Diary of Neil Ralph Blunden RNZAF

10 Squadron RAF Leeming

1st January 1942 to 29th March 1942

Thursday 1st January 1942
Cold day and ground fog which prevented flying. Lecture in a.m. and one in afternoon which was to be but cancelled so listened to wireless beside fire in anti-room in Mess.
Our chaps operated in daylight raid, Halifaxes only, on Brest on last Tuesday 30th. A bad do it appears F/Lt Roach the Gunnery Leader and O.C. Air Gunners was killed. Sgt Tripp took off it appears on the wrong runway during and ran into W/C Tuck taking off on correct one and was killed, Tuck bruised about face but ok.
All the machines were badly shot about by flak - but haven't got any more gen about it yet.
Went to bed reasonably early.

Friday 2nd January 1942
Quite a warm day in comparison and fog lifted to 1000' in morning so after lectures I did a check dual and then 45 mins circuits and bumps - worst I've done yet I fear. This is a nice aerodrome for flying.
E.N.S.A. concert this evening which was best I've seen so far.
Letter to home 22. and received one from Arthur Wallis and cable from Terence.

Saturday 3rd January 1942
Warm day, overcast and one or two isolated drizzle showers in afternoon and evening. Interesting lecture by S/L Tait on petrol consumption in morning, two planes up doing circuits but not my turn! Afternoon off, read beside fire in anti-room. Still have my damn cold and coughing attacks are damn annoying.
*Sgt Chic White landed in English Channel en return from raid on Brest and in landing control column damaged the walls of his stomach - if he recovers unlikely that he will ever fly again. Rescued very quickly by Air Sea Rescue Services R.N. His plane like many others were badly damaged by flak. Good escort of fighters went with them.
*Chic is ok and rumour quoted above is all tommy-rot fortunately.

Sunday 4th January 1942
Warm overcast day, showers in afternoon and turned very cold in early evening. Another interesting lecture by S/L Tail in morning. Some flying but didn't go up.
Went to bed early.

Monday 5th January 1942
Cold day with occasional snow showers and very cold wind from N.E. Snow did not lie, reason being ground too wet.
2 machines on circuits and bumps but did not go up. Delay is caused by there being not enough accommodation here to house sufficient ground crew to service more than 2 machines.
The exercise derived from walking so much has certainly given me a very healthy appetite at meal times.
Course has been advanced to 20 hrs average from the previous 14 hrs so goodness knows when I'll be operational again - but I'm not worrying when there are daylight raids on the do!!!!

Tuesday 6th January 1942
Cold day but sunny! 3-7/10ths Al.Cu. at 2-4000'. Good winters day but very little thaw from cold frost. No snow lying.
Dance on 10th at Leeming now - Saturday.
Did not fly today. In early afternoon a Sgt overshot in landing fro a big bump and instead of running into a ditch and fence he with help of F/O Johnston did a ground loop, wiped off U/C and broke up outside wing and it's two engines! Etc. Rather an expensive experiment what!
E.N.S.A. concert tonight which was very good indeed - three very pretty girls.

Wednesday 7th January 1942
Cold frost turning into a sunny morning 3/10ths cloud. Isolated showers n afternoon 7-10/10ths cloud clearing to clear starlight evening.
Did not fly today. Not much heat in sun. Boys were on a leaflet raid on Paris last night! Why wasn't I on? Damn.
Wrote letter to Peter and to Marge.

Thursday 8th January 1942
Cold frost warmish sunny day, up to 7/10ths cloud in late afternoon.
Flew today for a change. In morning 15 mins check dual and ½ hr 1st P. More or less took afternoon off and shaved etc. Too blood cold in huts in early mornings to shave! Went to bed early. Have got measure of cold now. Wrote to Arnold. P/O Dobson is a good instructor and chap.

Friday 9th January 1942
Not a very hard frost but a bitterly cold wind from the North Pole.
An interesting lecture from S/L Tait in early morning i.e. 0900 to 9050 hrs - a wee bit too early for me and he didn't like it and told me so afterwards with a veiled threat.
A few showers and a few specks of sleet in the afternoon. Things have tightened up a bit and hrs now enforced are 0845 to 1230 and 1330 to 1630 hrs and sharing approx 2 serviceable planes between 18 of us! Intend going to dance at Leeming tomorrow night? How??

Saturday 10th January 1942
Cold frost and day. Lecture in morning. Ground haze. Had a visit from A.O.C. Carr - a New Zealander by the way.
Had afternoon off. S/L Tait offered to take Murray Joyce and self to Leeming for our dance - good show.
Finally got there at 2200 hrs and saw all the boys and had a good time.
S/L Tait relented somewhat and let us stay night if S/L Thompson would fly us back in morning which he was only too pleased to do - good old Tommy! Had a glorious bath in the Mess!!! It is ruddy well dispersed here!

