Diary of Neil Ralph Blunden RNZAF

10 OTU at RAF Abingdon

7th June 1941 to 8th August 1941

Saturday 7th June 1941
Went into village of Uxbridge after collecting identity card. Bought a N.Z. Wings - scarce over here.
At railway station by 1100 hrs with all kit etc.
Made five changes of trains and arrived at Abingdon at 1530 hrs. Dick and I had afternoon tea there and then as the station authorities had no transport for us we managed to get a ride out to R.A.F Station.
Signed loads of papers and then went to Officers Mess and had tea - supper on at 1930 hrs.
Informed that we had to sleep for a fortnight in tents as part of our training! 2 to a bell tent. Got out there and were pleased to find that there weren't sufficient tents or beds. Officer in charge was also orderly officer and had to leave us in the lurch! Pleasant evening sleeping on a bit of straw in uniform. Raining too! - in baggage tent.

Sunday 8th June 1941
Was woken at 0630 hrs and informed that bus was ready for us. Put on shoes and collar and tie and picked up suitcase and staggered out to same. Cold foggy morning with some drizzle. Shaved and washed at quarters and had breakfast at 0815.
Reported at 0915 at B hangar to C.G.I. and signed a few documents and told to report back at 1400 hrs. At that time told to report back again sharp at 0815 hrs Mon!

Monday 9th June 1941
Another miserable day - cold and drizzly.
Address by C.O. and C.G.I. and a few bits of news on course etc ladled out.
Off about 3 pm. Made arrangements for party in Oxford.
Was met at Road House on way to Boars Hill by party - 7 of us N.Z. and were taken to nice Inn at Oxford after having drunk all cider at last places - Coxes Inn I believe.
Drank rather heavily with Harry Tookes etc to try and cure my rotten cold.
Back at approx midnight to our wet beds - drizzling again.

Tuesday 10th June 1941
Woke up with rather a bad head and miserable at 0630 by orderly. Dull day with misty rain in a.m. and most of p.m. Bed all damp outside and clothes very damp to the touch. Hastily pulled on clothes and staggered out to bus. Wash at Mess and had breakfast - mainly tea!
Full day of lectures starting at 0800 hrs and finishing at 1810 hrs with 1 hr off for lunch tough! Lecture block cold and no heating system.
Were assigned beds in the spare married officers quarters i.e. houses - so will get a dry bed! Whoopee! Until weather clears I presume and then out to Boars Hill Camp again.

Wednesday 11th June 1941

Woke up at 0700 hrs in nice warm dry bed feeling 100% after experience at Boars Hill Camp.
Start lectures at 0800 hrs and finished at 1800 hrs. 1 hr off for lunch - biggish days or what!
Getting very practicable dope and know a lot about the Whitley crates now even. Drill in cockpit etc in dummy crate in a hangar. U/C and flaps work too! Damn good idea.
Nice fine sunny day cool west wind though.
In bed by 2100 hrs. Exam tomorrow too - ye gods.

Thursday 12th June 1941
Sunny day and reasonably warm approx 4/10ths cloud all day - low and high. Had exam on Whitley aircraft i.e. Petrol system and engine data up to date. May start flying tomorrow hope so. Still got cold and wretched cough of my caused by irritation in throat bothering me a bit - hope its gone by the time we start flying.
Issued with flying kit this afternoon - helmets not finished as yet i.e. Fitting of intercom etc.

Friday 13th June 1941
Lectures in morning i.e. 0800 to 1230 hrs. Cool day cool wind and partly cloudy.
Flying in afternoon. Went up at 1400 hrs as passenger with Dick Austin at control and F/Lt Baker as instructor at dual controls.
Flying Mark III Whitley which has air cooled engines Pegasus?
Slight cross wind on landing which upset Dick. Came in at 1530 hrs and Dick going up again on Sunday. Then I went up at controls with Squad. Lead. Hannigan as instructor. Air better and after 3 circuits and a single engine landing I took Dick up as second pilot for solo flight of 45 mins - flew over Oxford and Harcourt landing field. Harry, Dick and I went into Abingdon after dinner and had a few. Friday 13th too!

Saturday 14th June 1941
Nice sunny a.m. cool wind, cloudy p.m.
Went into Oxford to do some shopping as Saturdays are our off days, work Sunday's instead.

Went in with Harry Tookes and Dick. Bought some underclothes and spare collars and a smallish i.e. 16 ins attaché case £3-3 too ye Gods. Damn good case though.
Saw a good picture in afternoon called ???? Came home for dinner and for a good sleep.
Cable from family to say that Peter is wounded and Arnold safe. Thank God for that. Pushed well out of Crete, and action now in Syria.
Letter to Peter.

Sunday 15th June 1941
Warm sunny day, cloud 3000' 5/10ths most of the day, best day here so far. Flying in morning. Dick had a bit of dual and I was passenger. Then he and I went up on our own, each being Captain for 1 hr. Great fun. Placed plane u/s. at end on account of brake cable coming adrift from thumb control - had to leave it on edge of aerodrome. Up for approx 3 ½ hrs. 1 hr 1st pilot.
Did a spot of gym for ½ hr before dinner and after lectures. Wrote home.
Letter home No.4 up to date.

Monday 16th June 1941
Beautifully warm sunny summers day. Cumulus low cloud 3-4000' 3/10ths. Best day so far experienced in England.
Lectures in morning. 8 to 1230 hrs. Was authorised for 2 hrs circuits and bumps, but in the air test by a Flight Sgt pilot - screen pilot -, self 2nd pilot, found that hydraulic system for U/C and flaps broke down in 2nd circuit so couldn't raise U/C or lower flaps. Came in and crate placed u/s - just out from maintenance too! - and in consequence flight washed out. Nothing more doing so came in and played billiards and wrote a letter. Sundown about 2200 hrs and beat it to bed!
No.4 to M up to date now.

