March 18th 1945


Yesterday I do a job of work. The Army want forward facing obliques along the roads north of Emmerich for their next attack, and I take some. Chris Blundell-Hill (JDW: he was to be shot down and killed two weeks later on April 1st) takes the first lot at 1000 feet, and I am briefed for two runs later on, the first over a 12 gun flak position. I go out with Varley and dive down on the first stretch of road from 6000′. I level out at 420 mph and find I am at 500′ so just keep here there, follow the road round a forest, until I see a church spire, which comes at the end of my run, then pull up and jink through the gate and into cloud. I forget to turn the camera off and nearly ruin everything. I then look around for my second stretch but the area is 9/10 cloud at 5000′ and I stooge about for too long until I suddenly see it through a gap and down I go. I skid around bends and then see Wehl, the end of my run, and pull up and around, but no friendly cloud. On a starboard bank I see two gun pits – flashes and rings of smoke – and tracer comes up past me from both sides. I twist and skid and turn and climb, and feel a little more comfortable at 4500’, but still no cloud. Eventually I get clear and go home.

Today I see the pictures – perfect and congratulations from all sides. There is one car, 16 HDT (JDW: anyone know what this is?), one flak gun, and an empty flak position. One nun getting off her bicycle, two men running away from the horse and cart they are leading, and many other pedestrians. Some cool and collected, others with guilty consciences. Today Colin Maitland, the C.O., goes out for a further portion of the job and gets shot down. (JDW: killed). So it looks as if I shall have to do some more – and probably follow him too – as they are now well shaken up in that area and on the qui vive. (JDW: on the lookout).

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One Response to March 18th 1945

  1. a gray says:

    HDT is reconnaissance code for “horse-drawn transport” . See “British Military Terminology”, pages 108 & 148 (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/wwiispec/number13.pdf).

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