Ronald Taylor RAF 1942 War Diary

Background

Ronald Taylor
1239542
36 Bolton Road
Port Sunlight

14 ½ collar – 6 7/8 hat – 6 ½ shoe

In this 1942 diary 19 year old AC2 Pilot Cadet Ronald is in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in January training to become a pilot at the Elementary Training Flying School Induna, near Bulawayo. He is very homesick for his girlfriend Joyce Hipson who he marries in 1943 & his parents living in Port Sunlight near Liverpool.

Ultimately unsuccessful as a pilot, he is discharged from the RAF in December 1942 after returning via troop ship to Glasgow in late June, expressing a desire to join the Merchant Navy.

Three other diaries, 1937, 1944, 1945 have survived (but are not currently published) which show he was residing in Port Sunlight, Wirral both before and subsequent to this 1942 diary.

The first diary is “The Universal Diary for 1937” – “Invaluable to Buyers, farmers, sportsmen, householders etc.” The diary was only filled in intermittently – he was having drum lessons while still at school. On Wednesday 12th May the entry reads: “Coronation of George VI successful”. Entry for 24 June 1937; ‘left school went over Royal Oak‘. Entry for July 1937; ‘started in service department’ (probably Lever’s). He was still having drum lessons, but was now regularly playing in a band. He seems to have picked up little jobs with local bands, for example the entry for the 16th October states “Dance job at Heswall. Fred Harris name of pianist.”

The second diary is “The Amateur Photographer Diary and Handbook for 1944”, when he belonged to the Liverpool Amateur Photographic Association. This contains a substantial section on photo related information including some pages on wartime regulations and prohibitions. Again, only filled in intermittently, entries such as 24th June “Played drill hall”, 27th June “Ernie goes in army”, 5th October “Cricket dance crowd very pleased”, 7th October “War Appeals dance Hulme Hall”. Towards the end of the diary are names and numbers of singers and musicians.

In “The Walkers Diary for 1945”, there are several occasions when he played at “Clatterbridge” hospital, Hulme Hall, Adelphi hotel, Victoria hall with the band. Ronald’s business address is “Lever Bros. Port Sunlight” with telephone number “Rock Ferry 2292”. Again at the back of this diary are the details of various musicians and singers from the local area.

January 1942

Thursday 1st

Attended watch night service in St. John’s church Bulawayo.

Friday 2nd

Lessons as usual. Wrote to Joyce 5th letter.

Saturday 3rd

Went to bank in morning. Bought guitar. Cabled for tutor.

Sunday 4th

Wrote to mum 4th letter.

Monday 5th

Wrote to Joyce 6th letter.

Wednesday 7th

Wrote to Joyce 7th letter

Thursday 8th

Ordered parcel of food for home. Haddon too sly, lost 12/9-. 6/8- for postage. Also cabled mum saying it was sent.

Friday 9th

Wrote to Joyce 8th letter.

Sunday 11th

Wrote mum 6th letter. Wrote Joyce 9th letter.

Tuesday 13th

Wrote Joyce 10th letter. Inoculated against influenza.

Wednesday 14th

Wrote to mum 7th letter. Roy Skeates wrote new piece out for me. It is much more difficult.

Thursday 15th

Wrote to Joyce 11th letter, lessons as usual. 89% in navigation test. Private confirmation class with Squadron Leader Jenkins. Confirmed in St. John’s Bulawayo at 8.15pm. Taken to church in lorry, had ride to Induna aerodrome afterward. Received parcel from mum, this diary was in it. Attended choir practice for the first time.

Friday 16th

Lessons as usual. Not paid in the morning because they thought I was still at Salisbury (the daft beggars). Had about 1 ½ hrs practice on the guitar. Went to camp cinema at night and saw “Frozen Limits” not bad at all.

Saturday 17th

Went to the bank in the morning put £1 in. Then bought manuscript and tooth brush. Rex Payne gave me lift both ways. Paid at 11am – full money, but will receive less for next two pay days. Received two cables, one from my dear Joyce and one from mum Thyson, also received letter from Auntie Jessie. Afternoon had practice on guitar, at 4pm new draft arrived. Met Steve Yeardsley and in the evening talked Port Sunlight for about two hours. Wrote to my dear mum 8th letter.

Sunday 18th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 12th letter. Attended Holy Communion for the first time 08.00 hrs. Attended morning service at 09.30 hrs, sang in the choir for the first time. Had one hour’s practice in the morning. Afternoon had sleep and wrote to my dear Joyce, also finished off my letter to my dear mum. Evening had another hour’s practice on guitar, had bath and went to bed 10.00pm.

Monday 19th

Wrote to Lever’s Durban, Doris and mum Thyson. Rose at5.45am paraded at 7.30am and started lessons at 7.45am. Had two periods of rifle drill. Half an hour’s practice on guitar in morning and 40 mins in the evening. Spent evening writing. Finished lessons 5.15pm. Made an appointment with dentist for 2.00pm tomorrow. Laundry came back. Long queues for meals. Went to bed at 9.30pm. Sweat rash cured.

Tuesday 20th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 13th. Rose at 5.30am lessons as usual. Inoculated at 11.00am. Only six of us, the others objected owing to the exams. Choir practice at 5.20pm, Steve Yeardsley and Bob also there. ½ hour’s practice on guitar in the morning and 35 mins night, spent an hour or so with Roy Skeates, he pointed out my mistakes. Received cable from dad saying that parcel was on its way. I was very pleased indeed to hear from dad. Went to bed at 10.00pm.

Wednesday 21st

Wrote to my dear mum 9th letter. Feeling pretty rotten all day, effects of inoculation, symptoms of flu. Morse test in the afternoon, had fairly quiet afternoon. 1 ¼ hrs practice on guitar. Steve goes in hospital, stomach trouble, visited him at 7.15pm. Went to bed at 9.45pm.

Thursday 22nd

Wrote to my dear Joyce 14th letter. Wrote to Auntie Jessie. Hut orderly all day had about 1 ½ hrs practice on guitar. Attended choir practice 4.45pm. Went to camp cinema & saw Jack Holt in “The Strange Case of Dr. Meade”. Went to bed 10pm. Felt a little better.

Friday 23rd

Lessons as usual, went into town at 4.30pm in Rex Payne’s car. Collected reprints and sent cable to mum Thyson, return in car at 5.30pm. Went to camp cinema and saw “Start Cheering” quite a good laugh. Went to bed at 10.10pm. Had about 1 hrs practice on guitar.

Saturday 24th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 15th letter. Maths & navigation exams in the morning. Washed my stockings in the afternoon and had a sleep. Wrote to Joyce in the evening, had one hour’s practice on the guitar, had a bath and then went to bed at 10.30pm.

Sunday 25th

Wrote to my dear mum 10th letter. Attended church service in the morning at 9.30am. Sang in choir, sang Anthem “What Are These”. 1 ¼ hrs practice on guitar in lecture hut. Afternoon had a sleep and wrote to mum, in the evening had a chat with Tommy. Went to bed 10.15pm.

Monday 26th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 16th letter. Had route march first thing, then navigation after that, swimming parade. We were granted a free afternoon because we had our exams last Saturday. I went into town at 3.00pm and bought a film, they are hard to obtain now-a-days. Had one hour’s practice on guitar in the evening. Roy Skeates came & showed me some new exercises, bought him cigarettes. Went to camp cinema and saw “Midnight Intruder”, not bad. Went to bed at 10.15pm. Sweat rash started again, went to hospital and had rash painted.