Tuesday 17th June 1941
Another warm sunny day but which was marred by fog descending down as low as 2-300' from 0900 hrs to 1030 hrs, otherwise a lovely day. 4/10ths most of day of cumulus cloud.
Did not fly in morning but put in 30 mins on link.
Lectures p.m. Did some gym on horizontal bar and a run before dinner.
After dinner Harry and I walked into Abingdon and had a couple of beers at the? Inn. Delightful setting.
Was talking with Harry in bedroom about 2330 hrs when one of the planes night flying passed very low overhead then about a minute later or less passed back again extremely low and full throttle. Few seconds later passed back again and explosion and fire. Plane was in an almost vertical turn - told later - and hit tree 75 yards away and crashed into A.O.C's house which was half gutted. Plane burnt out. One tank exploded 10 minutes later.

Wednesday 18th June 1941
Another lovely hot summers day. 5/10ths cloud about 2-4000'. Lectures in a.m. and flying p.m.

About crash. 1st Pilot and 2nd Pilot were 2 chaps - Indians from India and well liked. Both killed - not burnt. Rear Gunner taken to hospital but soon passed away as did the Wireless Operator. No one actually burnt and all more or less thrown clear and fire fighters pulled one out. A.O.C's house, brick, almost gutted. Chaps must have got lost and somehow got into a very steep turn at zero feet. One engine hundred yards away.
Did 1 hr circuits and bumps with Dick Austin 2nd Pilot. He did one circuit and S engine wouldn't throttle back below half throttle so we switched off and walked in and placed crate U/S.
Harry and I walked to the Horse Inn and had a beer after dinner. Very enjoyable walk. Did some gym before dinner.

Thursday 19th June 1941

Another hot day, low fog 300' most of morning and sunny p.m.
Fog washed out a.m. flying for us. Lectures in afternoon.
Cold still persisting but believe that I have got the better of it now. Worst I've had for a long time.
Did some gym before dinner and am not so stiff now so am starting to get fit again!
Getting real gen on the operational flying conditions and the different devices in the planes for navigation and safety etc.
If one isn't very careful he will get shot down by our own fighters and our A.A. fire! - paying very strict attention!!!
Gen means accurate information.
Learned that H H Rodd is now in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Commercial - bad show.

Friday 20th June 1941
Another hot summers day cu cloud 3/10-6/10. Lot of ground haze.
Lectures a.m. rather hot. Flying p.m. Was second pilot to Steve Watts, he received 1 ½ hrs dual and then he went solo. Were in Mk5 crates. After fist hour instruction received a puncture in tail wheel so had to come in and place crate U/S. and get another one.
These Mk 5's feel nice planes with plenty of bits and things to twiddle! After dinner went to the Dog with some of the chaps and drank a bit of beer and had a sing song. Quite a good show. Pubs close at 2230 hrs over here.
Read in N.Z. News that R A White R.N.Z.A.F. missing on operations - since confirmed as a prisoner of war.

Saturday 21st June 1941
Another boiling hot sultry day. Expect a thunderstorm any time - that's the sort of heat that's on - day off as usual.
Went into Oxford with the boys and simply boiled all day. Tried to slack our thirst by the honourable way but only succeeded in part.
Went to town hall dance in evening with Don McCarthy and some of the others. Will repeat again when it's a bit cooler.
Longest day today.
Pubs close at 2200 hrs in Oxford - bad show - Found a good drink called Vanderhum, it's a South African drink and is their native whisky as am led to believe.

Sunday 22nd June 1941
Another hot humid day with ground haze about - always seems to be present here. If possible it is hotter today.
Went onto A.M.L. for ½ hr today. Damn good ingenious gadget.
Perspired very freely during lectures in the afternoon.
At 0400 hrs this am Germany bombed and marched into Russia. Hope they get hell. Damn fine speech by Churchill at 9 p.m. news broadcast.
This move seems to explain the almost absence of the Hun bombing over here lately.
Wrote home 5.

Monday 23rd June 1941
Cooler today - agreeably warm. Lectures a.m. Flying p.m. but not me.
New course in today making a congestion in the Mess but the ongoing course should be away anytime now.
Letter Peter.

Tuesday 24th June 1941
Cooler night last night - pleasant. Another hot day but not unbearably hot and a beautiful calm atmosphere for flying this morning - no bumps.
Had 1 hr duel on 5's and then did 1 hr solo with Steve Watts as P2. Then did 1 hr as P2 for Steve. A crate which had slewed one leg of U/C off last night was still in the middle of landing ground till late this morning.
In afternoon did 1 hr on link, and then 1 hr on A.M.L. with Dick - a couple of direct hits with pre-set.
At gym before dinner, can get up start and circle now! Back to school days what!

Wednesday 25th June 1941
Beautiful hot day, very little cloud in afternoon. Lectures in morning and did 1 hr on link.
In afternoon flying. Acted for Don McCarthy as P2 for his Mk5 solo - he did 1hr 5 min. Then I did 1 hr as 1st pilot good day for flying. Came in at 1830 so did not have time to go to gym, - good!
The Mk5's are a good improvement on the old 3's. The Merlin engines have a nice powerful roar to themselves!
Saw a Stirling this p.m. Has 4 engines and a big high single tail fin - similar to Wellingtons in shape.

