I decide to try my luck in Amsterdam and take myself there yesterday evening in the jeep. I arrive about 6.15pm and go to a Canadian officer’s club, where I meet one be-medalled Major called Henry Druce who I have seen in my office at the Hague. He has a spare dame so I join up for drinks and dinner and dancing. He insists on playing hockey with a pen and two forks at dinner and is threatened with assault by some Canadian officer. My dame is called Nysha and has a laugh like a gargling bath club. I end up the evening talking to Druce’s piece, one Wendy Weidemann, who is English with Boche father, and find that she reads my character like a book in two hours. The jeep lights fail so she makes me a bed in a room with Martin, her brother, and Druce, all from the SAS. I get up at 6am to sneak out, but find that I am locked in – and even the back garden has no exit. Martin has to get up and let me go – having slept none too well, am I tired!
Mary tells me to be myself and not to hunt around for women, as it is not in my nature – hell!
I nip over to England to see the London Traffic Office and get a few tips, on Thursday 28th. Louise is in Leicester and rings me up about 4pm, so I hop on a train and reach Ratcliffe Hall, home of Sir Lindsay Everard, where all her A.T.A. pool live, at about 8.30pm. I have a damn nice bed and we drink Scotch and talk until about 1am. Next morning she flies me down to White Waltham in the belly of a Barracuda, and I then hitch hike to London, arriving for Baffy’s luncheon at Chandos at 1.20pm. I go round to Wendy’s for a bed, and get the whole flat as she is away to stay with J.J. for the weekend in Elstree. Louise is getting herself out of A.T.A. and I meet her at the American Red Cross in Chandos Street, and suggest that she comes and stays in the flat with me, which she does. We have dinner at the Brevet Club and go back and drink some of Wendy’s Madeira. She tells me she is in love with this American despite his family, so that’s that. Next day I do a few things and she discovers that she cannot go back to him and America yet, as the US Embassy will not give her a visa as they are getting out new rules and she is a Dutch citizen. She is pretty damned depressed and so am I, and after a few drinks and dinner at the Brevet with some friend of hers, we return home (meet Eric Milne and some of the boys in the Brevet Club). I get an awful fit of tears, which I never had before God damnit, and am talked to quite calmly by Louise, who points out that it will not work under the circumstances – agreed.
Yesterday I fly back from Hendon on the Dutch Dakota and now feel a little better, though she still hurts a bit. God only knows what she must be feeling over this Yank – especially as she cannot now get over to see him! I call on her uncle in Wassenaar last night and leave some stuff – later going back for a rum and tea session, but her presence lurks there and I do not like it. I never told Monica that I was in town! That trip in the Barracuda – sitting on piles of kit in Louise’s dressing gown, in a slight loving haze.
I am falling slightly in love – or at least I think so. Louise stays two more days and I take her out to see friends and an uncle in Wassenaar. Each evening George and I and her have dinner and champagne in the Club and reach varying degrees of intoxication. The usual ending in or on my bed, 3.30, 1.30 and 2.30am, though I am not able to do anything, as she refuses and the reasons are OK by me. She has a charm and a certain type of character akin to mine, and even in the morning when I go to wake her up she looks and smells good. “Earthy” is the expression she teaches me. I have to cry when seeing her off on this morning’s ‘plane which is a thing I do not remember doing before over any woman!! What is she? 24, Dutch, but lived in the States and Canada some 13 years except for four years in A.T.A. in England. (Air Transport Auxiliary). With 2000 hours in on most types (JDW: flying hours) and a lovely Canadian accent, deep blue eyes, long curling eyelashes, a full shaped face and a bit furry all over! But she is getting out of A.T.A. and going back to the States where her father is Consul-General in Chicago – and in love with some American, with a family.
Parties and more parties of sorts and I get to bed every night I am here after midnight, last night being exceptional and 3.30am. I try my hand on the dames and no luck – Mary, I have had (up to here), some Quita dame who was warm and loved tickle and slap and might be a good investment if she spoke any English and was less like a furry mouse. Then I meet Louise Schurmann! Dutch, in the A.T.A., and lived in the States a long time.
My No. 2 George Linton turns up yesterday, so I am busy billeting and getting fed Louise, who is here to look for her relations. I already have a date with Quita, so we make it four and go to the Club. Quita is sick, and we have to take her home, a little soberer, then the three of us adjourn to my room for rum and a bottle of wine. Louise is a bit tight already, George and I OK. We talk our heads off, Louise and I, after George has retired at 1am, and early in the proceedings I am told she would hate to sleep with me. We talk and talk and seem to have the same ideas on life, and end up in her room, a few along from mine, at 3.30 but nothing done. She does improve after being kissed a little, but that’s all, and I retire to bed cursing that gremlin of mine.