Tuesday 27th

Wrote to Ronnie Baron , had rather an easy day, two private study periods, had 1 ½ hrs practice on guitar. Attended choir practice at 4.45pm spent the evening at the camp cinema and saw “Virginia City”. I had seen it before, but enjoyed seeing it again. Went to bed at 10.30pm. Went to hospital to have rash painted.

Wednesday 28th

Wrote to my dear mum 11th letter, also wrote to my dear Joyce 17th letter. Received a cable from mum saying that she had received money , I assume this to be the allotment. Rather an easy day as regards lessons. Reported sick this morning with a bite on my finger. The M.O. can’t understand it , he gave me some calcium tablets to take, also had sweat rash painted. Had 1 ¼ hours practice on guitar in the evening. Took snap of Tom cutting my hair, also a snap of the two of us, this finished the roll off. Had bath at 9.00pm and then to bed at 10.00pm.

Thursday 29th

Very easy day, one navigation and one drill period the rest off. Had a slight chill sniffing all the time. Heavy rain in the afternoon, evening I had 1 hrs practice, making a total of 1 ½ for the day. Attended choir practice at 4.45pm. Went to bed at 9.30pm.

Friday 30th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 18th letter, another easy day, having two private study periods. Only had ¼ hrs practice on guitar, the reason being because I am getting a little stale, so I thought a rest would do me good. Went into town at 4.30pm and cabled mum, I also bought a photograph album for Roy White. The evening I spent at camp cinema and saw Deanna Durbin in “It’s a Date” an excellent picture I enjoyed it very much. Went to bed at 10.20pm. Paid in the morning as a December pupil for the first time. I was paid £1 as promised.

Saturday 31st

Lessons as usual in the morning, also told results of examinations , we all passed except one in maths. Afternoon received new beds, they are much better and a lot more comfortable. In the afternoon we had a sleep, washed stockings and had one hour’s practice on guitar making a total of 2 hours for today. I wrote to my dear mum this evening 12th letter, I then had a bath and went to bed at 10.15pm.

February 1942

Sunday 1st

Attended church parade in the morning, I sang in the choir, the anthem “What are these” went down very well. The Lord Bishop of Southern Rhodesia was preaching. I also had one hour’s practice on guitar in one of the lecture huts. The afternoon I spent at lakeside with Rex Payne and four of the boys. We went in Rex’s car and the total cost of the day out, including something to eat, was 1/9d – very cheap. We left camp at 2.00pm and came back at 5.15pm. I had a very lucky escape with my watch, it came of my wrist and fell between Eric’s foot and mine. The evening I wrote to my dear Joyce 19th letter. A thorn stuck in my ankle during the afternoon.

Monday 2nd

Stared new course. Received 9th and 10th letters from my dear mum, I feel much better now. My ankle quite painful all day with the thorn. Went into town at 4.30pm in Rex’s car. Collected snaps, three failures, underexposed due to filter. Walked back with Eric. I spent the evening at the camp cinema and saw “The Saint in London” very good indeed, it was good to see London again it made me wish for home more than ever. Went to bed at 10.15pm. I also had ½ an hour’s practice on the guitar.

Tuesday 3rd

Wrote to my dear Joyce 20th letter. Lessons as usual, Squadron Leader Abel promised us to be posted by March 27th. 1 ¼ hours practice on guitar. The evening wrote to my dear Joyce. Attended choir practice at 4.45pm. Thorn came out of my ankle, ¼ inch long, great relief. Went to bed at 9.45pm

Wednesday 4th

Wrote to my dear mum 13th letter. Lessons as usual, mail in but none for me. On guard at night, paraded at 6.00pm. Evening Roy Skeates came and gave me a run-over. ½ hours practice on the guitar. Slept in fire hut, went to bed at 10.30pm.

Thursday 5th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 21st letter. Fire picket till6.00pm. English mail in, but none for me. 1 ¼ hrs practice on guitar. Wrote my notes on Browning gun. Paraded at 6.00pm to come off guard. I spent the evening at the camp cinema and saw “5th Avenue Girl” with ginger Rogers and a very good show indeed. Went to bed at 10.15pm.

Friday 6th

Lessons as usual all day. I received two cables this morning, one from my dear Joyce and one from Len. I was pleased to hear from Len, it is nice to think so many people remember me. At 4.30pm I went into town in Rex Payne’s car and collected reprints and sent a cable to my dear Joyce, I walked back. Feeling very browned off. As usual, no more English mail in, I have only received two letters from my dear mum, none from my dear Joyce. I spent this evening at the camp cinema and saw “Thief Meets Thief” quite a good story. Went to bed at 10.20pm. I miss my home more than ever.

Saturday 7th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 22nd letter. Lessons as usual during this morning. I washed my stockings and tops this afternoon, also had a sleep. I stayed in the hut in the evening. Pierce borrowed 10/- off me till next Friday. Had one hours practice on guitar. Went to bed at 10.30pm.

Sunday 8th

Wrote to my dear mum 14th letter. This morning I attended the service held in the quiet room, I sang in the choir as usual. The rest of the morning I spent with Roy Skeates who showed me a new piece, it was the “12 bar blues”. This afternoon I wrote to my dear mum, also a little practice on guitar, this evening I finished off my notes on the Browning gun. I also had another practice making a total of 1 ½ hours for the day. I went to bed at 9.45pm. Still as browned off as ever.

Monday 9th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 23rd letter. Lessons as usual all day, received a letter from Auntie Jessie this morning, this afternoon received a letter from Marion. I was very pleased to hear from her. I was very disappointed there wasn’t a letter from my dear Joyce. This evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Fast Play”. Went to bed at 10.15pm. I had about ¾ of an hour on the guitar.

Tuesday 10th

Wrote to Auntie Jessie. Lectures during the day, mail in but none for me. I attended choir practice at 4.45pm started new anthem. Played the guitar with Roy Skeates this evening, Ron Stuart also there. Had one hours practice on guitar. Swotted for an hour or so this evening. Went to bed at 10.15pm.

Wednesday 11th

Wrote to my dear mum 15th letter also to my dear Joyce 24th letter. Received a letter from Wilf Smith and a letter from Tom Lindsey. I was very pleased to hear from both of them. I have still not received a letter from my dear Joyce and I am very disappointed still there is time yet. Had lessons as usual all day. This evening I spent writing to my dear mum. I went to bed at 10.15pm. Had one hour’s practice on guitar all day.

Thursday 12th

Wrote to Marion & Wilf . Lessons as usual all day. Received cable from mum saying letters and parcel received that means it has only taken a month to travel to England. This afternoon organised games, so I wrote the two letters. I attended choir practice at 4.45pm. This evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Nurse Cavell” a very well acted picture and I enjoyed it very much. I went to bed at 10.15pm. Still no mail, I feel very homesick and browned off. I had ½ hours practice on guitar.

