Dennis Wright RAF 1945 War Diary

 

Avro Lancaster I Bomber PP681 OJ-C Crew

RAF Methwold

Pilot Flight Lieutenant J. A. Goodrum (Skipper or Jack)

Air Bomber Flying Officer S. H. Beenon RCAF (Sam)

Flight Engineer Flight Sergeant J. D. Penfold (Johnnie)

Wireless Operator Flight Sergeant A. L. Jones RNZAF (Allan or Al)

Mid Upper Gunner Flying Officer G. T. Powell (George or Sandy)

Rear Gunner Flight Sergeant D. F. Forster (Don or Shorty)

Navigator Flight Sergeant D. W. Wright (Dennis or Denny)

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RAF Stations Visited in 1945

RAF Stanton Harcourt, Oxford

RAF Rackheath

RAF Hemswell, Gainsborough

RAF North Luffenham, Stamford

RAF Methwold, Norfolk

RAF Feltwell, Norfolk

RAF Juvincourt, France

RAF Oakley, Bucks

RCAF Dunsfold, Surrey

RAF Crosby-on-Eden, Carlisle

RAF Trondheim, Norway

January 1945 

Monday 1st

Scrounged around all morning. Learnt we were on bombing this afternoon – scrubbed – went into Oxford with Jack, Allan & Bill Tuck: “Greenwich Village” ropey show. Pathfinder Force (P.F.F.) last night for Station “Op”.

Tuesday 2nd

Nothing from home in mail. Briefing at 3.00 am for special cross country. Flew although delayed take off. Down at 12.30 pm and learnt day off tomorrow.

Wednesday 3rd

After sleeping most of the morning we caught the 10.45 transport to Eynsham. Caught the 12.45 from Oxford arrived home at 16.30 pm. Stayed in all evening. Took Allan Jones home with me. Played records all evening, time flew.

Thursday 4th

Left home about 8.00 caught the 8.15 from Brentwood and 9.45 from Paddington. Arrived back at camp about 2.30 pm. Flew tonight on bombing. Some sod in interrogation – I think it was a Flying Officer Harry – stole my torch in about 3 minutes.

Friday 5th

Slept in until 11.30. Arose and had lunch. No mail received. Did nothing special this afternoon. Flew two bombing details tonight and passed both. No Mail.

Saturday 6th

Slept until mid day lunch. Wash. Kit inspection. Went to Oxford – not very interesting. Letters to mum, Norman B. and Mrs Turner. Received no mail again.

Sunday 7th

The flight commander gave us another day off today so that the Skipper and Sandy can recuperate. Remained on camp all day. Wrote letters to W. B. Derek. Mrs Turner and registered parcel home. Naturally extremely cheesed with (RAF) Stanton Harcourt.

Monday 8th

Back to aircraft assembly early on fighter affiliation – no kites available. Went to Chequers with crew to have dinner – not too bad – rolled back to bed. No mail received today.

Tuesday 9th

Sat around all morning for F/A went to lunch. Got out to aircraft. Cancelled owing to low ceiling. Went to briefing flying cancelled. Went to Oxford with Jack, Allan & Bill Tuck. Saw Abbott and Costello in “Lost in a Harem”. No mail.

Wednesday 10th

Up early at 08.00. Had breakfast. Got aircraft assembly early. Stayed in flying control until 12.15 for fighter association back at 1.30 pm – no fighters – cancelled. Briefing OC cancelled at 16.30. Had a shower went to Oxford.

Thursday 11th

Warm front in today prevented all flying. Went to briefing. The CO confined all Fox Site to clean up for AOC’s inspection. Naturally no mail even from home. I’m B-cheesed.

Friday 12th

Warm frontal weather prevented all flying. Blitz on Fox site this afternoon. Went to Oxford by myself this evening. Lift to Eynsham. Tried to get on 5.25 bus. Got a lift at toll gate. Met the crew in town but returned alone. Saw “Song of Bernadette”.

Saturday 13th

Low stratus prevented all flying today. Hung around in intelligence library all morning – lunch – back nothing until mid-afternoon back to site. After beating around the bush decided to stay in this evening. Broke my pipe again.

Sunday 14th

After briefing for a week we finally hit the jackpot tonight. We flew morning, a diversionary bull’s-eye! Up at 6.30am diverted to an American field Rackheath. Stayed the night – had a wizard meal but very poor bed. Broke my pipe.

Monday 15th

After arising 7.30 got back to Stanton at 7.55 weather prevented fighter affiliation tonight – no mail. Stayed in all night and went to bed at 20.00.

Tuesday 16th

Finally got a letter from home after 13 days. Hung around all day in the intelligence library. Went into Oxford early finally buying some 4 square red. Saw “Between Two Worlds” with John Garfield. Got back early as fog cleared.

Wednesday 17th

Busy day today. Had flight commander’s test – 2 days fighter alignment and 2 night’s fighter alignment. Air crew supper and to bed around midnight.

Thursday 18th

Bad weather prevented all flying today. Managed to skive off most of the day. Went to Oxford with Jack & Bill this evening.

Friday 19th

Weather foggy all day – no flying – remained on camp all day. Nothing exceptional nor of interest to report.

Saturday 20th

Flew two fighter alignments today and finished all flying at O.T.U. Took a pounder into Oxford again with Jack and Allan went to Regal theatre – poor evening came back on 22.15 train.

Sunday 21st

Learnt this morning we were to go to Abingdon this afternoon and supposed to be on leave tomorrow. Spent all day packing and clearances. Left Stanton by the 18.00 transport for good I hope.

Monday 22nd

Got up to flying control early enough but no leave passes until tomorrow. Stooged around all day getting clearances. Went to Abingdon had tea and went to Oxford. Saw “The Canterville Ghost”. Naturally no mail today.

Tuesday 23rd

21.00 At home. Finally got on leave today at 11.00. Caught the 13.20 from Abingdon and arrived at Paddington with full kit at 15.35. Got the 16.18 from Liverpool Street arrived at home about 17.00. There is about 1 ½ inches of snow on the ground today.

Wednesday 24th

Got up around 8.30 went uptown sent telegram to Norman Bore played a few discs had dinner. Went up to town to the West End bought 3 discs. Albert AmmonsShout for Joy”. James “Jesse”. Went to City Theatre.

Thursday 25th

Caught the 8.34 from Brentwood. Met Jack, Allan, Don & Al. Had lunch at the corner house went to Windmill Theatre. Bought three Goodman discs. Came home on the 18.07 from Liverpool Street. Met Bob Baker and co on train I arranged to meet them tomorrow.

Friday 26th

Met Bob Baker today marched around billiard hall and YMCA.

Saturday 27th

Saw Don Birchley today first time for over a year. Went up Senior School dance – very poor – called on Don and went to a drink at the Artichoke. This morning I went to Norman Bore by bus, letter from Nora E.

Sunday 28th

Expecting Norman Bore all morning, stayed in all morning. Played records all afternoon. N.B.B. came over. Met Don, Bob etc at 16.30 – went round YMCA had tea of sorts – went to Odeon Theatre.

Monday 29th

Arose around 9.30. Met Bob and Don at 11.30. Played table tennis round YMCA. Lunch – met them again at 14.30 round YMCA for table tennis, piano etc. Had tea at the Odeon and went to show there. Saw “Laura“– good picture. Sent letter to Toronto banked £12.

Tuesday 30th

Met the boys, table tennis at the YMCA. Show in the evening.

Wednesday 31st

Met Don Birchley at Brentwood station – caught 10.02 arrived London went Beaver Club thence to Richmond had dinner in Express Dairies. Went to skating rink. Then back to London tried Queensbury Club closed – so finished up at the Nuffield Centre arrived home about 11.30.

February 1945

Thursday 1st

Met the boys uptown a 10.30 played table tennis etc all morning – lunch – back to YMCA at 14.30. Played again until 17.30 had tea at the YMCA – went to Palace Theatre saw Red Skelton in “Whistling in Brooklyn”.

Friday 2nd

Up at 7.30 caught 8.32 at 8.45 from Brentwood – 10.30 from King’s Cross arrived at Gainsborough 15.30 met all the crew at the station. Arrived at the camp at 17.30 – what a terrible place. Left this diary – log book and nail scissors at home.

Saturday 3rd

Paraded 8.40, arrival forms etc filled in. F.F.I. and dental inspection, kit exchanged, battle dress this time. Stayed in naturally all evening wrote letters home.

Sunday 4th

Flying kit exchanged and issued all day – cost me 7/3d cash for one gauntlet. Went to the YMCA writing letters to Derek Buck and Charley D.

Monday 5th

Started ground school, bull parade and inspection marched to school. Navigation arrival test. Lectures on navigation in afternoon. Went to the YMCA in the evening wrote to Mrs Root, Bobby Williams and Norman Bore again.

