Unforgotten Heroes

With my ever present forgetfulness lurking in the background I’m always on the look out for things that will stimulate important memories and I find the internet an amazing catalyst.

In June 1994, I was fortunate to accompany my late father John Shores on a trip to Portsmouth for one of a series of reunions he loved attending with his old wartime shipmates from HMS Largs.

Largs 1
We’re a couple of swells…

They were organised via a type-written bulletin distributed by post and I have quite a few in my possession that he handed down to me shortly before he passed away four short years ago…

Largs
An earlier 1993 reunion in Largs, Scotland

In one communication from June 1993, just after a reunion in the namesake town of Largs in Scotland in May,  a poem written by shipmate Phillip Edward de la Taste was published about his war-time memories of HMS Largs that is very poignant and is shared below.

Memories

Do you remember when first we met
Hair cut short and innocent of fear
Laughing and joking with apprehension
Unaware of what was near?

And can you remember Desmond Wells?
He came from Dorset way
Now why did I think of him?

Wasn’t he the first to go, posted to a trawler –
Sweeping – not long out then bang – farewell.

And what about “hands to bathe”?
And diving off the side – the water cool, inviting –
Shouting, plunging, being pulled by the tide.

Then Francis nearly drowned – we pulled him in
Did he ever learn to swim?
We were young, it was good to be alive.

After midnight a welcome cup of kye
The chatter of the Morse –
“A number of subs in the area”
The warm night takes on a sudden chill.

The watch is ended – a quick lean against the rail,
Gulp in the cool air, feel the breeze.
The sea glistening in the midnight – so very beautiful
But don’t look down.

Then to the hammock, slung ready – mustn’t disturb the others!
A sudden movement – oh – not another rat!

Crossing the Equator
The ceremony of “crossing the line”
The Chief was dressed as Neptune
That was a happy time.

The malaria caught in Freetown – that felt really rough!
The kindness of our chief again – he wasn’t so very tough!
I owed him more than to forget his name
But his voice remains.

Now for the job for which we’d trained – others did so much more
Saw landing craft full of men heading slowly through the waves to the shore.
Then the noise – the guns – the shells – rockets beat a tattoo
A plane comes whining down – the bomb drops in the sea close to the rail
The ship shudders – an old converted merchant vessel, she wasn’t built for this.

The danger past, we wait to hear those words
“Liberty men starboard watch” – we’re going to town.
“Behave yourselves – be back on time” – again our Chief P.O.
But he was old, so very old, so how was he to know?
He had served for many years and now was back for more
He knew the things that happened when the lads first went ashore!
He was all of forty-two.

Now from the docks we hurry on – the pleasures there are waiting
The bars, the girls, the sights – but not for us –
We didn’t reach the gates.

And then…
Conscious now, all silent – a nun looked down and smiled
The tears came fast – they wouldn’t stop – then she spoke as to a child
I was alone.

A Maltese couple came through the ward – searching
He stopped and looked closely – mumbled something kindly and slowly turned away,
I hope they found their son.

And then that night the terrible screaming – it came from the far end bed
I stared up hard at the mosquito net
Next morning he was dead.
It was the young Italian – one of the foe
Just one arm – no legs
Why did his God desert him and what a way to go.

Who decided I should live but you would have to die
Did you discover why?  Or was I here on your behalf
To taste life’s tears and joys – like the thrill of chasing tiddlers
With a pair of laughing boys.

Or does it end in darkness – the way it all began
And is our idea of eternal life just the vanity of man
If so, sleep on my friends, sleep on.

The years so long, yet brief, have passed now
And I’m filled with a deep regret
For I remember so little of you and that day
How and why could I forget?

Phillip Edward de la Taste – Telegraphist

In my father’s handwriting underneath it he wrote that sadly Phillip passed away in his sleep, just three weeks after the reunion which brought back at least some of his memories.  His poem was read out at his funeral which was attended by five of his Largs shipmates who laid a wreath in the shape of an anchor in his memory.

In my collection of dad’s papers I also have another poem called “What A Mess” that actually mentions my father having a nickname of “Tich” Shores (he was 5′ 6″ tall) which has got to be a lot better than mine from the army of “Gloria” from the TV series “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” (as my marching was horrible)…

What A Mess

In Mess 26 there’s quite a good crew,
Some faces are old, some faces are new,
Of the good old crowd, sixteen remain,
I shall try to mention them name, by name.

L/Tel Trousedale shouts “Gimme De Boat”
Where the sparkers keep watch dressed in duffel coats,
A heaving deck and a flaming gun,
He says it’s his only kind of fun.

L/Tel Raven likes women and beers,
He’s not very fat but the beer disappears,
And though poor old Ray has lost some of his hair,
He can still attract women and make them all care.

Of L/Tel Beach, quite a lot I could say,
He’s dashing, debonair, smart and gay,
Whilst he jokes and laughs and clowns,
His favourite name for a friend is “Towns”.

L/Tel Gaughran is a real “Goode”bloke,
Going through life making joke after joke,
He’s fond of the sun is this jolly young man,
And his body is brown with its glorious tan.

Now about the rest of the sparking branch,
Starting with Chris who lived on a ranch,
The horse he rode, bent his legs so I’ve heard,
So to cover them up he grew a thick beard.

Bill Sykes is his “townie”, from Sheffield they come,
A city of steel, all its men like their rum,
Of the steel works in Sheffield, tall tales they relate,
They think it’s the only place known for steel plate.

Reggie Rumbles is the pride of the home,
From his writing pad does he seldom roam,
When he lets himself go, then look out for sparks,
For this Hamersmith lad plays all kind of larks.

“Pincher” Martins causes no undue alarm,
Though “Pincher” was once in the Fleet Air Arm,
Many tales he can tell of the men in the air,
How they flirt with death, never giving a care.

“Jock” Reid comes “fra” Maybole in Scotland’s fair land,
Says the scenery’s lovely, gorgeous and grand,
He’s fond of his grub, whether plain food or sweets,
And is the best man I know for scoffing “Big Eats”.

“Maggie” Smith comes “fra” Scotland too, so they say,
Where he taught and he thrashed little children all day,
Though when I was at school, and I could have wished,
He would have taught me, and with his cane swished.

Sad Simmons wields an artist’s brush,
And never does things with a rush,
Except each day Syd’s watch ashore
Then he’s off like a shot, for he’s friend galore.

“Blondie” Mathews has only the best tailor,
In fact he is known as “The Gentleman Sailor”,
From Hastings he comes, does this smart man,
In his work or his play, he’ll be spick and span.

“Tug” Wilson draws in black and white,
Ladies faces, nice and bright,
Not long ago with his face a huge smile,
He walked with his bride down the centre aisle.

Freddie Dun is a man who likes a good drop of beer,
Though he hasn’t had very much chance this year,
But once a day our Fred’s in heaven,
For the rum comes up at half eleven.

“Tich” Shores was an architect’s man,
And even now he likes to plan,
Though he doesn’t plan to do much work,
I shouldn’t like to say he’d shirk.

I’m “Wacker” Lacey from a very old city,
Chester’s the place, antiquated and pretty,
Dublin born, I’ve a real “Irish Paddy”,
I get roused at times (but I’m not a bad laddie).

And now I’m afraid my story is ended,
I hope no-one above will feel offended,
We look forward to days of peaceful slumber,
From the day they release our demob number.

L Lacey 

So about a week ago I was trawling eBay with my usual search of “HMS Largs” hoping without too much hope to get a new photograph or some other memento when to my amazement up popped an advert for a used HMS Largs tie with a silhouette of the ship and the Combined Operations emblem above!

Largs tie

Now I don’t remember dad having one but I’m sure it could only have been produced by the Largs Association and in their September 1995 newsletter it is mentioned as being MOD approved, so I immediately ordered it and it duly arrived safely to be treasured alongside my own Intelligence Corps and Medmenham Association ties!

I have also decided to order a DVD of film from the Imperial war Museum of cine film onboard HMS Largs during D Day off Sword beach that I’d found through a Google search.  Alas for Crown copyright reasons when it arrives I’m not able to share it online, but includes footage of events my father told me of the midget submarine coming alongside that spied out the coast prior to the landings.

Following on from this theme in my next post I’ll share an amazing recent catch up with relatives of the air crew that served with Dennis Wright of 149 Squadron RAF who wartime diaries I transcribed a few years ago in this blog, who were able to share photos of him, his chums and his Lancaster aircraft which really brings yet another set of heroes to life again.

We will remember them!

Unforgotten Heroes

Archibald Maidment RAF Regiment 1942-44 War Diary

Background

Archibald Charles Maidment was born on the 29th August 1909. He married Kathleen Pagdin in September 1941 and lived in Balfour Road Brighton Sussex.

2771 Squadron

He served in 2771 Squadron RAF Regiment which was formed as No 771 Squadron at Cleave on 19 December 1941, having been unnumbered from the previous April.   On 1 February 1942 all RAF Regiment Squadrons had 2000 added to their numbers. It moved to the RAF Depot in 1942 converting to a Field squadron in April. In November 1942, it took part in Operation Torch arriving in one of the follow-on convoys, initially being deployed to protect No 326 (Bomber) Wing at Setif airfield along with No 4090 LAA Flight.

As the advance eastwards continued, the squadron (with 4090 Flight) moved Canrobert to Oulmene and then across the Nementcha Mountains to Zribet Hamed, where they established a base for night operations. In February 1943, the Germans attacked the US forces in the Kasserine Pass and where close to the RAF landing ground of No 326 Wing. Group Captain Laurence Sinclair ordered his aircraft to leave but he them formed his ground staff and Regiment personnel into a defensive force, to ensure that the landing ground did not fall into German hands. During its time in North Africa personnel of the squadron were mentioned in despatches twice.

For the invasion of Sicily, the squadron was allocated to HQ North African Tactical Air Forces. It moved to Italy in December 1943, initially serving at Naples, and Rimini, but in April 1944, the squadron was attached to the US 5th Army and deployed to man a section of the front line at Cassino. It joined Land Forces Adriatic in December 1944 and was immediately deployed to Greece, where it was involved in the defence of Hassani airfield. Its armoured car flight was part of the relief force sent from Hassani to Kifissia to support the AHQ under attack by Greek ELAS partisans, unfortunately the relief force was too late to prevent many of the HQ staff and defenders being captured. During the operation to clear Athens the squadron operated under the command of 139 Infantry Brigade.

In February 1945 the squadron moved to Yugoslavia and was attached to the Raiding Support Regiment (a special forces unit composed of infantry and artillery, as well as elements from other Army Corps incliding RASC and RAMC) providing close support for their attacks along the Yugoslav coast, serving at Prykos and Zadar. Some members of the squadron had been trained in parachuting and became part of a Special Duties Section known as Celyforce (after its CO Squadron Leader Cely-Travilian). Its role was to support RAF Air Liaison Teams, but Tito’s refusal to permit their use resulted in Celyforce being attached to the Special Boat Section.

It later moved to Vienna in Austria. During this period members of the squadron received one BEM and eight Mentions in Despatches. In March 1946 it moved to Palestine, becoming a Rifle squadron at the same time. It served at Ramat David and St Jean, disbanding in April 1946.

This diary covers the period November 1942 to the end of 1944, a 1945 diary has been posted already.

Timeline

North Africa 1942

Landed Algiers Nov 24th  
Arrived Setif Dec 11th

North Africa 1943

Arrived Canrobert Dec 18th   
Arrived Maison Forest April 30th
Arrived Souk-El Khemis May 9th
Arrived La Marsa June 5th
Arrived Hammamet June 14th
Arrived Tunis July 12th
Arrived Sousse July 17th
Arrived Hammamet July 31st 
Arrived Kairouan Aug 16th
Arrived Ariana Nov 14th

Italy 1943

Landed Nisida (Naples) Dec 19th
Arrived Cerignola Dec 21st
Italy 1944

Arrived Portici (Naples) Mar 14th
Arrived Presenzano Mar 25th
Arrived Venafro April 25th
Arrived Cassino May 27th
Arrived Presimore June 4th
Arrived Ciampino (Rome) June 6th
Arrived Littores airfield (Rome) June 11th
Arrived Fabrieu airfield June 21st
Arrived Perougia airfield July 6th                                   
Arrived Vasto airfield August 7th
Arrived Loreto airfield August 31st
Arrived Fano airfield Sept 5th
Arrived Rimini Nov 17th
Arrived Jesi Nov 18th
Arrived Monopoli Nov 30th

Greece 1944

Arrived Arazus airfield (Satras) Dec 9th

Italy 1945

Arrived Monopoli Dec 31st 1944
Arrived RAF P.T.C. Bari Jan 25th

Yugoslavia 1945

Arrived Zara Feb 2nd
(Invasion of Pag island 3rd April to 7th April)

Italy 1945

Arrived Ancona May 16th                                                                

Austria 1945

Arrived Klagenfurt May 20th
Arrived Judenburg July 3rd
Arrived St. Marien July 29th
Arrived Vienna July 30th

England 1945

Arrived Nov

raf-reg-1a

November 7th 1942

This is the day we have been waiting for and one I shall never forget. This morning we were told that we should be moving tonight, we spent the last few hours getting our kit ready and writing the last letter in England. Of course everyone is talking about this more and making guesses as to where we are going. All seem to be quite cheerful under the air.

At 8oc we have our last meal at West Kirby station and collect our rations for the journey, it is now 930, we have just arrived at the railway station. Avery dark and cold night and we are glad to get into the warm coaches. Soon we are on the move, get settled down, have something to eat and so to sleep. I do not remember any more till next morning. Our travels have started.

November 8th 1942

After an all night journey I woke up at 730 to find we were still on the move, passing through Scotland. Soon after this we are passing through Glasgow, it’s Sunday morning and everyone seems to be having a lay in, the lucky people.

Arrive at the port of Gourock about 8oc, we board a small boat which takes us out into the Clyde to the large ship which is going to take us to our destination. And what a ship, the largest I have ever seen, there are about six decks above water and to me she seems to be top heavy. So far there are not many troops on board, but all through the day many more embark.

The ship is the “Strathaird” some 22,000 tons. I spend most of the day on deck or exploring below and got lost quite a few times. My berthing card reads Deck F. Section 1. Mess table No. 43 and this will be my place till the end of the journey. I have a hammock to sleep in. This is going to be fun getting into at night.

On the second day the canteens open up, they do a roaring trade, one can buy nearly anything, we were soon buying things such as cigs, sweets, oranges, tinned fruit and cream. No beer on this trip. The conditions on the ship are very good; everything is well organised and very clean. The food is OK and we get enough to eat.

More troops keep arriving every day, now there are thousands aboard.

Most of my time is spent on deck watching the many different types of ships passing up and down the Clyde. Or looking with longing eyes at the shores of Scotland, which are very close, yet so far away.

Every day there are rumours going round that we are going to sail at a certain time, but we lay in dock all the week.

November 14th 1942

It is not until 3.30 on Saturday afternoon the 14th Nov that we sail away from Gourock, plenty of excitement, we all stop on deck till it gets dark. Our travels have really started.

Sunday 15th to Sat 21st November 1942

During the night most of the chaps were sea-sick, I spent a good night. For Sunday dinner they gave us fat pork which certainly turned me up. After this first day and night everyone felt a lot better and most of us had by now got used to the roll of the ship.

Every morning we have boat drill and community singing. The first few days of the week the weather was dull and cold, the rest of the week we enjoyed fine and warm days. Sea rather rough.

There are about eight big troop ships in the convoy with an escort of destroyers and one aircraft carrier.

I spent most of my days on deck reading and when fine lazing in the sun, not much to see except ships and water, but I am certainly enjoying the trip. In the evenings there is usually a game of “housey” going on in the mess, some evenings I have a game, other evenings I either write or do a spot of reading and so the days and nights pass in this way.

Sat morning we saw land for the first time this week and it sure looked great to me, we all crowd the sides to get a good view.

Sunday 22nd to Sat 28th November 1942

The first thing I saw this Sunday morning on coming on deck was land and plenty of it, we are told this is the coast of North Africa.

After waiting for about an hour we can see in the distance the port and city of Algiers. At 9oc we enter the port, everyone crowds to the sides to get a good view. What a wonderful sight. The sky is a lovely blue, not a cloud to be seen, the sun is shining, the surrounding hills just a mass of green. Algiers, very old and custom, with its mosques, domes and flat roofed houses and buildings all built of the same white stone.

We are not disembarking today, so spend the day on deck lazing in the African sun. Another night on board and what a night! About 8oc German and Italian planes come over and started all night bombing attack on the convoy, bombs fell all around us, guns from the ships and on land opened up, what a noise; it was like hell let loose and being below it seemed even worse. Another day on board, I shall be glad to get off this ship, jerry is giving us hell and this ship is certainly a big target. Another night like last, the raid started as soon as it got dark and went on all through the night and early hours of the morning. Jerry certainly had a good try to get us, but we came out light, only one ship of the convoy damaged.

Nov 24th

Disembarked at 1030 this morning, lovely day, sunny and very hot. Really ideal, it was good to get on land once again, spent 15 days on the good ship “Strathaird”.

With full pack we marched through the streets of Algiers to our camp site on the sands. Two of us in a small tent, get settled down and have a meal. Felt too tired to go out this evening, but Harry went out to explore the town and came back drunk, also brought back a bottle of French wine which we drank between us before going to sleep. But I did not sleep for long, woke up to find the tent floor was under water. What a night, a terrific storm and jerry over at the same time, we have to get out of the tent it’s no good stopping there any longer. Make for a big hanger where we spend the rest of that night. Was glad when morning came, felt cold, miserable, tired and hungry.

What a sight our camp was, all the tents were down and under water, just a mass of mud, sand and water. Felt very fed up. At 2oc we were told to move to a nearby race course, took over the stands, it’s cold but at least we have shelter from the rain.

In the evening we went out onto the main road, plenty to see, we stopped at a small café where we enjoyed a few glasses of wine, great stuff this French wine.

The next day it rained, so stopped in and did a few jobs. From here we get a wonderful view of the port, lots of ships coming in and going out.

Nov 27th

Lovely day, sunny and hot, took advantage of the change to clean and dry my kit, so had quite a busy morning.

This afternoon went to a small town about four miles from here, on the way we passed hundreds of orange and lemon trees all load down with fruit. This town is awful, very dirty, nasty smell everywhere. Crowds of Arabs standing about, most of them in rags. During our walk round the town we saw quite a lot of veiled women, looks very queer, just a pair of eyes. A lot of dirty kids crowd round us where ever we went, all begging for biscuits and cigs, they look half starved.

Nov 28th

Another hot and sunny day. This afternoon Harry and I went to Algiers to see the sights. The French part of the city is wonderful, flower gardens, wide clean streets with palm trees either side, big fine modern shops, stores and buildings. Quite a lot of well dressed French people walking about, what a difference to the rags of the Arabs I saw yesterday. We visited the Arab part of the city, very dirty houses and small streets and alley ways.

The usual crowd of Arabs lounging around. The Arab women look quite smart here, dressed head to foot in pure white dresses and of course wearing their veils, they certainly have that eastern “glamour”. Would be interesting to see what they look like without a veil.

Went to a very nice café and had the usual drink, caught a tram back to camp, and what a crowd there was on the tram, hanging from the sides and even sitting on the roof. We both really enjoyed or first visit to Algiers and hope to go again.

Thousands of troops have passed by here on their way to the front.

29th November to 5th December 1942

The weather these days is really ideal, sunny and very hot. Plenty of large juicy oranges about and we are certainly having our share of them.

So far I have not received any mail, longing for news of Kath, do hope she is keeping well.

Wed we started to do a police patrol in Hussein Dey which is just on the outskirts of Algiers and while out we went into a few cafes and had a few drinks.

The rest of the week was spent in doing patrols and walking around the camp, off duty hours I spent in lazing about, reading or writing.

Friday afternoon a crowd of us went to the beach, had my first swim in the lovely blue Mediterranean, very hot day, the sea calm and warm, in fact it was all rather ideal. We all enjoyed ourselves, had quite a lot of fun in the water.

Sat morning, we left the race course and once more we camp on the sands, no tents this time, we are in the big hanger. Don’t think we shall be here very long if one can go by the rumours.

6th to 12th December 1942

We have all been issued with airmail letters to send home, which we are told will be in the UK in time for Xmas. Very pleased about this, as I’m sure Kath will be looking forward to a letter from me over the holiday. Well we have not done so badly out here, the food has been good and get enough to eat. OK for beer and wine also fruit.

Monday I received two wonderful letters from Kath, they sure give me that on top of the world feeling, mail is certainly the big event of the week.

Today we started working on the beaches loading up lorries ready to move up to the forward dromes, it’s good to know we are doing a good job of work.

Still getting lovely weather, every day is sunny and hot, just how I like it.

In the evenings when not on duty, Harry and I go for a stroll round Hussein Dey, spend an hour in one of the many cafes drinking wine.

Thursday 10th December

Spent the morning packing my kit for the move tonight. Left the hanger about 6oc this evening and marched to the railway station. We are in for an awful night, travelling in a cattle truck, the whole flight packed into one truck, just like a lot of cattle.

Friday morning. Last night was awful, only had two hours sleep, was very glad when morning came, felt tired, cold and hungry.

During the day we saw quite a lot of the county, many large mountains, passed through many small Arab villages and towns.

We arrived at our destination which is the town of “Setif” about 5oc on Friday evening. RAF lorries picked us up and took us to the drome which is about 6 miles from the town. Had a good hot meal and so to sleep, felt very tired after this long journey.

Sat. afternoon. Went into Setif with Harry, spent most of the time looking round. Quite a lot of French people living here, many modern buildings and some very nice houses, in fact this part of the town is very clean and tidy. The usual crowd of Arabs here.

13th to 19th December 1942

Very nice day but rather cold, another day off, so took things easy, wrote a few letters, also made myself a ring out of a piece of metal taken off a crashed French plane. There is a news sheet up on the notice board, so get all the latest war news from this front.

Monday morning, went out on a route march, stopped at a small Arab village for a rest and smoke, very dirty place, all the Arabs come out of their holes to see what we were up to. We are certainly seeing how the other half of the world lives, we really had to see it to belive what awful conditions these people live in. They certainly have not moved with the times.

Tonight I’m out on patrol round the drome, awful out wet and cold. Felt very hungry so raided the cook house, which was very successful. The Yanks are moving up, big convoy passed here, thousands of jeeps and armoured cars.

Wednesday. Went to Setif again this afternoon, had a great time, went to a very smart French restaurant for dinner, the food was quite OK but the wine was a lot better, came out feeling very satisfied. The more I see of this town the better I like it.

Friday 18th November 1942

Left Setif today at 11oc, saw some very lovely country. Passed through the town of Constantine, was glad to see this place, it sure looks a wonderful town, hope I get the chance to visit Constantine sometime. Arrived at the small town of Canrobert about 6oc, don’t like the looks of this place, had a busy time unloading the lorries and putting up tents.

Saturday morning we moved to a new camp site, now in the trees, which is a lot better.

20th to 26th December 1942

Once more we are settled in, have also had the chance to give the town the once over, much the same as any other Arab town, a few French people here, the rest of the population is Arabs. About four shops in the main street and quite a lot of stalls, really not a lot to see.

We are doing a railway patrol also a police patrol in the town of Ain Beida which is about 10 miles from here. Once again it is Xmas week and my first overseas.

Christmas day. Had the morning off. The dinner was great, turkey, chicken and Xmas pudding, fruit and wine. Certainly a very good meal and a lot better than I thought we should get. Had to go out on patrol this afternoon. We had a sing-sing in the tent this evening, not very much like Xmas. Today my thoughts are of home, and the wonderful times I have had.

Boxing Day, had most of the day off, so took a stroll round the town.

27th December 1942 to 2nd January 1943

Once again it’s Sunday and what a lovely day, very hot. Harry, Mac and I have today off, so we decided to spend the day out. Started away early and walked over the mountains, great view of the surrounding countryside from the top. Walked about 7 miles before we came to the small Arab village of Ain Babouche. Here we met a very nice French family, they invited the three of us to their house, gave us a meal. After this we sat talking and drinking wine, we really enjoyed ourselves, was very sorry when it was time to leave.

Well the week passed in doing town and railway patrols.

Thursday we had a heavy fall of snow, so had quite a lot of fun snow fighting.

Friday night. Plenty of excitement in camp tonight, all the flight went out looking for paratroops who had been reported as being seen near the drome. Spent a few hours chasing round the countryside.

3rd to 9th January 1943

A red letter week, received two letters from Kath, was great to hear from Kath, been without news for a long time.

Jerry planes over here this week, no bombs dropped, just had a look round and then made off.

We had quite a lot of fun when a railway guard got some Arab boys round the tent who go to the village for us or to the farms for eggs. Eggs are very cheap here and we usually take quite a few back to camp, have a good fry up in the tent.

One of the boys brought round a lovely horse and I had a ride, they certainly can move, quite an experience. Just lately the weather has been awful, wet and cold, nothing like the weather I thought they had in Africa.

Saturday morning went up into the mountains looking for wood, great up there and what a wonderful view of the countryside, really magnificent scenery.

10th to 16th January 1943

Monday I went to a field hospital just outside of Constantine to see about my teeth, will be a few weeks yet before I get them. Spent three hours in town so made the most of this opportunity to have a look round. Constantine is built on the side of a hill; the white modern buildings can be seen for miles around, a really lovely place, modern, clean, fine buildings and houses. Like all towns out here the Arab part of the town is very dirty, in fact the opposite to the French part.

Tuesday plenty of excitement in camp this morning, lights seen in the mountains last night. The C.O. took some of the boys with him to see if he could find out anything.

Wednesday I again went to Constantine, had another look round, sure is a swell place, crowds everywhere, always plenty to see and do in a place like this.

Thursday some of the boys from the Squadron left this morning for the desert, only wish I was going. Should be a very interesting and wonderful experience for them and make a change from this place.

Jerry planes over tonight, the A.A. boys put up a terrific barrage. No bombs.

Friday. Lovely day. Our Officer took us over to the mountains for the day. We climbed to the top of one mountain, felt just about all in by the time I reached there, but it was worth it, the view was really smashing. Came down and had a meal, after this we had a shooting contest, quite an enjoyable day out.

17th to 23rd January 1943

Another day at Constantine, no time to look round. Not a lot to write about this week, everything is much the same, still doing patrols and guards. The weather has been really grand, started to do a spot of sunbathing. Been into the village a couple of times for oranges and eggs, makes a change to get out of camp for an hour.

24th to 30th January 1943

Sunday, this afternoon I went to Ain Beida, had my first Turkish bath, and what a bath, a room packed with naked bodies and hot steam, but it was great, plenty of hot and cold water. And after the bath you go into the drying room were the Arab boys bring round glasses of hot coffee. This is a lot better than trying to have a bath out of a biscuit tin. After the bath we took a stroll round the town, bought some oranges to take back to camp, not a lot to see, plenty of Arabs here also quite a few French.

Had the whole day off Wednesday so got cracking with my washing, the rest of the day I spent lazing in the sun. Not a lot in the way of entertainment, no film or stage shows yet, but I expect that will come later. Had a game of football amongst ourselves, it made a change.

31st January to 6th February 1943

While out on patrol this morning we caught some Arabs with petrol, we took them along to the local police station, the French know how to handle this type of Arab. The rest of the Squadron arrived, heard all about their experience coming over, not as lucky as us.

This week the weather has been very changeable, one day is fine and warm, then the next is cold and wet. The warmest place has been bed.

7th to 13th February 1943

Sunday morning went to open air church service on the camp. This afternoon went into Ain Beida for my weekly Turkish bath, awful crowd there today, was quite a job to know if you were washing your own body or someone else’s.

More snow this week and still very cold, shall be very glad when the arm weather arrives. Still doing the usual patrols. Saw my first concert over here, took place in the hanger on the drome, the RAF boys certainly gave a grand show, good singing and plenty of laughs.

14th to 20th February 1943

Went to church service this morning, getting very good, this makes the second Sunday I have been to church. Went into Ain Beida this afternoon, spent the time looking round the town, not that there is anything to see that I have not already seen. A lot of tanks passed through the village on the way to the front.

Thursday had a very busy day, what with packing and unpacking and getting tents down and putting them up again, felt very tired by time night came. We have moved on to the drome, this is quite a good move, away from the Squadron and now on our own. The first night out on guard we nearly got fired on by the army, thought we were Arabs. So it looks as if we are in for some exciting times.

Friday, quite a lot of excitement round here today, the Germans have pushed the Yanks back 40 miles. Our Officer (Davies) told us we may have to take up positions in the mountains.

21st to 27th February 1943

The Yanks have taken over the A.A. on the drome; they have a gun position near our camp, and when out on patrol I usually spend an hour talking to the chaps, seem to be quite a nice lot. The news is better, the Germans have been stopped. Received quite a lot of mail which I was very glad to get, mail is the big event of the week and something to look forward to.

The weather is very bad, having a week of wet and cold days; the camp is just a mass of mud. One of our planes crashed on the drome, all the crew killed.

Thanks to the Yanks we all have electric light in the tents which is certainly great, I can now read or write in comfort, getting organised at last.

Saturday evening I had a game of housey in the airman’s mess, quite a pleasant evening.

28th February to 6th March 1943

This week I have been very busy making myself a bed made out of a large bomb base and a piece of canvas, very pleased with my effort, it looks a thing of beauty, shall be OK at night now.

Wednesday, this morning the flight went to the salt lake for firing practice, parts of the lake had dried up and left a nice sandy beach, just like being at the seaside in summer, but of course there were no crowds here, just a few Arabs.

Friday our Flight Officer Davies left us, was rather sorry to see him go, not a bad chap. The new Officer looks fat and lazy, name Ward. Shall know in the next few days what he’s like, time will tell.

The weather is a lot better, sun very hot this week.

7th to 13th March 1943

Quite a lot of Yank planes have arrived on the drome, looks as if there is going to be a big push in the very near future.

Certainly a big week for mail, received 11 letters in one day, took me the whole evening to read them, but I cannot think of a better way of spending the evening.

Well the six of us have been very busy digging out the floor of the tent, gone down about three feet, very hard work, but it’s certainly worth the doing, looks quite good, also a lot warmer.

Friday evening. Today we received four bottles of beer each from the NAAFI and this evening we had a do in the tent, invited a couple of Yanks from the gun position. Quite a jolly party, a good time was had by all.

Saturday afternoon went along to the football pitch, the flight team against No. 1 flight; all the players were on their toes. After a very fast and exciting game we won 3 – 2.

14th to 16th March 1943

Our new Officer is full of ideas, some good, some bad, been busy round the camp site, putting up ablutions and drying lines. Now we have this communal wash place, washing and shaving is not allowed in the tents.

The latest rumour is that we shall soon be moving up the line, in some ways I hope not as we are now quite organised here, but it would be nice to see somewhere different.

Monday Air Marshal Coningham came to the drome, gave us quite a “pep” talk, also told us we might have to do three years overseas, that was quite a blow.

On our way back from the baths at Ain Beida in the open lorry we got caught in a storm, no shelter anywhere, and to make things even worse the lorry had to get stuck in the mud, had to walk the rest of the way back to camp, arrived looking like a lot of drowned rats. What a country!

21st to 27th March 1943

This week we have started a training programme, another one of Ward’s bright ideas. Start the morning with P.T. and games, followed by rifle drill. Mountain climbing and firing practice in the afternoon, so we should be fit enough. This week we have been issued with tropical kit, just the clothes for this heat, that is, when we get some.

The planes on the drome have been getting in plenty of flying hours, been bombing just in front of our lines, some of the planes got shot up badly, but all returned OK.

28th March to 3rd April 1943

The news is great; the 8th Army is on the move again. Not a lot to write about this week, still doing patrols on the drome, also a spot of training.

Some evenings we have a sing song in the tent, or I go to the airman’s mess for a game of housey. Getting very fed up with this place, would welcome a move.

4th to 10th April 1943

Tuesday evening went to the hanger and saw my first film in Africa, was a boxing film called “Gentlemen Jim”, just the sort of film I like, very good show.

Heard there is going to be a couple of film shows here every week, that sure will be great, it’s about time we had some sort of entertainment.

Saturday left the drome and moved back to the first camp site in the trees, now with H.Q. which is not so good.

11th to 17th April 1943

Well everything is about the same, still doing the usual guards, going to Ain Beida for our Turkish bath. Most evenings I either write or do a spot of reading, with an occasional visit to the village, just feel I must get out of camp for a change.

Friday while over the mountains for firing practice this afternoon two Arabs rode up and told the Officer that Italian paratroops had been seen about 6 miles away. The Officer and one section went after them, they caught the lot and took them back to camp, one Officer, one Sergeant and 6 Other Ranks gave in without a fight, in fact they all seemed very pleased at being captured. The C.O. was very pleased with what the boys had done. That was the high spot of this week and caused quite a lot of excitement in camp.

18th to 24th April 1943

Sunday, spent the morning round the spot where they caught the paratroops last week, we were looking for their guns and other kit, unlucky, didn’t find a thing. At last we are getting some really hot weather, and we are only too pleased to put on our tropical kit.

We have been issued with mosquito nets, and what a job I had fixing the bloody thing to my bed, this is sure going to be fun getting into bed at night, talk about being caught in a net, fish have my sympathy.

Had a couple of games of football this week, rather hot work chasing a ball, expect the Arabs think we are mad.

Good Friday, this morning I went to church, the sermon was very good also enjoyed the singing. After the service I went for a walk into the village, lovely morning, sunny and very hot, just ideal holiday weather. Quite a lot of French people walking about all dressed in their best, the girls in coloured frocks, certainly made me feel very homesick. Not much of a holiday for us, in fact it’s just another day.

25th April to 1st May 1943

Old Ward has gone away for a couple of days to collect some guns, and while he is away we intend to have an easy time.

Monday evening went to open air film show, only a news film on, no big picture but even this sort of show is welcome.

Friday left Canrobert this morning, now at a small place in the country which is known as Maison Forest. Only about five miles from Ain Beida so have not moved far. Quite nice here, and the countryside looks grand. Lots of storks around here, they certainly are very big birds.

We are doing a guard on a big house in the trees which is the H.Q. of T.A.F.

Saturday morning I felt very bad, went sick and was ordered to bed for three days, have touch of fever also pains in my stomach.

2nd to 8th May 1943

Had my three days in bed and once more feel very fit. Spent a couple of days and nights by the salt lake, doing a guard on a crashed “Bisley”.

Thursday evening went to the cinema at Ain Beida and saw a very good film called “He Stayed for Breakfast”.

Saturday morning we left “Maison Forest” and arrived at “Souka Kemist” about 6oc, a very long but interesting journey. On the way we saw some really lovely country. Now in Tunisia which is a lot better than Algeria.

9th to 15th May 1943

This certainly has been a great week, on Thursday 13th May, Jerry surrendered, and so ends a very successful campaign. Victory in North Africa.

It’s certainly very hot here; in fact the heat is terrific, getting in plenty of sunbathing hours. Up at 5oc in the morning and finish work at 12oc, too hot to work in the afternoons. Now doing guards for T.B.F.

16th to 22nd May 1943

Ward and some of the boys went to Tunis for a couple of days, brought back two German cars, spent most of the week working on them, wonder if they will ever go.

Thursday, day off, went to the seaside town of “Tabarka” with some of the boys, had a great time there, swimming and lazing in the sands. The sea looked lovely, as blue as the sky, very hot, a really ideal day to spend at the seaside.

Didn’t see much of the town, but what I saw looked in a mess, the bombers had done their stuff.

23rd to 29th May 1943

Now that the North Africa campaign has come to a successful end, all the boys are talking and wondering if we shall now go home, the rumours are that we shall.

Having a very easy time now that the rest of the Squadron is here, I only have the usual guards and camp fatigues to do.

Spent another day at Tabarka, spent the few hours there swimming and lazing in the sun, I certainly enjoyed myself there.

Friday, this afternoon I went to the charming village of Hidar, quite a lovely spot, a very large French convent here, magnificent flower garden, just a mass of many different colours.

The countryside round here looks grand, waving golden corn, miles of neat rows of vine trees, on this sunny afternoon everything looked a picture.

30th May to 5th June 1943

The first two days of this week we have enjoyed a rest, the Squadron has moved and left our flight here, great to be on our own once more.

Went again to the village of Hidar, how peaceful and quiet it is there.

Wed. we had a very busy day packing and getting the tents down, for we are on the move again tomorrow. Spent the night under the stars.

Thursday, left this morning at 9oc by lorry. Passed through many famous battle towns of this campaign, such as “Beja”, “Medjez El Bab” also saw the battlefields with their knocked out tanks and lorries.

Passed through Tunis, which looks a really lovely city, we arrived at the seaside town of “La Marsa” about 1oc, tents to put up and once more we get settled in. La Marsa is about five miles from Tunis so we should be able to get into town quite often while we are here.

Saturday morning we handed in a bit of our kit, some of the boys think this means we shall be going home, somehow I cannot imagine this will happen as we have only done about eight months overseas. This afternoon we went down to the beach, lovely sands and a very hot afternoon, just ideal for the beach. Just as we were enjoying a swim and having fun in the sea, three boys on tyres got carried out by the tide and were soon in difficulties. One boy was drowned trying to rescue one of them, the boys in trouble were all saved. We all felt very sorry to have lost such a brave chap, what rotten luck.

6th to 12th June 1943

Well I don’t know about going home, we have just started on a training programme, up at 5oc in the morning for an hour’s P.T. before breakfast. Then after the meal we had drill, the rest of the morning we spent on the bridge. It’s very hot here, just ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

Wednesday evening I went into Tunis to see an E.N.S.A. stage show, a really lovely theatre. The show was great, good singing and dancing. The girls looked “super”, plenty of glamour.

Saturday evening my pal and I went to La Marsa to see the sights, quite a swell town, modern with up to date houses and buildings, wide clean streets. Quite a show place, one of the best and most interesting towns I have seen in Africa.

13th to 19th June 1943

Left La Marsa at 930 this morning, passed through Tunis and Grombalia on our way to Hammamet, arriving there about 12oc. Quite a nice camp site, my tent is under a large fig tree. We are certainly doing a lot of moving these days, no stopping anywhere for long. Now closing a special guard on a lovely large house in the trees, it’s the T.A.F. H.Q. all the big knobs here. When off duty I spend most of my time on the beach, swimming or lazing in the sun, the camp is only 200 yards from the sea so have not far to go for a swim.

Wednesday afternoon my pals and I went into Tunis, had a look round the town, sure is a swell place, then went into the R.A.F. Club. Went to the theatre in the evening and saw a smashing ENSA show, a big cast which included Leslie Henson and many other well known stage stars.

Friday there’s plenty of excitement round here and a lot of troops. The King arrived at T.A.F. HQ about 2oc, troops on either side of the road, a guard of honour from our flight. Had a good view of the King as he came along the road and turned into HQ, he looked fit and well. He is spending the night here; there are guards for miles around.

The King left at 10oc the next morning and once more we are back to normal. Spent the afternoon on the beach sunbathing, went into the sea twice, very warm and quite calm. This is sure a grand spot to spend a few lazy days by the sea. Heard this is where the Prince of Wales came to one year.

20th to 26th June 1943

Sunday morning I went to an open air church service, very good sermon also enjoyed the singing, spent the rest of the morning on the beach, another hot day.

Wednesday morning we left this charming little spot and moved to the other side of Hammamet, camp on the beach this time, only 100 yards from the sea, the tent makes a good bathing hut. The Squadron is all here, which is not so good.

27th June to 3rd July 1943

We have been given three day’s rest, Sunday is the first. Spent most of today on the beach enjoying a lazy time, this is the life, plenty of swimming and nothing to do, having smashing weather.

This evening my pals and I walked into Hammamet, not a lot to see here, just a small seaside town. Tried to get a drink but couldn’t find a wine bar in the place. It’s a lovely summer night, very pleasant out walking.

Left camp at 9oc on Monday morning for Tunis arrived there about 12oc. Spent the afternoon seeing the sights and places of interest, a really lovely city, very modern fine buildings, up to date shops and stores, many fine cinemas and a really first class theatre, clean wide roads with palm trees on either side. Thousands of French people here, the girls are very smartly dressed, plenty of glamour girls here. I went to the cinema and canteen in the evening and so back to camp after a very enjoyable day out.

