January 20th 1943

Last night about 8.30 three or four Japs come over and drop bombs on Maungdaw, returning home afterwards; all at about 15000′ or more from the direction of Magwe. Yesterday Burt Mann and I go off down Foul Point way, with me weaving behind. At about 1500′ five Bisleys (JDW: Blenheim Mk Vs), coming back from a raid, pass under us at 0′ along the coast line. I see Burt do a steep turn, so I follow round to see what he is up to, and during my turn I see an aircraft below me, leaping up like a salmon and with red balls and smoke coming out of his prop. I notice a bit of a Red Sun on his fin, so I pull the tit and away. I pull the two-speed blower first, but manage to keep my distance at about +8 boosts, nipping over the Mayu Hills in the meantime. He then appears to gain – I see two of them, keeping on top of the hills – and turns towards me, puffing out more smoke, so I pull the correct tit and away to Buthidaung and then cautiously cross over again and land. C.O. had seen him first – an Army 01 – intent on the Blenheims, and gave him a short burst, before he got on to me.

Later we go down, he to do a contact recce of the Donbaik battlefield, whilst I nip sharply round Foul Point, keeping a wary eye out for Zeros. I see a 15cwt truck half in water near Magyichaung and a small tent by a dhow I used to strafe, then back home. A good drop of rum and lime juice last night, following a walk back up into the foothills behind here. A padre – one O’Hea – is staying with us, and a regular Lawrence of Arabia, if his stories of counter-espionage and sabotage in Germany, Norway and France are to be believed.

The new airscrew arrives for the kite I pranged and also some fitters to put it on.


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