The only breakdown I had in the RAF was not obvious - at least not to me. I was serving in Germany at the Joint HQ as the VIP Visits Officer. One evening I was leaving work when the PA to my boss said that there was a vague report about the RAF Germany Band crashing near Munich. By the time I'd got back to the Mess, there was a message from my Group Captain asking me to report to SHQ, which I did. It was a controlled turmoil. There was talk of deaths and serious injuries, but no one had any real news - what we did have were messages from one man at the scene who wasn't too badly hurt. We milled around and eventually some solid intelligence came in - at least 10 people were dead and lots more were badly burnt. Apparently, the double decker coach had gone into the back of a petrol tanker and a fireball had ripped through the vehicle.
We managed to get the names of some of the dead, and were sent off to do what every officer hates most - telling people that their loved one was deceased. The Air Officer had tried to get the BBC not to broadcast the news to Germany, but it had already gone out, so pictures of the burnt out coach were the top story. When you have to tell a wife that her husband has died, you wear your best uniform - so the women knew what was wrong when we rang the doorbell. It was awful - that night I had to tell four women that they were widows.
The one that affected me most was a woman called Linda - she and her husband went to the same church as I did - luckily, the Army padre was there when I had to tell her that John had died. She was hysterical with grief.
It was extremely late when I got back to the Mess and I didn't sleep very well. The next morning we all went back to SHQ to have a briefing, and I was nominated to be LInda's Effects Officer - the liaison with the RAF and the person who arranged the funeral. I didn't realise how hard it would be.
I spent 16 years in the RAF defending the Free World , then got bunged out unceremoniously for being bipolar. I and was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD. Funny old world, isn't it?