Letter: Going for a Burton in a billiard hall

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The Independent Online
Sir: During the last war, the initial Morse code instruction for wireless operator/air gunners took place at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The speed of reading had to increase at one word per minute per week. The test took place every seven days at a converted billiard hall above Burtons (Letters; 'Tailor-made insult', 11 April).

Failure to pass meant immediate posting off the course. Many a man shed a tear even though an odd one or two tried to increase their ability with a double Scotch purchased out of the 30 shillings a fortnight pay.

It was nicknamed 'Going for a Burton', a phrase which later was used on the squadrons when referring to the non-return of a crew from an 'Op'.

Yours faithfully,




8 April