Diary of Neil Ralph Blunden RNZAF

10 Squadron at RAF Leeming

29th August 1941 to 5th November 1941

Friday 29th August 1941
Cool day. Cloudy and showers in York area in early afternoon.
Early breakfast at 0900 hrs after having packed etc. Checked out £1-2-6 for 3 bed and breakfasts! Very reasonable. Paid for a ½ years membership at 10/6.
Taxi to Kings Cross and caught train at 0950 for York.
Damn cool trip must be a cold front over us at present.
Changed trains at York and waited for 1 hr for train to Northallerton i.e. 1345 to 1445 hrs. Dick Austin and Steve Watts were on a slower train and got in at 1415 hrs.
Train to Northallerton and changed again ¾ hr wait to Leeming Bar arriving 1630 hrs.
Got transport to R.A.F Station approx 2 mls. We are mls from nowhere. Steve at Topcliffe.
Marvellous Mess and tucker!!!

Saturday 30th August 1941
Warmer day cloudy 8/10ths Cu cloud 3000'-2000' few showers in afternoon.
'Bing' Bingham F/O is here and a good sort - was at Abingdon is an intelligence officer - also has car.
Dick and I set about signing on and getting remainder of flying kit. Butch Runnacles, Joyce, Dickson (2) and Jack Watts are also here ex Abingdon.
Address by C.O. at 1400 hrs and also by Squadron Commander.
Unfortunately the flying personnel have not to be billeted off ops stations. Rooms in Mess are very good and spacious. Whole station is very well kept and clean - very efficient C.O. he is Group Captain and was in film Target for Tonight.
May go on an op trip tomorrow night! As second pilot.
Get Battle Dress on Monday.

Sunday 31st August 1941
Warm day av. 4/10ths low stratus and Cu cloud 4000'. Atmosphere seems fresher here than at Abingdon.
Drew some flying kit in morning attended crew conference at 1030 hrs and told that am going on a trip tonight second pilot to Sgt Robertson who is an excellent Captain and experienced.
Briefing at 1600 hrs in S.H.Q. target for tonight is Krupps works at Essen in Ruhr area.
Lots of low cloud expected over target area. Route via Zider Zee.
Airborne 1945 hrs. Almost whole of area of NW Germany was under heavy layer of cloud 6-7000'
Bags of searchlights and flak but we dodged most of it and weren't caught; flak following us and close on tail at times. Landed at 0235 trip taking 6.50 hrs.
Good breakfast of 2 eggs and etc!
Slept till 1200. Steve and Don landed here about 0300 hrs i.e. Topcliffe fogged.

Monday 1st September 1941
Warm day cloudy mostly low.
Slept in till 1200 and up for lunch at 1230. Day off. Cleaned up kit and got remainder from stores.
After that did nothing, but wrote up diary and one or two letters.
No Battle Dress trousers available in my size and blouse not a very good fit but is spacious and can put plenty of warm clothing on underneath and believe me it's needed!
Had a game of billiards after dinner with Dick and then to bed early to make up for lost time.
Freezing level last night was at 11,000' over enemy land at 12,000'-14,000.

Tuesday 2nd September 1941
Warm day light wind 5/10ths cloud 4000' stratus.
Crew conference at 1030 hrs, held by Wing Commander Bennett who is leaving and said cheerio to us etc, good chap too - hope next is the same.
Had squadron photo at 1400 hrs.
On again tonight stooging for P/O Hacking, his 8th trip.
Briefing at 1600 hrs. Was to be Mannheim but later changed to Frankfurt. Airborne at 2205 hrs, track via Ostend.
Moon is nearly full and everything up at 10,000'-13,000' seems to be bright and clear, - saw 2 enemy fighters and 1 Whitley over target! Bags of searchlights round and about target and surrounding area. No cloud but ground haze made target ident. Very difficult.
Very little flak. Landed 0430, 8.25 trip. George good. No searchlights or flak over occup. France.

Wednesday 3rd September 1941
Warm sunny day, or what I saw of it. Day off to sleep in i.e. usual custom after ops trip.
Went to bed at 0645 and slept till 1200 hrs. Still sleepy.
Wrote up diary and letters etc. and lazed away the afternoon. Two N.Z. Observers here now and we were together in Squad photo.
Over a forest last night I helped the wireless op drop some'Deckars', dangerous stuff to play around with.
Not done to wear Battledress after 1800 hrs in Mess.
My blouse is a little too big in chest and they haven't any trousers to fit me in stock, be here soon so they say!
Hope to be on ops tomorrow night.

