F/Sgt Ewan Brooking


To navigate this page, note that it has been set up in several sections. It begins with a chapter on FAMILY HISTORY which was written by Craig and Bryan Brooking as a uology, and was read by Craig at their father's funeral. The second section covers 'The War Years' and is further divided into chapters;
GREECE 1941,
BURMA 1942,
INDIA 1942,
INDIA 1943  

Sgt Ewan Brooking 113 Squadron 1942
F/Sgt Ewan Brooking

Born Auckland, 31 Jan 1922, died 07 Feb 2007.  Joined RNZAF 04/06/1940 service number 401454, Navigator/Bomber. Training Course #9. Promoted F/Sgt effective 01/09/1941.


My Dad, Ewan, was born in Auckland in 1922.  He was the youngest son of Arthur Kennedy Brooking, a New Zealander and Hilda Annie Brooking who was born in MacLean, NSW and had moved to NZ with her parents and siblings. Dad had 2 elder brothers Archibald and Graeme (Whizz Bang) and an elder sister Iris all of whom are now deceased.

Dad's father had been gassed in the First World War and his continued ill health often meant that Dad and his brothers would live with their maternal grandfather, Jacob Erkkila, at Matakana north of Auckland.

As a result of his father's ill health, Dad left school at the age of 10 to work as a bellboy, pillbox hat and all, operating a lift at the Auckland Hotel.  He gave his wages 10s/6d to his mum and used his tips, which were often more than the wages, to clothe himself and buy other personal items. Dad's father died in 1934 when Dad was 12.

By the time he was 18, Dad had enlisted in the 38th Territorial Artillery Regiment, bought some fashionable clothes and found he had an artistic flair, which enabled him to get a job as a ticket writer, barcodes weren't around, for a large Auckland department store. From his photos he seemed to enjoy firing the "big guns" at the 38th.

In June 1940, at the age of 18, Dad joined the RNZAF and was demobbed in December 1944 after serving over 4 and a half years in various of theatres of action. WW 2 had a major influence on the remainder of Dads life.  The war affected his health, resulting in a career in the building industry and provided social and community activities through the NZRSA. It was also the subject matter for many of his paintings.

For many years Dad enjoyed painting and over the years donated paintings to:

o     Auckland war memorial museum
o     RNZAF Museum
o     Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland
o     The Army Museum, Waiurou NZ
o     The Auckland hospital
o     Fighter World Williamstown
o     The Myall Lodge
o     The HN golf club; and the
o     Great Lakes Shire Tea Gardens office.

In 1945 Dad married Eileen Patricia Brown and they had 2 children, my younger brother Bryan and myself. Dad started his working life after the war building houses to other peoples designs; he then started designing, drawing up the plans and building houses on spec.  Bryan and I spent many a weekend with a hammer in our hand helping.  Laying flooring was much better than cleaning up the site.

At the start of a job there would be no power and Dad would brew our tea on a primus and stir in the sugar with a 3ft folding rule, which was also used occasionally as a disciplinary device.  We both hated it when dad bought a new rule, the varnish would come off in the tea.

Dad convinced Bryan and I into becoming engineers because they had the power to sign the plans. We can still drive around Auckland today and see the many houses that Dad built. Dad's poor health eventually forced him to give up building houses, but he didn't leave the building industry, as he worked for Tasman Pulp and Paper and Fletchers as a sales rep.

During this period he obtained a Diploma in Architecture and then worked for Stevenson and Turner on the Auckland Hospital, Air NZ building and other major projects. Dad then developed a block of 5 units one of which he retained and then retired.

Dad enjoyed travelling and had many trips to Australia and Canada (Bryan lives in Canada) to help with home reconstructions.  He even brought his own hammer. In 1986 my wife Judy and I needed some help to build the duplex on the land we had purchased in Carinya Close, so we invited Dad to join us. He sold up in NZ in a flash and after a trip around the world returning to areas where he spent time during the war and spending some time in Canada with Bryan and his wife Janice, he moved to Hawks Nest. He loved the Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens area and was happy to spend the rest of his life here.

In Hawks Nest, he continued his painting, meeting with the art group in a shed on the Golf course. Then at the age of 78 he bought a computer.  His interest in scanning photographs and computer painting, combined with Google and email eliminated his desire to paint. Through the Internet he became involved with a group setting up a website about 113 squadron where he served with the RAF.  This interest and the contribution he made resulted in Dad being named as a founder of the site. Not bad for a man in his 80's.

Dad joined the golf club and RSL when he moved to HN.  He really looked forward to his Tuesdays with the Vets and his golfing buddy and neighbour Bill Snape.  He was quick to let me know if he won a ball. Dad was also a member of the HN Bridge club from its early days and enjoyed the regular card sessions and BBQs.  His conventions weren't the best, but he played the cards well.

Dad liked to help the community where he could and was involved in designing the:

o     Myall river boardwalk,
o     The Hawks Nest tennis club pavilion
o     Myall Lodge extensions; and
o     The RSL memorial

Whilst not outwardly affectionate Dad loved all his family without reservation, he will be missed.

(The following memoriam was written by Ewan's granddaughter and was read at his funeral)

Our mortal time accounts for little more than a blink or flash.
Wisely, time is not the true measure of life,
One may therefore ask what do we measure life by?
We measure a life by how much of it lives on in us.
Ewan Brooking, my grandfather has been many things to many people -
He has been a son, husband, father, father-in-law, grand father, great grand father,
warrior, creator, neighbor, mate, confidant, and friend.
Although he is leaving us, He will still be here for we will see him in a smile, a frown, a tear.
We will hear him in our laughter, our sorrow, our wisdom, and we can touch him in a newborn child.
Ewan once again has his wings.
His spirit has broken all earthly bounds and is free to soar to heights he has never known.
One One Three - you are clear.
For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be.
He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.


 GREECE 1941
Sgt. Harry Duignan and myself, Sgt. Ewan Brooking, both observers of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, were posted to 113 Squadron R.A.F. on 10th March 1941. This was from the Middle East Pool, at Geneifa to Kabrit were the Squadron was based. Both the M.E.P. and Kabrit are close to the shores of the Bitter Lakes, and the Seuz Canal passes through the lakes. We were, I think the 4th and 5th of our course No 9., to be posted to a squadron. The first was Sgt. Ted Arstrong who went to a Maryland squadron [No.38?], based at Fuka in the Western Desert. Sgt's David Connoly and Ken Pipe went to a ' Wellington' Bomber Squadron [No. 39?] based at Kabrit on the Bitter Lakes. We were the first of the Dominion's aircrew to join 113. Eventually it built up to 4. We were joined later by 4 R.C.A.F., 4 S.A.A.F., and eventually by the time we got to India, there were 16 R.A.A.F.  The 113 was equiped with Mk. 4 Bristol Blenheims, the bomber version. The Blenheim was "Á Maid Of All Work', being used for Reconaisence as well as there being a Fighter version, used for long range escort and day or night fighter use, as well as high and low level bombing.

The ground party left Kabrit on the 12th., by truck convoy , by way of Suez for Cairo,where we stayed the night. We were driving through sandstorms most of the way. The Suez Canal had broken its banks and flooded the road outside Suez. We arrived at Cairo after dark and went through to a camp at Mena. Sleep that night was on a concrete floor, but we all slept well. Up early next morning, and off just after daybreak for the drive to Amiriya. Sandstorms again, with visibility very very bad. Arrived at Amiriya mid afternoon. A dreary hell-hole, noted for it"s frequent sandstorms, Some of us went into  Alexandria  that evening for a picture show, and supper afterwards, then back to camp.Next day there was no movement, so some of us went into Alexandria for a few hours. Next morning,  the 15th., we went by train from Amiriya Station, and were taken by rail to the docks in Alexandria, There we boarded the " S.S. Queen Adelaide", a small tramp steamer,  which was to be our transport to Greece. Our billet was one deck down in the forward cargo hold, sleeping on the deck. The other ship in the convoy was a small petrol tanker. Part of the way across to Piraeus we were  attacked by two Dorniers of the Luftwaffe, who damaged the tanker. It left to try to make it to Crete, and we carried on to Piraeus, the port for Athens. On board the ship were 5 gunners  of No.27 Machine Gun Battalion, there to provide local protection. as the Battalion"s transport was stored below decks, along with the Squadron's transport.  The gunners had been provided with a "Chicago Piano", which was four Vickers Machine Guns mounted together in a swivel mounting and operated by a single triger. In the meantime,one of the Dorniers had climbed and turned to make a attack on the Q.A. The gunners and the "Chicago Piano" were waiting for it to get within range. When it did, they let loose and savaged the Dornier mortally. It hovered momentarily, then tipped, and with black smoke spouting from it, crashed into the sea. The crew, and us, were of course, extremely happy with the result. On to Piraeus, where in due course, we docked.

From Piraeus we were taken to the Greek Air Force airfield at Tatoi to the north of Athens.   We were there a few day"s, so leave was granted, and Harry and I took advantage to travel into Athens. We visited the Acropolis and some of the sights there,and ended up at the Anglo/Greek Club, where some quite lovely Greek girls were the hostesses, then back to camp. Sightseeing was soon over, so on the 1st. of April, I was temporarily crewed up with P/O Pengelly, and flew in one of our Blenheims from Menidi airfield [near Tatoi ] to Larissa, 1 hr. 10 m. to the north. After landing we were informed that the surface, apart from the landing strips, was too corrugated from earth quakes for taxi-ing the Blenheims, who appeared to have a weak stern frame. So, on the 3rd. we took off for Niamata, an airfield 10 minutes to the East of Larissa.

