[transcription and transcription annotations have been provided by the collection donor]
Fri Jan 1, 1943:
New Year again. Put in the time today getting settled. Had a sun ray treatment before tea. Wrote some letters in the evening.
Sat Jan 2, 1943:
On parade this morning. We had a lecture on the petrol system in the morning. A stand down this afternoon, but I had to report to the C.G.I. who wasn’t in. I went to the station cinema in the evening to see “The First of a Few” with Leslie Howard.
Sun Jan 3, 1943:
As Jack Day our skipper has been grounded with a cold we were given 24 hrs off. I took advantage by catching up on sleep. More sun ray lamp this afternoon.
Mon Jan 4, 1943:
This morning I reported to CGI who wanted to know why I missed a lecture. A signals lecture in the briefing room in the afternoon.
Tue Jan 5, 1943:
Not much doing this morning. In the afternoon we saw “Next of Kin” in the station cinema. Broke as usual so sold some things getting one pound. Off to the dance in the gym. Shultz & I took some tinned food over to the Mess & stuffed ourselves.
Wed Jan 6, 1943:
Not feeling so good this morning, something I ate. Snow falling, but it soon turned to rain. Not much doing in the morning. Canadians met the Canadian Padre & discussed our problems. I went to bed early.
Thur Jan 7, 1943:
Pouring with rain today. We marched down towards the gym for P.T., but couldn’t get out of camp because they were holding a defence exercise. I went over to the Mess, the others marched back to the Flights then back to the NAAFI cinema. They know more ways to waste time than anyone I know.
Fri Jan 8, 1943:
Today passed much the same as yesterday except our crew were flying. Jack Day, my pilot is ACP. tonight as the rest of us went to Cambridge & saw the pantomime Aladdin. Very foggy when got out, no buses or taxis running, just the train.
Sat Jan 9, 1943:
Foggy & cold this morning, however it cleared in the afternoon so the crew went flying. I went to Cambridge early to do some shopping & intended staying for the dance in Dorothy’s Café, but it was too cold for me so I came to camp & went to the Women’s Land Army Dance in the village.
Sun Jan 10, 1943:
No church parade this morning as there was sleet falling which soon turned to rain. Had a look at a high altitude spitfire used for reconnaissance & photo work - no armament & with a blister in each side of the cockpit so pilot can see directly below. Jack & his wife, Molly met me in the “Brewery Tap” where we joined the “Vicious Circle”.
Mon Jan 11, 1943:
Parade this morning then our crew were given the rest of the morning off so we could move into the Mess, this failed to take place owing to some technicalities. During the afternoon they had nothing better for us to do than pick stones off the runways. I moved into Hank Wood’s little room in “C” Block instead. Went down to the “Tap” later.
Tue Jan 12, 1943:
Much trotting back & forth with little to do. Bought some tickets for the Dance in the gym. Unpacked my kit bags & we rearranged the beds in our room. After tea, I visited the Tap where I chatted away with Harry Budd & Irene Cameron. Quite a crowd at the dance.
Wed Jan 13, 1943:
Group Captain’s parade today, the newly formed band was in attendance, a great help to marching. I did some pressing & ironing later. We stood by in the afternoon waiting to fly. A coastal Command Fortress was bogged in the mud so we had a look at it. I don’t care for the ball turret underneath or the tail turret which seems to have too many blind spots, besides being manually operated. In the evening I went to Cherry’s very crowded tonight, but I had a good time.
Thur Jan 14, 1943:
A cold wet wind blowing today. After parade I bought a few things in the NAAFI grocery. At the Watch Tower at 10:00. We were marched out to the runways where we had to pick up the pebbles, I didn’t last long at that. Climbed inside the Fortress - much like airliners inside - sound proof cabins, luxury chairs - the bombs are piled one on top of the other, a very narrow catwalk takes one forward - the Navigator’s compartment is very roomy - the great difficulty seems to be in going from one part of the kite to the other. Jack & Molly Day & I visited the Tap.
Fri Jan 15, 1943:
I found it difficult to get up this morning as Hank had been night flying last night & didn’t wake up early. The crew flew this morning so I took my flying kit over to the Flights then came back to my room. After lunch Hank & I washed & waxed our floor, tidied up the room for tomorrow’s inspection. Saw Silvia Sidney & James Cagney in “fury” at the station cinema. Half way through the ack ack crew were called out as a Jerry was in the vicinity. At 10:30 a kite crashed & burned on the road between the airdrome & the Waafery. Sounds of exploding ammunition & oxygen bottles, the glow lit up the sky & great columns of smoke rose in the air.
Sat Jan 16, 1943:
Up bright & early. Decided to fly with my crew on their circuits & bumps, instead of going on the A.O.C.’s parade. We didn’t fly after all. After lunch we reported to our various sections which were inspected by the A.O.C. Made out some charts for my cross country trips. Went to Cambridge, met Bill Klufas & heard that Joe Hart has won a commission, also Fred Strouts.