Friday 13th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 25th letter. Lessons as usual all day, English mail in but none for me. We are duty flight from 6.00pm, I am on 12 hr guard, which is guarding the aeroplanes. The evening I went to the camp cinema and saw “Honeymoon in Bali”, a very good picture which I enjoyed very much. I went into town at I went into town at 4.30pm and sent a cable to mum, had a lift in Rex Payne’s car. I guarded the aeroplane from 10.00pm to 12.00pm, went to bed at 12.15am. I had ¾ hr practice on guitar. Paid this morning £1, this now makes up for the extra money that they paid me.

Saturday 14th

Wrote to Wilf Smith . Duty flight all day. I received a letter from my dear Joyce this morning dated 6th January. This is the first I have received from her in this mail and of course I feel a hundred times better. This afternoon I washed my stockings , this evening I spent writing up my airframe notes. I had a bath and went to bed at 10.30pm. I feel more browned off however, especially with Joyce telling me in her letter how much dad misses me. I would give anything to get back home, I don’t like this life one bit. Had about an hour’s practice on the guitar.

Sunday 15th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 26th letter, also to my dear mum 16th letter. I attended Holy Communion this morning at 08.00am and at 9.30am attended morning service, I sang in the choir as usual. I stayed after the service for a Christening. This afternoon I spent writing to my dear mum & my dear Joyce. This evening I wrote up my meteorology notes and after that had ¾ of an hour’s practice on the guitar. I went to bed at 10.00pm.

Monday 16th

Lessons as usual all day. Today is a day of days, at long last I have received the missing letters. Today I received mum’s 11th & 12th letters, 2 from Grandma and 3 from Joyce, was I glad to receive them, I feel a hundred times better. This course is getting beyond me, I can’t take in so many subjects at once, today we started airmanship, not a bad subject, but a lot of rules to learn. This evening I went to the camp cinema and saw “They Made Her a Spy” with Sally Eilers. I had ½ hour’s practice on guitar. I also received the P.S. News from Levers. Also received 2 10/- postal orders from Grandma & Granddad.

Tuesday 17th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 27th letter. Hut orderly all day, spent my time copying up notes, it was also laundry day today. I attended choir practice at 4.45pm. Took a photograph of myself. The evening I spent copying up my notes, afterwards I had ¾ hrs practice on guitar. I went to bed at 10.15pm.

Wednesday 18th

Wrote to my dear mum 17th letter, received two parcels, will get second one tomorrow. Lessons as usual in the morning, this afternoon we had hut changing. I don’t care for the hut I am now in; let us hope I am not here for long. There is a wireless in this hut, it is quite a change. This evening I spent writing to mum and copying my airmanship notes. I went to bed at 9.30pm. I didn’t have much practice on guitar today. Parcel I got from Post Office was 270 cigarettes from Levers (Port Sunlight) I sold them all for 13/-.

Thursday 19th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 28th letter. Lessons as usual all day. Received parcel from Levers Durban containing soap, cigs etc. these parcels are very welcome and it is good of Levers to do so. This afternoon I attended choir at 4.45pm, this evening I spent copying my armament notes. I had very little practice on guitar, I have so much to do as regards this course.

Friday 20th

I received a letter from my dear mum and one from my dear Joyce. We had lectures in the morning and this afternoon was organised games, so I got permission to go to the bank. I went to the baths first and afterwards went into town – I bought a watch strap, dusting powder for sweat rash, collected reprints and bought two panatomic films. I also sent a cable to my dear Joyce and put £3 in the bank. This evening I spent at camp cinema and saw “Tropic Holiday” it wasn’t very good. I went to bed at 10.15pm. I had 20 mins on the guitar. I also bought a tie.

Saturday 21st

Lessons as usual this morning. Bought sun glasses. This afternoon had sleep. This evening I spent copying up my notes.

Sunday 22nd

Wrote to my dear mum 18th letter. Wrote to my dear Joyce 29th letter. Wrote to Grandma. Wrote to Levers (Durban). Wrote to Levers (Port Sunlight). Wrote to Tom Lindsey. This morning I attended the church service in the quiet room, sang in the choir as usual. The rest of the day I spent writing letters & copying notes.

Monday 23rd

Lessons as usual. Attended an extra met lecture from 4.40pm to 5.40pm. Received card from Levers which I am to return saying I have received parcel. The evening I spent in the camp cinema and saw “The Dark Stairway” an English picture which I enjoyed very much. It was good to see English surroundings again.

Tuesday 24th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 30th letter. Lessons as usual all day, at 4.30pm I attended an extra met lecture. The evening I spent at the camp cinema & saw “Pirates of the Sky” quite a good show. I went to bed at 10.15pm. I feel very browned off today, it seems to get worse every day.

Wednesday 25th

Wrote to my dear mum 19th letter. Lessons as usual all day. Received letter from Auntie Jessie, I was very pleased to hear from her. Went on guard at 6.00pm I am on fire picket. Some lad took a snap of the parade, I will try and get a reprint. This evening I spent swotting.

Thursday 26th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 31st letter, also wrote to my Auntie Jess. On fire picket all day, the evening at 6.30pm listened to my first English broadcast since I left home. It was Tommy Handley’s ½ hour. Gerald & his band was also on, I listened eagerly to the tunes he played, seeing what the tunes are like these days. The evening I spent at the camp cinema & saw “Rio” quite a good love story & I enjoyed it very much. I also got a cupboard from one of the empty huts.

Friday 27th

Wrote to Ron Baron. Hut orderly all day, I was paid £1 this morning instead of £2, so I will see about it tomorrow. I went into town at 4.30pm, I got a lift in Rex Payne’s car. I collected reprints and gave new roll in. Sent a cable to my dear mum and bought a couple of exercise books & a pair of shoe socks. This evening I spent at the pictures and saw “Private Affairs”.

Saturday 28th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 32nd letter. Attended lectures this morning, also inquired why I was paid £1 short. They said they would keep it until they received word from Group that I was officially back here. I spent this afternoon at the baths and I enjoyed it very much. This evening I played table tennis with Wragg. Went to bed at 10.00pm.

March 1942

Sunday 1st

Wrote to my dear mum 20th letter. This morning attended Holy Communion at 08.00am. At 9.30am attended church parade, the rest of this morning spent writing to my dear um. This afternoon I spent at the baths, this evening I spent swotting. I went to bed at 9.30pm.

Monday 2nd

Wrote to my dear Joyce 33rd letter. Lessons as usual all day, at 4.30pm I went into town collected snaps, ordered some reprints. Also brought pencil & rubber, this evening I spent at the armoury stripping guns etc. Went to bed at 9.45pm. Eclipse of moon tonight. Also changed goggles on clothing parade.

Tuesday 3rd

Lessons as usual all day attended extra met lecture at 4.30pm. Received a letter from Tom, I was very pleased to hear from him. This evening I spent at the camp cinema & saw “Grand Jury Secrets” a very good picture. Went to bed 10.15pm. Also got new mattress today. This evening I looked through my diary and found to my bitter disappointment that I have not received a cable from my dear Joyce since Feb. 6th. I sincerely hope she is not well, on the other hand if she is well, it is evident that she does not worry about me very much. I don’t think I deserve this because I am so true to her.

Wednesday 4th

Wrote to my dear mum 21st letter. Wrote to my dear Joyce 34th letter. Lessons as usual all day, this afternoon clothing parade. I didn’t want anything so I went to the baths. This evening I spent swotting. I have been very worried all day with not hearing from either mum or Joyce let us hope I have word from them soon.