Tuesday, well this is the last day, spent another day on the beach just lazing about and going in for a dip. This evening I went to open air film show, saw a very good film called “Time to Kill”.

Wednesday, back at work again today not that we had much to do, really having a very easy time at this place.

Saturday morning I went to the army camp to see a boxing show, saw some very exciting and thrilling fights between the army boys, and so ends one of the best weeks I have spent overseas, a week full of entertainment.

4th to 10th July 1943

Once again we are in training, but only in the mornings, the afternoons we have off, so go for a swim or laze in the sun.

This week has seen the start of another invasion, it’s “Sicily” this time. Thought something was coming off, the army has been in training for weeks and there has been thousands of troops round here. Wonder is we shall go into Sicily. There are rumours of another move.

Saturday, well at last we have lost old Ward, he’s going into support flight and we have a new Officer name Culver, wonder how this one is going to turn out, better than the last I hope.

11th to 17th July 1943

Another week and another move, we left Hammamet at 10oc on Monday evening and arrived at Tunis airport 2oc on Tues. morning. Felt very tired so just layed down by the side of the lorry and went to sleep. I spent the day putting up tents and clearing up the camp site.

The RAF certainly bombed this drome well, knocked every hanger down, smashed up German planes everywhere, all types, fighters, bombers and big transports and I spent a few hours looking them over.

Now only two miles from Tunis so should be able to get into town quite often. Doing a 24 hr patrol round the planes, just lately there has been some trouble here.

Thursday I had the day off so with my pals I went to the seaside town of “Carthage”, spent a couple of hours seeing the sights then went down to the beach. Crowds of civilians and soldiers were on the beach this sunny afternoon. The sea was calm and warm. And it was just great in, the rest of the time I lazed in the sands. Quite a short stay here, left Tunis at 1oc and arrived at our new camp site at 7oc, now about 14 miles from “Sousse”, camped in olive trees.

18th to 24th July 1943

Plenty of rumours going round as to why we are here, it looks as if we shall be going to Sicily after all. Only about a mile from the sea and most mornings I go down for a swim, it’s very hot here and the coolest place is down by the sea.

I certainly don’t like this spot, it’s one of the worst camp sites we have been to, and I for one shall be very glad to get moving again. Everyone is fed up and the food is bloody awful.

25th to 31st July 1943

Started on yet another training programme, up at 6oc for an hour’s P.T. the rest of the morning we are on some sort of training, glad we get the afternoons off, anyway it’s much too hot to work and I usually have a nap in the afternoons.

The C.O. told us we should have gone to Sicily but that’s all been cancelled.

Left here Saturday morning, was glad to get away from this place, well once more we are at Hammamet, sure was great to see the old camp site once more, I shall be OK now for my daily dip.

1st to 7th August 1943

The first day back and I’ve had a spot of bad luck, scolded my leg this morning, so that’s finished my swimming for a few weeks, and that’s one thing I’m really going to miss. I spent most of this week on my bed, no work for me.

Passed the time reading and writing, not much else I can do.

8th to 14th August 1943

At last my leg is showing some improvement, but will be some time yet before it’s completely OK. I’m certainly missing my dip in the sea, but I do go and laze on the sands and do a spot of sunbathing.

The Squadron held its swimming gala day on Thursday, was a really great show and well organised. Saw many exciting races and I am sure everyone enjoyed this day, I know I did.

Friday evening I spent in the airmen’s mess playing darts with the boys, had some jolly good games.

The weather this week has been great, every day sunny and hot, real African weather.

15th to 21st August 1943

Still we keep moving, don’t stop anywhere for long these days. Left Hammamet at 10oc on Monday morning. A very long, hot and dusty journey, passed through the town of Enfidaville. Arriving at the holy city of Kairouan at 5oc, we move on to the drome which is about four miles from the city. The rest of the evening was spent in doing such jobs as getting up tents and getting unpacked.

Tuesday afternoon I went out in the van looking for a wood dump, covered miles of this flat country, finished up two miles from the town of Pichon, would have liked to have seen this place, had to get back short of juice. It’s certainly a change to be on a drome again, two squadrons of Wellingtons here no’s 145 and 150. We are doing a nightly patrol round the drome. It’s terribly hot here, the warmest place I have been in and the sea is miles away, so not much hope of getting in a lot of swimming.

Wednesday morning, a terrific explosion on the drome, bomb went off on one of the planes and within two minutes two more planes went up in smoke. Three boys of the ground crew killed.

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Friday night we held our flight party, and what a do, the meal was really great, after that we had a sing-song, and a couple of stage turns. By this time the party was in full swing, the wine was flowing like water everyone including myself got well and truly oiled, I came out just before the free fight started, a few of the boys had lovely black eyes the next morning.

22nd to 28th August 1943

Tues. afternoon General Spaatz of the U.S.A.F. came to the drome and presented medals to five RAF Officers. The Squadron supplied the guard of honour; everyone looked smart in their tropical clothes. The General congratulated the C.O. on the smart turnout, but the high spot of the afternoon was the charge of the mounted Arab patrol, mounted on magnificent horses they charged across the drome at terrific speed, scarlet cloaks flying, was like a mass of scarlet rushing towards us. One of the most wonderful sights I have ever seen.

This week we have started to help with the bombing of the planes, it’s quite hard going working in this terrific heat, but we are all very pleased that at last we are doing something which we know is helping to win this war.

Nights when not on duty I go along to the canteen for tea and biscuits, and usually stop a couple of hours talking or listening to the radio. The nights are really smashing, nice and cool after the heat of the day.

29th August to 4th September 1943

Days spent in bombing up and doing night patrols. Went into Kairouan Tuesday evening and saw George Formby and his wife. Only these two in the show, but they were great, George just as funny as ever and of course he sang all his favourite songs. We all gave him a big hand.

Thursday, off for the day, so went into Kairouan to have a good look round. A city of rambling white buildings surrounded by a high stone wall, very old and eastern, with its many Mosques, large domes and flat roofed houses, and not many shops, don’t think there are many French here, thousands of Arabs everywhere, they all seem to come out at night. Would have very much have liked to have got into the Arab quarters, but not allowed in without a pass. But for a holy city this is a really dirty hole, and smells awful.

Saturday evening I was again in town, this time I went to an open air film show, saw the 8th Army film “Desert Victory” which I thought was quite a good film, quite a week for entertainment.

5th to 11th September 1943

Wed. afternoon I went to Kairouan and saw a stage show. This time it was the “Western Brothers”. One of them announced from the stage that Italy had surrendered, wild cheering from all the boys. The planes were overhead on their way to bomb Italy and then we watched them turn and make their way home; must have just received the news. That evening I saw a film, so it really was quite some day.

Friday, big fire on the drome, thousands of gallons of petrol went up in smoke, impossible to try to put it out.

12th to 18th September 1943

It’s been very hot again this week; this heat certainly gets me down. Done quite a lot of bombing up, very busy here, the planes are out every night doing their stuff. I find this bombing up job very interesting and it’s good to know you are doing a good job of work.

We get the mobile shower baths here once a week, it’s a good thing there are no girls round here, would be very embarrassing for them to see a crowd of naked bodies in an open field, but it’s really good to get a hot shower every week. Not a lot to write about this week, still doing night patrols and going along to the canteens when off duty.

19th to 25th September 1943

Sunday, had a very busy morning putting up a large marquee for an airman’s mess, with seats and tables.

Monday evening I went up for my flip, the plane was Q for Queenie which is the name of a Wellington bomber. The first time up we had a spot of engine trouble so we had to come down as quickly as possible. After a few alterations we went up again and this time everything went OK, stopped up for an hour. This is my first trip into the blue, was really great, certainly very interesting and quite an experience. I must try to go up again another day.

Wednesday evening I went to a RAF show on the drome which was very good for amateurs.

26th September to 2nd October 1943

Monday I was off, so spent the day at “Sousse”, must have been a lovely seaside resort in peace time, but the town has been very badly damaged by bombs. Spent the morning looking round, then I went to the canteen for lunch. Spent the afternoon on the beach, was great to get into the sun again and enjoy a swim, lovely sands, very hot, the sea calm and warm, just ideal for a few hours on the beach.

Went to the cinema in the evening and saw a lousy film, so back to camp after a very good day out. The latest rumour is that we shall be here for the winter; I hope not, would like to get moving again.

3rd to 9th October 1943

This week I have seen quite a good film, also a very good variety show in Kairouan.

Every night the Wellingtons go out on their bombing missions and when out on patrol we watch them come in, then get all the “gen” from the crew as to what sort of night they have had.

Well it looks as if we have seen the last of the really hot weather, certainly a lot cooler now, better for working.

Spent Friday evening in the mess playing housey, quite a crowd there, no luck at that game.

10th to 16th October 1943

Sunday, I have felt awful all day, nasty pains in my back. Monday and Tuesday I felt no better so spent two days in bed. Thursday morning I reported sick and entered No. 31 M.F.H. in the afternoon.

Gosh! I was glad to get into hospital, a good bed and plenty of thick blankets also get the right attention here.

Friday I still felt very rough, spent most of the day reading and sleeping.

Saturday the M.O. told me this morning that I have yellow jaundice, a lot more of the chaps come in with the same thing, so now I have plenty of company.

17th to 23rd October 1943

Spent this week in hospital, having a good rest, nothing to do except read, write and sleep, feeling a lot better. If everything had gone OK I should have been out on Saturday but during the end of this week a nasty boil came up on my neck, this put me back and once again I felt worse. Shall be here at least another week.

The M.O. is a swell chap and the sister in charge of the ward is quite charming, nice to hear a woman speak English.

There is a coloured man, Yank, in the next bed to me, quite a nice chap; his friends sent him two large tins of pineapple, so we all had a good tuck in, quite a treat.

24th to 30th October 1943

Another week in hospital, I’m getting very fed up with this and shall be very glad to get back to work. Every day someone moves out of the ward, if this goes on I shall be by myself. I have received mail from Kath which cheered me up.

Monday night we had a terrific storm, quite a few tents and marquees down the next morning.

Tuesday evening four of us played “Monopoly” this is the first time I have played this game, and it’s great, very interesting. When the D/R brought up my mail he told me that the boys were on leave in Tunis, shall have to try and get a spot of sick leave when I get out of here.

31st October to 6th November 1943

Tuesday I came out of hospital, must say I was very glad to get out, one can have too much of that. Asked the W.O. about some leave, but he said we might be moving any day, he was sorry but I had “had it”. During the time I was away, there has been a flood in the drome; some parts are still under water, looks a hell of a mess, move camp to another site. Well it’s great to be back with the boys again.

Saturday night we had another one of these terrific African storms, the wind was blowing a gale, the six of us had to hang on to the poles to keep the tent from taking off. What a night. The next morning the camp was in a terrific mess, mud and water everywhere. The “gen” is we shall be moving next week, and I’m all for it, this is no place to spend the winter.

7th to 13th November 1943

Had quite an easy week, did the usual guards and camp fatigues, spent most of the week getting ready for the coming move on Sunday, made myself another bed to take with me. Most evenings I either went to the canteen or stopped in the tent reading or writing. And so ends our three month stay at Kairouan.

Saturday afternoon I had a last look around the city, walked through the native bazaars, crowds of Arabs here, many thousands of tribesman from the surrounding countryside came here every day. Saw hundreds of really marvellous rugs hanging up in the bazaar.

14th to 20th November 1943

Sunday, left Kairouan at 9oc this morning and after a long ride we arrived at “Ariana” at 2oc, this is a small town about six miles from Tunis, once more we are back in this part of the country.

Well we have been given the rest of this week to get cleaned up and get our kit up to perfection, next week we go into training for at least two weeks.

Tuesday Mick, Harry and I went into Tunis for the day. Had a smashing time, saw three very good films, we went to the RAF Club for lunch and tea. So did not spend a lot of time looking round. Tunis is a swell place, always plenty to see and do here.

Sunday, up at 6oc this morning, from then until breakfast time I was very busy getting ready for the big parade. This is the opening day of our training course, to others also here. At 8oc we marched onto the parade ground, everyone looking very smart.

Inspected by Col. Salmon and other high ranking Officers, all went off OK. After this we had a tent inspection, and then we were finished for the day.

Saw a very good football match this afternoon between two of the Squadrons, and so ended our first day of training.

Our day starts at 6oc in the morning and finishes around 5oc, quite a long and full day. Plenty to do, foot and rifle drill, route marches, field exercises and lectures, and of course plenty of P.T. Certainly feeling very fit and so ends the first week of the course.

28th November to 4th December 1943

Sunday, we start the second week with another big parade. The training has been just the same as last week, long route marches through the country every morning, field exercises in the afternoons, never a dull moment. The days pass very quickly, feel very fed up, but I’m certainly feeling very fit.

The course ended as it started with a big parade and inspection; well I am glad these two weeks are at last over.

5th to 11th December 1943

Well this week has been like old times, no training, in fact had a very easy time.

Tuesday Fred, Mick and I went to Tunis for the day, first went to the baths where we had a nice hot shower, then went to the RAF Club for refreshments. Spent most of the day either in the canteen or at the cinema, saw two fine films. This evening we went to the theatre, wonderful place, saw a very good variety show, a day full of entertainment.

Friday morning the flight went on a route march through the country, stopped at a large wine distillery, made the most of this golden opportunity to have a few drinks, and we sure did have a few, everyone left in a very merry mood, sang all the way back to camp.

12th to 18th December 1943

The latest “gen” is we shall be moving out of this country someday this week, some say we are going home, but I think it’s more likely to be Italy.

Monday we get our orders to pack, moving off early tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, up at 5oc, awful morning, wet, cold and very dark, quite a job to get the tents down in this weather, wet through before we start. Left Ariana at 8oc and after a long journey we arrived at the port of “Ferryville” at 12oc. Not going on the boat today. So we shall be sleeping in the lorries tonight. Went along and saw a film in the hanger.

Wednesday, another day here, helped to put up a marquee and that is where I shall sleep. Went and saw another film.

Thursday, up at 5oc this morning, told we should be on the boat by 8oc, but it was 4oc before we did go aboard. Now on L.S.T. Not lucky enough to get a bunk so had to sleep on the deck, quite a crowd on this boat.

Friday, left Africa at 10oc this morning, now on the way to Italy. Tonight we ran into a terrific storm, very rough sea and this bloody boat certainly knows how to roll and pitch. Most of us were seasick.

Saturday, quite a calm sea after the storm and a lovely warm day. Spent most of today reading and sunbathing and saw Sicily in the distance. So ends a very interesting week, glad to get out of North Africa.

19th to 25th December 1943

Sunday morning, up washed and shaved by 7oc, and on deck by 8oc. Plenty to see, passed the Island of Capri looked great, and passed through the bay of Naples, wonderful sight with the city way in the distance and the ever smoking “Vesuvius” beyond.

Landed at 2oc at the little port of “Nisida” which is about 10 miles from Naples. A lovely warm and sunny day. Everywhere looks so different from Africa, green fields, trees and houses with flower gardens. Once more we are back in civilisation.

Marched to a large field just outside of the town, stopping here for the night, soon had a crowd of children and women round the camp begging for food.

Monday, stopping here today, put up tents for the night. Went into town in the evening, had a few drinks in a café and tasted this Italian wine, spent an hour looking round. Not a lot to see.

Tuesday up at 5oc and on the road by 8oc, passed through Naples, wonderful city, looked great in the early morning sunshine.

Our destination is “Cerignola” a small town on the east coast of Italy, so we shall be crossing the country from coast to coast, a wonderful and most interesting journey. We cross the range of mountains, and at times we were thousands of feet up, in amongst the low clouds. The scenery was really magnificent, would be very hard to put into words the beauty of it all.

Passed through many towns and villages, everyone seemed to turn out to watch our convoy go by. We eventually arrived at Cerignola about 6oc; it was too dark to find the way to the drome, so put up for the night in town. Next morning we moved to our new camp site which is about a mile from the drome and six from the town, so once more we are way in the country. The rest of the day was spent in putting up tents and marquees and getting things organised.

Well it is Xmas week again, my second overseas. This time we certainly have not many days to get things organised for Xmas, but the C.O. got cracking right away.

Christmas Day, the first surprise was a cup of tea in bed, brought round by the Sergeants. The Xmas dinner was great, pork with apple sauce, cauliflower and baked potatoes. For sweet, mince pie and Xmas pudding, followed by fruit, wine and beer. In the evening we had a sing-song in the mess and so ended my best Xmas overseas.

26th to 31st December 1943

Boxing Day, awful day, wet and very cold, did a spot of work in the morning, rest of the day off.

Do hope this is the last Xmas I shall have to spend overseas. Tonight I’m feeling very homesick and fed up. Mon, Tues, Wed, just did a few jobs around camp, also did my smalls and had a bath out of a biscuit tin. The weather here is still very bad, very cold and windy. Thurs afternoon my two pals and I went into Cerignola, quite a busy little country town, lot of people about. Had a good look round, really not a lot to see.

And so ends 1943 a year of great achievement for the Allies and for me a year of travel.

1st to 8th January 1944

The C.O. and a few of the boys have just returned from the front line where they spent four days with the 8th Army, and by the rumours going round it seems as if we all shall be up there soon, doing a bomb line job. This week we had a spot of training to get us fit, marches, drill, P.T. and lectures and firing on the range. Awful weather here this week, snow, rain and very cold, the warmest place is bed and that’s where I spent most of my time when not on duty.

Tuesday morning I went into “Foggia” for a bath, which was great. Had a look round the town, this town has had its share of bombing, a lot of buildings down or damaged.

9th to 15th January 1944

Monday and Tuesday was great to see a change in the weather both days fine and warm, just did the usual jobs in camp. And of course guards.

Wednesday morning, left camp at 9oc and arrived at the seaside town of “Barletta”, quite a nice clean town, plenty of shops and quite a nice front, spent the morning walking round and seeing the sights. Went to the local cinema this afternoon, the film was “Miss London Ltd” very good film and so back to camp after a very pleasant day in town.

Saturday afternoon Fred and I went for a walk in the country, was just great out and just the day for walking.

16th to 22nd January 1944

Nothing much of interest to write about this week, everything more or less the same, now doing a patrol round the drome, helps to pass the four hours of duty away watching the Wellingtons take off or watch their return from a successful raid. Usually get the “gen” from the crew.

Nights when off duty I spend in the tent reading or writing sometimes having a game of cards with the boys, not much to do here in the evenings. Went into Foggia on Friday for a bath, after this I went for a stroll round the town, a lot of people out shopping.

23rd to 29th January 1944

Well the weather is a lot better now, getting warm and sunny days, which is just how I like it. This week we have been on bombing up, it’s good to be doing a good job of work. Now quite busy what with patrols at night and bombing up by day, the time goes a lot quicker when there is plenty to do. I could not get into town this week for a bath, so had to have a wash down in the tent.

30th January to 5th February 1944

The first few days of this week have been great, sunny and warm, really ideal for this time of the year. I’ve been laying out in the sun with just my shorts on doing a spot of sunbathing. I played in a couple of games of football and both times my side managed to win. Still doing drome patrols and bombing up, also we had some P.T. just to keep us fit.

Thursday went for a walk over the hills, lovely out and the countryside is beginning to look very nice, still snow on the mountains.

Had the day off Monday, but didn’t trouble to go out, stopped in and did my smalls, spent the rest of the day reading.

6th to 12th February 1944

This week has seen another change in the weather, it’s been wet, cold and very windy, what a difference between the warm and sunny days of last week. Everything going along about the same, patrols, bombing up and the usual daily camp jobs. Getting a lot of football these days, played in three games this week.

Nothing to do in the evenings except stop in the tent, but only too glad to get there, awful cold nights, glad we have this stove, certainly warms the tent up. Very rough going when on drome patrol, the planes have been grounded this week.

13th to 19th February 1944

Snow on the ground when I woke up this morning certainly took some getting out, gosh! It’s bloody cold out. Did a spot of work in camp, was only too glad to get back in the warmth of the tent. By the latest of rumours going around we shall soon be on the move. I for one shall welcome the change, had more than enough of this place, it’s rather a dump.

Tuesday morning old Culver took us on a 10 mile route march; he set us a terrific pace, felt very tired when we got back to camp. Went into town hoping to get a nice hot shower but the water was cold, so didn’t have one, it’s cold enough without that sort of bath.

Friday the C.O. presented us with our African Star ribbon, well that’s the first medal. Most of the planes have moved to the drome at Foggia.

20th to 26th February 1944

Monday afternoon I saw the Squadron play the Army at football, very fast game which we won 4-0. The weather is very changeable, one day fine and warm, the next cold and wet.

Plenty of football between the flights, two games every afternoon and my flight has lost every game.

Day off Thursday, Mac and Ernie bought a few bottles of wine from the chap who comes round the tents each day with nuts, oranges and wine. So we had a bit of a do in the tent. Fred and I went into Cerignola this afternoon, had a good look round the town. Went to a wine bar in the evening, had a good booze up, the wine was great and so ended a very good day out.

27th February to 4th March 1944

Spent the day at Wing HQ in Foggia, had to clean up the joint, the big chief of the Regiment is here today. Monday afternoon I went into town with some of the boys, saw a Yank show at the theatre which was lousy, the best turn was two glamorous blondes, what figures! The drome guard is finished; all the planes have gone, now doing a spot of training.

Our C.O. old Willingdon has left the Squadron, been made up to Wing Commander. The new C.O. arrived named “Allen”, wonder how he will turn out, time will tell. Weather is still changeable.

5th to 11th March 1944

Monday afternoon went into town with the boys, had a walk round then saw a very good film. Left town about 7oc, on the way back we stopped at an Italian farmhouse, where we had many glasses of wine, it was a good thing we had this wine because we had to walk the 9 miles back to camp. This is where “one for the road” came in OK.

Wednesday afternoon I had three inoculations, felt awful after it, so went to bed early. Woke up the next morning feel lousy, in fact we all did. Had the day off, so took things easy. Friday I went into town for a bath, afterwards Harry and I had a swell time in a small café, music, dancing, and of course plenty of wine.

Saturday I received two photos of Kath, how well and lovely she looks, gosh! How I am longing to see her.

12th to 18th March 1944

Sunday awful day, rained from first thing in the morning to late at night. Monday afternoon our Officer told us to get packed up and ready to move tomorrow, everyone was pleased to hear that at last we are going to move, fed up with this place.

Tuesday left Cerignola drome at 7oc this morning, and we crossed Italy, a lovely day and a really smashing ride. We sure are seeing a lot of this country, and what wonderful country, mountains, wooded hills, lovely valleys and many rivers, passed through many towns and villages.

We arrived at “Portici” about 6oc, just outside Naples, spent the night at the RAF Personnel Despatch Centre. During the night there was a big raid on the docks, quite a hectic night.

What a difference here from Cerignola, lovely warm and sunny days, just ideal weather, this is more like the sunny Italy I have heard so much about. Our new camp site is really wonderful, in amongst the trees and just off the main highway, just behind us is the ever smoking Vesuvius, from the front of the camp we get a wonderful view of the beautiful Bay of Naples, to our left we can just see the tall buildings of the city.

Thursday I spent around camp doing a few jobs, also had a bath and did my smalls. This evening Fred and I went into Portici to have a look round, saw many fine houses. Didn’t see much of the town as we spent most of the evening in a café drinking wine and enjoying ourselves, came away feeling very merry.

Friday, another smashing day, very hot here, it’s just like being on holiday, not a lot to do, in fact having a very easy time and getting a lot of time off. Went for a walk round the town with two of my pals, plenty of people about and quite a busy place. The more I see of this place the better I like it. Went to the cinema in the evening, saw a very good film called “Boom Town”.

Saturday sunny and very hot. Culver took ten of us in the van to Pompeii, we went round the ruins in a party with a guide to show us round and give us all the “gen”. Saw the ruins of many temples, baths, arches, amphitheatre, houses, markets and lots of other ruins. Could imagine how it looked in those far off days, must have been a wonderful city. Glad I had the opportunity to see the ruins of Pompeii.

Went out again this afternoon into town, went along to the YMCA canteen for tea and cakes. And so ends a very interesting day.

19th to 25th March 1944

Monday, the weather is still grand. Today we saw the start of the eruption of Vesuvius, a sight of a lifetime. What wonderful luck we should be camped under Vesuvius at this particular time. The best time was at night when it’s dark, just stood for hours gazing up at this stupendous ball of fire marvelling at the frightful yet wondrous beauty of it all. A big red glow in the sky which lit everywhere up for miles around, red hot rock and lava came rolling down the volcano, every minute a great rumbling came from inside the volcano and then a shower of hot sparks were shot thousands of feet into the sky. The best and greatest firework display ever.

Tuesday Vesuvius is still doing its stuff, clouds of smoke still coming out, lava rolling down the sides. This morning Mick and I left camp at 9oc and after an hour’s ride we arrived at that famous invasion town of “Salerno” about 10oc. Quite a nice town, modern, clean with many fine buildings, quite a busy spot too. A very fine NAAFI canteen, it was here that I saw the largest painting, about 12 feet square. Went to the cinema in the afternoon, I saw a very good film. Spent a couple of hours in the evening looking round the town then back to camp after a grand day out.

Wednesday afternoon went for a walk through the country, passed many little farmhouses, in some parts the road was lined with orange and lemon trees all loaded with fruit. Went up the side of the volcano as far as the railway stop, it was here that the lava stream had stopped, in some parts the lava and rock was 15 ft high. This evening I went to the theatre and saw a stage play called “Rope” which was a really great play.

Thurs. Vesuvius has now calmed down, still sending out clouds of smoke and ashes. Went along to the canteen in the evening, then onto the cinema where we saw the A.T.S. film “The Gentle Sex”.

Friday, this is our last day here, so spent most of the day getting ready for the move tomorrow, and so we come to the end of a very pleasant and enjoyable stay at Portici, very sorry to leave, shall always remember this place.

Saturday 25th March 1944

Left Portici at 9oc and arrived at the small village of Presenzano, camped on the side of a wooded hill with the mountains just behind us, now only 10 miles from the front line.

26th March to 1st April 1944

Don’t like this place at all, way in the country with the nearest village three miles away it certainly looks like around here. Can see the tanks, guns and lorries moving up to the front every night. Big army camps everywhere, lovely weather, sunny and hot.

Tuesday the rest of the Squadron moved in.

Wednesday we are now in training once more, this is the first day. Had to climb the mountain just at the back of camp, was glad of the rest at the top, wonderful view up there, the surrounding countryside looked grand. I was glad to get back to my tent, this mountain climbing certainly takes it out of you.

The rest of the week was spent in climbing and other sorts of training. Not far from Cassino, in fact we were told we should be able to see the monastery from the top of the mountain, soon found out we couldn’t.

2nd to 8th April 1944

Sunday and it’s a lovely sunny morning, went to open air church service, the sermon was very good. This afternoon I went to the baths and had a nice hot shower, should now be clean inside and out. Well we shall soon be leaving here for the front line.

Monday, spent the day getting ready for the move tomorrow.

Tuesday 4th we left camp at 2oc in lorries for stage of the journey to the front line, our first stop was about 25 miles from camp. Our lorry ride is finished, from here to the line we shall have to march. We have just passed the Brighton and Hove dumps, the sight of these two names made me feel homesick.

We start on the next stage, after marching four miles we came to the M.P. post, not allowed to go any further along this road till after dark, the road is under Jerry observation and shell fire. Spend three hours here resting and having a meal. At 8oc we move off again down the mountain road, quite tough going with full pack. After marching 5 miles we came to a large dump and resting stage known as “Inferno”. We are spending the night here, was glad to get to bed, felt just about all in.

Wednesday, after a good night’s rest and a hot meal I felt OK again, we are stopping here all day and moving off again when it gets dark. Spent the day reading and wrote a long letter to Kath, I bet she would get a shock if she only knew where I was writing from. We left Inferno at 8oc tonight on the final stage to the front.

I shall never forget that 14 mile march, a very dark night, we crossed an open plain, the battlefield of a few months ago, what a sight, empty houses, burnt out tanks, trees cut in half, overflowing rivers, the air was full of the awful smell of dead donkeys. Everything looks dead and what chaos. We went through the small village of “Cairo”, a dead village, no civilians living there only a few soldiers.

Every now and again down would come the mortar bombs, it was a case of duck as a few bombs fell in the road just behind us. We started the long climb up the mountainside, we reached house at the top at 1145 now in the line. I was lucky enough to get a few hours sleep in the house after this long march, but some of the boys had to turn out.

Thursday we spent today at the house, have a wonderful view of the monastery hill from here, a few mortar bombs fell about 50 yards from the house during the day. The Germans are shelling and mortaring the village and the road. We left the house at 8oc tonight and took over front line positions; we are holding the last section of the 8th Army’s line, on our left is the 5th Army.

We are on one hill and Jerry is on another, between us is a deep gully. Mortaring and shelling all through the night from both sides, quite a lot of bombs fell round our positions. We could see the jeeps racing up the mountain road with supplies. We were in the position from 9oc that night till 6oc the next morning, quite a long time to lay on your stomach, of course had to lay quiet.

We made our way back to the house at 6oc, had breakfast and so to bed for a few hours sleep, it’s now work by night and sleep and eat by day.

Friday, quite a hectic night, shelling and mortaring all through the night, some of it too close for comfort. And this is “Good Friday”, what a way to spend a holiday, plenty of excitement anyway.

Saturday lovely day sunny and warm, cannot sleep much in the day time as it’s too warm. Was great to get a letter from Kath, sure cheered me up.

If it was not for an occasional mortar bomb it would be hard to believe we are in the line, everything happens at night, not a lot doing in the day. Out again Saturday night, another 12 hours of keeping watch for Jerry patrols, we fired at what we thought was a Jerry patrol but it was only some of our boys, good thing we did not hit them. And so ends a very hectic week.

9th to 15th April 1944

Well I am glad we are in a quiet sector of the line, the Germans are on the mountains and hills round us, on hill 708 which is opposite, in fact we are surrounded on three sides.

Every night our big guns fire on to “Monastery” Hill, which is to our left and a few miles from our positions.

Monday night was the worse we have spent in the line so far, rained all the time we were out on watch, was glad when it was time to get back to the house, felt tired and miserable, wet through, spent the morning drying my clothes.

Tuesday another wet night, but not so bad as last. Plenty of shells coming over from both sides, just the usual amount of mortar bombs near us, don’t take a lot of notice of them now except when they are extra close.

The Germans put in an attack against one of our positions in the hills, a lot of machine gun fire came from both sides, heard the next morning that this attack was unsuccessful, but it was quite a do.

After six days and seven nights in the line we were relieved by the rest of the Squadron. At 2oc on Wed. morning we left the line, picked up by jeeps and small vans, we were soon racing down the mountain road and along mad mile to our first stop. From there we caught the 3 tonners and so back to camp, arriving back just in time for breakfast. After a hot meal and a smashing hot shower I went to bed and slept like a log. It feels great to be out of the line and back at camp.

Thursday, we have been given three days off, today and Friday I just lazed about, did a spot of reading also wrote home, spent both afternoons sleeping.

Saturday, left camp at 9oc in the lorry, after a couple of hours we arrived at Naples. Had a look round, lively place and very busy, thousands of soldiers and civilians everywhere. I went to the RAF Club for lunch, quite a swell club. Went to the cinema this afternoon and saw a film called “The Sky’s the Limit” which was very good, then went to the NAAFI canteen for tea. Then made our way back to camp, had a really grand time in Naples.

16th to 22nd April 1944

The weather is great here, sunny and very hot. Had a very easy week, just doing camp guards and fatigues. Seen three very good games of football here in the evenings, sure helps to pass an evening away. Rest of the Squadron is still in the line, should be out one day next week.

23rd to 29th April 1944

Sunday the rest of the Squadron returned from the front line. We sure are a very lucky Squadron alright, just spent three weeks in the line and only had one casualty.

Monday spent most of the day packing up ready for the move tomorrow.

Tuesday 25th left this morning at 9oc and after a very dusty ride we arrived at the New Zealand Army camp at “Venafro” at 1oc, had a busy afternoon putting up tents and getting organised. Once again we are way in the country, but it’s very nice here, lovely country, green fields, woods, mountains and a very wide river.

Tonight the N.Z. band played in our honour, which was really swell of them, the Squadron turned out in force and we sure gave them a big hand. Went along to the N.Z. canteen, and what a canteen, free tea and cakes, which is “just the job”. Can also buy things such as tinned butter, milk, sugar, tea, tinned meats and this is only a few of the things.

Wednesday, awful day, rained all day, the camp is now a sea of mud. Tonight I saw a film called “No, No, Nanette” which I thought was lousy.

Thursday another wet day, the N.Z. boys, and our Squadron held a big parade, inspected by General Freyburg, after this he made a speech.

Friday, had a very easy day, went along to the baths and had a smashing hot shower, came back and did my smalls. Went to the canteen this evening, met a very nice N.Z. boy, had a very interesting chat. Well we are once more with the 8th Army, and we shall be going in the line with the N.Z. boys.

30th April to 6th May 1944

Well we shall be going into the line again on Tues, cannot say I am looking forward to a second dose of that.

Sunday, I just lazed around and did a few jobs, also wrote to Kath, as I don’t know when I shall be able to write again.

Monday very busy getting my things together ready for tomorrow.

Tuesday 2nd May. Received some mail before starting off, was great to hear from Kath, I feel more cheerful now and shall be able to go forward in high spirits. Left camp in a convoy of lorries and travelled about 30 miles before we came to the first stop. We shall be here till it gets dark. At 9oc we got moving again, here to march the last 10 miles, arrived in the line at 2oc on Wed. morning, take over the positions from 2788 Reg Squadron. Well we shall only be on duty four hours this morning.

Wednesday morning 630. Well here we are once again in the front line, the whole Squadron is here this time not in quite the same positions this time, half way up the hill. The Germans are still facing us on Hill 708 which is opposite, so the line in this sector has not moved since we were here last. On our right flank we have the N.Z. boys, with the Poles on the left flank.

We are living in what they call “sangars” which is a small space 6 ft by 4 with walls of stone four ft high, use anything for the roof, pieces of canvas, wood and any other things that will help to keep out the rain. Once again it’s sleep by day and work by night. Wednesday night till 6oc Thursday morning, during these hours there was plenty of shelling and mortaring from both sides, otherwise all quiet on the Cassino front.

A day in the front line: we get back to our sangars at first light which is about 6oc, go and collect our day’s ration, fry bacon or sausages, make porridge out of biscuits, the tea is mad in one sangar and brought round to us, well that’s our first meal of the day, after breakfast make the bed and get in some sleep. Usually wake up about 2oc then have the second meal, which is either bully beef or steak and kidney pudding. After, either read or write. 4oc have a wash and shave, make up the bed and then prepare the evening meal which we have about 6oc, after this just wait till it’s time to go to our positions.

Friday morning on O.P. all day and out again tonight, so have 24 hours to do without a break. Nothing to report during the day, all quiet on Hill 708, it’s been a lovely day, sunny and hot, the countryside looks wonderful. During the night there was a lot of machinegun fire just in front of our positions.

Saturday morning as on every day here the valley is covered with a smoke screen, when it wears off for a few minutes we can see Cairo village, sometimes we see a house go up in smoke and flames, Jerry is always shelling the village and jeep road, and so ends another week.

7th to 13th May 1944

Well another week in the line, days of sleeping, reading and cooking, nights of laying out keeping a good watch for Jerry.

Friday night at 1130 the big barrage opened up, it was terrific, must be hundreds of guns firing, thousands of shells and mortar bombs come whistling over our heads, glad I’m not on the receiving end. At 12oc the big attack went in, the sky was lit up with many coloured flares, shelling, mortaring and machinegun fire from both sides all through the early hours of Saturday morning. They mean to get Cassino and Monastery Hill this time.

Saturday morning, the big guns are still firing, on the hill to our left the Poles are having a do, then over came six spitfires and they came roaring down to dive bomb the German troops, may times they dived with guns roaring, was good to see the RAF over. One dropped a bomb just behind our sangar which shook us up, for a few seconds the air was filled with shrapnel; many pieces of red hot metal fell round us.

Received airmail from Kath, was wonderful to hear from her and to know she is safe and well, that letter sure cheered me up. I started to write and tell Kath I was in the front line, but thought better of it, so tore up the letter, sure it would cause Kath too much worry and that’s one thing I don’t want her to do.

14th to 20th May 1944

Sunday, this is the 12th day in the line, still no news when we shall be relieved. The planes have been over the German lines all day dive bombing, it’s great to see them. Still the usual amount of shelling and mortar fire, but now most of it is coming from our side; Jerry is in full retreat from the Cassino section of the line, which sure is great news.

The weather is really grand, every day it’s sunny and hot, just OK for this job.

Monday night we thought we heard a Jerry patrol in the gully in front of us, so let go with a few grenades, ten the fire flies came over and for a few minutes we sure had the wind up.

Tuesday and Wednesday night we were told to keep an extra sharp look out for Jerry patrols, but did not see any.

Thursday at 3oc we left the line and I was sure glad to get out of that spot, this time we spent 15 days and 16 nights in the line, this second do turned out to be a very long one.

We marched five miles along the jeep track and under the cover of darkness. Stopped when it started to get light, I made a brew and had a meal and then turned in for a few hours sleep.

Woke up about 12oc, had a wash and shave then got cracking with a meal. From here we can see Monastery Hill and we can see a flag flying from the Monastery, later we heard that Cassino had fallen to the British and Polish troops of the 8th Army. That sure was hot news, been waiting to hear this good news for days. At 11oc we marched the rest of the way back to Inferno, here we boarded the lorries and so on the last stage of our journey back to camp.

Arrived back at camp at 5oc on Friday morning, had breakfast and so to bed. Well once again we have been lucky, came out of the line without a single casualty.

Saturday, spent the morning getting organised, many things to do, such as washing, mending, also had a hot shower, gosh it’s great to be back at camp! This evening I went along to the N.Z. camp and there saw a very good stage show.

21st to 27th May 1944

Sunday went to open air church service on the camp, we have a lot to thank God for, watching over us and our safe return.

Well they have given us a couple of days off and I intend to have a lazy time. Went to Venafro airfield this evening and saw a RAF stage show which was very funny, just one big laugh from start to finish, a really smashing show.

Monday I just stayed around, had a nap in the afternoon, went to the canteen in the evening and had a few games of housey.

Started work again on Tuesday which is not so good, but really having an easy time. In the evening three Kiwis came to our tent they brought with them a four gallon tin of “Vino”, so had quite a do, everyone was drunk.

Thursday and Friday, two very busy days for me, wrote quite a lot of letters, trying to catch up with my mail. Both evenings I went to the canteen for the usual tea and biscuits.

Saturday afternoon we heard that we were moving, gave us two hours to get packed, bags of panic.

We arrived at our new camp site about 1oc, now only two miles from that famous town of Cassino, from here we get a wonderful view of Monastery Hill.

28th May to 3rd June 1944

Been very busy getting my kit sorted out, also had plenty to do putting up tents. Don’t think we shall be here for too many days. Lovely weather, very hot.

Tuesday morning had a lecture on German and |Italian mines, it certainly looks like a battlefield round here, very large bomb holes hundreds of them, knocked out tanks and lorries, what a mess.

Wednesday evening went to a quiz on camp between the D.I.D. and the Squadron, the D.I.D. won 6 ¾ to 6 ½ , quite an interesting evening. Still having a very easy time only doing camp guards and a few jobs during the day.

Friday evening went along to the Army camp to see a boxing show which was very good, saw some very exciting and thrilling fighting between the army boys. After the show I played housey, no luck, in fact lost 250 lira.

Saturday evening Fred and I walked into Cassino, saw the famous Continental Hotel or what’s left of it, the railway station, not a house or building standing, couldn’t walk around hundreds of mines still about had to keep to the main road but from there we could see everything. What a mess. This is total war alright.

4th to 10th May 1944

Sunday, left Cassino at 11oc this morning, passed through the town of Clere

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Archibald Maidment RAF Regiment 1942-44 War Diary

Archibald Maidment RAF Regiment 1945 War Diary

Background

Archibald Charles Maidment was born on the 29th August 1909. He married Kathleen Pagdin (Kath) in September 1941 and lived in Balfour Road Brighton Sussex BN1 6NB. This 1945 diary follows the previous diary posted covering the period from 1942 to 1944.

