THE ADVENTURES OF AN OFF-DUTY PILOT BY ANTHONY BACON
This second chapter of Anthony Bacon’s hitherto unpublished memoir, A Life with Entrances and Exits, describes his life in the 1960s and 1970s, when he was a pilot in the British Royal Air Force.
Chapter II. The adventures of an Off-duty Pilot
So, the young Pilot Officer Bacon arrived in the Far East, just in time to take part in the so-called Borneo Campaign. Indonesia’s President Sukarno had decided that he would invade the two areas of Borneo that had not originally belonged to the Dutch. That is to say the newly independent provinces of Sarawak and Sabah. It was much more complicated than that, but suffice it say that the British government had a treaty with the new nation Malaysia and we went out to help fend off the land and oil-hungry aggression of Sukarno. I was hurriedly converted onto ‘steep take off and landing’ Twin Pioneer aircraft, that would be suitable to resupply troops in the very small air-strips that were rapidly cleared in the forward areas, near the contested border.
Though difficult and dangerous in monsoon-weather with maps that were often blank in large areas, I loved both the flying and the jungle itself.
Browsing this website, I came across the article on Rajah James Brooke [the English adventurer and boy-lover who established himself as the first of a line of white Rajahs of Sarawak in 1841]. This rang a plangently personal bell with me because I was stationed at Kuching Airport — which had been turned into a large military camp — for quite long periods between 1964 and 1965.
My relationship with the Brooke family is ephemeral, to put it very mildly. In my rare off-duty moments, I used to go and swim in the muddy river very close to the Brooke Istana. That is to say, their palace — much added to, since the first Rajah’s time.
Why? The water was filthy. A dark, muddy red-brown. But, it was also full of local Dayak boys! Quite different from the commonly found Muruts or Malays, the Dayaks were taller, more graceful and had much paler skins.
They also had the most enormous round eyes.
The young, unmarried women were exquisite; but the boys — right up into their middle-teens — were incredibly beautiful.
And they swam naked and were very friendly…
An old man was always down there, watching the slender otters flashing about in the water. He liked me because I had taken the trouble to learn Pidgin-Malay. This being the lingua franca of all places from Western Indonesia to the islands just north of Australia.
Being young — and always polite! — I called him Kakek (Grandfather). There is no more honorific title for a European to use with an older Asian man. One day, exhausted from throwing the otters shrieking into the air, I sat with him and pointed at the palace, made some polite remarks in general, and he nodded, grinning from ear-to-ear and obviously full of mischief: “Kaum Bruk summa-summa Tuan” and he laughed like a rusty drain, then said “…puki malu!”
Puki malu literally means ‘cunt shy’! Kaum Bruk means the Brooke family — or more correctly the Brooke tribe — and the rest said that I was the same as them! All this seems to indicate that a local ancient memory of the Brooke Sultanate insists that they all loved boys? Or at least, not women primarily?
I covered my embarrassment by laughing with him and then realized that he had not meant to give me any disrespect. He had watched me for hours, playing with the lovely boys — sometimes a dozen at a time.
The boys were happy little chatterboxes and they had certainly told him that The Friendly White Giant had pulled their sweet appendages under the water, and that they really liked me…
I mean, as a bribe, I would buy up the entire stock of one of the local food-stalls to feed them all and I tried to learn their names and indeed, some of the local Dayak patois…
The boys were a very welcome antidote to the huge strain of flying Twin Pioneers around in mountainous jungle — using the world’s worst maps and in monsoonal weather — being often shot at with 12.7 mm machine-guns…
Bushes near this favourite swimming spot would provide just enough cover to have five or six of them bumping their firm tummies against my nose as they pistonned, writhed and giggled — the older ones giving me their life-giving fresh young hormones.
I never did go any further than that, knowing that if I did, it would be all around town, ten minutes later… This, even though I knew that Grandpa — when he felt strong enough — would have one or other of the sweet boys sit on his hornéd lap. They told me this partly in sign-language — hooting and falling about as they mimed lowering themselves onto the old man’s uchok [prick!]….
And miming the initial pain of penetration in the most outrageous way!
* * *
Really though, the heterosexual military people on site had to forget the European concept of the age-of-consent. Both Dayak and Murut girls were married and into their second baby by the time they were sixteen… It was really quite funny, in one respect. One do-gooder service padre decided to break the custom for humping the very young local girls, recruiting a whole load of tired old Chinese whores from Singapore. This was, pragmatically, ‘for the greater good’ he proposed?
I still hoot with laughter as I remember that the main problem with his brilliant idea was that very few service people even went near them!