Sunday 11th January 1942
Cold frost and day and thick ground fog. Impossible to fly so a M.T. van was organised in time for lunch and shave! Found out that Chic White is ok now and was only slightly wounded good show.
Lecture in afternoon and off early. Went to bed early. Wrote home 23. and Terence.

Monday 12th January 1942
Cold frost all day. Thick ground fog all day so in consequence no flying.
Lectures in morning on turrets and armaments and in particular Paul Defiant turrets by F/Lt Careless. One in afternoon on nav. Esp. on Dalton Computer by P/O Mole.
Retired to hut at 2230 in driving snow from more or less Westerly direction.

Tuesday 13th January 1942
Cold cloudy day. Low stratus 10/10ths 500ft. 2-3 inches snow on ground: started to thaw and melt a little in afternoon. Lectures in morning and afternoon off - before fire in anti-room.

Wednesday 14th January 1942
Cold day. Ground fog low stratus. Snow melting in open places. A dry swim in morning, 3 hrs solid work! Afternoon in front of fire in anti-room. A dance on Feb 14th for 'coming out' of Station!

Thursday 15th January 1942
Cold day. Thick ground fog all day so no flying. Lectures during day.
Have decided that we will be here for dance and then some afterwards!

Friday 16th January 1942
Cold day, ground fog which lifted a bit in morning and early afternoon and some flying was put in by some of the chaps.
Heard that Sgt 'Buck' Schneider crashed near Northallerton last night on return from N.W. Germany and all were killed but him and he is seriously wounded and has lost his sight and touch and go if he will live.
Was in A flight (Leeming).
Appears that instruments affected by pitot head freezing at one stage of flight and altimeter gave a faulty reading on return??? - should have disconnected alt. from pilot head.
Another New Zealander gone since I've been at Leeming, 6 now, (4 in photo) he was Von Dadelzen, and Old Collegian.

Saturday 17th January 1942
Cold day. Ground fog and industrial haze. Lectures in morning and afternoon off.
Caught 1820 bus cross roads for Wetherby and caught bus 37 for Harrogate arriving 2000 hrs. Met Shorty Burgess there, went to Majestic with Willie Anderson from here ex Middleton St. George.
Home by taxi at 0100 hrs with Welsh and Co.

Sunday 18th January 1942
Cold day, no thaw, fog and haze and no flying. Lecture in morning.
News that Buck seriously ill last night.
A bit of snow was falling when I came to bed at 2030 hrs. Letter home 24.

Monday 19th January 1942
Cold day, no thaw, 10/10ths low stratus 500' and vis 800 yds industrial haze! Very cold wind West. Test in morning. Driving snow in evening when I came to bed early. Snow last night fizzled out. Xmas card from Jill - wrote to her.

Tuesday 20th January 1942
Very cold day, 4-5 inches dry powdery snow on ground and still falling lightly up to 1200 hrs from South Westerly direction. No thaw all day and freezing hard tonight.
Went over test paper today i.e. morning.
All of us out on runways clearing the snow off in p.m. 400 wide mouthed spades and a big angle dozer going all day, cleared almost all of long runway N.E./S.W.
Received letter from High Commissioner advising me of Peters permanent prisoner of war address 0 No. 8142, Stalag VIIIB. Wrote to him and posted it tonight.

Wednesday 21st January 1942
Very cold day 10/10ths stratus and fracto cumulus 500-1000'. Wind still S.E. i.e. high in Scandinavia and wind Continental, Polar too from Russia!
Clearing runways all day - good exercise! 22 degree frost last night I believe. Wrote to Arnold. Went to bed early and kept fire going all night and made up for cold night!

Thursday 22nd January 1942
Very cold day, same conditions as yesterday with further light falls of snow commencing in evening - forecasted to continue all night and prospects of tomorrow as well! Damn, more runway clearing! Visited Intelligence rooms this morning.
Went to bed early. I am eating like a horse since being here - due probably to miles walked each day! And to very cold weather - burning fat to keep warm!

Friday 23rd January 1942
Cold day. Approx 1 ½ inches of snow fell. Turned into rain light steady with a Westerly wind - under influence of a low over Iceland now. Warm front passed over midday.
Not on shovelling snow off runways after all! Temp up 12 degrees and above zero now, first time this week! Buck Schneider ok so far - good chance of living and eye sight is alright after all.
Everything very wet and slushy - damn!