Sun Jan 17, 1943:
Didn’t get up very early today went over to the Flights to see the crew off on their circuits & bumps, then changed a pair of boots, had something to eat at the NAAFI wagon, drew a chute & harness & finished making out my charts for day cross country trips. I had lunch & sat around in the lounge waiting for the crew to get back, they came in at 2:30 pm so we all went in & had late lunch. Went back to my room & got my dirty laundry ready. After tea a visit to the Station cinema to see “A Doctor & Debutante”. Mark & crew ( Hank & Budd) went on a cross country this morning & haven’t returned yet, they must have put down somewhere.
Mon Jan 18, 1943:
I went flying on circuits & bumps today. We didn’t get much time in as a ground mist came up.
Tue Jan 19, 1943:
Very dull & misty this morning. I explained the sextant to Jeff. No flying this afternoon so we did some dinghy drill. Doug Ball & I met Molly & Jack in the Tap in the evening. Later buying fish & chips in the village.
Wed Jan 20, 1943:
Commanding Officer’s parade this morning. The crew went flying while I changed my oxygen mask, picked up the boots I’d sent for repair & ironed a shirt & my uniform. We were given a stand down this afternoon. I went to Cherry’s in the evening & was called upon to demonstrate the slow foxtrot. An alert was sounded just as I was going to the railway station.
Thur Jan 21, 1943:
A bright clear sunny day. I went up with the crew for their last day circuits & bumps. We had a look at the cathedral in Ely, a very large church situated on an island in the river. As we are flying on night circuits & bumps we took the afternoon off. After tea we went back to Flights & stood by till 7:30 then went back to the Mess. Our flying was cancelled, however we had our egg supper. Scheduled to fly in the morning.
Fri Jan 22, 1943:
Missed breakfast & rushed over to Ops Flight, got ready only to find that our trip was scrubbed. We sat around during the afternoon for we were on the night flying program. We reported for flying & were told to stand by. Flying was washed out. Picked up a bit of cash at poker. Met Jack, Molly & Doug in the Tap which was packed to the doors for the M.T. were holding a dance.
Sat Jan 23, 1943:
While at breakfast we were told to report to Ops. Flight. After a lot of delay we were airborne at 10:45 am, cloud base very low, the undercarriage wouldn’t come up & one of the port-motors was in poor shape so we asked to land. Visibility was so poor that it was very hard to see the runways. Jack brought the kite in but bounced badly, the C.O. of Ops Flight tore chunks out of him for that & told him to do some more day circuits in the afternoon. He was forgiven later & didn’t have to do any day circuits. At tea time it was raining hard, dirty yellow clouds. We stood by for night flying as only one kite was serviceable for circuits. Night flying scrubbed.
Sun Jan 24, 1943:
Up late today. As we were standing by for night flying we played a bit of poker. We had to stand by till quite late then flying was cancelled.
Mon Jan 25, 1943:
Up early & over to Ops Flight ("C”) to do a short cross country, homing, bombing & air firing. We had intercom trouble before take off, but finally got off. I had a bad time of it, homing to Rushford bombing range. Ted Howe hit the target with one bomb. While on the way from the bombing range to the air firing the generators konked out. We came back to Base. We did our 1st night circuits & bumps.
Tue Jan 26, 1943:
We finished our night flying & got to bed at 4 o'clock this morning. I awoke at 13:10 shaved & washed too late for dinner so bought some cake at the NAAFI store. I was having a hair cut when Eric Ramm came in & said we were night flying. Some of the fellows had gone to Cambridge for the afternoon. There was bags of panic around the station, but we finally got off the deck. Till Ted Howe arrived I had to act as 2nd pilot..
Wed Jan 27, 1943:
I didn’t go on the Group Capt’s parade. Reported to “C’ flight & found out we had to do some more local homing & air firing. We took off at 12:45. The homing was better than what I did on Monday,. After about 2 hrs we landed at Base. Had a row with Sgt. Birks, Navigation Office. Late supper consisted of roast meat & brussel sprouts, no dessert so we had fried egg. We stood by for night flying till 20:30 hrs, during that time I made a quid at poker. We finished our night circuits & bumps & had an egg supper.
Thur Jan 28, 1943:
I slept in till noon & reported to Ops Flight at 2o’clock. We were told to get ready for a night cross country. We got out to our kite & warmed up our motors, then we were called back & told to stand by in the Mess. The trip was scrubbed. Irene Cameron (Sgt WAAF) phoned & told me Harry Budd was on leave & in Cambridge. I met him in the Bun Shop. Later on we went to the Criterion where Harry left for Waterbeach to sleep in the spare bed in my room. I went back by train.
Fri Jan 29, 1943:
Slept in till 9:00 am, rushed over to Flights & learned we were being posted to Lackenheath. We started to get cleared & packed. The C. Flight Commander had lost his helmet so we had to prove we had our own. Molly Day went home this morning so Jack & I went down to the Tap for a while, then to the Fish & Chip shop, finally ending up at the Legion Hall Dance.
Sat Jan 30, 1943:
Sun Jan 31, 1943: