February 1st 1944

The scheme comes to an end and Bill Beaman, self, driver and Bill’s bearer leap into our jeep and climb the hill to Ooty, staying at Dunmore in Coonoor (JDW: Now an Indian Navy holiday home), which I had known of. We drink in the Club with the locals at the hostel, including a navy type who detonates mines for a living, and then returned home to some liar dice. That night Bill snores so much I make arrangements to sleep elsewhere the next night. Saturday morning we go up to Ooty Club to lunch with a friend of his, one Marcelle Gauvain, who turns out to be the wife of a chap in the 5/15th who is missing in Singapore. Then to the Club in the evening for a dance, which I don’t particularly enjoy as I get a bit warm in my battle dress, which is all I have.

Next morning down the hill back to Bangalore. I find nothing particular to do as usual in the office, and meet Purcell and go and see the film “Spitfire”. Tony Wagstaffe also appears today at lunchtime and says I should be the ideal fellow to lecture at Staff College in place of W/C Fox who is a Catalina flying boat pilot. Much hotter now down here. Am due for some malaria now any time.

Before I forget:

225 Group Bangalore Air Staff

Air Commodore P.H. Macworth CBE DFC
S.O.A. – Group Captain Howard DFC
SASO – Group Captain J.E.W. Bowles DFC
Air 1 – Wing Commander W. Beaman
Fighter Ops – Squadron Leader K.A. Perkin
Army Cooperation Ops – Joe Soap DFC
G.R. – Squadron Leader Babineau
Training – Wing Commander T.A. Vigors DFC
Armament – Wing Commander G. Knyvett
Intelligence – Squadron Leader Green 

and some others not really worth bothering about.


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One response to “February 1st 1944”

  1. Wing Commander Timothy Ashmead VIigors was a great character and a friend of my father’s. He published a book about flying in WWII called ‘Life’s too short to cry.’
    He wrote of a incident during the Battle of Britain…..
    At first light on July 11th a call went out at No.226 Squadron for pilots to intercept incoming enemy bombers. Tim , who had been out late drinking was still quite inebriated but, on hearing the call, pulled on a pair of flying boots and a silk dressing gown to camouflage his scarlet pyjamas and took off to intercept the bombers. After shooting down a Heinkel he eventually returned safely.
    Sent out to the Far East early in 1941 he took up his new position as flight commander of ‘A’ flight No.243 Squadron. He then was sent off to provide air cover for the HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales but the order had come far too late and both ships were sunk by the Japanese. Vigors later commented, ‘I reckon this must have been the last battle in which the Navy reckoned they could get along without the RAF. A pretty damned costly way of learning.’

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