April 28th 1942 – Last Man in to Bat

I go down the road that evening and see nothing much except a few lorries at Konghai-ping crossroads. Further up I squirt at two lorries, the first stops and men rush out and hide, I miss that, but the second I catch in a pass on a winding gradient corner; but the burst kicks up the dust just behind it. I then see two aircraft, but avert panic by recognising them as two Blenheims, they get frightened too, and swerve off. Chaps rush for cover here and there off the road but whether Chinks or Japs I don’t know.

The AVG, 17 of them, blast a convoy on that road up from Loilem, the Kittyhawks with 40lbers. Next morning the Japs have moved up the Bofors type ack-ack and Pierce has a hell of a time at zero feet. He squirts some troops on the ground, but no more to add to my one bullet hole through the top cowling. S/Ldr Stone then says he has no pilots to ferry the Hurricane to Loiwing and back for a daily, so much against my inclination I am sent, with orders to be back by 1600 hrs to do a recco.

I go to Loiwing, with some luggage in the back, but the weather takes a hand and I can’t get off. The Burwing evacuation convoy comes in that evening, but the food is still as good as ever. I get off after lunch yesterday and have a wonderful trip down. Round the monster 7600′, as he is in cloud, but down alongside the Burma Road under the low fleecy clouds, and through the rainstorms.

Flap in Lashio! Two ’97s shot up the ‘drome that morning and damaged a Blenheim there. Then two “irks” mending a car down the road were ordered back to Lashio “as quick as you can”, in English, by a Chinese officer. The two evacuate and chinese troops and tanks come driving back. G/S Singer and his staff don’t know what to do, are all packed up, and are just waiting to blow the joint up, and burn the damaged aircraft.

As last man in to bat I am sent off down the road to see what’s going on. I take all my kit (most of it), which is tempting fortune if ever, and go down to Namlan, about 60 miles per crow. Pierce says keep out of range so I do it a la Mingaladon days. A steady trickle of transport coming back, and about seven miles north of Namlan 50-60 lorries parked facing north. Chink or Jap, quien sabe! I land, report, refuel and straight back to Loiwing, the last Hurricane out of Burma. Now the W/T seems out of order, but I expect a signal to go down there again anytime today, damn it.

60 operational sorties and still alive! Phew!


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