Howard Monk was just 15 when he joined the army, turning 16 during basic training. When the Air Force came looking for recruits he was reluctant to join, despite the extra one shilling and sixpence per day. But he was recruited anyway, and discovered he was a natural pilot. Clearly a natural storyteller as well, Monk enjoyed his service, flying fighters in the Pacific theatre late in the war. But by then the Japanese had few serviceable aircraft to fly, and to his regret he never engaged in aerial combat.
The flight I had at Woodbourne, they just gave everybody a flight and did aerobatics and really thrashed everybody around just to see if you could stand it, and you weren’t sick and that sort of thing. It was all a bit of a test to see if it was worth continuing with your training. And I enjoyed it so much. It was great.– Howard Monk