December 4th 1944

I get a wire from Hawarden to report on the 4th, so I ring up and find that I must go for a decompression test, however much I protest. So that’s that, and I only hope I can fail it. I go to tea with General Powell and two Waafs are produced. One goes home on duty and I take the other to the “Cambridge Arms” and then back here for supper. One Josephine Dunningham and she comes in again last night. We then repair to the “Drum” at about 10pm and meet all the controllers, mostly from the local Ops room where Jo works.

I then see her home after a bit of necking in the road, and she seems excessively warm for her 20 years, but nothing else.

I go to the local reading room to read the Times yesterday and burn a huge hole in my uniform trousers on an electric fire. By the grace of God my new uniform had arrived by post half an hour earlier, so I am saved, but yesterday altogether a damned annoying day. I see three ‘Meteors’ for the first time.



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4 responses to “December 4th 1944”

  1. What did a “decompression test” entail and why would he want to fail it?

    1. James Dunford Wood Avatar
      James Dunford Wood

      Yes, I wondered about that too. I think a decompression test was to see if he was fit to fly at high altitude. Perhaps he wanted to fail it because he had a history of sinus trouble, and did not relish having to fly at high altitude, which could have been painful.

      1. Failure of the decompression test, whatever that was, might also have pointed him in the direction of certain aircraft or missions that he sought to fly.

  2. Colin Ford, Historian N.268 Squadron RAF 1940-1946 Avatar
    Colin Ford, Historian N.268 Squadron RAF 1940-1946

    Decompression test was placing a pilot in a decompression chamber and seeing how they physically responded to being at a very high altitude. Took into account breathing capability at altitude, how well their lungs and circulatory system worked, sinus issues, propensity to develop symptoms similar to altitude sickness or a variant of what diver’s get, the bends. You would not eat baked beans or other gas forming foods before this test!! Would have been monitored through out the test by a specialist trained doctor who would look for various physical signs indicating the pilot was not physically suited for high altitude work. Having been at 41OTU, it would have indicated if he was suitable to go onto high altitude Photo Reconnaissance duties or other reconnaissance duties that required flight at high altitude if he passed. Failing the decompression test would therefore tend to direct him towards low to medium altitude operations, more on the Tactical Reconnaissance side of things.

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