MRS NL 1992 – A Christmas Story

It was Christmas Eve at RAF Pitreavle. In the RCC Flt Lt Crachitt was bustling around with one eye on the clock and the other on his boss, Sqn Ldr Rab C Gault. He had been given the task, by the Greenock hardman of compiling the figures of how many times the MRTs had been un-contactable over the last year. It was only 30 minutes to go before the end of his shift. His mind was on other things, apart from assembling bad news. The plotting table in the RCC lay strewn with: mince pie crumbs and the empty glasses still glistened with drops of illicit rum the Navy had supplied for the most enjoyable tea break for along time. The effects of the impromptu session could be heard around the room.

“I’ll tell you this boy.” Raved the Squadron Leader. “If ya don’t hav thee figures sooon, ya nay be going hame, Crachitt.
Crachitt had the figures but was reluctant to pass them on. He knew the OC RCC was not going to include the Team Leaders as late entries ln the Queen’s New Years Honours List. “Here’s the figures and I don’t suppose there would be the chance of getting off early, this evening Slr?” He said quick}y and nervously.
“Ya na going down the booza to get steaming are ye Crachit?” Gault enquired. “No, no Sir, honestly. I want to go home to wrap up Tiny Tim Whalley’s presents and stuff the turkey.” Crachitt pleaded. “Bloody humbug and I’ll suppose ye will wannting tha morrow off as well. Well gat out of here before I stick the Greenock Christmas nut on ya!“ Gault answered 80% proofly.

Rab returned to his command post, stumbling against the glinking brown paper bags that lay around his desk. He fell into his chair and soon the effects of the tea break and the artificial atmosphere of the underground room, started to make his eye lids droop. Sleep came easily, but not the kind which contained those sweet dreams of when he was athletic, aircrew, and hirsute. Instead, into his dreams strode a grey ugly figure, with the face of a bulldog. He seemed to be dressed in mountaineering clothing, that was wrapped around with rattling chains.
Ye’Gods, Gault recognised the apparition. It was the Ghost of the ILR past – Gordon Blackburn.

“Bloody hell, Blackburn wat ya try t’ de, frighten the li.fe oot of me?r” Gault screeched. “No my bushy eye browed friend. I’ve Come to take on a journey into past. The past of mountain rescue when breeches were woolen and the only aids were etriers.” The Ghost of the ILR commandered.
“Aye that’ll be rite. If yer think I’ll go we yu, it’s not on. I’ll tell you that boy.” Gault proclaimed. “COME WITH ME.” Blackburn boomed.

The roof of the RCC rent apart to reveal the night’s sky and an unknown: force plucked the pair into the darkness. The journey into the past went back nearly 50 years. It took ln the visions of fresh faced national service youths, running around ln energetic circles. Sights of cook tents exploding from the infamous ‘Bornbs’. Chaotic pictures of relaxing troops, wenching, singing, and hooting the night’s away. Glimpses of rescued casualties plucked from the mountains. 0verall an exhibition of a most un-military formation, unruly and unique. Throughout the journey, Gault could perceive the pride on the grey face of the ILR past. He was presenting to his hostage, a creature that he once controlled. A thing of purpose and energy, that was self-sustaining and regenerating. An ever changing unit, that always retained that passion and spirit. It had created a great deal of hassle for him ln the past, but equal pleasure and pride.

Gault awoke with a jolt. Blackburn had gone. The roof of the RCC was complete, but now another apparition stood before him. Not grey and ugly – but taIl, dark and aircrewish; the ghost of the ILR present, Brian Canferonni.

“Oh no, not another tour of tha world. Me an the roof of tha place I’ll- no stond it!” Gault exclaimed. lt was of no use. He was off again into the night. But this time the atmosphere and the sights were radically different from those previously seen. Hand in hand, the pair looked into the future and saw – an RAF of reduced size, Health and Safety Inspectors replacing MRT Leaders, semi-professional Po1ice Teams, Lord Jones of Bangor sitting on the joint United Nations and European committee that adjudicated ln the feudal warefare that still raged between the remnants of civilian MRTs, Warrant Officer Scooter Beresford was the Training Officer of the two remaining RAF MRTs, the Fg Off WRAF Caterer at RAF Leeming (Secondary duty, ILR) did her best the stem the tide. The joy had gone, the MR body was terminally ill.

“Would you like a cup of tea Sir?” Enquired the clerk. “I see you’ve been having a few winks.” He continued Gault slowly opened his eyes. His head ached and hls tongue deslred the cooling llquid of ‘lron Brew.’ But despite his aching head, he still retained some of the visions of his dreams and the journies undertaken. On reflectlon he felt as though, he had been given the opportunlty to change the future. It would need drastic changes ln his life style. The choice was his,….. He reached over to the phone with one hand, whilst picking up the nearest brown paper bag.

“Is that the HF radio man?” He questioned.
“I wan you ta send a message ta all the MRTs. Tell em, have a stoata of a Christmas and make sure they all get bloated. May their boots na leak and their knees na creak. Happy Bloody Christmas.”

Gault took out the bottle from its brown paper wrapping and filled his glass.

He toasted. ”Ta Mountain Rescue – It was bloody good while it lasted!! !!”

The Goat
Leuchars MRT


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