I get in about three hours in a Spit XIV and then set off to ferry one to 2 squadron at B77 (JDW: at Gilze-Rijen in the Netherlands). I come down at B67 – Ursel near Ghent – due to bad visibility, and also because I am not sure which side of my track I am. It then starts snowing, there is more snow and fog, and I do not get off for some six days. I live with the local R+R party and am billeted on one Henrique Kaiser in a fairly modern Belgium farmhouse. He and his wife were 17 years in the States where he amassed enough dough to return home and retire. Under the Boche they had more food than under us. From Ursel, on 11th December 1940, 54 C.R.42s (JDW: Italian bi-plane fighter) took off and only 9 came back from the Thames Estuary.
There is much snow and my flying boots leak. I sleep in pyjamas, a sweater and my socks and manage to keep warm. I also pick up trench mouth and have to go to a field dental centre in Ghent for treatment. The lads take me to Knesselare near Ursel where there are supposed to be lashings of blondes, but no luck. I go to a few drinking dens in Ursel but nothing doing.
Saturday 13th I manage to get off, and fly up to B77 where I stay the night, getting a camp bed in Bert Mann’s room. He is C.O. 268 squadron, and about to leave. There is a party in the Mess and I get pretty full, and retire to bed but get no sleep through my tooth. I see S/L Maitland, C.O. 2 squadron, and try and fix myself a posting. Next day back to Lasham in an Anson to find I am posted to 2 squadron and so miss the week’s leave I was due, which is annoying, as I had ideas, including meeting Marny Lowrey. Today I get a whiff of gas and the doc, one F/L Fairfax, whips out my wisdom tooth – I then get myself cleared, and hope to go tomorrow.
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