7th February 1943

We start flying again after three days off. It rains in the night of 30/31st and both landing grounds become U/S for some three days so we sit about reading books all the time. The Mess becomes organised – a 180lber (tent) dug down a few feet with two small tables and a few chairs. Here we do some evening drinking with what we have. One F/L Sinclair, signal officer of 165 wing, stays over a few days, and drinks a lot of our scarce hooch, though I admit he pays for it.

I do a couple more trips but of not much interest except one over Donbaik where I see a man in yellow uniform, bending down with his back to me, scooping water out of a puddle. I’m sure he is a Jap! I watch the battle and see shells bursting etc. F/Sgt McTaggart comes back following another TAC/R machine but misses the field and goes up to Bawli Bazaar. He takes off again to get here, loses the way again and then returns and overturns on landing at Bawli Bazaar in the dark.

Burt goes away, back to Ranchi, and I am left in peace to organise the war. Two Jap prisoners are captured who spill the beans. A hell of an attack goes in with 8 Valentines, but three get bogged down in enemy E.D.L.s and no good, because the infantry are late over the starting line. The Royal Berks are due to land behind the lines at Foul Point, but do not, as the attack is not sufficiently successful. Before Burt leaves we ask about unescorted dawn sorties, and he says no until he has seen about it in Ranchi. He then hums and haws and I eventually tell W/C Ford I can’t do ’em as C.O. says not. He sends signal about it to 224 Group asking for an escort and gets an answer “Concur with anything you have already done”. But maybe the C.O. did not give a direct order? He never will says what he means. I still can’t think of any “objectives” to work for, beyond the three tasks which I am now giving to the new moons when I see them.

I live in shorts, desert boots, and my famous glass insulated hat.


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