Thursday 4th September 1941
Warm day, closed down p.m. and ops washed out. Was not on for tonight nor was Sgt Robertson our Captain.
Lazy day really. Crew conference and briefing.
Was put down for a Cooks tour expert with Dick to show a party of Army Officers round the camp. Damn awful job but shot a line or two on things that I didn't know!
Bring took Butch, Johnny Greenfield, Dick and self to Dishforth in evening to see Jim Monro and Pat Towsey. A doo was on at the Sgts Mess and they invited us along, bags of beer and fun etc. Had a good sing song. Home by 0130 hrs and Dick fell down stairs when we went up to our rooms! Made bags of row so we were told.

Friday 5th September 1941
Warm day. Foggy all day and ops washed out again just before briefing, ceiling approx 500'.
77 Squadron from Topcliffe have come here for about 6 weeks, so Steve Watts and Don McCarthy are with us again! Same old gang!
Rather a crowd in the Mess now and have to sleep two in a room. Dick Austin and I are sharing a room. Did 40 mins on the link in the afternoon.
I'm on as A.C.P. for tonight and so have to sleep in the Watch Office, fortunately no flying so don't have to do anything but inspect aerodrome lighting etc.
Letter home 14. and Peter.

Saturday 6th September 1941
Warmish day 10/10ths mist or low stratus cloud 800'-1200'.
Reported over at flight as usual time, attended lecture at 0930 and crew talk at 1030 hrs on ops tonight.
Air test in p.m. fir 45 mins several things need checking up including I/C and R/T.
Briefing as per usual.
Over at plane - Captain is Sgt Robertson again, damn good Captain too and he is giving me bags of gen - at 1900 hrs. I/C U/S. had it more or less fixed up. Took off and it packed up in air again so we came in and landed and placed plane U/S and made report etc. Were 25 mins in air!
Sgt Stuart crashed at another aerodrome in Y for York and believe 3 killed - bad show, good chap too is a Canadian - was in afternoon and got lost in an Air Test.
Letter M.7.

Sunday 7th September 1941
Warmish day 10/10ths stratus 2000'-1000' about 500'-3000' thick.
On ops tonight. Sgt Robinson and our crew tested plane in morning and everything ok and ready for tonight.
Discovered that Dick Austin, my room mate, was in plane that crashed yesterday afternoon and he and 2 others including Sgt Stuart were killed.
Target was Berlin. Airborne 1950 hrs Captain decided petrol consumption was too great to safely attack Berlin - route via Silt................ attacked Rostock instead. Let bombs go. Long stooge back over North Sea and fell asleep whilst flying.'George' is a damn good and invaluable chap to have with us always!
Butch Runnacles and Lloyd Dickson, both didn't return in 2 of our planes that didn't come back.
Steve Watts from 77 Squadron is also missing.
Freezing level 5000'. 7.50 hrs in air.

Monday 8th September 1941
Warm day 10/10ths stratus 1000' but not thick.
Found that Steve Watts is ok. Forced landed coast of East Anglia. Had his aileron on wing shot off and engine cut and stopped due to fighter action over Texel.
He was flying at time and had to fly all way back 1 ½ hrs at about 10 feet using cut out boost every now and again to help height. Came into Mess tonight - damned pleased to see him.
Cross country this afternoon Peterborough and Oxford and same return.
P/O Joyce and I flew half each.
Letter from Daphne and she is enjoying life as a Wren at Greenwich.
Saw show at NAFFI tonight'Man in Possession' very good.
Feeling very sleepy and bed early.

Tuesday 9th September 1941
Warm day sky clearing to 6/10ths low stratus cloud 2-3000'. No flights for me today and no ops tonight.
Am sleepy so did nothing today and intend going to bed early.
Wrote up log book and etc. & D.
Station band played for 1 hr to us in Mess 8 - 9 O'clock - was on station network I believe - good band and music.

Wednesday 10th September 1941
Warmish day up to 8/10ths low stratus.
Tried to do some ZZ approaches but the receiver was poor so DNCO.
Was night flying but only P2 because tail wheel blew out before my turn to fly - blast Johnny Greenfield.
In bed by 2300 hrs. New room mate, P/O Pascoe R.A.F in 77 Squadron. Would prefer someone else besides R.A.F. Received some N.Z. mail, 10 weeks to come.

Thursday 11th September 1941
Warm broken clouds 3000'.
Detailed for ops tonight, second pilot to Sgt Schneider, air test in morning and oil leak in port engine. Target was to be Wernemunde, north and on sea coast from Rostock, west of Denmark. Unfortunately plane Q for Queeny U/S and trip cancelled for us, damn.

Friday 12th September 1941
Warm broken low stratus 3000'.
Nothing much doing all day. In ops last night 3 of our planes missing out of the 7 that went on trip. One crash landed 16 odd miles away plane write off but crew are safe.
2nd P/O Hacking crew went in drink in North Sea 8 odd miles out all safely rescued by Sea Rescue Services. 3rd P/O Purvis North Sea 4 degrees east not found yet.
Was on night C and L. 3 and ok Sgt Robertson safety pilot 40 mins.

Saturday 13th September 1941
Warm day broken low stratus cloud 4000' lowering to 1000' at 1200 hrs as warm front, weak, passed over from NNW.
Lecture on counteracting swing on take off with boost cut off engaged. Then crew conference at 1100 hrs.
Did ½ hr circuits and bumps with Sgt Boothright who also did ½ hr in Z for Zebra - she hardly swings at all.
When I got out last night, A for Apple, Sgt Webb on third effort to get off swung badly to port and swiped off undercarriage - poor Sgt Robertson! No one hurt.
All nurseries back safely from last night's ops to Cherbourg.
Wrote up log in afternoon.
Did not go out tonight and am still keeping tee total - approx a week now. Letter from D last night. She has been enrolled in Wrens now, may have to go to Orkneys or Scope Flow bit far away from civilization.

Sunday 14th September 1941
Cool day usual 8/10ths cloud 2-4000'. Cold front advancing from North. Passed over base at noon today.
Crew conference at 1100 hrs approx.
Did Air Test in P at 1700 hrs.
Was detailed for local night flying tonight in R - dual now.
Was out at taxi post at 2100 hrs but machine put U/S on account of low brake pressure, so came in again! Very pleased.

Monday 15th September 1941
Cool day usual 8/10ths low cloud. Cold front passed over and northerly winds.
Nothing much doing.
Night flying tonight safety pilot S/L Thompson - who did most of flying for me! Very disconcerting.
Missed concert which was quite good so I was told.
Helped to execute 22 landings from DF hut.

Tuesday 16th September 1941
Cool day, usual low cloud 7-9/10ths northerly cold winds, moderate.
Have been moved from B to A flight - doesn't make much difference now that Dick has gone.
Had a talk by a F/Lt who has just escaped from Prisoner of War Camp in Baltic area. He said that food was blood awful and scarce.
At last I've got my flying suit trousers i.e. Battle Dress Blue.

Wednesday 17th September 1941
Cool day usual low stratus 6/10ths and ground haze vis 2000'.
Detailed for ops, second pilot to Sgt O'Brien. Air Test in morning 40 mins in Fullah A for Apple - 77 Squadron machine - fairish plane too.
Ops scrubbed at 1615 hrs. Letter from Daphne, has passed 1st book keeping exam.
Letter bank credit £1-5-11! Ugh! Short pay August £12-9-6; loot thank God!

Thursday 18th September 1941
Fairly cool day, low stratus 7-9/10ths and fairly low vis 2 mls. Cloud base 1000'. High region of pressure over England and reaching to NE France - bad conditions for cloud over other side.
Spent 1 hr on link in preparation for BAT course presumably next week at Driffield - bad show, wanted Abingdon!
No ops so quiet restful day.
Wrote to Daphne.

Friday 19th September 1941
Am going on BAT course on Saturday at Driffield. Usual low stratus 1000' 8/10ths average. Cool day.
Nothing doing all day and ops for tonight scrubbed.
Got clothes together and etc.
Had game bridge - found out afterwards that it was contract!

Saturday 20th September 1941
Cool day. Usual 8/10ths stratus 1-2000'.
Caught 1217 train Leeming Bar for Northallerton, to York to Beverly to Driffield! Transport to station 2 ½ mls arriving at 1745 hrs. Sleeping in MOQ No.8 - same as at Abingdon.
7 of us in course. S/L Thompson is the other chap from 10 Squadron.

Sunday 21st September 1941
Cool day 10/10ths stratus 800-1500'
Spent morning lectures and etc.
Afternoon S/L Thompson and self in air 2 hrs with S/L Bentley familiarisation beam and long and short 8. Also ½ hour each on link. Course consists of 20 hr on air ½ as 1st pilot and 6 hrs on link in 5 ½ days. Saturday and most of Friday afternoon off!
Posted letter No.14 home! Bad show!!!

Monday 22nd September 1941
Cool day. 10/10ths low stratus 800' down to 600' in places. Ideal weather for blind approach! 4 hrs in air and 1 hr in link! More activity than at Leeming!
John Grey in on 12 days leave and Murdoch is in hospital but not seriously injured in crash.

Tuesday 23rd September 1941
Cool day, 10/10ths low stratus 600'-800'.
Another 4 hrs in air and 1 hr on link. Did cross country to Linton and found aerodrome'blind'.
Went to pictures, Majestic in Driffield township with S/L Thompson. Saw Charles Loughton in'They Get What They Want'. Ropey sort of picture house and poor apparatus. Walked in and out approx 2 ½ miles damn dark.
S/L Thompson a good chap, in a Rhodesian in Rhodesian Air Force.

Wednesday 24th September 1941
Cool day 10/10ths stratus 600'.
4 hrs in air and 2 hrs in link.
Getting very'browned off' and ears are ringing.
Have got some cotton wool to use as plugs, without which I am sure that I would be deaf by now. Haven't dreamed about the damn beam and dots and dashes as yet! - but course not over yet.
Did one blind landing completely from 1000', not so bad after all and didn't bounce at all! Fluke says you!

Thursday 25th September 1941
Warm day calm in morning fog or stratus down to 100' lifted in afternoon to 800 to 1500 ft 8/10ths. Outer and inner markers u/s this morning so no flying, but finished link course.
Did 2.20 hrs in afternoon, finding strange beam QDM. Instructor F/Lt Crooks good chap. Finish course Friday night now - damn.
Letter home 15 posted!!! Letter from D.

Friday 26th September 1941
Warm day, calm, low stratus 10/10ths 2000' to 500' thick down to 300' av. 500' to 1000'. Finished our - i.e. S/L Thompson and self - flying by 1100 hrs doing 2.20 hrs. Filled in link and flying times and had log signed.
Lecture by Regional Control 1515 hrs plus afternoon tea! Good chaps.
Short oral exam by S/L Bintley and free at 1615 hrs. He offered to take me into York which helped me a lot - not really as I caught a through train York to Oxford on York Bristol train leaving at 200 hrs ETA 0420 Sat. Decent of him though and very much appreciated. Saw a little of York before it was dark interesting city wall around the inner city, tea in inner city and a haircut - salon run by girls.
Got to sleep by 1230 in a 1st class compartment to myself, atmosphere quite warm, fare single 22/6.

Saturday 27th September 1941
Was woken up at Oxford by guard who wasn't too pleased about things! Time being 0520 hrs and quite cool so put on great coat and sat in general waiting room and slept till 0730 hrs!
Warm day now low stratus 5/10-8/10ths.
Walked over to Bridge House Hotel and had bath and breakfast etc. - very acceptable. Did a bit of shopping and booked a room for night at Randolph. Met Daphne at 1030 hrs and had morning tea. She was visiting friends in p.m. We had dinner at Andersons with Mary, very hot now.
Broke water wagon at Whites! Couldn't get taxi so caught last bus to garage and walked rest.
Daphne is very fit and well and looks it, unfortunately uniform still at tailors so couldn't see her in it - getting it Tuesday and is going up to Scapa Flow.

Sunday 28th September 1941
Warm day low stratus 6-8/10ths 2000'
Saw Daphne and said cheerio in a.m.
Had dinner at Randolph and saw Stan Widdup there. Caught 1.55 p.m. train to London, changing at Didcot, tube to Kings Cross from Paddington, just caught 1700hr train to York, arriving at 2102 hrs Northallerton train at 2145 hrs was met here by M.T. van - S/L Thompson wasn't there and presumably had missed train at York. Leeming Station at 2250 hrs - hot bath and bed.
No mail but photographs have arrived from Pearl Freeman's Studio London - not extremely good either.
Atmosphere quite cool now.

Monday 29th September 1941
Entered Levin R.N.Z.A.F. 29-9-40!
Cool day 5-8/10ths low stratus cumulus cloud 1-3000'. Now 1 year in Air Force!
On ops tonight Captain Sgt White in plane F Freddie. Take off 1800 hrs and target Stettin - about as far as Berlin and North of it. Chief German Baltic port and railway marshalling yards etc.
Wireless u/s for start and didn't get off till 1830 hrs, new plane and it's first op trip. 10/10ths low St.Cu. 3000' till 7 degrees E and freezing level 7000' had to pass 2 fronts with high cloud so climbed slowly till passed 2nd front. Route via Silt and came in just north of Warnamunde. Very little flak or searchlights on route but great activity over Kiel. Mod. quiet over target, I found target and dropped bombs, no cloud there or on return till 3 degrees E.
Came in under cloud and landed safely at 0430 hrs - approx 10 hrs. Heavy landing and bent prop tips on ground! Ugh.

Tuesday 30th September 1941
Cool day and few showers, low thick stratus 8-10/10ths 1-2000'.
In bed by 0700 hrs and slept till 1600 hrs and up for afternoon!
Letter from Dad New Zealand air mail posted 5th July!!! Only 11 weeks and slower than surface!
Sat by fire and had dinner and yarn to Bing, Steve and Don and went to bed early after writing up diary and few letters etc.
All returning ops crew were issued with 10 cigarettes donated by people Overseas League and etc. Mine was from Members Overseas League, 66 Cathedral Square, Christchurch, N.Z.!!

Wednesday 1st October 1941
Warm day low stratus 5-8/10ths 1000' - 2000'. Nothing much doing. Jack Watts observer came down in Bristol Channel last night on raid to Stratct (?) but believed picked up whole crew ok.

Thursday 2nd October 1941
Warm day, low stratus 7/10-10/10ths 800'-2000'. Clearer in afternoon.
No ops tonight and only one machine in 10 Squadron serviceable at moment - should be about 6 serviceable tomorrow.
Have been allotted a crew as perhaps go on nursery soon as Captain - ahem - ops getting quite interesting now!!
A play tonight by local artists on station - damn good show was in N.A.A.F.I.

Friday 3rd October 1941
Warm day 3/10-7/10ths stratus cloud 1-3000' and some ground haze. Excellent Met. Report for ops tonight anywhere on Continent.
Detailed for tonight. Air Test on C for Charlie - good machine.
Briefing 1500 hrs target Dung???
Airborne 1830. Map read and after dusk 1915 hrs by beacons to Orfeness. Bombed 2040 hrs returned through Harwich Balloon Barrage and followed beacons home to base beacon. 2nd pilot far to damn chatty. Not much flak or searchlights over target, mod light flak and saw balloons 9000'-10000' seaward side and from flak ships presumably.
Landed safely and good one too at 2240. Second last off of 6 machines and first home!
1 stick, 4 500lbs and 6 250lbs and 2 S.B.C. 5 mins over target! 4 hrs 10 mins trip.

Saturday 4th October 1941
Warm day, quite sunny in afternoon, bit of low stratus about.
Slept till 1000 hrs and up for dinner.
Wrote a few letters and read in anti-room after dinner. Letter home No.16. Also Dept of Agric. Dunedin.

Sunday 5th October 1941
Warm day low stratus 10/10ths 600-1000'.
Nothing doing much all day. Ops were detailed by were later scrubbed on a/c general low cloud.
Bing and I went over to Dishforth after dinner to see Jim and Pat and Walter Austin. Had some local beer in local pub and had a good yarn. Pat had to bail out the other night returning from ops - out of petrol.
Home by 0100 hrs.

Monday 6th October 1941
Cool day 10/10ths low stratus 300'-600'.
No flying and no ops detailed, general low cloud.
Good news going to start Rugby football on station soon.
N.A.A.F.I. show tonight was jolly good and nearly as good as station concert the other night.
Had a beer party and sing song in anti-room afterwards - damn good show and we N.Z. boys took over towards end of evening and had a good time. 0030 hrs!

Tuesday 7th October 1941
Warm day 10/10ths low stratus 600' and down to zero at times. A little bit stiff from kicking football yesterday. No ops tonight. Wrote letters after dinner Alex, and to Patt and Hector Alexander. Probably get 12 days leave 18th to 29th November.

Wednesday 8th October 1941
Warm day 10/10ths low stratus 800' which is general over England and Continent.
In afternoon 18 of us went to Catterick and were shown over most interesting place - ops room. Plot all aircraft flying in this area when necessary. It is also a fighter station - Spits.
After dinner we had party in Harrogate with Bing and Dishforth boys. Bing is leaving us end of week and going to Leaconfield.

Thursday 9th October 1941
Warm day 10/10ths low stratus 1000' clearing by 1000 hrs to 4/10ths low cloud and 3/10ths med cloud, closing down to 10/10ths 500' stratus and rain by 1530 hrs.
Detailed for ops. Still with Sgt Eastwood observer, and Sgt Franklin W/Op/Ag. Tested A for Apple in morning. Briefing 1400 hrs and half way through ops scrubbed.
Staying at home tonight and early bed!

Friday 10th October 1941
Warm day sunny too! Heavy rain most of last night up to 0600 and then cleared to 3-6/10ths low cloud stratus cumulus 2-4000' and 15-20 mph wind from south west.
Very cloudy conditions all over Continent and Northern Germany but'no joy' base conditions tonight so no ops.
½ hr link in afternoon.
Game billiards with Discon after dinner and wrote letters and tidied up old correspondence. Wrote Bank for 4th time over advancements question.

Saturday 11th October 1941
Cold day 5-7/10ths low cloud 2-4000'. Med. Wind N.N.E. 1-20 mph heavy rain early this morning when cold front passed over from North, high North of Scotland.
Scheduled for main ops tonight. Air Tested G and tested lorenze over Linton ok 1 hr test. Ops scrubbed after lunch.

Sunday 12th October 1941
Cool sunny day 6/10ths cloud. Heavy rain last night for short time and foggy.
On ops for tonight same crew with Sgt Bissett as 2nd dickey and Sgt Speer A.G. Target Bremen, bags of flak.
Airborne 1825 hrs. Went in via Helligoland 30 mins over target 6-10/10ths cloud and found target area. Spend ½ hr getting out of searchlights and flak which was heavy, heavy flak! Quite pleased to settle down and put George in and hand over to 2nd Pilot! Took a few shots with sextant on stars!
Just off coast and get B.F.X. to Bircham Newton! Came in on beam to Waddington and set course to B.N. Passed over Coningsby and as petrol getting low and probably half full up at B. Newton decided to land and did at 0308. Approx 8 hrs 45 mins and approx 70-100 gals left.
Interrogated and had breakfast and then went to sleep in an armchair in front of fire in anti-room.

Monday 13th October 1941
Had 2 hours sleep and had loan of someone's razor and shaved. Breakfast at 0830. Clear sunny morning and cloud i.e. frost.
Got 200 gals petrol and had oil checked and permission from Leeming to come home. Finally started off at 1210 hrs and took 55 mins to get home feeling rather sleepy.
Good sort of concert at N.A.A.F.I which I saw and went to bed afterwards.

Tuesday 14th October 1941
Warm day 7/10-10/10ths cloud stratus 1-2000. No ops tonight.
Nothing much doing all day. R.A.F. Swingtette played in Officers Mess after dinner. Went to bed shortly afterwards.
Flown about 310 hrs now.

Wednesday 15th October 1941
Warm day 4-8/10ths low cloud 2-3000'.
Scheduled for ops and went down by plane to Topcliffe to pick up J which had been abandoned there yesterday in morning. Flew it back including Air Test, flaps wouldn't stay down so came in and did a no flap landing.
Just as we were having early dinner for ops to Cologne we were advised'ops scrubbed'. Damn.

Thursday 16th October 1941
Clear cool day 506/10ths low cloud Cu 2-4000' 20/30 mph wind 280 degrees T.
Great activity wrong compass on C.O's Tiger Moth! Great responsibility.
Letter from D. At Scapa Flow now damn and blast. Received portraits from Pearl Freeman. 3 for 35/- and one complimentary.
Saw farmer about 2 riding horses and wants to charge 6/6 per hour! No thanks.

Friday 17th October 1941
Cool day scattered showers from North West. 10/10ths low stratus 1000'-3000'
Swung compass F for Freddy.
Went and got some gen from station ops.
Steve and Don went for their nurseries last night to Ostend. 7/10-10/10ths cloud stopped them from finding the target area so they had to drop their bombs in the sea and come home - bad show.

Saturday 18th October 1941
Cool day 5-7/10ths stratus cumulus 2000'-4000'. Near gale 50 mph in morning from S.W. with showers all day.
Took Sgt Whyte down to Dishforth in G to pick up new plane K. Nearly flew backwards some of the time - air very bumpy - reminded me of Taieri and Woodbourne in nor' west winds!
Some of us went to Harrogate in evening and had good time. Hughes, Dickson and Roberts and self. Ops cancelled.

Sunday 19th October 1941
Strong wind from west 35-45 mph cool day 4-7/10ths stratus cumulus 2000'-4000'. Air Tested G for ops which were cancelled after briefing. Like flying in bumpy weather, land 20 degrees flaps only and engine. Early to bed expect ops tomorrow.

Monday 20th October 1941
Cool day 3-6/10ths stratus 3000'.
Westerly wind 20-30 mph. 60 mph at 15,000' and 80 at 2000'!
Air Test G for George - good crate.
Target Wilhelmshaven 4000 lbs bomb load. No auxiliaries so 705 gals petrol.
Airborne 1840 hrs. In target area 2 hrs approx. Intense flak and bags of cones of searchlights. No moon and 3/10ths low cloud and ground haze. At 15,000' over target finally pinpointed target and bombed it. Dropped two screaming incendiaries of Borkum enemy fighter aerodrome on way home. Landed 0240. 8 hrs and not much petrol left!

Tuesday 21st October 1941
Day not too cheery but was sunny in afternoon I was told!
Slept till 1500 hrs and had high tea at 1600 hrs.
Officers dance started at 2000 hrs and we had plenty of beer etc.
Had about 20 W.A.A.F officer guests and 20 nurses from Catterick who weren't anything to write home about at all! Bed by 0010 hrs.

Wednesday 22nd October 1941
Cool day 8-10/10ths cloud and some isolated showers. Not feeling too active and had a reasonably in-active day!
Some fellows were on a short nursery to Le Havre - poor cows what!
Went to bed early as will be on tomorrow I expect.

Thursday 23rd October 1941
Cold day 6-8/10ths low cloud 3000' average. Expected 5/10ths cloud over N.E. Germany tonight. On tonight with Dick Hughes as 2nd dickey! Take off 1700 hrs in my own kite'George'.
Damn good plane too with wiz and George.
6-8/10ths med cloud first half North Sea up to and 10/10ths latter half and target area which was Kiel. Pin pointed target area by heavy flak which was intense and accurate. Pulled chain or really one stick on E.T.A. in centre of flak and even more came up then!
Got out by devious means and came out over Silt which was quiet so put down some incendiaries and a flare. Got out very quickly after that!
Landed at 0046 hrs - 7.45 hr trip and pleased to be back. 83 gals per hour consumption and 1.7 mls per gal.
Had 2 eggs and bacon on fried bread and pint of bitter for early breakfast.
Moon in first quarter and set at 2000 hrs - hurrah.

Friday 24th October 1941
Warmish day in spots 10/0ths low stratus cloud 1000'-2000' with occasional showers.
Up by 1200 hrs feeling very poorly i.e. browned off.
Had one or two games of snooker and billiards and went to bed early.
First Halifax has arrived; whoopee,'at last said the man...............'
Will inspect it tomorrow.

Saturday 25th October 1941
Cool 7/10-19/10ths stratus cloud 1000'-3000' and slight wind from west.
Halifax went back to Linton with 2 of our crews to do a conversion course in early afternoon also W/C Tuck.
2 nurseries from our flight were briefed but later cancelled.
Went into Leeming Bar after dinner with Jerry Dickson and had a few beers at the local.

Sunday 26th October 1941
Cold day 6/10-9/10ths low stratus 2000'.
On ops tonight. G still u/s by 1100 hrs so am to have U for Uncle B flight crate - Dusty Millers crate.
Briefed at 1400 hrs. Dick Hughes second dickey and F/Sgt Clements tail gunner.
Airborne 1740 hrs and set course 1800 hrs at 4000' - freezing level 2000' and 10/10ths cloud coast and North Sea up to 5000' to 1000' other side. Target Hamburg.
Landfall just north of mouth of Elbe, went south and came in on 320 degrees T onto target, just as bombs gone were clamped by searchlight cone and fired on from astern by enemy fighter - I saw tracers going past over my left shoulder - then the heavy flak which had been fairly close closed in on us and we were now held by a bigger cone of searchlights - only a few on us before. Tail gunner then said - silence before -'I'm hit Captain, I've had it' Took most violent evasive action and came out at 5000' - from 12500' - free of flak and cone of blood searchlights.
Meanwhile W/Op Frank Franklin and Dicky had started to go back to get tail gunner out of turret and tend to him which they did dressing wound and giving him a shot of morphine - he was very seriously wounded in left side over hip. Turret in tail u/s and left wing tank holed. Plane wouldn't keep height at 100 mph and at 2lbs boost but just would at 95 mph, now down to 4000'. Finally got free of flak and wandering searchlights and staggered over enemy coast 2 mls south of mouth of Elbe at 1000' setting course for nearest part of English coast i.e. Norfolk!
Went down to under 1000' to keep under clouds - +2 degrees centigrade - rain showers.
Just off enemy coast wireless went u/s - Frank put I.F.F. onto 3 and worked on set getting it ok about 50 miles of English coast.
Made landfall just as we got a M.F.D.F. fix and set course for Bircham Newton. Few Q.D.M's and saw beacon and they had drem and flare path lit so we landed having previously sent in plain that we had a severely wounded member of crew.
Ambulance ready and it took tail gunner straight off to hospital. Actually landed at Docking a satellite to B.N. 5 mls N. M.T. to B.N. and were briefed. Then found out that Frank was wounded in thigh, a flesh wound. The piece of flak that hit him from below stayed in plane and started a few fires but he put them out with his feet and gloved hands - damn good show put up by him.
Plane a mass of holes all over and under! - and believe both engines hit to account for loss of power. Landed with approx ½ hrs petrol left perhaps?

Monday 27th October 1941
Cold day 6-9/10ths low stratus 2-4000', strong wind from westerly direction.
Saw to Frank being fixed up by Doc who put in 3 stitches and bandaged it up also scratch on other leg, - nearly had a treble voice.
Then went to Officers Mess and had breakfast and went to bed - 0440 hrs.
Slept till 0900 hrs, bath etc and had breakfast at 0930 hrs.
Rang up Leeming and asked them to send down a plane for us, which they promised, advised after dinner that it would be down by 1630 hrs.
It finally arrived at 1700 hrs and as base weather had closed in signalled by them to stay another night which we did. P/O Nelson Captain of crew which came down.
Were royally treated by two S/L's to beer etc. Finally went to bed at 2430 hrs or really 0030 hrs tomorrow!
Tail gunner will be lucky to live - flak through top of liver and bottom of lung.

Tuesday 28th October 1941
Cold day 6-9/10ths low stratus 1500'-3000' and occasional showers. Damn cold too and strong wind 30-40 mph from North.
After a lot of trouble getting a starter battery etc set off and airborne 1040 hrs.
8 of us in plane, my crew being passengers. Very bumpy and low ground speed as result of strong head wind.
Landed about 1210 hrs.
Webster is O.C. of flight damned pleased to see us back safely and quite pleased with whole show.
Reported to intelligence and Group favourably impressed - got target too.
Asked for 48 hrs and got it too for whole crew and Dicky.
Went to local pub in Leeming Bar and had a few with observer and Dicky and Harris.
Dick has arranged for us to visit Major Holliday for our 48 hrs good show, he collected his car this afternoon - Austin 7.

