March 13th 1945


I cope with Area 7 as it’s raining, and low cloud, and no one shoots at me. I see the Ruhr steaming in the distance. I then do a contact recce with the 11th Armoured Division, but do not see anything for them, except our tanks and S.P.s in action on the front, as it then is. The C.O. and two others are later attacked in the same area by 109s. Today I go out Arnhem way but the haze is so bad I get lost several times and have great difficulty.

Reg Cooper arrives here to join 4 Squadron, and yesterday he, I, Reggie Hodge, Moss, Jimmy Chun and Jeff take a “cummer” after lunch and go out to loot Germany. We cross the Gennap bridge and go via Goch and Weeze to Kevalear. Here we enter one or two houses and collect some chairs and crockery. I have a chair and some glasses, others have cut glass and an odd carpet or two. Goch in ruins and most houses everywhere holed. Mines abound on the roadside, a few dead tanks on both sides, dead cattle, and two or three graves are passed. The Germans left have to pin a piece of paper on their front door, with name, date of birth etc of the inmates.

I go to a local farmhouse and organise hot water for my camp bath, which I take in a clean (or was last time) stall in a sort of pigsty-cum-manger, in company with some pigs and one horse. I give the women seven cigarettes and one wants more. I sleep in the ALOs nissen (hut) and take a cupful of hot water for shaving in the morning, and they always come to bed early and sober, so I am well in. They expect to expand and want to kick me out.

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