18th May 1943 (after leave; London & Leicester)

Lovely day, up early. Caught 8.40 transport, Adj F Dackers in it. Defiant for Sherburn at Ratcliffe, shot up Ros’s house, saw them all. Good landing at Sherburn. Martens pranged White Hampden on runway just after. Took Defiant on to E Fort with Eng Metcalfe. Low cloud there. Went on to Edzell, Beaufort back, over cloud but quite nice. Round Bolton Abbey. (Martens = Ratcliffe pilot, a Flt Captain).

19th May 1943

Nothing to do. Watched flying, examined pranged Hampden, jacks pushed through front spar. Apparently he left power bolt off or misread green lights. Sat in sun and got very burnt. Peter George brought a letter up from Rosamond (Hampden = see entry for 18th. The power bolt controlled the hydraulic pressure supply for the U/C and flaps operation, was to be turned off in cruising flight, on for take off and landing). 

20th May 1943

Another lovely day, took Burton and cadet to Brough in F/C. Spit to Kinloss after lunch, shot up Cords flew very low at +1,1500. Aerobatted well over Kinloss, rolls, nice landing. Wimpey X back, waited for Radford and Egginton. Bad weather near Lossie, clearing. Climbed to 10,000, Rad took photos of clouds and me. Lovely vis saw Morecambe Bay, stall turns near Leeds, good landing. Went "Forest Rangers" with Shirley. (Radford = John, a superb photographer and good mate, who took many pictures of me airborne).

21st May 1943

Very little to do. Fine but thick. To Brough with Kerrigan in Anson (him flying) Bad take off and landing (!). Barracuda to Sherburn with cadet, tried to climb over clouds, but r/climb v poor. Stall turns over Sherburn, dropped landing. Walked with Pass to Hillock. 

22nd May 1943

Nothing to do till after lunch, weather poor. Fairchild to Yeadon, rather thick. Anson to Kinloss but had to wait for it. Fuel cocks wrongly labelled, gauges connected wrongly. Weather improving near Forth but low cloud developing. Some low stuff at Kinloss. Spit back, but not ready. Mk V but no guns. Dirty over hills, getting worse with rain and low cloud near Sherburn. Landed 8.30. 

23rd May 1943

Nice day, some clouds. With P Legh to Lichfield in Anson. Wimp X to Eastmoor, 7 other Wimpeys on the books. Shot up Ros’s house in nice Wimp. Stbd engine failed near Ratcliffe, very rough, spitting back. Feathered it and got to Wymeswold. Unfeathered but no good, feathered and made nice landing (on one). Mather came over from Rat. Mrs Gardiner took me to Rat. To Sherburn in Tiger with Burton, no chute or goggles. (My first forced - or emergency - landing after engine failure: break up of piston in No 9 cylinder. No problems, no stress, commended by the C/O of Wymeswold (a Wimpey OTU) - who was a witness - for airmanship and tidy landing. He was astonished to learn that ATA flew Wellingtons solo).                

25th May 1943

Nice day, but I had too many hours so got nothing. Hampden being dismantled. Rowley landed Wimp at C Fenton, I fetched it to Sherburn before lunch. Runway too out of wind for him. Nice Ic, very light. Fairchild to Leconfield to Leconfield pm for Pickering, went over at 6.000ft. Ballooned it at Sherburn on return. Saw petrol lorry on fire. Sims back from Class 5. Wills, d’Erlanger, Bathurst all arrived at Sher. (Wills = Philip Wills. d’Erlanger, Bathurst; the top three of ATA).

26th May 1943

Poor weather but nice first thing. Taxied 2 Spit IX’s - that Rat brought in - and a Swordfish. Gibbs did the same. Dawson doing the programme, gave me a Spit & a Beau to Lossie and back, but weather no good. Several stuck out. Walton doing first Martlet. Finally had Wimp X to Mid St G. Weather bad so took it to Croft. Got over later. Anson pushed off, Burton came for me in F/C. (Anson pushed off = did not wait for me).

27th May 1943

Lovely day, some clouds. Ropey Mk I Defiant to Lossie, ran v hot. Over clouds to Catterick at 6,000. Went in to Donibie for Pass. Got in quite nicely, refuelled. Watched Spits "addling". Glycol topped up, leak in radiator. Got off with difficulty, good landing at Kinloss, then over to Lossie. Beau VI back, flew low all the way, across Forth by Edinburgh. Lovely Beau, shot up Bolton and Ilkley, good landing at Sherburn. (Donibie = Donibristle, a very short runway Naval Air Station, not easy with A/C like Defiants. Addling = Simulated dummy deck landings). 

28th May 1943

Fine day, little to do. Rather gusty. Flew F/C to Yeadon. Acted as Flt/Eng to Capt Gill in a Lanc. Did quite well (!) but late on airscrews and booster pumps on landing. Chatted with Gill in Watch Office at Holme, saw heavy landings by Halifaxes. (Gill = second in command, Sherburn, & for whom I had a high regard. Was very keen to get me on to Class 5; 4 - engine conversion).

29th May 1943

Fine day but hazey. 4 of us taking Ansons from Yeadon to Hawarden. P Legh, Dunlavy & Walton. Formation T/O quite good, winding wheels up a bind. Dunlavy led, Walton behind. Hot, in shirtsleeves, nearly collided with P Legh; kept formation right to Hawarden. No job back, lay on hangar top in sun. Back in Anson via Speke and Sq Gate. Caught 5.0 to Leeds, tram to station. Ros already there, supper at snack bar, snooty waitress. (Formation take off = presumably flying control, Yeadon, approved?)

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