Timeline

Italy 1945

Arrived Monopoli Dec 31st 1944
Arrived RAF P.T.C. Bari Jan 25th

Yugoslavia 1945

Arrived Zara Feb 2nd
(Invasion of Pag island 3rd April to 7th April)

Italy 1945

Arrived Ancona May 16th

Austria 1945

Arrived Klagenfurt May 20th
Arrived Judenburg July 3rd
Arrived St. Marien July 29th
Arrived Vienna July 30th

England 1945

Arrived Nov

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Well we start another year and my last overseas I hope. Sure we will have victory this year so 1945 should be a great and wonderful year.

1st to 7th January 1945

Monday, just awful here today, rain, snow and bloody cold. We have been given two days off to get ourselves organised. I spent the time sorting out my kit and doing a few jobs that required my immediate attention. Had the primus stove on all day, certainly heats up the tent alright. Well once more we are back with the Squadron, worse luck. Nothing like being on our own.

Tuesday, another wet and cold day. Spent the time writing, have a lot of mail to catch up. Went into Monopoli this morning with my pals, had a most enjoyable evening in the canteen talking and smoking, of course had many cups of tea and tuck into the cakes.

Wednesday, started training, went out on a march this morning. Saw the Squadron play the Army at football, a very fast game which ended in a draw 2-2. Went into town tonight, first to the canteen and then to the cinema where we saw “Song of Bernadette”, have always wanted to see this film, certainly came up to my expectations, a really great show.

Thursday, spent the day in the cookhouse and I hate that job. Stopped in tonight and wrote. Still very cold.

Friday, out this morning on a march, only did about five miles. Went to the canteen tonight.

Saturday, another awful wet and cold day, gosh! I shall be glad when the summer comes round. Saw a very good film this evening “Destination Tokyo”.

Sunday and for a change it’s a lovely day, sunny and warm, just how I like it. Day off, so just lazed about. Went to the canteen this evening, had the usual, then played table tennis. Had some very good games and had fun.

8th to 14th January 1945

Mornings full of training, afternoons playing football, evenings at the canteen smoking, drinking and playing table tennis. Other evenings I spend in reading or writing. And so the week passes in this way, every day much the same, rather dull and not very interesting. Saw two very good films this week “Fanny by Gaslight” and “Pin Up Girl”.

15th to 21st January 1945

Another week of doing just the same old things day in day out, gosh! I’m fed up with this dump. Been a few rumours of our moving in the very near future and I hope so, it will be great to get cracking again, don’t like stopping in a place for long. Saw two very enjoyable films this week. “Two Girls and a Sailor” and “This is the Life”. Also had a very good concert in the canteen on Thursday evening, could do with more of these. Nothing else of interest to write down for the week.

22nd to 28th January 1945

Monday, terrible day, rain, snow and very cold. Too bad to work so spent the time in my tent reading. Went to the cinema tonight and saw “Christmas Holiday” which I thought was a very lousy show.

Tuesday, more snow today, it’s a job to keep yourself warm these days, glad we have got the old stove. Went to the canteen for the evening.

Wednesday, Spent the day packing for tomorrow we move, that sure is welcome news, only too glad to get away from here.

Thursday, left Monopoli camp at 2oc this afternoon and arrived at the RAF P.T.C. just outside of Bari. We are now billeted in huts which are a lot better than tents at this time of the year. Shall not be here many days.

Friday, spent the morning in the hut, nothing to do. Went into Bari this afternoon with two of the boys, went sightseeing. Bari is sure some place. Many fine modern buildings along the sea front. Went to the RAF Club which is a lively club, about the best I’ve seen for a long time. And so back to camp, enjoyed my afternoon in town.

Saturday, another easy morning, still don’t know when we shall be leaving here. In Bari again in the afternoon, had stroll round the town then went to the canteen for tea. Went to the theatre in the evening, a marvellous place and what a size, managed to get a seat up in the gods, saw a film called “Sweethearts” which was very good entertainment. When I got back to the hut they had a big fire going, it certainly looked and felt very cosy.

Sunday, big parade here this morning, inspected by a big RAF Officer, he gave us some “gen”, shall be moving to Yugoslavia in the next few days to build a drome. Turned out wet this afternoon so stopped in the hut, made up a fire and spent the time sitting round it reading.

29th January to 4th February 1945

Monday and Tuesday not allowed out these two days so nothing else to do but spend them in the hut. Awful weather, rain and more snow, it’s bloody cold. Made up the fire and sat around reading. We are all pack ready for the trip.

Wednesday left the RAF P.T.C. at 8oc this morning and made our way to Bari dock; at 12oc we board a USA L.S.T. Left port at 4oc this afternoon on the first stage to Yugoslavia. Great day for a sea trip, warm and sunny and the sea is calm, so it’s just ideal. Spent most of the hours of daylight on deck watching the coast.

Been lucky enough to get a bunk which is “just the job”. The Yanks on this boat are quite a nice lot of boys, spent an hour this evening talking to two of them, quite an interesting chat.

Thursday, still at sea when I got on deck first thing this morning, another lovely day very warm, plenty of sunshine, the sea is calm. At 1oc we entered Ancona harbour. Lot of army stores and trucks came aboard and about 50 army boys. Stopped in port all day and all night. Spent the evening in the sailors’ mess reading and writing, the boys are playing cards.

Friday, left Ancona at 4oc this morning. Rather dull first thing, turned out lovely later. At 2oc we passed through the many small islands off the mainland, all look very rocky and barren. Entered the port of Zara at 4oc. From the deck it looks a great place, everyone crowds to the side to see what’s doing. Left the L.S.T. at 6oc and spent the night in one of the buildings. On guard tonight. Well we are now in Yugoslavia.

Saturday, had a very busy day unloading the boat, the rest of the Squadron has moved to a place 14 miles from here. Tonight I and 7 others were told we should be stopping in town for a week to do guards on the billet and so OK with me. Well the RAF have taken over this lovely house, used to be the palace of the Italian big noise. We have a room on the second floor, opposite is the bathroom with a lovely marble bath, wash basins.

Sunday spent the morning cleaning up the room and the bathroom. Then went for a walk along the sea front, quite a nice front, or I should say it was, many big hotels and other buildings been many big raids on this town, the front is just a mass of ruins, the bombers sure made a mess of this place.

A lot of Yugoslavian soldiers here and many Italian families. This was an Italian province before the war, but they have “had it” now. Tonight I did a guard on a petrol boat, not a lot of sleep.

5th to 11th February

Monday, a lovely day, sunny and quite warm, just right. Stopped in and had a smashing hot bath also did my smalls. Was great to get into a real bath again.

Tuesday, the rest of the Squadron arrived here today and moved up to the drome site. This afternoon my pal and I went round the bombed buildings, what a hell of a mess, must have been hundreds killed in the two big raids.

Wednesday, spent most of the day around the buildings looking for primus stoves, found one in very good condition, nearly everyone has a stove now.

Thursday. Another lovely day here, getting lovely weather now. Out again looking for stoves, found another one. The billet is now full of stoves, never seen so many before. On guard tonight for three hours, had a couple of Yugoslavians to go round with me, certainly a queer lot alright.

Friday. Stopped in and cleaned my stoves. Heard that the boys are having to work hard and long hours, one runway is finished and planes are expected in today. Great going, built a runway in five days, they have had to move tons of small stones.

Saturday. Went for a walk around this morning and found another very good stove, have three now. The RAF boys have been very busy cleaning up the billet and it looks really smashing, sure is a lovely palace.

Sunday. Rained this morning so I did not go out, wrote a letter and did a spot of reading. About 20 Yank airmen arrived here after making their way through the German lines, some had been on their way since last November. Went for a stroll round this afternoon and did the usual nightly patrol. And so ends my first week in Yugoslavia.

12th to 18th February 1945

Monday. Well this our last day in Zara we are moving up to the drome and another lot are coming to relieve us. Went for a last look round the buildings. Well organised in the billet, airmen’s mess and a smashing club room, radio, books and games. Just the place to spend a pleasant evening, always a big fire in the room. Had a game of housey in the club tonight, no luck, did not win a game.

Tuesday. Moved up to the drome this morning, passed through a couple of small Yugoslav villages, looked awful dumps. Well it was good to get back with the boys again, once again in tents. Spent the day getting organised. Quite a nice camp site, have a good view of the drome. The boys must have worked hard here, now on the second runway. So far there are six spitfires here, but many more are coming.

Wednesday. Up at 6oc and at work by 7oc and finish at 5oc, so it’s a hell of a long day. Busy working on the airstrip picking up tons of stones, what a job. Well it was great to get some mail from Kath and to know she is well and OK.

Thursday. Another long and busy day working on the drome, the second runway is nearly finished.

Friday. Did not have to start work till 10oc as I was on guard last night. Still working on the runway, making this one extra long to take the big bombers. A new chap joined the Flight and he’s in our tent, quite a nice chap.

Saturday. Another whole day working on the drome. Hundreds of Yank bombers passed over on their way to Germany. This afternoon a Liberator landed here on three engines, just back from a raid.

Sunday. Day off, so had a good lay in, just great. After breakfast I got cracking with my smalls and other jobs.

19th to 25th February 1945

Awful day, very cold wind blowing all day. Woke up to find a big hole in the tent, spent most of the day mending it. No work on the drome, finished the second runway.

Tuesday. Still an icy wind blowing, the warmest place is bed. Had a very easy day. About 20 Liberator bombers landed here today, just back from a big raid, this is the half way stop. Some have engine trouble others short of petrol.

Wednesday. Spent the whole day working on the Flight defences, and that means plenty of spade work. Hundreds of planes over and three Liberators landed OK.

Thursday. Had the afternoon off so had a good hot bath, the usual tin affair. Saw a Liberator crash land this afternoon, the crew got out OK. Well we are now with B.A.F.

Friday. Had a visit from the A.O.C. Mediterranean, I did not see him myself, but he came round the camp site. Lovely sunny day and a lot warmer.

Saturday. A few of our boys have gone on an invasion with the Yugoslav’s and the planes from here are helping. Heard things are going OK.

Sunday. No day off. Instead I spent the day on the drome getting the rockets ready for the planes, very busy here now the planes are doing plenty of operations. Another Liberator crash landed and went up in smoke. All the crew got away OK.

26th February to 4th March 1945

Monday. Another whole day on the drome fixing up rockets, have all the “gen” on these things now, quite an interesting job. The “do” on the island is over, the Yugoslav’s had to evacuate, Jerry was too good for them.

Tuesday. Spent most of today working on the runway picking up stones, fed up with that job. Had the Squadron’s welfare radio in the tent for today, not a very good set.

Wednesday. Day off, had a bath then did my smalls and also a few other jobs. A lot of Liberators land on the drome, some on two engines and others on three. One caught fire on landing, crew OK. Must have been a big raid.

Thursday. Spent the day working at the petrol dump.

Saturday and Sunday. Spent a day at the bomb dump, had quite an easy time. One of our planes fired three rockets into the lake, just to show us what they could really do. Plenty of panic on the drome, the Yugoslav’s are coming round at night and pinching our stuff, what a bloody awful crowd.

5th to 11th March 1945

Well we are starting to do a drome patrol and that means out very night, so once again it’s sleep by day and work by night, shall soon be fed up with that arrangement, sure does not agree with me. Most afternoons we have to work for a couple of hours, working at the different dumps or on the Flight’s defences. Most mornings I spend in bed usually feel quite tired after being out for four hours. And so the week passes. Every day now hundreds of bombers go over and we usually get a lot land on the drome on their way back.

12th to 18th March 1945

Monday. Still doing the usual night patrol round the drome. Had a bit of excitement today, a Liberator caught fire on landing, a hell of a blaze. Glad crew got out OK.

Tuesday. Lovely here today, warm and sunny, sure getting grand weather these days. Took advantage of the weather to have a bath outdoors also did my smalls.

Wednesday. Spent the morning in bed. Went down to Zara this afternoon and did a spot of work at the D.I.D.

Thursday. Had the day and night off, which is “just the job”. Great to get a full night’s sleep for a change.

Friday. Two high nobs of the Yugoslavian army came to the drome, the boys formed a guard of honour.

 

Saturday afternoon I went to see the Squadron play 2914 at football, 2914 have a smashing team and beat us 7-0.

Saturday night went to a small village to do a guard, from there we went miles into the country in search of eggs for M & V. Stopped at a small village and we were soon doing a roaring trade, I gave some chocolate to the kids and nearly got mobbed doing it. But it was quite good fun. Had a good night’s sleep and had a wizard supper of eggs before going to bed.

19th to 25th March 1945

Two Liberators, one Lightening and a B-fighter crashed on the drome, all the crews got out OK. So there has been plenty of excitement on the drome this week. Still doing every night out on patrol, shall be glad when this job is finished, fed up. When there is no moon it’s a job to find your way round in the darkness, get lost and spend hours trying to find the way back to camp.

Most evenings I either read or write, some evenings have a game of cards with the boys. So far there is nothing in the way of entertainment for us and we are all fed up with this dump and would welcome a move back to Italy. Heard that the British boys had crossed the Rhine, that sure is good news.

26th March to 1st April 1945

Monday. Went to Zara this morning, down here for the week doing a guard, this is going to make a change. This afternoon my pal and I went for a good walk round the town, still a lot of Yugoslav troops here and the Yugoslav A.T.S. all carrying arms. Went to the club this evening and played the Navy at darts, we lost every game, still it was great fun.

Tuesday. Rotten here today, wet and dull, just went round the bombed out buildings. Tried to get into a Yugoslav show, but no luck, so went to the club and had a few games of housey, did not win a cent.

Wednesday. Lovely day, very hot. Went for a stroll through the town then spent a very pleasant hour sitting in the park. Tonight we went to the Yugoslav show, had to use our heads to get in, we were the only two British there, quite good going. The show was in honour of two Russian Generals. The theatre was packed with Yugoslav soldiers and A.T.S. This is the first time I’ve seen arms taken into a theatre, some even had grenades on their belts. We could not understand the talking, just a lot of Greek to me. But the singing and the dancing was quite good.

Thursday. Wet morning so stopped in and did a spot of writing. Went for a walk round this afternoon and spent an hour in the park, quite nice there, quiet and peaceful.

Saturday and Sunday. Had a lay in both mornings and went out for a stroll later in the day. Very hot here now. Spent the evenings in the club room playing darts and housey. And so ends a very pleasant and enjoyable week at Zara.

2nd to 8th April 1945

Monday. Arrived back at camp this afternoon and heard some hot “gen”. No. 2 Flight is going on an invasion tomorrow, the C.O. came round and gave us a talk. Spent the rest of the day packing.

The invasion of Pag island on the 3rd of April at 11.45.

The island of Pag is just off the coast of Yugoslavia, Pag town is the capital and the only big town on the island. The main force of the enemy was here. A large open plain ran from the invasion point to the town, on either side mountains, hills and deep ravines.

The invasion force, No. 2 Flight, 2771 Squadron RAF Regiment, R.S.R. with four 75mm guns, wireless ops. Transport, six jeeps and two 3 ton lorries. The main force was 2000 Yugoslav infantry. The regiment job was to give support and covering fire for the guns and stop any German patrols. That’s the set up in a nut shell.

Left camp at 6oc in the evening, embarked on L.C.T. 380 at Zara, sailed from there at 7oc, a lovely starlight night, no moon, just ideal for a night landing. Everyone is in a cheerful mood. We arrived off the island about 11.30. At 11.45 we stormed up the beaches under the cover of darkness, it was a complete surprise landing as we did not meet with any opposition.

The jeeps, lorries and guns were unloaded from the ship and we all made for the small narrow country road. The convoy lined up and we move off about 12.15. There was 36 of us in our lorry and in this way we travelled for about four miles, the road was awful, more of a track than a road, a dark night and no lights.

After this short distance we all got off the lorry, some of us got into jeeps, the rest had to march. Another four miles was covered in this way and we were now at our forward positions. The four guns were set up in a small gully, a small broken down house on the hill behind was our HQ and receiving post for the wireless ops.

We took up positions all round the guns, everyone is in their places, the gunners are waiting for the word fire. It was now 2oc in the morning of the 4th. No sleep for anyone. At 3oc there was a few short bursts of machine gun fire on the hill to our left, which we heard later was a Jerry patrol out looking for us, but instead they ran into a strong force of Yugoslav’s who had just landed.

At 3oc it started to rain like hell and continued like this till about 11oc, no shelter anywhere, we all got wet through, this rather dampened our spirits, everyone was fed up, tired and hungry, shall not forget these few hours.

At 12oc the sun came out, everyone felt better and things started to warm up. The guns opened up and fired quite a few rounds, from our positions on the hill we could see the shells bursting on the town. During the early hours of this morning thousands of Yugoslav soldiers passed our positions on the way up to the front line. At 12.30 we had our first meal since landing, cheese and biscuits and mug of tea, not very special, but went down well.

At 1.30 we left this place and moved up a couple of miles to a building which is now our HQ. The guns were in a nearby field and firing into the town, and what a target.  In the evening the planes came over and dive bombed the German positions in the town, then round they came again firing their rockets and guns, quite a fine display. One of our planes was shot up by Jerry A.A. and landed on the other side of the hill, we heard later that the pilot got out OK.

From here we can see the houses and buildings of the town, but cannot see what damage the guns have done. The Yugoslavs are doing well and now engaged in street fighting. At 6oc we all move to HQ have a good hot meal and a good wash down, so to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Thursday 5th April. A lovely morning, warm and sunny, feel fit after a good night’s sleep. At 9oc we leave this spot and move up another two miles, now only about three miles from the town, the guns are firing from an open field, from here we can see where the shells are falling. Three sections are covering the guns, the other section is on the ship unloading the ammunition onto the jeeps to bring up to the guns. After lunch weft our positions and helped to unload the ammo off the jeeps and get the shells ready for the gunners. It was while we were doing this that Jerry sent over a few mortar shells, one dropped about 40 yards from us, that made us duck alright, thought we were in for a hot time, Jerry had the range with that first shot of his, but all the others fell wide, one landed on the jeep track.

At 4oc we put down a terrific barrage which lasted for half an hour, after this our planes came over and did their bombing runs, the town was just a mass of smoke, then came the final attack on the town which was successful. At 5.30 we heard the great news that the Germans had surrendered, all the island was now in Yugoslav hands. So ends a very successful campaign, we taste the fruits of victory. This small force of British troops played quite a big part in this successful invasion.

Friday morning the Officers and some of the boys went into town to have a look round, the rest of us had to remain at HQ much to our disappointment. The party returned back about 11oc, we were soon on our way back to the ship, arriving at 12.30. Once more we were onboard, but were soon in trouble, the boat was stuck fast on the beach and we had to wait for the tide to come in. It was 3oc when we pulled off the island and we all had great hopes of being back at camp that night.

After sailing along for about 2 hours at quite a good speed the boat suddenly pulled up with a hell of a crash, we all thought we must have hit a mine and for a second my heart was in my mouth. But we had run onto a lot of uncharted rock at full speed. What a mess up, but at least we are safe and cannot sink. After the Captain had inspected the ship and found same to be OK, he made every effort to get us off. But no luck, we shall need a tug to pull us off, so we spent the night on board.

Saturday morning two M.T.B. came along and tried to pull us off, still no luck, the boat did not move an inch, so there was nothing else to do but give it up. About 12oc a big repair boat arrived and the three had a go, but still that made no difference. At 5oc three M.L.’s came along and we were all transferred to these, had to leave the guns and transports behind and a few of the boys. So goodbye L.C.T. 380. These M.L.’s are certainly fast little boats and we seemed to be rushing through the water, “just the job”.

At 6.30 we pulled into Zara. Then along came the lorries to pick us up and take us back to the drome, arrived there at 10oc. A hot meal was ready for us and after a tuck in it was time to get in between the blankets for a well earned sleep. And so ends our little invasion outing to the island of Pag.

Saturday. Spent most of today in bed, great to be back.

9th to 15th April 1945

Monday. Well back to the usual jobs, guards every night and mornings in bed. Afternoons working on the drome. And so the days and nights pass in this way. The news is great, the old 8th is once again on the move in Italy and going great guns. This war should be over within the next few weeks. Just about fed up with this country and would welcome a move, but I don’t think we shall leave till it’s all over.

16th to 22nd April 1945

Monday night. I went with two other chaps to the other airstrip to do the guard there, we exchange a lot of tins of M & V for eggs, quite some fun tonight.

Tuesday. Old Col. Salmon arrived here this morning, and when we see him it’s usually a move, well a move would be very welcome right now, fed up with this dump and so the week passed, really nothing of interest to write about these days, just the same old jobs.

The weather is really grand that’s certainly one good thing.

Jock left for Naples on Saturday. Going on a mines course.

30th April to 6th May 1945

Monday night. Once more at the airstrip which is “just the job”. A Yugoslav lorry with wounded soldiers on board broke down, we towed them into the nearby town. Our good turn for the week.

Saw a very enjoyable film at the Yank camp, called “Wonderful Crime”.

Two Jerry training planes landed on the drome. The news is great these days, expecting to hear that the war is over any day now.

Saturday afternoon the Squadron held its sports meeting, quite a good do, the racing was very exciting. No 2 Flight walked off with the Squadron cup.

7th to 13th May 1945

Monday. Well at last this bloody war is over, this is the day I have been longing and waiting for, and now it is here. I feel on top of the world. Plenty of excitement and celebrations, big fires everywhere, round the drome and on the mountains.

Tuesday. Today is the official Victory Day. This afternoon at 3oc we all gathered round the radio to hear the King and Mr. Churchill speak. Felt good to know at last that this awful, long and terrible war is over, but this is only the half-way stage to total peace, still the Japs to finish off, but I don’t think that they will take very long.

Had today off, so took things easy. Saw a very good film called “Show Business” this evening. The drome is lit up with flares and big fires, the Yugoslavs are firing many rounds into the air. But what a dump to be in on V.E. night, managed to get hold of a couple of bottles of beer.

Wednesday. Another day off, so had a lazy time. Saw a very fast and thrilling game of football, England against Scotland, England won 7-1. After this went and saw an RAF stage show which I enjoyed.

Thursday afternoon. About ten of us went down to the sea in a van, I enjoyed my first swim here, it was just great in, very hot today, just ideal for a swim and a spot of sun bathing.

Friday and Saturday. Having a very easy time here now, which is just the job.

Saturday afternoon there was a big Wing sports meeting here, and the weather was great, sunny and hot. The Yugoslavs entered and did quite well. Saw many exciting and thrilling races.

Sunday. Went to a big open air thanksgiving service this morning. Another afternoon at the sports, the finals were run off. Saw a film this evening called “English without Tears”. Lousy.

14th to 20th May 1945

Monday evening. We had just started a game of football when the Officer came round and told us to get back to our tents and get packed up ready for a move tomorrow. This is one move I welcome, shall be only too glad to get out of this country, fed up with this dump.

Tuesday. Left the drome this morning at 9oc and embarked on the Greek L.S.T. No. 36 at Zara. At 5oc we sailed and we say goodbye to Yugoslavia. Very hot, the sea is lovely and calm, no worry about U-boats on this trip. Did a spot of sunbathing on deck.

Wednesday. Landed at Ancona at 2oc this afternoon and so ends a very pleasant trip on L.S.T. 36. Well once more we are in Italy and it sure is good to be back again after Yugoslavia. Moved to a camp site just outside of Falconara, don’t expect to be here many days, anyway that’s the rumour. Went for a stroll this evening with my pals.

Thursday. The Ammunition Flight moved off today. Went down to the beach, was great to get into the sea and I enjoyed a good swim, after this I layed on the sands sunbathing, very hot.

Friday. Up at 5oc this morning and on the road by 7oc, passed through Rimini and Ravenna. Stopped the night at Ferrera and had to do a guard.

Saturday. Another early start, passed through Padua and one time we were in the outskirts of Venice but that’s all we saw of that city. Very disappointed about not seeing Venice, one place I did want to see. Saw hundreds of lorries loaded with Jerries. Spent the night at Udine airfield. Feeling very tired after these two days on the road.

Sunday. Left Udine airfield at 10oc and passed through the town also Traviso. We are heading for Austria. Went through the mountain pass of the Eastern alps, wonderful scenery, snow topped mountains, the fast flowing rivers with many fine waterfalls. Shall never forget this part of our journey. Crossed into Austria at 2oc. Spent the night at an airstrip about 7 miles from Klagenfurt.

21st to 27th May 1945

Monday. Another move this morning, but only about 3 miles, now the other side of the drome. Had a very busy day putting up tents and getting the camp organised, also managed to do a spot of washing. There is a big German prisoner of war camp near us, they seem to move about just how they like, even have their own guards, sure is a very queer do.

Wonderful country here, green fields, lovely woods, streams and waterfalls, everywhere looks so fresh and clean.

Tuesday. This afternoon I went into the town of Klagenfurt, quite organised, two large canteens, cinema and theatre. Went to the cinema and saw “Lady, Let’s dance” a very fine film. Came out and had tea at the NAAFI canteen. Went to the theatre this evening and saw “Ballet Revue” which was not too hot, don’t care a lot for this sort of show.

Wednesday. Had a very easy day, did a spot of writing. We now have a very good Jerry bus, should be alright for runs now. The C.O. got back to the Squadron and made us move camp to a new site about a mile away, certainly a better camp site.

Saturday evening. My pal and I went for a long walk into the country, was just great out.

Sunday. On camp guard for 24 hours, so not a very interesting day.

28th May to 3rd June 1945

Monday. Started the week with a C.O. parade this morning, everything went off OK. Went into town this afternoon, saw “Andy Hardy’s Blonde Trouble” at the cinema, very good film, quite funny in parts. Had tea in the canteen then went along to the theatre where I saw a smashing variety show. And so ended a very enjoyable evening and afternoon out.

Tuesday. Another Squadron parade this morning, Col. Salmon inspected us. The rest of the day off, I did not trouble to go out, had a lazy afternoon on my bed. Did a spot more writing in this book.

Wednesday. Another day spent in camp, just took things easy.

Thursday. Saw the Squadron team play the Army, quite a good game which we won 4-2. Film show on camp tonight, the film was “Prisoner of Zenda” very old but quite a good show.

Friday. This afternoon two of my pals and I went into town, spent a couple of hours looking round, went to the canteen for the usual. Walked back through the woods, lovely evening, just ideal for a walk.

Saturday. Had a good rest this afternoon then went into town in the evening, saw a Russian show at the theatre called “Fete a la Russi”, very good singing and dancing, in fact a very fine show.

Sunday. Lovely here today, sunny and hot. Spent the afternoon down at the lake, swimming and then lazing on the grass, thousands down here, just like being at the seaside. The “Frat” band is on, so cannot talk to any civilians. Saw a film this evening called “Shadow of a Doubt”, very enjoyable show.   So ends a very good week for entertainment.

4th to 10th June 1945

Monday. Spent today on drome guard, very hot this afternoon, turned out wet in the evening.

Tuesday. Another afternoon in town, saw the “Frontier Badmen” at the cinema, went along to see the theatre in the evening, and saw a good variety show.

Wednesday. Spent today in camp. Having a very easy time here, which is “just the job”. George and I went for a stroll into the village, stayed at the local and had a couple of glasses of lemonade, no beer. Lovely evening, great to be out.

Thursday. Now enjoying really lovely summer weather, everyday it’s sunny and hot just ideal. Stopped in camp all day, just lazed around.

Friday. Spent this morning doing my smalls and blanco-ing my webbing. Saw the squadron play 2825 at football, very fast and exciting game which we won 4-2. Came back and did a spot of celebrating.

Saturday afternoon. I went down to the lake with some of the boys, very hot again and it was just great in the water, had quite a lot of fun in swimming and diving. After this I lazed on the grass sunbathing then went along to the canteen for some light refreshment, quite a good canteen, Fraulein’s to wait on you and a dance band to listen to, just the job.

This sure is a wonderful lido and quite as nice as being at the seaside for a day. Came back to find most of the camp under water, had a busy time clearing the water out of the tent, what a bloody mess everything was in.

Sunday. Awful day, rained all day, so spent the time in the tent. Turned out fine in the evening so went out for a stroll through the country, and what country, just wonderful.

11th to 17th June 1945

Monday. Had the usual C.O. parade this morning, all went off OK. This evening I saw the Squadron play 2914, awful game which we lost 4-0.

Tuesday. Another day spent in camp. This evening it was really lovely, went for a long walk way into the country and it was just ideal for walking. Gosh! I wish Kath was here with me, quite sure she would love it here.

Wednesday. Rained all day. Went to the cinema this evening and saw “Arsenic and Old Lace” which was a smashing film, one big laugh from start to finish.

Thursday. Spent the whole day in the cookhouse and how I hate that job.

Friday and Saturday afternoon I went to the lido and really enjoyed myself down there. Saw quite a good film in town called “Adventures of Mark Twain”. Saturday evening went along to 2914 camp hall, very good RAF stage show with “Pat Burke” doing her stuff, she has certainly got it alright, smashing figure, cannot say the same about her singing. The dance band was quite good.

Sunday. Day off but did not go out, did quite a lot of writing. Went into town this evening, first went along to the canteen then onto the theatre and heard an orchestral concert which was great, real classical music.

18th to 24th June 1945

Monday. On guard for 24 hours, so no lido for me today. Many lorries of German prisoners passed the camp. Thousands camped in the fields around here.

Tuesday. Off duty. Big Wing rehearsal parade here this morning, glad I was not on that. Spent the afternoon down by the lake, sunbathing and enjoying a dip. Went to the canteen in town and then to the cinema where I saw a film “It Happened Tomorrow” which I thought was a very enjoyable show.

Wednesday. Another afternoon down at the lido, very hot again. Certainly just the spot to spend a few hours when it’s like this, swimming in the cool waters of this lake, lazing in the sun, lots of beautiful blondes lazing about, just like being on holiday. After my swim I went along to the lido canteen for tea. Very nice sitting under a shady tree drinking tea. Saw a very good film this evening called “Shine on Harvest Moon”. And so ended quite an enjoyable day.

Thursday morning. Another big Wing parade rehearsal and this one I was on, all the boys looked very smart, very good turnout I thought. Yet another afternoon down at the lido, getting in plenty of swimming and sunbathing.

Friday. Stopped in this afternoon and enjoyed a good nap. Went to 2914 Squadron hall, the RAF brass band gave a concert. And it sure was a smashing show, played everything from swing to classical, something for everyone. Certainly the best band I have heard overseas.

Saturday. Another big parade this morning, shall be very glad when this General has been and gone. This evening for a change my pal and I went along to the village swimming pool, quite a lovely spot. Had quite a lot of fun diving off the raft and swimming around.   After this went to the local beer house, no beer, had to be satisfied with lemonade.

Sunday. Spent most of today getting ready for the big do tomorrow. Spent the evening in the tent doing a spot of washing. Not a very exciting day.

25th June to 1st July 1945

Monday. The big day has arrived for us, up early and on parade by 9oc. Everything was ready at the saluting base, flags flying, the RAF brass band playing and the four squadrons lined up.  At 10oc Major General Robinson, the big chief of the Regiment arrived with other Officers. After he had inspected us he came round the tents then made a short speech, said he was very pleased with the very smart turn out.

In the evening we went along to see a football match between an Army team and the regiment, which took place in the grounds of a big German military hospital. A really smashing pitch, must have been about three thousand there, soldiers, airmen, German wounded prisoners and quite a lot of nurses. The RAF band played before the game started and during the interval. Just like a big game back at home.

The game was very fast and thrilling and we saw some really first class football, certainly the best game I have seen overseas. The result was a draw 3-3. After this we went to the cinema and saw “This is the Life” which was a very good show. Ando so ends a very full day.

Tuesday and for a me a day off. Did my smalls and wrote a few letters. Went into town this evening and saw a variety show called “Kingsway Calling”, very enjoyable show, good singing and dancing.

Wednesday. On guard.

Thursday. I stopped in.

Friday evening, I went and saw the Squadron play 2832, quite a good game which we lost 4-3. After this we went to the village beer garden, spent a very pleasant hour there drinking lemonade, talking and smoking.

Saturday. Today we have been given four hours notice to move, so had a very busy time getting everything packed. Saw a variety show on the drome, not so hot.

Sunday. Still here. Bloody awful day, rained all the time. This evening went to the theatre in Klagenfurt, heard a very good musical concert given by the Klagenfurt symphony orchestra, conductor “Theo Haslinger”, played all classical music.

2nd to 8th July 1945

Monday. Up at 6oc this morning, should have moved but it was cancelled owing to bad weather. Awful cold and wet day, not allowed out so did a spot of writing.

Tuesday. Left Klagenfurt at 9oc this morning, say goodbye to this lovely spot, very sorry to leave. My Flight rode in the Squadron’s bus, doing it in style this trip. Arrived at our new camp site which is about two miles away from the town of Judenburg. Had a very busy time putting up tents and getting the camp organised. The countryside round here looks really lovely, wooded hills and mountains, green fields, everywhere looks just a mass of green.

Wednesday. Had a very busy day around camp, many jobs to do after a move, on camp guard tonight so could not get out.

Thursday. This afternoon George and I went into the town of Judenburg, not a very large town, more like one of the country towns one sees in England, spent an hour looking round, then went to the baths, was good to get a hot shower once again. After this we went to the NAAFI canteen which is by the side of the swimming pool, quite a few in enjoying a swim. Got back to camp in time for dinner. This evening we went for a long walk into the country, it’s just ideal here, that’s of course if one likes the country.

Friday. The rest of the squadron moved in from Italy. Went out again with George. Spent most of today getting ready for the C.O. parade. This afternoon saw the Flight team play, not a very good game, we lost 4-2.

Sunday. Day off. Really lovely here, sunny and very warm. George and I drew our sandwiches from the cookhouse, now all set for a day out hiking. Left camp at 12oc, after crossing a couple of fields we were now on the track through the mountain valley. Certainly was lovely weather and wonderful country, the wooded hills and mountains, the rushing mountain stream with the many lovely little waterfalls, here and there saw mills, with a cluster of quaint houses. The going was all up hill and quite tough, sure made us sweat. Every hour went sat down by the stream, had a rest and a smoke and then on the move once more. After covering about 6 miles in this way, we had a long rest, bathed our faces in the cold waters of the stream, drank a bottle of beer, after this felt much refreshed, we were now way up in the mountains.

We walked on for another mile and then came to a lovely old farmhouse. We asked the old people at the house for a glass of milk, but they made out they did not understand what we wanted, after giving the old boy a pipe of tobacco we got our milk. After this everything went off “tops”, they invited us into the house, a charming young girl played and sang quite a lot of folk songs. From the house we had a great view of the surrounding countryside and the valley through which we had come. We stopped here for about three hours, talking, smoking and listening to the girl singing. But all good things come to an end and it was time for us to leave. We said our goodbyes and told the old couple we would try and come again.

The homeward journey was better now all downhill. We did about two miles then sat by the stream, drank the last bottle of beer, ate the sandwiches then lay back on the grass, was just great so very quiet and peaceful. Arrived back at camp about 10oc feeling very tired after our long hike but felt very happy.

9th to 15th July 1945

Not a lot to write about for this week, saw four football matches, the last one was when the Squadron team beat the Army boys 7-3, very fast and exciting game. Most evenings George and I went for a long walk into the country, many lovely walks around here. We usually managed to get a glass of milk at some out of the way farmhouse, had many interesting chats with the locals, George is doing very well with his German, but I’m not so hot, still picking it up alright.

Friday I took over the job of batman for old Colpus for a week, quite an easy job, anyway will make a change from the usual everyday work, no guards or parades.

16th to 22nd July 1945

The latest rumours going the rounds are that we shall soon be on the move again, heading for Vienna. The weather is very changeable these days and we usually get at least one storm every day, also getting quite a lot of rain, but when it’s fine it’s great, sunny and very hot.

Saturday morning George left for the U.K. the lucky chap, promised me he would call on Kath, gosh I wish it was going to be me. This morning an Army General inspected us, everything went off OK.

Sunday. Bags of panic around camp today, expecting to move tomorrow.

23rd to 29th July 1945

Monday. Well we are still here but should be moving out any day now, everything is packed ready for a quick getaway.

Tuesday. Yet another day here, supposed to be going tomorrow now, went for my last walk here, lovely evening very pleasant out.

Wednesday. On guard today. All the Squadron moved except the men on guard, so we shall be here a few more days yet, that’s OK with me. After the Squadron had gone old Colpus took off all the guards so we had a very lazy day. “Just the job”, only about 14 of us here, good to be away from the Squadron for a few days.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Just lazed around camp, nothing to do, spent a few hours on my bed. This is the life, only wish we were going to stop here for a few weeks, don’t fancy going back to the Squadron.

Every evening I went for a stroll with one of my pals, making the most of my last few evenings here to get out and see as much as possible.

Sunday. Once more we have our orders to move. Left Judenburg at 12oc today. Passed through a couple of big towns including Bruck. Arrived at St. Marien at 3oc, heard that we shall only be here tonight, on to Vienna tomorrow.

30th July to 5th August 1945

Monday. Up at 4oc this morning. Inspected by the C.O. at 6oc and on the road by 7oc. Arrived at Vienna about 4oc, passed through the city on the way to the drome which is some 7 miles out. Vienna looks some place and how! The people seem very pleased to see us, a lot of smiles and waving of hands. Russian soldiers everywhere, awful dirty looking lot. We arrived at the drome about 5oc and then No. 1 and 2 Flights were told to return to the city. What a bloody mess up. Once more we passed through the city and arrived at the late S.S. barracks just on the outskirts. What a day.

Tuesday. Well we are doing a guard on the palace, a ceremonial guard at that. I’m on guard at the barracks today. It’s quite OK here, very good barracks, good living quarters and a really smashing dining hall. Have a very nice room which I share with five of the boys, we all have managed to get hold of a good bed. I have a good folding spring bed, which is one thing I have been looking for a long time.

Wednesday. Day off. Spent most of the time doing my washing and blanco. Went for a stroll this evening, did not go far, have to find my way around before going too far away.

Thursday. My first guard at the Palace and what a do, expect we shall get used to the people staring at us. The Russians tried to get into the Palace twice but we had to turn them back. Hearing some awful tales about these Russian troops, they do look a bloody rough lot.

Friday. Day off. Did the usual washing and blanco, had a nap in the afternoon. Went for a stroll in the park with two of my pals, a lovely large park, a lot of people sitting out enjoying a pleasant evening, others walking around.

Saturday. On Palace guard again, shall be glad when the Army arrive to take over.

Sunday off. Went out this afternoon, wore my blue, was glad to get back and change, it’s too hot for that dress. Went out early this evening, was great out. Went into the park again, also had a look round the zoo, quite a lot of different animals there, of course not so many as in the London zoo, but the monkeys are just as amusing.

6th to 12th August 1945

Monday. This morning we moved out to the drome at Schwechat which is about 5 miles from Vienna. Now once more way out in the wide open spaces. Rather “grim” here. Spent the morning getting the old tent up and getting organised. Two lorries run into town every night so we are OK for getting in. Went to town tonight, had quite a good time out with the boys, did the sights.

Tuesday. I have a very nasty place on my arm, quite painful too. Went sick this morning, off work and guards for a few days. Went into town with Jim, spent an hour walking around, then took a trip on the city’s underground railway, quite an experience the trains were packed. I now know what it’s like to be a sardine in a tin, still we had quite some fun.

Wednesday. No work, arm still bad, spent most of the day on my bed reading, also wrote a couple of letters. My pal Jim left for the U.K. today, the lucky chap but he sure deserves a break, been out just over 3 ½ years. Went into town with one of the boys, did a spot of sightseeing, now seeing a lot of Vienna. Sure is a big city, must have been a lovely place in peacetime and very gay. Quite a lot of damage was caused by bombing and shelling and the German S.S. added to it by blowing up buildings. Still there is plenty to see and do in Vienna.

The rest of the week I spent lazing about, my arm is still very bad and sore. Went to the cinema Saturday night and saw my first German film, very good show, could not understand all the talking but could at least follow the story. Shall be very glad when ENSA get cracking with some shows, very slow in opening up a cinema.