There was a tented encampment already established, and we were told to find and share the 4 man tents. Harry and I shared with a part crew of an R.A.F. observer and gunner. One instruction we were given was to dig a "slit trench" by our tent for our protection, which Harry and I proceeded to do. The R.A.F. duo didn't think much of the idea, so lay on their stretchers instead. Who do you think was first into it,  when the bullets began to fly. That was on Tuesday the 22nd.  We hadn't been up that long when the Luftwaffe struck. The camp was on the South side of the  road that led to the airfield, and the approach path of the two M.E. 109's was on the North side parallel to the road, but not too close. The gun fire that scrambled us into the slit trench, was the 109"s opening up on the planes on the airfield. About every half hour, another pair of 109"s would arrive, make their strafing run and depart, back to their base. There were our 16 planes as targets.  12 were bombed up ready for an "op" later that day, and 4 were in the workshops.Though the camp was not that close to the airfield, we had a reasonable view of the damage  that was being inflicted on the Blenheims. As the attack developed , another plane would be set on fire, with a column of smoke rising up, and the 109"s doing victory rolls through the  plumes. The bombed-up planes eventually blew up. The only anti-aircraft fire seem to be coming from a red -headed Syrian Jew airman, in a slit trench on the other side of the road, opposite the Sgts. mess , firing a 303 rifle at the 109"s.  Without much luck it seemed, until, in the mid afternoon, he appeared to hit one. This evidently annoyed the 109 pilots, so the next and last run was at the camp. This resulted in what was possibly our only casualty. An airman dived under the petrol tanker for shelter, but the tanker was a prime target,  and he was killed.  When the 109's left,  one of them was trailing a thin streamer of white smoke.

During the day, 3 flights of 80 plus German planes passed overhead, but fortunately for us their target was Larissa. Later in the after noon, a little R.A.F. Auster type highwing monoplane flew over at low level. It dropped what was evidently a message, in a ball with streamers attached. {W.W.1 stuff } It appeared that the message was to evacuate immediately. Orders were given to pack the kitbags and throw them and ourselves onto the back of our trucks, and be ready to move off .The camp and all gear and equipment was to be left as it was. Not long afterwards we moved off.

To reach the road south, we had to pass through Larissa, Which had suffered considerable damage from the 3 air raids. We passed through the Olympus Pass safely, and moved on, spending the rest of the night in a field off the road, sleeping where we could. Off again next morning, still heading south but by now things were getting a bit blurry. We passed through a town, possibly Volos, and then Daphne, and on to Piraeus. There we were put on a train, which  left at night and headed northwards. The train stopped in the middle of a plain later in the morning, and we took shelter in the small trees and scrub on the small hills nearby. This was in case of an air raid on the train. Later on in the afternoon, we boarded the train again which carried on to Corinyth and the Canal.The bridge across the Canal was a rail bridge, so we walked across in the dark, treading from sleeper to sleeper, very carefully, as the Canal was hundreds of feet down. On the other side of the Canal, we dossed down where we could on the side of a small hill. Sleep was fitful as I was trying to sleep on a narrow path where one side fell away down the slope of the hill. Next morning early we were marshalled to a small clearing in the trees, where some Army trucks were waiting. All aboard,  and off we we went to the South, through Argos to the little port of Nauplia.

We didn't get to Nauplia  but the hills a few kilometers away, where we took shelter in an apple orchard.  There was a ship in the harbour, with a load of ammunition. It had already been sunk , and was resting on the seabed, but the Stuka's kept dive-bombing it until it finally blew up. Then they turned their attention to all the Aussie troops and us sheltering on the hillside. There were 8 of us sheltering under a small old apple tree,so we tried to hide behind the trunk the opposite side to where the attacks were coming from. There was a fresh cow pat  on one side but,  fortunately, nobody landed in that. Somehow, along the way we seemed to have lost our kit-bags, as for food, the Sgts. Mess was not operating, and nor was the Airmans or Officers messes. I don't know what we did for food or drink, it was probably Bully Beef and Biscuits somewhere along the way. When we were under the apple trees, the C.O.somehow managed to scrounge a demi-john of rum, so all the Squadron personnel got a tot of rum to cheer us up. This was Anzac Day.

In the early evening we were assembled and  marched in column the few Kilometers to Nauplia, where  a Commando Landing Ship {the Glenairn ? } had arrived to take us onboard and away from Greece. We were taken by landing craft out to the ship, and had to scramble up a net,  to get onboard The sailors helped us over the railings. I managed top get a few hours sleep , dosed down in the carpenters shop, among the shavings and sawdust. The ship weighed anchor,  when everybody was on board, in the early hours of the morning, on the way to the Greek Naval Port of {Canea ? } on the northen coast of Crete. During the late morning 2 Lufwaffe planes flew over the ship at altitude and the A-A guns on the ship opened up. Their shell-bursts appeared to hit one of the planes, and a big cheer went up. That was the end of that episode. Either that day or the next one,  we docked at {Canea ?}. That was in the afternoon, and we disembarked to get into Air Force trucks that were waiting to take us almost the full length of the North coast of Crete, to the airfield of Heraklion. We were assembled in the open, in a field on the side of the airfield, but away from the strip. Though the discipline was still there, we were un-washed , un-shaven, largely un-fed, with the clothes we were wearing. A cup of tea would have been a special treat. As for some ice-cream, wow. I was wearing my greatcoat over my uniform, and in the pockets I had put my Log Book, and some photos, and some other papers. It was rather unfortunate that I forgot the 2 rolls of undeveloped film that were in my gasmask holder. They would have been very interesting, as some were of Niamata, and the 109's attack.

By now it was the 29th. of April, and I was one of the lucky ones able to fly out  of Crete. We took off at 1315  in a Lockheed Lodestar, and landed at Maaten Bagush, in Egypt, after a 2hr flight. Safety, but we had'nt finished traveling yet. Next was the train trip to Alexandria, where we had left from. We were sent to an Air Force Transit Camp outside Alex, for a clean-up, clothing, and  some pay. Three of us decided  that we should toast our safe return, and took off for Alex, Where we celebrated unwisely and too well, and where we spent the rest of the night as guests of the Military Police. Our next move was to Ramleh, in Palestine to an empty Army camp.  We didn't travel 1st class, or even 3rd class, but, as with Greece, in goods vans. Ramleh was a bit of peace and quiet after all of our travails of the past few weeks and greatly enjoyed by all the Squadron personnel. Leave was granted freely, and I took off for Jerusalem, to visit a lot of the Biblical Sites, the Via Dolorosa, Mosque of Omar, etc, including Bethlehem. However, all good things come to an end, and,  late in May, we received orders that we were moving to Egypt, to the Western Desert battlefront. For some members of the Squadron it was .........Back To The Desert.

 Back To The Desert. 1941

On 1st June 1941, the Squadron arrived back in the desert. We were to be stationed at L.G.15, otherwise known as  Bir Zimla or Sidi Haneish. The airfield was up on the escarpment above the railway line  with the Station of Sidi Haneish below us, and was classed as a  satellite of Maaten Bagush. It was just a large tract of desert cleared and leveled. The Officers mess and the Sargeants mess were pre-fab timber buildings fitted out  with tables and chairs, and a bar. The other ranks mess was a large marquee, and  the Ops room and stores were smaller marquees.The C.O.'s office was an ungainly box trailer  on a high wheel chasis.Tents were used as billets, with two or four man occupants, and were dug in and also surrounded by a sandbag low wall.

Left: The Sgts mess, Right: the aerodrome Bir Zimla LG15 (Satellite of Maaten bagush)
Source: Sgt Ewan Brooking Nav/B  RNZAF

55 Squadron was still there and I met up with another observer from my course, Sgt. Billie Cole, and another N.Z.er Harry Hewitt. I found a bed for the night with with Harry in his tent. We had a few beers in the mess in the evening. With 55 gone and 113 settled in, came the time for crewing up. My 1 hr 20 minutes in Greece was evidentaly considered enough Operation Training for me to be Crewed up for Operational Flying. I considered myself lucky in that my pilot was to be an experienced Rhodesian in the R.A.F., F/LT Stidolph. The gunner was a R.A.F. Sgt. Bill Smith, nickname "Jock" and of course from  Scotland. Jock and I found an empty dugout with two beds, which suited us. The Squadron settled in and came the time to start on Ops.

My first Op was an attack on the road between Maraua and Slonta in a Fighter Blenheim, on the 10th of June. This involved flying over the desert south of the main Road in Libya,  and then turning north to the road, and then turning east to strafe  anything on the way back to Egypt. First time lucky in that we came across a truck convoy of the Africa Corp. We attacked every second truck, and the No.2 Blenheim had a go at the ones in between. 5-10 hrs for the first Op, in 5859

Op. No. 2 on the 17 June  was also a straffing raid on the same road but between El Gubba and El Faidia, and we only found a solitary local truck. 5-20hrs. for that one, in 5859.There were no more strafing raids, as the next pair saw M.E.110's patroling the road. In the rest of June there were 3 more Ops. All bombing raids. 18th was enemy concentration at Bir Sheferzen. 2hrs 50, in 5893.Take off at 0958. 25th was  a bombing raid on Gazala No. 1 L.G. which was uncompleted. Don't remember why not. 3hrs 50, in 2393. Take off at 1220.  26th. was another bombing raid on Gazala No 1.L.G. Completed this time. 4hrs 15, in 2393. Take off at 1130. So ended June, with my first 5 Ops.
    Home on the desert at Bir Zimla LG15
          Source: Sgt Ewan Brooking

July wasn't such a good month with only 11hrs10 flying time, most of that was a turret test and formation flying exercises, with only one Op.,my no. 6. We took off in T2393 at 1910 for a night bombing raid on Gazala, but R.T.B. with a u/s turret for 20 minutes. Take off at 1910. However, we transferred to V5907 and took off again at 2000.This time we made it to Gazala, but were unable to locate the target because of  low cloud. On the 10th we took off at 0220 for another night bombing raid on enemy airfields but returned after 30 min. with u/s electrical gear. Ho hum!, so it goes.

