Tuesday 1st June
After our crash at Gadabia we finally arrived in Tunisia at a place called Kirrvan. If it is hot at Gadroia its a furnace here. The scenery, however is fine. We are living in an orchard of palm trees. The climate is intensly hot, and a wind apparently is not allowed. Operations should be good from here.
Sunday 20th June.
Have been working like the devil this month but still haven't got very far. My air craft "M" has two good engines but is the a poorest frame on the squadron.
The R.A.F. have smashed Lampadusa into submission shortly after they finished Pantelleria. I didn't get a crack at either of these islands but I was briefed twice for both. I was also briefed for Trapani once and Messina twice. Luckily I did get to Messina.
My new crew consists of a navigator and w.o.p., only so I'm roving captain and take a crew whose captain is u/s for some reason or other.
Tonight we take a crack at Naples. Naples, because of its geography, is a rather difficult target for medium bombers. You have to face flak going in and coming out. Reminds me of the light brigade.
Our system of photography has been changed once again. Not been able to follow these various changed our crew have perfected one of our own and we intend to use it until A.M. can devise something sensible.
The officers are running around with their ‘38's looking like a bunch of Dakota cow boys. The enemy have been sending over a bunch of sabatoers lately Ref. 120
Monday 21st. June - Was u/s yesterday because of a broken con rod leading from the c/s unit to the port pitch control lever. It took Jock all day to fix it. He finally had it ready at 17.00 hrs. but it broke again because of faulty lubrication. A set of mecs. soon put a new one in only to find something wrong with the megneto, causing a rev. drop of 200.
By doing much sweating and an equal amount of cursing it was fixed when the first air craft was airborne. We took of at 21.03. 21.04 was the last minute an air craft should have set course over the drone. So we arrived at Naples some ten minutes late but bombed anyway. The air craft engines acted well all the way. On testing this morning the revs dropped off the clock when testing the magneto.
"M" is slowly being put in good condition. A new gyro was installed this morning. The trim is pretty good and "George" shows definite improvement. I'll have a good air craft if I have to break the parts myself.
Flak at Naples intense but below average prediction.
Tuesday 22nd June
I am on ops tonight with a new crew and a S/L who wants to get some experience in night bombing. Our target to night is a naval base in the north-east corner of Sardinia and is well defined.
The weather is such that the operation should be cancelled. The cloud is 10/10's at 5000ft. and a Wellington isn't the right air craft to bomb a defended port at that height. Some of our kites are laying mines at the same place to keep shipping at a stand still in that area. There is a strong rumor of an impending push on either Sicily or Sardinia. I think Sicily is the logical place. There are certainly enough paratroops in this country to start a good fight anyway. At present the betting is three to one that we operate to night but ten to one that the op will not be a success (I'm not betting.)
Wednesday 23rd. June
we did operate last night and the op was a success. Our job was to keep defences occupied so that the, cucumber boys could plant their seeds unmolested.
The weather not too good during the whole trip with plenty of mist that hindered visibility. The target, however, was well illuminated and so the mine laying was accurate.
We, on the high level raid had some very good flak to deal with . S/L Bodman, on his first op thought things quite confusing and I don't blame him. My evasive action was very violent in fact some of the fabric came off. At one time the ac ac boys put a few doz. rounds in different directions, neatly abouve us. The flak was coming in the shape of a cone with the apex just above our heads. In the consequent dive we lost 4000ft.
S/L Barber in "M" flew over a neck of land at 300 ft. and got three big holes in the wings. Looks like I'll lose my kite after all: that is what usually happens when you get an air craft in good condition. On air craft guard tonight.
Thursday 24th June.
I was on air craft guard last night, so coupled with the op on the night before, I'm sleepy now. I went to the M.O. this morning to get some thing for my gyppo tummy and he told me I would have to take treatment every hour this a.m. - no sleep yet and it will be too hot this after noon.
The paratroopers landed a few days ago have been taken prisoner according to intelligence.
Our welfare officer arrived this morning and dished out some sports equipment and cigarettes. They are also organizing a picture (Bob Hope) at wing tonight. Quite a change!
A few days ago I was attacked by a pyord on the dome - he must have been anti-British.
Tuesday 29th June
Have been coasting these last few days getting back some energy.
Did an op on Sicily-Massina last night. The trip in itself went off according to schedule but the take off wasn't too good. Among other things the pilots escape hatch decided to open just as we were leaving the deck. In England you land again. Out here you close it if possible; in any case you don't turn back.
On return to base the circuit's a night-mare. People were short of petrol, some had engine trouble and Brown had a hang-up. the things I saw on circuit made my hair stand on end. The actual approach and was ropey, most due to my tight circuit. Twelve ops yet!
I can't seem to get a good sleep. Its impossible to sleep in the day time because of the intense heat. I had to get up this morning to do an air test. As there were to of the 37 kites on the runway the takeoff was scrubbed till 10.00hrs. At that time the temperature was 110 and getting hotter - am on ops tonight.
This month has seen in Africa a tremendous plan of landing at Sicily being cooked up. Churchill says things will happen "before the leaves fall" It is interesting to note the leaves do not fall on most of the trees in this district.
I think Churchill is trying to give the Italians a false sense of security for the present summer. I have every reason to believe that Sicily will see the British Tommy before my birthday
I did five ops this month and worked like the devil the rest of the time.