Tuesday 6th

Went to the dentist at 9.00 today then to crew lectures. Went to the YMCA drinking tea and sitting around.

Wednesday 7th

We spent the whole day plotting – exceedingly boring. No mail yet from home. Went to the YMCA. Managed to get some tobacco from the village post office.

Thursday 8th

On parade at 8.30 as usual. Crew lectures all day. Went to the dentist at 4pm today, he filled one tooth, pretty painful. Registered parcel from home with log book and diary.

Friday 9th

Plotting the whole day. Nothing extraordinary to report. No mail. What a terrible place this is!!

Saturday 10th

Normal day – with school. Boulton speed test? Flight speed test plan. Went to the dentist at 13.30 for scraping and polishing no mail today.

Sunday 11th

A.P.I. lectures and GEE exam today. The enclosed drawing was done at Sturgate YMCA by Don Foster the crew rear gunner at 21.00. Pretty good I thought. We finished ground school.

Monday 12th

Today we had the day off. Naturally we stayed in bed until 9.30 went to the YMCA for morning break. Caught the 12.30 train from Upton in the pouring rain. Arrived Gainsborough went to the State for lunch walked the streets till 3.30. Table tennis. Went to show very good.

Tuesday 13th

First day on army training issued with boots, denim & a “rifle”!!!! Live shooting introductory bull talk. Range firing this afternoon.

Wednesday 14th

Issued with sten-guns and pistols this morning wandered around in the morning range firing in the afternoon pretty good fun.

Thursday 15th

Unarmed combat demonstrations this morning and this afternoon pretty long march into country on concealment exercises – no mail today but I think parcel arrived from home.

Friday 16th

Collected parcel from P.O. This morning we had escape map reading exercises with the crew operating as patrol – quite good fun. This afternoon practical unarmed combat. No mail today. Posted 10/- home.

Saturday 17th

Today we had the finishing touch to our field training with a 14 mile route-march in the pouring rain. Had a wizard dinner, which we cooked ourselves, of steak, chips, onions, cheese, apple, cake, bread & margarine, tea. Then after an imitation assault, had the march back, still raining.

Sunday 18th

After handing in rifles & denims we finished work at 10 until 0840 Tuesday. Naturally went home – had super luck and got indoors at 5pm. Went to Palace Cinema afterwards met by accident; Don Birchley, Bob Baker, Ken Crozier went to Artichoke and got thoroughly sozzled.

Monday 19th

Got up at 9 played records all morning called on Don Birchley – went to the Odeon in the afternoon with Don stayed in this evening. Pop gave me a hair-cut – the first in years. Left home at 20.45 caught 2106 from Brentwood & 2315 from Kings Cross Gainsborough at 0415 Tuesday.

Tuesday 20th

Got back to camp around 8. Breakfast, learnt on parade that we shall probably be posted tomorrow. Went into Gainsborough to see “In Society” at the Grand Cinema.

Wednesday 21st

Posted today, clearance etc leaving on Friday. Went to Fox & Hounds

Thursday 22nd

Nothing special done today. Went to dance at Knaith tonight. Had a few beers not sozzled – the dance was quite a lively affair – much better than I expected.

Friday 23rd

Up at 7.00 breakfast. Inspection by A.O.C. Left Gainsborough at 09.40 arrived Peterborough at 13.30. Left for North Luffenham at 15.29 arrived on camp at 17.00. Billets very poor dirty Nissen hut – no sheets – mess OK.

Saturday 24th

Conversion unit. Arrival chits and all that. Kit inspection this afternoon. Caught the Liberty bus to Leicester tonight – had a wizard time at the Palais de Danse. Got back to bed after a terrible journey standing in a truck of 1 hr 35 mins at 1am.

Sunday 25th

CGI’s talk. Intelligence lecture and natter by CO and CI – mostly the old s— plugged out again. Remained in the camp tonight.

A Note: The hut we are in was formally the pigeon keepers hut. We have two armchairs a table and several forms. But for the fact there is no linoleum it was bloody very comfortable.

Monday 26th

Paraded at 0845 started ground school promptly with navigation leaders talk. Went over the Lancaster for the first time. Remained on camp tonight. No mail.

Tuesday 27th

Paraded again with PT for 10 mins to follow. Ground school. Went to Stamford on liberty bus tonight & pictures and local dance. This remarkable town has over 65 pubs!!

Wednesday 28th

Parade this morning as usual and more school. Went to the local pub called the Wheatsheaf in the village of Edith Weston had about 4 pints and got quite happy.

March 1945 

Thursday 1st

School again today. Parcel of laundry arrived from home with letter. Boogie woogie player record has been obtained by mother at last. Laundry sent to private laundry. Went Edith Weston WVS.

Friday 2nd

School as usual. Letter from Toronto today with very pleasing news. She says that photo has been sent. More bods arrived. Went to the local WVS.

Saturday 3rd

School as usual today. Ron Colnebrooke gave me his ticket to Leicester. Went in on the 6 bus but got in around 7. Went to Flying Club for dinner then to various pubs finishing up at the Palais de Danse. Not so good this week.

Sunday 4th

Finished basic course this morning with final GEE and navigation exams. Had this afternoon off. Remained in the mess all evening about 9 went to the bar and the whole crew were present – had a glorious beer party.

Monday 5th

Supplementary lectures began with bombing etc and H2S gen this afternoon. No mail at all. Went to Stamford but couldn’t get into a show – came back on the 9 bus.

Tuesday 6th

No mail. Supplementary lectures H2S. Remained on camp tonight.

Wednesday 7th

Letter from mother. Supplementary lectures H2S. Went to Leicester on wet dinghy this afternoon. I bought a utility radio for £12-3-4d. Got back to camp at 12 midnight.

Thursday 8th

No mail today. Lectures again. Went to show in the NAAFI tonight quite amusing but boring in places. Rigged up the radio after little trouble with the earth.

Friday 9th

No mail today. Lectures. Went to flights this afternoon. Went to the Wheatsheaf pub. Bank balance £72-19-11.

Saturday 10th

Went flying today for the first time on Lancaster – quite interesting. No mail of course. Remained in the hut all evening.

Sunday 11th

Flew again this evening – skipper went solo. Nothing much else of importance. Remained in the hut all evening. Oysters for supper.

Monday 12th

Up at 06.00 – the first time in months. Flew again on circuits and bumps. Cruised over Leicester. No mail again today. Sent parcel of laundry home. Sandy our mid upper gunner sick.

Tuesday 13th

Letter from mother. Flew again on circuits. Spent the evening on the camp. The RAF Association dance was absolute dead loss. Note : I’m pretty cheesed with this place as we’re had not a day off since we got here.

Wednesday 14th

Flew again today on a bombing trip. Went to Leicester by 4.15 train and came back on the dinghy truck. No mail again.

Thursday 15th

Spent the whole day hanging around the flight office to do a 1 and a ½ hour flight. Finally got into the air at 4.45 pm. No mail received today.

Friday 16th

Nothing special to report.

Saturday 17th

Up at 05.45 flew on cross country SW route about 6 hours not very successful. Letters sent home and to Mrs Turner and Ron of Toronto.

Sunday 18th

Up at 05.30 flew on cross country to Tours France. Route: base, Odstone, Anvil Point, Tours, Caen, Cherbourg, Bournemouth, base about 7 hours flying. Naturally nothing else to report.

Monday 19th

School this morning. The skipper saw the C.G.I. and managed to get us “off duty” until tomorrow night. Shorty and I go into London but unfortunately the train was an hour late so we redeemed our tickets. Went to a show got horribly drunk and wandered around Peterborough. Stayed at the Bull Hotel.

Tuesday 20th

Arose around 10 am had breakfast walked around town lunch. Left by 3.29 for Luffingham. Flew tonight on circuits. Up until 3 am. No mail. Haircut.

Wednesday 21st

Slept, rather badly, until about 12.00 had tea. Borrowed a bike from Johnnie, Salter a Canadian gunner went for a ride round to Stanford. Flew on bombing trip.

Thursday 22nd

Slept from last night’s effort – first night cross country to France – quite a good effort from my point of view. Naturally no mail.

Friday 23rd

Slept all day practically after last night’s cross country. Briefing at the usual time of 4.30 lasted longer than of late. Letter from home with Donald’s photo.

Saturday 24th

Went to Leicester by the 4.15 after sleeping from yesterday’s flight. Went to a restaurant to eat, a few beers then to the Palais de Danse back by taxi 10/- each.

Sunday 25th

Supplementary lectures have to be finished according to the C.G.I. so today we went back to lectures. Nothing else special to report.

Monday 26th

No mail received today. Lectures. Went to Stanford this evening. Wrote letters to Bob Baker, Norman Bore and mother.