Thursday 26th June 1941
A very pleasant day and not too hot. Little Cu cloud in a.m. and less in p.m.
Lectures in p.m. today.
Did an hour thirty as pilot and same as pilot 2 to Don McCarthy on circuits and bumps in 5's.
In afternoon was on'Grope', i.e. Crew training. Very good practice. Did a trip to Duisburg and back'dry swim'. 6 hr trip in 3 hrs or less! Was navigator.
After hurried dinner Don and I hitch hiked to Oxford and went to Oxford Town Hall dance - Ball. Hall not too full and wee bit too hot for violent exercise. Found a good drink called'Vanderhum'. A South African drink. Got back at early morning.

Friday 27th June 1941
Another pleasant day, cloudy as usual in early a.m. and late p.m.
Flying p.m. 3 hrs on 5's with Don.
Went into Abingdon with Don and Steve and had gallons of beer - home before midnight. Very sleepy - must have been a damn fool to have gone in.
At one place a barmaid plays swing very well.

Saturday 28th June 1941
Another good summers day.
Day off so slept in till 0930 and sure needed it!
Went into Oxford in early p.m. Looked round for a while and had afternoon tea and tea.
Went to dance at town hall and it wasn't very much too hot there. Met nice person there and had a few dances. Doesn't like Vanderhum!
Place sold out so we went onto rum. Was with Don and Harry Forbes - Canadian.
Got home about 0300 Sun.
Had trouble getting a taxi.

Sunday 29th June 1941
Another day of real N.Z. summer!
Flying in morning - at least our squad were but I wasn't. Did 1 hr on link instead Z.Z. landings hard work under circumstances.
Lectures in p.m. Did 1 hr on A.M.L.
Early to bed and sure slept.

Monday 30th June 1941
Another good summers day.
A trifle cool in early morning but hot in afternoon.
Was on groupe in morning - did a trip to and over North Sea.
Did ½ hr on link in p.m. Z.Z. landing in rough air. Have got the hang of it now using T.R.9.
Did 1 hr as Pilot, and 1 hr as P2 with Max Gray on a 3. A change from the 5's.
Came over to room early and went to bed early. Wrote home.
Wrote home 6.

Tuesday 1st July 1941
Another good summers day. Did ½ hrs flying the link only this morning.
In the afternoon had an oral exam on bombing and equivalent subjects. Not so bad as I thought it would be. Off reasonably and had tea for once. Wrote and 8 page letter to John Bews in evening.
Had to hand in logs this morning.
Expect a signals exam before end of week - Ye Gods!
W.A.A.F. dance this evening but only 10 officers invited so didn't go. Too near home anyway!

Wednesday 2nd July 1941
Warm sunny summers day. A trifle hot in bed last night and found it hard to get to sleep.
Don had a telegram this morning to say that his brother was reported missing on operations - was on Stirlings. Sgt.
Had a bit of astro work this morning in lectures.
Flying this afternoon consisted of ½ hour on link and 1 hr on A.M.L. so was in time for tea.
Letter M.5.

Thursday 3rd July 1941
Warm sunny day. Ground fog ceiling 400' up to 0900 hrs. 1 hr on link doing lorenze.
Changed flying boots to size 9.
Lectures p.m. On groupe, sweep of North Sea. Time for tea.
Looks like a change in the weather this evening.
Letter to Aunt Beab and Uncle Nelson.

Friday 4th July 1941
Warm sunny day - no change of weather as yet - marvellous weather!
Went to the'Dog' with the boys and had a good sing song and some beer. Great time really.
Wrote to Peter.

Saturday 5th July 1941
Another warm sunny day, sunny for England I mean - Vis lower than in N.Z. and nearly always 3/10 cloud or more.
Went into Oxford early and went to bank - 6 dollars for 25/11. Had haircut and meet N.Z. Sgt in Royal Art. Has been in England for 8 yrs. Max and Jim and Steve went back to Abingdon about 1400 hrs so went to pictures with a Welsh chap. Met Don at 1700 hrs.
Met D at 1800 hrs. Had a good time. Has joined the W.R.N.S. unfortunately. Would have been conscripted anyway.
Got home after a lot of trouble getting a taxi at 0030 Sunday. 2.00 p.m. next Saturday - river.

Sunday 6th July 1941
Another warm sunny day.
Felt decidedly'browned off' today! Cannot understand it!!
Steve Watts and I went up for a flip with P/O Peace for lorenze instruction. It wasn't switched on at the Inner and Outer beacons so no go, came in after ½ hrs flying each.
It seems to be turning out to be a test as well! Both of us flying like new chums. We felt very black and morbid and'not at all happy', but at lunch time we had got so low that we suddenly saw the funny side and laughed and all was sunshine again!
Last time on lectures this afternoon. Flying all time now - at least report for flying duties!
Went to bed early 2100 hrs!
Need it too; sleep I mean.

Monday 7th July 2001
Warm summers day. No lectures nowadays and wasn't flying. A period on link in morning and afternoon doing lorenze and getting onto beam from various Q.D.M's.
In evening went into Abingdon visited Harwell and then back to the Red Lion. Visited a Fair after inns closed.
Most pubs out of beer after week end - a general occurrence it seems.
Wrote home should be 7.

Tuesday 8th July 1941
Hot summers day. Cu clouds about 3 /10 - 6/10ths. No flying and a period of link in morning - finding beam from unknown sectors.

Wednesday 9th July 1941
Hot summers day. Cu clouds 3/10ths. Did 1 hr blind take offs and instrument flying and then Max and self went for a cruise doing instruments flying half each. Got completely lost as to position but knew our way home by a system of following rivers and railway lines etc. Vis was about 3 mls and ceiling about 700ft.

