January 26th 1941 – Habbaniya, Iraq

Habbaniya, Iraq. More drinks with the Americans (Joe Carroll) who get off at Al-Khamshah. We land at Basra, are met by an RAF Sergeant and then catch the evening train to Baghdad. The Customs pinch my .22 and shotgun. Basra is a pretty filthy joint with dim narrow streets, rendered so by the first floor jutting out over the ground floor shops. I take in my watch for repairs and am told it will be 5/-. When I call later I put down 3/- and the chap says he wants 7/-more. I make it up to 4 and he is quite satisfied.

We go to the Kit Kat and see the cabaret practising. A luxurious corridor train to Baghdad – soap and towels etc, and English style coaches, but bloody cold in Baghdad. Here we spend two hours until the driver has finished his errands. The main street is like an English country town – thronged with chaps from all over the near and middle east.

The road out here is 60 miles across flat open plain, and 20 miles of nothing, not even road, across Falluja Plain – a pukka sand desert. We are met on arrival and given drinks.

Much drinking last night, and met Garner, who was at Peterborough with Hugh. Dinner at 9.30 and a party at the next table, including Loyd (SWB and Levies), hurling whisky and soda, plates of butter and pursuing each other over and under the table. Looks like we’ve come to a mad house. Shops damn expensive – in Basra, Baghdad and here (25/- for a R10 pair of shoes).


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