13th to 19th August 1945

Monday. Another easy day, my arm is a lot better now thank goodness. Went into town this evening, had five pints of beer at a very posh hotel bar.

Tuesday. Moved back into Vienna once more, very glad to get off the drome, that is too much of a dump. Now billeted in a girl’s school which is OK, quite near to the trams and trains, but only expect to be here for a few days.

The rest of the week was spent in doing guards and other jobs, when off duty went out sightseeing. The weather here is great, everyday it’s sunny and warm, just ideal.

Sunday. Should have been my day off but spent the time moving, so had a busy time packing and unpacking. Now billeted in a block of flats quite near to the school, very nice here. Have a smashing room which I share with three of the boys.

20th to 26th August 1945

Well the war with the Japs is over, peace in the world at last, that sure is great and wonderful news. The atom bomb sure did the job, but what a terrible thing. Makes me wonder what the world is coming to, what next!

Monday was V.J. day for us, so off for the day. This afternoon took a stroll round the city with one of the boys, saw many interesting places. In the evening I saw a very good German film. Not much to write about this week, still doing the usual guards and camp jobs.

Wednesday evening we went to the theatre and aw a very enjoyable variety show, the singing was really great. A lovely theatre, the best I have seen overseas, very large stage. Next week we shall be on the move again to new billets, fed up with all this moving around and shall be glad when we get to settle somewhere.

27th August to 2nd September 1945

Things are going along much the same, still doing the usual guards and other jobs. When off duty at night usually going for a walk round, now seen quite a lot of Vienna, sometimes we find a beer house with beer to sell, very mild stuff, would need to drink a gallon to get anywhere near drunk, also go to the cinema for a change, seen some very good German films here.

On Wednesday we had yet another move, the Squadron has taken over a wing of a hospital which is hoped to be the winter billets, very nice here and very good billets.

Spent most of Thursday getting organised in the room, all managed to get a spring bed, also have a spot of furniture, such as table and chairs and a few other things.

Sunday. Off duty. A smashing day, warm and sunny, just ideal. George and I left camp about 12oc with sandwiches and beer, caught the train to Vienna woods, great there. Spent about three hours in the woods, had a picnic on the grass.

3rd to 9th September 1945

There does not seem much to write about these days, anyway nothing of interest. The guards come round quite often, which is not so good, in fact we are not having such an easy time these days, still I suppose we cannot grumble. Roll on November, let’s get back home.

Thursday evening we found quite a nice café, music and beer “just the job”, stopped there a couple of hours and during that time we knocked back a few pints. The weather here is great, everyday it’s warm with plenty of sunshine.

10th to 16th September 1945

Saw a couple of German films which were very good. Heard that ENSA are opening up a cinema and theatre, it’s about time they got cracking with some entertainment here. A canteen opened up this week, rather small but quite a nice place, anyway the cakes are very tasty. Makes somewhere to go in the evenings.

17th to 23rd September 1945

Friday evening my two pals and I went to the ENSA theatre, very nice place. Saw quite an enjoyable variety show, had a good laugh. That’s about the only high spot of the week, certainly nothing else of interest to write about. The weather is till lovely, enjoying a late summer. Gosh! How I’m looking forward to getting home, get very fed up at times, glad I only have a few more weeks to do.

24th to 30th September 1945

Monday. The weather has changed for the worse, been very wet and cold here today. Had a good hot shower, very fine baths which the Army has taken over. Went to the ENSA cinema, saw Rita Hayworth in “Cover Girl” which is in Technicolor, very good film the dancing was really “super”.

Tuesday evening we took a stroll round the French zone of Vienna, plenty doing round there and quite a lot of beer about.

Friday. Saw quite a good stage show at the ENSA theatre, singing and dancing really good. It’s good to see an English show and a film.

Saturday evening went for a stroll round, called in the canteen for the usual, and so ends another week.

1st to 7th October 1945

Went to the cinema this evening, saw a film which I cannot remember the name of, anyway it was not so hot.

Wednesday. This is the first day of my leave in Vienna, rather late for a holiday, but I don’t intend to do very much except have a really lazy 7 days. Anyway it will be a nice change to have a week off from guards and working parades. Went to the theatre this evening, very good play on called “On Approval”, the acting was high class, enjoyed this show very much.

The rest of the week I just lazed around, wrote a few letters and did a spot of reading, nothing very exciting.

Sunday. Saw a very good German show on at the theatre, then found a very nice canteen, singing, music and beer, finished the evening off OK. This has been a week of rain, everyday wet, cold and dull, look as if we had the best of summer.

8th to 14th October 1945

Monday. Had a busy morning   doing my washing and what a pile there was. Also sorted out my kit, should not be long now before we leave the Squadron. Went along to the cinema, saw a German talkie which was lousy.

Tuesday. Had a very easy day, the weather these days is really great, warm and sunny. Went for a stroll around this evening, found a smashing little café, good music and plenty of beer, very enjoyable evening out.

Wednesday. Last day of my leave so had a good lay in this morning. A few of the time excused boys left the Squadron this morning for the U.K. Went along to the theatre this evening, saw a very good German show.

Thursday. Well my leave is over, not a very exciting holiday but had a very lazy time and enjoyed the rest. Did a spot of work just to fill in the time. Went to the ENSA theatre, very fine dance band on but the rest of the show was “grim”.

Friday. Plenty of rumours going round that the next lot of time excused boys will be leaving the Squadron next week, hope this turns out true as I’m on the next lot. This afternoon I was on a big rehearsal parade, the boys looked quite smart in their blue with the white belts. Quite a big do, our Squadron, four companies of soldiers and about 20 armoured cars, not forgetting the military brass band. Had to march past twice. Big crowd of civilians watching. Took place in the palace ground.

Saturday. Sent my photo off and also the enlargement, wrote a couple of letters, spent the afternoon reading. On barrack guard tonight. Enjoying lovely weather still.

Sunday. Got back to the billet at 9.30, spent the rest of the morning getting ready to go out, also did my webbing. Went out at 4oc, first went to the canteen for the usual then on to the cinema, saw a very good film.

15th to 21st October 1945

Monday. Had a very easy day. Went along to the ENSA cinema, saw a jolly good musical show called “Something for the Boys”, the sort of film I enjoy.

Tuesday. On guard this morning at the M.T. but was not on for long. At 2oc 2825 relieved us, we had to get back to camp to get ready for the big do tomorrow. This is just the sort of guard I like.

Wednesday. The big parade was cancelled and that’s OK with me. Afternoon off so got out early. Lovely day, sunny and warm, had a walk round town then called in the canteen for tea. Went along to the cinema after, saw a lousy German film.

Thursday. Another easy day, went to the baths this afternoon and enjoyed a good hot shower. Went to the ENSA theatre, very good variety show, the all girl band was tops, in fact I enjoyed this show.

Friday. On guard on the camp. Received my new blue battledress, very good fit, don’t know why we have been issued with this as time excused are not allowed to take it home.

Saturday. Well for a change I have a clear weekend off. went out this afternoon for a stroll, had tea in the canteen then saw a news reel film which lasted an hour, after this went to a café for a couple of hours, sat drinking beer and listening to the dance band, quite a good evening.

Sunday. Had a good lay in this morning, then did a spot of writing in this book, must keep it up to date now as I expect to be leaving the Squadron any day now. Shall be glad when I pack up and get cracking for home. Went out this afternoon for a walk, a lot of people out enjoying this sunny day. Saw quite a good German film. Ando do another week is over.

22nd to 28th October 1945

Monday. This morning was spent in sawing up wood so had a very busy time. This afternoon I went along and saw the B.T.A. team play the Vienna garrison at football, after a very slow and uninteresting game which the B.T.A. just managed to win 2-0, very poor football, expected some a lot better than this from these two teams.

Tuesday. On guard last night so off this morning, just did a few jobs. Heard some great news, we are leaving the Squadron next Sunday, the first step towards home, feel on top of the world.

Saw another football match, this one was between the British Troops in Austria and a local club. Quite a crowd turned up to see this game. Plenty of excitement and a lot of dirty play, most of it from the civilian side, spoilt a very fine game, still it was very exciting and fast. The B.T.A. had one player turned off and only had 10 men all through the second half, but they were still too good for the local side and won 3-1.

Went to the canteen and then to the ENSA cinema, saw a very funny film called “Abroad with Two Yanks”. Certainly gave me a big and long laugh. And so ends a very good day for news and entertainment.

raf-reg-2

Archibald Maidment RAF Regiment 1945 War Diary

Frederick Bailey Royal Marines 1943 War Diary

Preface

Young Fred’s war diary is a record of him serving at the start of 1943, aged 22 years old, in the Royal Marines Division. Initially based at Spurn Point on the East Yorkshire coast of England doing largely watch or guard duties. He spends most of his time ashore but occasionally is tasked on board requisitioned trawlers.

Later he is posted back to the Royal Marine Barracks at Chatham (which his service record serial number CH/X 100377 indicates was his home barracks) in Kent. He undergoes signal training there and is eventually posted overseas from Portsmouth on Sunday 18th July, via Freetown Sierra Leone & Cape Town South Africa, to Bombay India.

Also included are 2 airgraphs from Fred to his mother, a Mrs H.E. Bailey residing at “Mahalaxmi41 Drayton Road, Borehamwood, Herts England written from Naval Party 1030 GPO London to celebrate her birthday and Christmas 1943.

His sweetheart was Betty Price from whom he receives various letters and a valentine card and to whom he writes fairly regularly, although like many naval types he appears to have a few others on the go too!

He was born on the 10th August 1920 and had with the following further details:

Pay No: 6th Div. (GII 1212) 266
Rifle No: V 14457
X Rayed R.N.B. 8th March 1943 (140359)
Naval Party 1030 Pay No 219
Inoculation TABC 100% 8th November 1943

He survived the war but no further information is known.

January 1943

Friday 1st

Orvicto/Spurn

Packed gear. Forenoon below. Left HLV 11.00. Transferred to Outburst at 13.00 off Spurn. Turned in until supper. Naafi in evening.

Letters from B. Price & Alan.  Ditto P. Davey.  Greetings from Dot. Walsham.  Airgraph from Gordon Tedder

Saturday 2nd

Spurn

Got up 08.00. Paid £2-10-0. Did first dog and first. 3/6d in letter from Mum from Women’s Sec: British Legion.

Letters from Mum (& Jo).  Ditto Mary Wilshire.  Card from Alan

Sunday 3rd

Spurn

Did the afternoon and last dog watches – proceeded by the morning. Cold as the grave. Much A.A. at night.

Monday 4th

Spurn

Did middle and forenoon. Turned in all afternoon.

Letter from B. Price.  Wrote: Alan Hedges, Peggy Davey, Mum and British Legion, Betty Price, Mary Wilshire

Tuesday 5th

Spurn

Did first dog and first.  Strong blizzard in progress.

Sent £1-0-0 home, also uniform.  Letter from Peggy Davey

Wednesday 6th

Spurn

Did morning. Turned in all forenoon. Tidied gear in the afternoon. Snow – 30 mph SSE.

Wrote (& sweater) to Bill

Thursday 7th

Spurn

Did afternoon watch and last dog. Pleasant weather.

Friday 8th

Did middle, forenoon, first dog and first watches.

Letter from P. Davey.  Ditto B. Sweeting.  Paper from Mum

Saturday 9th

Spurn

Did morning watch. Cold 33 degrees.  Rolled in forenoon. Bathed in afternoon.

Letter from B. Price.  Wrote 2 airgraphs to Dot.  Wrote 1 airgraph to Tedder.  Wrote 1 letter to Gwen

Sunday 10th

Spurn

Loafed most of the day. Dhobied a little. Snowing heavily. Went to concert and saw Carlton Accordion Players.

Letters to P. Davey, B. Sweeting.

Monday 11th

Spurn

Dhobied in the forenoon.  Did afternoon watch. Tanner Officer of the Watch. Last dog.

Wrote B. Price.

Tuesday 12th

Spurn

Did middle and forenoon. Turned in for afternoon.

Wrote Anne Scullion, Joan Peacock.

Wednesday 13th

Spurn

Loafed most of time.  Did first dog and first.

Thursday 14th

Spurn

Did morning watch. Turned in for forenoon. Fixed Aerial for radio. OK.

Friday 15th

Spurn

Laid in until 10.30. Paid £2.2.0

Letter from Doris Milner.  Wrote Doris, Fitz

Saturday 16th

Spurn

Learn that Bill is at, of all places, Patrington.  Did afternoon, last dog, middle

Letter from Bill, Alan, B. Price.  Wrote Bill.

Sunday 17th

Did middle forenoon.  First dog and first

Monday 18th

Did morning. Learn Bill at Out Newton. Bus to Easington. Walk to site. Have an hour or so’s jaw with him. Walk back nearly to Kilnsea and then get lift. Owe Cecil ½ lb sig (repaid)

Lent Barney £1.0.0 (Paid FRB 21/1).  Lent Bill £0.10.0.  Letter from Bill

Tuesday 19th

Spurn

Loafed etc. Lit boiler etc.  Went on watch 12.00. Did afternoon.  Last dog.

Wrote Mum.  Letter from Anne & Gwen

Wednesday 20th

Did Middle and Forenoon.  Borrowed bike from F.C. Cycled over to Out Newton to see Bill.  Stayed at site for tea. Got back in time for supper. Saw “Manhunt” at NAAFI.

Thursday 21st

Did spot of dhobeying in forenoon. First dog and first.

Wrote Alan, B. Price, Anne S., Pte Gwen Cutbush A.T.S.

Friday 22nd

Spurn

Morning, afternoon, last dog.  Bad visibility.

Letter from Mum, Peggy Davey.  Wrote Mum.

Saturday 23rd

Spurn

Did middle and forenoon.  Turned in for afternoon. Bathed and dhobied in evening.

Letter from Len Skinner.  Papers from Mum.  Wrote P. Davey, L. Skinner.

Sunday 24th

Spurn

Did not turn out until 12.00. Bill came down to Spurn. Had tea, supper, couple of pints at the NAAFI. He left at 2.00.

Monday 25th

Spurn

Got up 08.15. Did first dog and first.

Letter from Mary Wilshire.  Wrote Mary Wilshire.

Tuesday 26th

Spurn

Did morning. Rode over to Bill’s site. Found he had gone to another site called Tunstall, but found he had left me a note. Saw “Andy Hardy’s Courtship” at NAAFI.

Note from Bill.  Wrote Bill.

Wednesday 27th

Spurn

Did afternoon and last dog.

Letter from B. Price.

Thursday 28th

Spurn

Did middle and forenoon.

Reg. packet etc. from Mum.  Letter from Dobs.

Friday 29th

Spurn

Loafed most of day. Made a few gadgets.  Paid £1-16-0.

Wrote B. Price, Mum.  Letters from Nan, D. Ginn

Saturday 30th

Spurn

Did first dog, first.

Letter from Doris Milner.  Wrote Babs, Alan.

Sunday 31st

Spurn

Did morning, afternoon and last dog.  Gale.

February 1943

Monday 1st

Spurn

Did middle and forenoon.  Turned in for afternoon.

Letter from Anne, Peggy

Tuesday 2nd

Spurn

Did first dog and first

Letter from Bill

Wednesday 3rd

Spurn

Did morning watch.  Turned in most of day.

Wrote Doris Milner, Don Ginn.  Letter from B. Price.

Thursday 4th

Spurn

Did afternoon, last dog.

Friday 5th

Spurn

Middle, forenoon, first dog and first.

Herts Ads and Mirror from Mum.  Letter from Alan.

Saturday 6th

Spurn

Did morning watch. Had 3 breakfasts and turned in until teatime.  Bathed and did a bit of letter writing.  Lent Dickinson £1-0-0.

Wrote Anne, Mr J Wright.

Sunday 7th

Spurn

Loafed about. Did a bit dhobeying.

Wrote Mum, Bill, P. Davey

Monday 8th

Spurn

Did afternoon and last dog.

Tuesday 9th

Spurn

Did middle and forenoon. Turned in for afternoon. Saw “Holiday Inn” at NAAFI.

Wednesday 10th

Spurn

Loafed (getting quite a habit isn’t it?)  Did first dog and first.

Airgraph to Dot.  Wrote Alan, Betty Price.  Got Reg. letter from Bill.

Thursday 11th

Spurn

Did morning watch.  Turned in forenoon.

Letter to Bill, Dobs, N. Johnson.  Letter from Dobs.

Friday 12th

Spurn

Loafed, as usual, for the forenoon.  Slept all afternoon.  Paid £1-18-0.

Letter from Don Ginn, Mrs Wright.

Saturday 13th

Spurn

Up at 08.15 for breakfast.  Bit of dhobeying in forenoon.  Did afternoon, last dog.

Valentine from B. Price. Valentine gram to B. Price.

Sunday 14th

Spurn

Did middle and forenoon, first dog and first.

Monday 15th

Spurn

Got gear packed, after coming off morning. Spend day messing about awaiting boat. Spent evening attempting to salvage barrage balloon. Was partially successful.

Valentine from Peggy Davey and one from “?” at Watford. Letter from Alan. 1 from Len Skinner.

Tuesday 16th

Spurn/Arlette

Got rigged and messed about all forenoon. Caught Outburst and went on to Arlette.  Picked up first watch.

Wednesday 17th

Arlette

Did morning, afternoon and middle.

Thursday 18th

Arlette

Did middle and forenoon and part of first. Docked about 18.00. Saw “White Savage” & “Almost Married” at Tower.

Papers from Mum.  Letter from Nellie.

Friday 19th

Arlette

Did forenoon at office. Went to Savoy, saw “War Comes to Mrs Bradley”.

Letter from B. Price, P. Davey

Saturday 20th

Arlette

Did afternoon at Office

Letter from Anne Scullion, Babs Sweeting.  Wrote Mum, B. Price, Alan, L. Skinner

Sunday 21st

Arlette/RN Barracks (GY)

Got gear together. Went to RN Barracks (GY). Booked room at YMCA and went to Regal “Caught in the Draft”.

Monday 22nd

RNB (GY) / RMB (CH)

Up at 07.00, breakfasted at RNB, caught 09.05 at GY docks. Arrived Chatham 16.30.   Slept N6 room.

Tuesday 23rd

RMB (CH)

Spent forenoon going round various offices.

Wrote Mum, Anna Scullion.

Friday 26th

M. Barracks Chatham

Paraded. Paid £1-16-0.  Signal school afterward.  Did 04.00 – 06.00 as bell sentry.

Letters from Mum, B. Price, Don Ginn, Alan

Saturday 27th

Signal school in forenoon.  Rolled in all afternoon.  Did spot of ironing etc. in evening.

Sunday 28th

R.M.B. (CH)

Was warned off immediate foreign draft. Got gear packed. Went on bell sentry 22.00

Wrote Mum, D. Ginn.

March 1943

Monday 1st

Came off bell sentry 02.00.  Paraded with Woof at orderly room 07.55.

Tuesday 2nd

R.M.B.

Paraded 08.00. Sig school.  Forenoon, afternoon.  Saw “King Arthur was a Gent”.

Wednesday 3rd

(CH)

Paraded as usual.

Letter from Bill.  Wrote Bill.

Thursday 4th

RMB

Signal school. Marked gear etc.

Papers from Mum.  Letters from D. Milner, M. Wilshire.  Wrote Alan, B. Price

Friday 5th

(CH)

Paid £0-18-0.  Went to cinema – saw “Me and My Gal”.

Saturday 6th

RMB

Zeroed rifle. Did P.A.D.  (No 1 section fire fighting squad)

Sunday 7th

CH

Went ashore with “Woof”.  Met Betty Haynes.

Monday 8th

RMB CH

Parade 07.55. X-rayed at R.N.B. in afternoon.  Went stroll Vera White, Woof, B. Haynes.

Letter from Anne Scullion.

Tuesday 9th

R.M.B. CH

Signal school.  P.A.D. exercise at night.  N.T.R.

Papers from Mum.  Letter from Jack Wildman, Bill.

Wednesday 10th

RMB CH

Still at signal school.

Wrote Doris Milner, M. Wilshire, Mrs Wright, Geo Wright, Bill, Mum.

Thursday 11th

Got new greatcoat and stripes from store. Saw Beryl and Vera near barracks. Got gear ready for leave.

Letter from Len Skinner.

Friday 12th

RMB / Leave

Drew pay £2-7-0.  Proceeded on 7 day leave.  Arrived home 1.30.  Dug a bit of garden and a few chores. Went to studio, saw “Mrs Miniver”.

Saturday 13th

Leave

Went to Shenley with Alan.  Dance @ Keystone’s.

Sunday 14th

Leave

Went to St. Albans. Saw “Chump at Oxford”. Few drinks at Crown.

Monday 15th

Leave

Saw “7 Days Leave” at Studio.

Wrote Eddie Gutsel.

Tuesday 16th

Leave

Had ride round on bike, afternoon at R.C.  Strolled over to horses with Babs.

Wrote Mrs Dob.

Wednesday 17th

Leave

Marked gear in forenoon. Out with Al in evening.

Wrote Jack Wuldman

Thursday 18th

Leave / Barracks

Left home 2.45pm.  Arrived barracks 19.00.  Transferred to A2 at main.

Friday 19th

Barracks

Paraded at Miss – musters.  Paid 18/-. Sig school in afternoon.  Saw “Road to Morocco” in evening.  7/6 mess savings from R. Cullingford

Letter from P. Davey

Saturday 20th

R.M. Barracks

Paraded 0755. Rolled in for afternoon. Went to Hippodrome.

Buzzer 100% 100%
Lamp 95% 100%
Semaphore 99.5% 92.5%

Sunday 21st

R.M. Barracks

Paraded 0845, P.A.D.

Wrote R. Cullingford, Mum, Len Skinner, P. Davey, Anne.

Monday 22nd

R.M. Barracks

Paraded at 0800 as usual.  Did a few “reads”.  Did not go ashore in evening.

Wrote D. Walsham.

Tuesday 23rd

R.M.B CH

Stayed aboard.

Wednesday 24th

R.M.B CH

Was on P.A.D. Stayed aboard, of course.

Thursday 25th

R.M.B CH

Went ashore and saw “7 Sweethearts” at Ritz.

Friday 26th

Went to Ritz, saw “Always in my Heart”.  Paid 18/-

Letter from Jack Wildman & Xmas card

Saturday 27th

Forenoon at Sig school.  100% at lamp and sema.  P.A.D. fire watching – but did not have to turn out

Papers from Mum.

Sunday 28th

RMB

Went stroll past Rochester with Woof. Pictures in evening.

Monday 29th

CH

Went to Globe, saw “Who Done It

Gram to Dobs.

Tuesday 30th

RMB

Paraded as usual 0800

Signal school all day

Letter from Dobs. Wrote Dobs.

Wednesday 31st

RMB

Went ashore, saw “Something to Sing About

Letter from B. Price

April 1943

Thursday 1st

RMB

Went on “booze”

Friday 2nd

RMB

Paid 18/-.  Bell sentry 6-8 & 12-2

Letter from Anne, Babs.

Saturday 3rd

BW

Went on weekend.  Home at 4. Went stroll B. Price Green St – Shenley – Green St.

Letter from M. Wilshire

Sunday 4th

BW

Went to “W for V” parade.  Later to Crown with Mickey and Brownie.  Caught 830 bus from B.W.  10.40 from Charing Cross.  Arrived barracks 2400

Monday 5th

RMB

Signal school as usual.  P.A.D.  Slept in barrack room.

Tuesday 6th

All day at signal school.  Went to Sailor’s Home for supper.

Back to write a letter or two.  Wrote Brownie

Wednesday 7th

RMB

Forenoon at Signal school.

Thursday 8th

School. Was nearly broke.  Should have been bell sentry but had all night in.

Wrote M. Wilshire, Mum.  Letter from Len Skinner

Friday 9th

RMB CH

Paid 18/-.  Signal school all day

Saturday 10th

Went Majestic saw “Lady Bodyguard” with “Bolshie Bill”

Note for “Bolshie” read “Comrade”

Sunday 11th

RMB CH

P.A.D. parade 0845. Mel guard room fatigues.  Was P.A.D. firewatcher.  Turned out 0015

Monday 12th

RMB CH

Turned in 0100. Signal school fore and after noon.  Saw “Wake Island

Tuesday 13th

RMB

Signal school. Spot of helio.  Did dhobeying in evening.

Letter from B. Price  Wrote Brownie, B. Price

Wednesday 14th

RMB CH

More signal instruction.  P.A.D. in evening.  Turned out at 2335 or so

Letter from Jack.

Thursday 15th

RMB (CH)

Stayed aboard. Had a spot of footer.  Did intelligence test and joined 38A class.

Friday 16th

RMB (CH)

Paid 18/-. Went pidgeon lecture P.M. Cinema in evening.

Saturday 17th

RMB

Signal school in forenoon.  Kipped in P.M.

Sunday 18th

Saw “White Cargo” and “Pride of the Yankees

Wrote Bill (I think)

Monday 19th

RMB

Nothing of import.

Letter from Babs.  Wrote Mum, Babs

Tuesday 20th

P.A.D. Nothing of import. Alert 22.30-23.00

Wednesday 21st

Went to Blue Bell hill to release pidgeons.  Saw “Twin Beds” at Globe.

Letter from Bet Price.

Thursday 22nd

Stayed aboard again.

Papers from Mum.

Friday 23rd (Good Friday)

Hot X buns for breakfast.  Drumhead Service. Drew £1-1-0.

Letters from Jack Wildman.  Easter card from B. Price.  Wrote Jack

Saturday 24th

RMB

Turned in in afternoon.  Went “3 Crowns” and “North Foreland” with Bolshie and Barber.

Sunday 25th

Went Regent mitt Bolshie and Floyd.

Monday 26th

RMB

Afternoon off, turned in.  PAD at Wrennery in evening. Saw “This Above All” at Globe.

Letter from Bill, Anne, B. Price.  Wrote B. Price, Bill

Tuesday 27th

RMB

Forenoon at Signal School.  Sold stripes for 15/-.

Wrote Mum & Anne.  Parcel (pyjamas) from Mum.

Wednesday 28th

Went and saw ? at Majestic.

Thursday 29th

RMB

Stayed aboard. PAD.  (Gash hand)

Friday 30th

Paid 18/-.  Rained all day

Wrote L. Skinner

May 1943

Saturday 1st

Stayed aboard, except for trip up to Melville canteen.  Raining canines and felines.

Sunday 2nd

RMB

PAD parade 0845, again at 1700. No 4 trailer pump crew. Saw “My Gal Sal” at Globe.

Monday 3rd

Nothing to report. Usual routine

Papers from Mum.  Letter from Anne.

Tuesday 4th

RMB

Got stripes, pressed same and went ashore with “Bolshie” saw Vera Lynn in “We’ll Meet Again”.  Stripes from Mum.

Wednesday 5th

RMB

Bell sentry 2200-2359.

Wrote Mum

Thursday 6th

Saw “Eugine Pini” at Globe. Party good.

Friday 7th

Went ashore to Majestic. Saw 407 Kings Squad on parade.  Paid 18/-.  Boozed up with “Cookie”

Letter from B. Price

Saturday 8th

Test on “Lines”.  Duty flag 0800

Buzzer 100% and 99.5%
Lamp 100%
Sema 98.5%

Had bath, did dhobeying, etc.  Duty flag again at 19.00.  P.A.D. slept rescue store.

Sunday 9th

RMB CH

Did fatigues at M.C.H.  Stayed aboard most day.  Supper at Sailors’ Home.

Wrote Anne, B. Price

Monday 10th

Rained all day.

Letter from Dobs

Tuesday 11th

Signal school 0800 for duty flag.  Rescue squad (No 2 section) for PAD.  Duty flag 1900.

Letter from L. Skinner

Wednesday 12th

Procedure and maps in forenoon. Lamp work in afternoon.  Wrote up notes in evening at D.1

Thursday 13th

RMB CH

No parade. Procedure in forenoon and maps.

Letter from B. Price.

Friday 14th

Duty flag.  Paid 18/-.

Postcard to Mum.  Letter from Dot Walsham

Saturday 15th

RMB CH

Did read up at Lines.  Caught 1258 from Chatham.  Had good feed and then out with Alan.

Buzzer 1100
Buzzer 2100
Lamp 98
Sema 99.5

Sunday 16th

Rode up to Kath’s, saw Christine. Saw Home Guard demonstration in afternoon.  Strolled with Wendy, Joan, Arthur Powell in evening.  Left B.W. 2115 Charing X 2240. Arrived barracks 23.45.

Monday 17th

RMB (CH) Duty watch

Duty flag 0800. Signal school.  Duck eggs for tea.  Firewatcher married quarters.

Tuesday 18th

Turned out twice in early morning. Finally crashed down for good at 0300

Wednesday 19th

RMB CH

Usual routine

Wrote Joan Johns, Dot Walsham

Thursday 20th

Still usual routine.  Bell sentry 1800-2100

Friday 21st

RMB

Paid 18/-. Strolled up to Victoria Park with Floyd.

Saturday 22nd

Weekly read:-

Buzzer 100% 100%
Lamp 98.5%
Sema 99.5%

Saw “Pied Piper” in evening

Parcel from Mum

Sunday 23rd

RMB (CH)

Duty flag 0800 and 1900.  Firewatcher (cookhouse)

Monday 24th

Instruction at signal school

Wrote Mum.

Tuesday 25th

RMB

Instruction at Sig School.  Wrote notes in evening.

Wednesday 26th

(CH)

Daily Flag 0800 and 1900.  Firewatcher WO’s mess.  Wrote notes in evening

Letter from Alan

Thursday 27th

RMB CH

Letter from Nellie with 5/- P.O. Lamp pair work in afternoon.  Letter from Nellie

Friday 28th

RMB (CH)

Paid 18/-. Helio work in forenoon. Reads in afternoon.  “Ratted” in evening.

Wrote Nellie

Saturday 29th

100% on all reads.

Went swimming at Garrison Baths.  Firewatcher on D roof

Sunday 30th

Melville guard room fatigues in forenoon.  Went stroll evening

Monday 31st

Signal School

June 1943

Tuesday 1st

Map ride in forenoon, PAD at night (F.W. No 1 terrace.)

Letter from Anne, Brownie

Wednesday 2nd

Should have gone on CWS scheme, but was prevented from doing so by rain

Thursday 3rd

Did cable work scheme at Chattenden.  Went ENSA show in evening.

Wrote Al and Brownie

Friday 4th

Visual Scheme (HQ Coy).  First Coy back. Our position Hale. Paid 18/-

Letter from Babs.

Saturday 5th

Weekly read. 100% on all reads.

Sunday 6th

Stayed aboard all day.  Wrote notes all afternoon

Monday 7th

Moving central V/S station exercise. Signal clerk

Tuesday 8th

RMB CH

Examinations

Airgraph from Dot

Wednesday 9th

More exams

A/G from Dot

Thursday 10th

RMB

Paid £1-18-0. Left CH 1715 arrived Elstree 1930.

marine-2

Friday 11th

Leave

Went cinema. Saw “Silver Fleet’.  Cycled to South Mimms

Saturday 12th

Leave

Roamed around, getting bored.

Sunday 13th

Went cinema, saw “This Man Reuter”.  Picked up 1st Good Conduct Badge

Monday 14th

Leave

Did bit dhobeying

Tuesday 15th

Leave

Saw “Get Cracking” at Studio with Brownie

Wrote “Jenks”, Bill

Wednesday 16th

Leave

Walked to Elstree with Brownie

Thursday 17th

Leave RMB CH

Saw “Casablanca” at Studio. Left for CH 1300 arrived 1700. Slept A2

Letter from Brownie, Mary Wilshire

Friday 18th

RMB

Paid 18/-. Moved to C14 Kitchener barracks. Top on exams. Start radio.

Practical 86%
Paper 89%
Reading 100%

Letter from Bill, Brownie.  Wrote Brownie, Mickie

Saturday 19th

Weekly read

Buzzer (1)
Buzzer (2)
Lamp
Sema

PAD 1BW Canteen.  Turned out twice during night

Sunday 20th

K Barracks CH

Fatigues Me. Guard room.  Slept in afternoon.  Saw “Money for Jam”, “Dr Syn

Monday 21st

Radio work 38 set in forenoon.  Motor cycle instruction afternoon.  Went ashore for supper at “Freddie’s”

Tuesday 22nd

38 set in forenoon.  Motor cycling in afternoon.  “Arabian Nights” at Globe

Wrote Mum.  Letter from Mickie

Wednesday 23rd

RM (KB) CH

22 set in forenoon.  Motorbike in afternoon.

Letter from Brownie.  Wrote M. Wiltshire

Thursday 24th

22 set in forenoon, motorbike in afternoon.  Wrote up notes in evening

Friday 25th

Gas test 0800. Duty flag. 22 set in forenoon.  Paid £1-5-0. Reading in afternoon. Bell sentry 10-12, 0400-0600.

Saturday 26th

Test read buzzer 100%, lamp 99.5%, sema 98%

Cleaned school.  Moved to K.B. B12

Letter from Jenks.  Paper from Mum.  Letter from Mum

Sunday 27th

Saw “Desperate Journey” at picture house.

Wrote Mum, Brownie, Len Skinner

Monday 28th

No 18 set on forenoon.  Chatham – Maidstone – Rochester – Maidstone – Chatham on motorbikes in afternoon.  Duty flag. Firewatcher W.O.’s mess. Turned out at 0200-0230

Tuesday 29th

22 set in forenoon.  Draft on board at noon.  Have afternoon off.  Pack gear, etc.

Wednesday 30th

Leave

Have medical, dental.  Paid £2-3-0 Leave.  Went flicks with Brownie

July 1943

Thursday 1st

Leave

Loafed most of day.  Out with Nellie West in evening

Friday 2nd

Roamed and loafed.  Went flicks in afternoon

Saturday 3rd

Cycling with Hilda

Sunday 4th

Made rabbit hutch yesterday.  Pictures with Brownie.  Wilkie came over.

Monday 5th

Nothing much to report. Went to Watford to buy pipe.  Got it.  Saw J. Peacock at Watford

Tuesday 6th

Went stroll with Brownie Elstree & back

Wednesday 7th

RMB

Got back to barracks about 2000. Bunked B12 Kitchener with A.S. Thorpe

Thursday 8th

Loafed in forenoon.  Sig School in afternoon.  Aboard in evening

Letters from Babs, L. Skinner.  Airgraph from Jack W

Friday 9th

Paid £1-2-0.  Ashore with A.S.T. and pal. Saw “3 Hearts for Julia

Saturday 10th

Sig School in forenoon.  Draft in afternoon.  Med, Stores etc.  Packed gear.

Sunday 11th

Embarked 0815 for naval Party 1030. Arrived Pompey 1400

Monday 12th

Loafed around.

Wrote letters to Mum (1), Brownie, Babs.

Tuesday 13th

Strolled around Southsea

Wednesday 14th

Went Savoy Pompey.  Slept Trafalgar Club

Thursday 15th

Paid £1-0-0

Friday 16th

Paid £4-0-0

Left Pompey with draft.

Wrote Mum (2), Brownie

Saturday 17th

Arrived: – …………. Went aboard S.S. ………..

Soon settled down. We 6 bootnecks mess with 10 matelots.

Letter No 3 Mum, Bill, Nellie

Sunday 18th

10.30 sailed.

Wrote Mum

Monday 19th

En route.  Good weather.  The blanks in the following pages are due to the monotony of the daily routine. One eats (after a style) sleeps, loafs on deck etc. The unusual (to us) heat makes one’s brain numb, or so it seems.

Tuesday 20th

En route.  Good weather.

We sunbathe almost every day – bearing in mind some of the burns I have seen, I take it easier

Wednesday 21st – Friday 23rd

Nothing to report.

Saturday 24th

N.T.R.

Wrote Mum (4), Alan Hedges, D. Milner, Mrs Stockley, Brownie

Sunday 25th – Monday 26th

N.T.R.

Tuesday 27th

N.T.R.

Wrote K. Colter, Lena Endicott, Mary Wilshire

Wednesday 28th – Saturday 31st

N.T.R.

August 1943

Sunday 1st

Our first port. We do not get ashore, but lean over the rail, wistfully looking at the lights ashore and watching niggers dive for pennies.  We are allowed the luxury of sleeping with the scuttles open at night, lately fresh air has been at a premium.

Monday 2nd

We oil and water, watch the ships etc. and speculate as to whether the next meal will be worth eating.

Tuesday 3rd – Sunday 8th

En route

Monday 9th

Wrote Anne Scullion, J. Wildman, Vera Cross, Chief Jenkins, Mickie, Peggy Davey, Mrs Robinson, Brownie

Tuesday 10th

My 23rd birthday.  Drank my own health in lukewarm, brackish water.

Thursday 12th

Wrote Mum No 5, A.S. Thorpe, Nellie Johnson, G. Tester.

Friday 13th

Wrote Babs

Monday 16th

Paid £1.0.0.

Tuesday 17th

Re-wrote letter No 5 to Mum (reached home Oct 16th).  Wrote Joan Peacock

Wednesday 18th

15.00 I have a grandstand view from forward end of prom deck. First the Table Mountain comes into sight and we swing into the Bay. Our escort swings aft as if we are of no import now that there is something of interest to look at. Rather reminds one of a pack of dogs leaving a bone for a larger one. As we get into the bay the town unfolds itself and is a beautiful sight. I can see now why Mum (bless her) wanted to go back. We drop hook, look at the lights, wish we could go ashore and turn in. Sleep – sleep – sleep.

Thursday 19th

08.30 Up hook, and away we go. Never far from land. Meet occasional ships. Start thinking of our next stop.

Wednesday 25th

Watch aboard.

Thursday 26th

Went ashore.

Friday 27th

Stayed aboard.

Airgraphs to Mum (No 6), Nellie (Bailey), Brownie

Sunday 29th

Wrote Bill.

September 1943

Friday 3rd

Paid £1-0-0.

Wrote: – E Gutsell, Babs, Al, B. Lumsden, Dot, N. Bailey, Mum.

Tuesday 7th

Wrote Jean Bilton, B. Price

Friday 10th

Anchored in Bay

Saturday 11th

Docked.

Sunday 12th

Sorted gear on dockside.  My first impressions of this country is one of dirt and dust, heat and hullaballoo – and maybe I’m not mistaken.

‘Gram from Dobs.  Airgraph from Dot

Monday 13th

Went to RNB II.  Room 21.  We have a nice place here. A large room, tiled floor, with two sets of double doors opening onto a large veranda. I sleep outside and it’s beautifully cool. One can go up onto the roof where a grand view is to be had. Mosques, spires, blocks of flats, all in their variety present a cosmopolitan view.

Tuesday 14th

Paid R.40.  Saw “Star Spangled Rhythm”.

Wednesday 15th

As a city this place does not impress me. Dirt, dogs, beggars – all combine to make up all that is offensive. Clean this place up – give the native a bath or rather a soak – that would my first action if I were able to have my way.

Wrote A/G Mum, Brownie

Thursday 16th

Saw “Hello Frisco Hello” at Eros. Had a nice supper after the show.

Friday 17th

Nothing to report

Wrote A/G Nellie, Babs

Saturday 18th

Swimming in forenoon at Breach Candy – a Trust swimming bath for Europeans only. A very nice place too.

Sunday 19th

Swimming in afternoon.  Stroll in evening.

Monday 20th

Afternoon at RNO. From my point of view a sheer waste of time.

Tuesday 21st

Day off.

Wednesday 22nd

Feeling low. Forenoon at RNO. Sick at night.

Thursday 23rd

Went sick – excused duty (Dengue fever)

Friday 24th

Sick bay in forenoon

Letter No 3 from Mum, letter from Jack, card & letter from Nellie all posted 10th August from England (46 days)

Saturday 25th

Sick bay in forenoon

Write letter (8) air letter card (9) to Mum (arrived home Oct 18th – 23 days)

Sunday 26th

Sick bay in forenoon

Monday 27th

Returned to duty

Tuesday 28th

Forenoon at RNO

Wednesday 29th

Afternoon at RNO

Letters to Bill, Dot

Thursday 30th

Paid R30.  Saw “China” at Regal – am rather disappointed

Postcard & letter from P. Davey (posted 28th July England).  Wrote letter No 10 to Mum (Air Letter Card) arrived home Oct 18th (18 days).  Airgraphs to Bill, Brownie, Alan.  Xmas Cards to Mum, Brownie

October 1943

Friday 1st

Strolled round Native Quarter in forenoon. Did “Dogs” as bell sentry.