August was more interesting with 4 Ops. 01/08/1941 was a bombing raid on a m.t concentration N.E. of Sidi Omar. 2hrs40 in V5513. Take off at 1140. On 02/08/1941 a Photo/Rece of Maddelena-El Gseier-Gelafan-Ettarfani-Giarabub-Ul Grein Weshka. 4hrs 20 in V5641. The 10/08/1941 another night bombing raid on Gazala O2. Take of at 2300 in V5446. Results were again obscured by low cloud.

Now comes Bengazhi. This was to be a dusk bombing attack at low level on a tanker that was supposed to be in Bengazhi Harbour. There were two Blenheims led by F/LT Stidolph with, of course, Jock and me. I never noted the names of the other crew, but they returned safely. This was the first attack on Bengazhi harbour 29/08/1941.
Benghazi Harbour first raid by 113 Squadron 1941
Painting by Sgt Ewan Brooking

Take off was at 1610 for the 45 min. flight in Z6233 to Sidi Barrani to refuel for the long flight ahead. We took off again at 1745 using a met forecast wind to get to Benghazi. We were nearly to Benghazi when Jock saw what he thought was a formation of fighters. F/Lt Stidolph jinked the plane around for a while, and then when we came through the clouds we were right over the top of Benghazi.Turned south-west for about 30 mls, and descended to low level, turning north to line up for our attack on Bengazhi. We passed an Italian destroyer on the way, which only tried to identify us by signal lamp. Of which we took no notice. To the North of the port, we turned East to begin our attack. By this time we were at very low level, and had to hop over the harbour mole which enclosed the port. There was no sign of any tanker, and the anti-aircraft fire started, and which got heavier as we crossed the harbour. Moored to the South side of the mole was a reasonable sized freighter, but as we had been warned about a neutral ship so we couldn't bomb that. By this time we were so low that the prop tips were almost touching the water, with the Flak streaming overhead. To get out of the South entrance, F/Lt. Stidolph had to bank to starboard, and that is when we were hit in the Port wing by a 40mm.shell. Fortunately the Blenheims had self- sealing petrol wing tanks. It was evident though, that we had lost some petrol, so I jettisoned the bombs safe to lighten the load. By this time it was night and the trip back was an anti-climax.There was night- flying at Derna, (enemy airfield) and we were signalled that we were clear to land, being mistaken for a `friendly'. What a pity I had dropped our bombs too soon. The other Blenheims landed back at base safely, but we didn't have enough fuel, so had to land again at Sidi Barrani, to refuel. As Sidi B. was an emergency L.G., It took some time for them to wake up and lay out the flare path. F/Lt  Stidolph made a very cautious landing and held the port wing up as long as possible. Which was just as well as the port landing wheel was punctured and we did a ground loop when it hit the deck,and ended up facing the way we had come from. There was about 15 mins.flying time in the petrol left in the tanks.The aircraft was declared unserviceable with it's damaged port wheel and assembly. Next day, the 30th., a relief aircraft arrived from Base, with just a pilot and ground crew to fix our plane. We took the relief plane back to Base for de-briefing etc., leaving the relief pilot to bring back our plane, with the ground crew, when they had fixed it up.


The next day on the 31st S/L Spencer and Sgt G Sulman took off for a similar low-level attack on Benghazi, unfortunately neither returned to base. One of the Obs in Sgt Sulman's crew was Sgt `Snowy Rhodes' R.N.Z.A.F. from 10 or 11 Course . My pilot F/Lt Stidolph was promoted to C/O and also to Squadron Leader. It was considered that I was not experienced enough to be Lead Observer, and so ended that crewing up.In the meantime I took advantage of being without a crew and went on leave to Tel Aviv.

When I returned on the 20th. Sept to Bir Zimla. I had been crewed up again, with a P/O Cashmore an R.A.A.F. pilot, to take the place of Wally Kilgour, R.N.Z.A.F., another Ob. from my course. He had gone down with Yellow Jaundice. The Gunner was Sgt. Ken Woods. R.A.F. We were to go on detachment to Malta, consisting of four Fighter Blenheims and 5 crews to be the outer ring of defence for an important Convoy sailing to Malta.  As my new crew were to be the spare crew, we went as passengers in the other Blenheims. Take-off for Malta was 24/09/1941 at 0740 in T2385, for the 5hr. flight to Luqa airfield. I was with S/LFord, who was the O.C. of the detachment, with Ob. Sgt.Scott-Chard and Gnr. Hodgkinson, as his crew, all R.A.F. The flight over was uneventful and we landed at Luqa okay. This flight, and the return flight to Egypt counted as Ops, as we passed between German fighter bases, both in Libya and Crete. We were eventually billeted at Kalafrana Barracks away from the airfield, which was good, as that got bombed regularly, as did most of Malta and the harbour.

Bir Zimla, Sidi Haneish Egypt, 113 Squadron
Painting by Sgt Ewan Brooking
(Acrylic on Canvas, 380mm by 600 mm, painted in 1982)

The first Op. From Malta was on the 26th was a night Fighter Patrol over a ship approaching Grand Harbour [ Valleta.] Take-off was at 15-17 in T2252 for 4hrs. No E/A seen. The next Op. was the reason we had come here. On the 28th. we took off at 0645 in T2252 to search for `E' Boats off the port of Trapani in  Sicily, a 3hr 30 flight at low level. We were flying  No. 2 to S/L Ford. Off Trapani we met an Italian Destroyer or Cruiser, and circled around it. Naturally it was firing at us, everything it had to let loose. It also fired off a deck gun, and the shell hit the water and burst under S/L Ford's plane. It took some shrapnel, and the Port engine was set on fire. We set out on the return to Malta just off the coast of Sicily. However the enemy was not finished with us yet, and we were attacked by 2 M.E. 109's. It appeared that our Gunner had hit one as they broke off the attack and headed for their base. One was streaming smoke. Good on you Ken. We landed safely back at Luqa. ........There is more, when S/L. Ford took off his flying boot it was full of blood, as he had taken a  hit from the shell burst. The plane had also taken hits, so pilot, crew and plane took no further part in our operations. The other two planes and crews were detailed to patrol off the Italian island of Pantaleria, south of Malta to search for `E' Boats or M.T.B.'s. The search was successful, but when the plane piloted by Sgt. Crossley attacked, it was shot down, and the crew was lost. We took part in one more Op on the same day. It was a late afternoon Anti-sub Patrol outside Valetta Harbour. Take-off was at 1714 in Z5907 for 2hr 30. On the 30th , we set out on the 5hr20 return flight to our Base at Bir Zimla in T2252, flying No. 2 to F/L Cliff Harper. Wandered around the Med. a bit, hitting the coast in the wrong place twice before making the right landfall. 3 Blenheims and 3 Crews.

Back at Base, after de-briefing etc. I walked into the Sgts.mess to get a real surprise. Another of my course, Sgt.Chris Jenkinson was there. We had chummed up and went out to parties together, and I was with Chris when he met Margo who became his girlfriend and soon his fiancee. The Squadron had been receiving more Aircrew from the Dominions,building up to 4 S.A.A,F. 4 R.C.A.F.,4 R.N.Z.A.F. and several R.A,A.,F, We were also now known more by our trade classification. Observers were now Nav/B, gunners were now Wop/Ag if they had done the wireless course. There were also G [gunners] N[navigators] and B [bombaimers]. The 3 crew of the Blenheims included the Nav/B and the Wop/Ag.

Sgt Ewan Brooking RNZAF Nav/B at work in the office.
SOURCE: Sgt Ewan Brooking

Another incident I recall concerns the strafing of  the airfield by M.E. 110's. They came in over the coast, possibly from Crete, and firstly attacked Sidi Haneish station, and then came on to us. I was about half way between cover, and reckoned I did the necessary 100yds.in well under 10 seconds. Further to this, the camp had been ringed  with mortar like tubes erected vertically, with a charge to fire a pack several hundred feet in  the air trailing a wire from the ground. All linked to a single switch. A parachute then opened  and low flying planes were supposed to get tangled in the wires and crash. The attack came at breakfast time, and the sole airman in charge was eating. However when he heard the gunfire he dashed back to the control and fired off the rockets. The 110's flew straight through the wires without anything happening. Unfortunately one airman was killed when walking across the landing ground. Small bombs were also dropped by the 110's. There was also the night bombing practice on the 22nd of Sept. that had an unfortunate ending. An  F.A.A. Albacore dropped flares over our L.G. with two Blenheims making practice low-level bombing runs on the L.G. One taxied into a slit trench, and the other went too low and crashed. The pilot F/O Doug F Brooks was killed and the Obo. got two broken legs. (CWGS lists Brooks as Obo.)

