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My Billet was Burnt Down

by Rosslibrary

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Verna Stephens and Phyllis
Location of story: 
Cranfield, Beds.
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 November 2004

I was stationed at Cranfield in Bedfordshire, with some others - about 10 of us, in different rooms in council houses. We ate food in the camp though, away from our billets. Our rooms had to be kept tidy and were inspected by an officer.
I shared my room with a girl called Phyllis who had just had an appendix operation and was not on duty.
My father had made me an electric ring to make cocoa on and I used it illegally.
One night my flatmate borrowed the ring while I was on duty. An hour or so later an Officer said, "Is that your billet?"
As I looked over I saw flames coming from the billet and fire engines around it.
Phyllis who had been using the electric ring to make cocoa had panicked when an Officer had come around to check the room. She had put the electric ring, still hot, in a cardboard box under the bed. It had caught alight and set the place on fire.
As I was the one with the electric ring, I was deemed responsible and confined to the camp. Well, being me, I went out with a Met officer for a meal, to cheer me up(again an illegal thing to do then) We had to crawl back through the perimeter fence and we saw two guards with dogs, so I told the officer with me to make himself scarce because he had more to lose than me.
The two guards with the dogs stopped and began to question my activities. Then this warrant officer, a greasy little man who rather fancied me, said, "Are these two men annoying you?" I burst into tears and said "Yes".
The Warrant Officer asked me what I was doing round here so I told him I'd been taken ill and was going to the hospital.
He went to the hospital with me and I made an excuse about my condition there. I took an aspirin.
When I came out he was waiting for me and asked me to come back to his room for cocoa!

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