It is also true to say that, among the true Borneans, anything was permissible before marriage, and there was a very strong tradition of pederasty. The Kayans and Kelabits were the same: boys with boys; girls with girls and, of course the ‘right’ heterosexual way, too. Anything went until you were married, which, in the girls’ cases, was when they were thirteen or fourteen. After marriage, though, there was no play. Just making babies! Though sex between boys and men was merely frowned upon, not punished...
* * *
The local Dayak boys were incredibly beautiful and very relaxed and accommodating, but I found out — almost to my cost — that they were also incurable chatter-boxes, who would tell anyone about the white guy who liked them! For them it was a matter of pride! So I treated them with much more caution than I would have thought necessary with a European boy, and I concentrated mainly on European boys because they had this hermetic code of silence. But this was no problem because we pilots rotated between Borneo and our squadron-base in Singapore.
In Singapore, there was a very large expatriate community and, of course, many large swimming pools to which the Europeans had full access. As well, all of the many British military bases had pools of their own. They were, of course, the best places to meet boys. The magical combination of single men and sun-browned European boys resulted in many relationships and there were a few scandals where the men became careless or greedy; but there were never any prosecutions. Even in the service families, the guilty man involved was instantly posted to a desert post in Oman, or somewhere else, equally nasty. A civilian would hurriedly be sent home. Why? Because no service or civilian organization would ever call in the local police. Better to sweep it under the rug, so — best of all — these events never appeared in the local papers…
So, overseas outposts were often a paradise for a gentle, patient pederast. In the fifties and sixties, those the kids in those foreign enclaves, had a lot of freedom to come and go and those hermetic worlds in which children and adults lived were just as strongly maintained as in Europe. A man, sensitive to a boy’s feelings and to his deep curiosity about sexual things, was literally in paradise.
Another important factor was that, in those days, before modern swimming-goggles came into use, glass face-plates were the thing. Because of the dangers of these glass plates breaking, they were banned from pools. One’s imagination runs riot remembering the obviously gentle opening moves during games of tag with a lissom boy. Or, when a younger and older protagonists paused to gain their breath, even when young Tom’s parents were only yards away!
Speedo swim-pants, even when new, allowed easy ingress to gentle fingers that, in my own experience, a boy would happily accept.
A fellow pilot’s two sons were prime examples. As it happened, the elder brother was 14, but neither of them needed more than the slightest nudge to allow me up into heaven. All the slightly more nervous younger boy needed by way of persuasion was to know that his big brother had done it! The tropics seem to loosen waist-elastic in all age-groups and there were a great many adult-scandals, too? This was certainly true of the European population of Singapore in the 1960s.
* * *
I must also tell of a posting to Oman. The sea was incredibly clear and it was always bath-water warm. A coastal pool had been formed with brightly-tiled concrete and was safe from sharks. Again, it was common to see boys and men horsing around in the hot sunshine and crystal-clear water. Some of those boys and men were fathers and sons, of course? But some most definitely weren’t! I met a lovely Scottish boy with dark hair and huge, bright blue eyes. Gentle fingers inside Speedos while we played chase, or rested, puffing between bouts gradually led to lowering those Speedos in the far corner of the enclosure and flying over the rainbow while pressing at his sensitive portal. Finn giggled and blushed and clearly loved this, so one day we braved the dangerous sea. Dangerous because of sharks. There was the wreck of a sunken old barge, rusted into holes and half-submerged in the sand, nearby. We climbed through the holey deck and found beautiful white sand to stand on in this magical cave that was lit by shafts of sunlight that pierced the rusty deck and warm, four-foot deep water full of little colourful fish. I had Vaseline with me and Finn — nervously at first — gave up his virginity to me in that incredibly beautiful place. Holding bravely to a spar and giggling and ouching, his lovely body let me slowly in… This was perhaps the prime experience of my life because once Finn’s pain had circulated away, he was very noisy in urging me on!
Thinking that we had been safe from sharks in that capsule of rust, it was Finn who spotted the dark, slender visitor as we climbed out, both sated and sweating from 48 degree heat.
That was the luckiest escape of my life, and I’d had a few before that!
* * *
When I got home from that posting, the early seventies proved that the world was changing. Much for the worse, but that another tale-of-tails ... One thing improved though: I found that in London it became much easier to make contact with men who shared my passion and many good friendships were started. In my case, it was truly wonderful to be able to write to, or even meet other pederasts and hear their stories. With a bunch of like-minded men, I joined a group that we laughingly called The Round Pond Seven. We would meet as often as we could on the park benches above the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens. Even in quite cool and windy weather, there always seemed to be a few long-leggedy boys to gaze at and to admire and discuss as they sailed their boats, or fed the swans. We came from all walks of life. Our one common interest was boys. Some liked boys with tummy-hair and others not, but the big and little boys sailing their yachts on the pond below us were our absolute focus… And swapping tales of tails!