Thursday 5th

Wrote to Tom. Received a cable from mum, I hadn’t heard from her for a while & I was greatly relieved to know everything is OK. I still have not heard from Joyce and it is worrying me quite a lot. We had lectures all day the evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “The Last Warning”.

Friday 6th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 35th letter. Lectures this morning, this afternoon was free, so at 3.30pm I went into town with Harry King. I sent a cable to Joyce, has a haircut, collected reprints and tunic which had been dry-cleaned. Our Flight duty flight from 6.00pm. This evening spent at the camp cinema and saw “My Favourite Wife” an excellent picture. It poured with rain right through the show.

Saturday 7th

Wrote to my dear mum 22nd letter. Our flight duty Flight today, I was on camp guard from 10.00 to 14.00 hrs. This afternoon had a sleep and washed stockings. Spent this evening swotting. I read my dear Joyce’s last letter dated Jan 6th and I felt much better. In it she says she thinks a lot of me and I’m sure she wouldn’t change.

Sunday 8th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 36th letter. This morning went to St. Johns church Bulawayo. This afternoon and evening I spent swotting. Went to bed 9.30pm.

Monday 9th

Received a cable and letter from my dear Joyce, a letter from mum (18th) and a letter from Mrs Mayne. I was greatly relieved to hear from Joyce and I now feel a hundred times better. I was delighted to hear from mum, I think she’s the finest mum in the world, I am very lucky to have the finest sweetheart and mother in the world. We had lectures as usual all day, this afternoon at 4.30pm I went into town and bought a Panatomic film. This evening I spent swotting.

Tuesday 10th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 37th letter. Received 3 letters from Joyce & 2 from mum. Lectures as usual all day. Moved to new hut this evening. Hut no. 12.

Wednesday 11th

Wrote to my dear mum 23rd letter. Received letter from Tom. Lessons as usual all day, this evening I spent writing to mum. Went to bed at 9.30pm.

Thursday 12th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 38th letter, lessons as usual all day.

Friday 13th

Wrote to Tom. Lessons as usual all day, this afternoon had an attack of dizziness, sweating and sick feeling, feeling a lot better now though. I reported sick at 4.00pm but the M.O. couldn’t find anything wrong with me, I have to report sick in the morning. Went into town at 4.30pm and bought a pair of stockings each for mum & Joyce. Spent 2 hrs this evening swotting. Paid £2 this morning.

Saturday 14th

Lessons as usual this morning, afternoon swotted & had a sleep. Spent this evening swotting.

Sunday 15th

Attended church this morning, spent the rest of the day swotting.

Monday 16th

Navigation exam at 8.00am. I did quite well in this. Airmanship, engines & maintenance exam at 10.30am. I did not do so well in this. Afternoon free, spent rest of day swotting. Went to bed at 9.15pm.

Tuesday 17th

Theory of flight, meteorology and armaments exams this morning, I am afraid I haven’t done too well. This afternoon was free and I wrote to my dear Joyce 39th letter. I spent the evening at the camp cinema. I received mum’s 13th letter and a letter from Ernie, also received guitar tutor from home.

Wednesday 18th

Wrote to my dear mum 24th letter, wrote to my Auntie Jess, received cable from dad saying “parcels received!” but I have already received a cable on 12th Feb. saying that parcel had been received. Morning swimming parade afternoon drill and P.T. Spent evening writing.

Thursday 19th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 40th letter, also wrote to Ernie. Free all day, practiced on guitar and in the afternoon went into town and sent a cable to mum and bought a pair of sun glasses. The evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Arrest Bulldog Drummond” which was quite a good picture, also “The Land of Rhodes”. It rained quite a bit today.

Friday 20th

Wrote to Mrs Mayne. Fairly easy day, the evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Vigil in the Night” which was a very good picture. I received a letter from my dear mum and one from my dear Joyce and of course I feel much better.

Saturday 21st

Wrote to my dear Joyce 41st letter. Lectures this morning, this afternoon had a rest and this evening wrote to Joyce and practiced on the guitar. Went to bed 10.00pm.

Sunday 22nd

Wrote to my dear mum 25th letter. Attended Holy Communion at 8.00am & morning service at 9.30am. This afternoon I spent at the baths and this evening I practiced on the guitar a bit. I went to bed at 9.10pm.

Monday 23rd

Wrote to my dear Joyce 42nd letter. Lectures as usual, swimming parade this morning. This afternoon we had a cockpit drill and I ran the engine up. This evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Secrets of an Actress”.

Tuesday 24th

Wrote to Mrs Hipson, also received parcel from mum and one from Levers Durban. Chief Instructors interview this morning. We received the results this evening and I have failed. I am feeling browned off and I wouldn’t be sorry to come off the course. It was very good of mum to send such a lovely parcel and I appreciate it very much.

Wednesday 25th

Wrote to my dear mum 26th letter, also wrote to my dear Joyce 43rd letter. I was hut orderly all day so I had an easy day. The 13 lads out of our flight who passed the exams went to Belvedere this morning. Tom came from Guinea Fowl this morning to take his exam here again. This evening I had dinner in the Service’s Club with Tom & his friend and then went to the “Palace” cinema and saw Clark Gable in “Honky Tonk”. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening except when I came out of the pictures, I missed Joyce very much indeed.

Thursday 26th

Started lectures in earnest again today. Received letter from my dear Joyce dated 21st February and of course I feel on top of the world again. I went in town at 4.30pm to have my haircut, this evening I spent practicing on the guitar, went to bed at 9.20pm.

Friday 27th

Lectures as usual all day, I was paid this morning £2. I received 10 letters today, 3 from my dear Joyce, 3 from my dear mum, 1 from Ron Baron, 1 from Mrs Thyson, 1 from Doris and one from Grandma, so today was a red letter day for me. It was wonderful receiving so many letters and it seems as if my writing is being rewarded. I went into town at 4.30pm, bought two pairs of stockings and a pair of Y-fronts. The evening I spent practicing on the guitar. I wrote my dear Joyce 44th letter.

Saturday 28th

Wrote to my dear mm 27th letter. Received cable from mum. Lectures this morning, this afternoon   I spent practicing on the guitar, this evening I spent writing to mum. I went to bed 10.15pm.

Sunday 29th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 45th letter, also to Ron Baron. Church parade this morning, this afternoon I went to the baths, this evening I spent swotting.

Monday 30th

Wrote to Doris. Lectures a usual all day, spent this evening swotting, also had a practice on the guitar. Went to bed at 9.00om.

Tuesday 31st

Wrote to my dear Joyce 46th letter. Lectures all day. This evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Panama Lady” which was quite a good picture.

April 1942

Wednesday 1st

Wrote to my dear mum 28th letter. Lectures as usual all day, this evening I again spent at the camp cinema and saw “Wagons Roll at Night” which was quite a good picture.

Thursday 2nd

Wrote to my dear Joyce 47th letter. Hut orderly all day, had practice on guitar. This evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Love Thy Neighbour” which was a very good picture. Jack Benny was the chief actor.

Friday 3rd

Lectures as usual all day. This evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Sing You Sinners” which was quite a decent picture.

Saturday 4th

Lectures this morning, afternoon spent chatting to Tom, this evening had dinner in town with Tom, afternoon met Vic and all three of us went to the pictures and saw “Musical Hall Parade” with Billy Cotton & his band. Were given our exam marks today, I got 64 in met.