Saturday 24th January 1942
Warm day 2-4/10ths cloud in morning and warmish sunshine up to 11.30 a.m.!!!!! Then nimbostratus cloud down and by 1330 hrs vis 500 yds and started raining heavily till 2000 hrs.
Missed breakfast and actually flew! Had approx 1 hr dual from W/C Tait and then at 1330 hrs he went in and got a change of crew and sent me up solo, was recalled after one circuit due to reduced vis - only use runway at aerodrome when on 3rd leg! Finally had dinner at 1500 hrs or was it breakfast!
W/C Tait a wizard instructor and full of gen.

Sunday 25th January 1942
Warm day 5-8/10ths stratus and nimbostratus cloud.
Flew again today! Did approx 1 hr 10 solo with Delaney as 2nd Pilot, then acted as 2nd Pilot to Sgt Stell for 1 circuit then cam in and had lunch. Flew up to good old Leeming between circuits! In p.m. got gen on astro tables and use of.

Monday 26th January 1942
Cold day. Overcast low nimbostratus in morning and ½ inch snow fell between 1000 and 1230 hrs. Clearing to 6/10ths medium cloud in afternoon and 3/10ths high cloud in evening.
Some flying in afternoon - not my turn! Have 3 serviceable planes today! As was position yesterday - 2 extra from Linton.
Saw concert in evening by Station amateurs - damn good show too. Freezing hard tonight. Letter from Ganger. Wrote home No.25. Crew fit and well.

Tuesday 27th January 1942
Cold day. Low nimbostratus 10/10ths and ½ inch snow fell 1200-1630 hrs. Temp rose from 31 degrees to 35 degrees F by 1800 hrs. Clear sky at 2100 hrs. Crew drill etc in morning and intelligence lecture in early p.m.
Duke of Kent - Relations Officer? Visited aerodrome in afternoon but didn't see us. A.O.C. 4 Group Air Vice Marshall Carr (a ex N.Z'er) stayed for dinner. Still swotting a bit on astro tables in spare time. Wrote to Alex Bennett.

Wednesday 28th January 1942
Cold day but temp above zero! Rain showers in morning and isolated in afternoon.
Lecture on George in morning i.e. Auto Pilot.
Flew afternoon with Jim Murray (Dunedin) after a check dual with Norman - R.A.A.F. - one circuit each. Did 1.05 hr each solo stopping at 1550 hrs. Late tea and then dinner! Flying again tomorrow morning! Ye Gods! Received letter from Janice; Alex B has been presented with a son and heir.

Thursday 29th January 1942
Cold day - below zero. Ground fog in morning and no flying but roll call by Tait and 1 ½ hr lecture general aspects of plane etc.
Vis increased to 1500-2000 yards in afternoon and Jim and I did 1 hr each circuits and bumps - in a Halifax II L9616 a new machine that we were in yesterday - much nicer than I's.
My cold blood rotten now and feel very browned off, it started yesterday and got 1 ½ hrs sleep last night and was in consequence able to keep fire going all night!

Friday 30th January 1942
Cold day just above zero, reasonably clear in early morning but closed down about 1100 hrs here. No flying after that and we were let off at 1430 hrs - no leave for instructors or half days or days off for us until 100 hrs flying per week is reached! Have to build more huts to accommodate more ground crew to service more planes before that fantastic total is put up! Average of 3-4 machines serviceable now and bad weather too.
Have 3.45 hrs dual and 7.10 hrs solo up now, have to do 14 dual day and 6 hrs, including dual, night fling on course now ; very efficient course and instruction but it's taking a might long time, almost 7 weeks now!
Quite resigned now to this life - longer it lasts the longer we keep off day light raids.
Caught 4.00 p.m. (sorry 1600 hrs!) bus into York with Dave Joyce. Snowing from 1530-2100 hrs and 4 inches fell! Bought pair of pyjamas and tie and had a pair of galoshes put aside till I can get coupons or a chit from C.O. Since Jan 8th, slippers, tennis shoes, galoshes and ½ Wellingtons service people have to have coupons!!
Then had tea at Betties, saw film 'Tom, Dick & Harry' then a few beers.

Saturday 31st January 1942
Cold day with sunshine in morning. In afternoon weather closed down so that they could just do circuits.
Got 2 hrs sleep last night - coughing etc. Had breakfast and then reported sick and was packed off to bed in sick quarters. Much more pleasant than Oflag 7!!!
Feeling damn poorly though and will get rid of cough and cold quicker.
Purchased goods in York yesterday because we will be issued with coupons soon.
Received letter from Shorty. Lazy day.

Sunday 1st February 1942
Cold day, 3-4 ins snow fell sometime during night and kept falling lightly all day, miserable looking day but very comfortable and warm in sick bay! A good chance to and did swot up on astro ie: plotting by tables sextant shots.
Wrote home No.26. A lot of N.Z'ers being posted back home lately - relatively speaking, but not Halifax Captains I fear! Do more here.

