February 6th 1942


Last night they come overhead three times, so we don’t get much sleep. This morning we see a small Balbo cross over to Ningaladon and fighters weaving trails in the sky. (JDW: Early WW2 RAF jargon, which often referred to large formations of enemy aircraft as a “Balbo”. This was a hangover from 1933 when Mussolini’s Minister of Air, Italo Balbo, put on a display of Italian air strength that impressed the world. It involved building twenty-five specially equipped twin-hulled Savoia-Marchetti SM.55X flying boats and then flying them in formation across Europe, across the Atlantic to the United States, on to the Chicago World’s Fair and then back to Rome.)

The Japs break up and we see a bit of a dog fight, the score being 11 for 0. The night before last some bombs dropped here, and my slit trench shakes. Yesterday I go to Pega in a car, 19 miles, with Dickenson, adjutant of 60 Sqn. A few shops still open, and we get the golf club opened and inspect it.  Twelve Anna Mandalay beer, a library and unopened weeklies and a ping pong table. On our way back we see seven Lysanders heading for Ningaladon, and I hear they did a successful raid the other day.

Well, here I am, nothing to do for the third day, out here under canvas. Not too bad, I wangle a bath tub, and have an excellent “lease and lend” campbed. The only trouble is air raids. The warning here goes as they cross the coast, telephoned from Command, and I get up and listen. If they don’t seem to be coming, then back to bed and keep one ear open, but sleep’s impossible, so what the use. Into a trench when they come overhead, and back to bed when they have gone. Then I’m woken up by the “all clear”.

Visited a company of Burma Rifles who live on roast duck and three veg whilst we sweat on rations. Two Burman officers, one who had been to a university in the USA and the other lived in England 17 years; neither very sure of their own language. Burmans seem discouteous in shops compared to India. I went to Ningaladon stores and they gave me the only pair of flying boots, as walking about here there are clouds of dust, and mine are still in my tin box which hasn’t arrived yet. 221 Group H/Q  mostly India, with a bit of Singapore, so chronic (?)! They all have cars which they smash, and Johnston thinks more about his car than his job. They discuss their cars. A very nice looking girl in the Air Staff office. Out on the other Road (to Mandalay) rows of wooden bodies in the rubber plantations and chassis as they come off the ships for transportation to China. The AVG have “jeeps” and the war correspondents put a “flying 69” on theirs as they had to have some sign!

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