Tuesday 27th

No mail today. Lectures again. Some people are getting a stand-down from tomorrow until Saturday night. So far we have S.F.A.

Wednesday 28th

After today’s lectures learnt that we are posted to 149 Squadron Methwold and we have leave until Sunday 12 o’clock noon. Wizzo! Caught the 6.20 from Luffenham.

Thursday 29th

Home today playing records etc. Pictures. Received gum from Mr R. Turner of Canada.

Friday 30th

Played records, pictures etc. Nothing else of interest.

Saturday 31st

Today was one of the happiest of my life. Met Bob Baker this morning and afternoon table-tennis. Met him again this evening went to Lion and Lamb couple of beers – to town hall – met Bob’s sister Betty. Wizzo stayed with her all evening. Plenty of beer and dancing. Took her to the station bags of necking etc. Won’t forget it for a long time……

April 1945

Sunday 1st

Arrived at St. Pancras about 8.15 caught the 8.30 to Leicester having met Johnny Penfold the engineer. Back at camp around 1.45 pm clearance and packing. Letters from M.B.B. and home.

Monday 2nd

Clearing still this morning and packing. Left by 15.01 train from North Luffenham to Peterborough had tea – to Cambridge – thence to Brandon and transport to here. Up until 11.30 pm looking for billet. 149 Squadron RAF Methwold.

Tuesday 3rd

Letter sent to home. Bob Baker, Bill Tuck.

Wednesday 4th

Not a lot doing today. I don’t think a lot of this station. Far too dispersed and too distant from any town. No mail received.

Thursday 5th

Reported about 9.20 informed by the skipper we’re on a cross country today but cancelled due to bad weather and unserviceable aircraft. Send letters to Norman Bore and Don Birchley.

Friday 6th

Got up about 8.50 reported to sections briefed again for cross country. We flew this time over France – received no mail again today. Not much else today I managed to get sheets for the crew.

Saturday 7th

Letter from Bob Baker nothing much from his sister rather disappointing. No flying today for us.

Sunday 8th

Nothing special to report. Crew seem to be getting rather cheesed – skipper is very reluctant to ask for leave or even days off. Crew binge in local pub – the Cock Inn.

Monday 9th

Well at mid day the skipper informed us we were on ops tonight. Couldn’t believe it but confirmed in nav. section. Briefing at 4.15 pm, took off 19.25 on course for Kiel, although 15 mins late owing to reciprocal winds to west. We pranged the Hun very well with target indictors bang in the centre of the photograph. On the way back the magneto switches were accidentally knocked off and three engines cut down to about 800 feet when discovered we recovered and reached base safely. Letter from home.

Tuesday 10th

Arose about mid day had lunch and stooged around all day until about 2.00, returned to hut sunbathing. No mail received.

Wednesday 11th

Arose late. Nothing to do today. Returned to hut early. Some more bods came in today. Celebrated in the four local inns of Methwold, the sinking of the “Admiral Scheer”, which may have been done by our bombs of Monday Night. No mail.

Thursday 12th

No mail received. Detailed Fighter Association1 cancelled.

1 bombers practicing defensive manoeuvres, such as corkscrews, against British fighters

Friday 13th

FDR died. What a day! After finding out leave has been put off until May 1st we were attached to Feltwell for a G-H course. Left this evening. No mail again. Letter to Bob Baker

Saturday 14th

Reported today. Began work almost immediately, lectures all day. Went to the show at Methwold not bad. No mail again.

Sunday 15th

Lectures again. Walked round the village back to barrack block 38 and to bed. Very depressing this camp. Everything is wrong, no mail from anyone and no comfort here. Jerry seems to be holding out again.

Monday 16th

Lectures continued. Went to the “West End” a local pub.

Tuesday 17th

Last day of lectures was yesterday. Very uninteresting. Went over to Methwold naturally no mail. Flew on first exercise.

Wednesday 18th

Flew again on second and last exercise. No mail.

Thursday 19th

Cleared today. Left for Methwold. Went by Sandy’s car to Peterborough. Caught 16.05 to London home at 19.15. Lost my ticket. Letter from Bobby Williams at long last and Bob Baker who has been posted to Bridgenorth.

Friday 20th

Home today. Got up at 8.00 played records etc. Nothing much today went to the Odeon “Can’t Help Singing”. Poor – left by 8.44 from Brentwood.

Saturday 21st

Flew this afternoon on G-H bombing. Error 352 yards, not too good. Moved to hut 95 4 site.

Sunday 22nd

Were detailed to arise at 3 am this morning for daylight op but was postponed until 10.45 briefing took off at 14.55 for Bremen. Flew in formation over cloud. No trouble until Wilhelmshaven were flak was very accurate and hit all three kites in our vicinity. We were hit in the mid uppers turret Sandy was OK. Arrived back at Methwold about 8.40 pm.

Monday 23rd

Nothing done today no mail received. Went to the camp cinema weather extremely cold.

Tuesday 24th

Nothing to report. No mail.

Wednesday 25th

Nothing to report no mail.

Thursday 26th

Letter received from Nora she has received my photograph – pleased with it – but I haven’t received hers.

Friday 27th

Still no flying. Weather is now extremely cold. Post card from Income Tax and Bob Baker.

Saturday 28th

No flying. Weather cold. Went to Feltwell show tonight. Preparing to go on leave

Sunday 29th

Very cold today. Cheesed off with nothing to do, went to the mess with Al Jones had more beer than I’ve ever had in my life 7 pints and was dangerously drunk. Dangerous to other people.

Monday 30th

Up at 6 still slightly drunk felt awful in stomach. Left at 7.35 for Liverpool Street. Had a very strong cup of coffee felt much better. Home at about 1.30. Pictures.

May 1945

Tuesday 1st

Up at about 8.15 nothing special on hand. Pressed battle-dress and blue. Went over to NB this afternoon – he looks awful. Naturally no letters. Went up to A.T.C. then C Doughty now in India. Met Norman Bore at his school. No mail. Nothing particular to report.

Wednesday 2nd

Donald came home on 2 weeks leave. Don Birchley has his tapes and wings I went around with him today. We went to Romford suddenly at 4.30 went to Ritz saw horror films of Buchenwald forest. Had a few beers came back by train from Gidea Park.

Thursday 3rd

Went up to town to meet Don Forster saw Abbot and Costello in “Here Come the Co-eds”. Went to Don’s house for tea then to Hammersmith Palais which was ropey. Home about 11.45 pm.

Friday 4th

Don Birchley still in London. Went over to Herongate saw Grand Pop, Aunt Em, Ivy and cousin Audrey and baby. Norman Bore came over. All German forces in Holland, Denmark, Northern Germany surrendered. This leaves them in Channel Isles and Norway only. Bought windbreaker as present for 21st on 8th May from mum and dad.

Saturday 5th

Rose around 8.15 met Don at his house at 11 am no much doing this morning, nothing to report this afternoon. Met Don tonight in civvies went to Artichoke had about 6 then to the Queen’s. Met John Berry and Bright. Staggered around to White Hart Hotel met 2 bods with tickets from then crashed the dance. Got home about 1.30 am.

Sunday 6th

Up at 7.30 cleared up craftily the mess from last night. Allotment visited. Met Don this afternoon stooged over the common. Went to the Artichoke not much beer tonight. Home about 10.30 pm.

Monday 7th

Met Don at 10.30. Sent 10/- to Norman Bore. Turned in shoes to barter. Caught the 3.24 pm from Brentwood to Liverpool Street. Contrary to the woman in Brentwood station the train left at 17.48. In camp at 8.55. Expecting announcement of end of war in Europe before leaving but no joy until back at camp.

Tuesday 8th

My 21st birthday. V.E. day. My birthday was also the day of victory in Europe when Mr. Churchill announced at 3 pm today the end of the war in Europe.

Wednesday 9th

VE day +1 scheduled to fly but it was cancelled. Nothing to report.

Thursday 10th

Letters sent to Bob Baker, Betty Baker, home, William R. Tuck. Got our passes early left for the station. Shorty had a puncture so missed the 11.43 to London. Caught the ten to 4.00. In Brentwood at 8.00. Walked through Brentwood hoping to meet Don Birchley. After going home went to his house had 4 pints with him then to bed.

Friday 11th

Home today rode around not much to do. Caught 4.27 from Brentwood at 17.48 from Liverpool Street. In camp at 9.15 pm.

Saturday 12th

Scheduled to fly to Juvincourt to pick up ex-POWs cancelled after taxiing out in aircraft. Very hot today – must be around 75 to 80 degrees. Remained on camp trying to cool off.

Sunday 13th

Flew to France today to pick up 24 ex-POWs brought them back to Oakley near Oxford. Weather cooled off considerably.

Monday 14th

Didn’t fly today. Letter from Bob Baker. Nothing to report.

