April 7th 1945


Having lost 19 aircraft and 14 pilots in the Group the “press on regardless” attitude is abandoned. Dick Mitchell comes back as C.O. and says that David and I are to be his flight commanders. Fair enough says I – as Alan Clifton-Mogg is going home as he will not serve under Dick, as he reckons he should have been C.O. himself. I do one more sortie, abortive, with long range tanks, in the Zuyder Zee area, though after 15 minutes I open the engine, and it’s so rough I come home. Just as well, as I am in 5/10 cloud and miles off track.

I get on leave and am now in the “Wings Club”. We leave Gilze and reach Northolt around 6pm and I get up, but there is some mistake over beds and I have the ‘emergency’ one. I ring Monica, and she is waiting and says “come on down and I will cook something.” My God! I go down to the King’s Road with a bottle of “Cheval Noir 1937”, and get home at 3am after another passionate session.

Yesterday I take my battledress for wings etc to Flights, and then collect her from her office at 6.30pm. We have a drink in Shepheards and the Brevet Club, followed by dinner there and then get a bus home. It’s raining and makes her hair smell nice, and everything in the garden becomes lovely, so it’s with the greatest difficulty that I am made to go away at 11.30, having started nothing, so that we both get a good night’s sleep.

I had wired Bill at Camberley but find he is in town, and today meet him and arrange a party tonight. He is keen on night clubs so I expect I will end up in one, very tired and against my will. The G/C, Anderson, got a bar to his D.S.O. and I start to think I shall get a bar to my DFC for those forward facing oblique photos. But it’s too late now – and not even a mention. I should like an oak leaf!

 

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