January 11th 1942

The train party goes off on 3rd and ought to reach Calcutta today. It rains like hell and we stand about in it as it takes them two hours too long to marshall the train. Then I have to find seats for the followers and the Indian other ranks of A.I.L. section in the dark. A complete shambles with men jumping on anywhere as the accommodation provided by the railway authorities was inadequate. At last they get away, most of the troops intoxicated, and we, the air party, start a deadly existence of waiting, waiting. Clay pidgeon shooting one morning, and we go out on a long range another. But we can’t go before they arrive, which will be 20th at least.

Bill Tait posted here in place of Duncan who retires to Movement Control at AHQ. We give him a party in the “Ladies Room” with ‘Snippet’ Coverton whom I used to know at Pachmari, Mary Humphries and one other. Hammerbeck brews Black Velvet and then we abandon the chairs for cushions round the fire. Potent stuff! I remember Bill Tait lying under a screen, myself sitting on a chair perched on top of him.

Bill Duncan can’t manage and departs, ill, for home. His wife Alison and the rest sit down to dinner with “Tiger’s Milk”, another horrible cocktail of Hammerbeck’s. Why spoil a good liqueur, though I never touch ’em myself.

Devilish cold and I wish I hadn’t packed my flying boots. In Burma its 14/6d plus Rs72 allowance, less British income tax, payable in India less Indian income tax – I’m sure. Teddy Humphries has written to AHQ about it – but what to do? “Pay to fly with the RAF.”


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