Monday, 31 August 2009

August 26th 1940

Gave dual to my first Polish pilot "George Sokolowski". We had an intake of 4 pilots and 4 observers in 3 Squadron. George was a dam nice fellow 33 years old, had been 5 years in the Foreign Legion, he was killed about six weeks later while night flying - for no apparent cause possibly suicide. After this we had Poles under training all of the time. Poles were very good fellows - inclined to optimism when asked about their flying hours, always said they understood when they didn't, but were very keen on flying. Pretty tiring to teach.

August 24th 1940

Flew up to Heston to see W/C. Turtle C.O> P.D.U.. We had heard that they wanted four more pilots in this and Bloggs and I went to W/C Anderson and then G.C. Dunn to ask for a posting, neither of them were in the least helpful so I went and approached W/C. Turtle about it. He said he would do what he could etc. - in fact gave hope. Subsequently nothing happened!.

July 23rd 1940

(Written up December 1940) No. 3 Squadron moved out to the dispersal area round edge of the aerodrome and worked from Nissan huts near Benson village. Seemed good fun at first during fine weather, though serviceability was still bad. "Purple" warnings introduced 26th July, got caught up at night on 27th!

July 21st 1940

Work goes on as much as usual, unserviceability of the aircraft being the chief worry; we are now getting in much more flying but it is not what it should be. These aircraft are just about finished now. Permission came through for 48 hours leave for screened flying crews and after getting several away we heard that we could now have 7 day's leave before September 1st. Most people nearly passed out at the thought of it and we started straight away. Heard that week Fowler is in P.D.U.. Getting more night flying too now - average two nights out of three. Apparently the role of the Battle aircraft is i. Defence against enemy land invasion by sea or by air. ii. Flight penetration into enemy territory for bombing probably by dawn. iii. Night trips to the N.W. coast of Germany and Holland for the planting of "W" bombs.
Have recently been learning of some pretty good sidelines on this war particularly on the French side of it. Also of some of our own ideas.
On July 19th H.M. King George VI visited this station amongst several others on a tour - much spit and polish and local formation flying! He inspected all the RN. Officers on the station (U/T on loan to RAF) and the squadron leaders - had tea with the wife and then went. That night we had quite a good party in Oxford at the Playhouse Theatre and later at the George Dorchester. We went with the Huxtables and then spent most of the following day (Day off) with them.
Bloggs had another Battle aircraft crashed on forced landing in Devon today crew unhurt. Recently one caught on fire at the aerodrome during one lunch hour after undershooting in a forced landing with a dead prop and wiping away its tail on the trees. Pilot broke a leg and was rescued in time.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

July 3rd 1940

First real daylight raid warnings - two; early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Nothing happened however - they were only "yellows" anyway. Volunteered with Henderson for a posting to P.D.U on learning that some good trainees were required for recommendation for that job, put up some wangles for this posting but heard this evening that 3 trainees are going - don't know whether there any more vacancies now. Rumour now points to our re-equipping with Blenheims of course everybody hopes for "Defiants" but!

July 2nd 1940

Rumoured that some paratroopers were dropped pretty near yesterday - one was caught apparently and one or two are still at large, somewhere near Huntercombe. A few days before this there was a scare from Waddington that eight had seen to drop during the late afternoon, but no one could trace anything of them and general opinion seemed to be "just a panic by a farmer and his boy".

Saturday, 27 June 2009

June 27th 1940

More raid warnings at night and some bombs dropped - stories of this conflicting. Probably two lots of stick bombing total of 17 bombs. One got pretty close - landed quite near the beacon, no damage done though. Many bombs failed to explode.Night flying lights were still on as only a "yellow" had been received.