February 22nd 1944

I am reduced from acting S/Leader back to my normal rank of F/L with effect from 31st January and S/Ldr R.M. Pinsen posted here in my place from Assault Wing. I am allowed to retain S/Ldr badges rank in accordance with some A.M.O. So here I sit all day and do nothing.

This Hotel West End is not too bad – 10/- a day, but the Government pay is 6/12 and gives me 1/1 ration money, so the balance is only ⅔ a day. A lot of rain just now, a bit early for the Mango showers (JDW: pre-monsoon rains)

I wrote to Abbottabad about a month ago for the rest of my kit, but no answer. Now the Southern Army here has signalled to them to send it to Grindlays Bank Bombay, but still no answer. My pay is in a muddle again. Still being credited as F/L as 2 Squadron P.O.R. never reached B.P.O. and B.A.O. So we write to them to promulgate again, also 100/- per month extra for being with the I.A.F. Nothing will be done and I shall get a bill at home (if I ever get there) for £300-400. Also they deduct 100/- per month for the Defence Service Officers Provident Fund, but it is not paid into the fund.

I shall have to close this (diary) with some impressions of the East:

(JDW: since he was about to be repatriated to the UK, where he begins the last and final volume of these wartime diaries).

1. The sound of the birds – the Koel, the Coppersmith, the Green Barbet and the ook ook of the Crow Pheasant (Greater Coucal); the background being composed of various chatterings of the Myna birds.

2. A cold iced beer after a hard game of football and a ghuzzle (bath) – especially in the silver engraved tankards of the battalion, with lids on.

3. Sunset in Assam, over the Naga Hills, with a few loose cumulus about.

4. Drinking “Mandalay” beer on the lawn of the D.C.’s house in Magwe (it was the RAF Mess) and listening to the Koels in the trees above the Irrawaddy.

5. The zipping of bullets high above my head during operations on the Frontier.

6. Riding home on my pony in the desert near Habbaniya, with the sun setting beyond the Euphrates.

7. Walking on the Bund, around the same time, and wondering if I should ever pass the Flying Training School, especially the eyesight exam.

8. Wandering in the forests of Yellapatty with a gun.

9. A rainy afternoon in Shillong.

10. The awful suspense waiting in Abbottabad to be called up for RAF interviews in Delhi.

11. The night after Ian Pringle was killed – me and Allan Haig left!

12. Nerves in the siege of Habbaniya – going back to bed after the dawn stand-to.

13. Walking home from the Ranchi Club to the mess after a game of tennis – in the good old days of Teddy, Burt, Robin White, Tom Pierce, Eric, Corporal Allward, and lashings of beer and hooch.

14. A trip to Egypt in November ‘42 with Burt and Henry Larsen.

15. Watching my boys landing and taking off from “Seaview” in Maungdaw.

16. Mike, Waggers and co. in the dugout mess of a night over the rum.

17. Driving my Chevrolet “Hsipaw-Lashio bus service” wagon from Maymyo to Loiwing.

18. First days in Jubbulpore – getting dressed of an evening.

19. Riding out into that small forest in Ambala – and a ‘pimms’ aferwards – wishing I was in Tommy’s Bar in Cairo.

20. And last, but not least, all the thoughts and wishes that I might be in certain parts of the UK at certain times and which, if they ever materialise, will be stale and below par – an anticlimax in fact.


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