There were 6 more Ops. for me in October.
01/10/1941 was the first, a night-fighter patrol inT1823 with P/O Cashmore. Take-off at 2040, for 1hr20. The radio wasn't working properly so we couldn't hear the Ground Controllers directions. Next was a night raid on the 7th on Bardia in T2117 with S/L Lydall. Take-off at 0235 for 3hr 35. On the 9th, in V 5436 with S/L Lydall a strat. and photo recco. of Gialo, Augila, and El Haseiat. Take-off at 0655 for 6hr 05. Next on 12-10 a night raid on a Jetty in Bardia Harbour, in T2393 with S/L Lydall, Take-off at 0240 for 3hr 25. On the 13th another night raid on a Submarine in Bardia Harbour in 6134. Take-off at 0137 for 4hr25, with S/L Lydall. The sub. was supposed to be resting on the sea bed and the bombs fell where they were supposed to, but no results were observed. The last for October and the last till January 1942, was a bombing raid on Gabr Ssleh, with S/L Lydall in V5841, for 2hr45. This was to be carried out with cloud cover, but there was not even a wisp of cloud, so this raid was aborted. The bombing raid on the 20th. was a bit of a disaster, which I missed. It was a joint operation with 55 Squadron. 6 planes from each Squadron led by S/L Blackmore of 55. The target was the enemy airfield of Gambut.The formation was attacked by a strong force of M.E. 109's. Chris's plane (Sgt.Chris Jenkinson) was last seen with half the tail shot off, both engines on fire, low down over the sea, and 2 109's circling round for the kill. His second Op., and gone. S/L Blackmores plane was also shot down in flames. His Nav/B was Billie Cole, another of my course in N.Z. Two out of 16 gone in one Op. The 5 planes left from our Squadron, suffered damage to varying degrees, and were all u/s. One Nav/B was injured. The 20th was also the day I was posted to Tomahawk House in Alexandria on rest leave.

Sgt George Checketts? and Sgt Ewan Brooking enjoying a well
earned beer. I doubt it was cold but it was wet, undoubtedly it
tasted like the nectar of the gods compared to the water.
Source: Sgt Ewan Brooking

Proper beds with sheets, wow, and nice meals too. Plenty of leave to go into Alex, to sample the delights of living in a city. It appears that this place was popular with 113 N.C.O.aircrew, as there were 5 there already, on leave, including Sgts. Tapp, Clarihue, and Chapman of the R.C.A.F. So I settled in to what was to last till the 4th of December. On the 2nd of November All the other aircrew from 113 were recalled as the Squadron was moving to a new base at Giarabub. This was to be another disaster. On the 4th of Dec.I had a full medical and was found fit for flying again, and was ordered to report back to 113 Squadron, which I did on the 6th. The Squadron base was now at L.G 116 which was South of our old base at Bir Zimla, but the operational base was at L.G.76. This was South of Siddi Barrani. On the 9th word came through that we were being moved off the desert, not where to or why. On the 19th. was the move back to Helwan (Heluan), with an overnight stop at Burg El Arab. No planes, just the personnel, in truck convoy, arriving at Heluan on the 20th, and being billeted in the Transit Camp. It didn't take a brilliant mind to work out where were going. Another s… job. 22nd. Was crewed up today with Lt. Viney S.A.A.F. and Sgt.Jack Wohlers R.A.A.F. On the 23rd. we collected the first 8 planes.These were fairly new Mk 4 Blenheims that had been assembled at Takorati on the East coast of Africa, and flown across that continent for us to use in our future movements.The one we brought from Fayoum to Helwan (Heluan) was Z9674.

On the 30th. the first 6 planes left just after 9am.with the C.O. leading, for the long haul to India and beyond. On the 1st. of January 1942, another 5 planes left with F/L Duggan-Smith leading.The sixth plane was u/s. On the 5th we started on our long flight to Bangkok, Burma, or Bust.

 Bangkok, Burma or Bust.
On the flight out there was a constant shedding and picking up of aircraft and their crews as the planes were made serviceable again. Each day we generally flew with one other aircraft of the Squadron, or sometimes there would be a small formation. My Squadron was not the first to use this route to the East that we were to follow, but it was probably the first of the trickle of re-deployed Squadrons that was sent out to re-inforce the battered remnants fighting in Singapore and Burma. We were to fly during daylight hours only, as any form of flight control was practically non-existent. There was no Radar, no direction finding equipment, and what little communications there were, was between main stations by W/T. The aircraft W/T sets were generally unserviceable, and R/T non-existant. We quite often arrived at an airfield before anyone knew we were coming. Navigation aids were also rudimentary.

It was quite chilly on the morning of January 5th., 1942, with a few rain squalls, and we were up early to be on our way. And so `Goodbye' to Cairo and Egypt. Our aircraft was Z7791 with the pilot Lt. J Viney and Wop/Ag. Sgt. John Wohlers There were two planes to go, the last two of the Squadron. Take off was at 0727 from Heluan, with a brief stop at Fayoum to join up with two more Blenheims being flown out to Singapore as reinforcements, by ferry crews. Take-off from Fayoum was at 0945 and the formation of 4 aircraft arrived at Lydda airport after 2-20hrs. flying time, but not before the leader had got lost dodging rain squalls, and we were bogged down when turning off the runway. It was some time before the plane was back on firm ground. That night was spent in a final savouring of the delights of Tel Aviv. Unwisely perhaps, and there were a few sore heads the next morning. And so we left the sands of Egypt for the paddy fields and jungle of Burma.

Left to Right
Sgt John Wholers, Lt Viney, Sgt Ewan Brooking
SOURCE: Sgt Ewan Brooking

January 6th. The morning after the night before, and a flight of 3hrs.20 to Habbaniya in Iraq. Though we were only flying at 6000ft. it was bitterly cold. Our flight path took us over Jerusalem, blanketed in 6 inches of snow, the first for 20 years. Flying in tropical clothes wasn't much help either. At Habbaniya, the natives were classed as `unfriendly', and the station was a self-contained entity. The aircraft were parked within the compound and were well guarded. The crews were glad to see the decent accomodation provided and soon made use of it

January 7th. Up at 0515, and after breakfast went out to our respective aircraft, which now numbered 6. We were due to take off on the next leg to Muharraq island, Bahrain, but only 2 of us from the Squadron made it into the air ,at 1137. For various reasons the other 4 aircraft were still un-serviceable. After 5hrs. flying we finally landed at Muharraq. It should have been nuch less , only we passed by less than half a mile away in a blinding sandstorm, and went on to sight the coast of Arabia, before picking up some landmarks. Backtracking brought us safely back to the airfield. It was wild country out there and we wouldn't have looked forward to a forced landing, which would have been most hazardous.

January 8th. I guess it was our turn for the `Gremlins' as our engines wouldn't start, so we were committed to stay another day in Bahrain. By a strange co-incidence the same trouble affected the other aircraft.

January 9th. Today we were to fly on to Sharjah in the Trucial Territories. A spot on the map in a largely un-surveyed desert area, and the `Gremlins' had gotten into the aircraft compass. This area is now better known as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. We were airborne at 1030 and it was a boring trip down the Persian Gulf taking 2hrs.55. Again it shouldn't have taken that long, but somehow we got 24 degrees off course and we were going to land in the wrong place, and when we finally found Sharjah it took two attempts before we safely landed. Sharjah was just a few buildings in a compound, and a small airstrip, with possibly "unfriendly" natives again. The planes were under heavy guard outside, with all personnel inside. One of the other aircraft burst a tyre on landing, which ruined its chances of proceeding on till it was made serviceable. It made a change to see some friendly faces among the ground crew, as some of these were from the Squadron.
(Note Ewans description of Sharjah as being nothing more than a spot on the map. The place was a simple prewar stopover for Imperial Airways flights between London and the far East. It is now a world class city complete with skyscrapers) Note also he states some of the ground crew were already here ??

January 10th.  On to Karachi. Airborne at 0805, and touchdown at Karachi Civil Airport 4hr20 later. We were billeted in the Airport hotel. No complaints about that. Good bed and decent food. 3 Flying Fortresses and a Liberator joined the few British aircraft at the airport during the day. In the afternoon briefing we were informed that we would be going on to Rangoon in Burma. Didn't like the sound of that very much as the news had reported heavy bombing there. The next leg, however, is to Allahabad on the Ganges River. In to Karachi in the evening, but it was not one of the better places, and there were no regrets about moving on.

January 11th.   Sunday. All ready for an early take-off but both motors were un-serviceable. It wasn't ready till the evening, so we will be going on tomorrow.

January 12th.  The prospect of a long stooge flight was not very exciting at all. However we took off at 0745 and landed at Jodhpur to refuel at 1010. Jodhpur was a very small field, difficult to get into, and more difficult to get out of. Lt. Viney had to `drop' the plane over the boundary , for a very rough landing. Take-off was even more exhilarating. This involved running the engines at full power with the brakes hard on till the tail came off the ground.  By then releasing the brakes , it was hoped that the plane would pick up enough speed to become airborne before running out of runway. Real `Biggles' stuff and we made it. We landed at Allahabad at 1405, after following the railway lines for the last 50 miles. Visibility was down to practically zero as we were flying in a tropical downpour. A hairy day , with 5hr.20. Fortunately we were billeted in a Hotel in the town for the night.

January 13th.Today we took off at 0925 for Dum Dum airfield at Calcutta, and landed there at 1210. 2hr.45. This day was one of the Holy days for the Hindu's, and the Ganges River at Allahabad had some special significance. So much so that we were given specific orders. On no account were we to "beat up' or fly low over the many thousands that would be bathing in the river. I could see the chagrin on the face of the pilot, not even one pass at such a tempting  target. Calcutta in the evening, was a welcome break, and probably the last chance for us to `let our hair down', before moving on to Burma.

January 14th. We were supposed to carry on to Akyab, on the coast of Burma, but the aircraft was again un-serviceable. We took the opportunity to go into Calcutta, for a last round of a picture theatre, afternoon tea, a decent dinner, and a few spots.

January 15th. Today we set off for Akyab. Take off was at 1047, and we arrived at Akyab 2hr.45 later. A dreary hole, which was to become well known to us later on, when it changed hands. At 1555 we took off again for Toungoo in central Burma, over the 10,000 feet high Arakan Yoma mountain range. We were supposed to rejoin the Squadron there, but, as conditions were so primitive, it had been moved back. We landed there after a flight of 1hr.35, and it became our overnight stop.

