In the 17th century he was celebrated by the Catholic Church on the 2nd of October. Everybody has four angels, one front, one back, one on the right is good, and one on the left is evil.
1. He 1st saved me, when I was about 17 years old.
We closed Fahy’s shop at seven o’clock. In a hurry to get past the Galway-bus, which just started to pull out at Lally’s Hotel (now O’Sullivan’s), riding my sports bike. Just at that moment a truck came up the hill. It was only four yards away. I lifted the front wheel off the ground, managed to miss Hasel’s embankment. I vaguely remembered the screaming of brakes. It took ten minutes for my nerves to cool down. Next evening I was going to the cinema. The owner told me, he had witnessed the near-accident. He closed his eyes; he did not want to see me getting killed. That was the first.
2. During my Royal Airforce-days, stationed in Upper Hayford in 1947, I was teaching Terry Kiernan, a big Kerry-man, to swim in a river a few miles from our camp. He was doing the breaststroke fine, swimming along the bank. I told him, it was time to swim across the river, about 20 yards. Half ways he panicked and sank. I knew the danger. I grabbed a towel and threw one end to him. Seconds later he had me by the neck in about three meters of soft earth in the bottom. I managed to walk and crawl up the bank with a drowning man. After a while, he told me, he had seen his whole life in those minutes. My reply was: so did I! That Angel was right there!
3. While working with Freddy Laker in 1951 an Avro York (large aircraft) went off the run-away and bagged down in a field. A steel cable was attached to the right-hand gear. My job was to place a wooden chock behind the wheel to stop it rolling back in. A thought came to my mind: if the cable broke, I could be injured. I moved to the other side. The cable broke seconds later. That Angel had done it again.
4. Capt. Hank Warton, co-pilot Gerard Karl and myself as flight engineer were flying over the Sahara Desert at night on route to Cairo in a Douglas DC4 aircraft in 1958. We got completely lost! Normally 45 minutes of fuel was carried in case we had to divert. Mayday – Mayday, S.O.S. call sign. I was sitting there, looking at fuel-gauges and about 20 minutes of fuel left. Before we would fall out of the sky. Eventually Tel Aviv picked up our distress signal with minutes left. I had just completed the balance-sheet for St. Peter.
5. Capt. Ted Simonsson, co-pilot Jack de Lange and myself departed Tokyo at 22:00 hrs for Hong Kong. It was a 10-hour flight. We had completed three days of flying from Hamburg 16 hours earlier. We visited a Norwegian ship and were eating and drinking all day long. A two-day stop was planned upon returning to the hotel. A telex was there with new instructions: take off immediately on account of another aircraft having had an engine-failure. I tried to convince Ted that I had to fix some defects and that we would go in the morning. It was no use, he seen through my scheme. Away we went off to 6000 ft high. I synchronized the engines, everything was fine and my job was done. Ted switched on the auto-pilot, I crashed out in the bunk. About an hour later I woke up. I thought the aircraft was flying very fast. I staggered into the cockpit. Ted and Jack were snoring their heads off. The aircraft was descending 50 ft a minute, we were at 3000 ft. I adjusted the auto-pilot, got the aircraft back to 6000 ft, woke Jack an hour later to report being over a certain position. My Guardian Angel tapped me on the shoulder, telling me, we only had half an hour to go before meeting our maker and not to be so stupid the next time!
My middle name: Christopher
At school there was a picture of St. Christopher carrying a child across a river, the story is as follows:
Half ways across he got weak. He was told, he had the weight of the world on his shoulder, 250 B.C.
The Patron Saint of Holy Travel.
His feat-day: 25th of July was dropped from the calendar 1969.
Between St. Christopher and my Guardian Angels I have done allright. Of course the devil takes care of his own. Nowadays I am a little more careful and try not to rely on them too much. And then there is the old saying: “When your time is up, you got to go!”
In the meantime I intend to stick around as long as I can, if nothing else but to annoy you folks in having to read this crap.
See ye around!!!