Thursday 1st. July
Last night I did an unsuccessful op on Cagliara, the capital, an important port of Sardinia. Every thing was O.K. till we got to the target and we received a code message "snuff two." We located the target and did a run-up, a good one at that. The bomb door indicator light failed to light when I selected "open". On doing a quick check of the emergency system we decided the hydraulics were O.K. and only the light was u/s. The navigator pressed the bomb tit but nothing happened. After much work the bomb doors did come partially open and the bombs fell out shaking the devil out of the kite. and then landed on the b ----. The armament blokes and electricians, being purely men of theory, just couldn't believe our story. Its one of those things that shouldn't happen but do.
At that time the starboard engine sprung an oil leak and played the devil all the way home. Our only consolation was the fact that we got the a/c back to base doing only slight damage to the bad engine.
I think that satisfied him we gave the blunt truth with no excuses.
Friday 2nd. July
37 operated last night and 70 are on tonight. Its my turn to sleep provided I'm not joed for some thing in the mean time - I think "70" is on Albia to night.
Because of a serious leak of "gen" to some source in Air Command we are told three targets, that, however only fools a few. Sabatruse, in the area is very active, booby traps, water in petrol seems to be the chief hobby of our "friends". The native town, close by, definitely stinks in under-ground organizations. The natives, them-selves have little liking for the British.
Charlie, the Maltese gunner, has just been found after Green and crew went missing, seven weeks ago. Charlie was the only one who survived the crash and was, evidently holed up with friendly people in the desert. He is one of the characters of the squadron. Before the war he joined a fascest movement in Malta. result he was given a free tour of Italy. As soon as he got home he denounced poor Musso and joined the R.A.F. when war broke out.
Note 127 July 8th Information about Charlie proved to be untrue.
"M" saw its last operation at last. It caught fire at noon today and was destroyed. The temp. at that time was 130 in the shade. DF 688 has been on the squadron a long time and she's a veteran, she caused many a head ache to those who flew her and the ground crew as well.
An ac ac gun blew up to night causing one death and two severe casualties.
Monday 5th July
Operations last night were on Catania. One air craft (Halsey in "M") is missing but is thought reached the African coast.
Received a parcel yesterday from home, in the record time of 3 ½ months.
Crew on "N" found in lake. They were forced down due to lack of petril. Three members of the crew were slightly injured and the remaining two are O.K.
Good show on Halsey's part but what about the engineering officer and the C.O.!!!
Tuesday 7th July
Both 37 and 70 operating last night and what a panic! 37 lost two over Palermo and one on the drome.
In our sqd. Vic Mamrra and my crew caused all the panic. The "B" flight crew bailed out over the air drome as the air craft was almost out of control. We were O.K. but were two hours late. We took off and were in the target area some 40 minutes early. On the way out we heard the air craft "talking" - possibly fighters.
could not definitely identify the target but bombed on flak. The defences did not open up till we had dropped our bombs. Then 4 s/1 and 8 batteries went to town on us.
Evaded them and s/c home and ran into another heavily deended area just south of the target. They didn't open fire until we were directly over them. From these two attacks the came through except fore some small holes. Proceeded to get ourselves lost for two hours in the Cape Don area. When we did land I put the air craft in "37" dispersal.
Our other troubles included flare failure, hot weather, bad inter com and bad radio communications with base.
p.s. Hit by flak.
Thursday 8th July
Comiso is to be the target for to night's operation. It is going to be one of those trips that no one can be sure where the bombs are going to fall. I fully expect 10/10th cloud and possibly showers in the area.
and crew are missing after last nights op. on same target. MacGill was r/g on the crew. I have known him since the old Harwell days. Some how I can't imagine him missing but fate is a queer thing.
Friday 9th July
Tonight is the big night for Sicily. Paratroops intend paying them a visit about 03.00 hrs. to morrow morning.
The night bombers are doing a maximum effort to pave the way. I would certainly like to be on...
Saturday 10th July
Last night's operations were highly successful and it is thought that the paratroopers have them selves quite well entrenched. The next week is critical and speed is the slogan.
I am on tonight in A MK 10 - "B". I did a lot of light "binding" this morning about being taken off "M" so I expect to get back on again for the next op. "M" is the best kite on the sqd. and is the best MK 11 I have seen yet.
We are carrying 18 X 250 to night so it won't be harbour bashing.
Sunday 11th July
Operations scrubbed last night just as I was "revving up" to take off. The army could not manage to take Augnita last but will try again early next morning.
The success of these coastal attacks depends largely on the efficiency of the R.A.F. The work they are giving us is, perhaps, the trickiest we have ever had to do. Some of our bombs must hit within a mile of our own troops and bombing must cease at an exact moment because army start their push with a stop watch.
Many Canadians are taking part in the most important work in Sicily.
Good luck to them!!
Monday 12th July
No ops last night or tonight for me.
Tuesday 13th July
The war in Sicily is going pretty well except for some super boobs by the Yanks. Aside from the that the commander almost ruined to show they managed to lose 30 or 40 tanks in landing them and shelled their own men and shot down about 50 DC-3's (C-47's)
This has put the campaign back about three days but Monty has the reins now. The Canadians have many more in the battle than is generally believed.
I am temporally in disfavour by cutting Barbour in the circuit and landing in front of Spurdens when he tried to make me overshoot.
This is the best news I've heard since I left Canada. I may go home after I finish my tour and spend six months in England.
Monday 26th July
I spent my birth-day in Tunis. Not much to talk about.