Sunday 5th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 48th letter, also to my dear mum 29th letter. Attended Holy Communion at 8.00am, also a service at 10.00am spent the rest of the day writing.

Monday 6th

Wrote to Grandma also to Auntie Jess. Lectures all day the evening spent playing on the guitar. I received 4 letters today, 2 from mum, 23rd & 24th and two from Joyce dated 17th & 22nd Feb. Went to bed early 9.30pm.

Tuesday 7th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 49th letter. Lectures as usual all day, this evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Angels with Dirty Faces” with the Dead End Kids. I received Joyce’s 1st letter today and it was an extra specially nice letter.

Wednesday 8th

Wrote to my dear mum 30th letter, lectures as usual all day. This evening I spent writing to mum. Went to bed at 9.20pm.

Thursday 9th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 50th letter. Lectures as usual, watched football match at 4.40pm. Tonight saw “Bulldog Drummond’s Bride” at the camp cinema.

Friday 10th

Paid today £2. I went to the accounts officer to enquire about the £1 they owe me. Lectures as usual, went into town at 4.30pm and bought pair of drum sticks. The evening I spent at camp cinema and saw “The Outsider” which was a very good picture.

Saturday 11th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 51st letter. Lectures this morning, watched football match this afternoon, bought a pair of pyjamas 13/- from canteen. This evening wrote to Mrs Thyson, had game of table tennis and had a practice on guitar. I was asked to be call-boy for “Laughter Express” so Roy & myself accepted. Went to bed 10.00pm.

Sunday 12th

Wrote to my dear mum 31st letter, also wrote to Charlie. Attended the service held in the quiet room at 10.00. Spent most of the day writing and taking it easy. Went to bed at 8.45pm.

Monday 13th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 52nd letter. Received mum’s 30th letter. Hut orderly all day. Also received Joyce’s 8th letter. Spent the evening at the camp cinema and saw “Mr Smith Goes to Washington”.

Tuesday 14th

Lectures as usual all day. Went to the Town Hall on lorry at 7.00pm for dress rehearsal. Very poor show, let us hope it is better tomorrow. Left Town Hall at 12.15am, went to (RAF) Heaney aerodrome to take some chaps back. Arrived in this camp at 1.20am, feeling very tired.

Wednesday 15th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 53rd letter, also to my dear mum 32nd letter. Hut orderly all day. Received two cables, one each from mum & Joyce, both in same envelope. Evening went to Town Hall for the opening night, thank goodness it was better than last night. Got back to camp 11.30pm.

Thursday 16th

Received mum’s 27th, 28th, 29th letters, also Joyce’s 5th, 7th letters and an Easter card from Marion. It was wonderful receiving all thee lovely letters and it cheered me up considerably. We moved into hut 16 today, it is quite a nice hut, a good thing it has a wireless. The evening I again spent at the show. Got back to camp 11.30pm. Made statement about Roy having £2 stolen.

Friday 17th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 53rd letter. Received mum’s 26th letter and Joyce’s 4th & 6th letters and one from Auntie Doris. Lectures all day, the evening went to the Town Hall quite a good night.

Saturday 18th

Received letter from Auntie Jess dated Dec. 2nd also a cable from dad saying he heard broadcast, which broadcast I don’t know. This afternoon had game of football. This evening was the last night of the show and it was the worst of the lot.

Sunday 19th

Wrote to my dear mum 33rd letter, also to my dear Joyce 54th letter. Had a lie in this morning, went to the baths this afternoon. This evening spent writing. Went to bed early.

Monday 20th

Lectures all day, went into town at 4.30pm to take a roll of film to be developed. Spent this evening at the camp cinema & saw “Who Killed John Savage?” Not bad.

Tuesday 21st

Lectures this morning, laundry this afternoon. Wrote to my dear Joyce 55th letter. Received mum’s 25th letter. Spent this evening practicing on my guitar. Had a hot bath today, something out of the ordinary these days.

Wednesday 22nd

Wrote to my dear mum 34th letter, also to Auntie Jess. Received letter from Auntie Jess. Lectures as usual all day. Had first hot show today. This evening played table tennis and had a practice on guitar. Went to bed 10.00pm.

Thursday 23rd

Wrote to my dear Joyce 56th letter. Lectures all day. Had 4 teeth filled this morning. This afternoon at 4.30pm went into town and collected snaps, also bought a pair of Y-fronts. 6/9-. This evening I spent at the camp cinema and saw “Thunder in the City”.

Friday 24th

Lectures all day, paid £2 this morning. This evening went to the camp cinema and saw “It All Came True” with Ann Sheridan, it was a very good picture.

Saturday 25th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 57th letter also to Doris. Lectures this morning, this afternoon I spent at the baths. This evening I spent in the hut. Feeling very browned off today.

Sunday 26th

Wrote to my dear mum 35th letter, attended service in the Quiet Room this morning. Went to the baths this afternoon. This evening did a bit of swotting.

Monday 27th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 58th letter. Exams this morning. This afternoon new draft arrived, met Len Wilson from Drawing Office. This evening did a bit of swotting.

Tuesday 28th

Exams this morning. This afternoon went into town and collected re-prints, also had a hair-cut. This evening spent in hut.

Wednesday 29th

Wrote to my dear mum 36th letter. This morning we were supposed to attend lectures but didn’t. English mail started to roll in. Left camp at 2.30pm for Matopo, transport was by lorry, there are 17 lads and 3 officers. We arrived at camp site at 4.30pm after a pretty rough journey. The camp site is wonderful most probably man has not been here before. We are surrounded by rocks which give a lovely setting. The meals are tip-top, couldn’t be better. We spent the evening sitting round the camp fire. It was a beautiful moonlit night. We came to bed at 9.00pm, feeling very happy. This camp is well organised and I am sure I am going to enjoy it.

Thursday 30th

Rose at 6.30am, had drink of coffee. Played football till 8.00am, then had breakfast. After breakfast we all went climbing the rocks and enjoyed it very much, the view from the top of the rocks was wonderful, unfortunately photographs could not be taken because the weather was dull. Had lunch at 1.45pm, this afternoon had a bit of a rest, also took some snaps. Went with driver shooting, but no game was seen. Also took snaps of natives. Had dinner at 6.30pm, we spent the evening round the camp fire. I took a time exposure of the fire. Went to bed at 9.15pm after a very enjoyable day.

May 1942

Friday 1st

Rose at 6.30am, coffee & sandwiches in bed, after breakfast went in lorry to World’s View. After lunch went to Matopo Dam and had a swim. Arrived back at camp at 6.00pm, had lunch, then sat round camp fire till 9.00pm, then went to bed, after another enjoyable day.

Saturday 2nd

Rose at 6.30am, coffee & sandwiches in bed. After breakfast went in lorry to native kraal and watched them dipping cattle.The afternoon was offered skins also had a climb and quite enjoyed it. The flight sergeant and wife came and stayed till about 11.00am. Had dinner at 7.00pm afterwards had usual camp-fire sing song. Went to bed at 10.00pm.