Thursday 10th July 1941
Hot summers day. Cu cloud 3/10ths.
Went for a ride as passenger in a Wellington III with an operational Captain Sgt Turner and W/O Verstage. Doing circuits and bumps or officially E & A test.
Link in p.m. Out for evening'Cock and Tree' in Abingdon.

Friday 11th July 1941
Hot summers day. Cu cloud 1000' 4/10ths. Vis 2 mls. Flew link for ½ hr. Visited Red Lion and Cock and Tree in Abingdon. Had to walk home 0100 hrs.
English beer very weak and just fills one up but it's very nice in this hot weather.

Saturday 12th July 1941
Oxford for day.
Hot summers day and scattered thunderstorms in afternoon: not much rain fell and still keep very hot. Did not see D. Met Don and Reg Coates at Town Hall dance. Usual difficulty over taxi home about 0200 hrs. Bought rain coat £4-0-0 and collected (Austin Reed) No.1 trousers which had had legs shortened by above tailors.

Sunday 13th July 1941
Hot summers day. Heavy Cu thunderclouds. No flying for our flight. Heavy thunderstorm at 1400 hrs which lasted for 2 hrs and a lot of rain fell. Was on link. Flying tonight acting as P2 so for once am staying in this evening.

Monday 14th July 1941
Warm day 5/10ths Cu cloud 3000' thickening up during late p.m. and temp cooling off, looks like rain and a possible change in the weather.
Enjoyed night flying - was second pilot for P/O Eades and then Sgt Lord. Put up 3.40 hrs and got a lot of gen on night flying and the flare path used over here. A beautiful night getting a bit cooler about 0400. Got to bed at 0530 and slept till approx 1145 hrs. Nothing doing today. Went into Abingdon in afternoon and bough a wristlet watch for £2-5 front glass fell off mine last night some time and am having it fixed up.
In Abingdon, Cock and Tree sold out of beer met 2 N.Z. Sgt W.T/Ag. Bit of a sing song back in camp.
Bed by 0100 hrs odd - mainly odd.

Tuesday 15th July 1941
Cold cloudy day 8/10ths Cu cloud scattered showers. First cold day for 5 weeks. Cannot really growl though as have experienced good weather. Flew link for ½ hr lorenze.
Had 2 games billiards but am off game today? Curious!
Am night flying tonight? Having 1 ½ hrs dual with P/O Walters starting at 0330 hrs.
Arranged with duty batman to call Max and self at 0230 hrs and we are going to have a early feed before we have our dual flights.
Wrote home 8. also Peter, Arnold and Terence.
Daphne rang up and fixed date for Sat again. Friends turned up last Sat and she couldn't get onto me so everything is ok again.

Wednesday 16th July 1941
Cold cloudy day few showers.
Night flying was scrubbed i.e. washed out so had a good sleep instead.

Thursday 17th July 1941
Cool cloudy day. Vis low and ceiling 1-2000'. Night flying tonight.
Had 45 mins dual night flying with W/O Bickenson and was then fit for solo, but unfortunately there were not enough serviceable planes left so did not go solo. After a bit of early breakfast at 0500 hrs and went to bed.

Friday 18th July 1941
Cold cloudy day few showers and low ceiling. Not night flying tonight. ½ hr on the link.
Slept in till 1700 hrs! Marvellous sleep and felt a bit heavy after same - no wonder.
Went into Abingdon with Harry Forbes a Canadian Observer and we had a few cider shandies at the Lion till they closed up, finally got a taxi at 2300 hrs and back to camp for a bit of sleep. Cool evening. Don didn't come with us as he was night flying.

Saturday 19th July 1941
Coolish sort of day and 5/10 low Cumulus Nimbus cloud.
Took raincoat into town i.e. Oxford, and pleased that I did same as it rained most of afternoon and evening.
Met D as per schedules went to Ritz pictures. Dance in evening. Not feeling too bright.
Harry and I came home fairly early i.e. in by 0030 hrs Sunday, feeling very sleepy. Don was in at the dance too - some of the time. I only had 3 drinks all day why I don't quite know, but didn't feel in the mood for serious drinking.
When got home to Mess I found a letter there from Dad and enclosed one from Peter from Crete describing Greece Campaign or what he saw of it. Very pleased to get Dads letter - air mail and 5 weeks i.e. posted on 13th June.

Sunday 20th July 1941
Cool semi cloudy day.
Max and I had a flip this morning! Never expected it and what's more they had 6 planes serviceable in the flight!! Wonders never cease. Was told to consider myself severely told off for coming in over a hangar - didn't really as I came in between two hangars.
Nothing doing in afternoon so wrote home. Am flying this evening, dual first with W/O Verstage and then solo with Sgt Dench as P2.
Wrote home 9
Went dual W/O Verstage after waiting for plane to be put serviceable - 2 ½ hrs wait.
Went solo for 15 with Walter Austin P/O as second pilot.

Monday 21st July 1941
Warm semi cloudy day. Usual sleep in till 1200 hrs after night flying. Had a short snooze before tea and then Dick and I went into Abingdon to the pictures and out again in time for dinner.
Max Gray and Harry Tookes crashed last night and were both killed. Crashed in fields between here and Abingdon.
Plane did not turn. Damn pity as they were both good chaps. 4 killed.
Steve Watts and self went up first detail night flying and did an hour each first pilot coming down at 0115 hrs. Then went and had a meal and a short game of billiards.
Expected to go up again at 0330 but by 0430 the plane had not been reported in - circuits and bumps - nor had there been any news since 0100 hrs.
Went to bed at 0500 hrs without news of plane.

