June 7th 1945


I go down to Brussels again, well and truly navigated as of Indian days, and see W/C Andrews, Air Movements, who turns out to be an old acquaintance of the 1st Burma campaign. After a lot of negotiations I am given the job, as there is some stooge in the office who has to be satisfied first, but on returning to Celle I find no posting signal in, and I had planned to leave tomorrow. So perhaps I will be foiled at the post again.

Of my several nights in Brussels, I live in boredom in the Palace hotel and wander round at nights spending francs. One joint – the ‘Cosy Club’ – some hostess sets to work on me and I buy a couple of rounds, cognac and fruit “cup” for her, costing 175 francs, and then get her away. We go to some cafe of her friends where she warms up a bit and eventually tells me to go home, but that she will keep with me all the next night, and we arrange a date for 2pm the next day. I wait until 3.05 but she does not turn up. I also do a bit of drinking in the RAF Club.

Andrews and I set off one day by car to the Hague. We arrive and go o Shaef Mission Air Component and also visit the air movements people in Valkenburg, the Hague airfield, and I get my office and bed provisionally promised in the Terminus Hotel, used by the Boche and now taken over for RAF transit officers, but actually inhabited by some ancient permanent residents and the town major’s staff. We have lunch at Mission and dinner at the airfield Mess and then go drinking gin at some local Dutchman’s house in the Wassenaar residential area. We booze Bols from 9-10.30pm and I meet there some 28 year old dame called Kieks Henny. She is brought in by some other RAF type, but is taken out by me. Andrews and I are taken back to town and then she is dropped, but comes to town with me in the back seat. And is she warm – God! I get her address and hope to return, but this damn posting signal may cock things up.

A magnificent bedroom, a Canadian padre’s bully beef for breakfast. The car is delayed due to a puncture and we depart at 12.00, getting to Brussels Everes at 17.30 where I arrange to take off and fly home. But on running up the canopy it blows over a hedge and is broken, so I return to the Palace hotel for yet another night, returning here today on a Dakota lift at 06.45 – to find no posting signal – damn!!

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June 1st 1945


I get myself put up for this control job – air traffic officer at Copenhagen and another at the Hague. SPSO Group tells me to go and see T of Rear (JDW: anyone know what this was?) about it in Brussels. I fly down on Wednesday.

Meanwhile the rest of the squadron moves to Celle, north of Hanover, where I now am, and all set for the Occupation. I get a bit lost on the way and have to get a homing to Brussels. The G/C I must see is away until the next day so I get my kit off the aircraft and get put up in a shockingly awful transport command hostel. That night I wander around the bars but do not meet any women I fancy, and retire to bed rather bored at 10pm. The next day I go shopping – perfume and ‘silk’ stockings for the boys, and eat a bag of cherries. The G/C – one Salmon – appears a bit vague on the subject and I discover they have given the Copenhagen job away to a chap in 2 Group and that the W/C has promised the Hague job to a friend of his in his office. As the W/C is away and won’t come back until Saturday, I return to Celle and hope to go down and see them both tomorrow. Meanwhile I am due for leave on the 31st, and as all aircrew leave is to stop on the 4th, unless I get away quickly I will have had it.

Brussels is full of uniforms and the shop windows are crowded, though at a price. I feel a bit tired due to an overdose of cognac and beer (I wrote notes to an Ensa girl at dinner in the Palace hotel on the strength of it) and have a lodging here with David Greville-Heygate. Outside, German girls are doing the washing, very nice ones too, and I for one will find this non-fraternisation order a very hard one.

 

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May 28th 1945


Freddie, George and I go up to Meppel to try and get a watch for him, and eventually end up in a Canadian officers club in Groningen. We go round some hospital grounds in a jeep with a slightly tight Canadian Captain, and all the women on their death beds wave back to us. We grab a couple of dames and take them into the dance, but no good, and I make Freddie drive all the way back – three and a half hours, getting to bed at 1.30am.

The next day Jeff and I go up to Lubeck where we have heard of pistols for sale, and I buy two Lugers (one slightly u/s) for £7.10 and £2.10 off some airmen, as an investment – I hope. Lubeck is full of German aircraft and on the way up we fly over Bremen and Hamburg. That evening Bill Dodgson and I dash up to Groningen to try and get some gin but we cannot find the place, and as he thinks there won’t be any chance of getting any dames due to the amount of Canadians about, we beat down to Meppel, where we had some success previously. But here too we are too late – 9.30pm – and the Canadians are already at work.

Saturday we have the afternoon off, and Sunday off, so Bill, George and I set off to Amsterdam. We have some trouble finding the town major, but do so, and get a bed in the “Red Lion” hotel. I only have 80 cigarettes for which I collect 80 guilders and some bars of chocolate at 4 G each. Men approach one in the street with cameras, watches and even cufflinks for cigarettes. We then set off for the Lido Club, Bill with some dame he picks up in the hotel lounge. She turns out to have a German accent, but, however, she satisfies him OK. I grab another called Helen and dance around and George gets her friend, an old “gladstone bag” by the name of Anne. We have some wine and beer that we brought over and also a bottle of champagne but later on my dame goes home. Anne is desolated and she takes George off and they bring back one Tina, who is a lot more ugly but quite perky and a bit warm. Bill and his fraulein vanish and we four go off in his car to Anna’s flat, plus a box of our food and Anna’s gramophone. No light but candles and we eat bread and tinned sausage and dance. I get browned off and pinch out the wick, much to the dames annoyance, as they seem to want to dance all night. George and Anne retire and I get busy on a sofa, but with my usual luck there is no joy and it ends in a sort of compromise, though not the usual ‘Papist plot’. As George is in for the night and I don’t know the way home, I have to stay too, and eventually we creep in and join the other two in bed – or rather we stay on top in our clothes rather like on a railway train – it’s a large bed and takes four abreast easily.

