3rd April 1943
Lovely day, Hurr to Edzell, a 11c, no tanks, very nice, rolled, flew over Cordingleys. Brought Beesley back in v heavy Beaufort, too much fuel. Beesley nattering about his previous prang, tried to show me the way. Circled Fountains Abbey, good landing at Sher. Hasty lunch, off to Haw in Anson. Wimpey back to Dish, lovely a/c, lovely trip saw Ilkley, Bolton, Weeton. Good landing, 4 hrs flying. (Haw = Hawarden, Dish = Dishforth, Sher = Sherburn).
4th April 1943
Thick AM, very little to do, hung around till lunch, then took Fair to Brough, on to Kirton Lindsay for Bayliss. Long chat with him. He had tea at Sher, went off in Wimp VI. I had Mollisons Wimp X for Eastmoor. Local flying, Ilkley, Weeton, Scarrots. Feathering practice, good landing. Scarborough awaiting me. Lovely evening. (Bayliss = Peter Bayliss, old Cosford mate).
5th April 1943
Nice day, nothing to do. W/O at 11. Went with Dawson & Walton to Harewood by car. In to pub and caught bus to Harrogate. Wind very strong. Walked to Birk Crag. Lunch at cinema café, walked around town, bus to Weeton Lane. Long walk against wind to Cordingley’s house. Saw them all; twins going to do Red Cross work, Renee at Yeadon. Lovely tea and dinner. Bus to Leeds. News flick, 10.36 to Selby. (This extract included as a sample of no/flying & on/leave days. Cordingleys = a Bradford mill owners family who had asked to be put in touch with aircrew located at Yorkshire airfields. Most hospitable to me).
8th April 1943
Quite pleasant AM. Anson to Kinloss. Dawson flew me to Yeadon, some wait there. Kendall doing same trip. Shot up Cordingleys. Over hills to Forth, some rain, some cloud but v nice. Strong wind at Kinloss. Wimpey III back. About to take Kendall to Lossie, but went by taxi. Poor Wimpey, stbd engine overheating, slow, hunting. Picked up Hunt at E Fortune. Weather deteriorating, fair landings.
9th April 1943
Quite fine all day. Nothing to do. Lunch at aerodrome. Taxied two Swordfish from factory to dispersal. Trouble with first backfiring. Home quite early.
10th April 1943
Quite fine again. In Fair to Midd St. G with Barker to pick up Anson left by U Prest, tail wheel said to be sticking. No trouble, however. Read book on way up to Lossie. Some showers, 2nd Anson for Kinloss would not start, Heering took us over in Dominie. Wimpey back to Finningley, Baugh as stooge. Nice a/c, Mk III but fast. Shot up Cordingleys, flew over moors, good landing, Storer, Anson waiting. Home late. (U Prest = Ursula Preston, the only women pilot at Sherburn at that time, wife of adjutant Preston).
11th April 1943
Rather thick but fair enough. No work AM, wash out, but stayed on and got Martlet for Lossie. Abandoned by Bishop with flat tyre, wheel changed and cracked off. Nice a/c, very stable, rolled well, plenty of fuel. Shot up Cordingleys & Scarotts, raining on way up, started at 5,500 (ft), came down to 1000. Good landing at Lossie came in too fast, some tendency to swing. Back in Halifax with P Legh, had engineer to help him, I flew it for a short while. Cook, Anson, waiting at Rufforth. (Martlet = also called Wildcat and first for me - still rolled it!, P Legh not listed in Brief Glory?).
12th April 1943
Thick AM. Chess with Pass, beat him. Swordfish to KB after lunch. Tried Barnard Castle, no good, low cloud. Nice trip along Tyne Gap, Swordfish heavy and cumbersome. Poor landing at KB. Wimpey X for Kirmington. Started up with petrol off, panel flew off on run up. Back along Tyne Gap, climbed to 9.500 ft over cloud, came down at Wetherby, shot up Cordingleys & Sherburn, nice landing, very steep approach. Dawson collected me in Fair, home late (Thick AM = being east of the Midlands, Sherburn got it’s full share of industrial haze and smoke, sometimes over several days).
13th April 1943
V nice day, thickish AM. No work to do. Watched flying; Lancs, Halifax’s, gliders. Anson to Kirmington PM with cadet and Miss Standish. Climbed to 5,000ft. Port engine stopped at Kirmington, doper cock left on. Fetched Sims & Barker, nice landings, lovely evening (Gliders = the Airborne Experimental Estab was at Sherburn, Doper cock = engine priming cock, operated by ground crew).
14th April 1943
My birthday, age 22. Had Swordfish to Rat with test pilot but it fell through. Stayed for lunch and Firby took me down in the back of his, fairly comfortable, sat on cushion in helmet and raincoat. Met Ros, Birdsell, Mrs Coleman. Gifts from Ros and Bet, supper with Ros and Bet. (Birdsell = Ratcliffe pilot, Bet = Smith, M/T driver and friend of Ros).