Beer Run.

Air Support, as did other troops, ran what we all knew as "Troop Funds". The primary purpose, you will recall, was to ensure an adequate supply of Tiger Beer..... (That refreshingly sharp, but easy on the palate if not the brain cells, nectar. That liquid gold when cold) .....was always on hand to - bid farewells and welcomes, celebrate weddings, divorces, engagements, births and 21 Today's. Or just about any other feasible excuse, including an early knock off on a warm day.

As those in the know will be aware, the Jungle Warfare School in JB, through some Excise Tax fiddle, charged far less for purchases of bulk beer than we on the Island were expected to pay and a fair saving was to be had by simply jumping into one of the FWR's and heading over the causeway under the guise of a "Communications Test". This occurrence usually coincided with the head of the shortest bloke in the troop being visible over the top of the troop beer supply stacked behind the partition in Jim Storr's office.

There was always the chance that an over zealous type at the 'Customs House' on the causeway would take an interest in the contents of the trailer. Aware of this, a couple of "Likely Lads" who had done the run before and, in theory at least, were less prone to the "sweaty palm" syndrome if confronted, would always volunteer. ( Much to the relief of those in the troop more sober in thought and habit.)

Returning from one of these runs, our heroes are heading back over the causeway when the trailer develops a flat tyre. A quick command appreciation of the situation, confirmed by a mere glance in each others direction was sufficient to convince them both that being slap in the middle of the causeway, 20 metres from customs, with 25 or 30 cartons of illicit grog on board and a flat tyre to boot, was not the ideal state of affairs nor location to be in.

Characteristically undaunted, out they get and with a sense of purpose, set about remedying their situation. They were later to agree it was this sense of purpose that was nearly their undoing and certainly the reason the Customs Officers were falling about laughing and gesturing animatedly in their direction.

Looking about to see what the joke was, our boys realise it might have been easier to jack up the trailer if it were not still attached to the Land Rover ... and so nonchalantly lowering the trailer and the partially airborne Land Rover to the ground, they unhitched the said trailer, changed the tyre and proceeded through customs untroubled by other than ridicule.

Once clear of customs however, the rigid digit was extended in the direction of their teary-eyed tormentors and with honour restored, and another silent exchange of looks, they departed the scene laying the rubber very nicely and headed for home.

Happy to have escaped unscathed and secure in the knowledge that shared embarrassment will bind them like twins, it is back to the compound at Dover Road. They are not so chuffed however to find the rest of the boys have given up on them, taken an early mark, gone to the pool and left it to our two moonlighters to unload the booty on their own.

Undoubtedly you will have guessed it by now - and you are right..... their day was about to get worse. The still silence of the empty compound served only to highlight the stunned embarrassment that greeted the discovery that they were minus one trailer full of beer that should have been right there attached to the Rover.

Turning slowly towards each other, with another unspoken exchange, they realised there was only one place the errant trailer could be.....Back on the causeway with, in all probability, half a dozen extremely happy Customs Officers eagerly awaiting their return.

To their eternal credit, return they did, smilingly parted with part of the load as a sweetener, wished their tormentors every happiness when consuming it and on being waved merrily away, made a somewhat more subdued departure than before.

They vowed in a final unspoken agreement, this days events would never ever find it's way into the public domain. (Until now that is.) (With thanks to Pete Thornton)