Tuesday 15th

Letter from Betty Baker – pretty pleasing but I don’t know how it will work out when I get on leave next month. Letters from home and Derek Parmiter.

Wednesday 16th

Went to France today bring back 24 ex-POWs. Tonight Al Jones went to Feltwell with me “Home in Indiana”. Letter from Bill Tuck.

Thursday 17th

Flew this morning on formation cross country. This afternoon we went to Cambridge on dinghy drill. Spent a pleasant day on the river and at local pubs and fair. Letter from Don Birchley.

Friday 18th

Announced that aircrew are to get a special medal. Compass lecture this morning passed the time but very boring. This afternoon we started working out a speed test to give ourselves!! No mail received today. Letter sent home.

Saturday 19th

Nothing much to do today. No letters.

Sunday 20th

Lecture in the morning. Flying – bombing training – scrubbed today. Nothing else to report.

Monday 21st

Flew to France today on usual POW run to Juvincourt. Bad weather prevented us returning so everybody rushed off to Reims. Nothing much to do except drink champagne which cost 39 Francs per glass. Waited in Reims 3 hours for transport. Had about 2 hours sleep on the floor of the Lancaster.

Tuesday 22nd

Skipper hadn’t returned from Reims at 9am . Finally turned up and we left Juvincourt for Dunsfold. Back at base about 1 pm. Sleep. Wash. Pictures, bed. Bicycle pinched.

Wednesday 23rd

Up at usual time. Flew to Juvincourt again came back via Bradwell Bay and Chelmsford. Flew over Brentwood to avoid storm seeing my house. No letters.

Thursday 24th

Letter from NBB. Sent letters to NBB, W Tuck, RBC. Stooged back to the billet this afternoon. Recalled to fly on formation flying. Rode in the bomb hatch very close and exciting flying by Flying Officer Tottle.

Friday 25th

Parcel received home with laundry and photos at last. Letter also received from Nora. Wrote right back to Toronto also send £9 to RBC. Shorty and I went to the “Chequers” at Feltwell had a few, Louis came back to the mess. Very pissed. Lost my badge and hanky.

Saturday 26th

No mail received today. No flying done either. In fact I did sweet F.A.

Sunday 27th

Nothing special today. Went to Feltwell again with Shorty had a few beers rained like the devil when coming home.

Monday 28th

No mail today from home, letter from Bob Baker. Went to camp show “Song of the Open Road” and “Fall In”.

Tuesday 29th

Letter from home. Nothing much done today. Flew tonight on cross country – very ropey effort. Recovered bike.

Wednesday 30th

Up at 10.45, cooked my last trip all morning up to lunch. Had crew photo taken in front of “Charley”. Went to Ely with Al by 3.50 from Brandon however, we caught it at Lakenheath. I didn’t think a lot of Ely.

IMG_0139

Thursday 31st

Nothing much to report. Wizard (?) Letter from Betty. Flew on low level aircraft firing today. Had crew beer-do in Cock Inn Methwold tonight.

June 1945

Friday 1st

Up as usual at 8.00 breakfast, packed section. Got our passes at 10.30 – to the station and 11.43 to Liverpool Street. Caught 5.05 from Paddington arrived Torquay at 11.31 taxi to Alan’s aunt’s house.

Saturday 2nd

Up at 10 am wizard breakfast of ham, egg, toast, marmalade and coffee! Down to seafront and harbour one noggin back to base. In uniform to the harbour and rowed out to sea. To the Drum for beer – rained got horribly wet returned to base.

Sunday 3rd

What a day – what a leave – rain again. We were absolutely forced to remain in the house all day – no let up at all.

Monday 4th

Got up at 7am. Breakfast. Caught 9am from Torquay London at 13.30. Had lunch Lyons, Old Broad Street. Went to the pictures in the West End saw “Something for the Boys”. Caught 17.48 from Liverpool Street.

Tuesday 5th

Reported to section today as usual, this day was one of the worst I can recall. Shorty announced at tea that he had applied for a commission – it beats me how gunnery section could let him after 2 operations! Boy if even asked in the navigation section I’d be jumped on. This is not all. being rather cheesed I went to Brandon tonight to the pictures. Someone swiped my bike after I had locked it. Got a lift back to camp.

Wednesday 6th

Twas a year ago today that the invasion of Europe began. Crew photos obtained very good. Letter to B Baker.

IMG_0139

Thursday 7th

Nothing of special importance to report. Went to Chequers Feltwell and the Oak. Weather very rainy, cold front this makes the 6th consecutive day of rain.

Friday 8th

Weather is still the same. Pay parade today £9. Nothing special to report. No mail.

Saturday 9th

Bull commenced today for the AOC’s inspection on Tuesday. Wrote letters to Don Birchley, Bill Tuck and Betty.

Sunday 10th

Bull again today cleaning up the camp in general. Went to supper tonight and stayed in the mess – had just too many beers and got out of hand on returning to billet insulting Jones.

Monday 11th

Tremendous bull around the camp for AOC’s inspection tomorrow. No mail received.

Tuesday 12th

On parade at 9.45 for AOC’s inspection. Parade help outside Flying Control. Over at 11 am. Letter from Bob baker and home. Spent the afternoon pretending to plot for AOC’s benefit. Shower.

Wednesday 13th

Flew on group bombing competition this morning. Went over to cricket nets this afternoon. WAAF Gang Show tonight – not too good. The rear gunner saw Squadron Leader Payne in lieu of the Wing Commander and apparently passed.

Thursday 14th

Nothing to report, no mail.

Friday 15th

No flying today and nothing special to report. No mail received.

Saturday 16th

Nothing done this morning. Stand down this afternoon but Adjutant refused to give us our passes. Went into Feltwell had some strawberries.

Sunday 17th

Up at 8 am breakfast. Cycled down to Brandon station caught 9.45 to London – home at 3.30 pm. Bob called at 6pm he had a date – went round to Don Birchley who was home for a weekend. Saw Betty again with another guy – an old flame called Ron. However was a good evening.

Monday 18th

First day of leave. Betty, Bob, Ken and myself to Brentwood swimming pool had quite a busy time but with usual right bashfulness failed to make any headway.

Tuesday 19th

Up to the pool again. Betty came up later and once again I bashed. Went to pictures by myself!!!

Wednesday 20th

Swimming again today. Went on the beer tonight with Bob, Ken, Jack Person and another RAF Corporal, met Betty and passing the “Charles Napier” to the town hall danced with practically everybody including Betty. Kissed her goodbye and she says she’ll write me first, pinched her hankie as a souvenir.

Thursday 21st

Went to London this morning and bought four new discs from Keith Prowse and Co my total is now 71. Met Bob on Liverpool Street, dinner Bob & Ken – I went to pictures then home drank by myself tonight what cheesiness.

Friday 22nd

Swimming with Bob this morning and afternoon. Went to Palace with Pop tonight and had a beer with him at the White Hart. Home early!

Saturday 23rd

Went swimming this morning by myself and to the pool to watch this afternoon. Met Jack Person at 7 this evening in the Artichoke and met the three ATS babes. Got them and ourselves horribly drunk to town hall.   Snogging up to Warley Barracks her name Christine Forster 1803155 ATS. Warley Barracks, Brentwood. Don Birchley took Kay.

Sunday 24th

Last day of leave. Swimming this morning with Don Birchley, dinner – tea in Odeon with Don ,met Jack and three girls to the Odeon – to the station. Caught 8.55 at 9.12 London 21.50 no train until 4.30 spent a most uncomfortable night in the YMCA. What a bind. Got an ATS badge as a souvenir.

Monday 25th

Reported to the section at 2.15 pm, nothing to do however. It was confirmed that my crown was through. No mail.

Tuesday 26th

Flew on Baedeker to the Ruhr today carrying 2 WAAFs and 2 ground staff bods. Saw Wesel, Krupps, Mohne dam, Dunkerque, Antwerp and a host of others. Still no letter from Betty.

Wednesday 27th

Reported to section at 9 .15 am. Intelligence lecture on Europe photography this morning. Working on a new book this afternoon. Bought 2 lbs of strawberries. No letters. Day off on Sunday. Sent letter to Don Birchley.

Thursday 28th

Sandy is leaving tomorrow for Borne. Ground crew beer do in Brandon. Many souvenirs obtained. Flew on air test of “Charlie”.

Wednesday 29th

Nothing to report today.

Saturday 30th

Nothing done this morning – went to Cambridge on dinghy drill managed to get away to London. Home at 7.20. Had ham and egg met Don Birchley at his home went to Artichoke very ropey beer.

July 1945

Sunday 1st

Up at 9.30 breakfast. Called on Don at 11.30 had a half pint – to the station for the trains. Don came down this afternoon played a few records. Went back by 9.12 from Liverpool Street. In camp at 12.45 pm.