January 16th. Almost there. We took off at 1104, and, after a flight of 2hrs., landed at Lashio Airfield in Northen Burma, to rejoin the Squadron. It had been sent there to re-group and refit and bring all the aircraft up to scratch, for the dark days ahead. Most of the aircraft , which had already flown almost  half-way around the world, were badly in need of a full overhaul. They may not have been new in the first place, but could have been withdrawn from service in the U.K., dis-assembled, crated, and shipped to Takoradi for re-assembly. They had also carried out several operational sorties from Rangoon, prior to our arrival, Including a raid on Bangkok.

 BURMA  1942

The N.C.O. aircrew didn't have much to do while the planes were being brought up to scratch, so that we could start operations again. We were pleased to be invited to stay with the English families who were managing the Lead and Silver mines at Namto. A few at a time were taken to their homes, for a very enjoyable stay back in civilisation, Jack Wohlers  and I went there on the 18th., were recalled on the 19th., but were not needed and so went back till the 22nd. The short stay was thoroughly enjoyed by all who went there, and the hope is that those people made it safely out of Burma before the Japs got there.

The move South started on the 24th. of January in Z 6012. T.O at 1433 for 3hr30 to land at Toungoo. We were supposed to land at Zayatkwin, but we could not find the strip so returned to Toungoo. Got the info from H.Q. on `Z's' location and took off on the 25th., to land at Zayatkwin after 1hr. in Z6012. It had been bombed yesterday by a solitary Jap plane which sent 4,000 gallons of 100 octane petrol up in black smoke. Conditions there were primitive,apart from the strip, so next day the26th was a 20min. flight to Mingaladon, the airfield for Rangoon. Here 113 settled in for what was to be a short stay. This day also was our first operational flight in Burma. Five Blenheims with 16 A.V.G. Tomahawks as escort ,with us in Z6021, were to bomb the road running through the village of Kawkareit, at 1000ft. Take of 1619 for a 2hr. flight. We felt the concussion from the 250lbs. Bombs, and some of the planes came back with bullet and shrapnel holes. We were billeted in the Mingaladon Golf Clubroom. Had dinner there, which was awful but the bar was open. Us N.C.O.'s were there for about a fortnight, taking up all the clubrooms space with our string charpoys [beds], and the local Burra Sahibs [big wig golfers] didn't like it one bit

Jan 27th. was quite ,um, interesting. Lt. Viney with his usual crew of Jack Wholers and myself, were one of six crews briefed in the afternoon for a night raid on Bangkok. Our plane was Z6012. We had just become airborne when the port motor cut out. Viney put it back on the runway, which ended too soon, So he pulled up the under-carriage, and we came to rather an abrupt halt. One wheel had collapsed before the other, so we did a ground loop and ended up facing where we had come from. Z6012 was a write-off. I was definitely the N/B in this case. As far as I can remember, while I was with 113, this was the only crash that involved Lt. Viney. The bomb load was 4x250lbs. and 4 incendiaries. A photo of our plane follows, with other photos as well.

Jan 28th. was only notable for a couple of air raids, in which the A.V.G. Tomahawks shot down 7 Jap fighters, confirmed. The 28th. 29th. and 30th. were quiet apart from a couple of air raids. And some more of our crews arrived here, from Calcutta and Lashio.

On the  31ST. my 20TH. Birthday! There was to be a raid but it was cancelled, I couldn't  celebrate as there is a raid on tomorrow. Tough.

Feb 1st. there was a 50ft. low - level raid on the village of Kado, a small formation with us leading. The Japs were supposed to be constructing rafts and boats for the invasion of Moulmein, We hit the target, but couldn't see any results. Take off at 1548 for 1hr. 45, in Z7598. We landed at Mingaladon, but the rest of our planes went on to land at the Satellite air field called Johnnie Walker, which was north of Mingaladon. Conditions there were  pretty primitive.There were a couple of air raids in the evening. The Officers are also now sleeping at the Golf Club.

Feb 2nd. was another 50ft. low-level raid on a small island off Martaban, where the Japs were supposed to have placed some field guns. According to our gunners we plastered the place. Take off at 1648 for 1hr. 40, in Z7598

Feb 3rd. was another 50ft. low-level raid on another small island in the Salween river off Martaban again. We didn't drop our bombs as it was the wrong island, though the other 2 planes did. So back to Mingaladon. Take off at 1600 for 1hr.35 in V5627.

Feb 4th, was another 50ft. low-level raid on the village of Pa-an on the Salween river. There were supposed to be 4 planes going but only 2 made it into the air, with the lead being Captain [just promoted] Viney. We dropped our bombs on the village, but the No.2 couldn't get round in time, so bombed the river instead. Take off at 1709 for 1hr.30 in V5627.

Feb 5th. was supposed to be another low-level raid, again on Pa-an. We went up to Johnnie Walker and flew Z9676 back to Mingaladon. 3 planes took off in the morning to bomb Pa-an. As we had used up all the 15 sec. delay fuses for the bombs, that we used for the low-level raids, we were now using instantaneous fuses, so the morning and afternoon raids on Pa-an were at 2000ft. We were supposed to take part in the afternoon raid, but the gills jammed so that was that, and with a 12 fighter escort.

Friday the 6th. the Squadron moved to Zayatkwin airfield, and were to operate from there. It turned out that it wasn't for very long. Conditions were really primitive, and we were not expected. There was no accommodation ready. We scrounged around and found some tents and camp stretchers, four to a tent. No showers or any thing like that. [ photos to follow]. Went to bed fairly early as the Japs have been over early every morning.

Feb 7th., was feeling really sick in the stomach, so went to see the M.O. It appears that I have a slight dose of Cholera, and was taken off flying. The treatment was Lead and Opium Pills. There had been a raid scheduled, including me, but it was eventually cancelled as all the planes were u/s. The heat was terrific so all we could do was lay on our beds and sweat. There were 5 air raids in the morning between about 2 am. and 6 am. The Japs only bombed us on the last one, killing 1 and injuring 1. Nobody got much sleep.

The Japs raided us just the once in the morning of the 8th., but only started a tar barrel fire.

Nothing doing for me on the 9th. 2 raids went off, both on the village of Pa-an. Viney, Webster and Mackman crews are on stand-by for tomorrow.

The raid on the 10th. was on a place called Minzi, on the Jap side of the Salween river. Take of was at 1325 in V5627 for 2hr. 10. We bombed from 1500ft. but Mackman couldn't get round in time, so bombed a village 5 mls. South. Webster's starboard motor cut on take-off so they ended in the rough at the end of the runway, with a damaged sternframe. We landed at Migaladon, made our report, and then returned to Zayatkwin. No dinner tonight as supplies didn't arrive.

Feb 11th. After lunch on the 11th., we were briefed for another raid on Pa-an. Just before we went out to the planes, it was changed to the Moulmein waterfront. We were to bomb from 1500 any ships that were there. If there were no ships, then the waterfront. No ships, so the waterfront copped it. T.O. at 1325 in V5627 for 2hrs. On this trip we took along an American News reporter. He was impressed with the bombing, but didn't like it much when Viney peeled off and strafed some boats that were in the river.

No flying on the 12th. There is a rumour going round that the Japs are only 2 weeks march away, and that we will be evacuating any time soon.

Feb 13th. was also a no flying day. In the afternoon Viney wanted us to go into Rangoon, but we hadn't been payed so couldn't go. We were supposed to shift to Magwe tomorrow, but it has been put back till the 15th.

Feb 14th. was a stand- down, and as Viney had arranged for our pay, we went into Rangoon. Helped the Adjutant collect and count the money from the bank, got payed and went out on the town. Met up with various people during the day, and with the C.O. and Viney in the evening. Had a meal with lubrication at the Silver Grill, but left it too late to get back to Zayatkwin so had to stay the night at the Golf Club. There was a terrific write-up in the local paper about our raid on Moulmein. { I have a copy} And so goodbye to Rangoon.

On the 15th. took off at 1413 in Z9687. 1hr. 40 to Magwe. Found some billets in a deserted house, not too close to the strip, and settled in.

Feb 16th. was the start of another short stay. As Bubonic Plague was rife in Magwe village, We were all required to have the anti-plague injection, which knocked out everybody for about 24hrs. No one time syringes either. On the way to Sick-quarters our truck was side-swiped by another truck, and I got a badly bruised hip and lost a fair lump of skin off my elbow. On top of all that, the Doc was concerned about my previous Cholera infection, so I was grounded for about a week, and put on leave. (This would almoset certainly have been Dr Lafrenais) The days that followed were mostly pleasantly spent. The Oil Fields at Yenanyuan were about an hour's drive away and leave to go there was freely given. There was a large English population running the oil fields, and we were made most welcome. Some nights we stayed with them in their homes, and there was also their Club, for the purposes of lubrication of the throat.

Our leave was stopped on the 24th., when Viney found us and told us that we had to report back to Magwe immediately. It was to be evacuated at once, and the place was in a turmoil. The evacuation went on all day, till word came through that the Army thought they could hold Rangoon

Feb 27th. The evacuation is on again, but less panic this time. News from Mingalodon was good and bad. 6 of our planes were lost as the result of a Jap bombing raid, with 1 pilot killed. 617 Squadron's Hurricanes [they converted from Brewster Buffaloes] and the A.V.G. Tomahawks have shot down more than 80 Jap fighters and bombers in the last 3 days, for the loss of only 3 of ours. There were quite a few abandoned vehicles around, so Jack acquired a 3 ton truck for us, while Yorky (Sgt Lister Walker) found a car for Snozz (Sgt Ken Brett) and himself, so travelling around, up to Yenanyuan etc., was made quite easy.