My favourite among the Seven was a slightly older person than myself. I often took my service leaves in London and I would of meet Sid on his own to talk of our mutually beloved boys.
When he’d been twelve, he’d had a scoutmaster who owned a pristine MGTC. Being a scout was nerve-racking for the shy Sid at first, then great fun later. The genuine fun and warmth was largely due to this scoutmaster. He was a smiling, very gentle slender man who quietly and clearly made it obvious he was fond of Sid, particularly. Sid, being a denizen of North, rather than South Kensington, blushed brightly when the said Skipper invited him for a drive in that shining MGTC. Being a bright boy, he was pretty certain what that ride out to Epping Forest would entail, so at first he made excuses, then later he agreed to go with Skip one sunny Saturday. The car was a delight and they sang and laughed all the way with the canvas hood lowered. Eventually, they stopped for chips and ice-cream and then Skip pulled into a bosky lay-by, where took part in the traditional-ceremonial piss on a clump of nettles, yelling: “Die nettles!”. Then they climbed back into the little car — this time with Skip in the passenger seat. No-one could see them from the road, so Skip easily lifted skinny Sid across onto his lap, facing him.
Here, it should be said that Sid’s home-life was not good. A great deal of drunkenness and violence and the scouts being seen as a good way of ‘getting the brat out of the house’. So when Skip gently tugged open Sid’s shorts and his own and taught Sid the game ‘playing the double-barrelled tuba’, Sid responded — shyly at first — then, thinking that Skip was the first grown-up who had ever treated him well and never let him down, he allowed the man to pull off his shorts and pants, then lift him onto the mighty pole that had been suitably greased with Vaseline. He admits that he squealed as the huge thing stretched him open, but he bit down on his lower lip as he slowly ‘slid down the maypole’ as Skip breathlessly described the impalement. The pain slowly faded and though he didn’t enjoy that first experience at all, he later did it many times with his beloved friend. He said that it was obvious that the man loved him and the sex later became very enjoyable. It happened in the car and on the heath and even in Skip’s bed when the man’s wife was out shopping one time. In all the positions known to man.
Like many boys with men as lovers, things slowed to a stop when he was about fourteen. To his surprise, he found himself attracted to younger boys at about that time and after introducing a younger friend in his street to Skip, he took up with yet another pretty twelve that he knew...
As I said, this was at a time when, on weekends and holidays, Mum would only say, as her boy shot out of the door: “Be back for lunch and don’t get dirty!”
My own experience of those years varied widely and ranged from hugs and kisses to full-on sex. And, of course, a boy who started out shyly or nervously would often go further and yet further, on later occasions. As I know from personal experience, in the right mood, time & place, some very small people can writhe and giggle and come…. OK, in ‘dry’manner!
It all hinged upon — as the Round Pond Seven decided — mood, time & place. These were the sovereign factors. If the mood, the time or the place was wrong, then the younger member of any dyad simply would not play?
And yes, to be completely honest, there was often an element of gentle coercion in these sweet tangles. One pretty kid I knew would do anything for a Mars Bar! And variations on that theme…
Another lovely kid would ‘do it properly’ if I took him for a drive in my very old, but heavily-tweaked Riley Pathfinder ‘to do a hundred’ along The Great North Road. We’re talking 100mph here. That’s 160 kph, as of course you know… He yelled with excitement as the needle fluttered over the magic point and he was still so hyped on adrenaline when I pulled into a bosky lay-by — where his most secret place also fluttered and then opened to my gentle thrusting… He later told me that he’d ‘done sex before, but only with another kid’. I still have his neat little Y-fronts locked away in my old deed-box.
This adrenaline-rush thing was remarked upon by another member of the Round Pond Seven who was a mad-keen motorcyclist. At that time he owned a Vincent Black Shadow and he would take his young friends for ‘ton-up runs’, and then pull into some quiet woodland glade. He swore that this always relaxed the tightest sphincter! Sorry to be so crude, by my old friend Baz was a crude but very happy fellow who always kept a spare bike-helmet in one of his saddle-bags!
One twelve-year-old's rueful comment might really sum up what that Golden Age was about. I was apologising profusely for his painful first experience and he grinned and giggled and told me not to worry because '...it had to happen sometime' and that he could now '...have some decent pocket money!'.