Monday 2nd February 1942
Cold day outside - warm in sick bay. More snow fell last nig 2-3 ins! Overcast all day. Dave popped in and said that all hands clearing runway. Cold getting better but not as fast as it should thought damn it anyway.
Wrote to Peter. No flying today or yesterday so not missing much.

Tuesday 3rd February 1942
Cold day - outside. Cold not a hell of a lot better, must be in very bad shape and cannot get to slept till 2 or 3 in morning either. Anyway it's a good rest. My crew and self due for leave on Feb 6th too! Won't get it for months I suppose - finish course here and then do 2 or 3 ops first! Damn and blast.
Some snow fell last night. Sun shone for a bit this afternoon a rare occurrence nowadays I fear - what for a New Zealand summer?

Wednesday 4th February 1942
Cold day outside. Temperature down to normal now - mine that is! Getting rather fed up with this existence but cold not right yet.
Received parcel from Pat. Letter from Arnold dated 14th Jan 1942! Hadn't heard from me since August? Mail very fishy. 3 returned from Egypt written to Peter.
Letter from Mr Woodcock - he used to work up this way when he was a boy! Thirsk.

Thursday 5th February 1942
Cold day outside. Heavy snow showers in morning later sunshine for short periods in afternoon. Old is much better and will probably be up tomorrow. Letter to Arnold - he is a Sgt now and was promoted on field in early Libin show, Nov-Dec 1941, and now is acting Battery Quarter Master Sgt.
Damn pleased as it will put new heart into him and he certainly deserves it.

Friday 6th February 1942
More snow fell last night. Some has melted but with new snow every day there is still 6 ins on the ground.
Got up this morning and as discharged forthwith. Slept rest of day in Mess and was very tired when I went to bed at 2030 hrs! Damn cold night too.

Saturday 7th February 1942
Cold day. Saw M.O.S/L Kerr at 1030 hrs and he gave me 48 hrs off flying. Pleaded with S/L Tait and wangled time off till Sunday evening to visit Leeming - via Harrogate! Saw Dickie Hughes and Shorty Burgess and a few of the lads in there. All W/Op/AG R.N.Z.A.F. personnel at Leeming - and at 4 Group? - are going back to New Zealand and are now on leave! Lucky dogs. Does not apply to Pilots and Observers unfortunately; anyway I wouldn't leave Halifaxes and they aren't sending them out to N.Z.!! (not yet?)

Sunday 8th February 1942
Cold day, very cold frost 10/10ths stratus 1-2000'
Slept in my old bed in Mess, Leeming! Got up about 0930 hrs. Saw Tuck and Webster and pleaded with them to try and get us back and finish converting on Squadron under P/O Holden who is doing remaining Captains in 10 Squadron.
Left by bus at 1430 hrs to Harrogate 1600 hrs bus to Weatherby, and 1800 hrs bus there to Tochwith and hence Marston Moor.
Brought my flying boots with me and intend wearing them all the time outside now, as I'm sure that getting wet and cold feet by wearing shoes in snow, slush and mud which abounds here caused my cold and I don't want another at this place - sooner I finish the better I will be!!
Tuck said that he would try and get us back but I fear that Group will block it - ignorant lot of muddlers there anyway 'nincompoops!' bah.

Monday 9th February 1942
Cool day 10/10ths stratus 1500-2000'.
Actually flew in afternoon doing 1.10 hrs dual instrument flying. Have decided to shave in evenings before going to bed now - get hot water and can shave in comfort in a warm room instead of half cold water in an ice chamber and also have a better chance of being in time at flights in mornings! Big thing now that we fly more often - I hope.

Tuesday 10th February 1942
Cold day 10/10ths stratus nibmo?) 3000' in morning closing down to 600' by 1600 hrs.
In air 2 hrs this morning 40 minutes dual 3 and 2 engine flying and 1 dual circuit and 1 hr P2 - Sgt O'Driscoll Pilot. Instructor Sgt Williams.
Was going to do height climb in p.m. 1200' but plane u/s till 1530 and then weather closed down - showers - so came in.
Several W.A.A.F.'s serving in dining room now.
Flying boots certainly keep my feet warm!

Wednesday 11th February 1942
Cold day. Cirrus cloud 15000-20000' lowering to 8000' by 1700 hrs. Vis 20 mls!
Up by 0600 hrs and out at planes by 0800 hrs actually started flying at 0900 hrs! This is a new idea to get us through - good.
Did 1.10 each in climb up to 12000' with Sgt O'Driscoll. Then 40 mins instrument flying. Was to fly in afternoon but flying stopped at 1600 hrs - plane on runway with broken tail wheel.
Lecture at 1900 hrs on prisoner of war and how to escape - very good too. Actual experiences by F/Lt Shaw.