Sunday 3rd

Rose at 6.30am, coffee as usual. Breakfast, went to native kraal, walked. Took snaps and returned about 12.00 noon. After lunch I went to I.T.W. in car so that I could collect my mail.  I received mum’s 31st & 32nd letters, Joyce’s 9th, 10th, & 11th letters also a letter from Auntie Doris and one from Mrs Mayne (Durban). Returned to Malopo at 5.30pm had dinner at 7.00pm. Native came for money for skin £1. Spent evening round camp fire.

Monday 4th

Rose at 6.30am, coffee as usual, after breakfast started to pack up. The lorries came at 1.30pm, we left at 2.00pm and arrived back at camp (I.T.W.) at 3.30pm. It had been a very enjoyable camp. I received mum’s 33rd letter and Joyce’s (I think) 12th letter dated 16th March. Spent the evening at the camp cinema and saw “Curtain Call

Tuesday 5th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 59th letter. Went into town this morning, took film to be developed.Spent afternoon writing.Received parcel from England, with sticks, practice pad and various other very acceptable things. Spent evening at the camp cinema and saw “Splinters in the Air” with Sydney Howard.

Wednesday 6th

Wrote to my dear mum 37th letter. Free all day. This afternoon went into town to collect snaps. Spent evening practicing on guitar. Also cabled mum. Received mum’s 38th letter and Joyce’s 16th, 17th & 18th letters.

Thursday 7th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 60th letter. Free again all day. Saw C. I. (Chief Instructor) this morning and he gave me hope of getting home. Went into town this afternoon to buy gramophone needles. This evening spent writing. Roy White, Arthur Wragg and Tom were posted today.

Friday 8th

Paid this morning £2.6.0. Free all day. This afternoon had a rest. Went into town at 4.30pm to take negatives in for reprints. Spent this evening at the camp cinema and saw “Always a Woman” with Joan Blondell. I enjoyed it very much.

Saturday 9th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 61st letter. Free his morning. This afternoon went to the baths and met a Port Sunlight boy. This evening spent in the hut.

Sunday 10th

Wrote to my dear mum 38th letter. This morning attended church parade. Spent this afternoon writing in the park. This evening I spent in the hut.

Monday 11th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 62nd letter. Free all day. Received letter from Auntie Jess. Spent the evening sitting in the canteen.

Tuesday 12th

Wrote to Grandma & Ron Baron. Free all day. Had interview with C.I. this afternoon and gave him particulars as to why I wanted to go in the Merchant Navy. Went into town at 4.30pm, collected reprints and bought to Panatomic – X films. Spent this evening at the camp cinema and saw “Missing Evidence”.

Wednesday 13th

Wrote to my dear mum 39th letter, also to my dear Joyce 63rd letter. Free all day. This morning went into town and withdrew from bank. Spent evening writing.

Thursday 14th

Wrote to Doris and Auntie Jess. Received mum’s 37th letter, Joyce’s 13th and a very welcome letter from dad. I was very pleased to hear from him. Had interview with C.I. this morning who signed some forms. Spent the evening at the camp cinema and saw “Sons of the Sea” a British film and I thought it was terrible.

Friday 15th

Don’t forget mum’s birthday. Attended lectures all day. Went into town at 4.30pm and cabled mum. Spent evening quietly in hut.

Saturday 16th

Rote to my dear Joyce 64th letter. Lectures this morning, this afternoon I went to the baths and again met Neville Mercer. This evening I spent writing I went to bed at 9.30pm.

Sunday 17th

Wrote to my dear mum 40th letter. Attended Holy Communion at 8.15am and a morning service at 9.30am. I then spent the rest of the day writing, making my pack up and practicing on the guitar. Also did a bit of washing. Went to bed at 9.30am.

Monday 18th

Wrote to Mrs Mayne, also sent an airgraph to mum & Joyce. Lectures all day. It was very cold all day, wore blue. Spent evening at camp cinema & saw “A Shot in the Dark” it was quite good. Received mum’s 22nd letter and a Valentine and a letter from Joyce dated Feb. 10th, there was a lot of Feb. mail in today, it must have been delayed somewhere.

Tuesday 19th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 65th letter, also started a letter to Don Birkett. Lectures all day, had a nice hot bath this afternoon, the first bath for some time. Did jankers drill this afternoon at 4.30pm for not turning up on parade, the whole flight was on it. Spent this evening at the camp cinema and saw “Britsh Intelligence” not a bad picture at all. My cold seemed to be worse today.

Wednesday 20th

Hut orderly today, the afternoon I was sent for by the S.W.O.’s office and told I was leaving for Salisbury tomorrow. I took a clearance chit round to the various officers and had it signed. I spent the evening ironing and fixing my pack up. I am now on the first stage of my discharge, I wonder if I shall be successful? I hope so because I will not only be able to get home, but I will also have the opportunity to return to my trade. The next few days will decide my fate, I will put my whole trust in God and I am sure he will answer my prayers.

Thursday 21st

Spent the morning fixing up clearance chit and getting railway warrants. Left camp at 12.30pm and left Bulawayo station at 1.40pm. Today was very dull, much better than when I last did the journey. We stopped at Inziza at 4.00pm for a cup of tea (6d per cup). We arrived in Gwelo at 7.00pm, had dinner then went for a little walk into Gwelo and there’s no doubt about it, it lives up to its name as the deadest town in Rhodesia. Left Gwelo at 8.00pm.

Friday 22nd

Arrived at Disposal Dept. at 6.30am, had breakfast then went for interview at 10.00am. I am sorry to say the interview was not satisfactory and I have now to wait until word is received from the Air Ministry as to whether I can have my discharge. I feel a bit browned off today, but I should feel better in a day or so, the conditions here are ideal and I have nothing to grumble at. Went into town at 3.15pm for walk round, spent part of this evening talking to Roy White. On guard tomorrow so early bed tonight (8.40pm).

Saturday 23rd

Wrote to my dear Joyce 66th letter. Rose at 5.15am and went on guard at the aerodrome at 6.00am. I was on the gate from 8.00 to 10.00am. Roy White flew into the deck, but luckily enough only sustained a cut eye. Went on guard at main gate Belvedere at 2.00 to 4.00pm finished at 4.20pm. Had wash & shave then after tea went into town with Roy. We got a lift a bit further down the road, this is the 3rd lift I have had, which proves this is a better place than Bulawayo. Seen Johnny of the Cranborne Band and fixed up for a play on Monday night. Walked back to camp after meeting Tom Lindsey in shop. Went to bed feeling very tired.

Sunday 24th

Wrote to my dear mum 41st letter. Rose at 8.00am, spent morning writing. James told me we were both down for home posting. I hope and pray with all my heart that I do go home, I miss Joyce & home more than ever lately. This afternoon I spent watching a football match with Tom & Eddie Refort. Afterwards I walked back to camp and had chips, beans & toast in the canteen (cost with tea 7d). Went to bed 10.00pm. This life here at Disposal is easy but I hope it doesn’t last long, it gets on my nerves doing nothing all day.

Monday 25th

Rose at 7.30am. Did nothing all day as usual, this evening went to Cranborne aerodrome. I was very lucky as regards lifts, as soon as I got on the road an old couple picked me up and gave me a lift to the other side of town. I soon got another which took me to the married quarters, the rest of the way I walked. I met Tom and he came along with me to the band hut. I had quite a few tunes and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The drummer was a Birkenhead chap. I left the aerodrome at 9.30pm and was lucky to be picked up and taken into town, from there I walked back to camp.

