17th August 1943 (after leave)
Caught 7.25 Paddington for Maidenhead. Nice morning, coach to airfield. Saw Death in Ops, gave me a Beau and a photo of Cosford Ferry P members. Saw Steve, Combi, Malcolm, Forbes and Stan, who had first Beau, Anson to St Athan, showed Beau to Stan. Lunch at mess with Miss Black. Treen cracked off in his Beau, mine a nice white Mk X. Went to Wye Valley, Burford, Boars Hill (shot up Oliver C) Leicester, Lincoln, N Coates. F/C waiting, trouble in starting. Looked over Lanc Mk 2. (Steve = pilot/conjuror, name forgotten, Malcolm = Ronnie, pioneer supplier of bubble type cockpit canopies. Treen = ex FAA Sherburn pilot. Stan = Dew, Cosford pilot with only one eye).
18th August 1943
Doubtful day, plenty of work. Chits out after lunch, Hurricane to Silloth, nice T/O, waited for Pass in Martlet, shot him up and rolled all round him. Went round Lake District, poor landing, did not get tail down. Back in Anson with Kerrigan and many others. Pass had Wimpey, Storer had Boston but he dropped it (?). Went along to Pass in the evening. (Pass = Ron Pass, Sherburn pilot/mate).
19th August 1943
Poor AM. Given Walrus to Lossie. Got stacks of food (?). Shepherd came with me. Walrus quite nice, rudder very sensitive, wallowy. Refuelled at Edzell, fair landing. Throttle very stiff. Quick getaway, nice landing at Lossie. Went on to Evanton, very nice, cruising with window open, nice landing. F/C waiting, Joe Cameron. Beau from Lossie with Shepherd. Good take off, port throttle working back. Made lovely wing tip trails, low flying over moors. Climbed to 8,500, more trails, checked landing late, ballooned, checked swing on brakes. (Shepherd = very bright, capable ATC cadet. Walrus = first on type).
21st August 1943
Took Jagger to York late afternoon for Halifax for Hawarden. Came back and asked for Wimpey someone else had turned down. Mk VIII, heavy but OK. Poor north of Leeds, heavy shower then OK. Given another Wimpey at Hawarden, a Mk X. Very dirty near Ilkley; back just before landing time, fair landing. I did have a Beau to Tain which I was unable to do. Jagger promised me it for tomorrow. (Again, Sherburn appeared to have no permanent Operations officer, so senior pilots eg. Jagger, took over).
22nd August 1943
Beau to Tain, lovely weather, low over the moors. This was the farthest north that I had been (at that time). Good landing, concentrating on speed and checking at right height. Joc waiting in F/C for Lossie. Oxford back, into Turnhouse for 3 RAF. They had brought in Mosquito 15’s, longer wing tips and 4 bladed props. Wind high, heavy showers. Dropped RAF at Eshott, went on to Sherburn. Port root fairing splitting with vibration. (Good landing = I was still in touch with Hugh Kendall and keeping records regarding airmanship and daily variations in performance. Mosquito 15 = high altitude fighter version designed to deal with high altitude Junkers reconnaissance aircraft operating over Scotland).
23rd August 1943
Down to W Waltham for 4+ conversion course. Given same Oxford as yesterday, U/S at first. Took Radford to Hucknall (on leave), good landing. Went on with Kerrigan to Northolt, poor landing. Lovely day and view over London. Death suggested we stay in London. Kerrigan decided to wait and be picked up. Large variety of A/C at Northolt. Walked to station with Polish pilot and caught tube. V hot. Arrived at Hampstead Towers, had bath and changed. Went to my parents silver wedding party. Met Oliver, Ralph, Boldero’s and Dorothy G. Tired. (Death = former ops officer at Cosford, now at W Waltham. Hampstead Towers = guest house and family London "pad").
24th August 1943
Up early, 7’25 train from Padd. White Waltham somewhat altered, mess in new position. Lectures about power and carbs, some films. Went to same digs as before; Mrs Angelo at Mariposa. Could not provide evening meal and I shared a room with Lynch, an Irishman. A red headed Englishman and a Pole also there. (Lectures = 4+ conversion was the advanced heavy twin course also specialising on US aircraft).
25th August 1943
Same lectures day after day. Weather good. Automatic superchargers; turbo superchargers airscrews;, films on met, endurance, detonation, Wright engines and icing. Ibbotson, Roy, Mickel, Miss Leska (Polish) and Mrs Wilberforce in my class. Went to flicks in the evenings. (Met = meteorology. Wright engines = a principal US air cooled radial).
This entry marks the last that I maintained in 1943, and I did not resume recording any other diary until January 1945 and then only for three months. A comment on these diaries and my impressions of them as seen during this re-acquaintance with them in 2013 is given separately. I was astonished in a number of ways in what they revealed.