Saturday 2nd

Morning as bell sentry.  First as bell sentry

“Greetings A/G” to Brownie & Mum.  Letters to P. Davey., Mum, Jack Wildman

marine-3

Sunday 3rd

Forenoon as bell sentry rolled in for afternoon. Went swimming at Breech Candy in evening.

Monday 4th

Spend forenoon on roof, writing etc.  Did afternoon watch on bells

Greetings A/G to Al.  ALC to Mum No 11.  Wrote letter to Babs & Greetings A/G

Tuesday 5th

Did middle. Writing on roof occupied most of forenoon.  Dhobied afternoon. Dogs on bells

Greetings A/G to Dot

Wednesday 6th

Did morning watch and first. Breach Candy in afternoon.

Wrote Anne Scullion, D. Milner.

Thursday 7th

Did forenoon. Turned in for afternoon. Dhobied in evening

Wrote Mary Wilshire letter and greeting A/G

Friday 8th

Forenoon on roof.  Afternoon on bells.  Cells, not bells, you fool

Saturday 9th

Did middle, dogs forenoon on roof.

A.L.C. to Mrs Rob.  Wrote letter to Brownie, Mickie

Sunday 10th

Have morning watch. Saw “What’s Cookin” at Regal.  Have first

Monday 11th

Do forenoon watch.  Saw “Big Shot” at Strand.

Tuesday 12th

Scotch Kirk in forenoon.  Swimming at Breach Candy in afternoon.

Herts Ads from Mum (posted Aug 29 – 44 days).  Letter from Nellie (posted Aug 31 – 42 days)

Wednesday 13th

Paid R25. Breach Candy in afternoon. Saw “Navy Blues” at Strand in evening.

A.L.G. No 12 to Mum

Thursday 14th

Left for Deolali (rest camp).  Arrived about 1900.  An interesting train journey. Scenery very impressive. Jack and I could have a grand time camping here – or maybe we will have had our fill of camping by the time this is over.

Friday 15th

Cleaned rifles in forenoon. Fired 200 x ranged in afternoon. Score 13/20.  Saw “Tale of Two Cities”.  I have a bed on the veranda again and a boy between three of us

Saturday 16th

Swimming in forenoon – make and mend after lunch. Got my head down.

Sunday 17th

Divisions: did dhobeying after dinner. Saw Holton at sick bay. Got soaked

Monday 18th

Lectures on marriage and divorce and Brain Trust in forenoon. M and M in afternoon.  Town patrol at night 7-0.30 (saw part of Black Swan)

Wrote Nellie

Tuesday 19th

Swimming in forenoon.  Climbed hills 800-900’ ft. in afternoon. Had a grand view from the summit plains, lakes, rivers & mountains.

Airgraphs from Bill (posted 27 Sep – 21 days), Mum (letter 5 posted 22 Sep – 26 days) Nellie (Graph 1)

Wednesday 20th

.22 range in forenoon .303 range in afternoon.  Chinese restaurant in evening

A/G (No 13) to Mum.  A/G to Nellie (6th Nov 17 days)

Thursday 21st

Revolver in forenoon .303 in afternoon.

Wrote Bill

Friday 22nd

Tommy gun in forenoon .303 in afternoon

ALC to Brownie.  Letter to Dot.

Saturday 23rd

Helio work in forenoon.  Saw “Crossroads” at garrison theatre

Sunday 24th

Divisions in forenoon. A short service by the Commander. Spent the afternoon writing 1600 to 1800 as phone watch keeper. Strolled down into town during the evening.

ALC to Babs (arrived Nov 5).  Wrote A/G to Bill, Mum (14)

Monday 25th

Went for short march in forenoon. M and M in afternoon. Saw “Whistling in Dixie” at Munro

Tuesday 26th

Took division in Semaphore in forenoon. Went on tour of caves at Pandu Lena (5 miles west of Nashik) then caves carved by Buddhists between 100 BC and 200 BC. Stayed aboard in evening

ALC (15) to Mum.  A/G (Greetings) to Joan Day

Wednesday 27th

Semaphore instruction in the forenoon.  Zeroed rifles on range in afternoon.  Stayed aboard in evening drawing greetings A/G

Thursday 28th

Semaphore instruction in forenoon. Zeroing rifles in afternoon. Spend evening writing

A.L.C. from Dot (posted 5/10/43 – 23 days).  A/G 2 from Nellie (posted 29/9/43 – 29 days).  A/G 3 from Nellie (posted 6/10/43 – 22 days).  Letter 6 from Mum (posted 6/10/43 – 22 days)

Friday 29th

Went down to baths in forenoon, but said baths were closed on account of water shortage. Zeroing rifles in afternoon. Concert in evening by RA.  Paid R 35

Airgraph to Doris Milner, Jim Bailey (Greetings)

Saturday 30th

Loafed in forenoon.  Afternoon phone watch

Greeting AG to Bill.  A.L.C. to Dot Walsham.  AG to Nellie

Sunday 31st

Strolled in afternoon.  Saw “Yank in RAF”.

Letter to Al Hedges.  A/G Mum (16) Nov 29th.  A/G V. Cross.

November 1943

Monday 1st

Signalling in forenoon.  M and M in afternoon.  Babs mother died today.

Tuesday 2nd

Cleaned rifles in forenoon.  Head down in afternoon  Think I have slight attack of fever.

Wednesday 3rd

Signalling in forenoon.  Yet another Make and Mend in afternoon.

A/G to Brownie.

Thursday 4th

Signalling in forenoon (getting a bit fed up with this). Strolled round town in afternoon. Read mail and wrote in evening.

A/G (Letter No 7) from Mum (Oct 14 – 20 days).  Herts Ads from Mum (Aug 12th – 86 days)

Friday 5th

Route march in forenoon.  Dental inspection in afternoon – then make and mend.  Town patrol in evening. Saw part of “Forever and a Day”. Met Les Rance (Radlett) who was at Medburn with me. He is a Cpl in Sigs.

Received ALC (No 4 – Oct 16th – 20 days) from Nellie.  Received ALC (No 8 – Oct 20th – 16 days) from Mum.  Before I wrote ALC No 17 to Mum, A/G to Babs

Saturday 6th

Strolled down to village during the forenoon.  Wrote airgraphs etc. in evening.

Wrote A/G (18) to Mum.  Wrote A/G to Nellie

Sunday 7th

Divisions. Applied for 1939-43 Star.

Wrote A/G Jack Wildman

Monday 8th

Inoculated in forenoon.  Make & Mend in afternoon. Go swimming in River Darna.

Tuesday 9th

Lecture on Achilles part in Battle of the Plate.

Wrote:- A/G (Greetings) Aunt Dot, Uncle Ted

Wednesday 10th

Signalling (helio) in forenoon. Swimming in afternoon

Thursday 11th

March in morning. Swimming in Darna in afternoon. Good Ho!

Friday 12th

March in forenoon. Make & mend in afternoon. Saw bill Tory at hospital in evening.

Saturday 13th

Swimming at garrison baths in forenoon. Dhobied in afternoon.

Wrote ALC No 19 to Mum

Sunday 14th

Divisions. Town patrol at night.

Head down in afternoon.  Saw part of “Now Voyager

Wrote ALC to Nellie

Monday 15th

Clipped ammo in forenoon and had a lecture (such as it was) on close combat fighting.  Make and mend afternoon.  Swimming in evening at garrison baths

ALC from Len Skinner 18/10 27 days.  ALC from Jessie Rob 27/10 18 days.  AG from Nellie No 5 20/10 25 days.  Wrote Jessie Rob ALC

Tuesday 16th

Route march in forenoon.  Loafed and wrote letters in evening. Saw “West of Suez” at Munro in evening.

Wrote ALC Nellie, Len Skinner

Wednesday 17th

Fired .38 pistol (range).  Scored 7/18.  Judo practice.  Played cricket in afternoon. Bowled one over – no good.  Caught out after 5 balls – no good  Note: Get some practice in. And soon!

Thursday 18th

Lecture (street fighting) and judo.  Saw “Invisible Stripes” at Munro

Papers from Mum posted Sept 11 (69 days).  Letter from Lena Endicott posted Sept 15 (65 days).  Letter from Lena Endicott posted Sept 11 (69 days).  ALC from Mum No 9 posted Oct 31st (19 days).  ALC from Nellie No 6 posted Oct 30th (20 days).  AG from Nellie posted Oct 23 (27 days).  Letter from Brownie posted Sep 13 (67 days).  AG from Babs posted Sep 22 (28 days).  Letter from Mum No 4 posted Sep 18 (70 days)

Friday 19th

PT, AFO instructors and cinema lecture on malaria in forenoon. Marched to .303 range in afternoon.  Dhobied in afternoon and packed gear for Bombay.

Saturday 20th

Left Deolali, arrived Bombay 1500. Back in same room that I occupied before I left here.

A/G to the boys from Nellie posted Nov 1st (19 days)

Sunday 21st

Initiated into Postie’s job.  Back in RNB2 Rm 21.

Wrote AG No 20 to Mum, Lena, Brownie, Babs, Nellie (posted Nov 27th)

Monday 22nd

Settling down to the routine OK. Have no dough, so stay aboard, doing dhobeying, etc.

Tuesday 23rd

Disappointing day not much mail.

Wednesday 24th

Still staying aboard.

Thursday 25th

Stayed aboard. Not much mail.

Friday 26th

Missed pay parade – big sea-mail. Saw “They Come to Blow Up America” at Eros. Met Sub Lt Fish at Breach Candy.

Letter from Jane Jonas.

Saturday 27th

Paid R 60.  Swimming – Breach Candy

Posted A/G see Nov 21.  Greetings A/G to Ver View

Sunday 28th

Big sea mail.  Swimming Break Candy

Wrote AMLC Dot., A/G Jane Jonas.

Monday 29th

Nothing of import: stayed aboard.

Tuesday 30th

Went Wogs cinema.

AMLC from Babs (posted 9/11/43 – 21 days)

December 1943

Wednesday 1st

Had one tooth out, stayed aboard

Papers posted Oct 21 from mum.  Wrote ALC 21 to Mum.  Wrote 2 AG to Babs.

Thursday 2nd

Nothing doing.  Stayed aboard

Friday 3rd

Saw West Indian boxing championship

Saturday 4th

Roamed around, big eats etc.

ALC from Nellie No 7 Nov 8th 26 days.  ALC from Nellie No 9 Nov 20th 14 days.  ALC from Brownie Nov 15th 19 days

Sunday 5th

No mail in forenoon.  Break Candy in afternoon.  Saw “Geo. W. Slept Here

Monday 6th

Stayed aboard. Did spot of Dhobey.

Tuesday 7th

Very little mail. Stayed aboard.

A/G from Babs 9/11/43.  Wrote A/G to Brownie, Babs.

Thursday 9th

Nothing much of import.

Friday 10th

Make and mend in forenoon. Go to Victoria station, pick up Woof etc. and on to Salsette

Saturday 11th

Clean hut, in forenoon medical. M and M in afternoon

ALC No 11 from Mum (Nov 26 – 14 days)

Sunday 12th

Divisions. Went stroll ashore. Slept in afternoon.

Wrote AMLC Mum No 21.  Wrote AG Nellie.

Monday 13th

Started signal school. Some of these Indian chappies are quite hot at the job.

Tuesday 14th

At S.S. again.  On patrol at night 1900-0000.  Few drinks at Prince of Wales and supper at café Mondegar.

Wednesday 15th

Sig school. Dhobey in evening. Could do with a few Rupees.

Thursday 16th

Sig school again.

Friday 17th

School in forenoon. M and m in afternoon. Draw combined op gear.

Receive AG No 10 from Nellie 27/11 (20 days)

Saturday 18th

Clean barracks. Swimming in forenoon. Loaf and Dhobey.

Letter from Mary Wilshire posted Oct 3.  Letter from Al posted Oct 10

Sunday 19th

Divisions. Pep talk by Capt. Coalville.

Wrote ALC Mary Wilshire.  Greetings A/G from Mary Wilshire 22/11/43.  Wrote AG to Nellie

Monday 20th

Signal school again.  Stayed aboard.

Tuesday 21st

Sig school in forenoon.  Dentist in afternoon

Papers from Mum (Nov 9 43 days).  Parcel from Nellie & 7/6 (Nov 9 43 days).  Greetings AG from Al (19 Nov 33 days).  Greetings AG from Brownie, Hilda (17 Nov 35 days)

Wednesday 22nd

Sig school.  M and M

A/G to Nellie

Thursday 23rd

Sig school till 1100. Paid R 95.  Sig school in afternoon.  Dhobey etc. Duty watch.

Wrote A/G to D. Milner.  AMLC from Brownie, Babs 3/12

Friday 24th

Torencon at sig school.  Make & mend in afternoon. Sent parcel home.

AMLC from Nellie No 11 5/12 19 days.  AMLC from Mary 9/12 15 days

Saturday 25th

What a horrible Xmas.  “Dumbo” at Strand.  Packet gear. Got a trifle cut.

Sunday 26th

Left Salsette. Had tot.

Wrote Mum ALC 22 – not posted yet

Monday 27th

About 2 hours work and remainder of time to myself.

Tuesday 28th

Same routine. Good grub

Wednesday 29th

Still loafing. Beau weather.

Thursday 30th

Lecture on first aid.

Friday 31st

Same routine

Still beautiful weather.

marine-1

 

Frederick Bailey Royal Marines 1943 War Diary

Dennis Wright RAF 1946-47 Post-War Diary

This post war diary is by Flight Sergeant Dennis Walter Wright of 149 Squadron RAF Bomber Command.

The start of 1946 sees Dennis still rather bored at RAF Methwold, with not much flying of his Lancaster “kite” as navigator until a posting to RAF Mildenhall in April 1946, though his friendship with a Miss Doris Ringer (his future wife) seems to blossom during the Spring.

During June an entry states “The whole of today was spent on Operation Frontline flying in formation over Germany. Today a tragedy occurred when F/S “Taffy” Thomas was drowned at Lakenheath”.

He and Doris decide to get engaged in early August, however the next couple of weeks have their ups and downs, before Dennis gets posted to RAF Wyton in late August.

Some flying during September including a trip down to Tripoli (via St Mawgan), followed by a local flight on the 17th which resulted in running out of fuel and a forced landing at Waterbeach – a trip on his motorbike the next day to the crash site resulted in him crashing his bike on the way back! He is finally demobbed from the RAF in mid-December.

The start of January 1947 sees Dennis get a temporary teaching job at Ardleigh Green School in Havering, and his engagement to Doris was finally sealed on January 22nd. There are several weeks of snow and his motor bike seems to be continually on the blink. The diary finishes abruptly on April 22nd 1947. The good news however is that they did go on to marry in September 1947, although there is no record of any children.

Sadly Dennis passed away in March 1992 but there is no record found yet for Doris.

Flight Sergeant Dennis Walter Wright

Service number 1605269 (indicates allocated in September 1941 Oxford)
Identity card 027036

Weight 170 lbs
Height 5’ 8 ½”

RAF Stations Visited in 1946

RAF Methwold

RAF Mildenhall

RAF Lakenheath

RAF Wyton

RAF St. Mawgan

RAF Castel Benito

RAF Waterbeach

RAF Fairford

RAF Warton

RAF Kirkham

January 1946

Tuesday 1st

Well this first entry in this year’s diary sees me still at Methwold in the RAF. After last night we slept in until eleven thirty when we walked over to lunch. This afternoon I went to the navigation section for the first time since returning from leave, when I sawed up a few logs (wooden). Went to the station cinema tonight to see “Bowery to Broadway” with Maria Montez.

Wednesday 2nd

I reported to the section this morning then came back to billet. Lunch. Back to billet again after seeing skipper. Washed and shaved expecting to fly but I was able to go to Wisbech by the transport. Had a supper of fish and chips then to the White Hart for a drink. We finished up at Wisbech New Year’s charity ball at 5/- a ticket – not a bad effort. A letter from Derek Parmiter.

Thursday 3rd

Usual routine today. Sent a letter to Nora in Toronto. This evening went to the Rhythm Club – not a bad programme. The present hard frost has lasted three days. No mail received.

Friday 4th

First thing today we flew – the first time for over a month. We were scheduled for bombing but haze prevented that so we stooged over Wisbech, King ’s Lynn & Norfolk generally. Paid £11-4-9 banked £9- to the R.B.C. This evening went to the New Inn & Lakenheath but no dance.

Saturday 5th

Everyone was on tenterhooks today waiting for a 36. Jack finally gave the word at 2pm. Naturally everyone scrammed off home except Jock & I who went to Wisbech by the six o’clock transport. We went round a few pubs in Wisbech then to the dance in the Corn Exchange – met a wizard girl – a WREN but couldn’t get to first base. Toast & tea. Bed at 2.30am.

Sunday 6th

Slept in until 11.30am. Lunch. This afternoon pressed battle dress & wrecked my best blue for changing. Had tea then went to the mess played darts and piano. I had a few beers. Back to the billet & had toast & tea. Bed at 12.45am

Monday 7th

I got up promptly at 8.05am this morning and I went to breakfast. After which I reported to the navigation section at 9.15am. Stayed there most of the morning, lunch, section again dashed off to Feltwell on Pete’s motor cycle. I sent away for a driving license. I intend to get a motor cycle as soon as possible. Wrote to Bob, Don and Alan Jones.

Tuesday 8th

The same routine today as always. I got a letter from home with bank statement – balance £40, receipt for Canada Weekly, Christmas card from Mrs Turner & laundry – quite a pile of mail but nothing to read. Sent letters home. Went to the mess this evening for darts and 5 ½ pints.

Wednesday 9th

My football pool coupons cane 2nd post today after waiting all day. There was no other mail. After debating with myself whether to go to Wisbech or not – I finally went with the crew minus Jack. Had a few beers then went to the dance – it wasn’t too good probably due to the ropey weather.

Thursday 10th

Went to the navigation section at 9.30. Break – billet – Section. Driving licence came – still no bank book. Went to Rhythm Club this evening – not too bad. Jock the mid-upper (gunner) is now redundant.

Friday 11th

What a day this was! When we arrived for lunch today the dirty dishes were on the table & the cooks refused to serve dinner until they were cleared. Nothing was done until Group Captain came over. We got dinner at last. This afternoon the Wing Commander gave the squadron NCO’s a natter and we had a general bitch. Ken got a telegram saying his kid was ill in hospital. Played darts in the mess this evening.

Saturday 12th

Got a taxi to Lakenheath caught the 9.58 to London arrived about 1.00. Caught the 1.06 from Liverpool Street home at 2.0pm. Took my shoes to the Bate shoe stores. Collected my wind breaker bought 2 ozs 4 square red. Saw Bing Crosby, Hope & Lamour in the “Road to Utopia” at the Odeon – very good.

Sunday 13th

Went to Chadwell Heath to see a Triumph 1936 for £55 – no good but I saw a wizard Speed Twin – god knows how much it costs. Stayed in this afternoon & caught the 6.33 from Brentwood. The train from London was late as usual and got in about 11.50pm.

dec 45 jan 46

Monday 14th

Flew this morning on Lucero landings but the equipment was u/s. Letters from Bill Tuck. Saw a wizard film tonight call “Marine Raiders” very good.

Tuesday 15th

Flew today on the longest trip for two months – a cross country to Chicken Rock, Fishguard, Reading and base. In the evening walked to Feltwell to play darts & fish and chips with no fish. My bank book comes back at last.

Wednesday 16th

After a dull day during which I decided not to go to Wisbech the transport was cancelled anyway. I went to station cinema to see Errol Flynn in the “Sea Hawk”.

Thursday 17th

Finally got my warrant to draw out £75 which I did and immediately transferred it to R.B.C. by money orders. Flew an air to sea firing mission.

Friday 18th

Lecture on accident prevention this morning – no pay until 15.00 hrs. Paid £11-4 as usual. Couldn’t get passes until 17.00. Caught the 6.0pm from Brandon & slow to Brentwood.

Saturday 19th

After a wizard breakfast of ham and eggs went up town to do a little shopping. Caught the 12.34 to Liverpool Street to meet Bill Tuck at the Nuffield Centre. Saw Frankie in “Anchors Aweigh” – Richmond skating & dancing!

Sunday 20th

Stayed in bed until 10.30am. Breakfast. Put on civvies and went round the station to meet Bill – but he never came. Played records in the afternoon and after tea I went to the Odeon with Maureen. Bed at 10.45 after a very strenuous day!!

Monday 21st

Slept a little later this morning and messed around playing records went up to town to buy a few sundried and take in shoes. Still in after lunch – caught the 4.05 from Brentwood and the 5.48 – 30 mins late from Liverpool Street. After a long wait for the transport, finally reached camp at 11pm.

Tuesday 22nd

Up for breakfast this morning, didn’t go to the Section but returned to the billet after break. Lunch. Much the same routine this afternoon. Mess dance tonight but I didn’t go! By the way I got a letter from Wisbech & Pamela today.

Wednesday 23rd

With the weather so cold and the visibility nil all flying was scrubbed. Went to the station cinema to see “Music for Millions” a poor film.

Thursday 24th

This diary keeping is a task in itself in that whilst on camp nothing ever happens. Today I was joed to “work” in the station guard room. Naturally I did all but sit on my arse and drink tea. This evening’s Rhythm Club was a great success with well over 30 bods present. I presented a Boogie programme followed by some Woody Herman etc. piano & drum session in the mess afterwards.

Friday 25th

Reported to section as usual. My pool dividend of £1 for 4 aways with 1 postponed match arrived with the OK to send money for motor cycle a Matchless 1935 500cc for £55 taxed and insured. Going to Feltwell tonight for a few beers.

Saturday 26th

Up in time to have breakfast and catch the 9.48am from Lakenheath to Ely. From Ely caught 10.50am to Peterborough and then the 1.20pm to Leicester. Arrived about 2.45pm. Tried several hotels for lodging until the Bell Hotel finally freed up a nice room. Had some dinner, cleaned up and then went out to start drinking. Had reached the Palais about 9pm, danced pretty well every dance mostly with a blue eyed girl call Doreen – what a peach – but didn’t take her home. Bed at 11.40pm.

Sunday 27th

After a quiet and uneventful night, got up for breakfast at 9.15am. Left the hotel and walked leisurely to the station, the train should have left at 11.55am, but didn’t leave until 12.35pm. Home at the billet at 5.30pm, tea then cleaned up generally to go to the mess for 5 pints played the piano for 3 hrs. The whole weekend which was a pleasant change cost about £2-15 – expensive? Yes indeed!

Monday 28th

Slept until 10 this morning and arrived at the briefing room at 10.10am. Skipper had a good bitch about being late. I was to play piano in the mess tonight but I was too drunk to do it so I went to bed early.

Tuesday 29th

With the weather becoming more & more duff as the day went on we did no flying. Got three letters today from Buck Ramsey, home and the pools, which I sent off with the N.O.W. crossword. Played the piano in the mess for two hours this evening.

Wednesday 30th

My face was considerably worse today so I tried to report sick but was too late so I went special sick and was confined to S.S.Q with impetigo. Spent a lazy day onwards reading and listening to the radio.

Thursday 31st

What a boring day confined to sick quarters – treatment was penicillin ointment wizard stuff my face was clearing up fast. Reading, walking, washing and listening to the radio – my day. Bed at 10pm.

February 1946

Friday 1st

First day of February spent in sick quarters doing damn all.

Saturday 2nd

Persuaded the ward orderly to let me see the M.O. who in turn finally let me go on leave. Got home after the usual horrible journey at 4pm. Went straightaway to P.O. to draw out £3. This evening I went up town had a drink in the Charles Napier then went along to High Street, met Bob & Pam and went to King’s Head for darts & beer. Artichoke, Town Hall, then bed at 12.30am, very boring.

Sunday 3rd

Took the tire over to Herongate in the pouring rain and saw the motor cycle for the first time. Didn’t ride it however owing to the rain. Stayed in the house this afternoon and this evening I went to the Odeon having seen both pictures before.

Monday 4th

Had my first lesson on the bike having sent away the insurance policy and log book. Met Pam at midday at the Wilson’s Corner. This evening I went to the Palace to see “Guest Wife” not too bad.

Tuesday 5th

To Herongate again – rode up and down the “Chase” very cheesing however as I couldn’t leave it with no insurance. Over again this afternoon. This evening Pam and I went to the Odeon to see “Wicked Lady” which I didn’t like. Went to Romford this afternoon and bought “Skyliner and Twilight Time”.

Wednesday 6th

Took the other tire over this morning and paid Tim 10/- to keep him quiet. Went over to see Bore this afternoon. He has some screwy idea about going over to the States as an interchange teacher.

Thursday 7th

Met Pam at midday with bike. Nothing else to report. Went to the Palace to see “Earl Carroll’s Vanities” with Woody Herman a very good show. Pam came too!

Friday 8th

Didn’t take the bike out today but remained indoors most of the day. Went to the Artichoke and got caned after waiting for Tim in the rain. Went Town Hall and walked home with Joyce??

Saturday 9th

Stooged around this morning and this afternoon I went to Hutton picked up Pam on the pillion and we went to Southend. Had a wizard time there ice cream and a show. Came back about 10.30 and ran out of petrol at Wickford pushed the darn thing to Billericay. Home at 2am – very tired indeed.

Sunday 10th

Went to Pam’s house on her bike returning it to her then going by bus to Billericay. Dinner after taking bike home. Left home at 3.15 for ChelmsfordDunmowBishop’s StortfordCambridge – Ely – Littleport then ran out of gas. Cadged some from a farmer then pranged a mile out of Shippea Hill – what a bind! I had to wait from 7pm until 11.20 for a train to Brandon.

Monday 11th

Saw Jack this morning after skipping breakfast. Didn’t report sick. This afternoon I went to Brandon by cycle – then train to Shippea Hill – got motor cycle and had to empty it of petrol before taking it on the train. Went to station cinema this evening to see “Lady in the Window” quite good. Left my cycle at the garage in Brandon next to NAAFI. Brandon 224.

Tuesday 12th

I did report sick today and the M.O. grounded me until Friday and painted me green. This afternoon I went to Brandon by cycle then went to Shippea Hill and picked up my cycle brought it back to Brandon and left it at the Bridge garage.

Wednesday 13th

Reported for treatment. No flying. Letter received from Pam with a photo! Got my motor cycle back.

Thursday 14th

Went to Feltwell this morning and took my radio speaker (Wed). This morning I went to Shippea Hill to pick up my petrol. Nothing else to report.

Friday 15th

Paid this morning at last £23-10-, banked £16. This afternoon cleaned up my motor cycle and this evening too. No mail again.

Saturday 16th

Left for home this morning at 9.0 had a bit of trouble finding the A11. Finally reached home via Ongar at 12.15pm pretty good with no trouble on the bike used 1 gallon. This evening went to the Artichoke and had about 7 pints then went to Town Hall and saw Pam – had a wizard time there with everyone. Home after going to the station at 1am (I think). I was awfully tight.

Sunday 17th

Up at 9am. Breakfast. Went up town, filled up with oil, over to Herongate.   Rode around in the afternoon, left bike at home and came back by train.

Monday 18th

Reported sick this morning and went to Feltwell M.O. Grounded, under treatment further two days, naturally no mail, wrote to Toronto & Bob Baker.

Tuesday 19th

Treatment forgotten today because of mess dance night, no mail again. Sent off football pools. Mess dance this evening had quite a few beers finished up with a babe called Yvonne Walker of Wisbech apparently a friend of Jack’s. I’m supposed to see her Saturday.

Wednesday 20th

My face was much worse today so I went up for some “green ink” treatment this lunch hour, still no mail. Went to station cinema this evening to see the “Merry Monahans” a poor show.

Thursday 21st

Up for treatment today as usual, not much improvement in the face yet. Letter received from Pam – very puzzling however – I can’t quite get the gist of the letter but I think she thinks I’m in love or something stupid like that with her after my behaviour under the influence last Saturday!! Wrote a curious reply to her.

Friday 22nd

Penicillin treatment again, a little improvement, but not so much as before the leave. Letter from Bob at last he’s in the station P.O. at Gloucester or near enough there. Went to the station cinema tonight to see Rita Hayworth in “Tonight and Every Night”, not too good, a few tunes in the mess.

Saturday 23rd

Still reporting to sick quarters for penicillin treatment – it’s clearing up slowly. Shaved this afternoon after I had phoned Yvonne, whose mother took the message. Decided my face was not sufficiently clear to go to Wisbech and sent a message by Shorty. Went to Brandon pictures with Ken in the motor car, home at billet about 10.30pm.

Sunday 24th

Breakfast of egg, treatment and back to billet. Lunch, billet again. Jack came over and had a general natter mainly about Wisbech and Yvonne!! This evening Ken, Jack & I went to Stoke Ferry had a few beers quite a pleasant evening finishing up in the mess.

Monday 25th

Egg again for breakfast. What a life eh when having an egg for breakfast becomes a major event. Treatment. No mail. Went to Brandon pictures tonight in Ken’s three wheeler.

Tuesday 26th

Breakfast. Treatment. No mail.

Wednesday 27th

Nothing unusual to report, essentially the normal routine.

Thursday 28th

Saw the M.O. again today who grounded me a further two days. I report sick again on Tuesday. Went to Brandon with Ken & Johnny then went to the Rhythm Club.

March 1946

Friday 1st

First day of March brings cold miserable weather. After pay of £11-4/- I got home at 7pm had a bath & went to bed.

Saturday 2nd

It was snowing this morning when I went to Romford and bought a new saddle cover (16/6). Went to Brentwood P.O. & drew petrol ration book. Walked up town this afternoon to try to get new Woody Herman number “Apple Honey” – not issued yet. Went to Odeon to see “Stork Club” pretty good. Four beers & Town Hall. Heavy snowfall tonight.

Sunday 3rd

Still snowing slightly but thawing. Cleaned up motor cycle. Afternoon roads dry went out for a stooge. Evening stayed reading. Bed at 11pm.

Monday 4th

What a bind it’s raining and snowing again which means I won’t be going back by motor cycle. Went uptown this morning shopping and left by the 4.27 this afternoon to camp. Back at 11pm after stopping in Brandon for two or three beers.

Tuesday 5th

Didn’t get up for breakfast, consequently couldn’t report sick. No flying owing to duff weather. Letter from Bob who says he will be home on leave with me. This evening after a last minute decision by Jack we went into Wisbech by his car, had a lot of beer and went to the dance. Saw Yvonne but Jack seemed to shine more than me. I took home a previous achievement – Marjorie Henson – 19 Opportune Road Wisbech.

Wednesday 6th

Got up to breakfast and to see the M.O. who put me fit at last. Flew on a “Sinkum” to Cardigan Bay, first flight in 5 weeks. Went to station cinema to see “The Way to the Stars” – very good – two hours piano in the mess.

feb 46 mar 46

Thursday 7th

Little done today but this afternoon after the “bullseye” had been scrubbed we were put on a night cross-country – a very good trip navigationally.

Friday 8th

Bed at 1am after night flight. Up at 10am Groupy came round as we were cleaning up. No flying today. Sawed up some wood this afternoon with Jack and left at 5.30 to catch transport home at 10.10pm.

Saturday 9th

Bike (motor) taken out today got 1 gallon of gas. Went to the pictures this afternoon to see “The Westerner”, pretty good. Had a date to see Pam at 7pm she came and on time too – had a few beers and took her to the Town Hall where she went off with some other guy – boy was I annoyed (I still am) and wait till she gets my letter. Home at 12.

Sunday 10th

Bought another 1 ½ gallons for bike cleaned up and got ready to leave at 3 this afternoon – no snags until I get to Brandon where I broke the primary chain in accelerating from 10 mph or less in top gear, pushed the darn thing 5 miles. Took off the chain tonight and went to the mess for a beer.

Monday 11th

After ascertaining no flying on this morning I took my chain to Feltwell. Collected the same this afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon fitting it back on. No mail. Wrote a really nasty letter to Pam but am sending it tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday 12th

Well no flying again thank goodness. Got a 2 page letter of apology from Pam don’t quite know what to do as I can’t press on. However didn’t send the letter.

Wednesday 13th

Little to report today. Spent the afternoon tightening primary chain of motor cycle. Sent off to Matchless for a new oil bath seal and primary chain. Saw “Thirty Seconds over Tokyo” at station cinema – a very good film. The weather is still cold I wish it would warm up a bit.

Thursday 14th

Can’t think or remember what on earth happened today.

Friday 15th

Went on the beer in Feltwell.

Saturday 16th

Left at 9.30am on the bike for home, about six miles outside Newmarket had to turn back to Newmarket owing to piston rings going. Left the bike and finished the journey by rail. Got home about 4.30 and proceeded to clean up for tonight. Met Bob & Pam had a few beers – the dance etc.

Sunday 17th

Went up to Don’s house to see if he was home – he was – went out for a beer and a walk. Met him this evening and had quite a few beers after seeing Joe Brown and Judy Canova in a Western film.

Monday 18th

Met Don this morning and Bob – can’t remember much of what happened during the day but this evening Don, Pete Foreman, John Berry and I had a wizard session after which Don and I went up the barracks to the dance – not too bad.

Tuesday 19th

Met Bob again as usual with John Berry, Don is going back tonight so he didn’t come out today. This evening we had a very respectable evening in the Town Hall. Pam it seems is very much more attached to Bob than she is to me as events this week have shown. Maybe the motor cycle accounted for some of my past popularity. I can’t say I worried either.

Wednesday 20th

Messed around most of the morning went to Goodmayes and picked up Pete Foreman at his house – went to London to see “Caesar & Cleopatra” quite good and “Getting Gertie’s Garter” which wasn’t so good. Came home by Green Line about 11.30pm

Thursday 21st

Bob called on me this morning and we did practically nothing of note except go to an auction all day. This evening I went to the Romford Ritz to see “Three StrangersSydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Geraldine Fitzgerald also Ann SothernUp Goes Maisie” both quite good. Home 10pm and had a bath.

Friday 22nd

Took some records to Bob’s place. Afternoon stayed in pressing, cleaning up. This evening Bob & I went to Romford and got quite merry then went to Romford Palais dancing – quite an enjoyable evening.

Saturday 23rd

Met Bob at eleven and stooged off uptown doing a bit of shopping. Bob met Pam at 12.30 when she made a clot of me making my suggestion of a foursome with my sister tonight seem ridiculous. I met Bob at seven tonight and we started drinking, met John Jenkinson had a lot of beer all over town. With six RAF in hand we invaded the Town Hall where I had a wizard time without dancing with Pam.

Sunday 24th

Saw Bob this morning. Messed around packing all day. Left Brentwood at 6.30 & 7.40 from Liverpool Street. In the billet at 11.0pm quite good. No mail there.

Monday 25th

What a way to start work again – lectures all day. Collected laundry. Went to station cinema to see Edward G. RobinsonArms and the Woman”. No mail received.

Tuesday 26th

The skipper went to a court-martial today so luckily we didn’t fly. Phone the garage about my bicycle – won’t be ready until the weekend. Went to Feltwell this evening for a beer and fish and chips. Football pools received.

Wednesday 27th

This is one of those days when you can’t remember what the hell you did so long ago especially when you get a week behind in writing it.

Thursday 28th

Vast rumour circulating as to the squadron becoming redundant, don’t know whether I shall be or not. Little else to report. No mail naturally.

Friday 29th

Hooray pay day. Usual pay of £11-4 – not before I needed it. Got the ration money this afternoon. Prancing around trying not to be redundant which was announced today as being so. Got tight tonight in Feltwell.

Saturday 30th

Up in time to leave on the back of Shorty’s Triumph at 9.30am, reached Newmarket soon after 10am. Picked up cycle which cost me 23/-. Everything OK until Newport Essex where she started burning oil like the devil again. Home at 1pm after 3 oil fillings. This afternoon rode around trying to get new piston rings. Had quite a good time this evening at the Artichoke and Town Hall, took home a blonde called Delphene Knight, not too bad.

Sunday 31st

Got up at 10am this morning – breakfast – working on bike all morning. Dinner, rode up town to see if my date turned up but no joy. This afternoon still working on cycle but need new chain. Come back by train on 7.40pm from London.

April 1946

Monday 1st

Bank balance £123-2-5. Well it looks as if I am well and truly “redundant” in effect although we are classed as “spares” on the list. Three letters today Ministry of Education, licensing office and one from Buck Ramsey. This evening stayed in.

Tuesday 2nd

The ninth consecutive day of fine weather – didn’t do a stroke all day except press and clean my blue. This evening Shorty, Jack, F/Lt Shepherd and I started off in Jack’s car for Wisbech after two breakdowns finally reached Stoke Ferry where I had far too much to drink bringing up my stomach about 6 times. Letter from home what? The pools…

Wednesday 3rd

Woke up this morning and what a state my eyes were in. Sore and bloodshot I had to wear dark glasses. Mess dance tonight – not too good didn’t get pissed and Yvonne didn’t come. Letter from Pam – not much to say – sorry for last Saturday as usual.

apr 46 may 46

Thursday 4th

Eleventh consecutive day of brilliant sunshine. Temp 74oF today. Messed around all day sunbathing etc. my underarm area was giving me trouble today. Went to Feltwell this evening for a quiet 3 beers, fish and chips and a peep at the dance. Shorty on Bullseye to Heligoland.

Friday 5th

End of the fine weather I suppose. Raining like the clappers this morning at 7.30am, left for home on Short’s bike catching 3.19pm from Brandon. Home at 7pm where pool dividend won yesterday of £3-15 was awaiting.

Saturday 6th

Up early at 8am this morning straightaway to work on the bike, in two hours fixed the chain and dynamo and had it running very well. This afternoon I went uptown and did a bit of shopping. This evening I went uptown again in civvies to the Artichoke meeting Alan and his brother Jeff, had a few beers with them then went up to the Town Hall. Danced most of the time with a brunette called Doris Ringer who I took home and very nice too.

Sunday 7th

Spent the whole morning cleaning up my motor cycle which came up very nicely. Had some sort of lunch with Pop – had a bath then met Doris at 3pm as arranged. We walked to Childerditch common had a kinda rest on the grass there!! Returned to Brentwood had tea at the Odeon, pictures, 1 pint in the “Essex” walked home with her where surprisingly enough Wright “snogged” for about an hour – being sober too – this was truly remarkable.

Monday 8th

Nobody seems to know whether I’m in Dixon’s crew or not but I rather think I won’t be. Saw the Adjutant about my interview at Norwich tomorrow and got a 36 until midday tomorrow. Went to station cinema tonight – poor show.

Tuesday 9th

Changed my battle dress on the clothing parade. Caught 10.51 to Norwich arrived about 12.10. Lunch in the NAAFI club – a very nice place. Went to a park to wait while Sheppard had his interview, then came mine, it wasn’t too bad at all. Came back immediately – learnt from Shorty that I was posted to Mildenhall. Went to Wisbech – pretty poor – in bed at 3am.

Wednesday 10th

What a terrible day! Clearing all day. Charged £4 for my lost bike and nearly put on a charge for it. Should have been at Mildenhall today. Practically finished tonight supposed to get paid tomorrow morning.

Thursday 11th

RAF Mildenhall

Unable to get paid this morning – pay accounts hadn’t enough money. Left, about 10.30 for Mildenhall in F/Lt Thomas’ car, arrived reported to Adjutant, arrival chit – arranged for pay tomorrow. Went to station cinema tonight saw “Dillinger” – pretty good – had supper and a beer.

Friday 12th

Arranged parachute harness etc. Pay at 2 £10-14. Walked down to local café. Few beers in “Bird in Hand”. Bulled up generally for Group’s inspection.

Saturday 13th

Up at 7. On parade for Groupy then Wingco’s inspection of billet then Squadron parade. Went by motor cycle after to Newmarket, lift to Bishop’s Stortford, bus to Aldgate then to Brentwood – home at 3.20. Dinner then went round to Doris on the motor cycle – she is going out with a rotten Dutchman. Had quite a few beers tonight and didn’t get organised – home at 11.45.