Monday 2nd

Reported to section as usual. No mail received. * Wrote to Betty *

Tuesday 3rd

Plotting all this morning skipper has volunteered for transport command. Letter from Bill Tuck. Still no mail received from home. Went to Feltwell by my lonesome this evening had a few beers.

Wednesday 4th

Swimming at Didlington Hall this morning – very cold but enjoyable. Still no mail from home gave up hope.

Thursday 5th

Up at 3 flying to South of France on photography, nine hour trip. Went to Feltwell and got drunk.

Friday 6th

Pay parade £10 this morning. Formation flying this afternoon. Sgt’s Mess dance but unable to cope owing to flying tomorrow. Broke my pipe again.

Saturday 7th

Flew today again on photography mission to South of France – weather was very good. No mail received.

Sunday 8th

Had rather a heavy head cold I’m not going to fly tomorrow. Went to Feltwell Chequers.

Monday 9th

Reported sick today with cold – grounded for three days. Sun bathing all day. Witness partial eclipse of the sun this afternoon.

Tuesday 10th

Received letter from Mrs R Williams of Niagara Falls, Ontario who says Bob was killed on his first trip at O.T.U. Weather is putrid. Letter and parcel from home.

Wednesday 11th

Weather very duff today. No flying. Caught 2.30 pm transport to Brandon Cambridge at 5 pm could not get a billet so I caught 7.12 home. Home at 11pm.

Thursday 12th

Home today bought crowns. Played records. Returned to camp on 5.45. Afterthought – when I returned from camp at 9 tonight there was still no letter from Betty. I’m afraid I’ve had it once again and will be forced to forget her.

Friday 13th

Not an eventful day. Sunbathing this afternoon. Went to the Chequers tonight with Jock and Don got horribly drunk went to the mess. Still no letter from Betty. Monday is the deadline.

Saturday 14th

Boring today. Comparing today with this time last year – at Moncton M.B. Went to show.

Sunday 15th

Nothing to report.

Monday 16th

No flying today. Weather no good for sun bathing. Afterthought – no letter from Betty so I guess I’ve had it.

Tuesday 17th

Attempted a Baedeker today but unserviceable receiver in kite forced us to return after an hour. Nothing much else, no mail. Went to Hockwold dance – horrible.

Wednesday 18th

Flew on another photography mission today north of Paris, very boring, flew Lancaster for 20 mins. Letter from home. Went to the Oak for a few beers tonight.

Thursday 19th

Nothing special, big crap game tonight, won £2 2/6d.

Friday 20th

Weather duff for sun bathing. Shower tonight. Johnny and Ken left to catch 6 from Brandon after Shorty had got the passes. Went for a quiet drink in the Oak.

Saturday 21st

Left for home at 7. Arrived London 10.35. 10.50 from Liverpool Street. Got off at Romford saw Bob Baker and girl. Went to the Artichoke had a few by myself Uncle Fred came bought a couple Bob Baker and girl arrived later went to White Hart met 2 WACS and Peggy. Home at 1 am after interval on Brentwood Station.

Sunday 22nd

Swimming at 10.30 – pretty warm. Don Birchley who was to have got home last night was not home at 3 pm. Came back on 9.12 Liverpool Street and 7.28 Brentwood.

Monday 23rd

To the navigation section this morning. Remain in the camp, no mail. Fixed up bike, paid skipper £2.

Tuesday 24th

No mail, no joy, no fun, no prospects, no clues.

Wednesday 25th

Flew on formation to the North Sea dropping 500 lb incendiary clusters. Remained on camp the rest of the day. No mail.

Thursday 26th

Up at 2 am this morning 3 am briefing. Took off at 5.15 went to southern France flying around Mont Blanc and the Alps photographing. Back at 2pm Labour government elected. Saw the “Song of Bernadette” in the station cinema.

Friday 27th

No flying today. No mail.

Saturday 28th

No flying for me went to the Oak had a few beers stand down this afternoon. Played craps tonight.

Sunday 29th

Crew flew on air test – lost!!! When I didn’t fly. Did 15 minutes solid P.T. tonight and will do every night when possible.

Monday 30th

Flew today on revue to Geneva cloud prevented most of photography. Letter from Betty today – she says “I am sorry I have not written before but we moved”.

Tuesday 31st

Went to Cambridge by 6 pm train had a few beers went to dance in Guildhall. Slept on Cambridge station missed last train back. Wing Commander confined everybody for a couple of hours.

August 1945

Wednesday 1st

Day off today. Arrived back from Cambridge at 8.30. Slept all morning. Quiet pint in Feltwell. No P.T.

Thursday 2nd

Sun bathing all today. Station theatre usual P.T.

Friday 3rd

Hottest day of the year. Sun bathing went down to Hockwold had a few beers.

Saturday 4th

Up in time to catch 7am transport, caught the 7.45 from Brandon home at 12.00. Went up to the pool – very crowded – didn’t get a swim. Had a few beers and went to the dance.

Sunday 5th

Swimming this morning drinking this evening with Bob and Pam.

Monday 6th

Bank holiday Monday. Swimming this morning with Cyril and Miss Pilgrims Hatch one of Brentwood’s carnival queen candidates – a slick chick if ever there was.

Tuesday 7th

Swimming again – Bob Baker rather chilly weather cloudy drinking again.

Wednesday 8th

Weather duff no swimming today rained tonight had 2 beers in the Artichoke and went home. Special note: today I saw a girl who one day I hope to marry!!!!!??** A peach dressed in blue costume pink and white striped blouse black suede shoes. Brunette about 5’ 6” lives in Honeypot Lane – my dream girl. To anyone who reads this that shouldn’t – we can all dream can’t we?

Thursday 9th

Still rather poor weather but swan again. Rain again tonight no beer!!

Friday 10th

Swimming little to report.

Saturday 11th

Swimming this morning. Bought puncture outfit, met Ray Burgess (Navy) and Bill Golding (RAF) had a few beers. Returned to Liverpool Street on 4.35 back at camp at 9pm.

Sunday 12th

We are going to Norway tomorrow packing and arranging to leave. Wrote to Don Birchley, Betty and home.

Monday 13th

After 2 hours briefing took off in OJ-C for Norway at 12.45 B.S.T. Came via Denmark, Oslo to Trondheim arrived at 18.00 DBST. Flight Lieutenant Key pranged on runway RAF station Trondheim.

Tuesday 14th

Arranged lockers and found kit, wash and shave, lunch. Went to the local beach, very good swimming. This evening we went to the German built “Kasino” – after moving billets to some wizard huts built beneath ground level.

Wednesday 15th

Organised water supply this morning and general comforting of billets, stooged and slept this afternoon, remained in mess for supper. Returned to shack at 7.30.

Thursday 16th

Flew this morning to extreme north of Narvik and Norway , valley fog prevented photography, returned to base. Nothing else done today of note.

Friday 17th

Sunbathed all morning, went to beach for swim this afternoon, sky clouded returned to camp. Played cards and dice all evening until 1.30am, lost 54 krone.

Saturday 18th

Up for breakfast, cleaned up, went Trondheim a horrible place, caught the 7.12 from Trondheim stopped at Mitsund and went to Norwegian army dance – played piano in officers mess – dancing, drinking until 3am, home to bed at 5am.

Sunday 19th

Not up for breakfast – up at 10am for Wing Commander’s inspection. Sleep this afternoon then wash and clean up. Had tea, played cards and dice this evening. Once again I lost losing Kr.35. Weather is still absolutely useless for flying.

Tuesday 28th

Quit had to be feathered, returned to base at Vaernes, went to new billet, pictures tonight at Kasino saw “Laura” – wonderful.

Wednesday 29th

Messed around the billet all day, went to the station all- ranks dance tonight – very poor. Got very drunk on white wine, had to be brought home, brought my lung up.

Thursday 30th

Stayed in bed until 3pm this afternoon, felt horrible sick with headache. This evening I felt better and walked in rain to the Sgt’s mess dance at the Kasino. Came back in the rain and went to bed. Jock and Ken were pissed.

Friday 31st

Up for breakfast. Walked around perimeter track. Deal with barman (I think he’s a sly underhand type) bought bottle of whiskey. This afternoon had a haircut by an SP. Pressed up blue, battle dress blouse and pants. Stayed in this evening. Rainy weather, hope to leave on Sunday.

September 1945

Sunday 1st

Rain this morning. Air test this afternoon – kite O.K. Went to the mess to drink this evening – pissed – back to the billet, broke window with my fist!!!

Sunday 2nd

Up for breakfast out to the kite with luggage – waited for hours for the skipper. Took off at 11.50 C.E.S.T. good trip but didn’t to base until 4.30, 3.30 B.S.T. Changed into civvies went to the “Oak” only had two pints, back to the billet.

