It happened in London
by Joe Hays, co-pilot, 707th

I have a highly unusual but true story I want to relate before all potentially interested parties are dead, or too old to enjoy. This incident took place on the second day of my first trip to London. Naturally, I had learned everything there was to know about London the day before. Everyone knew the royal unflappable palace guard could not be made to smile. One did, and I caused it.

I had gone somewhere alone to see something and was rushing past Buckingham Palace. I was to meet one or more of my crew mates at the Regent Palace hotel for lunch and was already late. At that time my rank was Flight Officer. The night before a lady had admired my blue bars so I only had one. If I had any medals at all it was an Air Medal but I’m sure I had my ETO ribbon. As I passed one of those stoic beaver hatted guards, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him salute. I, still rushing, returned his salute. He smiled, OK, maybe smirked. A few strides later I passed a British general slapping his thigh with his riding crop as he strode along.

Moral: The next time some duffer tells you he made a hole in one while playing alone, he just might be telling the truth. Something much more unlikely did happen.

Very truly yours,

Joe Hays