This article written by Alex Morrison in 2013, describes perfectly the world of the RAF MRT troops:-
‘Rescued any good mountains recently?’
Reading a back copy of the Journal I had to smile when I read the comments by Arthur Helsby about MR team members being considered as skivers.
When I arrived at Leuchars in 1959 it seemed not much had changed. The general opinion was that we went off somewhere, set up camp, and then spent most of the weekend drinking in the local hostelry while waiting for someone to fall off a mountain. We would then rush up, collect the injured or dead, send them off to hospital or mortuary and return to the pub to await the next interruption to our social life.
Back on camp, the question ‘rescued any good mountains lately’ was tiresome, but probably reflected the cerebral capacity of those who did not have what was required to be an MR team member. There were good, helpful people on camp but some others seemed to enjoy being obstructive. I recall arriving back one Sunday night and getting a call from one of our team drivers to tell me the duty MT Corporal would allow them to refuel the vehicles but would not let them fill the jerry cans. When I spoke to him he suggested I commit an obscene act upon myself and hung up. I rang the Orderly Officer and told him that the team was non-operational as of that moment and the reason. Shortly afterwards MT rang to say that we could have unlimited fuel–funny that!
Our boss, Bill Brankin, decided it was time to try changing the general perception of what we did during our weekend ‘jaunts’ He was given approval to call for volunteers from any section on camp to spend a few days ‘on the hill’ with us. Needless to say, volunteers were conspicuous by their absence. Somehow, this filtered upwards to very senior levels and suddenly we had three – Bill Bailey the Station Warrant Officer, a young Pilot Officer and an SAC electrician.
Arriving in Glen Coe, the three volunteers were given Pup tents while Bill, Chris Shorrocks and I ensconced ourselves in the big tent beside ‘The Bomb’.
Our young P/O was quite active around the camp so I told him to make the most of this evening as tomorrow he would probably be too knackered to eat. He thought that was quite funny. After booking in with the local police we called at Clachaig for a pint and met up with Ingrid, the YHA warden. I was suffering with a very bad cold so Ingrid decided I was not sleeping in a tent that night. I was given a room in the hostel, four Beechams powders, six blankets and a huge mug of her patent Toddy—90% whisky and 10% tea. It had the desired effect and I felt much better in the morning.
The weather was fine but snow had fallen on the hills during the night and it made going a bit tough, especially for our ‘volunteers‘. We headed into Allt Coire Gabhail and up to the Bidean ridge by which time they were beginning to realise that MR was not all beer and crumpet. The SWO, who was a rather portly chap performed much better than expected. Back at our base camp we lit the Bomb and made a brew while our young P/O sat on a food box staring at the flame. I made him a cuppa but he just sat there and I had to put the mug into his hands. He admitted later that he thought my comment about being knackered had been meant as a joke.
The next few days went well and on our return to Leuchars I think the message filtered through that we did not spend all our time in the nearest pub. Of course there were the diehards who still thought MR was a lark, so it was better to ignore them or just smile knowingly and advise them not to join as they probably couldn’t handle the required number of pints.