June 8th 1943 – Trichinopoly


I go to the Pierce’s wedding on 2nd. Then to a reception at the Sisters Mess. Not much fun but I manage to keep off the booze and drink iced squash (this at 5pm). Later I go round to Elizabeth Elsmie and find Bobby in town. (JDW: children of Maj General Elsmie, Indian Army). I have dinner with them. Mike back (JDW: see May 13th) but has fractured his spine and will have to spend 3 or 4 months in plaster of paris.

Well, off we set at 07.45 on June 3rd. I lead the first flight and make Vizagapatam where there is a colossal runway. The last flight of F/L Nazir Ullah and three prunes make a “cock up” and the three prunes go off by themselves, eventually getting down near Bezwada, where on of them dips his airscrew in soft ground. Then on to St Thomas Mount (Madras), which we make in record time flying down the coast and “round the corner” from Vizag. On to Trichinopoly and  we are living in 173 Wing Mess until ours is ready.

Chapman has done plenty of work since he arrived with the advance party. We are living in ‘bashers’ with concrete floors, and well furnished by M.E.S. There is a strong west wind all day and night which keeps me from sweating over much. There is also a small swimming pool in the officers mess. On Saturday we go to the club, a quite nice one with the illustrated papers, where they lay on a helluva cold buffet supper for one rupee. Naturally all the best booze is reserved for permanent members only, and service members just get “Parry’s gin”.

This job of mine is quite interesting, I can fly when I want to, I have a nice car and get 200/- extra a month, but I do not seem to be as fit as I used to be. Perhaps the country is getting me down at last. It’s just over a year since I spoke to a “nice girl” – in Shillong last May – but unless I can get away up to the hills occasionally, down here it won’t do me any good either. Wish to God I could get home!

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