I think the highlite of my leave was getting robbed in an ally connecting Malika Nazsi street and Ibraham Pasha street. Enjoyed the fight but lost my wallet.
My crown is through and dated back to Dec. 1st. 1942 - not too good. Brought back two pounds of food. Prices very high, peaches 18 ac, chocolates 40 ac per pound The Canadians are getting organized but about it.
Squadron may operate tonight. Food ropey.
Wednesday 17th Mar.
W/C Beare D.S.O. D.F.C. has been promoted and is in charge of the wing. Lawson may get the D.S.O. and a promotion. Betts is going to town these days and the mess has improved 100%
Thursday 18th Mar.
Ops were scrubbed last night just before take off. A cold front is expected in the Mereth region these next two days. Latest gen on the Rhursays, the Jerrys have 1000 heavies and 200 light guns in the valley. They also have twice as many fighters as in the whole of North Africa. This does mean that the valley is hotter than, say Torbruck. In Torbruck Jerry has about 150 guns in two square miles and several search lights.
Friday 20th March
Did go to the front last night but didn't like it. Weather was poor all the way. We bombed from 5000 ft. with 18 X 250's Flak (mostly light) was quite accurate and plentiful. All backer did not illuminate. Within 50 miles of base received B.B.A. Castle Benito. We turned back but met up with a raid on Tripolie. Didn't like the idea so returned to base and got permission to land at 230 wing. The place was flooded so we had to walk three miles back to our camp.
May do double ops tonight from Castle Benito.
Ops scrubbed - air drome u/s
Sunday 21st March
Am resting and ready for ops tonight. - weather questionable.
From reports the op last night was very good. The weather was perfect and flak not so accurate. I'll see for myself to night. Smith and Hinke should be tour expired but may do three of four more.
Monday 22nd. March
I enjoyed the operation last night. Jerry has definitely moved some of his guns from the Mereth area. This means he is planning to evacuate or his guns are needed else where. On the 19th a half dozen German planes made what amounted to a suicide raid on Tripolie. They came into the harbour under 200 ft. and bombed the shipping. They made several direct hits, the best being a ship load of bombs. They must be desperate - .
The first army are advancing slowly and may attempt to cut Jerry off just south-east of Sfax. The eigth army are gaining steadily at Mereth under hard conditions. Churchill again says, "The war has just started." I have hopes that he is wrong but he rarely is.
Tuesday 23rd. March
Barney is taking a much needed rest, as he did a double op last night with a sprog crew. Our new flight commander and crew did not return last night. It was his first op. Two other members of the crew, Smith and Beddington received their commisions today. Todays news from the African fronts isn't too good. Despite the fact the 1st, 5th and 8th armies are closing in Jerry made a surge at and regained his former position. Our line is now known as the Mereth defence.
Wednesday 25th March
"A" flight certainly took a beating last night with 4 out of 7 air craft damaged. Solater in "J" had to jettison his bombs when one engine caught fire. Prince in "C" made a belly landing as his hydaulics were shot at a point south of Cabes. Pieces of shrapnel punctured the kite from wing tip to wing tip. "A" had a large hunk shot off its wing. "D" was nearly rolled over by a shell blast underneath.
I am operating in "D" tonight so everything will be alright. Take off about 11.30 to night and we may be briefed to enter the Mereth zone from the south.
Thursday 26th March
No entry except my loss of 11/10/ - this after-noon in poker. I lost 19/-/- during the last three days but as I started with only 4/1/- I didn't lose too much.
Friday 27th March
Last night was my first experience on an area. Not one shot was fired at us during the half hour spent actually in the target area. Whether Jerry had much stuff there I don't know.
It was a very nice night and planes could be seen in all directions each trying to find a suitable target. Because of the absence of flak we were more cautious than usual because we have nearly been trapped before in that area.
The more we crowd the Germans the more cunning tricks he pulls out of his bag. I have some 16 ops now and am not going to walk into any traps if I can help it.
Saturday 28th March
Will operate to night in "N" or "M" the target being the town of Gabes. I read an interesting item this morning in the "confidential reports." A beaufighter pilot states that he attacked a Macci which immediately raced into a thick cloud bank. The pilot immediately shot a 5 sec. burst at the spot where the Iti entered. Later a Macci is reported to have crashed at the time and place related by the pilot. (note appended by officials) "very interesting incident" reminds us of the storey told by a Spitfire pilot who, having lost his target ME, fired a few hundred rounds into the sun in discust and an ME. came down in flames.
I did not operate last night because of bad weather conditions. Most of the pressure in North Africa seems to be exerted by the 5th armies while the 8th army stands pat. I think the 8th would like to retreat some distance if the Germans would follow them. This would enable us to cut the German army in half, if we worked things right. I am waiting for the southern troops to force a strong wedge right to the coast just south of Sfax. Weather today is very sultry with several warm fronts coming from the west/
April 11 1943 The army forced their wedge north of Sfax.
Monday 29th March
Target last night was the road between Mareth and Souse. It was a hot sultry night with very bad flying conditions until we came south of Castle Benito. The conditions in the target area were very good, however. We arrived in the target area at 04.25 and left at 05.00 which is just before dawn. A good time was had by all. I would like to do a dawn raid on that place if fighter protection could be obtained. it would be well worth it I think.
Didn't sleep much this a.m. because of the heat, and flies. But a breeze sprung up from 270 so things may be better tonight.
Tuesday 30th March
Gen. Montgomery seems quite pleased with the support given the army by the Air Force.
This morning's pressure on the Germans here will not cease until they are driven out of Africa proper. According to intelligence the Germans have some 50,000 men in Crete and have issued to the Cretans that they must not fight ass the Germans can cope with booth them and the English. 50,000 is too many men for defence purposes only - I wonder what Jerry is going to do with them??
Wednesday 31st March
Nothing much doing, short of bombs and petrol and will be short of air craft next week. Came back from the Delta yesterday so we have our old k. again. I don't expect any ops. till the next phase of moon. Memoranda.
Not a bad month, Spent half of my time in Cairo. Besides eating a few good meals in "Kursozs" I managed to do four operations. My ops time up today is 111.55 hrs. and my total time is 496.40 hrs. I hope to do 12 this month. I suppose I'll be lucky if I get 8.