Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: August 1st 1943

Wednesday 4th August

Had a very good trip last night on Catanzaro Marina. Our job was to disrupt rail communications along the east coast of Italy. A short time ago we pranged the western road at Salerno.

Thursday 5th August

The situation in Italy is rather indefinite. The question is not "Will we win" but When will the Italians give in?

There is some indication that the Goering division and Hitler's panzers will leave Sicily in a short time. The Canadians have been proding them gently during the last three days or so.

The R.A.F. have been giving the Italian government a breathing spell to decide just what they want. But at the same time they are hitting the Iti defences hard and often.

I am sure that King Victor wants peace but, he will attempt to demand peace on his own conditions which will not suite us, in any case we will not let the war go on any longer than we can help.

Friday 6th July

"A" spent this p.m. in our tent. He has 31 ops now which is pretty good going. I am going to Naples tonight.

Saturday 7th July

Not a bad trip but the target was covered with cloud.

S/L Bodman and crew was lost on the target last night and west was missing from the same place a week ago - makes one think!!

Saturday 9th August

Spent an hour to night posing a news reel - I'll never be an actor.
Lewis took Pete Barton on an op last night in "M". Shortly after take off flame float jammed in the aelron controls. The crew and Pete bailed out and Lewis landed the aircraft safely on our drome.
Am on Messina beaches to night and have F/O Day as second pilot. He is bound to do some thing wrong - wonder what it will be?

Tuesday 10th August

Didn't have a very good op last night. We spent twice our alloted time trying to find the target so we landed with only 15 min to spare.
There was little flak but the defences were composed of night fighters with search lights. On our return Jerry was carrying out a series of attacks on Syracuse and Catania, so we had to contend with our own flak as well as Jerry fighter bombers.

Wednesday 11th August

Night fighters cluttered up the straits of Messina last night. F/W 190's were positively identified several times. "M" is going strong and I think I can finish my ops on her. I have only three to go now.

Thursday 12th August

We have a strangle hold on Sicily now, all that is left is Messina district itself. The Etna line, which threatened to be a stubborn thorn, is now broken. Jerry will hold us off as long as he can and at least attempt an evacuation but he is going to have a tough time of it.
At last our route to Messina has been changed to overland - The old route via s.e. Sicily and the straits was too difficult. It cost us some 15 Wellingtons (a Whimpy worth 30,00 pounds and a crew worth 20,00) Of course this is not the real value. A crew can use up several planes and if you lose a crew you always lose an air craft.
I think the target to-night is Messina, and, if so we will be there at dusk shortly after.

Bob Hope will be at 40 and 104 Sqds this after noon at 14.30 hrs.

Friday 13th August

Did a dusk raid on Messina beaches last night.

Prince, Clark, Duff, Gilcrest, Billings and Craig were shot down by one small battery. At the time they were about 1000 ft. above us and slightly to star board. These men have all flown through hell on some of the hottest targets out here and its a damned hard luck to be hit by a small battery that only fired about six shots.

On our run we were accompanied by three night fighters so our bombing was as good as it might have been.

Things are certainly getting tough out here.

Sunday 16th August

The Messina straits is the Air Forces death valley. The B.B.C. states that this is the hottest in Europe. It dosen't seem so but our loses tell a different story. I'm on again tonight.

Monday 16th August

I was certainly kept on the hop last night. We bombed Sapri just after the eclipse without incident.

But on return the port reduction gear sprung a leak. This got so bad I featherd the prop at Merrittino Island and did the rest of the trip on one engine. Twice we sent out s.o.s. but finally were able to cross the coast at Heixila at 1000 ft.. The u/c was pumped down with the aid of port prop spin. Lost 400 ft. in evading another air craft on circuit, also had to turn port (30 degree bank). We could not hold height and tried to land at 331 wing. Did circuit at 250 ft. but couldn't complete same - did a steep turn and levelled out at 5 ft. Landed down wind and flapless.

331 wing are new but they are all "malnoon". Interviewed by P.R.O. The G/C says he can't believe a wimp can do such things but he saw it himself.

Spent the day making reports. One more op to do but I've had enough excitement to last for some time.

Tuesday 17th August

:M: will operate tonight, Cryppo tummy bothering me.

Some of the boys were swimming today and they brought back word that most every station along the coast knows of our trouble last night (15-16)

Airsea Rescue plotted us at 12 miles from Cape Bon and were ready to pick us up at a moments notice. (I think they were disappointed that they didn't have a chance to show their skill.)

A.S.R. notified Bau Fisha and they located us visually and passed the gen on to our base. I think the best piece of work was when the base wanted to know our position, before we could reply A.S.R. told them - thus saving us a lot of trouble. A.S.R. plotted us all the way home. - It damned good to know that so many people are helping you when you get in troble.

Wednesday 18th August

"M" did not operate last night. some one backed a petrol Bowser into and broke several geodetics.

The sqd. is not operating to night. I think its just a rest for the ground crew and the air craft. We have operated every night of this month except the second.

I hope I get my last trip in as soon as possible. I'd rather fly than wait. Flying is much better than suspense.

Thursday 19th August

Ops tonight on a place called Foggia. Its a town of some 60,000 containing large important marshalling yards, on the out skirts about five air dromes well stocked. I have "M", a Mk 10 my last op.
From under ground sources in the officers mess I learn the ADJ. will try to get away on Saturday in "C"