July 4th 1942 – Ranchi


The tea party is a success and we sit on the club verandah talking from 4.30 to 6.45. Dusk falls, it gets dim, very pleasant, but she has to go out at 6.45. I go home and change and return to the club where I meet Colin Jaques, Benje and Bill Barclay (10 G.R.). We do some drinking and then repair to Pinewood for some more. I find myself pouring treble whiskies and sodas away under the bar in an endeavour to remain sober. Jaques then takes me home, crashing in the ditch outside G.H. I get a cut on the head and the shoulder but am OK. We turn out the guard, who lift out the car, but it won’t work, so Barclay takes me back, his car turning up shortly afterwards.

Off next day after lunch in two buses full of RAF, and Jane Lindsay and her Bedlington Boxer. Train at Sylhet and then by steamer over the part where I got lost returning from China. Then a train, and we reach Sealdah at 10.30pm. Jane puts me up in her flat at Alipore and next day takes me shopping in the market. I leave on the night train and meet Paintal and Cpl Allward, the latter returning from town loaded down with booze.

Ranchi much the same, though much rain cuts out my exercise which is a shame. Orders to stand by to move to the frontier soon – why?  Also the impending arrival of our Vengeances seems certain in everybody’s minds – except mine. Rather bored – I am just a stooge pilot, capable of commanding a flight, and I reckon I could make a better show as CO than Hammerbeck. Also I seem to have forgotten alot – both what I learnt in the army, and also at F.T.S. [flight training school]. But I reckon I am a better organiser than anyone in the damn squadron, being capable of “pulling my finger out”.

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