June 23rd 1944

I take to the air again in a Master and go solo today, though I nearly bounce the a/c off doing a glide approach at 95, as they come down quite steep. Hugh Roberts and I go to town and are admitted to the “Lamb” by Nancy Cork, the landlady, although it is shut. Two other women, two sailors and a Yank sergeant come in and we all play darts and drink Scotch, being turned out about 11pm. Hugh and I are then asked to come back, when the others have left, as Nancy (a 12 stoner!) has her sister Elaine there with a sudden passion for Hughie. We go back and they are very drunk, but give us drinks and eventually bacon and eggs as well. Elaine wants to retire with Hugh but Nancy will not let her, and both being drunk, there is quite some argument. Eventually Elaine goes away and we are put out too, but Pete and I go down and drink with her last night instead of Roberts, who was supposed to meet her at 8pm in the Corbett Arms.

We are going tonight and he is coming too, so I suppose I have had it again, as she is the nicest looking girl I have seen around here yet!

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June 22nd 1944

Pete and I and two others go to town on Sunday. Then back to the Mess where there is a dance, just like India with some half dozen women. I set to with a Wren officer. On Saturday I meet an a girl in the Corbett Arms who seems to falls in love with me and walks half the way home. She is a WAAF clerk in mufti and about 2 foot 6 inches high – God!

Yesterday we visit the “Stormy Petrel” and the “Castle” just nearby and I get to bed by 10.45pm. A letter from Mhairi, crossing one sarcastic one of mine in which I asked her if she was dead!  - taken about a week to be redirected from Hawarden.

I manage to get my hands on a bicycle by saying that I’m an instructor, but it will go soon I suppose.

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June 20th 1944

Ground school again, and I’m supposed to pass 8′s in morse at the end of a fortnight. One Pete Mackenzie, a Canadian, and I go to town by bicycle and drink beer in the “Corbett Arms”. Then on to some party in some woman’s house where I talk to one Betty Fletcher (?), wife of a course pilot here, though now in hospital with measles. Same again last night, via much whisky (paid for by Betty) at the Stag’s Head.

I go to the Parish Hall where there is a dance, and only get in with great difficulty at 10.30, as no one allowed in after 9.30. Pete not there but I dance with his girlfriend, a WAAF MOT driver from the M.U. in mufti. No joy in Market Drayton I fancy, so what to do! A cook’s tour in an Anson yesterday, and never saw so many flying fields before. Hugh’s name in the visitors book, just before the war.

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June 13th 1944 – Shrewsbury

I organise matches – and soap too. I collect Sonia at 11.00 and we go looking for fully fashioned stockings. Then beer and lunch at the “Lion”. We then go down near the river, cross over by the 1d toll (JDW: penny toll), and sit on the grass from 2.30 to 7.35. I get busy, and so does she for that matter, but her principles are such that the result is another “Papist trick”. I get a bit tied up at various times with what Jeanie told me, and not Sonia, and what I said to one and not the other. We go back and have a meal of sorts at a cinema cafe, and then some more beer at the “Lion”. Good night Bas!

I hitch hike out to Ternhill this morning, as there are only three buses a day. I pass “Banky Bill” in the street last night, but can’t stop with Sonia. I give her 10 coupons.

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June 12th 1944

I get flown down to Ternhill with my kit in an Oxford on Sunday. I go to the Mess, a vast building like a hotel, and meet the training wing adjutant, one Scott, who says he doesn’t want to see me until the evening of the 13th. So I get my buttons cleaned, pack a bag, and leg it down the road for the Shrewsbury bus, which I just manage to catch. In town I ask some RAF type which is the best place to stay and he takes me to the George Hotel, where I get a room, though at first they deny such a possibility. I take a walk at 6pm, but it seems dead, so I return to the George at 7, beer time, and join two RAF types sitting by themselves. Various people join us but my attention is on a girl on the opposite side of the room, with an RAF officer, and we exchange odd smiles. I meet him in the gents and he has to go away to some other dame, so he introduces me to take her off his hands. My original party is off to the ‘Post Office’, some low pub, so we go too but break away by ourselves to the Lion. She is one Sonia Price. private secretary to the boss of Swallow Raincoats in Birmingham. On closing time we go down to the river and sit, and I set to work, but though very keen on kissing, nothing else doing. Seems odd to me, but then I know nothing yet!

We return to her hotel and sit in front of the fire for some ten minutes and then she puts me out. I am to meet her this morning at 11am and go shopping, but then she may not be there! Quien sabe?

I can’t get any damn matches in this town.

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June 11th 1944

My posting through to SPAFU Ternhill, where they give you hell, so all the ex-pupils say! I go to town on Saturday night and go to ‘Barlows’, a pub upstairs in Chester, where one meets lots of women – I don’t, but should do though. I meet my friend ‘Bish’ and we go down to a dance at the Castle. We drink some whisky, then order and pay for half a dozen gins before they all run out. I dance with some dame, an ‘excuse me’, and three women cut in on me and nearly turn my head. One is an A.T.S. sergeant. I dance with her later on and then for the rest of the night. If ever I saw love in a girl’s eyes, which I never did before, there it is. She is Jean Admunsen (or something) from Manchester, down in Chester on a baseball course of all things. I take her home to the ‘Girls Friendly Society’ where she is billeted, and we sit above the racecourse a little before midnight. I get busy and find she is all of a dither, and stunned with pure love for me. She keeps asking what hit her, but beyond kissing her I can do nothing, and take her home and wake up the ‘friendly girls’ at 12.15 am. God! I never met the like of her before – aged 20 – and her emotions bring out her Lancashire accent! I cycle home in the rain to not much sleep.

‘Bish’ well organised with one Betty Bevan whose husband is a POW. I go flying in a Harvard after one hour’s link and find things easier. I also go and look at Haneck Oak, where I once stayed with ‘Jonah’ of Harrow and Sandhurst days.


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June 9th 1944 – Poulton

I move over to Poulton. “Ash” and I cycle into town and meet two dames of his staying at the Grosvenor. One Regina Grahame and Eve Porter, the former a Manchester typist with a shocking accent. We drink at the ‘Pied Bull’, then back to her room for some ‘Canadian Club’ which I have brought in with me. Eve comes in with two RAF types, but they go out again – very obviously – and I get busy. This Regina dame is like a cold fish and I get her lined up on the bed and she moans she is a good girl and how she thought I was different to most men, so I get bored and leave at 11.30 and cycle home through the rain to bed.

‘Ash’ – Farrell Ashdown RCAF – is a helluva lad. Today I do a bit of office work then spend an hour in a decompression chamber up to 25000′ – going up without oxygen and writing damn silly things on a bit of paper.

No squash court here – no exercise – no word out of Mhairi – no posting!

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