Tuesday 22nd July 1941
Warm sunny day 3/10ths Cu Cloud.
Up in time for lunch. Nothing doing in afternoon.
Plane lost last night was reported early this morning as having landed at an aerodrome in Norfolk upwards to 200 miles away, Feltfield! Must have been a damn big circuit?! All safe so that's ok.
Received letter from Janice and one from N. i.e. N.Z. mail. Don McCarthy has received news that his brother is reported as prisoner of war and not killed as first thought - good, flying Stirlings.
Put half an hour in at gym.
Night flying washed out on account of fog - had machine all tested and ready to take off.

Wednesday 23rd July 1941
Warm sunny day 3/10ths Cu cloud.
No day flying. As no night flying last night spent most of day in Intel. Library, and had to report at 0745 in morning.
Spent ½ hr in gym with Don before dinner.
Night flying. Went up first with Sgt Boothwright, did 1 ½ hr each - had good yarn to Skylark at odd intervals.
Was going up again with P/O Joyce but flying was washed out on account of fog closing in. Calm night and if any thing flare path was downwind and it was very easy to overshoot.

Thursday 24th July 1941
Hot sunny day. 3/10ths Cu cloud and some high cirrus cloud.
Slept in till 1200 hrs.
Did not go to gym as Don and I were both asleep.
Ron and Jim, two R.A.F P/O's who came over from Canada with us, were in for dinner and are staying the night. On a x-country and are on Wellingtons.
Night flying tonight.
Went up at 0030 hrs with P/O Joyce as P1 for 35 minutes. Then I took over for 1 hr and so we both finished our night flying in'C' flight - and incidentally finished with'C' flight. Have to do 4 hrs each.
Went through all letters received and destroyed all unnecessary ones as one never knows.

Friday 25th July 1941
Hot sunny day 3/10ths Cu cloud, changing to stratocumulus 10/10ths by evening and a few heat spots.
Got up about 1000 hrs and tried to get 48 hrs leave but no go.
Fixed up log book and was signed out of'C' flight.
Reported to Crew Training in early afternoon and had a lecture on radio and wireless gen. Damned involved points and means a fair bit of pure swot: but knowledge that will be invaluable to a future Captain!
Although was signed out of'C' flight was put down for an hours second pilot with Don.
In by 0115 hrs.

Saturday 26th July 1941
Warm day, steady rain and low cumulus nimbus cloud 10/10ths 1-2000'.
Went into town i.e. Oxford, and bought a tobacco pouch for about twice true value. Met Daphne at 1400 hrs as it was raining went to Ritz - Thief of Baghdad - very good tech-colour fairy tale, enjoyed same very much.
Had light tea and then we went to dance at the town hall not bad show and most of the boys were either there or at the White Hart. Pretty good time was had by all.
Met Norman at 0001 hrs and went home early for once from Oxford i.e. in that we found a taxi early.

Sunday 27th July 1941
Cool morning but warmed up in the afternoon and evening. Cloudy, Cu!
On crew training, had dinghy and parachute drill in fuselage and then lecture in morning.
In p.m. went to Thames in Abingdon and had dinghy drill in actual practice - a good time was had by all, first swim that I've had in England - water wasn't very clear either.
After tea went out to Chequers at Stanton Harcourt with Don and met D and Y. Did a spot of punting and drinking. Jolly nice place and had a lot of fun. Got home by 0030 hrs - tired but happy.
Crash early this morning about 0000 hrs at Reading by Anson. Crew of 5 killed.

Monday 28th July 1941
Cold morning and afternoon a bit warmer. Cool wind 8/10ths cloud stratus 2000'.
Crew training a.m. and in p.m. did a bit of dinghy drill in Thames again - didn't go in self as water a bit cold and cold wind and no sun!
Intend to go to bed early tonight as may go for a bike ride tomorrow night, hope that it's fine.
Approx 0130 hrs this morning there was another crash near here and just over the road from the A.O.C's house - 40 yards from the other one - and complete burn out, all killed, 5 from'E' flight.
There are three training planes here a Bristol Bombay and a Halifax and a Hampden.
Wrote home 10.
That makes 39 chaps killed from this station since I have been here.

Tuesday 29th July 1941
Cool day up to 10/10ths nimbus stratus cloud and showers in early evening.
Felt rotten today, something like mild attack of gastric flu' or eaten something that didn't agree with one. In consequence off oats and went to bed at 1800 hrs after 2 or 3 goes at enos salts.
Hope to feel sociable tomorrow.
Dick and Steve feel the same too. Dick was sick in a.m. but didn't see the doctor as one has to go through such a hell of a lot of procedure and such rubbish that if one was really ill he would be dead before he has finished! That's how we feel anyway!

Wednesday 30th July 1941
Cool day 7/10-10/10ths nimbus stratus cloud (Nbst) heavy showers and light showers during the afternoon.
Still on crew training. Got gen on Marconi set this morning, mostly loop bearings etc, tuned into some good jazzy music to pass away the time - snappy swing stuff!
Feeling bit brighter today but not completely recovered yet. No flu or cold so must have been the food.

Thursday 31st July 1941
Cool showery day 8/10-10/10 nimbostratus cloud - colder in morning.
Nothing much doing in morning. Observers aren't through their training yet so we are held up for crews before going into'D' or'E' flights.
Steve and I expect to be in same crew as pilots, suits us very well.
In afternoon a photographer came out for the purpose of taking photos of us during dinghy drill in Thames! Time and tide waits for no man - and it's damn cold!
Water felt quite hot in comparison to the atmosphere and we were very pleased to be through!
Went into Oxford in evening and met Daphne and we first saw Billy Cotton and his band at theatre and then had a few Pimms No.2 at Whites. Rather an enjoyable evening. Back by 1010 hrs to Abingdon.