March 2nd. It was back to work. Report immediately to the `Drome, before we had Breakfast. On the way we met the pilots, Cpt. Viney and F/O Lee, who told us it was a stand-by so we could go back for breakfast. Back to the airfield, and we were on a raid. The target was the village of Mokpalin, at 50ft. low level. Take-off at 0950 in Z7916 for3hrs. 25. All bombs on target and possibly one fire started.

March 3rd. we took off at 1144 in Z7833 to bomb the village of Kyaiko, but returned after 20minutes with a U/S turret, so I jettisoned our bombs safe. One of S/L Duggan-smith's motors cut out, so he also jettisoned his bombs as well, but his exploded. F/O Lee also returned, but went off on another raid later, from which we later learned, they didn't return

March 4th. my Log Book was sent for, and I was told that I was to go back to Calcutta immediately, and Bob Barry (Tom Barry ?) was to take my place in Viney's crew. However as Bob had already gone back, I was to carry on. It seems that word of my previous evacuation from Greece had been mentioned.

March 5th. T/O was at1147 in Z7833 for Highland Queen to stand by for a raid. Yorky was here , had arrived at midnight. Gave us the bad news about Sid Lee and Snozz, poor sod. The raid was to be a low-level attack on the village of Waw. 4 planes, with the C/O  leading T/O at 1700 for 1hr., and return to Mingalodon. Heavy bombing by the Japs during the night.

On the morning of the 6th. we collected bombs, tail fins, and detonators, to load in a truck. Then took off for Highland Queen. The planes were being bombed up when the air raid siren went off. Jack and I saw 5 bombers pass right overhead, but they could'nt have seen the strip and went on to bomb Mingalodon. We then watched a Hurricane land, but it must have been seen, because some Jap fighters came in to attack. They made a lot of attacks, but didn't do much damage. 1 Hurricane badly shot up and three of our planes with a few bullet holes. It was grim while it lasted. As soon as the Japs had gone, Sgt. Tapp [R.C.A.F.] brings his plane in to land, and knew nothing about the strafing. It was back to Magwe as quick as possible. T/O at 1248 in Z5887 for 1hr. 45.

March 7th., Viney found Jack and I, with orders to pack up immediately, as we were to fly an unserviceable plane back to Asansol in India. Z7969 was definitely not 100%, though take-off at 1223 went okay. We went via Akyab, Chittagong, and Dum Dum, in case we had to put down in an emergency, and finally landed at Asansol, after 4hrs. 10. We were not sorry to leave Burma, but we did return for brief visits later without landing.

 INDIA  1942

When we arrived at Asansol, where there was supposed to be a Repair and Service Unit, it was to discover it was there, but in name only. It had no tools or equipment, as these had been loaded  on another ship, which had not yet arrived.  There was nobody from 113 there, so Viney decided that we should return to Dum dum at Calcutta, so we took off again. However the port motor was cutting out that badly, we landed again at Asansol. It was a very ropey landing, but we were all okay, except for being a bit shook up. So we stay at Asansol for the night, and are to go on to Calcutta tomorrow. There was a good Sgt's. Mess here, so we had a meal, and a few drinks to get over the landing.

Next day Jack went up to the Officers Mess to see Viney, and find out what we were supposed  to do,  Only to find out that Viney had gone back to Magwe in a Fortress. (This may have been the time when the C/O and Viney took a couple of the spare empty Blenheims to go to Mandalay to evacuate the 8 civilians from there and then back to India to start their sojourn in the hills, at one of the towns there.) Anyway, Jack and I took off by train for Calcutta, and eventually found that most of the personnel were at the La Martiniere girls school. The girls were, of course, no longer there.

March 10th. , 1 year with 113, and I have survived so far, and completed 30 Sorties. (Ops)

March 13th. . In the evening we were told that tomorrow we are all to go to an empty Army camp at a place called Fyzabad, which was way to the West. The train trip was listed as taking 19 and a half hours, so it was a long boring trip, even though we were in 1st.class all meals were on the train. We arrived at 6-45 am. on the 15th. There were more 113 personnel there, including the 3 crews that came from Egypt by ship, (one of which was John Reid & crew) and another 2 crews, which included 2 more R.N.Z.A.F. chaps. Sgt. J  Keys pilot, and his Nav/B, Sgt. J. H.  Beard.

In the move from Egypt, there were supposed to be 16 Blenheims; A first flight of 6, and a second flight of what should have been 6, but 1 was u/s. That left Lt. Viney's crew who were supposed to lead out the last 4, plus the u/s plane from the second flight. However, 3 planes were just not available so actually only 13 made it originally. That is why the remaining crews, possibly 5, were sent with the ground party by ship.

Both Sgt. J. B. McKenzie, another R.N.Z.A.F. Nav/B, and I,  put in our applications for a transfer back to N.Z., but were not hopeful of it happening. Some time later, the C/O told an Air-crew Parade, that a certain percentage of R.A.A.F. and R.N.Z.A.F., would be repatriated home, but later on it appeared that this applied to U.K. aircrew only. We were also told that in future we were to act as S.N.C.O's, and no more fighting in the camp cinema. It wasn't me, but probably the frustration of doing nothing of importance.

March 27th.  3 crews, whose pilots were Sgt Chapman R.C.A.F., Sgt. L. Tapp R.C.A.F. Sgt. Mackman R.A.F.(one of the new crews), plus Sgt. J. Wohlers, Sgt. Jim Kevan both R.A.A.F., Sgt. Bill Smith and me, were told this morning, that we were to return to Calcutta A.S.A.P. Nobody knew why. Later it appeared that this could have been the China trip.

We packed in a hurry and the train left Fyzabad at 4-30 p.m. Stopped at Myzapore for dinner, but the restaurant was closed, so we bought some tins of Tomato Soup, and Steak and Kidney  pudding  and had them heated up. That was dinner. A lot  of  shunting around for 3 hours, before we were finally hitched onto the right train. The E.T.A. for Calcutta is now 9-30 P.M.  29 hrs. on a train is no joke. Shifted back into the La Martiniere school to join up with the others. Most of the days when we were not being shunted around, were spent visiting, going to the movies, eating out, or wandering around, and having the occasional tipple. Sometimes, more  than one.

April 2nd. All the personnel at La Martiniere were shifted to Asansol today, with the exception of Sgt's Scott-Chard, Woods, Charnley, and me. There is a rumour that the Squadron is going back in to Burma.

April 7th. `Yorkie'  arrived back from leave at Darjeeling this morning. He is still with the Squadron. But not on flying duties. His posting to Delhi is still to happen. Was told that we are to move to Asansol. First I was to fly up, but this was cancelled, and we are to go by car.

April 10th.  Off to Asansol this morning, by car, with F/O Clinton. Dropped `Yorkie' (Lister Walker) at Howrah Station so he could catch the train to Asansol. We are billeted in quite a large school, which was pretty grim, the food is crook, what there is of it. There are also no spare beds so it's sleep on the floor. Great!

April 11th. W/CO. Stidolph has been promoted away, so I saw the new C/O instead (W/C Grey). I am now classed as a spare Nav/B, and off flying, until it is decided whether I will be sent home or not. The M.O. gave `Yorkie' a fortnight's leave, and he is going to Mussoorie for it. It's another town in the Himilayan mountains foot hills.

April 14th. Jack Wolhers and the rest of the crews that went to China arrived back today.                                                                                            Nothing much of any interest up until May 6th. There were the usual trips to the cinema, afternoon tea in the town, a few drinks now and again, a Dental Parade to Calcutta, and things like that. Quite often my companions were Yorkie and Ken Woods.

May 6th. In the morning Bill Smith and I  knocked a hole in the wall between what was the Sgts. Mess and the little room next to it to form a serving hatch from where there is to be the bar. Woodie (Ken Woods) and I also started to adorn the walls with paintings. Woodie started a study of an Hareem scene in one panel, while I started on the Squadron Crest, Wings, and a Blenheim, on the wall above the bar. We were quite proud of our efforts.  (photo"s to follow). Rather a let down later on, when the Squadron was moved, and our mess was taken over to be used as the Officers Mess. Bloody cheek.

Of possible interest was on May 12th., when I became assistant barman to Yorkie in the Sgt's. mess. We had a wonderful time with innumerable Pimms in the course of the evening. The days passed quietly, either in the mess playing Bridge or Monopoly with the other Sgt's., or into town for a snack, or movies, or a few drinks.

1st. June, after a Medical that took about a week in Calcutta, I was sent on 4 weeks leave to Mussorie. There didn't seem to be any actual work being done by the Squadron and I don't remember anything much happening in the way of operational flying.

29th. June. Was passed as fit for operational flying duties by the M.O. Seems like that is the end of my going home. Asked about any crews that are without a Nav/B., and will be told later. Might as well make myself useful now the dream of home is no more. J.B  (Mack). McKenzie adopted a little monkey (Minnie) and took it everywhere with him. Even flying on a op. once. They got up to 1000ft., Minnie got scared, and peed all over Mack. It never flew again

July 9th. How about this! All Nav/B's were given orders this morning, that we are to clean the  Blister guns, and check the Bomb sights of our aircraft, every morning. Three of us went out to do our "two" planes. One didn't have a blister at all, and the other had a single blister and no bombsight. It didn't take long to clean the solitary gun. Crewed up with P/O Giles.  

July 16th. Back on Ops. A raid on Akyab harbour 70ft. low--level . Take off at 0624 in Z7369.
Set a straight course for Akyab, and weather was foul. Rain squalls and low cloud all the way, and my "Office' leaked like a sieve, with the result that I was wet through and my maps and logs were sodden. A perfect run-up, to drop the bombs at the base of the jetty, only they failed to explode. Landed at DumDum after 5hr's.30. After an investigation, it was found that the bombs had been faulty, so not my fault they didn't explode. Another hour flight back to Asansol, 4 to 5 pm. What a great  re- introduction to operational flying.