Tuesday 26th

Wrote to my dear Joyce 67th letter, I also wrote two airgraphs. I played quite a lot of table tennis today, it helped to pass the time away. Had a rest this afternoon. Bill Jones left here for England, I wish I had been going with him, maybe I will be in the near future. I spent this evening writing, went to bed 9.00pm.

Wednesday 27th

Received mum’s 40th letter. Spent all morning playing table tennis, this afternoon went into town and bought case £3.5.0., I have run myself short, but it is well worth it. Spent this evening practicing on guitar. I also received a letter from Taffy this morning. Mum was very upset at the time of writing her 40th letter and it has made me want all the more to send her the cable “Don’t write, coming home”, maybe I will in the near future. I took a snap of the inside of this hut, I gave it 8-9 secs on f16, Super x-x film.

Thursday 28th

Heard rumour that I might be going tomorrow. If so it has not taken very long. Spent this afternoon packing also went into Salisbury to collect some snaps. This evening went to camp cinema and saw “Dive Bomber”, not a bad picture, received B.B. diary today.

Friday 29th

Sent cable home telling Joyce & mum not to write as I was coming home. Also sent two airgraphs. Spent this morning getting fixed up, pay etc. I finished my packing this afternoon received “comforts” and left Disposal at 5.30pm in lorry. The train left Salisbury at 6.30pm. We are now starting an 8000 mile journey, a journey I have been wanting to do ever since I arrived in this country. I hope everything goes as smooth as it has done up to now.

Saturday 30th

Arrived in Bulawayo at 7.00am, had breakfast on the station then went to Hillside. I called at the Post Office and was lucky enough to receive 10 letters and 4 newspapers. The letters were from Joyce (6) mum (3) and a letter from Swifts which I did not like one bit. I spent the day in Hut 16, except in the morning I slipped into town and bought 2 pairs of silk stockings (5/11d each. Visited Len Wilson in hospital and glad to say he will soon be out. John lent me £2, something I was very grateful for, he is a good pal and I only wish I had met him sooner than I did. The train for Cape Town left at 6.20pm.

Sunday 31st

Rather a boring day today, train journeys like these soon get boring. The countryside was also very uninteresting, just miles and miles of nothing. Went to bed at 8.00pm.

June 1942

Monday 1st

Today was no different than yesterday just the same scenery (miles and miles of nothing) went to bed at 2.00pm the train stopped at De Aar for an hour or so, so Stuart Melville and myself took a walk into the town. It was very quiet and it is plain to see that it was a Dutch population. Today is the second anniversary of me meeting my dear Joyce. I thank God that I am the lucky one to be so dearly loved by her, and I in return love her more than words could express. I could not possibly be blessed with a more prettier, sweet natured thoughtful girl, and my sole object in life is to make her happy. New blade.

Tuesday 2nd

Arrived in Cape Town at 6.15am, had breakfast in the station café, then went for a walk round till 9.00am. We saw the Squadron Leader and he said we were to return at 2.30pm so I rushed off to Muizenberg to see Auntie Jess. When I arrived there she wasn’t in, luckily enough two ladies took me to their house and gave me a cup of tea. I eventually found Auntie Jess thanks to the next door lady. I went on the ship this afternoon and got ashore at 6.oopm I arrived Muizenberg at 7.30pm had dinner then sat talking. I like Uncle Jack very much also little Jessica, and of course June & Auntie Jess are the same as ever.

Wednesday 3rd

Got off the ship at 1.00pm did a bit of shopping in Cape Town then caught the train to Muizenberg. Auntie Jess cooked me steak and egg then we did a bit of shopping in Muizenberg. Jessica showed us how she could slide. Uncle Jack’s mother also came with us. When we got back Jessica had a bath then I followed her. It is lovely to have a nice hot bath once again, probably the last decent one till I get home. After the bath I had a lovely tea (eggs and bacon) which I enjoyed very much. We spent the night talking about home of course. The lady from next door came to say cheerio to me. Auntie Jess was very upset on the station.

Thursday 4th

On guard from 11.00am to 1.00 pm on gang way. We moved off at about 1.30pm and it wasn’t long before we were out to see. The weather was rotten, drizzle all the time and Cape Town wasn’t very clear. I wish I could have had at least a week there, the place was so different than Rhodesia, still I’m on my way home now and that is definitely the main thing. The sea was quite choppy and it wasn’t long before I began to feel sea sick. I was sick about 6.00pm and 2 or 3 times after that. The best place for me was bed, so I slung my hammock and turned in at 7.00pm.

Friday 5th

Rose at 7.00am had breakfast then went up on deck. Boat drill at 10.00am then had drink of tea in canteen. Also bought jam and cigarettes. Spent this afternoon reading and this evening talking to the look out. Turned in at 9.30pm. We are on our own and have the ocean to ourselves, we are keeping a good look out for raiders and submarines. With God’s good grace we should make port safely.

Saturday 6th

Sea much calmer today, spent most of my time on deck. This evening I felt sick and it wasn’t long before I fetched all my tea up. I don’t think it is sea-sickness because the ship is quite steady. I blame it on the food which I am sorry to say is not very good. I moved a deck lower this evening, there’s more room there. I turned in about 8.00pm (clock retarded 30 mins).

Sunday 7th

Went on guard in No. 7 Hold this morning at 9.30am. I was on from 3.30pm to 5.30pm and 11.30pm to 1.30am (clock was retarded 30 minutes at midnight) and 7.30am to 9.30am. Spent the day mostly reading – speed of ship 15.4 knots.

Monday 8th

Came off guard at 9.30am, boat stations at 10.00am after which I stayed on deck till dinner time. This afternoon I had a shower and changed into khaki shorts.   I also attended a picture show in the Sergeant’s mess, I had seen the picture before but I quite enjoyed seeing it again. It was about Stanley finding Livingstone. This evening I spent making a copy of the Kodak Outdoor Guide. I turned in at 9.30pm. The food I am pleased to say was a bit better. The weather is still good and the ship quite steady. The weather is getting a bit warmer too, we will soon be crossing the “Line” about Thursday I should say.

Tuesday 9th

Went on guard at 9.30am I was on at 1.30pm to 3.30pm and 9.30pm to 11.30pm. Spent in between guards reading on deck. The weather is still good and is becoming noticeably warmer. They started selling “Capstan” in the canteen so I took advantage of it and bought a hundred.

Wednesday 10th

Came off guard at 9.30am I was on from 5.30am to 7.30am. Spent the day longing about. “Action Stations” was sounded on the alarm bells and of course we all thought there was something doing. It did not last long though and I think it was only a practice. Wrote a letter to my Auntie Jess today. Slept on deck as it was very hot down below.

Thursday 11th

Slept on deck as it was so hot down below. Spent this morning reading, no boat drill. This afternoon at 1.00pm four of us took 100 bayonets from magazine to armoury. Went to the pictures at 2.15pm to see “The Ghost Goes West” which was quite a good picture.

Friday 12th

Went on guard at 9.30am. I was on from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, 11.30pm to 1.30am & 7.30am to 9.30am. Wrote a letter to john. Spent the day reading. Weather still calm.

Saturday 13th

Today was the same as usual. I repaired the handle on my camera, in readiness for taking some snaps at Freetown. Slept up on deck.

