March 23rd 1944 – Bombay

Morton and I have a “debauch” on Cyprus brandy with 1/2 a dozen wing commanders and squadron leaders straight out from the UK. Some retire sick and all have fearful heads the next day, so perhaps the linings in our stomachs are hardened against this rot gut liquor. This is the worst Indian hooch I ever drank. I change a lot of money with them and collect £10 travellers cheques from Grindlays so that eventually I have to change £1 back to pay for my drinks. Tomorrow we embark and I have labelled all my luggage ‘wanted on voyage’ in the hope that I will be able to sort it all out on board. Maybe they will put it in the hold, if it ever gets on board, and I shall arrive in shirt and shorts.

There is a nice cool breeze at nights and a strong smell of seaweed and excreta, as the draining is very modern but they had not enough piping to finish off as far out to sea as was originally intended. I sleep damn well. I trade my spare valise, two sheets, a pillow case and a blanket for a blue raincoat, so I am now complete except for a “fore and aft”. (JDW: anyone know what this refers to?) I wonder how soon I shall be sent out again. (JDW: in three years, as it turns out).


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2 responses to “March 23rd 1944 – Bombay”

  1. A “fore and aft” is a Forage Cap or Field Service Cap used by the Army and RAF as an alternative head dress to the usual peaked Service Hat. We still wear them today.

  2. I think a ‘fore and aft’ is a type of military hat. A forage cap was also called a fore and aft, I think. Some serviceman will be able to put you right, Jamie.

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