Sunday 14th

Up this morning early fixed the bike again – connecting link of chain was off – riding round on it this morning. Dinner and out again. Chain came off around Warley pushed it to the station and saw Doris waiting for her Dutchman – the rat! After a lot of talking to the contrary I caught the 7.50pm to Shippea Hill and got back to camp at 11.10pm.

Monday 15th

Reported to the section – drew new kit etc. Letter from Renno’s saying bike is ready today wish I could collect it and wish I had the money. Flew on a cross country to St. Quentin – Isle of Wight – Oxford tonight, not too bad, but very late at night to fly. Wrote to Renno’s saying I hope to collect bike Saturday.

Tuesday 16th

Slept until eleven this morning – had a bath and shave. Lunch. Don’t know that I did much of interest the rest of the day.

Wednesday 17th

The main event of today was the fact that I wrote to Doris!! After I had said I never write letters. Rather boring evening as usual here.

Thursday 18th

Scheduled to fly on a day cross-country today but thinking it was scrubbed arrived late for briefing and it was scrubbed. Left Lakenheath by train at 4.10pm home at 8.0pm. Saw Bob on the train.

Friday 19th

Couldn’t do a lot today owing to this being Good Friday. Met the boys this morning and again this evening when we had a few beers together. But the whole day was really quite dignified.

Saturday 20th

Up early left on Matchless for London got up to bank uneventfully drew £104 got to Renno’s, who only gave me £37-10 on Matchless, home with new Triumph uneventfully. Met Bob and Don with John Berry, bags of beer felt sick, took Doris home again with the inevitable snogging!

Sunday 21st

Went down to Bob’s place with Don in the morning playing records. This afternoon had a date went to the common – cheesed – bogged off with Don then saw them again in the Artichoke, walked home with Doris.

Monday 22nd

Met the boys this morning after Bob had called on me, played billiards all morning. This afternoon went to the Laurie cinema Romford. This evening 7 pints in the W (?) barracks to the dance – cheesed saw Doris there – but didn’t speak. Bed at 11.

Tuesday 23rd

Up at 5.0am, left on the bike for camp at 5.30am, arrived without mishap at Mildenhall at 7.50am a 2 hr 40 min run. After a boring day at the navigation section I was preparing to leave on the bike for Methwold when I was “joed” for a night cross-country with F/O Munson.

Wednesday 24th

Slept in until 10.30 had a bath – lunch – went to the station cinema for lecture on Switzerland. Left afterwards for Methwold – saw Shorty and Johnny who were very impressed with my bike. Had a couple of beers with Johnny then went to the show – back at camp 11.15 bed.

Thursday 25th

Duff weather prevented all flying today – didn’t do a lot in the section all day. This evening went to the station cinema to see “Mr Skeffington” – poor show – then on the bike for supper. Pay day £11-14.

Friday 26th

Didn’t do a lot today as usual except mess around in the section fixing the wall map. I believe I went to the station cinema again this evening.

Saturday 27th

Up early for parade at 7.50am. Group Captain away and Wing Commander Monk took it – no inspection. Left for home about 10.15am on the bike and after a pleasant and uneventful journey arrived home at 12.45pm. Then I went up to the “Nap” to meet Bob at 7pm – he arrived about 7.20pm and we had a couple of beers there then went to the “Choke” where after a few more I met Doris remaining with her the rest of the evening – bang on. Bob? He took home Barry (a girl) with little joy.

Sunday 28th

Spent the day waiting for tonight. It’s raining this morning but I pressed on to see Gil and Tim. Gil adjusted the tappets but seemingly no effect. Saw Bob this morning and afternoon. Spent a very pleasant evening with Doris and spent is right – boy how one has to pay in the evening for a little snogging at the end!!

Monday 29th

Rain! Rain! Rain! It messed up my schedule in that I couldn’t fix neither clean my bike. However collected my shoes and bought some “Karpol”. This evening, after inviting Doris who refused, I went to the Hammersmith Palais to see Ted Heath who was really wonderful especially his Frank Sinatra type singer – Paul Carpenter. Wonderful!

Tuesday 30th

Spent the day cleaning, gassing up and riding the bike and the evening at the pictures and snogging with – Doris! A glorious end to April.

May 1946

Wednesday 1st

Stooged all day with little to do – I went to Doris’ shop this afternoon and arranged to meet her tonight when we went to Southend on the bike – spent a very pleasant evening.

Thursday 2nd

Much the same routine this morning however this afternoon Doris and I went to Southend again. Spent a pleasant afternoon on the pier, tea, walking and then back by train, much snogging etc.

Friday 3rd

This morning I received word that I had been accepted for training as a school teacher. This evening I went to the Palace with Doris to see “The Corn is Green” with Bette Davis – not too bad, bags of snog at the end.

Saturday 4th

This morning I set off at 10.30am to pick-up Bob which I did at 11.35am. Back home at 1.10pm. This afternoon I walked around aimlessly uptown. This evening I met Bob at the “Nap” at 6.45pm – two there then to the “Tap” one there, to the “Railway Tavern” 3 John Bulls, then to the “Essex” with Doris who left soon after on business.

By this time I was feeling tight and being cheesed with waiting I stooged over to the Artichoke alone and ordered a beer. Bob followed up smartly then Doris & Barry turned up whence we all went to the “Town Hall”. After dance took Doris home when I told her I thought I was in love with her – am I? * I don’t know. Bob & I staggered literally home. Home at 1.45am.

*After note – June 7th – I’m not thank goodness.

Further after note – June 15th – I am!

Sunday 5th

Went down to Bob’s house on the bike arranged to see him at 9pm this evening. Met Doris after dinner at 4pm after waiting ½ hr (fool) when we went to Romford with Syd and Edith to see Edward G. in “Barbary Coast”.  Caught bus back to Brentwood, I got off at Kavanaghs Road, picked up kit and bike meaning to see Doris again at the top of the town where I was to meet Bob. Bob and I left for camp at 9pm after waiting ¼ hr. Back at 11.25pm.

Monday 6th

Reported to section once again this morning. Rumour has it that we shall be moving to Binbrook Lincolnshire shortly. Wrote home and Doris. This evening after flying was scrubbed I went to the station cinema to see Joan Fontaine in “Frenchman’s Creek”.

Tuesday 7th

Much the same day routine as yesterday. No mail received or sent. This evening Les & I went to Bury St. Edmunds on our bikes to see “Dolly Sisters”. B. Grable, June Haver, John Payne – not too bad. Back at eleven after fish & chip supper.

Wednesday 8th

Usual uninteresting air force routine this morning. Sports afternoon – played baseball. My 22nd birthday very uneventful.

Thursday 9th

Flew today for 5 ½ hrs – cross country to Berwick, Bradford, Wyton. Fighter affiliation and air to air over the Wash. Still no mail from Doris of which I take a pretty dim view. I think I went to the station cinema tonight. Paid £10-14.

Friday 10th

Detailed today to clean up an aircraft. Had a wonderful time on the beer at the mess dance & met a WAAF, that’s all I remember.

Saturday 11th

After the group captain’s inspection we had a further one standing by the aircraft. Back to the Flight for a roll call. Left for home on the bike at 10.30. The skipper is posted to a Photographic Reconnaissance Unit at Benson. Got to Stanstead at 11.35 waited 5 mins for Bob home at 1.0pm. Went to Romford and shopping uptown this afternoon. This evening I met Bob at 7 in the “Nap” started drinking but didn’t get tight. Met Doris at the dance and took her home.

Sunday 12th

Went down to Bob’s house on the bike taking my latest records. Met him again this afternoon he had tea with me. When we met Doris all three going to the pictures. I took Doris to the “Choke” for a beer took her home very nice too – home at 11.

Monday 13th

Arose at 5 this morning breakfast left home at 5.30 and after a fairly comfortable ride arrived back here at 7.30. Breakfast, wash, shave etc reported for discipline course at the Corporal’s NAAFI. Tonight a surprise not much to do and no bull. This evening went round to Morley’s for supper.

Tuesday 14th

Still on the discipline course – it’s ok nothing much to learn so far. This evening I was supposed to have a date at 7pm but apparently she was there for when I went to the station cinema later – she was there and said she had turned up. I was called out of the cinema to play piano at Chalky’s going away party only had a couple of beers.

Wednesday 15th

Lectures and drill on the course this morning. Supposed to be on sport this afternoon but skived off to Mildenhall village on my bike for tea at “Tilly’s Pantry”. This evening I met the WAAF – Vera her name – at 7pm and took her on the bike to Bury St. Edmunds where we saw “Leave Her to Heaven” with Gene Tierney. Rather wet and cold. Bed at 12.

Thursday 16th

Can’t think what on earth I did today of note, other than this bull course that I’m in the midst of. Still looking (stupid of me I guess) for mail from Doris. I can’t make up my mind quite whether I like that woman or not.

Friday 17th

Same routine almost as yesterday. This evening I’m supposed to have a date with Vera but she met beforehand to postpone it until Wednesday night. This evening I went over to Tuddenham and picked up Shorty, Bill Tuck and Stewart whence we all went to Mildenhall cinema then to Morley’s for supper and very nice too.

Saturday 18th

After reporting for further instruction on the discipline course we had an intelligence test after which I left for home on the bike in a violent rain storm. Picked up Bob and home at 1pm. Met Bob this evening after missing Doris – beer, beer all evening – took Barry and Doris home and get home myself at 2am.

Sunday 19th

Up at 10.30am. Breakfast. Raining. Bob came down we walked and talked in the rain. Went down to Bob’s house this afternoon for darts. Evening. Stood up Doris (fool) met Bob – pictures – saw Bob off – to the Artichoke for a beer saw Doris but didn’t speak – home at 10pm & bed.

Monday 20th

Up at 5am to return to camp, left home at 5.30am and back at Mildenhall at 7.30am. Breakfast, then back to discipline course. Drill all day with rifles in the afternoon. This evening spent quietly cleaning bike.

Tuesday 21st

Similar routine on camp as yesterday. Wrote to Doris, Don Birchley and home. Continued cleaning this evening then went to Ely pictures with Les the mid-upper gunner.

Wednesday 22nd

Drill again this morning. On parade in best blue this afternoon for Groupy. Drilled before him then march past. After which everyone had to drill the squad. This evening I went to Cambridge with Vera Goldup, a WAAF in the dental section here, on my motor cycle. Spent a pleasant evening at the pictures eating & returning. Bed at 12.

Thursday 23rd

Missed morning parade returning rifle. Reported to navigation section for the first time in two weeks what a terrible place this section is! Saw the Education officer. Set off tonight with Ginger and Les to Thetford. 60 mph on the bike (first time) returned to camp, had a few whiskies went to the station dance piss poor went and had more beer and got drunk. Paid today £10-14.

Friday 24th

Nothing to report today. No mail.

Saturday 25th

No C.O.’s parade today, usual squadron parade. Today the station is open to the public to raise funds for St. Dunston’s.  Luckily I wasn’t joed for a job and I skived off at 12.30pm for home arriving home at 2.30pm. Rode down to Bob’s house. Meeting him at 7pm in the “Nap” in civvies went on our usual round drinking to the dance, saw but didn’t speak to Doris.

Sunday 26th

Up at 10.30 collected Bob and we proceeded to change the oil on the bike & cleaned it. Walked uptown – pictures at the Odeon tonight. Left Brentwood at 9 on the bike back here at 11.45 after a piss poor journey through every kind of ropey weather you can imagine.

Monday 27th

Breakfast – section – nothing special happened on camp. This evening Les and I went to Newmarket on our bikes to see “Duffy’s Tavern”, Bing Crosby very good. Supper back to camp.

Tuesday 28th

Same routine all day, no mail. Picked up by the Wingco for being outside camp before 12. This evening I went to Tuddenham by motor bike by motor bike to see Jack & Shorty.

Wednesday 29th

Same routine in the morning – walking as sport this afternoon – I was going to Methwold this evening for a party but rain prevented me so I saw “They Were Sisters” with James Mason & Phyllis Calvert at the station cinema.

Thursday 30th

Saw Squadron Leader Pilgrim about my leave but no decision forthcoming until tomorrow. It rained today.

Friday 31st

Flew tonight at the last minute on a bombing exercise; landed about 12.10am. My leave starts on Tuesday night.

June 1946

Saturday 1st

Left Mildenhall on my bike at 8.30 home at 10.30 saw Bob this afternoon and saw Doris this evening. The four of us went pub-crawling playing darts piano etc. Then Doris, John & I go to the Town Hall – took Doris home when she went in it was 2am. See tomorrow. One of the best nights I’ve had in years.

Sunday 2nd

I awoke this morning with quite a thick head and got up finally as Bob called on me around eleven. Went for a quiet beers uptown and visited the swimming pool – bang on. Left for camp by train at 6.30pm from Brentwood, 7.50pm from London, in the billet at 11pm.

Monday 3rd

After laying all my kit out for inspection I was Tannoyed and flew on a cross-country fighter affiliation to Isle of Man with my new crew F/O Cockerill. Went to Ely with “Les” on his “Ariel” arrived back at camp to learn that I am flying again tomorrow! On a “front line”.

Tuesday 4th

Saw the Navigation leader and got off the flying – paid at 2 – £10-14. Hitchhiked to Newmarket, by train to London and home at 8.10pm. Went uptown immediately to meet Bob – had a couple of beers, fish & chips and returned home at 11.

Wednesday 5th

First day of leave sees me meeting Bob uptown at 10.0. S.F.A. to do except walk around & drink tea at our new sound NAAFI. This evening Doris & I went to the Palace to see “The Lisbon Story” piss poor this time, however I did get her home at 11.

Thursday 6th

Met Bob again at 10.30 stooged all morning. This evening however we had a session – met at 6.30 in the “Nap” every one which was opened, to the “Horse & Groom” Warley, arrived at the barracks dance slightly pissed not a bad evening though, especially when I took Doris home and afterwards with the boys.

Friday 7th

No swim today owing to continued duff weather. Surprise this evening Doris stood me up – I felt pretty awful until Don walked out of Brentwood station and we went to Romford jugging then to the Town Hall.

Saturday 8th

Celebrated as Victory Day.

Swimming this morning and afternoon. Jugging this evening starting from the “Nap” ended up at the Town Hall slightly cut and saw Betty – Bob’s sister. Cousin Gertrude and her friend (married) Ida arrived for the weekend.

Sunday 9th

What a boring day the weather this morning was awful and again this afternoon. After going to church met the boys uptown when we had a few quiet drinks then home on the bike.

Monday 10th

Whit Monday.

Met the boys at 11.30am after I failed to go round to see Doris as I said I would last night. Had a tea at the “NAAFI”. Then we went to the “White Swan” had six pints in half’s until 2pm.  Home for dinner slightly pissed jumped on bike collected Bob came back to Brentwood @ 65 mph then went to the sports saw Doris got a date for tomorrow. On the beer and to the Town Hall again tonight.

Tuesday 11th

Went down to Bob’s house played a few records. Lunch. Saw “Blue Dahlia” with Alan Ladd. Date with Doris very nice indeed – to the Palace to see “Pinocchio”. The boys went back.

Wednesday 12th

Not much done today owing to the rain, slept in until midday. This afternoon messed around shopping. Met Doris at 7.30pm she looked wizard in jacket and pants we went walking round Warley -wonderful – home at 11.10pm.

Thursday 13th

Up at 6am and left home at 6.30am back at camp at 8.35am – there was a C.O.’s parade on for the King’s birthday after which the rest of the day was free. This afternoon I went to Cambridge with Les on his bike – quite a nice evening at a show, meal and dance, back at 11.30pm.

Friday 14th

Usual parades then to the section nothing special to report. Detailed for Fighter Affiliation exercises this afternoon but u/s planes scrubbed that. This evening I went to the station cinema with Billy Gillan an air-gunner and Londoner. Saw “Tin Pan Alley” – piss poor.

Saturday 15th

After the C.O.’s parade had been scrubbed because of rain, I left at 10.15am with Bill on the back in the rain for hours. After numerous stops due to air locks arrived home at 1pm picking up Bob and dropping Bill at Stanstead.

Afternoon met Doris and saw “Thrill of a Romance” Van Johnson & Esther Williams. Evening, Romford with Doris for a couple of quiet drinks, back to Brentwood walked home with Doris.

Met Bob at 11.30pm walked up town with him stuck my head in the Town Hall, caught the bus home.

Sunday 16th

Two years ago I got my wings.

Cleaning up the bike most of the morning after which I get a further ½ gallon and left it outside for returning in the morning.

Met Doris at 3.30pm this afternoon when we went walking over Weald Park it rained some of the time. Returned to Brentwood had tea and went to the Odeon. Walked slowly home, stopped in the Cornsland’s when the snogging became very serious. I told her I was nuts about her, to my surprise she told me she was about me too, wonderful. Meeting her again next Saturday morning or if I get home Friday night.

Monday 17th

Up at 6am left home at 6.30am a pleasant, wonderful ride back at 8.20am. Uneventful day at the Section, I didn’t go on any parades. Went to station cinema this evening to see “English Without Tears” – no good at all.

Tuesday 18th

Little to do, little to report.

Wednesday 19th

After having my name down to go swimming today I was joed to fly on a “Constant Speed Exercise” tonight. Letter from Doris. Nothing else to say today.

Thursday 20th

Lazy day again. This evening Bill, Alan and I had a few beers in Mildenhall and a few whiskeys in the mess and got a bit tight.

Friday 21st

Today I reported to the Section as usual skipping again the squadron parade. Flew to Wroughton this afternoon with the Wing commander not a bad trip. Wroughton is near Swindon. After landing had tea rode home on bike, home at 8pm. Went to see Doris we went up to “The Thatcher’s” for a quiet drink then to the Tattoo.

Saturday 22nd

Bought three new records today, “Clarinet ConcertsArtie Shaw. Benny Goodman’s “Good Enough to Keep” & “The World is Waiting for Sunrise”.

Met Doris at 3pm went to Southend, boat trip, Kursaal, walking along the front, home by 10.39pm train at her house at 12.30am.

Sunday 23rd

Rudely awakened by Mum & Maureen who said Doris was waiting downstairs for me, also my face was still covered in lipstick – it was – but Bob was downstairs.

Went swimming all morning I did 12 lengths, home for lunch. This afternoon I met Doris at 3pm & we went walking to Weald Park, stopped at a very quiet, cool spot from 4pm to 7pm, it was extremely hot in all senses & I almost broke my pledge. I shall always remember “Clarinet a la King” by Benny Goodman.

Walked by Pilgrims Hatch back to Brentwood had a kinda tea then went over Shenfield Common & saw Bob with Peggy then I took Doris home. On the way she almost had me in tears it’s pretty obvious she really cares for me so I guess that I’ll never give her any reason to change that feeling.

Monday 24th

Up at 6am again back at camp at 8.20am. Reported on parade for the first time in a week. Did SFA all day. This evening played a few records down Sandes. Wrote to Doris.

Tuesday 25th

Reported as usual – did SFA. No mail received, letter home and to Dan Forster. Saw “Follow the Girls” at the station cinema.

Wednesday 26th

On parade this morning with the crew to go to North Weald drawing tropical kit. Reported to sport stores and went down to Lakenheath swimming – bang on. Went down to Sandes home to play a few records. Nice letter from Doris.

Thursday 27th

Another letter from Doris. Bulling billet for AOC’s inspection tomorrow. Little else to report.

Friday 28th

The AOC’s inspection today. Remained in and around the Section all day. Went to the pictures this evening on the camp. Still another from Doris. Cleaned up the motor cycle as well.

Saturday 29th

The usual Group Captain’s parade and inspection today. After which we parade again at 9.45am. I left for home on the bike at 10am, home after fairly uneventful journey at 12.15pm.

Met Doris a per plan at 3.30pm went on bicycle to Weald Park stayed there walking and snogging until 7pm, had tea then went to the Essex saw John, to “The Thatcher’s” rode out in the country on the bike snogging again and back to her house at 12.

Sunday 30th

Up at 9.30am, breakfast, up town but no swim, posted letter off to “Canada’s Weekly” cancelling order.   Met Doris at 2.45pm walking around Warley left her at 7pm home for a quick tea and caught the train into London at 8pm. After a hot & wearisome journey back at camp at 12.30am.

July 1946

Monday 1st

On parade as usual this morning. No flying – letters written & sent to Bob, home, Doris & license dept. This evening I went swimming at Lakenheath – Shorty joined me and we went to Lakenheath with Bill Tuck and got drunk.

Tuesday 2nd

Quiet day – little of note to report. No flying for me. Received letter from Doris.

Wednesday 3rd

The whole of today was spent on Operation Frontline flying in formation over Germany. Today a tragedy occurred when F/Sgt “Taffy” Thomas was drowned at Lakenheath. No letters received.

Thursday 4th

Spent the morning uneventfully. Still no mail received from Doris. On a cross-country this evening preparing this afternoon. Scrubbed – on local flying smell of burning rubber noticeable from wireless operator’s transmitter – stood by with fire extinguishers.

Friday 5th

Up at 9 today breakfast in the Victory sent back to billet to collect best blue and weekend kit. Flying to Kemble – back to London by train – home at 7.30. Spent the evening indoors pressing blue sowing etc. Bed at 11.30.

Saturday 6th

Up quite early took bike & filled up with petrol – round to Doris at 10.30 invited to her brother’s wedding. Arrived at 2.30. Went to the church back to her house. After tea left on the bike for Romford had a few drinks and went dancing, home at my house 1am.

Sunday 7th

Up at 8 after a very restless night – up to the swimming pool but I didn’t go in. Lunch – collected Doris on the bike at 2.0pm and we went to Southend. A pleasant time there returned at 8. Took her home at 11.30. In bed at 12.

Monday 8th

Special stamp issued for Victory Day July 8th

Up at 6.0am breakfast left for camp at 6.30 arrived back with no trouble at 08.20. No flying today. No mail received. Wrote to Doris.

Tuesday 9th

Flew today a cross-country. No mail received. Went out with Les on his motor cycle. My lips are healing slowly.

Wednesday 10th

Flew on a Fighter Affiliation this morning bloody annoying. Down at 11.30 changed to go to Cambridge swimming to catch the transport 12.30. Didn’t get a letter from Doris today which made me very cheesed – I’m wondering if she’s changed her mind about me. After swimming went to a show – had some supper – feeling so awful & with my lip unable to go to a dance came back to Mildenhall by the 7.40 train.

Thursday 11th

Usual routine today. Flying on a constant speed exercise tonight. Letter from Doris at last. Flew on the constant speed exercise GEE u/s & the DRC, not too bad a trip after the first leg.

Friday 12th

Continuation of the hot weather which has lasted all this week. In the section all day. Flying again tonight on circuits. No more mail received. Syd the skipper got me a gallon of gas.

Saturday 13th

Up for CO’s parade at 7. On parade again at 10.15 for the squadron roll call. Left for home at 10.30 called in for a beer, home at 1.0 changed into civvies met Doris at 3 we went to Romford & bought 3 records including Frank Sinatra’s Day by Day. Went to the Savoy had a meal. Home at 1.30am after snogging in the moonlight.

Sunday 14th

Spent the morning messing about on the bike to Herongate. Called Doris at 3.0 & we went walking to Weald Park – snogging in earnest – it’s hard to put it down how much I love her. This evening we decided to get engaged on my demob leave. Got indoors at 12.00.

Monday 15th

Flew on a cross country as soon as I got back to camp at 08.40. No trouble at all on the motor cycle. Didn’t go to the show tonight the weather being so awfully hot.

Tuesday 16th

No mail received today – and no flying either. Dad’s birthday, didn’t send a card. Saw “Princess and the Pirate” this evening with Bob Hope – very good.

Wednesday 17th

Up at 7.30 as usual – breakfast – and flew on a ferrying trip to Wroughton near Swindon. Remained in and around the billet all evening. Expecting but didn’t get a letter from Doris. Expecting now to be demobilised in December – very poor show.

Thursday 18th

Uneventful day – two letters received from Doris. This evening was spent drinking in honour of Taffy Benjamin and his 27th birthday. Got quite drunk in the “Bird” making quite a clot of myself on return to the billet.

Friday 19th

Still another uneventful day, weather is poor thank god so no flying. Mess party tonight – local flying laid on with me flying. Johnny Cleaver (I don’t like him) flew for me. Rode over to Tuddenham on my motor cycle where had a few beers with Shorty and two WAAFs from Mildenhall ex 149 Methwold. Got cheesed came back to Mildenhall had a few more beers and whiskies in the mess – drunk again.

Saturday 20th

Up OK for the CO’s parade, on parade again after the squadron leader had inspected the billets. Paraded at 10.30am, left for home on the bike at 10.45am; home at 1pm. Shopping on the bike this afternoon; afterwards cleaning the bike. This evening I went to Romford to meet Bob as I thought but no joy. Back to Brentwood had a beer in the “Lion and Lamb” then round to the “Artichoke” and had a lot more. Left there and went to the “White Hart” had three ciders. I was quite merry by this time when Pam and her friend Joan walked in started talking. Saw Pam at the dance and had a long chat with her the gist of it being “what a good type Bob is and what a rotten bugger I am” for my part and hers being “i.e. you’re not you are OK and Bob is no good”. Can’t say I remember too much about it anyway.

Sunday 21st

Up early with still no hangover although stomach not too steady. Finished off cleaning my bike. Up for a swim on my bike. Met Doris at 2.30 walking over to Weald Park again – snogging – when I should have had my face slapped but didn’t. Had tea in the Odeon saw “Double Indemnity” with Barbara Stanwyck – not bad – took her home at 12.00 midnight.

Monday 22nd

Overslept slightly and in trying to catch up time had to cool off bike which was pre-igniting. Not flying today. Wrote to Doris. Shorty came over this evening and we went to the “Bull” for a drink.

Tuesday 23rd

Reported sick after being up all night ring trouble probably caused by the weekend beer. Scrubbed of the flying detail. Went to Sandes Home the local canteen this evening & wrote letters to Doris, Al Jones, Pam McQueen.

Wednesday 24th

Flew once again on a ferrying trip to Wroughton near Swindon missed going to Cambridge for a swim owing to late return. Heavy thunderstorms this afternoon. Went to the station cinema tonight in civvies – very hot – poor film.

Thursday 25th

“Operation Front-line” on today but strange as it seems we weren’t on it. Had a lazy day. No night flying tonight owing to non-return of Front-line kites. Went to the “Bull” Barton Mills this evening had a beer with Les, Shorty & Bill Stewart whence we all went to Newmarket to a dance – very pleasant evening.

Friday 26th

Another lazy day – paid this afternoon £11-14 making a total in my pocket including £1 ration money of £20. This evening after the boys finally persuaded me I went by taxi to Mildenhall and got rather drunk on Younger’s Scotch Ale.

Saturday 27th

What a head I woke up with this morning I feel it is going to burst. No CO’s parade but a stupid ASR lecture by Syd until 10. Left with Billy Allan on the back at 10.30 and home without mishap at 1.0. Called on Doris about 2.30 whence we went to London. Rang Shorty saw “Easy to Wed” with Esther Williams & Van Johnson at the Ritz – Wembley back to Hyde Park supper home at 1am.

Sunday 28th

Up at 9 (I think) breakfast down to Bob’s home but he wasn’t there. Lunch, picked up Doris with my bike at 2.30 we went to Maldon. Took out a row boat caught in the mud. Tea, back to Brentwood saw “Let’s Face It” home after taking Doris home.

Monday 29th

After wasting most of the day adjusting my bike I called on Doris at 7 and we went to the Hammersmith Palais to see Ted Heath & his band – it was wonderful – I shall go again when he returns on Sept. 16th.

Tuesday 30th

Can’t remember much about today. Met Doris this evening.

Wednesday 31st

Bob came down we saw Mrs Birchley uptown and learnt that Don was coming home Friday night. Saw Doris again tonight.

August 1946

Thursday 1st

Little to report of the day’s activities. This evening Doris went walking to Weald Park – very nice too – I asked her to marry me!!!! She said yes.

Friday 2nd

I think it was today at midday that I was drunk after having 5 pints in the Napier. We went to my house drank up the white wine went to the Palace tonight with Doris.

Saturday 3rd

After spending the morning shopping and stooging – I called on Doris at 12 whence we went to Clacton by my bike – had a wonderful time swimming, took the odd photo. Came back around 10pm. Home at 10pm. A really nice day indeed.

Sunday 4th

Swimming with Bob & Don. Quite hot. Crafty drink at lunchtime. Went walking with Doris this afternoon to Weald Park. Pictures at the Odeon to see “Johnny Apollo”.

Monday 5th

Bank Holiday. Called on Doris at 9am, went to the swimming pool had wizard time with Jeff, Bob, Don & bad Snell. Afternoon called on Doris at 2pm went to Weald Park by my bike. I made her cry by an unscrupulous remark, it was heart rending. After inevitable snogging went home collected coat. Childerditch Common.

Tuesday 6th

Set course at 6am in fine weather on my bike. Back at camp safely, although slight engine misfiring, at 08.35 usual section routine in the morning. Flew tonight on 4 ½ hr cross country over northern France.

Wednesday 7th

Pretty poor weather today. Slept in until 09.30. Not much to do today. Went to Bury St. Edmunds on my motor cycle – ran out of petrol 4 miles out of it. Heaved the bike on a truck. Les and I had a wizard tea then saw “Make Mine Music” at the Odeon. Back at 11pm.

Thursday 8th

Normal day – no flying thank goodness – at least no cross country, but local stooge this afternoon. Went to the station cinema to see a pretty poor film called …….oh bother I’ve forgotten.

Friday 9th

Not flying today. Weather pretty ropey. Went to the station cinema tonight to see “Weekend at the Waldorf” with Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, Van Johnson & Walter Pidgeon. A wonderful picture especially Lana Turner!!!

Saturday 10th

Raining again this morning – to the station at 9. Paraded again at 10.15 left for home at 10.35 with Les Austin a passenger, dropped him at Newmarket. Home at 12.35. Met Doris at 3.15. Show at Romford Ritz “Quiet Weekend” no good. Supper at the NAAFI in Brentwood – walking over Shenfield Common until 12.30!

Sunday 11th

Up at 10 swimming with Bob at 10.30 pretty good. Pint at the Napier home for lunch – met Doris at 3. Walking over Weald Park again. Tea at the Odeon saw “Cargo of Innocents” at the Palace – bang on. Walking – home at 12.

Monday 12th

Arrived back at 08.30 not too wet but rather uncomfortable. Normal day – flying tonight but didn’t go owing to duff weather. Write a letter to my girl – Doris.

Tuesday 13th

Again a perfectly uneventful day. Flying tonight on a cross country. Returned to base for local flying after getting ¾ way on the first leg owing to more duff weather. Bed at 2.0am. Flew the Lancaster for about ½ hr around Ipswich by instrument – bang on.

Wednesday 14th

In bed until 10.30 when Squadron Leader Mickey Moore woke us up with some rude remark. Sports this afternoon cycled down to Mildenhall had a pound of greengages – tea at “Tilly’s Pantry” – back to base & went to the station cinema. Letter from Doris.

Thursday 15th

That sad Moore cancelled our 48 because the billets were supposed to be not up to scratch. No day flying owing to proposed Bullseye tonight. At first Bullseye was scrubbed and we went on a 3 hr cross country to Exeter & Binbrook. Quiet evening. Missed pay parade.

Friday 16th

Normal morning – no flying – paid £11-16. At 2.0pm. Went to Mildenhall on my motor cycle returned to base then after tea went over to Tuddenham to see Shorty but he was on leave. Returned to camp again and went to the station cinema.

Saturday 17th

Left for home at 11 after messing around with Moore’s parades. Home at 1.30 everyone away at the wedding got myself a meal of spaghetti on toast. After shopping called on Doris around 4.30 went to a show in Hornchurch. Returned to my home picked up my (?) then went to the Town Hall – poor – took Doris home bed at 2.0am!! (at my home)

Sunday 18th

Bob woke me at 10.30 and I arrived at the swimming pool around 11.15 swimming pretty cold. Whipped myself up some sort of lunch and called on Doris around 3. Went to Canvey on the bike no good returned to Brentwood and went to Palace to see “Girl Crazy”. I was in a very cheesed off mood with a kind of yearning to be on the beer with the boys not because I don’t love Doris but that I wanted a momentary change. Doris again convinced me very much that she loves me and I’m sorry to say I made her cry again. I had overcome my mood by 4 this afternoon but apparently she was still worried and this evening she said she would give me up to make me happy in fact she said she wished she was killed whilst I lived so that she would never have to give me up. I’ve never felt such a heel in my life and I hope I never get like in the mood I was on Saturday and Sunday again. The trouble with me is that one minute I know my own mind the next I don’t. I’ve still got the restlessness in me which will have to be overcome now!! I should imagine this is the most frank statement I’ve ever put on paper.

Monday 19th

Still a bit dopey from the weekend. Arrived back at 08.35 after an uneventful ride home. Bike not running too easily.

Tuesday 20th

Little to report for today. Supposed to fly on a “Front Line” with F/L Smith but scrubbed owing to the duff weather.

Wednesday 21st

Flew on a Front line today but turned back over Amsterdam owing to duff weather shot up everything. Sports afternoon in Mildenhall for afternoon tea and greengages. Station cinema tonight. Received a nice letter from Doris. Pool winnings on 4 aways are 16/=.

Thursday 22nd

Can’t remember a thing about today. Nothing special happened as far as I know.

Friday 23rd

Usual day – flew on a cross country with duff GEE – over to Tuddenham this evening to see Shorty, had a few beers in the “Bull” Barton Mills and supper at the roadside café.

Saturday 24th

After the usual Saturday morning bull left for home about 10.45 home at 1. Dinner round to Doris went to Romford – shopping for motor cycle – show at the Ritz – supper in Hornchurch left for Brentwood caught in the rain. Went home for me to change, mother came home met Doris for the first time – played a few records while mum & Doris nattered. Took her home after some wizard snogging!!!

Sunday 25th

Arose at my usual Sunday morning time. Breakfast & cleaned up my bike. Round to Doris left for Clacton about 12.45 lunch in a pub arrived Clacton about 3. Tea – went for a swim tea again – got to Kelvedon and caught in a thunderstorm – wet through – left bike in a garage back by bus. Doris felt ill & took her home.

Monday 26th

Up at 9 breakfast put on uniform bus to Chelmsford and another to Kelvedon picked up bike at 12 & rode home average speed 50 mph. Called on Doris after lunch & later went to the Odeon “Somewhere in the Night” took her home as she felt ill. Back to camp at 11.

Tuesday 27th

Announced today on parade we are now moving to Wyton on Thursday – withdrawing flying kit. Started on the bike this evening with Cyril for decarbonisation. Hope to finish it tomorrow night. Wrote letters to Doris & home.

Wednesday 28th

Packing and preparing to leave Mildenhall for good (I hope). Pay parade at 2 received £11-16. This evening most of the squadron went to “The Bird” for a few beers came back and went to bed. Wrote another letter to Doris.

Thursday 29th

Up early today finished packing. After various small tasks left Mildenhall for Wyton about 10.30 by motor cycle arrived about 12.15 after stopping in Cambridge for a break. This afternoon spend settling in and this evening in Huntingdon at the pictures.

Friday 30th

RAF Wyton Huntingdon

Mainly spent in fixing up the navigation and bombing sections. Letter received from Doris at last – not too thrilling however. This evening Les and I went into town looking for a dance but no luck so we had supper and returned to base going to bed fairly early.

Saturday 31st

Reported to work this morning at 9. Clearing up generally. Back to billet for inspection at 12. Left for home at 12.00 home after finding new route at 14.30. Cleaned up round to Doris not at home. Waited until she came home tea – pictures at Romford – home – snogging – home to bed at 10am. August and Saturday finished quietly.

September 1946

Sunday 1st

Spent the morning cleaning and DI’s on my motor cycle filled up with 1 gallon, lunch, pressing uniform etc . Round to Doris at 3.30 until 4.45 home for tea. Pictures – our usual place under the tree – confessions and queries by me – she had to be in by 11 on account of being late last night. I don’t think she is as keen on me as she was although I am more of her.

Monday 2nd

Returned to camp by motor cycle as usual. Not a lot happened today there was no flying.

Tuesday 3rd

Rain today as usual. No mail received although I confess I was expecting one from Doris. This evening went into Huntingdon and Godmanchester drinking – spewed up my ring and came back to camp by taxi. Spent most of the evening in the “Royal Oak” Godmanchester.

Wednesday 4th

Usual day spent around the section up to lunchtime. Expecting the usual letter from Doris which did not arrive. I therefore assumed after the weekends happening that everything between Doris & me was off. If it hadn’t been raining I would have gone home today and seen Doris as it was I wrote, a niggardly letter suggesting the calling off our future marriage. I felt awful the whole afternoon & evening and went to Cambridge dancing.

Thursday 5th

Still feeling very blue couldn’t sleep or eat breakfast. However at lunch time a letter arrived from Doris. I immediately sent off reconciliation letter & felt wonderful again.

Friday 6th

Received a further letter from Doris and felt even better. This evening rode into St. Ives had 4 pints, supper & returned to camp after a very pleasant time. Flew today on a H25 cross country.

Saturday 7th

After quite a bit of work this morning left for home at 12.00pm with Billy Allen as passenger. Home at 2, lunch, changed into brown suit called on Doris, went to Weald Park on motor cycle, pictures at the Palace & home after very pleasant snogging. A very satisfactory day.

Sunday 8th

Raining like the very devil all day today. After a lazy morning I called on Doris at 2.30 and come back home to play a few records – she had tea with us & this evening went to the “Towers” Hornchurch back to Brentwood after supper in Romford Market Square for the inevitable snogging. Doris tells me she is volunteering to join the Land Army of which I take a very dim view.

Monday 9th

I’m 22 & four months today. Returned to camp by motor cycle as usual. Briefing at 11 to fly to St. Mawgan, Cornwall. Arrived at St. Mawgan at 3. Food & billets, washed, shaved and into Newquay – quite a nice town but very poor beer situation. Went to the Blue Lagoon Ballroom and spent a very pleasant time.

Tuesday 10th

Up at 7 took off at 10.30 for Castel Benito in Cyrenaica just 12 miles outside Tripoli. We came via Istres and Sardinia the trip taking 7 hrs landed at 5.30 had a meal got a billet had a beer went to bed in the sweltering heat.

Wednesday 11th

Up for breakfast then to the airfield for transport to Tripoli waited ages for transport then the whole thing was scrubbed owing to the town being out of bounds because of smallpox. This afternoon we had a wizard swim in the camp this afternoon I took a few photos.

Thursday 12th

Up at 7 – breakfast at the airfield – took off for St. Mawgan at 10.30 diverted over the English Channel owing to duff weather to Waterbeach – cleared by customs then to Wyton. Spent the evening reorganising and pressing.

Friday 13th

Most of the day spent in around the section the cheeky rats put me on circuits with the Wingco – a bit dicey especially on one bumpy over-shoot. Bed early after supper.

Saturday 14th

(blank)

Sunday 15th

I spent the morning in the usual unorganised way. Called on Doris at 2.30 but it was raining and George was taken to hospital with a collapsed lung. Afterwards Doris and I went to the pictures at Romford and came back to the place behind Warley where we snogged once before in the moonlight. Home at 11.15pm.

Monday 16th

Back to camp this morning by motor cycle. Flew this morning and this evening. Wrote to Doris.

Tuesday 17th

Flew this afternoon on local and GCA flying. About 3pm we ran out of petrol owing to the failure of the engineer to change tanks and we force landed in a field outside Waterbeach shaken up a bit but came back to camp by transport.

Wednesday 18th

Bags of inquiries and form filling this morning. This afternoon went over to the crash by motor cycle and crashed on the way back, shook ourselves up a little more time and smashed the front lamp & bent mudguard.

Thursday 19th

We flew today to regain any lost confidence.

Friday 20th

Court of Inquiry today on the prang. Left camp at 5 for home by the repaired bike on a 48. Called on Doris this evening in the rain and stayed at her house.

Saturday 21st

This morning was spent shopping in Romford and stooging round Brentwood this afternoon called on Doris at 3 we went to Romford by train to see “To Each His Own” – pretty poor. Came back to Brentwood and had some supper. After which we walked slowly home via Cornsland’s and our favourite tree. Hmm I won’t record the rest not that it’s un-writable.

