Down to Ramstein
(Recalled by Pat Gentles Feb 2004)


A tour bus arrived to carry us down to Ramstein. As we were getting ready to board the bus, Ivy said "the driver of the truck has had no sleep as he brought the truck up while we were finishing on stage; he needs someone to ride along with him for company to keep him awake". Then before any of us could say anything Ivy said "I know, Pat, come on, you'll be perfect for keeping him company". In a way I supposed that was a compliment but I agreed to Ivy's request and climbed into the truck with the young air man who would be driving for the ten hours it would take us to reach Ramstein.

As we pulled away I took a good look at the man behind the wheel and thought he was attractive enough, but he seemed to be very shy and very quiet. But as we moved along on our journey he became more talkative and I found him to be quite friendly but never in a pushy way. We stopped for a couple of times for the obvious needs, but I don't remember getting anything to eat all through the journey. Just after 10 a.m. we arrived at Ramstein and we all headed to the commissary and got some breakfast; we were all starving. It had been a long drive through the German countryside and we couldn't see much in the way of scenery because it was so dark. But what a lot of history we had driven through - a Nation once our bitterest enemy now friendly towards us

.After eating we were taken to the B.O.Q's which would be our Home while playing on the base - the Officers quarters. There were two girls to each room, the room consisting of twin beds and a private bathroom. We unpacked as much as we could, at least getting our stage clothes unpacked

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for the first performance that evening and, in my case, tuning up the bagpipes. After doing all this we finally were able to have a few hours sleep after being awake for more than 30 hours.That first night was in the air-men's club on the base; we were scheduled to play there for the months of December 1959 and January 1960, then move to the N.C.O. club (non commissioned Officers) for our last month there - February. Then the first of March 1960 we were due to return to England, having been away a total of four months.
When we opened the show that first night, the club was packed with airmen all over the place - and what a great audience they were. They cheered for absolutely everything.

We'd been given a lot of prior l publicity and these young men stationed in the midst of the German forests were hungry to see some girls, especially girls who could speak English! Wendy and I were hoping to mingle with the boys who spoke English; after all we had just spent a month in Hamburg where they mostly spoke German! I know that to-day, in 1999, most people in European countries speak English to get the tourist trade. The third morning we were on the base Wendy and I decided to go look around the P.X. the on-base shopping centre. We were fascinated seeing all the American goods what they were like. I bought an off white raincoat and some perfumed talcum powder. We left the P.X. and walked along to the airmen's club to pass some time before returning to our room. We walked into the club and up to a juke box which we stood beside and - not knowing we were being watched by a group of airmen sitting round a table - I opened the perfumed powder I'd bought and holding the top of Wendy's sweater open at the neck. I said "here have some of this it smells great". Then she took the box and opened my sweater and poured some talc down. We both laughed and were about to walk away when a loud voice said "Hey girls do you want to join us for a drink". We looked at each other then at them then we moved towards them and said yes, but just juice.