March 22nd 1944 – Bombay

I leave Bangalore 8.30am on the 19th. The night before, Saturday, is whisky night and I have quite a party with Pete Lewer, Smith and some naval F.A.A. type from Ceylon. I am in good form shouting “Fall out all Brigadiers” at old Brigadier Ayles who is propping up the bar as usual and keeping a greedy eye on the few bottles of whisky they have allotted for the evening.

I travel most of the way with a Yank who has his ration lunch in a small cardboard box, all compressed and protected from the heat and the damp. I meet S/Ldr J. Hills and wife – he it was who introduced me to flying when he came over to our Mess at St Thomas Mount (in Madras) and told me how much it all cost.

Arrived Victoria station, Bombay, and met by Grindlays (Bank) who took over my heavy kit, and then out to Worli Transit Camp. I share a room with one W/C T.B. Morton, also on the boat, and we feed in a Mess arranged in a flat opposite. We spend last night drinking the worst possible Indian gin before dinner. Today we go to town, I to Base accounts to see the Committee of Adjustment to try and buy a raincoat, but I get a shirt and two collars instead off some corpse. Then to Grindlays but I find it’s a bank holiday and only the shipping department is open. Meet Morton and G/C Seton-Broughall at the Taj Mahal (hotel) for a rotten lunch, after a few sickly John Collins’ in the “Harbour Bar” first.

A large convoy is in, and plenty of officers in shorts like drain pipes and carrying Wolsey helmets in bags. Some even are wearing blue still. Bombay not too hot, but damn sticky walking around trying to get a taxi. Food is rationed and you only get three courses in the hotels at meals. (JDW: !)


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