Back at Asansol, an investigation into the failure of my bombs to explode, revealed that the tail fin fuses we were now using for low-level attacks, were still safe even after the arming vane had unscrewed nine times. What I think this meant was that the bombs had to be dropped from much higher than 70ft. The bombs we  used  previously, had a nose cone fuse which  spun off when the bomb was dropped, by its passage through the air. To act as a safe guard against accidental explosion, there was a fork that fitted between the cone and the fuse. This fork was wired to the bomb rack, so when the bomb was dropped, the fork was pulled out and the bomb was live. So if the forks and wires were still attached to the bomb racks, it meant that the bombs had been dropped  `live'. So if they didn't explode, it was the bombs that were faulty. There was a raid on Akyab in which by a mistake the bombs on one plane were fitted with instantaneous fuses, so when the bombs were dropped, they exploded, and blew the plane to bits.

July 19th. Took off to be stand - by at DumDum for a raid, which was cancelled, and so returned to Asansol.

July 23rd.  In the afternoon was briefed for a low-level offensive recce. of  a river east of Akyab.
July 24 th.  Took off at 0535 in V5938 for the recce The weather was even worse than on the 16th., with many heavy rain squalls and low cloud. There was nothing on the river, so we bombed a large building in the village of Minbya, and blew the front off it. One of the four bombs didn't explode. Landed at DumDum to report after the 6hr. flight. Back to Asansol in the late afternoon.

July  31st. In the evening I was informed that seven crews (including us), were on stand-by from 6am. tomorrow morning.

August 1st. We are on stand-by to attack two Jap Cruisers with a destroyer screen if they come within range. Us old hands, fervently hoped that they would turn around and go back.

August 4th. On stand-by for possible op. Didn't note the target. Nothing happened.
August 7th. Stand-by  again. Same as the 4th.

August 9th. Have been taken off flying duties, and with Sgt. Bill Webster we are the Squadron Duty Pilots. Now called Airfield Controllers. This duty seemed to be 24 hrs. on and then 48 hrs. off. Sometimes, though not very often, the airfield was busy with aircraft movements. On one occasion, laying out a flare path was necessary, for a night landing.

August 11 th. Along with most of the personnel, was shifted to a camp that had been established at the airfield.

August 14th. Was told that I am one of 25 that are posted to Lower Topa, an ex-army camp,
7000 ft. up in the Himilaya foothills, a  few  miles from the town of Murree.

August 15th. This appeared to be the day when the Squadron became involved in the Indian Congress uprising and Mahatma Gandhi. This involved our planes flying up the rail lines, and firing off Very lights at any  suspicious activity's by the natives.

August 20th.  Duty Pilot  today.  2 Planes from 34 Squadron came up from Ondal, and the second one crashed on landing. One engine cut out just as it was coming in to land on the runway. It crashed, and burst into flames. The crew got  out quick and weren't hurt, but the plane burned for over an hour, with the fire crew unable to put the fire out. All that was left intact was the tail and the wing tips. This of course made the airfield unserviceable for other aircraft movements, until it was all cleared away.

August  23rd. We left Asansol at midnight on the 10-30 train, in a four berth, two up, two down, compartment. Next day we saw a  couple of burnt out stations, and a couple of wrecked wagons. Damage caused by the Congress party followers. We arrived at Allahabad in the evening, and stayed the night there.

On the 25th. left there at about 0700. We are now about 24hrs. behind  schedule. Arrived at Delhi about 9 pm. Spent the night in a dingy hotel in a dingy back street in Old Delhi. Next day, the 26th., spent  the day looking round at New and Old Delhi before catching the "Frontier Express". Arrived next day at Rawal Pindi, in the late afternoon. We hired two cabs to take us up to Lower Topa, leaving about 5pm. Our cab made it in about 2hrs. but  the other cab broke down. 4 days travel from Asansol  !!

Back  into our Blue Uniforms. Bit chilly up here in the Himilayas. There are a lot of 113 personnel here, and it's a bit overcrowded, but the food is okay. Met up with Yorkie, and Bill, again, and also Alec Calder who is on the staff here. The days passed with what seemed to be the norm now, visiting Murree, riding horses and bikes, going to the movies, dances (without dancing), walking, riding in ricksha's, taxi's, and buses to get around. There was also the odd tipple of course. There were also two rugby games, Aircrew v Ground Staff (we won) and Air Force V Army from Upper Topa. We won that one too. One distressing factor about all the shifting around the Squadron had done, was the way our mail failed to catch up with us. I have just received a letter from my Mother that was sent to Egypt, and was posted in January in Auckland.

Sept. 17th. We were told at the C/O's  parade today, that 50 % of us would be going on to Catalina"s operating from Ceylon. On the 21st., the sick stomach I have had for weeks resolved itself , when I started to go yellow. The  start of Yellow Jaundice. Was admitted to S.S.Q. on the 22nd., and the Military Hospital on the 23nd.

Was told that Chappie, Mackman , and Craddock, had gone to Colombo.

Oct. 4th. Was a bad news day, except for news from Asansol that Jock (J.B. McKenzie) was now a W/O., as is Tiger Lloyd. They, with Ken, and Symondson, came to visit about 5-30. Also from Asansol, Darkie Tatton was killed when taking off, when a bomb fell off and blew the tail off. The plane nose-dived in and Darkie copped it. Tex ( Ffolliet-Foster) pulled him out and got burned doing it. Ken Thomsett was burned too, but he is okay

Taylor and Hocking both crashed their planes on take-off, both with bomb loads, and both caught fire, burned, and exploded. Both crews got out okay. Tapp, Hocking, Milne, and Stokes, all have gone down with Yellow Jaundice. So I am not the only one to get this malady. Don't know of any others so far. It appears that we have had a detachment operating from Asansol all along, Chappie and Hale have been posted to Alipore, and Yorkie and Bailes back to Asansol. Chappies crew, Jock Mckenzie, and  Ken Shrubsole,  evidently didn't get posted with him,

Oct. 15. Four of us left by taxi at 0900 on a two week leave, to visit Srinigar the capital of Kashmir. Ted Symondson, Jack Keyes, "Ham" , (all Sgt. Pilots) and me arrived about 5pm., and moved into a Houseboat on the Dal Lake. After five days there, moved into a hotel, which we found to be much better. Had a very enjoyable time, with picnics, visits to the many scenic spots, "spots of another sort", with some agreeable nurse company.

Back to Topa on the 27th. There was a letter and a telegram waiting for me. The letter had taken just over two months, and the telegram was received in Bombay on the 6th. of August. The days passed fairly slowly, with the occasional duty, and lecture, reading, writing letters, and the odd game of tennis. Played mainly with Ted, Mack, Ken, Jack, and Shrewby. Also played a lot of bridge, which was quite popular with aircrew.

Nov 7th.  My turn for Guard Commander tonight. There was a dance on, and I had to put an airman on charge for stealing a ladies handbag. On the 9th., was made the Sgt's. Mess Caterer. Not much to do, just seeing to the collection of the rations, and discussing the menu with the cooks.           

Nov 16th, We were all told that all 113 and 60 personnel are to return to Asansol. 26 of us left on the 18th, but not without problems. The bus we were to use to get to the station wouldn't hold us all, and it took another half hour to find a truck for the rest, and so we left about 2-30 p.m. Arrived at Rawalpindi railway station to find the carriage ordered for us would only take 18, so 17 went in that, and 5 of us found berths on the train. 4 were left behind. Ho Hum. Had dinner at  `Pindi station before we left. Next day, after a good breakfast and a rotten lunch, we arrived at Sarianpur, where the bogey with the 17 occupants was taken off the train, and us 5 on the train went on to Delhi. Arrived there about 9, to find out that we are to leave at 10-15 tomorrow. There was no accommodation available, so it was a case of sleeping on the floor at Delhi Station. We also had dinner at the Station. Some of us went into a Cabaret in town, which was really good, and amazingly in bounds to all ranks. I actually slept quite well on two chairs.

On the 20th,. up for a hot bath, then breakfast. A big surprise after that, when I bumped into Harry Duignan, my mate from Greece and Sidi Haneish in the desert., who had been posted with his crew to Singapore. He was just out of 3 months in hospital with Malaria, and on his way to Visagapatam to rejoin  84 Squadron, which was converting to dive-bombers. Rather him than me. We didn't have time for a good natter as  his train left at 10-15. Ours also left at 10-15. Stopped for dinner at Cawnpore, and breakfast at Patna next morning. Arrived at Asansol about 3-30, booked in to the Orderly Room, then to the camp, found bunks and settled in. The Sgt's mess was much improved.

Nov 22nd, looked over a Bisley, which is a Mk. 5  Blenheim., and they appeared to be better armed , more comfortable and with better equipment. Still the same bomb load, and much the same performance.

There were some postings on the 25th. and the 26th  Ken Woods and the "Colonel"  were posted to Bomber Ops., at DumDum, Ken was a good pal since the desert. Next a hush-hush rumour  that I'm to be posted, with Charnley, to Delhi A.H.Q. Four of our crews are to be posted to 60 Squadron. They are Jack Keys and his crew, Ted Symondson with Fairey as his Nav/b, Hardman. There is a rumour going  round that we are getting a new C.O., and my posting to Delhi is postponed indefinitely.

The 7th. of December, started out as an ordinary day, with me doing the catering job, but turned extraordinary, in that I flew again. It was only with Viall and Low, and Milne and crew. The odds and sods left, are to do Cipher  Duty. The days passed with no posting, and nothing to do, until I was made Sgt's Mess Caterer for the month of December.