Sunday 22nd

Up at 9 for breakfast, cleaning bike & fixing new lamp but couldn’t wire it up. Called on Doris at 2.30 and went to see George, her brother, at Brentwood hospital. Afterwards to Shenfield Common where we didn’t get on very well for a while but everything came out OK. Pictures, then snogging, phew it’s hot to think of it.

Monday 23rd

Up at 5.30 this morning to come back at 6am. No lights on bike I couldn’t leave until 6.20 back at 08.05. Flew this morning on dummy runs and again tonight on a 5 ½ hr cross country to Newport, Peel, Whitby 53N 3E, York, Leicester landed 2.00am.

Tuesday 24th

Sleeping in this morning until midday after last night’s gruelling cross country. Lunch. Reported for work and went to Huntingdon for a little shopping with Les Austin. Back to camp for supper at the Blenheim café outside camp. Wrote to Ministry of Education, Shorty, Bob & Doris.

Wednesday 25th

Usual routine in the morning. Played football this afternoon. Not much else to report. Letter from Doris.

Thursday 26th

Flew today on dummy bombing runs. This evening was the Sergeant’s Mess Party. Went into St. Ives for a few beers came back to the mess on my motor cycle had quite a few more and became a little drunk. Not too good an evening on the whole. Cleaned up motor cycle this afternoon.

Friday 27th

Spent the morning working in and around the section after Mac (the navigation leader) tore me off a horrible strip for skiving yesterday. Frontline scrubbed meaning we are getting our 48. Spent the afternoon working again in the briefing room. Flying tonight on bombing.

Saturday 28th

Reported for work in the section again. Left for home at 12 and reached home at 2. Lunch, changed & went round to Doris. Went to pictures at Romford to see John Hodiak in some film or other which I can’t remember.

Sunday 29th

Usual Sunday morning routine. Called on Doris in civvies at 3pm went for a short motor cycle ride. Had tea at her house went to the pictures and spent a very pleasant Sunday evening as usual.

Monday 30th

Still at home today on the 48. Had breakfast did the odd bit of shopping. Spent the whole day pressing. Met Doris at 5.30 from work & again at 6.30. Spent a wonderful evening again. Back to camp by motor cycle at 11.40 in bed at 2am.

October 1946

Tuesday 1st

I know we flew again today on what I can’t remember and I believe we did again this evening. Naturally I didn’t expect any mail today. These last 3 months in the RAF are certainly dragging but the wonderful weekends certainly help things.

Wednesday 2nd

Flew again this morning on fighter affiliation. This afternoon went down into Huntingdon. This evening went by taxi to St. Ives where we had the Bomb Aimer’s and Navigator’s binge – had quite a lot of beer in fact I was drunk played the piano solidly for two hours came back to the billet roaring drunk and spent a very restless night.

Thursday 3rd

My head wasn’t too bad today owing to the fact I had about 4 aspirins. Went into Fenstanton by motor cycle had three beers & went to the dance not too bad but was bloody hot , came back to camp by 11pm.

Friday 4th

Flew again today. Resumed Court of Inquiry for medical evidence from Alec. Flew again today on bombing. Wizard letter from Doris.

Saturday 5th

The Wingco had a bull parade today after which we went back to the sections and finally got away at 11.30. Home at 2, lunch and round to Doris & went to Romford to see “London Town”. Came back on the bike in the rain to my house changed and had tea as mum, dad and Maureen were in London we stayed in all evening. It was wizard and we left for her house at 11.30. I can’t remember a more wonderful evening.

Sunday 6th

Usual routine until 10am. Went up to Don Birchley’s house & him and I went for the odd pint and natter. Called on Doris at 2.30 rode on my bike to Weald Park took three pictures had tea in the Yorkshire Grey, pictures “The Sky’s the Limit” at the Palace and the rest of the evening in the Cornsland’s, very nice too.

Monday 7th

Came back at my former time of 6.30am again today – bloody cold journey back but arrived safely. Flew tonight on a bombing detail with our only bomb falling about 1 ½ miles from the target.

Tuesday 8th

Writing this day up a week in areas always makes it very difficult to remember what on earth happened so I’ll just leave the entry at usual routine. Wrote to Doris naturally.

Wednesday 9th

Almost flew this morning on a fighter affiliation but the rear turret sight luckily was u/s. Played football this afternoon – pretty good and interesting game.

Thursday 10th

Spent the whole day in the sun picking up spuds on a farm near Fenstanton – bloody hard work & back breaking. Got back to camp at 5.15pm and this evening went to St. Ives for a few quiet beers.

Friday 11th

Syd & Tony were grounded today and we were informed that a summary of evidence is to start on Monday. Didn’t fly today working on the white posts outside the billet. Went to Huntingdon tonight to a show.

Saturday 12th

Left the camp at 11.30am by motor cycle and got home about 1.45pm. Had the usual wizard dinner then called on Doris whence we went to the Towers Hornchurch to see “A Night in Paradise” with Merle Oberon – not very good. Stopped on the way home on the arterial Southend Road. Bed after going home at 11.30pm.

Sunday 13th

Usual Sunday morning routine and of course in the afternoon called on Doris whence we went out Ongar way on the bike – a bit bloody cold but enjoyable nevertheless. This evening went to the pictures as is our want every Sunday night and afterwards some nice intimate snogging. Oh là là.

Monday 14th

Back by motor cycle this morning pretty cold – first thing that happened today was that leave & release are still cancelled. Syd & Tony are under close arrest pending Summary of Evidence.

Tuesday 15th

I haven’t a lot to say about today. The crew are asking the Adjutant to get some gen on our leave.

Wednesday 16th

Again normal morning 44 Squadron routine. So far this week I have managed to keep on the deck. This afternoon went with Les & Billy Allan to a village called Houghton for a nice tea. No letter from Doris today which niggled me rather, still I expect there will be one tomorrow.

Thursday 17th

Learnt at last we are to get leave – I’m banging on for 10 days. Flew tonight on local with Squadron Leader Moore not too cheesing.

Friday Oct 18th

Working the whole day in 44 Squadron map room. This evening went into Huntingdon to see “Easy to Wed” with Van Johnson & Ester Williams. Supper of fish & chips & back to camp.

Saturday 19th

Did the odd spot of work this morning before coming home by bike on leave. Arrived hours about 2 called on Doris at 3pm whence we went to Romford by motor cycle. It rained again & we came home to 31 where we stayed in all evening playing records & snogging etc. etc. !!!!**!!

Sunday 20th

The first day of probably the last leave I shall have in the RAF. Spent the morning working on the chains of my bike. This afternoon I called on Doris at 3pm we went out walking. The enclosed short verse was written by her – very sweet & sincere. Pictures at the Odeon in the evening.

1946-1

A sad & sorry sigh
That came from the mind
But not the heart
The mind for fear of a love that may die
The heart knows that it will live for another day to sigh

Sunday at 5pm 20.10.46
From Doris to Den Darling

Monday 21st to Sunday 27th

Was spent very quietly at home on leave spending most of the day at home and all of the evenings with Doris – did some very useful wok on the motor cycle. Had several unpleasant moments when Doris thought we were through but everything finally straightened itself out as tomorrow’s entry shows.

Monday 28th

After wasting the day – walking in the morning for miles and doing nothing in particular in the evening, Doris and I with Barry went to the Barracks dance.   Up to the interval everything was very quiet and steady – during the interval I went for the odd drink at the “Horse & Groom” after which I came back to the dance where Doris was waiting for me. It was while we were dancing to the music of “And So Do I” that she told me with a very starry eyed look that she wanted to become engaged at Christmas and married the one after – my word I was pleased and now everything in the garden once again is rosy. After the dance I went back to her house where we three had supper.

Tuesday 29th

Spent the morning lazily and the afternoon at the Palace seeing “The Stranger” a wizard film. Crazy as it may seem Doris and I saw the film again this evening after which we walked very slowly home to her house.

Wednesday 30th

A quiet day in the house then this afternoon Doris came down & we played quite a few records until mum came home when we had tea after which Doris and I went to Romford to see “Monsieur Beaucaire” with Bob Hope not a bad day.

Thursday 31st

Up at 7 to come back to camp but couldn’t get the bike to start – had to take down the carburettor after re-assembling the bike went OK and I got back to camp 1 ½ hrs late. Boring day & in the evening a heavy cold came on so I went to bed early immediately after supper.

November 1946

Friday 1st

Spent the day as usual on the camp doing as little work as possible without appearing too lazy after which Mickey Bridger & I after getting our passes skived off on my bike for home. Reached Doris’ house at 6. Took her home while I had tea. Walked back with her to her house. Again she tells me she wants to postpone the engagement, what is a guy to do or think?

Saturday 2nd

Spent the morning dashing around the town shopping. This afternoon called on Doris at 2.30 and we remained in all of the afternoon when I went back home to tea. Called on Don at 5.45 and we both met Doris at 6 whence went to Smart’s party arriving at 6pm. The party didn’t look like starting at 7pm so Don, Doris, Maureen & I went to the “King Harold” and had a few drinks. Came back to the party where I had a few more beers & got a little tight but nevertheless enjoyed it. It was while taking Doris home that I put up the odd black which subsequently proved the end of my affair with Doris.

Sunday 3rd

When I met Doris at 3 this afternoon she kissed me which seemed to indicate everything was again OK. Later today she once again seemed to be drifting from me although I have tried my hardest to prove how much I really care. Walked home rather heavy of heart.

Monday 4th

Back to the camp by motor cycle this morning where the muddy roads thoroughly messed up my clean bike. Usual routine on the squadron. Three crew are supposed to be going to Malta today but weather scrubbed it. Doris joined the Land Army today. Went into St. Ives – drinking & dancing.

Tuesday 5th

Working spasmodically today in the squadron briefing room. Kind of expecting a letter from Doris today but naturally didn’t get one. Went out tonight to Huntingdon pictures. Three crews went to Malta via St. Mawgan.

Wednesday 6th

Much the same routine on the camp. Didn’t get a letter from Doris today although I was expecting one very much. This afternoon went into Huntingdon for tea, this evening darts & beer at the “Jolly Butchers”.

Thursday 7th

Really worried today because I didn’t get a letter from Doris. I have a feeling she really means to pack me up this time although it’s the last thing in the world I want as the letter I wrote to her last night must indicate. Another evening of darts & beer in the “Jolly Butchers”.

Friday 8th

Nobody of the squadron left here – we could have bogged off home this evening but suspicious of Mickey Moore’s intentions tomorrow.

Saturday 9th

Cheers Cheers a letter from Dottie at last – what a relief. Left for home at 10am with Les Austin on the back to Huntingdon. Home at 12.30pm. Dottie came home at 3pm – I went back home to shave and when I returned she proved everything to me by the way she kissed me.

Sunday 10th

We rode out to a friend of Doris at Blackmore and got caught in the wet. This afternoon she came round to tea when Auntie Emily & family came up to tea also. Doris & I went out about 7.30pm to our usual spot in the Cornsland’s – it was terrific.

Monday 11th

Bad weather today otherwise I would have been flying with F/O Palmer. This evening went into St. Ives to have a quiet beer and go up to the dance.

Tuesday 12th

Flew this afternoon with F/O Palmer to Wroughton and after circling Swindon we landed at a Halifax aerodrome – Fairford. Stayed the night in Swindon – piss poor – & flew back the next morning.

Wednesday 13th

Flew back to Wyton today. Went to the dentist having a filling. This evening Ken Williams & I went to Wisbech by my bike. Unfortunately no dance this week – came back to March still no dance & so through Chatteris back to camp. One of the most beautiful letters I have ever received from Doris today.

Thursday 14th

Rained most of the day preventing flying. Not much to do this evening.

Friday 15th

Still raining today. Left at 4pm with Alec Griffiths on the back for home on a 48. Got soaked through in the duff weather. Home at 7pm. Went up the “Artichoke” for a quiet drink.

Saturday 16th

Just about to leave for Southend to pick up Doris when she came rushing down the road to greet me. Walked back with her to her house then had dinner. We went to Romford this afternoon saw a show etc. After a wizard supper in the “NAAFI” rode out on my bike to a spot near Warley – spent the rest of the evening making love to her.

Sunday 17th

Up as usual about 8.30am had breakfast raining hard again collected petrol called on Dottie home for dinner called on her again – walked round to home – tea – pictures at the Odeon & then to the “tree”. Returned to camp tonight in bed at 1am.

Monday 18th to Thursday 21st

Nothing special to report except that my release will be OK. Dinghy drill in Cambridge on Friday.

Friday 22nd

Didn’t get a letter from Doris today and felt pretty cheesed so I cadged my leave pass from F/Sgt Whitbread in the orderly room and came home. Sat over the fire at home all evening.

Saturday 23rd

I was just leaving for Southend to bring home Doris when she walked in. I was pretty annoyed at her for not writing and I didn’t greet her too well which in turn annoyed her. Spent a very pleasant afternoon with her after straightening everything out.

Sunday 24th

Usual monotonous day except of course when I met Doris this afternoon – we had a wizard evening she went back at 9.50pm but knowing I shall meet her gain tomorrow she wasn’t cheesed at all.

Monday 25th

Didn’t do a lot of anything today except wait for this evening when I went to Southend by City Coach and went to a show with Dottie. Being a brilliant type I missed the last train and bus back to Brentwood and walked the whole 22 miles – it taking me 7 hrs.

Tuesday 26th

Tonight I went to Southend by motor cycle to make sure I get back safely. Doris & I went out walking along the front where we had a wizard snogging session. Home about 11.15pm.

Wednesday 27th

Went down to Southend again by the 4.30pm train from Brentwood. Doris & I went out walking again. Suspect Doris has impetigo on her chin.

Thursday 28th

Left for Southend early today to buy a roll necked sweater which I finally did after seeking 6 shops. Went to a news theatre then to Doris’ billet where I learnt she had left for Brentwood after lunch. I rushed back home as fast as I could and finally go to her home at 8.30pm. She is at home for the rest of the week with her chin. We went to the Palace to see “Concerto

Friday 29th

Doris and I walked uptown this morning shopping – I had dinner at her house then we went up to London to try and see “The Outlaw” but couldn’t get in instead we saw “The Kid from Brooklyn” with Danny Kaye we had some supper then came home by train – bang on the whole time.

Saturday 30th

Went up to Don’s house this morning to see him after I had seen Dottie. Dottie and I went to try and see a show in Romford but couldn’t get in came back to Brentwood had supper then went to the “Artichoke” saw Don Birchley had a quiet evening after having a drink in the Nap too.

December 1946

Sunday 1st

Supposed to meet Don for a drink this morning at 12 but he left before me. Called on Dottie to ascertain whether she wanted to go to Finsbury Park Empire next Saturday. After dinner called again went to her oppo’s house at Blackmore very cheesing – went to the Odeon this evening.

Monday 2nd

Dottie and I went uptown this morning and this afternoon she came round my house where we spent a very very pleasant time (silk stockings) she had tea with us then we went to the Palace to see “In Old Sacramento” not too bad. Spent a short time at the tree but it was too cold to stay out. Left her at 11.

Tuesday 3rd

Up at 7am and left for camp at 7.30am – bloody cold ride back – as soon as I got back I learnt I am to be released next Tuesday and I spend the whole day getting cleared and getting rid of my kit. This evening I went to Huntingdon to see “Spellbound” with Ingrid Bergman – had supper of fish & chips. Wrote home to Dottie.

Wednesday 4th

Handed the remainder of my kit in this morning. This evening went down to the “Jolly Butchers” for a further binge S/L Moore’s.

Thursday 5th

Commenced clearance today. Paid this afternoon in the NAAFI. Usual £11-14.

Friday 6th

Final clearance from 44 Squadron today and from the RAF. Away on a 48 at 2.30pm on my bike arriving home at 4.30pm. Remained at home this evening.

Saturday 7th

Quiet morning shopping in Romford with Doris. Went to Finsbury Park Empire tonight by a special “City Coach” – I thought it was piss poor.

Sunday 8th

Up to Don’s house on the bike this morning and around to the “Choke” & “Nap” looking for him but no joy. Went to Doris’ house this afternoon & evening for tea & snogging very nice too.

Monday 9th

Left for Wyton at 11.20 from King’s Cross station arrived Huntingdon at 1. Terrific binge in the “Jolly Butchers” tonight. Fought Tommy Williams.

Tuesday 10th

Left Huntingdon for Peterborough at 9.30 then train to Rugby changed to Preston then from Preston to Lytham. Arrived at Warton with fog & frost. Bloody cold Nissen hut.

Wednesday 11th

Owing to an overseas draft going through we spent the morning in the billet waiting – demobbed this afternoon at Kirkham – through by 6pm back to Warton by train from Lytham to Preston and stayed the doubtful night.

Thursday 12th

Left Preston at 9.30am for London, lunch on the train with Bill Drackett, the bloke I joined and left the RAF with. London at 11.55am and reached home at 1.55pm. Called on Doris at 6pm we went to the pictures.

Friday 13th

Spent the day collecting identity card, ration books etc and went to the pictures in the evening. Bought a new sweater.

Saturday 14th

Shopping in Romford in the morning and in Brentwood in the afternoon. Spend a pleasant evening in the “Artichoke” which was spoiled by the Town Hall dance later.

Sunday 15th

I stayed at home until having a midday drink with Don. Called on Doris at 3pm this afternoon & went to the pictures back to her home for supper.

Monday 16th

I called on Doris in the morning and she came round to me in the afternoon. Went to the pictures again had supper then went to her home.

Tuesday 17th

In the afternoon went by train to the London Pavilion to see Jane Russell in “The Outlaw” a terrific picture which influenced no end the ride home in the train with its inevitable and wizard snogging.

Wednesday 18th

Shopping etc. not much else to say.

Thursday 19th

Still shopping in the morning. Doris came down this afternoon. Mum went for a hair set, bags of snogging. Remained in the evening. After everyone was in bed we had some very skin close snogging until 1am wizard.

Friday 20th

Went to Doris’ house & had dinner. She came round here in the afternoon & the same happened as last night. To the Palace in the evening to see “All This & Heaven Too” with Bette Davis.

Saturday 21st

Quiet day altogether for me & Doris waiting for something to happen. Got some gaskets for my bike from Wilsons at Romford.

Sunday 22nd

Tonight I went to the Selo with Doris, Les & Joan & Edith for a social – wasn’t too bad but rather too many people there – had quite a few beers.

Monday 23rd

Commenced work this morning on my motor cycle stripping it down and starting on the cylinder head. Went out with Doris tonight.

Tuesday 24th

Still working on my bike today. Actually got it together again & it runs perfectly. Maureen, Don, Doris, Barry & I went out on a session tonight.

Wednesday 25th Christmas Day

Up at 11 after a beery session last night. Drink with Dottie wizard Christmas dinner – to Dottie with Maureen in the afternoon – tea back home for snogging session.

Thursday 26th Boxing Day

In the morning I went round to se Dottie and in the afternoon the same. This evening after tea at home we all went to the “Queens” to have a few beers and I got a bit tight. Home after a wonderful session at 1 in the morning with Dottie.

Friday 27th

Went out with Doon, Barry & Doris tonight for a few beers in the “Artichoke” & the dance at the Town Hall. Dottie got tight & so did I and I felt thoroughly cheesed at 12.30pm I can tell you.

Saturday 28th

I’ll think of something for today. Spent the evening at the pictures I know.

Sunday 29th

I went up for don this morning to have a drink but he was out so I called on Dottie and arranged for this evening. Dottie, Mrs Humphrey, George & May came round to tea this evening & we had a very pleasant time & so did I when I got back to her house!! I have some new property now!!?

Monday 30th

Dottie didn’t go back last night because she was too tired to go to the Doc yesterday morning. This afternoon we went to Romford by my motor cycle to see “Blue Skies”. This evening we spent snogging in the front room of her house. She went back at 9.30pm & it was pretty foggy.

Tuesday 31st New Year’s Eve

Spent the morning in my usual lazy manner getting up late. Tried to contact Don Birchley but unsuccessful. Got changed into my uniform & went to Southend by my motor cycle about 6.10pm arrived at 6.45pm. Doris had had all the afternoon off. We went down into a Southend pub where there was some wizard jive music. Spent the time of the New Year coming in kissing Doris. Wow!

January 1947

Wednesday 1st

Spent today at home as usual. Received a card from Grays Divisional Education board acknowledging my application form. Not much else to report for today that is of recording interest. Went to the Conservative Club with Pop tonight.

Thursday 2nd

Still at home doing SFA. Went down to Southend this afternoon on my motor cycle and saw “My Darling Clementine” in the afternoon and “The Green Years” with Dottie in the evening. The weather changed on the way back to a thick fog which slowed me down considerably.

There was a train smash at Gideon Park tonight in which 7 people were killed and over 30 injured.

Friday 3rd

Spent today again indoors. This evening I went to Romford & went to the King’s Head & various other pubs but got cheesed & came back to Brentford and the Artichoke. Had supper at Holland’s & came home.

Saturday 4th

Went to Romford by motor cycle this morning and bought some gauntlets 32/- white leather. Took Pop up to the football match this afternoon where Brentford were playing Leyton (won 3-1). I stayed a while then waited for Dottie at her house until 4pm. Came home for tea & shave etc. Went to the Palace with her tonight to see “Three Little Girls in Blue” which was piss poor. Stayed at her house pretty late this morning.

Sunday 5th

After getting up late went straight to Gidea Park after breakfast on my motor cycle to see Syd Cockerill my last former skipper. Afterwards returned to Brentwood to see Dottie. Home for dinner at 2pm, shave, then back there for tea. Stayed in for the evening then took her to Southend on my bike then back home here, bloody cold, at 11.45pm.

Monday 6th

What a bloody awful day this was. The radio went wrong last night consequently I sat in front of the fire all day no one to talk to & no music. It’s been snowing like the clappers all day & now it’s about 3”.

Went out tonight with George Ringer & had a few drinks including some wizard cherry brandy. Home at 10.30pm.

Tuesday 7th

Bank balance £17-3-3.

Last year £40.

Stayed at home naturally all day. Went down to Southend this afternoon early. It was snowing like the devil but apparently Doris had been working in it. It began to thaw tonight and we two spent the evening in the Ivy House drinking on my 5/- & listening to the fire.

Wednesday 8th

Another lazy day. Went to the pictures this afternoon to see “Blue Skies” again. Don’t know what I did tonight.

Thursday 9th

Home still in the morning. In the afternoon went to Southend early again on my bike & went to a News Theatre. Met Dottie promptly at 6.30pm & we saw “A Matter of Life & Death” a very good British film.

Friday 10th

Usual morning routine. Letter from Westminster Bank to go for an interview Monday. Phoned Divisional Education Officer & got an interview for this afternoon at Grays. Saw this bod & start an on Monday at Ardleigh Green Primary School. Went down to the Fleece tonight with Pop for darts & beer.

Saturday 11th

After early dinner picked up Dottie at 2.30pm back to home tea to Romford to see “Night & Day” with Cary Grant – O.K. She again postponed our wedding & this time I tried to walk out but I couldn’t & after a great deal of tear shedding on both parts which could have been avoided if she would only give in to herself. I come home.

Sunday 12th

Called on her at 11am. She was very surprised to see me again – home for dinner – walk with her this afternoon – tea – really straightened everything out nicely this evening in the front room by the fire and made her & myself very happy.

Monday 13th

Reported to Ardleigh Green School for temporary teaching. Attached to a Mr Barton for preliminary instruction. Very interesting but surprising at the age of the kids.

This evening saw “The Dark Mirror” at the Odeon very good.

Tuesday 14th

At the school again this morning. The kids are from 7-11 the one’s I am with being 11 years. They are not very intelligent.

Went down to Southend tonight & saw Dottie who said she wanted to get engaged on her birthday next Tuesday which suited me swell, except of course for the ackers involved but for her OK.

Wednesday 15th

Back to Ardleigh Green School again today. Went out with George Ringer tonight for a few beers & games of darts.

Thursday 16th

Spent today as yesterday and this evening went down to Southend again to see Dottie – wizard time again.

Friday 17th

Spent this afternoon at the school marking out a netball pitch in paint on the playground.

All this week my motor cycle has been giving me trouble, I don’t know whether it is ignition or valves. This evening spent at home working etc & phoned Shorty.

Saturday 18th

Saw Shorty this morning in London & had lunch with him – told him of my impending engagement to Dottie on Tuesday – drew out £20 from RBC & endeavoured to buy a ring but could not see one suitable.

Spent a wizard evening with Dottie as usual.

Sunday 19th

Went to Romford this morning with Dottie to see the ring I had in mind but couldn’t see it. Had dinner then went to her house for the afternoon & evening. Bang on. She went back at 9.38pm. She also had a slight toothache.

Monday 20th

School today again – still with Barton. Having tea tonight when Dottie walked in home with toothache – naturally went round to her house later.

Tuesday 21st

Much the same day routine as yesterday, called to Dottie this evening & we stayed in all evening wizard – although her toothache wasn’t so good – her birthday today.

Wednesday 22nd

Dottie went to London today with Edith and we finally got engaged tonight – drank to it at “The Feathers” with Mrs Humphreys.

Thursday 23rd

Same routine as yesterday, Dottie went back to Southend tonight at 9.30pm much to my great dismay.

Friday 24th

I had to take P3 myself today on account of one of the permanent teachers being away. Didn’t do too well but managed after a style.

Saturday 25th

Bags of snow everywhere! This morning shopping up town, Dottie got home nice & early & we went to the Romford Palace to see “Suspense” & “Joe Palooka, Champ” not very exciting – had a wizard time every minute with her.

Saw Don Birchley this afternoon.

Sunday 26th

Snow everywhere about 4”. Did a bit of work on the tappets of my bike. Went walking this morning with Dottie. Dinner.

Dottie came round to tea after which we returned to her house & she went back on the 9.06pm train.

Monday 27th

Teaching class P3 by myself today and all the week. Bags of snow everywhere. Went to the palace by myself tonight to see “A Stolen Life” with Bette Davis & Glen Ford.

Tuesday 28th

Same routine as yesterday – when I got home today Dottie came round thus saving me the job of going to Southend – we went to the pictures to see “Dark Mirror”.

Wednesday 29th

Similar routine as yesterday went to Romford tonight I think.

Thursday 30th

Paid today at lunchtime £11 for three weeks work I guess. Dottie and I went out again & returned to her house afterwards.

Friday 31st

Still bags of snow everywhere. Dottie and I celebrated in the Artichoke tonight.

February 1947

Saturday 1st

Cleaning up this morning to go to London this afternoon with Dottie, was buying my ticket when I dropped my wallet not seeing it realised later I could not go. A bloke returned it later, bless him.

Went to the Essex for a few drinks tonight, then to Dottie’s house.

Sunday 2nd

Worked on my bike this morning in the thawing snow. Around to Dottie before & after dinner. Pictures tonight & then back again for a snog & tear session.

February 3rd

Normal school routine. Went to Southend tonight to see Dottie – went to the pictures. Letter from E.C.C.

Tuesday 4th

Again normal school routine – letter from Al Jones of New Zealand. Stayed indoors. Snow everywhere and it’s bloody cold.

Wednesday 5th

Again went to Southend to see Dottie & we went to the Regal to see a variety show.

Thursday 6th

Went to the Odeon tonight to see “The Killers” still very cold & bags of snow.

Friday 7th

Last day of school this week thank god. Stayed in tonight because it is so bloody cold.

Saturday 8th

Got the screws of my gear box loosened at Maryland’s garage today. Dottie got home this afternoon at 3.30pm she said she went to the Ivy House Southend last night on a session & some type took her home & kissed her!! Any more of that and I shall quit regardless of how I feel about her.

Sunday 9th

Spent the morning fixing my kick starter spring. Went round to Dottie later, home for dinner & back there for the rest of the day. Spent a bang on evening with Dottie – firelights & trips to Brighton – happy thoughts.

Monday 10th

After school today I went to London to see Ted Heath with Don Birchley and George Ringer. Bang on got home awful late.

Tuesday 11th

Still very cold with snow & ice everywhere. Went to Southend tonight by motor-cycle to see Dottie & we went to a show seeing Perry Como & Harry James.

Wednesday 12th

Still bloody cold – went to the RAF Association meeting tonight with Don Birchley at the “Golden Lion” Romford. Wizard evening with the old beer & sing song. Home at 11pm.

Thursday 13th

Normal routine at school today. Went to Southend tonight by train to see Dottie – bloody cold & miserable – went to the Regal to see the show. Piss poor.

Friday 14th

Quiet normal day – Dottie came home this evening was to have had a session with Don instead had a quiet one with Dottie.

Saturday 15th

Went up to London today with Dottie & saw her grandmother etc. then went to the Saville theatre see “The Wizard of Oz” with Claude Hulbert. Not too bad but nothing to yell about.

Sunday 16th

Spent the morning cleaning my bike, bloody hard going in this damn cold weather. Saw Dottie this afternoon & made her cry again this evening – what a horrible type I am.

Monday 17th

It is still very cold and there are bags of snow and ice everywhere with an almost continuous frost.

Went to the school today as usual and still teaching class P3.

This evening I went, rather I didn’t go anywhere but remained indoors catching up on my mail & diary etc.

Tuesday 18th

Weather the same & school routine the same. Went to Southend tonight to see Dottie & we went to the “Ivy House” for a drink.

Wednesday 19th

Still the same routine – went to the pictures tonight but it was bloody cold there.

Thursday 20th

Went to Southend again tonight to see Dottie – went by train of course – the blackout of street lights is still in force. We went to the Regal again to see “Meet the Navy” not too bad.

Friday 21st

Last day of the week at school finds the ground covered completely again with snow. Went round to Railway Square tonight but Dottie didn’t come home so went out with George & got well & truly oiled on rum & bitters.

Saturday 22nd

Arranged with Don Birchley for a “do” tonight after Dottie said she was going to London to see her pen friend “Bobby”. Started off at the Nap at 7pm with Don but Dottie caught up with us at the Choke at 8pm, had a very good evening jugging “some”, collecting & snogging as well.

Sunday 23rd

The sun is shining beautifully today started cleaning my bike nearly finished but will completely next Monday on my holiday.

Went round to Dottie after lunch & she put on a skirt for the first time in weeks – wow – had a wonderful afternoon & evening with her. My tonsils are very sore!

Monday 24th

Not needing much persuasion with Dottie I decided not to go to school today owing to sore tonsils. Spent a pleasant day in the sunshine with Dottie some of the time. Saw “Calcutta” at the Odeon tonight.

Tuesday 25th

I didn’t go to school today either but in the afternoon I went round for Dottie and we came back to play records etc. This evening went to pictures.

Wednesday 26th

Today I did go to school and taught P3 as usual. Called on Dottie tonight and we went to the “Feathers” for a drink. During the evening she said she would most probably marry me in September but as I thought then she changed her mind again by the time I saw her next Monday.

Thursday 27th

School as usual – paid today £16-18- not too bad but not as much as I used to get as a W/O and with more to be paid. I went to the pictures to see “Love Laughs at Andy Hardy” in Romford.

Friday 28th

Usual school routine although we left at 3.30pm owing to there being no fuel.

I had a quiet drink in the Choke tonight with George.

March 1947

Saturday 1st

Cleaning my bike today. After panicking around last night and this morning & afternoon Don Birchley didn’t come home so George, Maureen & I had a drink in the Choke after which I took Maureen to the P.O. dance.

Sunday 2nd

Still cleaning my bike all the morning – this afternoon went to Weald Park ice skating – bang on. This evening I went to the Odeon to see “The Real Glory” with Gary Cooper & David Niven – pretty good.

Monday 3rd

Holiday from school today, this morning still cleaning. This afternoon felt very cheesed and low, so I went to Southend to see Dottie, she had only just returned from Birmingham, poor show. Anyways we went to the pictures had supper & I came back on the bike.

Tuesday 4th

Back to school in the morning, still no fuel at the school so we came home at midday. Went to Southend again tonight to see Dottie.

Wednesday 5th

Same situation as yesterday home at midday again – went to Southend again – and we went to the Regal to see Terry Cantor etc. not too bad, cold & snow everywhere.

Thursday 6th

Normal routine today with fuel having arrived from Brentwood School. Went again to Southend this evening to see Dottie.

Friday 7th

Same routine as yesterday. This evening I went to Southend again – we went to the Ivy House to have a quiet drink. I came home as usual by 10.34pm train.

Saturday 8th

Had a good lay in this morning. Still no news of my pay from the RAF.

Went round to Dottie this afternoon – she was there – had tea & went to the Essex this evening where we had a few drinks.

Had a tremendous snogging session this evening & Sunday morning!! Home at 2.30am in the snow.

Sunday 9th

Had another good lay in this morning – couldn’t do anything much this morning on my bike – went round to Dottie at 12. This afternoon went round again and stayed all evening.

Monday 10th

Didn’t feel too bright today – had a bad cough & cold. After today’s school I stayed in tonight felt too bad, had a bath, bed at 9.30pm.

My RAF back pay came – £16-17-2.

Tuesday 11th

Cough & cold a lot better today – still ice & snow everywhere. School as usual today. Went to Southend to see Dottie this evening. Dottie didn’t feel too well.

Wednesday 12th

Weather beginning to change but no fuel left at the school after today. Went to Southend again tonight, had a nice evening.

Thursday 13th

Didn’t have to go to school this morning because there was no fuel, this afternoon had a safety film.

Went to Southend again. Had ignition trouble with the bike all this week because of floods at Harold Wood which I went through.

Friday 14th

Gain the normal routine, the thaw has really come at last after 6 weeks of almost continual snow. Dottie and I went out for a picture show tonight.

Saturday 15th

Had a good sleep in this morning after last night’s late night. Bought three new records this morning “Metronome Look Out”, “Chord-A-Re-Bop” (L.H.), “Oh Baby” (B.G.).

Had a very nice late evening tonight.

Sunday 16th

Slept awful late today – went round to Dottie at 12. Home for dinner – dressed & washed – returned to her house after the air plunger of carburettor had gone u/s.  Came home for tea then returned to her house.

Monday 17th

Dottie had bronchitis as she learnt from the “doc”. I went to school as usual today. This evening stayed in after I had had a bath & caught up with correspondence.

Tuesday 18th

Normal routine today. Dottie still home – went to the pictures tonight.

Wednesday 19th

Normal routine today also, nothing special of importance to record. Roll on September and let me go to college so that I can get nearer to earning some real money.

Thursday 20th

Still the same routine – went to the Artichoke tonight with Dottie.

Friday 21st

Last day of the week thank goodness. Shall be glad when I can catch up some sleep tonight after this week of late nights – getting me down a bit. Went to the Artichoke for a quiet drink and some supper tonight.

Saturday 22nd

Had a good sleep in today – called on Dottie this morning at12 – went up town. Had an afternoon at home when I pressed my demob suit. This evening Dottie & I went to the Essex for a quiet drink.

Dottie said today she would marry me in August if I have to go to college in September. Let’s hope I do.

Sunday 23rd

Had another good sleep in today. Went round to Dottie at 12 and again after dinner at 3pm. Had tea and went to the Palace, supper and then home. The fens at Methwold & Feltwell are flooded!

Monday 24th to Thursday 27th

Finishing off school this week. Spent every evening with Dottie either going to the pictures or staying in evenings at her house. Next term at school I shall be a roving bod in school.

Friday 28th

Dottie and I went to London today and spent the afternoon and evening at a show and the Overseas Club with Shorty. Had a pleasant day although we were rather unlucky in the train coming back having a carriage full of people. I got home rather late about 2.30am I think.

Saturday 29th

This morning spent shopping & generally clearing up things I should have done during the week.

It was raining this afternoon as usual! A year ago today Dottie and I first met so this evening we celebrated at the Cherry Tree where I played the piano for two hours. I’m afraid Dottie, who had six cocktails, at the end was pretty woozy and had to go to bed after reaching home after I had carried her most of the way.

Sunday 30th

Slept as late as I could, had a good breakfast then went round to Dottie, stayed until lunch then went round again to bring her to tea with Cyril & Eileen. We went to the pictures afterwards at the Palace.

Monday 31st

Started cleaning the bike this morning with Karpol after cleaning it down with petrol yesterday – what a job!

Brought Dottie round here this afternoon. I had a bath then we went to Romford to see “Margie” and back to her house.

April 1947

Tuesday 1st

Spent the morning as yesterday cleaning my bike. This afternoon Dottie and I went for a short ride on my bike home here for tea – then on to the Odeon to see “Odd Man Out” – her house for supper. Home to bed about 12.30.

Wednesday 2nd

Home today – most of the time spent with Dottie.

Thursday 3rd to Friday 4th

Similar to yesterday.

Saturday 5th

Left with Dottie for the weekend at Dartford at 4.30pm. Arrived at Aunt Daisy’s around 8pm in the wind & rain. Spent the night at Eric & Trudy’s place – bang on house.

Sunday 6th

Walk this morning over Dartford Heath with Eric. Bang on lunch. To Aunt Daisy for tea. Did the Railway Hotel with Eric & Trudy in the evening, quite a pleasant dirty joke & beer session.

Monday 7th

Went to Sevenoaks Kent today, had lunch of roast goose costing 5/- a time. Home for high tea to Trudy’s place & stayed in the evening. Had quite a snogging session with Dottie after all had gone to bed!!

Tuesday 8th

Left for Brentwood at 10am arriving home at 1pm. Mum had sold 20 records for 36/-. Dottie and I went to Romford pictures then came home to my house.

Wednesday 9th

Slept in until 11.30am started on the bike. Called on Dottie before dinner. She came round in the afternoon!! I took her back on the bike in the evening.

Thursday 10th

Worked on the bike cleaning & repairing all day. Went to Southend to see “Till the Clouds Roll By” in the evening. Home at 11.30pm.

Friday 11th

Worked hard cleaning until dinner time then went for a ride to Chelmsford. Went to Southend again this evening.

Saturday 12th

After a usual non-achieving morning, I went to Southend to bring home Dottie. Supposed to meet her at 12.30pm but she wasn’t even home. Finally got home at 3pm & had my dinner.

Went to Romford then had supper and finished off at the Tree!

Sunday 13th

Perfectly normal and usual Sunday although we went to Weald Park this afternoon and took some pictures. Went to the Palace with Dottie to see “Step Lively” with Frank Sinatra. Good film. Dottie went back to Southend.

Monday 14th

Last day of the Easter holiday, hair cut and hair wash. Went to Southend early this afternoon & spent the evening with Dottie.

Tuesday 15th

First day back at school and I took over Miss Cunningham’s class as she was away. Went to Southend again and we went walking.

Wednesday 16th

Second day back at school, still with class S. Dad and I went to the Palace to see “Song of the South”.

Thursday 17th

School – Southend, usual routine nothing special.

Friday 18th

Miss Cunningham whose class I had the first three days of this week returned and I assumed the role of general relieving bod under my new timetable. Didn’t do a lot of interest tonight.

Saturday 19th

Got up a little later today, wasted the morning. Went to Southend to bring home Dottie which I did. Went to the Palace to see “Song of the South” with Dottie. Supper at Holland’s Rest & the Tree!

Sunday 20th

Being Sunday morning naturally I had the usual sleep in. I hadn’t any cleaning to do on the bike except one of the silencers making the bike run a whole lot better. Dottie and I stayed indoors this evening. She didn’t go back.

Monday 21st

Back to school again today – am now on my new timetable which I find leaves me with a lot of spare time. Dottie, who came round about 4.30pm, & I went to the Havana to see “California”.

Tuesday 22nd

After another day at school operating my new timetable of which a large part of the time is spare, I went to Southend on my motor cycle with a strong tail wind and with the bike running very well it didn’t take me very long. Dottie and I went to Garon’s Cinema. Home again at 11.15pm.

Afterward

Dennis Walter Wright and Doris Ringer (a brunette!) met on Saturday 6th April 1946 at the Town Hall dance in Brentwood.

They got engaged to be married on Wednesday 22nd January 1947, celebrating in the Feathers pub, they finally tied the knot in September 1947 in Brentwood.

Dennis was born on the 8th May 1924 in Billericay, Essex to parents Walter and Florence; he had a younger sister called Maureen. He passed away in Exeter, Devon in 1992 aged just 67.

