Alarms and excursions. A few days ago the Regent was smuggled out of the country, the Prime Minister resigned, and the Army took over, one of the generals endeavouring to form a cabinet. Then occurs the most colossal flap. He is supposed to be anti-British, so the planes are bombed up, arms and ammunition dished out, everyone made to wear uniform and walk about armed, and no one allowed outside the camp. Yesterday an Iraqi aeroplane arrived, did three circuits and landed. The Gladiators were unable to get up to shoot him down, as they had been ordered to ring up the AOC before they took off, and his telephone was engaged. Chaps rush out to arrest the pilot, who says he has merely come for a meteorlogical exam, and he’s right too.
Today a colossal formation is organised over Falluja and Ramadi, but there is so much low lying cloud that it is postponed. The German news says we are prisoners of war and that Italian transports have arrived in Basra to take us away! And that the Iraqis have shot down some 18 British planes! (JDW: a very interesting comment. According to the official history, the British were blissfully unaware at this stage that any real threat from the Iraqis existed, and that Rachid Ali’s sudden attack on three weeks later was entirely unexpected, but here is evidence that it was already being talked about, if only via German propaganda.)