April 22nd 1942 – Lashio

Sherkham of 59th here on his way to Maymyo and a staff job. He says 2/13th are in 17 Division and lost Lt Col Guy at Prome. I go down to Myittha for another recco as Meiktila getting too hot. Best camouflaged strip I ever saw, and when you get there it’s some time before you can see how to land on it and avoid the cactus. Taxiing into cover the tailwheel prangs so I take it off next morning straight to Loiwing, do a wheeler and a bit of a ground loop and pick up the other one from the satellite and return to Laskio.

Then down again, and yesterday morning I take off at 0605 with one landing light on recco. Chauk and the Pinchaung north of Yenanyuang but N.M.S. (JDW: nothing much seen?) except bullock carts. I return home, circle three times but no smoke and no corner strips so I try a landing. Manage to get down and then see Sides at the end waving me to stop; I can’t run off the end (and after) 20yds the wheels hit a hole, and up on her nose. I think she is going right over and on fire, but not enough momentum and she stops on her nose. I pull everything and leap out, having pranged my third Hurrican 11B and my fourth escape from death in one. Prop, wing tip, and wheels bent back but salvageable. Aircraft noises in the air, but we cover her in in cactus and Sides sends me home in his car.

Strawberries at Maymyo, two punctures and back at 7.45pm, having left Myittha at 11am. Saw half a dozen Sikh soldiers straggling up the road but hadn’t sufficient presence of mind to stop and question them. At Myittha we live in the PWD irrigation bungalow, a four course dinner and all booze except beer. I sleep on camp bed on verandah and very hot, so I don’t sleep much especially thinking of what the Japs do to their prisoners. I have now done 57 opps, but no respite, though I can’t go on forever, alive!


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