204 Sqdn RAF
West Africa Forces
When we got to camp we went first to the mess. This was an attractive building with large high ceilinged rooms with big electric fans hanging from the roof and clever murals painted on the walls. There were a lot of shrubs in flower just outside and also some trees in one of which was hundreds of nests and the small brightly coloured birds made a terrific lot of noise all the time. Both the mess and the sleeping quarters have spacious verandahs and lots of mosquito screening. We took anti-malaria pills in the boat and are now taking quinine in addition to these and also as we sleep under mosquito nets one would be unlucky indeed to get malaria. Add to these the fact that there are may people here who have been out here several months who have never even seen a mosquito. Yet in the evening everyone wears long slacks, sleeves rolled down and special boots like half wellingtons.
Each room in the billet has a wog boy assigned to look after us. They are paid by us not the air force and do the dhobi daily, also bring tea in the mornings etc. They don’t speak English very well so it is not to easy to make oneself understood.
Meals seem pretty good—a lot of it like sauces are Canadian. It is nice to be waited on hand and foot by so many servants dressed in their white clothes and some brilliant coloured sash around the middle.
Beer is rationed to 7 bottles per month and to the disgust of the English is American—Pabst Blue Ribbon.
The first evening there happened to be a touring RAF dance band playing in the mess so we stayed to listen. It was very good, the music being extremely jazzy or hep (?) and what with the beer and the hot climate the scene soon became fantastic. I think some of these chaps have been out here too long—they seem to be going native.
The next day, yesterday, we moved over to the Squadron camp. Billets and mess are on the same pattern so I won’t say anything about that. Beer is again rationed but this time is Canadian—Dows Montreal Pale Ale. I haven’t had any yet but must soon. However I had some Canadian rye last night and there is no restriction on this. There is a frigidaire behind the bar so there is ice for the drinks too.
With love from
[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]