Thursday 12th February 1942
Cold day. Altostratus 2-3000' 4-6/10ths and increasing medium cloud 6000'. Cold front passed over at 2300 hrs with showers.
Did 55 mins P1 & P2 with Driss local flying in morning landed at Leeming and we changed over there! Place looks good too! Flying at 1000 hrs tomorrow with Delaney.

Friday 13th February 1942
Cold day. 3-6/10ths cloud 3-5000' and quite warm sunshine out of the cold North wind.
Flying at 1645 to 1700 hrs ½ each with Driss of solo local flying, practicing overshoot landing, 3 and 2 engine flying etc.
Then 2nd Pilot to Johnny (F/O Johnstone). On a N.F.T. (i.e. Night Flying Test) 15 mins all in V for Victor L9510 a IA.
Wrote home 27. Flight with P/O Delaney was cancelled - he did a climb.

Saturday 14th February 1942
Cold day 6-9/10ths altostratus cloud 3000'
Flew to Linton with Johnny (F/O Johnston) and bombed up machine 4000 lbs. Four of us took turns to do one climb up to 12000 and land again. Had lunch there and met MacKenzie from Waikato way - ex Abingdon.
Back by 1800 hrs. High tea and then changed for our Station coin gut dance. Good show too. Each gave a days pay and drinks free!! - found out afterwards there was a dance on, ahem!!

Sunday 15th February 1942
Cold day and a little bit 'off colour'. Up in morning and again in afternoon with Driss - solo - visited Leeming and we landed there. Saw Goldston. In bed early.

Monday 16th February 1942
Warmer day with sunshine most of the day! Marvellous day really for this part of England and time of the year.
Up in morning with S/L Hillary and Driss on a 'demonstration" - a bit disappointing. In afternoon dual instruction from 1700 hrs to 1840 hrs - missed tea - damn! Bed early.

Tuesday 17th February 1942
Cool day 6-10/10ths stratus cloud 1000' and a few flakes of sleet fell in late morning. Did not fly all day - for a change nowadays! Detailed to fly tomorrow night dual with P/O Turnbull as Instructor.

Wednesday 18th February 1942
Cold day. Overcast and isolated flakes of snow fell at odd times during the day - very cold.
Off till 1330 hrs so had breakfast and caught bus into York at 1058. Bought a pair of galoshes and gloves - another pair removed from crew room the other day by an unauthorised person for an unauthorised purpose!
Also bought a shirt - before coupon racket comes into force for Officers!
Hurried back to camp to fly solo with Driss at 1400 hrs but place u/s! Damn.
Night flying. Did N.F.T. on L9534 T at 1815 hrs with P/O Turnbull. Received dual from him - 2 circuits each from 0130 hrs till 0410 hrs (Thursday really!)

Thursday 19th February 1942
Cold day. Sunshine most of day - weak though. We had N.F. supper in Mess a 0400 hrs and as I had finished went to bed till 1600 hrs.
On as A.C.P. with Smiler Welsh tonight, 1830 hrs till dawn. Bad vis. Q pranged its tail wheel Jim Murray receiving dual!

Friday 20th February 1942
Cold day and overcast and poor vis.
After early supper 2300-0001 hrs at hangars, the two planes went up. Smiler and self only let Q up to test vis, bad ground fog, and it came in on 3rd attempt and Jim had the misfortune to lose his tail wheel so flying was packed up forthright. It was very cold on the Watch Tower roof, believe you me! First time I have been a A.C.P! - and last too I hope! We had breakfast and in bed by 0400 hrs - fires out and dam cold room!
Up by 1230 and had dinner. Went out with Doc S/L Kerr and Bellaise and Dave Joyce and had a beer before dinner - ended up in Green Hammerton at 1030 hrs! In bed by 0300 hrs rather happy - fire out too!

Saturday 21st February 1942
Cold day and occasional snow showers. Day off, up for lunch and went into Harrogate at 1500 hrs with boys into M.T. van! Film 'Suspicion' quite good. Tea at Station Hotel. Met lot of boys from Leeming, Alex, Geff and Bill i.e. 2 members of my crew and a lot of Sgts too. Also W/C Tuck and had a yarn with him about flying and this course and what not - rather one sided I fear! Good chap.
Fear I got rather merry during the evening. Had a damn good time anyway, best I've had for a long time, really happily sizzled and enjoyed myself no end!
Back by van at 0030 hrs.
Letter home to Dad No.28.

