time there growing sugar beet until I was called up in 1942 for the RAF. I was sent to Canada where I trained as a wireless operator. Then I was posted to the Coastal Command in the Azores where for the most part I actually spent most of my time playing football for the squadron.

I remember one occasion when enemy subs were spotted in the vicinity and the order was given to scramble all planes to intercept. Every plane went up except the Catalina flying boat. The squadron was asked why the Catalina had not been scrambled, back came the answer that the Catalina had more important missions — flying the football team to its away fixtures!

Before I was demobbed I was asked if he was prepared to take a commission in the Portuguese Air Force but I was not given permission to do so until after my demob in 1946. However I decided to join the stage instead and for several months he worked with a travelling theatre group which toured Wales.

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