March 17th 1941

I now own half a horse. Braybrooks and I were after one and asked Evans, the stable manager, if he could get one. He says “Oh yes, Finjan, £10, take over on Saturday”. I arrange to ride on Thursday but when I get there I find someone else out on him and Evans asking the fellow for £12.

I get most disgruntled, but in the meantime Braybrooks goes to the owner and offers him £10. The owner says Evans is selling it to someone else; Braybrooks thinks it’s me, and says we are both in together. That gets us the horse, which Evans has in the meantime sold for £12 to the other chap. He settles it, however, by getting posted so we get our horse, and arab chestnut and fairly tame. It’s 8 months since I last rode, in Wana.

Yesterday met one Stoney, Armoured Cars, in the Mess and stood him a few drinks, despite his protests, whilst his taxi was coming, and eventually he takes me off to dinner. There I meet Hilliard (also Armoured Cars) who knew Hugh, Cottingham (Gloucesters) an O.H. (JDW: Old Harrovian like my father), and “Boozy” Bons in the R.V.R. I have alot more whisky before dinner and shoot a line about India. Then half way through dinner I realise suddenly that if I have another drink I can’t be held responsible for the consequences. Not a comforting thought, but I preserve a calm and sober front, and manage to tell one of the bearers to get me a taxi, without anyone noticing. I stand firm against whisky, liqueurs and port and get the taxi when it arrives at 10pm, my excuse being early flying at 5.30 am.

A messy “decontamination” when I return and no head this morning. I go I.F. (JDW: anyone know what this means?) and am unable to fly “straight and level” under the hood, performing two complete circles in 15 minutes. Shocking!


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4 responses to “March 17th 1941”

  1. IF stands for Instrument flying.In this case the pupil is under a canvas hood, cannot see any outside visual references, and had to fly just by instruments…

    1. James Dunford Wood Avatar
      James Dunford Wood

      Thanks for that – explains ‘under the hood’! Pretty hard I imagine with a hangover!

  2. IF stands for Instrument Flying, hence the hood so that the pilot cannot see the horizon and must fly on instuments.

  3. This picture of life at Habbaniya just before it all went pear shaped, is quite priceless.

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