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Date: May 1st 1942

[transcription and transcription annotations have been provided by the collection donor]

Fri May 1, 1942:
We were split up into another set of squads & had to go to classes. We’ll have to do something about that as we’ve been through the course twice.

Sat May 2, 1942:
We went to classes again, but the adjutant promised to have something different for us on Monday. I stayed in tonight & wrote letters.

Sun May 3, 1942:
We were told that we were posted to #2 A.F.U. Milborn, Cumberland. We will leave on Monday afternoon. Everything has to be packed. Rubin, Cumming & I went down to the beach and shocked the English public by stripping to the waist for a suntan.

Mon May 4, 1942:
Pay parade & medical inspection this morning. I cabled flowers for Mother’s Day. (incidently those red roses were kept throughout the war by Arn’s mother) We caught the train for London in the afternoon. We spent a couple of hours there, leaving Euston Station for Milborn. At Lancaster our carriage was taken off the train. We had to get into any space available. That meant no sleep.

Tue May 5, 1942:
We arrived at Milborn at about 7:30 am. This town looks bleak & grimy. We were taken out to the airport, where we had bacon & an egg for breakfast. We were split up into 2 squads and taken to our quarters. Later in the day we were given a demonstration on how to use a dinghy, then were given our Mae Wests, chutes & harness, books etc. The food seems fairly good so far. WAAF’s serve all the messhall. Weather is pretty cold today.

Wed May 6, 1942:
Up too late for breakfast today. A route march to the village, then a lecture on maps & charts, followed by a break for cocoa at 10 o’clock, a lecture and practice on the Syko code machine. In the afternoon some more maps & charts; signs, symbols & W/T procedure. The instructor checked me up for sleeping in class. P.T. ended up our school day. The well equipped gym is quite a ways from school as we go there by bus.

Thur May 7, 1942:
No breakfast. A route march to the village, here I noticed a milkman touring through the village, with his horse & cart, dishing out milk to the villagers with a pint measure,. I also saw some laborers hurrying off to work, their leather topped wooden clogs making quite a clatter as they walked along the cobbled streets. At school a lecture on Navigation including some new wrinkles on the subject. A break for tea & pastry. More Syko code practice. After lunch a D/F W/T lecture, then a stores parade, a lecture on Air Force Code & a trip to the operations room. After supper Hugh McCormick, Buckley Harris & I went into Milborn. We ended up in the John Peel Hotel where we had some ale. The proprietress brought out two large dishes of pastry, the best I’ve tasted in England.

Fri May 8, 1942:
Squadron drill, then armaments all morning. We were told about the observer Bomber device. More armament in the afternoon.

Sat May 9, 1942:
Dental parade after breakfast, then armaments this morning, we were shown the distributor. After the 10 - 10:30 am break for coffee we had a talk on the bombing panel & stick bombing. In the afternoon we looked over the Vickery GO gun. Then we donned our flying suits to practice the bombing teacher device. In the evening I discovered a fellow who was a hand balancer. We are going to have a few hand balancing workouts.

Sun May 10, 1942:
D.R navigation for most of the day. We are supposed to fly tomorrow, so we got our charts ready. A concert was put on in the west dining room tonight. The artist came from Barrow. An accordion orchestra composed of youngsters from 10 to 15 years gave a good performance

Mon May 11, 1942:
The weather was too poor for flying, so half the class went to the D.R Navigation teacher, what a device, while one fellow acts as navigator, his partner sits opposite him on the other side of the room & acts as pilot. In the afternoon we did a plotting paper. I am slow, but this is the first plotting I’ve done in 4 months.

Tue May 12, 1942:
Webb & I were “maggies” today and had to straighten up the bunkhouse. After that chore we did a plotting paper. This afternoon we were briefed for a night flight tonight. Although it was a night flight it was still daylight. The trip was from Milborn -Dunfries - Port Patrick - Prestwick - Mull of Galloway - Douglas, Isle of Man - Milborn. We passed Stranraer & saw the flying boats of the same name resting on the inlet like a lot of sleeping water bugs. Arrived near Ayr, which seems to be part of Prestwick or vice versa. We saw a Beaufighter night fighter patrolling above us. Harry Bennett flies one out of Ayr. They’ve armed all the Ansons, a Vickers Go gun and no ammunition in the turrets. Also a Browning and no ammo for the pilot.