Doris was born on the 21st January 1928 in St. Pancras, London and lived at 28 Railway Square, Brentwood Essex with her parents. She joined the Land Army on the 4th November 1946 based in Southend aged 18 and she married Dennis aged 19 when he was just 23.

Unfortunately I can find no record of them together in later life nor of any children.

 

Dennis Wright RAF 1946-47 Post-War Diary

Philip Healey Royal Warwickshire Regiment 1944-45 War Diary

Background

This war diary starts with Lieutenant Philip Marshall Healey 226559 of the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment landing in France on D-Day Sword beach and being almost immediately captured by 21st Panzer Division the following day.  

He eventually arrived at Oflag XII-B a German prisoner of war camp in World War II for officers. It was located at Hadamar, near Limburg in western Germany.

Philip used his Officer’s Record of Service book (Army Book 439) as his diary which records events as a Prisoner of War from the 6th June to August 22nd 1944 with a gap until the 17th September 1944, after which he writes spasmodically until finishing hearing gun-fire on the 10th April 1945 and impending freedom.

Philip was born on the 24th July 1918 which makes him only 26 years old at the time. The nature of his commission into the British Army on the 13th March 1942 was that of “Emergency”, he passed his Medical Board on the 20th March 1943 as category “A”.

His wife was Mrs Beatrice (Trixie) Healey and they lived at Ure Lodge, Ripon, Yorkshire.

I got the following extra information about Philip from his granddaughter Isabel Cave, now living in Edmonton Canada when she contacted me via Facebook messenger just before Christmas 2016.

Isabel’s mother Philippa was named after Philip & said that he never spoke about his war experiences but he was definitely altered by it & how could he not be?   Isabel remembers her grandfather having a wicked sense of humour and being warm and loving and she loved his visits when she growing up and that he was a very sweet and gentle man.

Philip and Beatrice had 3 children, Philippa, Catherine and Desmond who between them produced 6 grandchildren who have 7 children with one more on the way. Isabel knows her “Grandpa” would be delighted with this as he adored his children and grandchildren.

I’m very pleased that his original diary and medals arrived safely at the family home in Canada in time for Christmas 2016 to be reunited in time for his daughter Philippa’s visit.

It is my wish that all transcribed diaries on this blog eventually make their way back into their respective families, before this particular “old soldier” (me) gradually fades away…

POW Camp for Officers Ticket

Kriegsgefangenen-Offizierlager XIIB

No 00384

healy-3

Training Record

healy-4

June 1944

6th

Landed in France.

7th

Captured by 21st Panzer Division 2359.

8th

Taken to Caen during air raid (escaped accidentally owing to guards losing us during heavy bombing of Caen).

9th

Recaptured taken to Maltot, left 1645 arrived Alencon 1045.

10th

Settled in new camp, pleasant surroundings.

11th

Had our service in hut. W.P. took it sang GSTK with Germans looking on.

12th

Washed our clothes. Now have ? & ?, but no razor or toothbrush.

13th

Made our towels from piece of sheet, had the luxury of some real Camembert, 400 more prisoners arrived mostly American.

14th

American C.O. organizing everywhere: 4 more CLY officers arrived including Crawley.

15th

Would love to see an English paper. 67 officers here now.

16th

92 men were sent away. They left very early and were unable to say “Au Revoir”. After lunch we were told we were leaving. Left by truck at 4-30 arrived Paris at 11pm. Passed Versailles an impressive place. Drove along the Seine, saw Eiffel Tower, crossed into the Champs Elysees, a great thrill, although a sad feeling in my heart. Passed round the Arc De Triomphe, with the pathetic blue flames being blown in an ironic wind. Spent the night in the Hotel de Ville du Bourget.

17th

Left Le Bourget amidst a large wondering crowd. French people amazed & delighted. All give winks & sly V signs, then wave terrifically as we drive away. Left le Gare de l’Est (beautiful station) 1250 arrived at Chalons–sur–Marne approx. 4.15. Marched through town to huge empty barracks weren’t expected and absolutely nothing ready. No food. Hot herbal tea (?) brought by niggers, drew revolting blankets, really filthy. Outlook definitely bluer than it ever has been. Searched again.

18th

Tried to clean our cell. After breakfast of two pieces of Bauernbrot & jam and cup of “tea” really couldn’t drink it. Roll call told we’re being moved to Germany in a few days and that British Red Cross representative is coming to see us raises our spirits considerably. No more food coming today so shall feel hungry with only one loaf and two tins of meat amongst 8.

19th

They brought us a bit more bread which was very welcome. Awful night, couldn’t sleep, 19 more officers arrived. This morning an English speaking officer came and promised us many improvements. They also told us we’d soon be allowed to write home, how we all long to do that! Had our names taken officially for registration. Breakfast bread & jam, dinner soup & bread, supper soup & bread. Had bath.

20th

Another day dawns, wonder what it will bring forth? Breakfast 1 ½ bits of bread and jam. The only excitements were being able to write a letter home, hope it doesn’t take long to reach there. An air raid siren at approx. 1700.

21st

Another rotten night, couldn’t sleep. Breakfast as usual, two slices of bread & jam & tea. Lovely sunny morning. Everyone washing clothes and remarking they are wearing out. Drink cabbage, potato instead of soup. Tea cheese & beetroot. Washed my shirt – sunbathed and moved quarters – cleaner & brighter and with spring beds.

22nd

Rotten night. Siren about 10pm usual breakfast. Swept cell. Dull day, less food. Sunbathed in afternoon.

23rd

Rotten night. Cold this morning. Depressing day, not much sun. Read “David Copperfield”.

24th

Bell in night, cold morning again. Bells afternoon.

25th

Lovely day, had service and good dinner for which I thanked God.

26th

Not so sunny, rained, thunder & lightening in evening.

27th

Overcast. Nothing special to write about – bad night.

28th

Better day. Sunny – good night. Air raid siren 0100 – played cards with home-made pack.

29th

Sunny morning. 4.30 moved to solitary – interrogated. 7pm had a little better supper. Left 8pm terrible storm. Left Chalons 7am in goods wagon.

30th

Lillybet’s birthday. Truck boarded up. Breakfast bread & Nestles milk very good. Train just crawled along 5 mph stopping all the time. We weren’t allowed out. Very cold at night remembered to say rabbits.

July 1944

1st

Very cold. In small town siding Somme-Tourbe. Hope progress is a bit quicker today. 1600 Soup Trier. German women equally if not more sweet than French women. Most uncomfortable journey. I looked through the minute hole in the cattle truck and saw a lovely view, most wonderful scenery. Through Nassau and Laurenburg.

2nd

Arrived Limburg, detrained 1000, went to Stalag had shower, clothes fumigated.   1320 marched to Hadamar (Oflag) annexe. Civilisations gleams through the clouds – had 1st shit for approx. 9 days. Manky soap and lucky draw won use one of the 3 towels.

3rd

Did washing – read “Corduroy” sunbathed, received 1st Red Cross parcel, really wonderful. 1600 hot shower, supper, debate and a thunderstorm.

4th

Cold & icy day, breakfast egg, bacon, tea, porridge – cooks very clever. Read “Silver Ley” – poured with rain.

5th

Porridge, bread & treacle – raining a little. Did a lot of washing. Had an interesting conversation on post-war occupation.

6th

Bright morning, sunny, issued with 100 marks. Reading “A Passage to India”. Issued with shirt – 50 cigs – read “The Cherry Tree”.

7th

Lovely morning. Porridge. Went for hair cut – washed towel etc. First solid meal since 4th June potatoes, tinned meat, peas and pudding. Finished “Cherry Tree”. Went for walk 1630 to 1830 through Hadamar, beautiful village, like Grimm’s fairy tales.

8th

Pleasant day. Started “Seven Tempest” rattling good book, wrote my epistle, thunder storm at night.

9th

Sunny morning – breakfast millet, cold bacon. Service 11.30. I read Psalm 46 for the lesson. 1630 mess meeting – 1st real meal since 3rd June.

10th

Cold grey morning. Canadian Red Cross parcels. Wrote card to Trixie.

11th

Cold wet morning. Reading “And Now Tomorrow” wonderful book. Took over messing = better day. Peter & Alistair joined us. Film in evening.

12th

Prepared P & A’s supper. Started “The Dark Flower”.

13th

Busy day messing. Dull weather.

14th

Bit brighter weather. Busy messing.

15th

Busy day, still overcast. No sun.

16th

Usual routine. Alastair took Church Parade. Cooked hot dinner. Read “A Man About the House”.

17th

Sunny day.

18th

Sunny day. Walk, didn’t go myself.

19th

Sunny day. Washed clothes. Hot shower. Cooked food dinner.

20th

Sunny day. Reading “Three Friends”.

21st

Thundery day. Nothing special to record.

22nd

Awoke to very heavy rain.

23rd

Church Service taken by Scotty. Dinner party to celebrate 2 birthdays. Pleasant day.

24th

Sunny day. Potato cakes for breakfast. Red Cross parcels first for 10 days. Peter remembered my birthday & Alistair Waller gave me some sugar – gramophone arrived and records & nine officers arrived. Waller arranged 1st whist drive. Reading “Northanger Abbey”.

25th

500 library books arrived. Usual day. Sunny.

26th

Showers. Wrote letter (1st) to Trixie. Good dinner.

27th

Sunny day. Went for pleasant walk. Wrote to Elizabeth.

28th

Sunny day.

29th

Started voice prod under Alistair.

30th

Rained. Didn’t go to church – made first “cakes”. Talk with Peter. Very pleased – hard day in kitchen. Cards to Trixie & Douglas.

31st

Usual day.

August 1944

1st

Busy day. Changed linen. Read villages burnt in ? Very good.

2nd

Sunny day. Shower. 100 marks handed back. Wrote to Trixie.

3rd

Sunny day. Reading “Lincolnshire Landscape” Owen Hamilton.

4th

Lovely day. Reading “Treveryan”. A du Maurier. Wonderful. Very good.

5th

Lovely day. Nothing special to record.

6th

Lovely day. Alistair took lovely service. Made biscuits. Started “Fanny by Gaslight”.

7th

Sunny day. Sing song in evening.

8th

Sunny day. Wrote to Elizabeth, Trixie & Douglas.

9th

Cold day. Read “I Look Before I Leap”.

10th

Sunny day. Drew Peter’s birthday card.

11th

Went for walk. Very hot day.

12th

Had lovely fresh cabbage & new potatoes.

13th

Scotty took service – sunny day.

14th

Sunny day. Wrote card to Trixie.

15th

Left Hadamar – 4pm Limburg, 8pm Kassel, Gottingen.

16th

Peter’s birthday. Jerxheim.

17th

Brunswick. Air raid siren.

18th

Arrived Brunswick 1000.

19th

Lovely day. Wrote Trixie.

20th

Holy Communion Matins. Tea with CJB. Film “Girl Crazy”.

21st

Alan visited us. “London Pride” very good.

22nd

Lovely weather. Supper with PBW.

November 1944

17th

Letter to Trixie. Card to mummy.

22nd

Card to Trixie. Card to Auntie.

28th

Letter to Trixie.

December 1944

1st

Card to Flossie. Letter to Trixie.

11th

Card to Trixie.

14th

Letter to Trixie.

18th

Card to Trixie.   Card to Elizabeth (Joan’s)

23rd

Card to Auntie.

26th

Letter to Trixie.

January 1945

4th

Letter to Trixie.

10th

Card to Trixie.

12th

Card to Elizabeth (Hills). Letter to Trixie.

21st

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills).

February 1945

5th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Mrs Hill.

12th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills). Card to Auntie.

26th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Douglas.

March 1945

1st

Card & letter to Trixie.

13th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills).

15th

Card to Auntie.

21st

Card to Mrs EO. Letter to Trixie.

April 1945

1st

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills).

10th

Very heavy gun fire all night.

Philip Healey Royal Warwickshire Regiment 1944-45 War Diary

E. Wood RAF 1944 War Diary

This is the last of three diaries written by Flight Sergeant E. W. J. Wood RAF Observer service number 1384832 covering his World War 2 RAF service during 1942, 1943 & 1944.  The diaries for 1942 & 1943 have not yet been transcribed.

His parents lived at 73 Eton Road, Ilford, Essex and he was a keen photographer.

He starts this 1944 diary still based at RAF Catfoss on the East Yorkshire coast continuing his lengthy navigation and signal training.

Eventually he is posted to the Middle East leaving Portreath, Cornwall and flying to Cairo, Egypt via Rabat, Morocco and Tripoli, Libya. From Cairo he is posted to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where he sadly contracts Dengue fever and hospitalised towards the end of 1944, with the plan to return him home via boat as soon as he is well enough sometime in early 1945.

Alas no 1945 diary has survived and so the final story of Mr Wood homeward bound has – for the moment – been lost in time.

January 1944

Tuesday 4th

OFE4 – 2.30 – good trip finished 20.30.

Wednesday 5th

3 Squadron flying cancelled.

Wednesday 12th

Stayed at York Hotel, Hull. Went to Three Tuns talking to photographer. Les & Stan & Jim Fletcher came in.

Thursday 13th

Left Hull 9.45 King’s X 3.45 PM train to Liverpool St. free with USA Officer – arrive home 16.25 – stayed in for evening sorting out kit.

Friday 14th

12.30 Holborn station George: went to lunch at Regent Palace – bought chess set, fishing spoons etc. from Wally’s cheque.

Saturday 15th

Went to Red Lion. Warning & heavy A.A. all clear in an hour.

Monday 17th

Went to office, saw E.R.R back from Lisbon but expects to go again soon.

Tuesday 18th

Packed bags & took them to station – went & saw George.

Wednesday 19th

Up at 6.30 caught9.05 from Paddington arrived Filton 13.50; not much of a place but good mess.

Thursday 20th

Weather bad went to Bristol merry evening.

Friday 21st

WX no good yet – Bristol again in evening.

Saturday 22nd

Nearly got off today kite went U/S – Bristol again.

Sunday 23rd

Left Filton arrived MM bags of mud – in hut with Jack & boys.

Monday 24th

Arrival forms etc. drew revolvers & ammo & all tropical kit – khaki battledress.

Saturday 29th

Went home in evening arrived home 2.15 AM – rail hold up by raid at Leytonstone.

Sunday 30th

Left home 1.15 arrived M.M. 8.0 PM; very glad I took opportunity of last few hours at home.

February 1944

Thursday 3rd

Left M.M. for P.R. arrived too late for briefing as would be off tomorrow. Very cold room – long way to Mess tried to light fire with Verey lights – bags of smoke no fire.

Friday 4th

Went to Redruth – quite a decent town went to pictures had a good meal.

Saturday 5th

John Slater & Roy Morgan, Jim Warriner on Squadron at Portreath.

Sunday 5th

Left P.R. 7.55 arrived Rabat 2.25 PM good trip & got a good room.

Monday 7th

Left Rabat arrived Benito. Room in good hotel jolly good food – changed £1 bought bottle of wine 80 Fr (8/-) quite good – walked round bazaar; bad stink!

Tuesday 8th

Left Benito arrived Marble Arch 14.00 flying over desert. Saw camels & Arab tents & burnt out cars & kites. Slept in tent. O.K. quite warm – climbed up Arch.

Wednesday 9th

Left MA 09.15 arrived Cairo 14.30 – got good tent, mess jolly good – found Dan & Taylor still here.

Thursday 10th

Up at 7.40 nothing to do so changed our money 97.5 Piastres to £1; collected kit from kite – had a good session on beer.

Friday 11th

Left Cairo West for 22 P.D.C. Passed through town – on guard from 6-8 with Jack – quite a scrounge – no beds – sleep on sand.

Saturday 12th

Took in laundry handed revolver in – met Truscott. John & Pat arrived today.

Monday 14th

Les Clarke & Stan Leach arrived today quite warm – had a cold shower.

Tuesday 15th

Got bed from Truscott who is posted. Jack got one also much better than a floor.

Wednesday 16th

Had few drinks in mess – scrounged extension for tent – also got a base as a table.

Thursday 17th

Applied for leave, given 7 days from tomorrow. High wind & sandstorm on guard 12.00-02.00. Had to get sandbags to hold tent extension down.

Friday 18th

Paid – left camp. 12.30 PM arrived Cairo. Job to get room – found one at Piccadilly Hotel 25 Pt. bed & breakfast.

Saturday 19th

Went to Pyramids & Sphinx very interesting tour. Saw show at YMCA RAF No 2 Dance Band.

Sunday 20th

Went round bazaar & Mosques with Abdul from Piccadilly – now staying at Hurricane House – 12 Pt. day full board. Had few drinks in Groppi’s.

Tuesday 22nd

Went for YMCA tour of River Nile – quite good. Went to Groppi’s then to pictures.

Wednesday 23rd

Went on YMCA tour to Memphis & Saqqara – very good saw old pyramids 4000 B.C. & burial chambers of sacrificial bulls – stayed in not feeling too good.

Thursday 24th

Went to Opera House saw “The Merry Widow” a good show.

Friday 25th

Paid Hurricane House 55 Pt. Arrived 22 PDC 16.05 – all have beds in our tent now.

Saturday 26th

On duty road patrol 15.00 – 18.00; what a bind!!

Monday 28th

Started ground school course – pay parade £5/-/-

Tuesday 29th

Went to Cairo had a bath & haircut; bought wrist identity bracelet 25 Pt.

March 1944

Tuesday 7th

Started to play bridge jolly good game.

Thursday 9th

Mess dance – everybody merry – good evening met Jeff Hinde. Jack nearly passed out.

Friday 10th

Went to pictures played bridge in afternoon.

Friday 17th

On special duty at Almaza airport checking identity of service personnel – easy job – good food BOAC canteen.

Monday 20th

On ground school all day – stayed in played solo.

Tuesday 21st

On special duties road patrol again with Harry.

Wednesday 22nd

Started 48 hr. pass – staying at Hurricane House room 12. Dummy run for tomorrow night. Put Jack to bed – Colin not much better.

Thursday 23rd

Colin 21. Hell of an evening went to the Fleurent at 10 PM put Jack to bed again.

Friday 24th

Went on YMCA tour of bazaars & Mosques jolly interesting. Stayed in – I got extension until Sunday.

Saturday 25th

Went to the Amein club & saw boxing match. Went to pictures in evening.

Sunday 26th

Had quiet day – left Hurricane House 9.0 after few drinks with Charlie arrived “22” 10.15 PM.

Monday 27th

Applied for leave – start after duty tomorrow for 7 days. Got off guard.

Tuesday 28th

Started 7 days leave – Pay £11.0.0 – staying at Hurricane House room 19 – had session in bar & went to Eden cabaret.

Wednesday 29th

Stayed in all morning had session in bar & went to Morocco cabaret, not so good as Eden.

Thursday 30th

Stayed in all day played solo in afternoon stayed in all evening.

Friday 31st

Went to Eden cabaret not so good – too sober to enjoy it!!

April 1944

Saturday 1st

Went to pictures saw “The Phantom of the Opera” – in evening went to the Eden another “evening”.

Sunday 2nd

Played cards in morning, very heavy session in bar – went to Eden – Colin & Jack in bad way – put Jack to bed – once again!!

Thursday 6th

Back to the old routine! Went to Helio baths in afternoon – good swim.

Friday 7th

Posted to Shallufa. Co leave tomorrow – went to Cairo scrounged sheet – back in camp at 8.45.

Saturday 8th

Up at 4.15 am left 22 @ 5.45 left Cairo 7.15 changed at Ismailia arrived Shallufa @ 16.00 good tent. Jolly good food & mess – went to pictures with Jack.

Sunday 9th

Day off sorted my kit out.

Monday 10th

Introductory talks by C.I., Flight Commander etc. 4 week course – went to ENSA concert quite good.

Tuesday 11th

Flying 09.30 – flew in shorts still too warm – hottest day yet – played bridge.

Wednesday 12th

Up at 7.30 flying 09.30.

Sunday 16th

Half day off. Went to pictures saw “One of our Aircraft is Missing” good film.

Thursday 20th

Flying 06.00 a bind after last night. Went swimming in Canal – hot walking there & back.

Friday 21st

Jack, Harry, Charlie & Dougie left at 10.00 am. Went swimming in Canal.

Saturday 22nd

Flying 06.00. Went swimming in Canal.

Sunday 23rd

Up at 7.30 flying 09.00 – no lectures today.

Tuesday 25th

Went swimming in Canal.

Wednesday 26th

Too hot to go swimming. Night flying scrubbed for heat, engines over heating.

Thursday 27th

Flying 7.30 am.

May 1944

Monday 1st

Went to Suez Bay on shipping visit – quite a good afternoon – played bridge all evening.

Tuesday 2nd

Compass swinging at 6.00 am for night trip tomorrow.

Wednesday 3rd

Not on tonight’s “do” tomorrow instead.

Thursday 4th

Night flare attack on cruiser – good fun.

Friday 5th

Moon path attacks on DD – jolly good.

Sunday 7th

Packing up for move back to Stalag 22.

Monday 8th

Left Shallafa 3.00 PM arrived 22 PDC 6.00 PM. Tent B8 – same as old.

Tuesday 9th

Went to Cairo, posted via BOAC to New Delhi!!

Thursday 11th

Letter from ERR asks me to look up John Drummond G/RO c/o BOAC Cairo.

Friday 12th

Phoned John Drummond (client of Esmond) & meeting him at Groppi’s tomorrow 16.30.

Saturday 13th

Met J.D. had few beers at Hurricane House then had dinner at Casino Opera Square with Colin – got taxi back at 12.45 am.

Sunday 14th

Stayed in all day – on guard – wrote home & ERR

Monday 15th

Weighed in kit BAOC, stayed in Cairo, night at Hurricane House. Phoned JD meet him tomorrow.

Tuesday 16th

 Stayed Hurricane House until evening met John Drummond, had dinner at Bystander – a good evening – back at 22 @ 02.45 am.

Wednesday 17th

Up at 3.30 am Cairo, on-board 06.05 – Bashrah 15.00, flying time 7.55 hrs, had 2 short stops.

Stayed at Shatt al-Arab hotel – fine room – a/c name CaledoniaShort C Class – good breakfast & lunch on board arrived Basra 15.00.

Thursday 18th

04.05 – 06.35 = 2.30

07.30 – 09.30 = 2.00

10.15 – 13.10 =    2.55

16.00 – 18.30 =  2.30

——-

9.55

Arrived camp 20.15 in tents.

Friday 19th

Up at 9.10 filled in forms off all day, played bridge in afternoon, very warm!

Saturday 20th

Went to Karachi – quite a good town plenty to eat – saw half of film show – taxi back Rs 15.

Sunday 21st

Played bridge in afternoon & bingo in evening.in camp canteen, lost about Rs 5 in all evening.

Monday 22nd

Went to town bought cigarette case Rs 9.8 plenty of good things to buy – went to pictures – taxi back to camp.

Tuesday 23rd

Played bridge all afternoon & evening won Rs 2.

Wednesday 24th

Bought bush jacket Rs 14 (with badges & flash brevet)

Thursday 25th

Played bridge all afternoon & evening very tired.

Friday 26th

Posted to Ceylon – going by train in a few days – played bridge in afternoon wrote letter.

Monday 29th

Went to Karachi – had good feed – crab salad & sirloin steak.

Tuesday 30th

Stayed in played cards all afternoon & evening.

June 1944

Friday 2nd

Went to Karachi, had good feed – bought photo album – towel & pants saw “Phantom of the Opera” again.

Saturday 3rd

Stayed in camp – stuck photos in album.

Sunday 4th

Stayed in camp played bridge in afternoon & bingo in evening.

Tuesday 6th

Heard Second Front has started at last – met Joe Smith – just arrived out here.

Thursday 8th

Went to Karachi had last good feed.

Friday 9th

Left Karachi 07.30 filthy train as in Egypt – tinned rations – eat in railway restaurants.

Saturday 10th

Arrived Lahore 11.00 had shower – almost a mud bath – in same carriage arrive Delhi 08.00 tomorrow.

Sunday 11th

Saharanpur Junction for 2 hrs. arrived Delhi 12.30 had afternoon in town went to show & had good feed – same carriage – left Delhi 11.15 PM..

Monday 12th

Travelling all day getting near hills – rained all night.

Tuesday 13th

Passing through hills – not going to Bombay – straight to Poona grand scenery – like Rockies – afternoon in Poona good meal – saw mongoose & snake fight.

Wednesday 14th

Good scenery – arrive Madras 19.40 – left again at 20.10 in 3rd Class compartment & no dinner.

Thursday 15th

Changed to 2nd Class – good breakfast – arrived Thoothukudi 15.30 PM.   On ferry to Ceylon. stood in siding hours before morning.

Friday 16th

Arrived Colombo 11.15 am in a small mess. Went to Group filled in forms – went to show in evening.

Saturday 17th

Arrived 22 Sqdn in morning – Tassie here – good room with Dick, food & mess fine. 8 in from Colombo.

Sunday 18th

Nothing to do toady wrote letter. Went to pictures saw “49th Parallel” good show.

Monday 19th

Filled in forms, went for swim, grand fun large breakers. Went to pictures – George Formby in “South American George”.

Tuesday 20th

Saw C.O. getting some leave, in “A” Flight. Going up hills to Nuwara Eliya.

Wednesday 21st

Handed in 295’s. Packing for leave.

Thursday 22nd

Have 3 bottles of gin at Rs 6 each for our leave. Collected passes etc.

Friday 23rd

Left Colombo 06.35 grand trip – arrived Nuwara Eliya 15.45 room 103 Grand Hotel with Dick. Overlooks golf course.

Saturday 24th

Rained all day, played snooker, started on bottles of gin, went to show “Mad About Music”.

Sunday 25th

Stayed in all morning.

Monday 26th

Got bottle of Allsopp’s beer Rs 3!! Raining all day had game of monopoly & snooker.

Tuesday 27th

Fine day, walked around lake – 2 hours – got muddy – played billiards.

Wednesday 28th

Fine morning but stayed in.

Thursday 29th

Went for walk over tea plantation to top of Agatha’s waterfall – fine view from top.

Friday 30th

Last day – played snooker – bags of draught beer – had sleep in afternoon.

July 1944

Saturday 1st

Arrived camp 09.00 – gunnery course starts Monday morning – into bush on the 11th. Sorted kit – wrote home & ERR.

Sunday 2nd

Laid in until 10.30 am.

Monday 3rd

Start gunnery course not bad – hours 08.30 – 12.45 & 14.00 – 16.15. Went to show “They All Kissed the Bride”.

Tuesday 4th

Colin & Dick back from leave. Rooms at Vav. Now allotted arrived in Room 7 Block.

Wednesday 5th

Went to Colombo bought fishing hooks @ 50c.

Thursday 6th

Course getting a bind now – sent off kit & furniture to Vav, A.G. from George.

Friday 7th

Pay parade Rs 108 – Colin & Dick flew together to Vav – dummy a/c recognition test 18/30.

Monday 10th

Jim arrived at Rat today to join “217” – went to pictures with him.

Friday 14th

Left Colombo 6.45 PM arrived Vav 1.35 am found room O.K. – after falling over tree stumps – very noisy – frogs & animals.

Sunday 16th

Colin left for Rat to go on gunnery course.

Monday 17th

Drew Mae West, chute etc. Played bridge in evening, walked round lake in afternoon.

Tuesday 18th

Line from home – go on “48” tomorrow.

Wednesday 19th

Left Vav 08.30 lorry broke down – had 3 lifts before arrived at Colombo staying at Grand Oriental Hotel.

Thursday 20th

Shopping in morning met Colin in afternoon.

Friday 21st

Left Colombo 10.30 arrived Vav 17.15, G. O. H. bill @ 9.50 day – Rs 19.

Saturday 22nd

Slept all morning no work for me to do.

Wednesday 26th

Saw “Tunisian Victory” very good film.

Thursday 27th

A line from home.

Friday 28th

Dry, swim 10.30 am.

Monday 31st

Mack pranged – both OK except for cuts & bruises – kite a complete write off finished upside down. Lucky there was no fire.

August 1944

Tuesday 1st

2 letters from Harry Yorke – Charlie Dean killed. Harry now on 603.

Wednesday 2nd

“47” lost 2 kites on exercise one crew OK.

Thursday 3rd

Slim Burt & Russell pranged both OK. Swung & had to retract undercarriage to stop.

Monday 7th

Went to pictures – Rosalind Russell in “What a Woman” a good show – flying in morning first trip for 3 months.

Tuesday 8th

On standby in Ops room today – quite a bind.

Wednesday 9th

Judge Hardy arrived on detachment of 47 Sqdn.

Thursday 10th

Flying – 1 hrs formation – up at 6.0 am tomorrow just couple of drinks in mess.

Friday 11th

Received “missing” air letters from India (23 all told). Stand by for ASR Op all day – did not get off.

Saturday 12th

First op with 22 Sqdn – ASR sweep – 5 ½ hrs. – not a bad trip landfall 23.30 in S. ETA OK – no sighting or W/T heard.

Sunday 20th

Left Vav 10.30 rotten train journey.

Monday 21st

Arrive N.E. 15.15 in Grand 15.40 same room as last time 103 with Colin – 7 of us finished 3 bottles of gin!!

Tuesday 22nd

Joined golf club Rs 5. Had bags of beer – just made lunch – slept until 7.00 PM – had one of our bottles of brandy.

Wednesday 23rd

Played snooker very poor – bottle of scotch – beer.

Thursday 24th

Wrote line home – had beer in evening & another in bed.

Friday 25th

Climbed Mt Pedro – grand view from top – got soaked coming down. Played Bridge down 3980 points! Had bottle of beer in bed.

Saturday 26th

Felt bad – caught chill yesterday – had 4 bottles of beer – very good.

Sunday 27th

Had a day in bed with cold – got up for meals – had bottle of brandy felt much warmer.

Monday 28th

Weather poor today – stayed in all day – played snooker – had bottle of whisky.

Tuesday 29th

Left N.E. 11.30 – arrived Colombo 8.35 train late – rotten journey – got room at Bristol Hotel Rs 10.

Wednesday 30th

Up 8.00 went round shops – went to Rat saw Jim & boys – left Colombo 6.40 arrived Vav 2.00 am.

Thursday 31st

Up at 9.0 am – no work – no one at Flights – sorted out kit again.

September 1944

Friday 1st

Pay Rs 93.

Saturday 2nd

Went down to beach for day – grand for swimming had bags of fun – good open air lunch – left beach 5.0 camp 7.30.

Sunday 3rd

Church Parade 08.15. Saw show “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward – V.G. enjoyed it very much.

Monday 4th

Dental 14.00 2 fillings – saw Adj. about crowns – writing to Group – first parcel arrived – cards toothpaste etc. from India Command.

Tuesday 5th

No mail today – went to pictures – Deanna Durbin in “Hers to Hold” – quite a good show.

Wednesday 6th

Swung our a/c’s compass lined up L.D.R.

Thursday 7th

Air test on “H” NE407 all OK W/T 100%. Had few drinks in mess.

Friday 8th

Both Macs left – going to Colombo then 27 Sqdn.

Tuesday 12th

Dental 12.00 had scaling. Now finished flying on land. Navigation trip OK 4hrs. Left Vav 10.30 for jungle course.

Wednesday 13th

Arrived Colombo 07.30 left at 10.00 arrived rest house 11.20 – good bed for tonight. Had talk on jungle – went in jungle – shown leeches – how to make bed from chute & fire.

Thursday 14th

Up at 7.30 – down to river at 09.00 given bamboo raft & told to go 7 m down river. OK at first, had couple of spills – lost raft in bushes – picked up by Ron Kane – lost his soon after both of us on John Berry’s – finished OK. Back at rest house 12.15 – free all afternoon. Good meal at 5.00. Left at 5.50 given chute bed. Loaf of bread & tin of bully beef for 5 – taken in jungle & left – sleep there for night & make way to cross roads 12 m through jungle. Got huge fire going – all OK until 1.00 am – poured – out of hammock rigged them up above us near fire – set up rest of night brewing water making hot lime juice – soaking wet.

Friday 15th

Breakfast – 2 slices toast – filled water bottles caught rain – left camp dawn 06.50. Still pouring – crossed first running river – up to our waists – Co 027T sometimes on 260T & 070T – bags of leeches – OK until 11.00 felt dizzy – stopped when we got to road – others went for truck – 24 leech bites – 9 dropped out of shirt full – as large as top 2 joints of little finger. Back in bungalow 1.15 PM – covered course in 5 hrs 40 – before patrol was started.

Split in 2 parties of 5.

A = Fenton Wright B.G. Kane

B = Bretton Calderwood Berry Cook Self

Course 027 – 12 miles on paths & bash thru thick bamboo – old paddy fields 3 rivers – over 2 hills – trip gave plenty of confidence of getting through jungle with aid of compass.

Had talk in evening then shown some unarmed combat – very tired.

Saturday 16th

Up at 7.30 left rest house 09.20 – messing Rs 1.50 day bill Rs 8 with drinks – arrived Colombo 10.25 am – went shopping met Tassie – went to show saw “This is the Life”. Train left Colombo 06.40 PM.

Sunday 17th

Arrived Vav 03.00 in bed 04.15 up at 8.30. Did not go to Flight – played bridge in evening – wrote 14 page line home.

Monday 18th

Posted to “B” Flight moved all our gear – Crown thru – waiting for P.O.R.

Tuesday 19th

Given talk by Major on communications P – poor attitude taken. Martin, Glynn & John. Hull on boat – 1 crew going every month – Ralph Reader Gang Show.

Saturday 23rd

A-G firing – took off 09.00 – played bridge in evening.

Sunday 24th

4 ½ hr. navigation trip very rough – not too bad – used 1 W/V. for all trip of 250/12.9 OK.

Monday 25th

Not flying today.

Tuesday 26th

Standby – felt bad went sick in evening taken in – temp 103 degrees – have Dengue fever.

Wednesday 27th

Did not eat any food felt bad.

Thursday 28th

Felt bad – sick twice.

Friday 29th

Temp 102 degrees had bad headache – no food today – paid Rs 96.

October 1944

Sunday 1st

Moved from Vav to KKS 24 Field Hospital bed 3.

Monday 2nd

On full diet did not each much – started reading.

Tuesday 3rd

Temp still normal not eating.

Wednesday 4th

Started eating today food very poor – had X ray taken.

Thursday 5th

Good breakfast.

Monday 9th

Feeling OK but still have to stay in dock.

Wednesday 11th

Feeling OK – no treatment.

Thursday 12th

Beddones & Fawshaw went back to Vav. Put on Sulphonamide tablets – in bed again.

Sunday 15th

Taken off Sulphonamide tablets – 19 grains – feeling rather depressed & weak.

Tuesday 17th

Test OK yesterday – on vitamin B tablets & massage for neuritis in shoulder.

Wednesday 18th

Up patient today. Went for long walk along beach in afternoon.

Thursday 19th

Went for long walk along beach – cinema show – Arthur Askey not too bad.

Friday 20th

Went for swim at K.K.S. very warm. Had grand dinner at R.E.’s Sgts Mess KKS.

Saturday 21st

Put on discharge today waiting for Vav ambulance – played bridge.

Sunday 22nd

Not leaving on ambulance this morning.

Monday 23rd

Went swimming twice – leaving tomorrow morning – went to KKS mess for drink had to run for truck back.

Tuesday 24th

Up at 06.30 left 24 MFH at 07.50 arrived Vav 11.35 good to be back in Mess – Bernard Brown G HQ as A.C.P.

Wednesday 25th

Played Solo won Rs 3.90. Colin back from Colombo. Reported sick – went to Orderly Room for 295.

Friday 27th

Pay parade Rs 370 have Rs 420 (£32). 3 pals of Colin’s came to our mess – got to bed at 2.15 after putting Colin to bed.

Sunday 29th

Felt grim went to Bob’s camp at 11.30 – had good lunch at rest house arrived camp 18.30 caught train 11.30.

Monday 30th

Arrived Pog 05.00 had a meal caught train 10.30 arrived NE 17.00 in room 102 had a good bath.

Tuesday 31st

Grand morning walked through town – heard that Jack McCourt killed – B.G. badly burnt in prang – Major slightly injured.

November 1944

Friday 3rd

Went to Creighton Village NAFFI leave camp good beer played snooker had good party in evening.

Saturday 4th

Went to Creighton in morning.

Sunday 12th

Arrive Vav 02.30 am had cup of tea in mess up at 09.30 – Martin bought breakfast Wrote Xmas mail..

Monday 13th

Saw Doc – go to KKS 8.45 am tomorrow.

Tuesday 14th

Left Vav 9.45 am broke down on road – raining all the time arrive KKS 17.00 hrs.

Wednesday 15th

Saw Doc had rough check – X rays to be taken before board.

Thursday 16th

Midstream test not too good – went for walk along beach with John Cobb – played bridge in evening.

Friday 17th

X rays taken 09.30. Pay Rs 120 first on Indian rate.

Saturday 18th

Received mail & money from Vav.

Sunday 19th

Played Bridge all afternoon & evening.

Tuesday 21st

Played Bridge afternoon & evening – 2 beers – had blood test.

Thursday 23rd

Colin came on ambulance from Vav – stayed in ward for night – brought my mail & parcel.

Friday 24th

Colin went back to Vav – in dock for at least another week – new roof first on ward.

Saturday 25th

Played Monopoly – went to classical concert – Beethoven 6th (V) Symphony & Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto very good.

Sunday 26th

Lazing around – went to Church Service in morning.

Tuesday 28th

Sent dhobi down to Vav.

Wednesday 29th

Examined by Dr. Lockhart – Mummery – writing case & mail arrived from Vav.

Thursday 30th

Sqdn fully operational.

December 1944

Friday 1st

Write to Colin asking for book.

Saturday 2nd

Ambulance arrived from Vav no mail only papers – surgeon U/S for my “do” today.

Sunday 3rd

Went to Church Service.

Monday 4th

Put on Sulphonamide drugs again – 20 g. today – 10 g. a day after – at least getting somewhere now – played Monopoly in evening.

Tuesday 5th

Not feeling too good had rest in afternoon & layed around in evening – right ear feels stiff.

Wednesday 6th

Right ear aching this morning – mail from Vav. Advance party of Sqdn moved. Letter from George started pub in Norwich.

Thursday 7th

Ear aching on & off all day – cheesed, having them syringed tomorrow.

Friday 8th

Finish Sulphonamide course each tab .5 grams – 7 ½ grains – dose 2 every 6 hrs. with Soda Cit.

Sunday 10th

Went to camp service had ears syringed out.

Monday 11th

Mid stream – clear – cured of trouble once again, put letter on ambulance for Colin.

Tuesday 12th

Had morphine at 1.30 in theatre 2.00 – came to soon after 4.00 very sleepy.

Wednesday 13th

In bed resting all day feel OK now, just a bit tender.

Friday 15th

Pay day – month to draw now.

Saturday 16th

Got up in afternoon feel OK again now.

Sunday 17th

On table again tomorrow.

Monday 18th

Morphine 10.45 theatre 11.15 – felt better than Tuesday. Went to pictures in evening.

Tuesday 19th

Allowed up today – went for walk along beach – feel a bit weak.

Friday 22nd

Letter from Colin – off Sqdn strength – Colin moved now – mail from home. Crown P.O.R No 112/44 (Group).

Sunday 24th

Went to KKS for evening got bottle of gin – vermouth & hock for tomorrow – got lift back to camp.

Monday 25th

Fine dinner slept in afternoon – drunk our liquor – very happy.

Wednesday 27th

Put on another course of tablets M & B 760 1.5 grains every 4 hrs. Felt sick – 9 grams.

Thursday 28th

Dose reduced to 1 grain every 4 hrs. from 10.00 8 grams.

Friday 29th

Pay day – sick in afternoon – saw Jim Clare he pranged with Gee on take off on Sunday last. 5 grams (1 gram 6 hrs).

Saturday 30th

Ambulance from Vav no mail. 4 grams – (26 so far)

Sunday 31st

Maybe am on boat – yesterday’s midstream not quite clear. 4 grams.

January 1945

Monday 1st

Off treatment total 30 grams – M.S. not clear yet.

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E. Wood RAF 1944 War Diary