Mid 1980s - Rudloe Manor, Wiltshire - In the office of the criminal investigators working for the RAF Special Investigation Branch Southern Region Headquarters, my desk was up against one wall next to that of a colleague’s and together we shared a single telephone.
On one particular day, everyone working in the office was notified that the telephones cables of a unit within our area; RAF Brize Norton, had been severed during construction work, and as a result, it would be impossible to telephone anyone on the unit for several hours until repairs were carried out.
Unfortunately, for some reason, my colleague Moss was out of the office when the news came in. Some time after, Moss returned to his desk in a rather foul mood, snatched up the telephone and dialled a number.
After several attempts it was clear that he was having problems getting a connection and his mood was becoming even darker
He continued in his attempts and during his angry mutterings I and some of the others in the office realised that he was trying to get through to some-one at Brize Norton. As if by an invisible conspiracy no-one in the office said a thing but merely sat back to watch his frustration become more intense. After several more unsuccessful attempts and several curses Moss slammed the telephone down and stormed over to the filing cabinet to retrieve a file.
At that point, I picked up the receiver and dialled the police office at RAF Lyneham and spoke to the unit investigator about a case we were working on. My conversation however, was briefly interrupted by Moss from the other side of the office, telling me to hurry up as he had an urgent call to make.
Having finished my conversation anyway, I said quite plainly into the receiver, “Okay, I’ll be over to Brize Norton tomorrow morning so I’ll see you then”.
At that point, just as the telephone receiver was being lowered towards the desk everyone in the office was treated to a frantic panic-stricken Moss leaping across the room in his attempt to grab it before the connection to Brize Norton was severed; frustratingly, he didn’t quite make it! As he snatched up the phone in a frenzy, I merely said, “I’m sorry Moss, did you want Brize Norton?” His response was quite unrepeatable.