Sunday 22nd February 1942
Cold day, very overcast, nimbostratus, 700' poor vis, and light snow fell most of day. At flights at 0830 - 0900 for me! Lectures till 1045 then day off till 1730 hrs for night flying if weather permits.
However, I'm not on so will sleep well! No night flying on account of ground fog.
Letters to Peter, Arnold and P.

Monday 23rd February 1942
Cold day, overcast and light snow which did not lie. No flying for us.

Tuesday 24th February 1942
Cold day. Ground fog with occasional sunshine - 10/10ths low cloud.
A little flying but fog closed in and cancelled night flying. Library opened in Mess and I drew out a Wild West yarn.
2 members of new course have qualified for membership of the 'Swingers Club' having swung on take off and pranged the U/C's of same number of crates - bad hobby!

Wednesday 25th February 1942
Cold day and very much overcast.
Day flying cancelled but improved and night flying was in progress - was not on.
Went into York in p.m. saw 'Sundown'.
Managed to get some oranges from the N.A.A.F.I. Stores! First I've seen and been able to get in England! 8 months!!?

Thursday 26th February 1942
Cold day. Overcast during day and cleared to a cloudless sky with bright moonlight it being ¾ full.
On night flying with F/O Joshua as Instructor, ex 35 Squadron, and very good. Sgt Stell and I did 3 circuits each and were fit for check from S/L Hillary for solo. We two acted as A.C.P's for 2nd detail i.e. 1130-0230 and unfortunately the three machines went u/s so flying was packed in at 0130 and we didn't get our check - damn! Bed after supper.

Friday 27th February 1942
Cold day 10/10ths stratus and fog down to 600'. Off till Saturday 1400 hrs.
Went into Leeds with S/L Hillary, P/O Norman (R.A.A.F.), P/O Anderson and Jim Murray in afternoon. Visited Marquis and Debary and etc. and stayed at Imperial Hotel. Bed by 0200 and the S/L and self shared a room. Quite a good hotel too. Leeds is very smoky and foggy - industrial.

Saturday 28th February 1942
Cold day and very overcast. The S/L phoned W/C Tait and as it was too foggy for night flying gave us another day off. Did some shopping as it was last day for us to buy service clothing etc. before the coupons system comes in.
Stayed at Griffin Hotel. Met Harry Clothier, Tony Moore and Mort. Hear that Don McCarthy - 77 Squadron - and Vic Wieland are missing, damn, another N.Z'er gone.

Sunday 1st March 1942
Cold day. After dinner we caught bus back to York and to base by taxi. Too foggy for night flying, good and I want some sleeping hours!
Went to a very good concert given by the Topcliffe R.A.F. Concert Party.
Bed quite early.

Monday 2nd March 1942
Cool day 10/10ths low stratus 600' and low vis. No flying and night flying cancelled.
Urgent call from W/C Tuck and we i.e. 10 Squadron chaps are to return tomorrow to Leeming, damn good show! Bu we are sorry to go as there are a very good crowd of pupils and instructors etc. here.
Had a hectic 1 hr in afternoon making out my log book - received above average for course and Driss received the same. Had game of 'Sin Ta Lon' in evening. Packed afterwards i.e. midnight.

Tuesday 3rd March 1942
Cold day 10/10ths low stratus and ground fog.
Too bad for flying so Leeming sent down a van i.e. Hillman Snipe for us after dinner at midday - a very nice job too.
Great to see and be back at 10 Sq. again. But still have to do solo night flying 1 hr, and of course crew drill etc. etc. before being fully operational again.

Wednesday 4th March 1942
Cold day warming up a little about 1600 hrs. 10/10ths status 800'. Snow falling at dusk and about 1 inch by dark!
Have to do 1 or 2 ops before I can get my leave which was due 6th Feb!
Did not do much except ½ hr on link.
New meal times from today. High tea at 1730 and supper i.e. sandwiches etc. about 2200 hrs. Boys were on ops last night at Renault Motor Works by Paris - real blitz from 5000'!!
Very little flak opposition.
Letter from Janice. Letter home 29.

Thursday 5th March 1942
Cold day. Low cloud and vis and snow still falling lightly 2-4 inches on ground by dark.
Saw crew and Sgt Richards, my engineer.
After high tea went into Northallerton with S/L Webster and some of the boys to the local cinema saw Tall Dark and Handsome.

Friday 6th March 1942
Cold day, a little sleet still falling. Approx 4 inches on ground now.
Did 40 mins on link. 'Demonstrated dingy drill' by Dick Hughes and his crew in afternoon and then a lecture by S/L in charge engineering which was rather good dealing with consumption etc.
Have to go down to Stradishall tomorrow with crew and accompanied by Jim Murray and his crew to pick up two planes weather bound there from Tuesday nights raid.
Ganger went this afternoon to Linton on a hush hush Observer course lasting approx 1 week.

