Having now passed the course Jack was awarded his stripes and to his surprise posted back to RAF Digby. Jack was waiting for his move to his Air Gunners course when he received a letter from one of his old pals who wrote "..there have been some nasty accidents here. The 12 foot wall has accounted for a broken arm and one poor chap broke his collar bone.." Jack wrote to Pat of the news which confirmed to her that her husband was indeed training to be a commando.
Whilst at Digby the subject of a draft was mentioned. Jack managed to avoid this by explaining to his C.O. that he was married with a young son and was waiting for his AG course. The young man who was with Jack at the time was not so lucky and after his embarkation leave found himself posted to Canada. Later Jack wrote "If I were single I think it would have been rather fun to have gone to Canada".
At the beginning of April Jack received his orders to report to RAF West Freugh near Stranraer to start his AG course. The course was due to last 6 weeks. Jack would be flying in a Defiant, a single engine fighter with a gun turret behind the pilot. Jack would learn the workings of the .303 Browning machine gun.
Events at West Freugh however would see Jack remain there longer than he thought. On May 20th he explained all to Pat:
"Sorry I haven't written to you before now but as you can see by my address I have moved my stakes and I am now at a kind of Detention Barracks in Brighton. Anyway I will give you the whole story. It happened on Thursday, we got up in the region of 8 o'clock and after a clean up went to classes. It turned out we were on Gunnery Theory and of course the boys wanted to be funny with the instructor as we know the stuff and the instructor didn't. Well the boys got a bit fed up listening to this guy and when it got to about 10 o'clock the boys and myself started binding for a break. Anyway we eventually go for a break down to the scotch hut on camp and after having a cup of coffee the boys start up a game of solo. We should have been back in class at 10.40 but the lads and I were too interested in the game to be bothered about going back so we decided to have the morning off. Anyway all went well until 11.20 when another instructor burst in and told us a Flight Lieutenant wanted us. As we were packing up the Flight Lieutenant burst in. Well he told us we were all on a charge and we got our case brought up to 5 pm. We were charged with 3 offences, 1: Absent, 2: Absent from Duty, 3: Conduct detrimental to the RAF. Believe me Pat we all thought we were going to be stripped. Anyway we were told that we will be on a Aircrew Refresher Course and here I am. We will be here for 21 days and then it's back to West Freugh to do the course all over again".
Jack had began to think about a draft and although he wasn't going to Canada this time the possibity of leaving blighty had got Jack thinking, what if he was shipped out to another country? How would he let Pat know? Jack came up with a code that only he and Pat would know, this way Pat would know where he was.
You can see Jack's code here.
Three weeks later Jack was back at West Freugh feeling very relieved to have kept his stripes. The course had moved to Sheffield but Jack and his pals were to remain at West Freugh to finish their night flying.
To the memory of F/Sgt JG Chadwick and the crew of Halifax LL306