January 24th 1943


Our party the other day was 20 Zeros jumping the five Blenheims over Akyab. Some said they were “01”s. Hilton and Scott go out on 22nd to photograph Laungchaung at 9000′ and are jumped. They run into some air effort of the Japs over the Mayu Peninsula. Scotty suddenly sees a yellow belly coming for him, but he remembers all about turning at him, and does so. Suddenly the reflector sight vanishes as a burst comes in from port. He gets away and lands at Bawli Bazaar eventually. On inspection the a/c is riddled forward of the ‘stick’ including a cannon shell through the starboard tank and holes in the gravity tank. Hilton is not seen but we hear his a/c and body have been found at Kyaukpandu. We go down there, arriving just after dark but can do nothing as his body is at an M.D.S., so we return. We have to file across a “kattcha” bridge with one bamboo as cross supports with another as a hand rail. Twice at night, though once with moonlight.

Yesterday I go down with F/Sgt Clark and we bury the body in the hospital burial ground with the help of some Enniskillens. It is wrapped in a couple of blankets, drips a bit, and in my opinion smells. The hospital C.O. reads the burial service from F.S.P.B. (JDW: Field Service Pocket Book) and we all then adjourn for tea. Then with a guide we make for the crash site through a mile or so of jungle and across a tidal stream up to our crutches. It is a mess, but no fire, all scattered in bits. No bullet holes and half his head shot away, so he must have had a burst at him through the window. The photography was finished, but the films were scattered all around, so it will be hanging over our heads again. We get some coolies and gather up what we can and set off home. Scotty posted to Calcutta A.A.C.U. (in command) and Burt flown off to Ranchi today to get some more a/c and pilots, leaving me in charge. I do a recco today over Myochaung/Kyauktaw area with one of 135 squadron as bodyguard. Six pilots from 135 come down every morning and leave in the evening, so we hope they will lend us a hand. I didn’t do me any good yesterday seeing the funeral and hearing the stories of the Enniskillens. However.

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