Dec 30th., the 4 crews moved to 60 Squadron. Was informed that I am also Bar Caterer as well. A small flight to Jessore and return with a passenger. An hour each way with a 60 Squadron pilot, Sgt. Badley, and his gunner. My 1st  since July, and not an operational flight. Had a letter from Mum, which only took 7 weeks to get here. A definite  improvement in the Postal system.

A  bit  of interest on the 10th. in that my promotion to Flight Sergeant came through, back-dated to 01-09-1941, so I have 15 months seniority, with back pay! On top of that, some Murree beer had arrived. An allocation of three bottles each at 1 rupee 4 annas a bottle ( about  2 shillings ). Needless to say, I had a great  evening at the Sgt's mess bar, and the takings were well up. The beer wasn't first class, but "drinkable.", and very welcome. Fancy beer being rationed on bases. I had put in an  application  to  the  C/O to see if  I could be put in to a crew, or perhaps posted to a G.R. Course, which is a more advanced  navigation training course suitable for flying boats etc. No news about that.

Dec 16th. Surprise  surprise, was  told that I had been crewed up with Sgt. Ferguson, pilot, and Sgt. Raynor, gunner, and we are dicing tomorrow. It is also my first flight in a Bisley. On the 17th. we took off at 11-32 in AZ887 for a raid on the village of Rathedaung on the Kaladin river. After forming up, we headed for Chittagong to pick up our 4  `Mohawk' fighter escort. Had some trouble getting through clouds to get to the target, but the raid was successful. Bombs on the target, one fire started. Landed at Feni after 4hrs. 55, with hardly any flap, as the hydraulics went U.S. Had to stay the night as the plane couldn't be fixed till tomorrow. Had dinner in the Fighter pilots mess, and then found a bed for the night. Flew back 1hr.45 to Asansol next day, and were de-briefed. A great  introduction  to the Bisley.

In the evening, was informed that I have taken off mess -catering, and am on a raid tomorrow, the 19th. We are being transferred to a new base tomorrow, which turned out to be Jessore. Packed my kit in the evening, as it is going by train, while I take a few things with me, as we are not coming back here. The raid was on Magwe air field in Burma, where we had left from. Got down to the `drome only to find that I wasn't flying after all. The Nav/b I replaced in Ferguson's  crew was found to have Diptheria, and Fergie and Raynor have been put into quarantine. So no flying, and now I go by train to Jessore. Great.

Had lunch, the last meal at Asansol, and later on left for the station. 5 of us, the last to get there  had to travel  3rd Class, as that was all that was left, wooden seats and all. Not much sleep on the train. Dinner was scrounged, tinned peaches, sardines, bully beef, and biscuits.

Dec 21st. Next day, the 21st. found we had been parked in a goods yard near Calcutta since 2 am. Finally arrived at Jessore about 4-30 pm., found a billet and settled in. The bad news here,  was  that  Wilky and crew, Danny O'Niell and Bluey Thompson, had been shot down over Magwe. Direct hit from flak, and went down in flames, and nobody got out.

We are billeted in a house that has been taken over, and it's quite good. There is a café next door which we found to be quite good and handy.  Explored Jessore a bit. Our mess is up and running as well. Nothing much doing of any note. We made some furniture for our room, some shelves, a  wardrobe, stuff like that. Made the place a bit more homely. There's a café next door, which we found acceptable, for the odd indian meal. Got a ride into Calcutta on the 24th. for a bit of shopping, a meal, and seeing it was Xmas eve, a few drinks, "well, more than a few actually". Xmas day wasn't much at all. Did our duty of serving meals to the airmen in their mess. A few libations of course, to celebrate the day.

On the 26th. was  told I was on the battle order for tomorrow, with briefing at 0800. No lay in this morning. Up early for breakfast, and down to the `drome for briefing. The target is Pakokie, and we fly to Feni today, with the raid going in tomorrow. Fergie took us off at 1505 in BA 398, 1hr. to Feni. As Feni was at risk of being bombed, we had to take the planes to the satellite for dispersal.

Dec 29th.  Brought  BA398 back from dispersal, only for it to develop hydraulic trouble. Landing, after stooging for 20minutes, almost a disaster and fatal, as the flaps started to come down unevenly on the approach. Worse still the plane couldn't be fixed till the first of January, and we didn't get away till 1440 for the 1hr. flight back to Jessore.

Dec 30th., 7 of our planes arrived in the evening to do a raid on Shwebo tomorrow. Smithy landed with no brake pressure, and pranged his plane off the runway with a full bomb load, but fortunately it didn't catch fire. Don Campbell bogged his plane, and we all had to get under the wing to lift it. What a great year we have had !!!!!!!, and what will the New Year bring.

 INDIA  1943

Jan 3rd.  The day brought some cake from home, which was scoffed for supper. Chapman and Webb, (not on the file ?) arrived back this morning, and moved to the Officers Mess. Evidently didn't go to Flying Boats, after all. A lot of the `old hands' seemed to have moved on, and there are a lot of new faces and names, few, if any, aircrew from Greece days, except me.

Jan 5th. In the afternoon, we were all placed on standby. Shortly after 6 crews were sent for, including me. It was for a standby at Feni for Army Co-op. Fergie took us off at 1641 in Bisley AZ 887, for the 1-00hr, flight. Found a billet, had dinner, and then went to bed as it's an early call tomorrow. All  up at 0515am. 4 Planes (not  us) took off about 1000 for a raid on Rathedaung. The 2 remaining, with us leading in AZ 887 took off at 1050 for a raid on the village of Taunghlamaw, close to the other target. 2hrs. 45, All the bombs hit the target. A `write-up' next  day in the local `paper. Our plane was then unserviceable, with engine trouble and the hydraulics (again), and it stayed u.s the 7th. and the 8th. Chappie (Chapman) was on the raid on the 7th., and it seemed that he had his original crew with him, so he couldn't have gone onto Catalina's.

Jan 8th., there was an urgent call for a raid, and  5 planes were airborne in 17 minutes. Our plane was still u.s., so we were assigned to Henshaw's BA 667 instead, T.O. at 1430, for 2hrs. 40. The target was a pagoda near Rathedaung, but my bombs fell a little to the right. Not good.  These Pagoda's were always built on top of a hill, as shrines to the devout. The higher the hill  the richer, and more devout, the builder. They made great observation posts for the Japs, and that is why they were bombed.

Jan 9th. There was an urgent call on the morning of the 9th., for all available aircraft to take part in a raid on Taunghlamaw., to bomb it before 10am.. 5 of ours and 5 of 34 Squadron made it off in time. We didn't take part, as our plane was still u.s. It was fixed during the morning, and word came to return to Jessore. A 1hr. flight back, for a welcome wash and tidy up. After we all landed, the C.O. congratulated us, and we have tomorrow off duty. Was told I was supposed to be on leave, so took off for 3 days in Calcutta, Bought an 8mm Kodak Cine-camera, for less than about  2 pounds sterling. Found out that I have been crewed with F/S Herbert R.A.F.

Jan 15th, took off at 1640 for the 1hr. flight to Feni, in BA 652. Our T.O. was delayed because the bomb doors had to be fixed. 6 planes on stand- by, for Army Co-op work again. On the 16th., the first 3 planes took off about 8am, our plane was u.s. to start with but was soon fixed. Our last 3 were called about noon.  T.O. at 1215 in BA 652 for 2hrs. 45, for a raid at 2500 ft. low-level on a Jap position on a small range of hills near Laungchaung.  All our bombs fell on the target, but no results were observed. Coming back, we passed 6 of our planes from Jessore, going on to do a raid on Akyab, and then passed the other 3 from Feni going to do their 2nd. raid of the day. After de-briefing, and a meal, we took off at 1607 for the 1hr. flight back to Jessore.

Jan 17th. We were told to pack all our kit, except bedrolls and personal gear for 3 days, and send it to the guard room. The ground party was supposed to go tonight, but it was cancelled, and now they go tomorrow. On the 18th. a provisional battle order for 12 crews came in before lunch, and we are on it. The first 6 crews, were told to report to Ops. at 1445. they are going to an A.L.G. The other 6, with us, are to report at 1800 and are on a raid tomorrow.

Jan 18th. The raid's target is Padali village on Akyab Island. T.O. at  0815 for  4hrs, 30. Apart from being lead to the wrong village, none of the 6 loads of bombs fell on the target, which was just as well. My bombs fell on the outskirts, two loads fell in the water, and the rest fell nearby. Soon after leaving the target area, we were jumped by 2 Jap Army 01's, (The Army version of the Zero) Naturally they fired at us and we fired back. I saw one side- slipping toward the sea from 50ft. up. `Shorty' an R.A.A.F. gunner had put a burst into the 01's wing, and saw bits fly off. Some Hurricanes arrived on the scene and evidently finished off the 01. `Shorty' was credited with ½ of the demise of the Jap. The only damage was a few bullet holes in Harmhaw's plane's tail

That was my 37th. Operational  Sortie, and my last with 113 Squadron, and the R.A.F. I did do another 22 Ops with the R.N.Z.A.F., in the South Pacific. Anti-sub patrol's and ship escorts in Hudsons, in 1944.

The  rest of my time in India until the 29th. of December 1943, when I boarded the U.S. Hermitage (troopship) for the voyage home, was spent as a Duty Pilot. Firstly at Jessore (with 113), then Feni, Dohazari, and finally Argatala before boarding the train to travel all the way across India to Bombay. Xmas at sea, and the ship, being  U.S., was "dry….Ho Hum

(To the reader: See also brief profile in Personnel Section, The Story of the 113 Squadron in the History Section, Operational Theaters - Egypt, The Time Line,  and many other photos scattered throughout the site.)