Wednesday 29th October 1941
Cold day, snowed in morning scattered falls up till 1500 hrs.
Dick and I left about 1200 hrs and had dinner at Ripon and a few rums for the road.
Arrived at Copgroge Hall about 1600 hrs and were very courteously welcomed by Major and Mrs Holliday and their young daughter Yvonne 17?
Beautiful place and rooms etc. Went to bed fairly early. The Major is very keen on hunting and owns a pack of hounds himself and hunts every Wednesday and Saturday - pots of money it seems.
Will go shooting tomorrow I believe, pheasants and things.

Thursday 30th October 1941
Cool day 10/10ths cloud - stratus 1-2000'
About 1000 hrs Dick and I with shotguns and with an oldish chap Don and Yvonne as beaters set off. Shot 2 hares and 8 pheasants in morning, on one side of estate.
I got 5 pheasants and 2 hares using a 20 bore - nice gun too.
In afternoon, got 1 rabbit, 5 pheasants while Dick got 2 rabbits and 5 pheasants. Plenty of game and damn interesting shooting once you get the idea of it.
Came in fairly early as it started raining. Had tea then dinner and set off home about 2030 hrs feeling a bit tired after thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Friday 31st October 1941
Cold day 6/8ths stratus 2000'.
On ops and as Frank still u/s have Sgt Clear as W/Op and Sgt Clephane as tail gunner.
Target Hamburg again. Ugh!
Airborne 1655 hrs and climbed a bit first as 10/10ths cloud over North Sea ?/10ths starting at 5000' on coast and increasing to 10000' odd over other side. Found Elbe after a square search and so located target area but 8/10ths cloud at 10000' and 10/10ths thin stratus at 16000' made pin pointing in town difficult. Certainly hit target area.
Long cold stooge back over tops of cloud at 11000'.
Landed at 0205 hrs: 9.10 hrs. Damn pleased to get own back on Hamburg and had Dick as Second Pilot.

Saturday 1st November 1941
Cool day 6/10-9/10ths low stratus.
Slept till 1200 hrs and had lunch with Doug King and his other Argentine friends at this station.
Dick, Doug and I went into Harrogate in early afternoon 1500 hrs. Saw a picture and then had dinner and then went to Prospect and Annex.
Later went to Majestic which is a big glorified night club and dance floor and bar combined.
Had a pretty good time taking all into consideration.
Got home at 0200 hrs Sunday.
Feeling very tired. Reminds me of Abingdon days.
My crew as follows:-
Observer Sgt W. B. Eastwood 1175893 R.A.F.
W/Op(AG) Sgt H.R. Franklin R68080 R.C.A.F.
Tail Gnr Sgt A.R. Henman R69157 R.C.A.F.

Sunday 2nd November 1941
Cool day 6-9/10ths stratus 2-4000'.
Detailed for ops tonight, W/Op Sgt Le Clear as Frank still u/s Sgt Henman as Tail Gunner. Using B Z6669 as G u/s i.e. on 40x.
Did Air Test at 1251 hrs landed at 1255 hrs - circuit on one engine after 200 ft and landed on belly with u/c retracted! Plane wouldn't keep height and had to turn left on account of low hills and trees in way - port engine cut too - very shaky do!!!
Went into Leeming Bar after dinner with Shorty Burgess and celebrated!

Monday 3rd November 1941
Cold day 10/10ths stratus 600-1000'.
W/C Tuck has given me and my crew leave from 6th till 17th of this month. Reckon we deserve it too after our shaky do's. Leave about due really but we are having it a bit early. Was to have been on 18th of this month - 12 days too.

Tuesday 4th November 1941
Cold day 7-9/10ths stratus 1-3000'.
Plenty of fronts over Continent as ops that were on were scrubbed early for once at about 1000 hrs. I was detailed and had Doug Clear as W/Op and Bill Henman as Tail Gunner. Bill has asked if he can come into my crew as a permanent Tail Gunner, he is a straight gunner. Found out that it is my birthday today!

Wednesday 5th November 1941
Cold cloudy day, 10/10ths most of time.
Got cracking on leave passes etc. and managed to catch 1217 train at Leeming Bar with Ganger and Bill.
Kings Cross 1845 hrs. Went to Regent Palace where Shorty Burgess and Jack Taylor has reserved a room for me.
Had tea at N.Z. Club and went later to a dance hall called Astoria, not bad too; in bed quite early.
Actually leave started'after duties' today

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10 Squadron at RAF Leeming
th November 1941 to
31st December

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