Friday 1st August 1941
Coolish cloudy Nbst 700'-1000' scattered showers.
Late in afternoon Steve and I were crewed up with Watts P/O - two Watts in our crew! - as an Observer Canadian a good chap and Sgt as wireless op.
Reported at'E' flight approx 1630 hrs and told to report for duties on Sunday at 0930 hrs, good show really. Week day duties commence at 0830 I believe which is also quite good.
Didn't go with the boys to the pictures at Abingdon with prospects of beer afterwards but intend having an early night and a good sleep instead.

Saturday 2nd August 1941
Cool morning 10/10ths nimbostratus cloud 800' clearing in afternoon.
Went into Oxford by morning's bus with Jim Monro and Don also Butch Runnicales and met and had a few beers with King and Sandys and Joyce. They are four Argentine boys.
Met Daphne, Mary and Yvonne and Don and Jim and they and self went to pictures - saw Hudson's Bay. Good show too. Then had light tea and the town hall dance - good show. Believe that my dancing is improving. Steve and Dick were there also.
If not flying on Monday night we three or perhaps better say six will go to dance same place Monday night.

Sunday 3rd August 1941
Warm day 10/10ths cloud 600' Nbst clearing in early evening.
Flying washed out - was going on a x-country and a spot of bombing 3 ½ hr trip.
Instead went up as P2 on an A and E and lorenze test on aircraft S at 1600 hrs.
Had tea and then Butch, Don and self went into Abingdon to pictures, Lucky Partners I believe, Ginger Rodgers, quite good too.
Back in time for dinner then bath and bed and prospects for a good sleep for little I.

Monday 4th August 1941
Cool day up to 10/10ths nimbus with rain in scattered showers in p.m. Cold front advancing from west - Ireland - in afternoon.
Did 1 hr on link in a.m.
In p.m. did a flight i.e. first in'E' flight. Was second pilot to F/Sgt Craig in a III who was following our crew in a V to St Athan where we were going to be picked up by them and leave our plane for a major overhaul: cloud base 300' and scattered showers over Bristol Channel. We landed and they didn't come in so we were stranded for night and I didn't have any cash or a tunic or cap! Had quite a comfortable bed and borrowed a F/O's tunic.
Damned annoyed as Don and Jim and self had a party on in Oxford tonight. Dunno why in the hell F/Lt Humbye didn't land and pick us up.

Tuesday 5th August 1941
Cold day scattered showers up to 10/10ths nimbus cloud at times. Closed in a bit in p.m.
Slept well in strange bed. No reply from Message sent to Abingdon but expect plane today sometime.
Believe this is the biggest R.A.F aerodrome in existence, stopped at No2. Officers Mess.
A plane came in at approx 1040 and as it was a Whitley found out that it was for us. Our crew back for us.
Flew for 40 mins on return and came in at 1230 hrs in time for lunch. Damned pleased to get back and get some warmer clothes on and own tunic.
Flew link for 1 hr in p.m.
In bed early and wrote home.
Party was on last night in Oxford, damned annoyed about box of tricks.
Letter home 11, Peter also and M6.

Wednesday 6th August 1941
Cool cloudy day. Stratus 2000' 8/10ths.
Up at 0900 hrs and did a spot of air firing, fired 200 rounds at a drogue. After tail gunner and Steve had fired then the other machine had done same we came in and dropped Steve. Then we with Captain P/O Christie and self piloting did a x-country of approx 2 hrs Northampton. Down at 0125 hrs. Late lunch.
In afternoon Steve and I did ½ hr instrument flying each, with F/Lt Humbye as Captain and giving courses etc. a damn good chap and gives us a lot of helpful advice and instruction.
Stayed at home and went to bed early. Main reason is that Bank a/c is rather low if we get our leave this month as we expect to and move on to operational squadron.

Thursday 7th August 1941
Cool clear morning, warmer and up to 6/10ths low cumulus stratus cloud 3000' in afternoon. Similar to a N.Z. morning!
No flying in a.m. but did ½ hr on link. Alas ½ wearing gas masks in gasometers!
2 p.m. Steve and I had ½ hr each instruction on landings with engine on, much better and easier way. Then 45 minutes each on instrument flying giving one another courses etc.
Came in at 5 p.m. in time for tea.
Our W/Op has reported sick so was not on active list.
Stayed in for evening and went to bed early. Yvonne and Mary rang up and confirmed that the three of them are coming out to our cocktail party and dance at our Mess on Saturday night i.e. 9th.

Friday 8th August 1941
Cool showery day. 10/10ths nimbostratus cloud 300' clearing in late afternoon to clear sky at 2000 hrs.
Flying washed out for us.
Did 20 mins on link in morning and read and re-read all papers and pamphlets in Mess Anti-room. Had an hours sleep in anti room before tea to help pass away the time.
Some ferns in earthenware and copper pots came in this afternoon presumably for our party tomorrow night, must be going to be some show.
Are going to go into Oxford tomorrow after all with Don and Jim. Don and I have counted all our pennies and by gosh they add up.
Expect party tomorrow to be rather spoilt by the yards of Squadron Leaders and things that are cluttering up this joint.

Saturday 9th August 1941
Cool day. Showers from low stratus nimbostratus clouds more in late afternoon and evening.
Oxford by 1105 bus with Don and Jim. I met Daphne at two and we went to pictures as weather too threatening for river. Met others at 1830 hrs and we decided against going to party at Mess - so went to town hall dance instead and had a better time. After dance put D and M on bus and Jim and I had some supper at a café place and picked up Don and we came home from Oxford by taxi - 5 of us all told.
A good time was had by all.
Put watches back 1 hr when in bed as had an extra hours sleep.
Daphne had a tooth out yesterday and isn't feeling quite up to scratch - no wonder, would be in bed myself feeling very sorry for myself.

Sunday 10th August 1941
Cool day clear early morning but cloudy up to 10/10ths from late morning.
Up bombing in a.m. Jack Watts our observer dropped 8 bombs.
Expected to be flying again in afternoon but machines were not serviceable so did not. Am not flying in evening either which is just ok as Jim and I are going into Oxford to meet D & M.
Did so and as it was wettish went to pictures - The 4 Daughters or 4 Wives. Home by taxi. Good show really. Film really funny in places.

Monday 11th August 1941
Cool day. Low 10/10ths stratus cloud and raining and showery in a.m. Cleared in p.m.
Did not fly all day and Steve only is flying this evening.
Arranged for and received gen on the launching and photographing of flash illuminated bombing procedure, it is quite simple when you know how! Steve is piloting x-country and bombing trip tonight. Hope that I am not doing so tomorrow night as I have arranged to meet Daphne in Oxford!
50/50 bet I fear but maybe fortunate to fly in second details in about 1 a.m.
In bed early.
Letter home No.12

Tuesday 12th August 1941
Cool day clear but working up to 6/10ths Cu cloud 3000' in evening. Not flying today but am tonight at first detail! Told you so. Have to be over at flight at 2200 hrs so will go in to Oxford by bike after tea. Did so and saw D. Had a walk through the park or ever what they call it. Very pleasant views and environment, plenty of old trees etc.
Set off home at 2100 hrs. Arrived over at flight room to find that flying for us i.e. x-country had been cancelled!! Was I pleased etc.(?)

Wednesday 13th August 1941
Cold day 10/10ths cloud stratus and Nbst 500 - 1500 ft. Did not fly and link times up to date and finished course - link!
Only spot of interest was a crash and burnt out Wellington on drome at 1600 hrs. No one badly hurt. Night flying for us scrubbed again. 60 mph wind at 6000'.

Thursday 14th August 1941
Cool clear day, up to 6/10ths alto cumulus 4000' at times esp. in morning.
Up at 0900 for 3 hrs 10 mins at air gunning - for tail gunners WO/AG's - and bombing by Jack Watts, Navigator.
Did not do anything in afternoon as we will be flying this evening if all goes well. Played one or two games of billiards etc.
For a wonder clouds didn't close down and we flew at 2100 hrs!
Up with our Captain and I was flying, did a x-country Northampton, Marham, Peterborough, base and then dropped 16 bombs at local range. Jack dropped 8 and I dropped 8 - 4 single and 4 stick i.e. 2 of 2 each.
When we came in sky very clear i.e. ceiling up to 10,000' 3/10ths AL Cu.
In bed by 0130 Friday. Have a cold coming on in chest.
Had to cancel date with Daphne.

Friday 15th August 1941
Cool day low Nbst cloud 10/10ths 800' clearing and lifting occasionally in p.m. heavy showers in morning and showers in afternoon.
Flying scrubbed in morning. Some flying in afternoon but no bombing so had afternoon free and also evening off as have finished evening flying and bombing as has all our crew.
Went into Oxford and as wet Daphne and I went to pictures, quite good.
Had tea and went to dance at Town Hall but not a very good show so we left fairly early.
Stayed evening in Oxford as am not due back for Saturday.

Saturday 16th August 1941
Cool day with showers occasionally. Low stratus clouds up to 9/10ths at times.
Met Butch Runnicales in Randolph Hotel and had a few beers and yarn about Argentine before we had dinner.
As wet D and I went to pictures quite a classical one by Bernard Shaw but not much good or exciting as far as my standards go.
Went to town hall dance and quite a good show but rather crowded but never the less Don, Jim and self had a jolly good time - as did the others in our party!
Came home by our taxi - Norman.
Am catching a cold and have felt it coming on since last Thursday - been gargling with dettol for throat in hopes that I can ward the damn thing off.
Advised by cable from home that'Peter wounded prisoner.' Damn the luck.

Sunday 17th August 1941
Cool day up to 10/10ths Cu NB cloud in afternoon 2000' and down to 500' in some heavy showers later on in day.
Dropped 16 HL AA bombs by our observer Jack Watts at 4000' and tried to drop more but clouds closed in on us so we, Steve and I did 45 mins instrument flying each.
In afternoon no flying but as a mark of interest was visited by Lord Trenchard Marshal of the R.A.F quite informal affair. He gave a little talk to us - i.e. U/T personnel.
Went to bed early to try and cure cold - hasn't a real hold as yet.

Monday 18th August 1941
Cool day 8/10ths cloud 1500' in morning. 9/10ths alto Cu cloud 5000' in the afternoon.
Bombing trip in morning and Jack managed to drop 4 bombs through gaps in clouds.
Then Steve and I dropped 8 each from 1000' coming down before 1240 hrs.
In afternoon we went up again and Jack dropped 16 from 5000' getting good results.
Cold not so hot and have to watch ears when descending.
Went into Oxford in John Greenfields car M.G. with Don. We met D and M and Pam and had dinner at Andersons. Then out to Trout, it was closed (out of beer) so went on to the White Heart. Not bad show but didn't feel too good and didn't enjoy evening a hell of a lot.
Jim has been posted to Dishforth and probably last evening in Oxford.