Sunday 14th

Sighted land at 9.45am. Dropped anchor at 3.15pm. It is good to see land again, although Freetown is so hot. Still I will be glad when we are sailing out again, homeward bound. Bought 200 Camel cigarettes this evening 8/-.

Monday 15th

Went on guard at 9.30am. I was on from 9.30am to 11.30am, 5.30pm to 7.30pm & 3.30am to 5.30am. Nothing much doing in port, cargo was being unloaded. Rodney arrived.

Tuesday 16th

Came off guard at 9.30am. Spent most of today reading. Oil tanker came alongside this afternoon, so with a bit of good luck we should be away tomorrow.

Wednesday 17th

Discharging cargo all day. I spent the day reading. Attended a concert in the afternoon, it was quite good and I enjoyed it. I slept on deck a usual. We did not leave as I hoped, still it might be tomorrow.

Thursday 18th

Went on guard at 9.30am. It was announced over the ship’s radio that the fresh water situation was very critical and that utmost care must be exercised. A water tanker came alongside this afternoon to give us what water there was to spare. At 6.30pm we weighed anchor and by 7.15pm we were through the boom and bound for the open sea and home. At last we have started on the last stage of our journey. They say we only have enough water to last 12 days, so that means we might be home sooner than we expected. We are on our own again and running the gauntlet for home. With god’s good grace we will arrive home safely.

Friday 19th

Came off guard at 9.30am. Spent all day reading, this afternoon I attended a cinema show and saw “My Two Husbands”, which was quite an amusing film. The sea is very calm today, with a slight swell. The weather is still very hot and I will be glad when it gets cooler. Slept on deck again.

Saturday 20th

There was a stiff breeze blowing all day and it helped to keep us cool. I spent the day reading, there is nothing else to do. Slept on deck again.

Sunday 21st

Went on guard at 9.30am. Spent the day reading. We have now altered our course to North, so each day will now take us nearer dear old Blighty. The weather is much cooler now, the main reason being because the sky is overcast.

Monday 22nd

Came off guard at 9.30am. Spent day reading the booklets mum sent me also studied a bit of trig. We are definitely sailing North now, so every day means it will be a little bit cooler. Slept on deck.

Tuesday 23rd

Nothing out of the ordinary happened today. Spent my time reading. Slept on deck.

Wednesday 24th

Today was a beautiful day, one of the nicest I have seen at sea. The sea was almost like glass except for a slight swell. Slept on deck again. Went on guard at 9.30am this morning.

Thursday 25th

Came off guard at 9.30am. Weather a bit rougher today, especially towards evening, when it grew quite rough. Tea was started again in the canteen. We were informed we are now in range of long range bombers so we will have to keep a sharp lookout. We have been very fortunate up to now, thanks to God, I hope our good fortune lasts. Slept down below tonight. This afternoon I did most of my packing.

Friday 26th

Today was as usual, most of my time spent reading. The weather is much colder now, so we can’t be far from home. I think it will be Tuesday when we arrive. Slept down below.

Saturday 27th

Went on guard at 9.30am. The weather was much colder today, but the sea was calmer. The rats were quite cheeky this evening down No. 7 hold and I only just missed killing one or two of them.

Sunday 28th

Today was very dull and this afternoon we ran into thick fog. This afternoon we had a concert in the Sergeant’s mess and it went off fine. Slept down below. Clock put on 1 hour.

Monday 29th

Sighted two ships this morning and kept alongside them until this afternoon when the broke away in a different direction. Weather was still dull today, but not very cold. Paid 10/- this morning. Clock put on 1 hour.

Tuesday 30th

Went up on deck this morning to see land both sides of us. It is good to see British land once again. The air is chilly but it suits me down to the ground. Went on guard at 9.30am. The sight of green fields was like a tonic. There’s no place like home. We dropped anchor at Greenock at 5.00pm. It was light until 11.30pm which is something I haven’t experienced for some time.

July 1942

Wednesday 1st

Spent the morning packing after we had come off guard at 9.30am. At 1.45pm we weighed anchor and sailed up the Clyde to Glasgow. We arrived at the dock at 5.00am and left the ship at 6.00pm. We managed to get through the customs OK and left the dock at 9.00pm. The train did not leave until 11.15pm (we thought) so Bill Jones and myself went for a cup of tea and something to eat in the YMCA. At 11.05pm we got up to go to the train, but to our dismay the train was pulling out. I have never felt so terrible as I did then, but we had missed it and that was that. We stayed the night at a transit billet.

Thursday 2nd

Left Glasgow at 10.35am and after a boring journey arrived in Exchange station at 5.10am. We got the underground to Meols and arrived at the camp at 5.20pm. We spent the evening cooling off, as it was a bit late to go home, much as I wanted to.

Friday 3rd

Spent day fixing clothing up etc.

Saturday 4th

Went on 14 days leave.

Wednesday 8th

We left Port Sunlight for Cefn with Joyce.

Friday 10th

Left Cefn for Port Sunlight.

Sunday 12th

Went cycling to Gronant. The weather was glorious and Joyce and I thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Saturday 18th

Leave expired. Arrived at West Kirby just on 12.40pm.

Sunday 19th

Spent afternoon & evening at home.

Monday 20th

Travelled to Netheravon arrived 9.30pm.

Tuesday 21st

Left Netheravon 11.05am and arrived Brize Norton 8.00pm.

Wednesday 22nd

Spent day moving beds.

Thursday 23rd

Left (RAF) Brize Norton 11.00am and arrived (RAF) Little Rissington 11.40am. Spent the day fixing up. The evening I wrote home.

Friday 24th

Started work in the cook house. This is a come down from a U/T pilot I only hope it doesn’t last too long. This evening went to dark room with Rich, also wrote to Auntie Jess. Paid 14/- today.

Saturday 25th

Work as usual all day. I’m getting more used to it now. Went to the pictures this evening and saw “Ride ‘em Cowboy” with Abbott and Costello.

Monday 27th

Went to the camp cinema this evening.

Tuesday 28th

This morning went to Cheltenham with meat lorry. Put in leave form today.

August 1942

Monday 3rd

Started work at 4.00am

Friday 7th

Went in 04.00am. Got early chit at 12.00am. Left camp in ambulance, nearly sick. Caught train from Cheltenham at 2.00pm and arrived at Liverpool 7.20pm. Arrived home in time for study. Paid £3.4.0.

Wednesday 12th

Row at 46.

Sunday 16th

Went for ride to Gronant.

Monday 17th

Another terrible row at 46, I wasn’t there. Len H. hit Joyce.

Tuesday 18th

Joyce upset at dinner hour, too upset to go back to work. Decided to become engaged, did do at 2.00pm.

September 1942

(No diary entries this month)

October 1942

Friday 1st

Interviewed by Squadron Leader Martin. Things are really on the move now.

November 1942

Tuesday 24th

Put new blade in razor.

Wednesday 25th

Went to Oxford to see “International Ballet” at the “New Theatre”. I enjoyed it very much, but would have loved to have been with Joyce.

Thursday 26th

Paid 30/-

December 1942

Friday 4th

Today was the best I have experienced in the RAF. I was told I was discharged. I spent the afternoon getting cleared. Played in band show tonight.

Saturday 5th

Left Rissy (Little Rissington) at 11.45am and arrived home at 8.30pm.

 1942-diary

Ronald Taylor RAF 1942 War Diary

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