Konnie's Biography - Part Four

Somewhere about now, the original Royal Flying Corps was absorbed into the Royal Air Force, along with the Royal Naval Air Service. The new uniforms were appearing, and a bit on the warm side for ordinary dress wear in Egypt, so we were mighty thankful to get rid of those double-breasted coats and Sam Browne belts, with riding breeches and field boots. The new uniforms showed the influence of the Navy in their cut. They were single-breasted, with a cloth belt of the same material sewn on the jacket. Long slacks replaced the riding breeches and field boots. We were actually permitted to wear low shoes with black socks. Rank was shown by the now familiar braids, but these appeared only on the shoulder epaulettes, which were removable. The cap was a strictly Navy job, with the R.A.F. emblem and Crown flanked by "gold" bars on each side, the number denoting rank.

This uniform and headgear was later modified, with the present day uniform eventually evolving therefrom. Of course "khaki" was the active service color then, as the summer uniforms are now but there was a provision for a navy blue uniform for full dress wear. I only saw one such uniform during the time spent in Egypt.

Life at the Flying Instructors School was great. Outside of the cookhouse we were completely under canvas. We lived in tents, our Officers' Mess was a tent, the N.C.O.s and men had bell tents. We had 2 wooden frame-covered hangars erected on the fringe of the Saharan desert.

The whole desert was our aerodrome. Sand was everywhere. Shifting winds would move sand around like drifting snow. Somedays we would be landing close in to our Hangars, other days we would be using a bare strip of desert surface, perhaps half a mile away. Further out in the desert these sand dunes would be 10 to 15 feet high with bare strips in between. Here we often practiced forced landings, a very necessary procedure in those days. Engines were none too reliable and often let us down.

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