Tuesday 19th August 1941
Cool cloudy day up to 10/10ths.
Cold not too good but it hasn't fully come yet so may ward it off perhaps, hope so as I want to go into Oxford tomorrow. Not having a flying test so made up logs in morning and had hem signed by O.C'E' flight.
Sat crew exam in afternoon and also had link times signed. Exam not very hard but long and took 2 ½ hrs i.e. full time. Finished at 1730 and had tea. Fish for dinner was decidedly bad so came away from meal feeling hungry. What with the price that we pay for Messing etc I think that the meals are bloody awful here. Received almost better in N.Z. in airmans Mess's.

Wednesday 20th August 1941
Warm day cool in early morning.
Up to 8/10ths at times and varied between 1000'-5000'. Few showers -light- after dinner i.e. noon.
Steve, Jack and I collected clearance forms and had them signed by all parties concerned available at present. An all day job really and bags of walking involved. Cannot get 3 or 4 signed till we receive our postings.
Steve and I hope to be posted to same station i.e. operational squadron.
Jim Monro and Pat Towesy are going to Dishforth, and are off to London this afternoon on leave. Maybe see Jim in Oxford Saturday evening.
Went into Oxford after tea and Daphne and I went to the St George after having a light evening meal.
Cold not so bad and had some rum for it - as a medicine!
Letter home no.13.
Posted 31st approx at Leeming!

Thursday 21st August 1941
Medium cloudy sort of day and warmer in afternoon, showers in evening.
Slept in till 1100 hrs and got up in time for dinner or lunch really. Not posted yet and don't expect to till Saturday at earliest. Hope it isn't till about end of month - more cash in bank then for leave and also see more of Daphne. She hasn't heard any more from Wrens yet about being called up.
Started to sort out clothes etc. but didn't get much done, but darned some socks though!
Cold much better but cough not all gone yet unfortunately.
In bed early for a good sleep.

Friday 22nd August 1941
Cool cloudy, scattered showers late in evening - almost first day without rain for 3 or 4 weeks!
Received posting before dinner, am going to 10 Squadron, Leeming, Yorkshire. Dick Austin only other New Zealander going with me.
More or less on leave up to 2359 hrs next Friday 29th inst.
Steve, Jack and self rushed round and finished our job of getting clearances signed and collecting travel warrants etc.
Went into Oxford for evening and couldn't get back so stayed at Mitre Hotel - very nice place.
Spent evening with Daph. She has received news to report at Greenwich Naval College on Monday.
Not going to London yet as cold is too bad - is cough.
Approx 48 flying personnel have been killed since I have been at Abingdon - bad spell of luck.

Saturday 23rd August 1941
Cool day 10/10ths low stratus cloud, continuous drizzle.
Went to pictures in afternoon and spent a quiet evening - did not go to dance. Missed Jim and Dons company a little - they are in London. Pleasant evening with Daphne though. She has a cold coming on too - damn bad luck, just as she is going into Wrens. Bus back to Abingdon.

Sunday 24th August 1941
Warm pleasant sunny day.
Packed almost - and went into Oxford and met usual gang i.e. Jim, Don, Daphne, Mary and Yvonne. Went punting and had enjoyable time in sun.
Home reasonably early and finished packing i.e. 2330 hrs about.

Monday 25th August 1941
Warm cloudy day - close and muggy weather.
Taxi called for me at 0930 hrs. Bundled mine and Don's luggage aboard and set sail for Cowley. Picked up Daphne and Mary and off to station for 1020 train for London. Got caught up in a tank parade and was prevented from catching it. Met Jim and Don. Said cheerio to them and Mary and Daphne and self off by 1050 train slow.
Parked luggage Paddington station and had lunch at Lyons Charring Cross.
Saw Daphne to Greenwich Naval College by 1600 hrs.
Overseas League full up so got room for night at York Chambers.
Early evening. Bed by 2200 hrs feeling better as regards cough etc.
Tubes very close and hot today.

Tuesday 26th August 1941
Warm day - good for London I suppose as it didn't rain!
Checked in at Overseas League.
Saw Target for Tonight. Was not terribly impressed but was a good film.
London a big place but it doesn't impress me very much.
Called round at N.Z. House and got Peter's prisoner of war address, is in a hospital in Greece.

Wednesday 27th August 1941
Warm day - no rain.
Had breakfast with Steve.
Had photo taken at Pearl Freeman i.e. free for N.Z. Papers. Get one myself if they are good and send one home.
Went and saw Mrs Coleridge Davis at 5/21 De Vere Gardens, South Kensington.
Went to N.Z. Forces Club - good place.

Thursday 28th August 1941
Cooler day 10/10ths low cloud and showers.
Went round to N.Z. House for mail about 1230 and met Jim Starkey! Had lunch with him at N.Z. Forces Club and spent most of afternoon there with him. Also met Owen Thompson a AB in RN (N.Z.) and also a Christ's College boy. We went to a theatre The Coliseum and saw Lupins Lane in'Me and My Girl' a jolly good show. Play same as film called'Lambeth Walk' saw second showing at 5.30 p.m.
Got out and went round to the Strand Palace for a few drinks after having tea at N.Z. Forces Club.
Met good chap there - civie - called Mr Gort!! Engineer.
Hard to get taxi and didn't but managed a bus to Pic C then on home to Overseas League 2300 hrs.

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10 Squadron RAF Leeming
29th August 1941 to
4th November 1941

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