Saturday 7th March 1942
Cold day 1010ths low cloud and ground fog.
Am in charge party of 12. Routed via Kings Cross leaving train Northallerton. Met Peterson and crew on York Station. Scotland train 2hrs late so we missed connection at Liverpool Street, London. Arrived London 2030 hrs. Saw R.T.O. Kings Cross and by arrangements made from York R.T.O. were given beds and rooms at Military Transit Camp namely peace time Great Central Hotel, Marlborough.
Had tea and sandwiches at N.Z. Forces Club and then we repaired to Regent Palace and had a bit of drinking till after 12 and then went and had supper and then to bed -0420 for me!

Sunday 8th March 1942
Cold day, clear sky but ground haze slight.
Caught 0830 train by a miracle and after a few stops etc arrived at Stradishall at 1230.
Dinner - argument with who was to be duty flight etc and took off in C at 1630.
Base 1800 hrs after 3 Q.D.M's! Sprog Observer. Early to bed after bath! Steve Watts, a F/Lt now is back from Feltwell i.e. was B.F.Xed there from Paris raid.

Monday 9th March 1942
Cold day. Poor vis and low clouds but an improvement during evening.
On night flying with Sgt Rochford. Jim.
Sgt Rochford did check and one solo dual circuit and plane went u/s and no others in S in Conversion flight so we packed up!

Tuesday 10th March 1942
Cool day. Overcast and quite poor vis. i.e. approx 2000-3000 yds.
In air about 2.50 hrs! Doing air firing, visual homing and a little lorenze flying.
Night flying again. Jim did one dual and was going solo but plane went u/s - messier pump - and weather packed up so we did same.

Wednesday 11th March 1942
Cool day overcast and vis 3000 yds.
Did 1 hr fighter affiliation in afternoon. On night flying again tonight. Jim went up to Lossiemouh with a spare plane this afternoon so I hope that I can do my 2 solo circuits! Or so!
Did too. F/Lt Wright did one first had 2 duel then did three solo. Had my crew except Ganger and Day, - Allan instead.
Letter home No.30 - did not put in though.

Thursday 12th March 1942
Cold day vis 3-5 mls after 1000 hrs 10/10ths low cloud 3000-4000'. Vis 1000-1500 yds before 1000 hrs.
Airborne at 1445 hrs Ferrying job!
Taking E up to Croft, 78 Sqdn. Rocky took G and P/O Baker i.e. George took L but didn't land as Rocky swung off runway and was bogged ½ way along just off edge. We waited up there till 1830 hrs till when we received the signal that he had landed at base. Set sail in van. It broke down outside Golden Lion in Northallerton! Very 'convenient' but pukka gen. We all had a few before another came to tow us back.

Friday 13th March 1942
Cool day 10/10ths low stratus 2-4000' and vis improving to 3 mls by 1100 hrs.
Did not fly today but George safely ferried L up to Croft. Had some sunray treatment at flight time ie.1145 hrs.
In afternoon attended - compulsory - opening service of Station church which is also a gymnasium. Boys came back from Lossiemouth late this afternoon - they did not operate.
Have 8 of our new machines now on Station - 5 today! One is G and is nearly ready and I have claimed it - I hope!

Saturday 14th March 1942
Warmish day. Was on a nursery tonight but ops scrubbed early in morning.
The nursery Captain that on last night using Steves crew undershot on landing and all went for a burton - bad show.
Went into Harrogate this evening with Bill and had a good time.

Sunday 15th March 1942
Cool day overcast 10/10ths stratus 1000-3000'.
Crew conference in morning. Flew in p.m. and did a Q.G.H. practice - damn near necessary too as vis closed in to 1500 yds and 800'.
Was detailed for ops but it was scrubbed owing to bad base on return.
In bed reasonably early.

Monday 16th March 1942
Warm day. Low cloud and poor vis improving in early afternoon, quite heavy rain in evening.
Expect Ganger home from Linton tomorrow evening - he is recommended for a commission.
Was on for nursery tonight but 'twas scrubbed early in morning - blast.
Had rugger practice in afternoon - am very unfit I fear. Letter from Dad 28.12.41.
E.N.S.A. concert this evening was excellent.
Have moved into Geff Day's room - my 2nd Pilot.
Letter home No.31. Dunno if I said so?!
Also letter to D and D. Went to a good E.N.S.A. concert in N.A.A.F.I. Hall.

Tuesday 17th March 1942
Warm day 10/10ths low cloud and poor vis. Did not fly - not did the other! Ganger back.