Next morning we beat as fast as possible back to the hotel and breakfast, though much to the disgust of the two dames. We then wander around, taking Bill’s woman out to Haarlem, and end up for tea in a rather smart officers club in Utrecht, and back home in time for dinner. We see a woman get 12 players (cigarettes) from a waiter for 20 guilders in an Amsterdam cafe. Children come up and demand autographs. We see columns of Germans with their HDT cookers (?) and driving trucks, all quite happily. We see pranged vehicles on the Appeldoorn-Amersfort road. In Utrecht a food convoy is going through and one small boy gets onto a lorry and lets the back fall, flooding the roadway with potatoes. In a moment the crowd gather round and there is much argument.

Now we hear of a flying control job of sorts in Copenhagen and I must go and see the G/C about it.

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May 20th 1945


I am back here a week now and bored stiff. I sell my old sports coat for 40 guilders and a wheel of Tom Raynor’s for 100. We practise formation flying as a Wing, and though I miss the first two shows there is one tomorrow over the Hague where Queen Wilhelmina is holding a review. We practise twice yesterday and there is to be the same today. Mitch is away and I am now C.O. and lead the squadron. We expect to move to Celle near Hanover any minute now, and it will be pretty grim with peacetime training, just like Hawarden again. My view is that it is all a life without an end, without a glimmer, and what use is ambition at all. But then I am paid £480 p.a. and my board and lodging costs me practically nothing, and where would I get that in any job out of the service? Somehow I am almost regretting  that the war is over – it at least gave me a purpose in life. What is there now – not just ‘soldier on’, surely?

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May 13th 1945 – Royal Investiture, London


I go down to the Kings Road and wait until Monica returns. The next day I take her to the Brevet Club for dinner and then retire to her flat for one thing and another.

Mama and I have drinks at the Devonshire Club with one Dr Cullen, and another Andrew Maclaghlan whom I later meet in the Royal Empire Club Society, where he offers me a job in ‘oil’ in India, which I turn down. I organise two tickets for Ma and Baffy for the Palace and get there myself about 10am, and remain for two solid hours in an ante-room with a hundred others or so and nowhere to sit. At length I reach the King, who recognises my I.G.S. and mentions my long service in India, and we then get out and go to Chandos for Baffy’s Friday lunch. Of course there is a blonde there, her niece, and husband, who upsets me for the rest of the day. That evening we go to Kew for dinner with the Smyths and consume Hock and champagne.

Yesterday I take Monica to “The Assassin” and though I have a room booked at the Savoy, I do not take it as I do not somehow feel in the mood. Now I am off back to Croydon and who knows what may not happen next. I wish these women didn’t upset me so. Monica suggests a parting, in peace, before we go in a row, but I say ‘No, wait’ and eventually we decide to maintain the ‘status quo’.

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May 9th 1945 – the morning after V.E. Day, London


I do an Op after the War is supposed to have ended, of the East Friesian Isles to Borkum, to see if they are trying to escape instead of surrender, but without seeing any movement. I also play some badminton with Mitch, Chokra and Peter Marsh. I dispose of the DKW for 275 guilders in the local black market and have to drive it to a solitary farmhouse where it is hidden in a cowshed, the cart being taken out to make room for it.

I am now in London, and have to attend an Investiture on the 12th, but as the 84th Communication Squadron are having today off, I had to come over yesterday and was lucky to get a bed. Monica I find is away and as it is V.E. Day I go out and see the sights. Two strange women insist on me kissing them in Piccadilly Circus at 2.45pm, just before Churchill’s speech, and I long for one of those red smoke candles which the Boche left behind in our house in Twente. In the evening I go to the Brevet Club but it is sold out at 7.30 and Shepheards too at 8.30. I then wander back to the Wings Club where I meet one Van de Waale, ex Ternhill, and we have a drink or two whilst he discusses life and prospects in Belgium. He later (11.30) takes me to a party in a US warrant officer’s flat in Atheneum Court where about 30 people are jammed in a room which might hold 10 at a pinch. There is Bourbon to drink and a bad selection of dames and I depart to bed unseen at 12.30am.

Today I go round to Wendy’s and see Ma and we have lunch in the Cumberland Hotel. I tell her I am engaged tonight, but as Monica is not back, God knows what I shall do. My kit weighs 62lbs and has to go on a different Anson to the one I travel on, and consequently I don’t have to take it through Customs!

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May 4th 1945


I fly again on a weather recce, plus Area 1 north of Emden. I get lost after about ten minutes and have to get a homing back to base and then start off again. Area 1 is not too easy due to the cloud formations and at times I am not too sure where I am. Someone fires at me near Jever, two bursts of 20 or 40 mm, I think, but a bit inaccurate. I nearly prang on landing, and must be more careful in future.

Well, the war looks like ending out here, and God knows what the future holds forth, provided I am still OK. The Indian Army, I don’t think, the RAF, who knows. I feel I should like to meet someone nice, marry her (though she would need to fulfil my romantic requirements), and get a good job in her father’s business – but what of the “call of the East”, which I still occasionally hear!

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