1st August 1943
Little work, but I got a Beau. Met not hopeful, but I got to Colerne easily. Shot up Rat. Wheel landing, straight on to Filton. Wind very strong. Thornhill took me to Llandow. In Anson after lunch. Nice old Spit 1 to Sher. Rolled and ½ rolled, shot up Rat poor landing. (Colerne = still required to land there for clearance to Filton).
2nd August 1943
Nothing to do. New pilots notes amendments. P Legh to Comm Flight WW. Beasley & Pickering to be instructors. I hoped I had escaped it. Enquiries about 4+. Recruitment of pilots for BOAC and Air Transport Command stopped. (BOAC & ATC = cannot now recall circumstances concerning this. Did BOAC exist in 1943?)
3rd August 1943
Nothing to do, field completely bare. Taxi Anson to Yeadon; same again after lunch with RAF doctor with swelling (smelling?!) feet. Took McCallum & Kendall to Catfoss. Francis had landed Halifax at Yeadon with oil leak. Brought Kendall home. Pass had (first) Mitchell. (*Francis = Frankie Francis, CO of No 1 FP, W Waltham).
4th August 1943
Rotten day, scrub before lunch. In to Leeds with Pass & Jagger. Haircut, sorely needed, at Austin Reeds. Lunch then on to Odeon to see "Man and his Mate", prehistoric film, bldy awful. Tea at Bettys, home on the 6.30 with Pass.
5th August 1943
Another poor day. Chits for Defiant & Hampden but never did them. Hung about all day playing ping pong & chess. Letters from Ros.
6th August 1943
Work at last, but doubtful weather. 7 Defiants (ie. on the programme). I had a Beau to Lossie. Decided to go via KB owing to weather. Shot up Goodwin in an Albacore & Dawson in a Swordfish in Skipton Gap. Nice weather, good vis, lovely white Beau, feathered stbd airscrew, landed Crail, rear door open. Went to mess (wardroom?) for lunch with Goodwin, off to Lossie after. Flew well. Bisley from Kinloss, nice smooth A/C but overladen; much better than Beaufort. (Flew) Low over the moors. (KB=Kirkbride. Feathered airscrew = practice only. Rear door open = the crewman’s combined entry ladder and – shielded – under escape hatch. Goodwin = picked him up at Crail and took him to Lossie, Bisley = a late, modified, version of the Blenheim).
7th August 1943
Nice day. F/C to York and back with Gibbs, then nothing. Chess with Pass and Jagger, Stalemate. Ping pong with Goodwin and Burton. Home at 5.30. Went along to flicks but v crowded. Met Clark (Maps & Sigs) and Vine. Got in to "Yankee Doodle Dandy" at Hippodrome, v good, Cagney v versatile. Heard that John Shirley had been killed at Donibristle in a Martlet. (John Shirley = this terse statement was all that I could enter here in my 4 ins by 2, 1/2 ins diary. A fuller comment and tribute is given in the general note accompanying these diary entries. He was a delightful man; greeted me on my posting to Sherburn; found me my digs, and became a firm friend; a very sad loss for me).
8th August 1943
Doubtful day. No work till late morning. Went with Goodwin in Anson to Acklington. Then had old Beau 1 to Lossie. Everything worked except brake compressor. Took off with 110lbs. Fast & light, played about in the clouds. Up to 10,000 (ft), icing on wings and windscreen, Defiant TT back, wind v strong. Eng pump sheared on take off. Fast A/C, 200 at +2. Poor landing at Sherburn. (Engine pump sheared = hydraulic pump operating U/C and flaps. 200 at +2 = 200 mph at +2 engine boost pressure).
10th August 1943
Poor weather. Took Anson for Army "stooging". Could not get in to Topcliffe, pranged A/C’s on runway, waited at Dalton. Met report for Silloth very bad. Very pukka army types. Made for Tyne Gap, OK till near Dumfries, then v low clouds. Got to Dumfries, back over the hills, much better conditions. (Not now sure what "stooging" meant but we had some fairly regular appeals from the army for air transport).
11th August 1943
Doubtful day, clearing; lots of Hurricanes for Silloth. Took Defiant TT to Edzell, fast and nice. Found Firby in Oxford near Cheviot, formated. Then found Radford in Martinet; chased him and rolled. Found and caught Gibbs in Beau and rolled. Saw 5 prangs at Dyce; 3 Mosquito, 1 Hampden, 1 Whitley. Nice landing at Edzell; watched de Bunsen in first. Lunch at mess, Hampden back. Confirmed I would be at Shirleys funeral. Waited for Pass but he was stuck out. Took Bishop in Wellington to Elmdon. Met Metcalfe, stayed in dormitory at Services Club. (5 prangs = unclear why I saw these at Dyce which is north, beyond, Edzell. de Bunsen = courageous women pilot partly disabled in one foot. Elmdon and Services Club = assembling for Shirley’s funeral at Meriden, near Birmingham).
12th August 1943
Stayed in bed till 9 (!). Took gear to station, wandered around Birmingham, went to news flicks. Caught bus at Bull Ring, Metcalfe & Bulpits already on it. Lunch at Bulls Head, Meriden. Bishop, Storer, Metcalfe, Murphy, Kerrigan. Walked to church after, for Shirley’s funeral. Metcalfe had no idea what to do. Saluted the grave. Bugler played Last Post. Murphy took me to Kidlington in a Wimpey. Train to Oxford, bus to Boars Hill, got there by 7. Staying at Oliver Chiltons with Ros. Nice meal (!) View of Abingdon from his house. (On leave after attending John Shirley’s funeral, Metcalfe = adjutant at Sherburn, as far as I now recall, not listed as pilot but married to Ursula, Sherburn pilot).