Monday 3rd

Six years ago today the war started . Changed sheets first – with £20 pay in pocket. Worked on bike – went to Feltwell – letter from mum sent on Aug 28th. Stayed in this evening. Cycle O.K.

Tuesday 4th

Reported to section today. Left for home by the 11.57 from Lakenheath. Arrived in London about 2.50 caught 15.04 to Brentwood. Missed on Birchley by ½ hour, he returned today. Saw “Diamond Horseshoe” at the Odeon. Donald home till Tuesday.

Wednesday 5th

Up at 8.30 breakfast, to Upminster by cycle, saw Norman Bore went to Romford with him bought 4 new discs – Harry JamesJump Town” and “Flatbush Flanagan”, Albert Ammons” & Pete Johnson “Cherry Blues”, Sinatra’s!!! “If You Are But a Dream”. Letter from Bill Tuck. Left home by 4.27, 5.48 from Liverpool Street. In camp at nine.

Thursday 6th

Not detailed to fly today. Nothing to report. Went to tea in Feltwell. No letters received. Weather cloud 50 at 3000’, clear above that. High pressure area. Little wind.

Friday 7th

On a photographic flight today to South of France – poor weather low crowd prevented carrying out detail. Back at Methwold at 2. Drinking in Feltwell tonight. Another day off Sunday leaving at 7am tomorrow. No mail yet.

Saturday 8th

Left on 7am transport for Brandon caught 7.40 to London in at 10.35 had a bite to eat, caught 11.15 slow to Brentwood, dinner, bought medal ribbons. Put my brown suit on this evening to meet Bob Baker. Met his girl Pam who said he was confined to camp. Spent a pleasant evening drinking and dancing with her. Home to bed at 1.0 am Sunday.

Sunday 9th

Up for breakfast at 9.00. Wash shave and walked to Weald Church via the fields with Spot. Lunch – rode around on mother’s bike and saw Pam again – tea. Caught the 7.49 to London and the 9.12 from Liverpool Street crowded almost unbearable – a hellish journey!!! In the billet at 1am.

Monday 10th

Up for breakfast. Not flying although no sign of skipper until the afternoon. Letter received from Bob Baker. Went to the “Oak” tonight with Ken.

Tuesday 11th

Spent the morning in the flight office filling in log books and leave applications. Wanted to have 48 before the leave but skipper once again didn’t co-operate and it is at the end. No mail received. Stayed in this evening.

Wednesday 12th

Scheduled to fly today on revue but cancelled. Hung around camp all day. Went to Feltwell this afternoon to see station football team. Stayed in tonight.

Thursday 13th

Up at 2am this morning for flying went to Pyrenees cloud prevented photography. Back at base at 1.15. Letter from Marc of Toronto. Pressing this evening after picture show. Weather colder.

Friday 14th

Paid today £11 14/-. Went to Crosby-on-Eden this afternoon to show off Lancaster, G Transport Conversion Unit near Carlisle. No mail at lunch time. Went to a small pub called “Salutation Inn” to have a few beers.

Saturday 15th

Went down to breakfast, back to the billet and cleaned buttons etc. wash and shave. Lunch – down to the kite showing the civilian round the kite, very boring. Started to come back but no pukka D.I. prevented take-off. Had four double whiskeys in the mess went to dance in the WAAF NAAFI.

Sunday 16th

Rain today. Left Crosby-on Eden at 2.20. Back at Methwold at 3.30. Tea in civvies to the Oak.

Monday 17th

Collected pillow slip. Shoes condemned – get a new pair and socks from stores. The laundry store has lost my laundry. Went to camp show then to the Oak for a quick pint. Letter from Bob.

Tuesday 18th

No flying today. Nothing to do all day. Letter received from Buck Ramsey. Saw the Adjutant about my laundry. I am paying for it so as to get it quicker although it’s a poor show. Feeling a bit cheesed I am looking forward to leave.

Wednesday 19th

No flying today and no mail. Nothing to do all day. Got laundry from stores cost me 10/5d. Went to the Oak tonight – played dice on return until 12 midnight.

Thursday 20th

No flying today – thank goodness. Packing kit ready to leave tomorrow at 7.00 on leave. Went to the “New Inn” Hockwold – the whole crew to send off Al Jones the wireless operator who hopes to leave for New Zealand next month and who has left the crew.

Friday 21st

After a pissy night we get up at 6.15 and caught the 7.40 from Brandon home at 12.30. Had lunch when Bob called on me went up town with him and saw Betty. Went to Odeon by myself. Came at 9.50 met Betty her pal and Vic Cross (how on earth she met him I don’t know). Had ten minutes hard snogging with Betty before going home. Home 11.30.

Saturday 22nd

Bob and Betty came down at 10.50 to hear my records. Once again I boobed I thought mother would go out. Anyway I met Bob up town and found Betty had buggered off to Les Coopers pre-wedding drinking party. We all arranged to meet tonight in Charlie Napier at 7.30. A horrible evening I was almost too drunk to remember it. Anyway I went home with Vic instead of Betty!! Not by intention. Home 12.30

Sunday 23rd

Up at 9 dressed and rode over to Upminster via Bob Baker’s house – he rode with me to N. Bores. Came back same route and called “The King Harold” had a drink with Bob, Betty and their father. Went to the pictures then to the “White Hart” met Bill Golding’s girl-friend had a few beers and took her home. Haven’t a clue what her name is. Home 11.45.

Monday 24th

Went up to the YMCA to meet Bob at 10.30. Closed and no sign of him. Went home again and cleaned up. Up to YMCA again where there was John Saggers, Tich Cochran, Bob & Betty. Home bet Bob again – tea and pictures. Met this babe again before this, had a couple of drinks with Bob & Pam. Home 11.45.

Tuesday 25th

Not much to report during the day. Played a few records. Went to “The Seven Arches” with Mickey – quite a pleasant evening.

Wednesday 26th

Much the same happened today. Letter from Derek Parmiter who is now in England after getting his wing. Had a few beers tonight and went to the Town Hall and took Mickey home again.

Thursday 27th

Again little of importance to report. Went out walking today with Mickey – nothing to say though. Met Pam tonight and went to Palace with her “The True Glory: From D Day to VE Day” quite good. Her address is 14, Oakwood Avenue Hutton.

Friday 28th

Went up town today on 10.07 to meet Derek. Lunch at Corner House then to show “Captain Eddie”.   Went drinking again – brought my ring up three times after eating a pear!!!

Saturday 29th

Getting uncomfortably close to the end of the leave. Met this chick again at 10.30 and went cycling with her around Bulphan, Herongate – quite pleasant. Met Bob tonight and went with him drinking, John Berry (now a Sgt air gunner) came too. A poor evening.

Sunday 30th

Up at 9 breakfast usual routine. Drink at 12.30 in White Hart. Supposed to meet Bob at 2.30 in High Street but he didn’t turn up. Mickey kissed me goodbye on the station at 6.30 after Ma and Pa had walked halfway round with me!!! Back in camp at 11.15pm catching 7.40 from Liverpool Street.

October 1945

Monday 1st

Squadron breaking up on October 10th confirmed. Nothing else to report. Went to the “Oak” Feltwell after pictures.

Tuesday 2nd

No flying today owing to duff weather. Wing Commander called conference latest gen squadron not breaking up but reducing strength from three to two flights. No mail.

Wednesday 3rd

Still no flying. Football pools received from home. Stayed in this evening.

Thursday 4th

Foggy all day. All flying scrubbed. Day off next Tuesday. 36 weekend 20th October. Day off 31st.. Leave 1st November or the 9th. Nothing else to report. Sent off pools. Letter from Mickey but not replying.

Friday 5th

Foggy again. Flew today on bomb-dropping trip to Cardigan Bay. Letter received from Mrs Turner of Toronto. Went to the mess by myself tonight for a few beers. I was just a little tight. Sent letters to Don Birchley and Pam.

Saturday 6th

Went to Feltwell this morning for tea. Wing Commander called parade at 2pm today for cleaning of sites. Went to Cambridge leaving camp at 3pm. Caught the 15.50 from Lakenheath. Went to a picture show had a meal then Guildhall – poor effort. Came back by 12.30 from Cambridge.

Sunday 7th

Nothing to do all day. Went to station show tonight.

Monday 8th

Up for breakfast. To the section then to “A” flight office. Caught the 11.48 from Lakenheath to London. Arrived 2.40pm. Went round city then caught the 15.04 from Liverpool Street to Brentwood. Home at 4pm. Went up town tonight & saw no-one. Don Birchley not home yet.

Tuesday 9th

Up at 8.30 played a few records. I was going to Romford but flat tire let me down. Walked up town & again saw no-one. Caught the 4.05pm from Brentwood back at camp at 9pm.

Wednesday 10th

Wrote letter to Norman Bore. No flying today. Still no news of the crew becoming redundant. Had a drink at the “Oak”.

Thursday 11th

Our crew is not redundant. Still no flying today. Had a few beers in the “West End” Feltwell then went to the Sgt’s mess dance. Received letter from Pam.

Friday 12th

Went to Mildenhall this morning at 8.30am for G-H revision course. The machine was u/s. Went into the village and had a meal of toast, egg, fried tomatoes and milk for 1/-2d. Paid on return £10. Went into Feltwell and the Oak.

Saturday 13th

Detailed to fly a Baedeker today but fog scrubbed it. Went into Cambridge with Pete couldn’t get “There I’ve Said It Again” but managed to get two Goodman discs, “Rose Room & Shivers”. Had a drink, wizard meal back on 10.25.

Sunday 14th

Fog prevented all flying today. Carved up book and sent a letter to Arthur H Stockwell – publisher. I have already decided to ditch this woman I met last leave but I weakened today and wrote to Betty.

Monday 15th

Up at 7am for flying. Set course at 10.00 for Geneva. Saw Mont Blanc once again. Unfortunately the lake was filled with low valley fog obscuring Geneva. In the evening remained in the hut and the mess. Letter received from Bob

Tuesday 16th

Flew on revue again to Bristol Channel area. 5 hour trip. Remained in tonight. Left my thermos in the mess and lost it. Letter from home.

Wednesday 17th

Received letter from Nora of Toronto and wrote right back to her also Mrs R. Turner.   No flying today. Received and sent off football pools. Stayed in the billet tonight again.

Thursday 18th

Received a letter from Stockwell – publisher and Betty. No flying today again. Watched the station football team this afternoon. The other crew from the billet left for Blyton Redundant Aircrew Centre.

Friday 19th

Today we were waiting to leave on our 48. We were flying in the afternoon but skipper managed to gt us off to catch the 3.19 from Brandon. Home at 8pm. Went up to Don Birchley’s house but he had gone back last Monday.

Saturday 20th

Up for 9.30 went to Romford to get “There I Said It Again” no joy but I ordered it. Saw Bob & John Berry. Went to the Odeon this afternoon to see “Salome – Where She Danced” This evening John Berry and I had a drinking session – I was rather tight went up town-hall and met Christine again, took her home. Finally got to bed about 2.30 after a difficult walk home. Got my pips.

Sunday 21st

Up for breakfast just in time. Fixed Don’s puncture, played a few records. Had a drink in the “Napier”. Dinner. Went to Warley Barracks but she didn’t come. Caught the 7.40 from Liverpool Street – in billet 11.30. I bought “Chicken Gem Boogie” yesterday.

Monday 22nd

Skipper went into hospital with the flu today. Wrote a few letters. Weather very rough with high winds and rain. Letter from Don Birchley.

Tuesday 23rd

Weather still rough. No flying and no mail.

Wednesday 24th

Pools arrived and letter from Derek. Weather rough. Fined 5/- for riding without a rear light last night.36 cancelled, duty crew this week-end. Went to Wisbech tonight not bad but being broke I couldn’t get tight. Bed at 1.30am.

Thursday 25th

No flying today. Weather poor still. Went to Rhythm Club. No mail received today.

Friday 26th

Yippee pay day £10-. Paid Johnny the 5/- I owed him. Nothing to do today as usual. Went into Feltwell had fish and chips & a pint and bought some tobacco.

Saturday 27th

Expecting mail today but no joy. Nothing to do. Some bods have gone home on 36’s etc. Went to station cinema to see “Abroad with Two Yanks” – quite good.

Sunday 28th

Reported to section as usual, supposed to be in Dodge tomorrow. Working on a pool system this afternoon. Went to bed about midnight listening to AFN MunichMidnight in Munich

Monday 29th

Nothing to do today. It was raining when we woke so we remained in the billet all day. No mail. Went up to sick quarters with my arm tonight.

Tuesday 30th

Nothing to do today again! No mail again! Stayed up again to midnight listening to “Midnight in Munich”.

Wednesday 31st

Nothing much of interest to report. Letter from Bob Baker who says Pam will not write me. Tonight the crew except Ken who is in hospital went to Wisbech. We had supper then to the White Hart for a few beers. Wizard evening met quite a nice piece of stuff but couldn’t take her home.

November 1945

Thursday 1st

Up for breakfast in time. Went to the station cinema to see “Patrick the Great”, poor film. Went to Rhythm Club – very poor show. Wally and I are to put one on in two weeks.

Friday 2nd

Leave tomorrow feeling very good.

Saturday 3rd

Leave commences today. Left at 11. Home at 4. Took shoes up town. In civvies to the Town Hall with Bob and Pam – poor evening.

Sunday 4th

Met Bob in the morning. Went to the Artichoke this evening. Saw Mrs M. Homer who said “hallo” and I replied “hallo” leaving it at that.

Monday 5th

Cyril came down today. Went to Romford on cycle. Supposed to have a date with Christine outside the Odeon at 6.30. She was late for at 10.15 in a café on Warley Hill she came in, took her home to barracks, so far so good.

Tuesday 6th

After mucking around all day had a double date with Cyril and Margaret, poor evening.

Wednesday 7th & Thursday 8th

Mostly spent playing records. Pictures and a trip to Romford for “There I’ve Said It Again”.

Friday 9th

Record playing. Met Shorty in Trafalgar Square at 2 after a long wait. Went to the Whitehall Theatre “Peek a Boo” again with Phyllis Dixey – a poor show. Rushed back to Brentwood and changed into uniform, got back to barracks at 6.40 – no woman. Waited until 6.55 started walking to billet met her with a pal – the brush. Went and got drunk.

Saturday 10th

Record playing. Hooray Don Birchley came down played records again. Had a tub. Tonight Don and I went on a session in civvies. Went to Town Hall in civvies – poor show – wrecked the programme frame outside Odeon and posted the poster. Home about 12.30.

Sunday 11th

Up at 9 met Don after clean up for a drink. Walk with dog. Left home by 6.28 train met Shorty had a seat to Brandon. In the billet at 11.

Monday 12th

Sent a cheque off for £1-3-4 for book script. Skipper grounded still for Impetigo. Sent off message to Arthur H Stockwell Ltd Ilfracombe.

Thursday 13th

Nothing special to report except still grounded through skipper. Scrounged around all day doing nothing as usual. Went to Feltwell – the Oak and Chequers for a few beers.

Wednesday 14th

Still nothing to do again. This afternoon went round taking out blankets to kites. Received a receipt for £1-3-4 sent Monday. Pools sent off. Wisbech tonight – poor.

Thursday 15th

Missed a pool dividend of £17,070 for 2d. Went to Feltwell for tea this morning. Nothing else happened today except went to have a bath, shave in mess.

Friday 16th

When I reported to the section this morning informed that we’re eligible for Operation Dodge. Spent all morning preparing the chart. Left this afternoon for Tibenham – our accommodation was OK but soldiers there was piss poor. Went to station dance – not a bad effort with bags of beer and wonderful food. When Dodge was scrubbed the boys came in and spoilt it.

Saturday 17th

Hung around Tibenham waiting for gen on Dodge. Came back to base at 12.30. Cleaned up in afternoon. Went to Brandon pictures by relays on Pete’s motorcycle.

Sunday 18th

A grim day. On Dodge again but owing to the skipper being in dock with Impetigo we were taken off detail. Johnny and Pete went home on 36’s but Shorty and I remained on camp.

Monday 19th

Not much to do today. Didn’t go anywhere owing to lack of funds. Went to station cinema to see “Sensations of 1945” with Eleanor Powell. Rhythm Club afterwards with Wally Barnet’s show, not too bad.

Tuesday 20th

Remained in the billet this morning. Learnt from my pool coupon I had won the 4 aways and 10 out of 12 results. Sent letters to Derek, Don, Bob and Betty. Letter received from home. This evening I went to the Royal Tank Regiment “Cambrai Day” dance at Brandon and met an A.T.S. called Peggy – a very nice girl.

Wednesday 21st

No flying today – hooray. Little to do today. Went to Wisbech tonight and had about 7 pints went to the dance at St. Peters and had a wizard time.

Thursday 22nd

Got up for breakfast but didn’t go to the navigation section. Navigation preparation for Dodge tomorrow. Bed at 10pm.

Friday 23rd

Up at 3.30am for Dodge. Set course for Bari from Base at 06.15. Landed at Pomigliano near Naples after hectic descent through cloud over the sea. Taken to No. 56 P.T.C. to spend night after being piss-balled around at the airport. Supposed to have a date with Peggy tonight, what a bind.

Saturday 24th

Up at 5.15 to go to Bari reached Pomigliano OK at 08.00. Get in kite about 10.30. S.O. u/s waited while fixed. Got in again brakes u/s. Cancelled trip returned to No. 56 P.T.C. Went into Naples this evening – a very impressive and modern city in parts – in other parts worse than a pig sty. Bags of oranges etc. to be had.

Sunday 25th

Went out to the kite again but didn’t take off owing to lack of accommodation of Bari. Back to 56 Personnel Transit Centre (P.T.C.) for lunch. Went to Pompeii this afternoon and visited the city 2000 years old a wonderful experience. Unfortunately it rained and cut short the tour. Returned to 56 P.T.C. for dinner stayed in and slept this evening.

Monday 26th

Supposed to be returning to England today. Up at 4.30am breakfast out to aircraft. No passengers at first but eventually set course at 08.45 G.M.T. after an uneventful journey landed at Glatton 15.20. Returned to base.

Tuesday 27th

After reporting to flight office we learnt that we were off duty from the time we landed last night until 18.00 tomorrow. Got ready to go home but changed my mind. Shower this afternoon went for a drink in the West End.

Wednesday 28th

Pool coupons came today. Saw the skipper this afternoon who said we were on Dodge again tomorrow. What a blow! Prepared a chart in the navigation section then Jack got off the Dodge. Went to Wisbech tonight on the gunners’ party – bags of beer – met a girl called Margaret at the dance – O.K.

Thursday 29th

Felt a bit rough this morning after last night. Letter from home. Nothing special doing today. Went to Rhythm Club this evening not very good.

Friday 30th

Letter from Bob Baker who has moved to Spilsby Lincolnshire. Finally got passes at 3.20. Home at 8.15pm.

December 1945

Saturday 1st

Remained indoors playing records. Parcel arrived from Canada with torch from Mrs R. Turner. Went to pictures this afternoon and a few drinks tonight then to Town Hall. No women but not a bad time.

Sunday 2nd

Stayed in the house again after went around to check on trains. Not much else in the daytime. Went to pictures tonight afterwards 3 pints in the Essex Arms. Wrote to Nora, Betty and Argosy magazine.

Monday 3rd

Stayed in until 12.15 did a little shopping and went to the pictures this afternoon. Tea, listened to radio. Caught the 8.34pm from Brentwood and 10.00pm from Liverpool Street it took 4 ½ hours, in bed at 3.45am.

Tuesday 4th

Too late for breakfast didn’t go to the navigation section all day. Not on Dodge today thank goodness. Decided to go to Thetford with Jock tonight in the rain – missed the 8.55 by ½ hour & went to the pictures.

Wednesday 5th

Went to the section this morning – nought doing – back to the billet then after lunch pressed uniform pants. Letter from Don. Went to Wisbech tonight saw Margaret – had a few beers. Back to bed at 2.00am.

Thursday 6th

To the section this morning. Back to pit. Letter received from Argosy magazine and am sending my book to them. Go to Rhythm Club tonight – not very good – too cold.

Friday 7th

Had to report to the section twice today at each roll call. Went to Thetford tonight with Jock and Shorty. Had quite a few beers and came back about 1am. The dance was piss-poor and I didn’t see Peggy the real reason why I went to Thetford.

Saturday 8th

Up at 8.15 for breakfast – very cold weather. Left to catch the 9.58 at Lakenheath by bike. In London at 1.10. Caught the 1.35 from Liverpool Street home. Spent the afternoon shopping buying 3 Goodman records. Tonight I put new blue on and I went up town had about three pints absolutely sober & went to Town Hall. Saw Betty who was pissed and with another fella and a new girl from St. Albans – a peach. Home at 12.10.

Sunday 9th

Stayed in all morning after getting up at 10.15am. Played records etc. Caught the 6.30 Liverpool Street 7.50 billet 11.45. Nothing else to say.

Monday 10th

Little to do today. Letter from Bob Baker received. Had a private Rhythm Club session. The NAFFI news room this evening.

Tuesday 11th

Had to go to the navigation section this morning. Nothing much happened today. Had a few beers in the Oak tonight. Pools came and sent off. Bank book returned with 1/- interest.

Wednesday 12th

Mucked around the camp and section. Went to Feltwell this afternoon then to Wisbech tonight. A poor effort, no dance at the Corn Exchange. In bed at 1.15am.

Thursday 13th

Went to the navigation section a usual. Pool dividends low except 4 aways which was £52,000. Felt very cheesed. Book returned from Argosy. Rhythm Club in Corporal’s NAFFI tonight – not too bad.

Friday 14th

Usual routine. Letter from Bob Baker who will be on leave with me. Went to Hockwold New Inn with Jock had a few beers and a little trouble getting back.

Saturday 15th

Had a terrific hangover so I remained in bed all morning. I did not have any lunch or breakfast. Ate a terrific tea after getting over the hangover. Went to the station cinema to see Frank Sinatra in “Step Lively” a good film.

Sunday 16th

Missed breakfast by staying in bed. Shorty went to get some breakfast from the NAAFI – but there was no NAAFI. Had dinner about three, Jock, Ken and I rode to Brandon had some tea – went to pictures – tea in NAAFI then played darts with a few quiet drinks.

Monday 17th

Little to report for today. Went to Feltwell this afternoon and bought an electric breakfast cooker a present for mother and an electric mirror for pop. Had a quiet drink in the “Oak”. Christmas card from Nora.

Tuesday 18th Went to the section then flew all morning (1 hour) on an air test to Felixstowe and Ipswich. Watched the football match between 149 D.S.S. and 207 D.S.S – we won 3-0. Went to Feltwell for fish and chips and two pints.   Bed early.

Wednesday 19th

Wisbech tonight after a boring day. Had quite a few beers as there was no dance. Back to the billet about 1.10 am.

Thursday 20th

Much the same as yesterday. Rhythm Club tonight was a poor effort.

Friday 21st

Paid today £11-4- plus £1-2- ration money. Went with Jock to his girl’s sister’s wedding had plenty to drink but nothing much to do.

Saturday 22nd

Felt pretty rough when I got up at 6am this morning. Packed everything and started cycling to Brandon station. About 2 miles from Brandon the bike finally gave out so I slung it in a ditch and hitched. Shopping with Don Birchley in afternoon. Went drinking with John Berry and Bob Baker tonight.

Sunday 23rd

Rather a dead loss day. I stayed indoors most of it but this evening Cyril came down and I went to Forest Gate with him to go roller skating – the joint was closed so we bussed it to Ilford & had a wizard meal of steak and chips. Then came home and went to bed.

Monday 24th

Went to Romford with Don Birchley and bought a couple of records. Has 2 pints in the White Hart came home to dinner. This afternoon I went to the Odeon to see “Along Came Jones” with Gary Cooper – not bad. This evening was the time. Called on Don Birchley about 7.30 and went to the “Nap” with John Berry, Don, Bob Baker we spent an evening drinking. Then went to the Town Hall. Don & I picked up a couple of Irish nurses and after nearly going to midnight mass I finished up snogging in the shop doorway of Brentwood Station. Home to bed at 3am.

Tuesday 25th Christmas Day

Up quite early and had breakfast. Fiddled around playing records with a few drinks. Christmas dinner of turkey and Christmas pudding. Still indoors in the afternoon and evening playing cards etc. Bed at 10.30pm.

Wednesday 26th Boxing Day

Went up to see Don Birchley and had a couple of beers with him in the Artichoke with Bob Baker. Met Bob and Pam at 4.30 and waited for Don – we left at 5 for Herongate then came back to get Don meeting him on the way even the second time. The party wasn’t too bad and was warming up nicely when everyone had to leave. Rained like the clappers on the way back.

Thursday 27th

Rather a dull day – met Bob and Don in the morning , had a couple. Went on a session at 7pm tonight starting at the “Charles Napier” ending at the barracks. John Berry’s sister Pat walked to the station with Don and I and I have a dancing date with her tomorrow night.

Friday 28th

Met Bob at eleven and he confirmed my date tonight – bang on. Went to the “Palace” this afternoon. Met Pat this evening at 8.20 and went to the Town Hall – only a few there but had a fairly good time. Took her to the station but very quiet evening.

Saturday 29th

Ring trouble all day – not through drinking! Met Bob at eleven and stooged round the town. Had nothing to eat all day.   Went out again this evening to meet Pat but as I expected no joy she didn’t turn up. However, went to the Artichoke with some of the boys had three and went to the Town Hall not too bad an evening. Home 12.

Sunday 30th

Up for breakfast – packed to come back. Met Bob & Pam and went into the Bull for a pint. Had dinner of chicken & lamb then remained in until left for the station at 5.45. After a slow journey got back to camp at 11.45pm.

Monday 31st

Stayed in the billet until break time then returned. Didn’t go to the section all day. Had rather a good time in the mess this evening when I had several whiskies and played the piano until 1am New Year’s Day.

 

Dennis Wright RAF 1945 War Diary

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