Wednesday 18th March 1942
Cold day 10/10ths cloud and poor vis. Very little flying - mostly by Con. Flt.
Our rugger team played Middleton St George here and won 11-8. I was raked in as ref! but never again!!
Went into Northallerton after dinner with S/L Webster and saw Citizen Kane. Unusual film and not as good as papers make out - my opinion.
Heavy thunder storm rain in afternoon and in evening - my nursery scrubbed.

Thursday 19th March 1942
Cold day. Low cloud and poor vis and no flying. Have bagged my new plane W1044 'D' Donald, Halifax II. Has 6 tanks too! Enough said!

Friday 20th March 1942
Cold and wet, low cloud 500' and ground fog vis 500 yds.
No flying. Organised a bit of crew drill and we discussed dinghy drill. Cannot get leave till after Easter now approx April 8th, Dick Hughes going today on his as he is not operational yet so is naturally not on 'this' or 'that' business!

Saturday 21st March 1942
Cool day. Overcast and fair vis. Did not fly in morning. My new 'D' will be ready to swing approx Monday.
In afternoon we played a R.A.F team at Rufferton near Boroughbridge. It's a bomb dispersal station. Went in transport. Beat them 36-0, played right wing ¾. 12 tries and none converted and not a wet ball! I got 5 tries - one plays as well as other side lets one is rather an apt rejoinder.
Others went to and stayed at Boroughbridge while Bob Richards and I went on to Harrogate where Bill and Ganger were. Came home in Athinssons bus at 1230 or really 0030 hrs.

Sunday 22nd March 1942
Cold day. Overcast and fair vis.
There was a bombing and air firing and G.B.X country programme on. Did not fly and half of it was scrubbed owing to bad weather conditions.
Alan Hacking took off and found that his I.A.S. and Altimeter instruments were reading the wrong way round. Went into cloud at -600' and put breaks on at 270 mph and taxied at 300 mph!!
Letter home No.32. Getting a rotten cold.
Had a spot of sunray treatment.
Was on night flying with Jim Murray he did two and I did one circuit - his crew . It was his first solo night on Halifaxes. We all have to fly at least once a fortnight at local night ops - except highly experienced operational Captains on that particular type of plane on which operating.

Monday 23rd March 1942
Warm and sunny with 3-6/10ths cloud. Did air firing and lorenze in D. Also swung P4 and loop and D.R.

Tuesday 24th March 1942
Warm sunny day. D.R. phoney swing yesterday afternoon so did a proper swing myself this morning - good.
In afternoon did a 2 ¾ hr cross country with Ganger and another Obs. Using new .........., it is wizard when worked properly.

Wednesday 25th March 1942
Warm day. Air test in morning and did air firing beside a convoy which I did not like and didn't stay beside long! When returned base pranged Whitley and something else on intersection of runways so had to land at Croft with about 12 other of our planes! Had lunch and returned at 1500 hrs - couldn't land till 1630 hrs and so missed afternoon visit by King and Queen: 1 ½ hrs just circling aerodrome! Very brassed!

Thursday 26th March 1942
Warm day. Had a briefing at 0915 hrs which A.O.C. came to and gave us a talk and generally conduced it with our C.O. Only Captains and Observers attended it is most secret and hush, hush, etc! Ten crews of 10 Sqdn are on and wouldn't miss it for pounds!
Managed to get Ganger unscreened for it too! As is Jack Watts, Angus Buckam.
Did air test in p.m. in 'D'. Did air firing and all but 3 guns jammed!
Whilst up the breaks went for a burton and had to land without breaks. Stopped well short of runway end and taxied right back to dispersal, but didn't turn there!

Friday 27th March 1942
Cool day. Low cloud 1000'. Set course about 1200 hrs for Lossiemouth in N. Scotland. Approx 1 ¾ hr flight. Brakes became u/s soon after being airborne and had to land on a short runway (grass only) without any same as yesterday. Coped ok. Bit of a party in evening.

Saturday 28th March 1942
Cold day. 5-8/10ths cloud 3-5000' and good vis.
Target area no good for tonight so we can have evening off till 1230 i.e. 0030 hrs.
Ground crew have fixed up brakes and I taxied 'D' to her dispersal point in afternoon. Had crew out there and we decided upon dinghy drill and odds and ends etc.
After tea i.e. 1700 hrs we of 'D' fame walked into Lossiemouth village - 2 mls and spent a reasonably quiet evening.
Came back and had supper in Sgts Mess.

Sunday 29th March 1942
Warmer day and some sunshine. Met no joy for this evening - decided on at briefing at 1530 hrs. Quiet evening in Mess and went to bed at 2130 hrs.
After briefing cancelled I got crew together and showed and explained to them the target and my plan of action etc.

That was the final entry in the diary. The following day Neil went on an operation to Norway to attack the 'Tirpitz' located in Fættenfjord near Trondheim and did not return.

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