People, parties, drinks but no damn luck with dames. Oh Louise – she would do for the lot of them, with her lovely accent and hard bitten expression, though only 24. In love with a married Yank, so that’s that. Today I must take her to lunch at Betty’s and then I hope to Wasenaar to look for her friends – but she will probably have nothing to do with me.
I have a few more parties with this Mary Wibort and come to the conclusion, much to my annoyance, that I am making no progress and that she is more or less the same with all. Hell! I kiss her goodnight in a fairly bad temper on Saturday night, and she looks at the sky as she says she thinks it will be a fine day tomorrow. Thank God I can laugh – that damned gremlin again – I really must find something in this joint. All the airfield boys at Valkenburg reckon that they are fixed up.
I get a Mercedes from T.A.F. Main (?) today, but the big end has gone and it is practically useless. Why am I always haunted by that gremlin? I get no exercise here, and feed quite well on American rations with SHAEF PWD.
Quite a pleasant evening with young Mary and I am told that in Holland one cannot sleep with a girl after knowing her only two days – I feel like asking “how long”. Next day I track down Kieks and make a date for 8pm. I go out to collect her and we go to the dunes, but it is damn windy, so we go down an underground passage to the local Kommandant’s room in a portion of the West Wall, where is a bed-less mattress and a chair. I set to work at once plus half a bottle of whisky, only to find myself up against principles – the one of ‘husbands only’. I point out that she is not married, but no go. I return to bed a bit drunk on a quarter of a bottle of neat Scotch.
Yesterday I meet a US Colonel Mackolinger (?) who is sitting in the hotel lounge with a bottle of Scotch and Bourbon, a dame (Midge) and her husband, a flight lieutenant in the Dutch airforce and ADC to Queen Wilhelmina. I then meet an ENSA dame in trouble, and nearly finish my Scotch with her in my room, lending her my electric kettle to wash her hair. I go and collect Mary but we find all the cinemas booked up, so sit in the Club and drink Scotch and then go and see her friend Yotja, whose mother is just out of Dachau. I see her home and kiss her in the car and we all have a date for tomorrow – Saturday.
I have a room in the Terminus Hotel with a very comfortable bed, but no hot water. I have to feed in the SHAEF PWD (Psychological Warfare Division) Mess across the road, having fed at various places before. My office is in the hotel writing room with two telephones and a third on the way, and a staff of six, a 30 CWT lorry, and a utility that I have borrowed from the Air Component of the SHAEF mission. My job, not yet organised, will be to book people on aircraft to Croydon, and on the SHAEF Command squadron Austers to wherever they want. As for the rest, I am enjoying it, and provided I could find some nice thing to sleep with occasionally I should feel content. However, no doubt I shall have to go – Transport Command may provide their own officer or the Indian Army may catch me – Bah!
I push off regardless of the posting signal after a small bottle (Scotch) party the night before, to which Burt Mann comes over from Group. We drive down in a jeep through the Ruhr and it takes about 10 hours. Not many occupation troops in evidence and I see one coal mine working again. Many lorry loads of displaced persons pass, one with “Subjects of British Empire” chalked on it. I stay two nights in the Palace hotel and fix the details of this job up with T of Rear. The second day I meet Jonny Benbow, now a Lt Col, in Shaef, looking after POWs (Indian), and go on a bit of a party with him, though I do my usual vanishing trick at 11.30pm. Next day I drive to the Hague in a shockingly dirty 30 cwt truck which is governed down to about 30 mph. We arrive eventually and I get a room at the Terminus hotel where my office is to be, change, and go to the officers club. There I meet one John Hall, a F/L in Movements at T of Rear, plus one Lola Crowe, an attractive half Dutch driver for the Dutch Red Cross, and Jerry Pinder. We consume much Scotch and are joined by a Dutchman, one Bart de Schepper, to whose house we go for supper. I am the only sober one, Lola is sick and goes to bed, and I eventually collect them all in their jeep and see them on the way to Rotterdam. Jerry has vanished and I find him asleep on the W/C seat. He gets up, apologises, and says that he was listening to the news!
Next day W/C Mason in Air Component Shaef Mission lends me a Utility, as I am supposed to have a car, in fact I am allotted one but it hasn’t turned up. I lunch with Bart, then take him out to his house near Valkenburg airfield where I have to go. He takes me home for tea and I find that Betty, his wife, has produced a blonde and a brunette for inspection. I go off and change and take the blonde, Mary Wibort, out to dinner in the Officers Club. We try to dance at the Metropole but too damned crowded, and end up smoking and necking in the Utility outside her hotel. I have a date for tonight but don’t think I shall get anywhere, so I shall then have to give her up and go after Kieks again if I can find her. It’s damn difficult.