May 4th 1942 – Calcutta


I am ordered to fly the Hurricane to Myithyina and then DumDum with long range tanks. Weather very bad and much rain, and everyone leaves Loiwing for Myithyina and India. (Like hell I go to Myithyina!! I set course direct for Calcutta!!). But the road from Bhamo is down (up) due to the heavy rain. Paine and I are left, he to demolish, and I to wait for the weather. The AVG leave and all the villages are burning.

I set off on the 2nd through a hole in the clouds and do a bit of cloud flying, but lose control and suddenly see the earth above me as I come screaming down in a corkscrew dive. (I got off the satellite because the main field is still O/S and we had to burn a perfectly good Blenheim there.) Then I lose my map, but continue on my course until I see the sea to port. This is all wrong and I stooge about at 1000′, absolutely lost for about an hour, then happen to strike Goalando on the Ganges. Petrol is short so I set a course for Maheshgang which is marked on the map, but turns out to be a seaplane base. On reserve tank I try to make DumDum, arriving with 10 gallons left after 4.5 hours.

Off to the Grand where I see J. Benbow. We go out to Saturday Club and I see Mann and Reggie Cox, now a Brigadier in Ranchi where 28 sqn is. I call at 221 Group to find I am still a P/O as India have referred the case to Air Ministry, Stevenson not being qualified to promote me.

A bit of shopping, 20/- of “bhaint”, shocking, and I go by train to Ranchi tonight. That first beer tasted nice. Met Donald Gordon again, mad as ever. Two Chinese mission chaps turned up on May 1st at Loiwing and brought a bottle of Scotch so Paine and I had a party. The monsoon came early I think, and today I hear that the Japs had got up towards Bhamo and 17 sqn and Burwing are in danger of being caught.

Three Jap seaplanes bombed shipping off the mouth of the Hoogly the other day and also two ports on the Malabar coast. Mann says Carey was after A/Coop Hurricane pilots for some job or other, so I suppose I shall have to go.

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