I was reading about RAF Watton. There’s a website, where people who remember the base like to write the things they remembered about it. It was the same as any other base, full of people uprooted out of their lives, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, usually not by choice.
One entry was this:
“one of the pilots who did not return that night had been in the habit of taking his dog, a golden Labrador, on missions. But the C.O. stopped it. The dog used to lie up on the airfield, waiting for him to come back. On this occasion, it lay up there for about four days. It refused water, and food. Then one evening, approaching dusk, a plane flew low over the airfield, and the officer in charge of the guns alerted the crew and gave the order to fire. Suddenly the dog started jumping up and down and barking in excitement. The officer in charge had the sense to tell the gunners to hold their fire. Somehow the Labrador had recognised that his owner was flying the plane. If the dog had not been left behind, they could have been killed as they returned. A few of the men who were shot down had parachuted out of their planes and were still fit to fly. They managed to commandeer planes to get them home, and some had landed at other airfields. We were so glad to welcome them back.”
I used to do a lot of travelling. I remembered a day when I really didn’t know when I’d be back at all, because of the three trains and a taxi I had to get to get from the airport to home.
My old cat knew though. He went to the front door at about the time my plane landed, 120 miles away. He stayed there until I got in the door. Maybe the dog on the airfield saw his owner through the windscreen in the dusk. Maybe. Maybe my old cat just wanted to sit by the door, although he never did at any other time except when this happened on another trip.
But 300 years ago nobody knew what electricty was, either.