Play / pause Birthday Greetings

Birthday Greetings

  • Sean Maffett
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


My father had an interesting story as well.

He had changed over from being an army officer

in the Duke of Wellington's regiment and got trained to fly

in the Air Force without his father knowing

which didn't get on very well.

And he flew Lysanders, an army co-operation.

In fact, there's a story of the youngest

of the three brothers who was in the Army.

My Uncle Alan was in France during The Phoney War,

at the end of 1939,

in charge of a Royal Artillery gun battery.

And it was his 21st birthday and he was rather surprised

to see a Lysander fly over.

And it dropped a message, one of those message streamers

with the multi-colored cloth and the little weight,

and the message would be in a little canvas bag.

And the streamer dropped out of the Lysander

which circled around a couple of times and went away.

And the message said Happy 21st, John.

And my Uncle Alan said he never knew how my father

had found out where they were 'cause it was supposed

to be completely secret and he'd flown over

from Odiham in his Lysander

to drop this message off and then gone back again,

quite unofficially, of course.

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