June 19th 1941 – Ambala


We spend the 13th at the BAPCO Club, with one Wally Jones and his wife, swimming, golf and a cinema. On 14th leave and reach Karachi, very sticky, at 5.30pm. Difficulty with customs over my unregistered camera and my .38’s number, but we get away eventually to Killarney Hotel. We go round to Simonsons and they get a bit of a shock. Dinner there and at 12pm I go to the Gym Club and meet Dicky Bird, Small, the Evans, Phyllis Macfarlane, and Celia Mockett and her husband John Mansel. I am congratulated on my return – “So glad you are alive old boy”. And next evening we leave for Ambala as the embarkation people fixed up. They knew we were coming!

Stayed at Lahore, went and had dinner with the Walters at Model Town and tried to catch the 9.55 train. But I can’t hurry a late dinner etc so we stay the night on the roof and leave next morning, reaching Ambala at 3.25pm. They, of course, don’t know we are coming, and are four weeks into the A.T.S. course (Advanced training school), so we ask for leave to Naini Tal. Granted by the Chief Training Instructor, Harris, who says “keep your hat on”. Then it’s withdrawn until the CO returns from leave.

Today CFI S/Ldr Simpson takes us uo. Allan goes up, then I, and do some circuits and landings, though they are not liked, and I say “Yes sir, no sir, etc”, and looking round like a giraffe. Then find it wasn’t Simpson at all but one “Tiny” Howell. I am allowed up solo in an Audax with strict instructions to do a few steep and medium turns, and be down in 20 minutes! Did I know how my parachute worked?!

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