January 17, 1939
ROYAL AIR FORCE STATION,
HAL FAR, MALTA
That clipping about W/C Fall and King was very interesting because I know both - fine men.
I think you should let Jean ski, as it is the greatest and most important today in Europe - all society go skiing in Switzerland, Germany, etc. and if you want Jean to be a real top notcher let her go to it. She is smart enough to not take too steep a slope to begin with and can well look after herself.
Glorious is leaving in a few days time for Egypt but 802 are remaining behind - we connect with her next month for the combined fleet maneouvrables at Gibraltar.
On Monday 802 carried out four landings without hooks on Glorious for practice. I don't mind saying I had the wind up about the first but found the last three were all right.
It's really nothing but a stunt - you have to bring her in over the stern at no miles per hour over the stall or else you'll overrun the ship and if you see she is not going to stay on the deck you have to open up early or you might not have enough speed to keep from diving into the sea. Glorious is the hardest carrier to land on in the world I believe and has funnels on the side.
American carriers are so long - it must be like landing on an aerodrome.
Blue flight, i.e. my flight all carried out successful landings, but Lt. Strange in a two-seat fighter Osprey thought he would use his brakes and promptly turned a complete somersault just below the Captain's Bridge - no one hurt but one £10,000 aeroplane written off. Only last week he was telling me, "I have these deck landings taped now!"
To tell the truth, very few shoot a line about deck landings as one nearly always trips up at some time.
The other morning I saw an Auro Tutor (slow training type) tooling along in the sky so I formatted on it tucked right inside. The pilot was one of those lucky types who never look around, so he didn't know I was there for fifteen minutes, but spent his whole time looking dead ahead.
Then he turned with a startled look - later lifting his goggles so I could recognize him, but he wasn't anyone I knew so I thought he must be a sergeant pilot. (He had an ugly map).
Later in the morning the C.O. came into the Flight Office with a Group Captain RAF from HQ Med and I recognized the face - alack! a day! He turned out a damn good type. Had done two years with Royal Canadian Air Force 1926-7.
After deck landings yesterday, Blue Flight did loops in formation for benefit of ships company. I think we have more fund doing them than the people watching. One of them wasn't so pretty to watch!
I see that Keith has transferred to Royal Navy as a Lt(A) . He was a Flying Officer. He gains six months seniority changing over. I lose six months because I would have been an F/O in a couple of months, and if I had changed over, say, in April, I would have been a Lt.(A) right off but the scheme doesn't last that long so I have to wait till October.
Keith is also a fighter pilot so he might come to my squadron. Grey, a chap I went to Reading with, is joining my squadron here in a couple of days, which will be all right.
F/Lt. Bromley, my flight commander, is going home to do a specialist signalling course with the RAF.
This morning I only did 30 minutes flying - aerobatics.