December 9th 1940

My slow rolls get worse and worse – I stick on my back and even Jones can’t see why. My knee gets jammed up against the petrol pump by the stick at times, when she is right over to the right, and I don’t think that helps much. Have half an hour solo, about two hours dual and two hours ‘Link’ left to do. Extra flying not sanctioned, so we are recommended to apply for about 14 days leave and come back a week before we sail. Where the hell shall I go.

Went out shooting to Kalri near Tatta where there are 3 or 4 large jhils. (JDW: Hindi for a morass or shallow lake). Went on Saturday with Ian Pringle, S/Ldr Bowditch and one Evans, and their wives. We stayed in the PWD rest house and had food laid on by the Mess and cooked by my bearer. Popsie Crick laid on the banda but then got malaria so he could not come. Hid in a hide for duck on Saturday night and got two for 23 cartridges, and lost one of those. Shocking shooting but magnificent opportunities.

Then shot all Sunday morning and I got a duck and five snipe, two of which were lost. Driven snipe – bloody hard. A lovely place I’d like to go back to and smoke and listen to the birds.

Bought a .22 Winchester 5 shot the other day for 120/-. Traded my colt for 80/-. I thought he might allow me about 30/- for it, but true to character I asked 100/- and he just mildly expressed that it was a little high. I was then so taken aback, when asked for another figure, I was foxed, but managed to get out 70/-. Suleiman Omer, the gunsmith, then jumped at this so I said I would give him 40/- for the rifle – and there the deal closed. Unfortunately its spring American peep sight is U/S and is only sighted up to about 50 yards. Though I have not really zero-ed it yet.

Pete Gillespie is in my tent now as accommodation is scarce. We got talking last Sunday. I mentioned aims in life, one thing turned to another, and I discover he tried to desert when war broke out and get home and join up. Got to Bombay and the only ship he could find was US and the captain offered to take him to the States. However, he thought he’d rather go the other way, but was unable to find a ship that would take him. His money then ran out, just as he thought of going to Goa, he couldn’t do it so surrendered to the SSO. Was court marshalled as AWOL and sentenced to six months loss of seniority. A bloody good effort I call it. He also passes bouncing cheques, without malice aforethought he assures me. But that’s another person who thinks of life the same way as I do. The Gurkha in Pachmari was the other.

Went out with Dudley for a few drinks in the Gym Club the other day after dinner. We then came back and talked for some time in his car, a nearly new Ford 10.

The Aerodrome Officer spotted my “A” License racket, and rang up the M.O. to ask how was it the original license said “Fit (subject to wearing correction of vision)”, whilst his form said my eyes were OK. So I rang up the M.O. and explained, laying myself at his mercy, and thank god we came to the conclusion that the aerodrome officer was a bastard, didn’t understand good Scots, but was only doing his duty anyhow. Eventually I got it endorsed ‘fit’ but I bet he’s reported it to Delhi, and I suppose that will be my undoing.

I am now wearing two pips, being fed up with being asked what I did before the war. I qualified on 26th November but god knows when it will be through.


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