Wed. May 13, 1942:
As we flew last night we have to-day off. There was an invasion scare so everyone was confined to camp. The place was alive with steel helmeted armed guards. Everyone carried their tin hat, respirator and gas cape. Some of us were lying out on the football field enjoying the sun when a practice gas warning was sounded. That meant respirators and gas capes on, otherwise you would be taken to a de-contamination center and put through the works just like you’d been a real attack. At about three o’clock the OB was lifted so we swarmed into Milborn.

Thurs. May 14, 1942:
At 8 o’clock parade we learned we were supposed to go on a bombing flight. The first detail got off at 10:45. Our target was anchored out in the bay. I managed a 126 yd error. We were supposed to go up later in the afternoon, but didn’t. However we slept in the sun taking time out to look over one of the Navy’s Walruses that landed in the field.

Fri. May 15, 1942:
PT first thing this morning. A good workout. Do navigation for the rest of the day with a games period to finish off the day. Later Joe B and I did some hand to hand.

Sat. May 16, 1942:
Again we were supposed to bomb at 7:15, but we didn’t know about it until 8:00. While some fellows bombed all day the rest of us went over the bomb parcels, then to the bomb alley to look at some bombs finishing up with clay pigeon firing from a turret. We fly to-morrow morning at 7:15. Bill Klufas, Koeswetter, Macoll and I went to Milborn to celebrate Kluf’s birthday.

May 17, 1942:
Up at 6:15 and in the Ops room by 7:15, however flying was washed out so we went back to the mess for another bacon and eggs breakfast. We set course at 14:00 hrs for Abingdon via Prestatyn, Wales, - Shrewsbury - Worchester - Witney and Abington and O.T.U. station with Whitley as the predominant air/c. Here we had tea and started back at 18:30 hrs. On the last leg visibility went down to about one mile. We had to make an alteration of course to avoid a convoy then home on a Q.D.M.

Mon. May 18, 1942:
We were told that we were terrible navigators. We’ve had that stuff tossed at us before, so we knew how to counter it. We Canucks have a lot to buck over here if we are to keep our heads up. At PT to-day we did some vaulting. The instructor let us have a vaulting box to ourselves. We were supposed to fly to-night, however our detail was scrubbed. The second detail for us takes off to-morrow morning.

Tues. May 19, 1942:
We flew at 5 this morning. Millam - Whitehaven - Gretna Green - Mull of Galloway - Skerries - Millam. We got down in time for breakfast, then to bed till noon. Halcrow, Macintyre and I attempted to get the 12:15 train to Barrow. We got to Millam too late, so we just put in the time until 4:45 PM then caught to train. Barrow seems quite a nice place for a shipbuilding town, some wide tree-bordered streets, lots of picture shows and hundreds of pubs. We caught the train back then to bed.

Wed May 20, 1942:
Flying was scrubbed to-day, as after scrubbing the hut floor and gaining the Orderly Officer’s praise for having the neatest hut. Classes to-day and a pix show “The Great Waltz” and a concert by the Canadian Y to-night.

Thurs May 21, 1942:
PT this morning. I took a group in vaulting. Took a few shots of the sun with a sextant, also played around with an astrograph. We fly to-night. I had a R.A.F. Flight Sgt. Observer for second navigator and he was no hell. The second trip was washed out.

Fri May 22, 1942:
Up at 8:15 to go on dental parade at nine. While getting dressed Ft.Sgt Thompson, our instructor came in and told us that Bruce Holsack and Lofty Baldock with their pilot had bailed out over Carlisle and had landed safely. Dave Halcrow and I set out for Barrow on Furness from Millom a price 2/5 return for the day. Barrow is a shipbuilding center. We saw 4 subs, a couple of destroyers and numerous grounded barrage balloons. We spent all afternoon looking over the town seeing how the people exist. In the working class district loaded clotheslines stretched across the streets between the tenement blocks. Sure a manufacturing center this, I never saw so many women pushing baby buggies. On street the prams were parked onto the curb, while the women cued up for victuals. Bought a Meerschaum pipe. I managed to get us into a private dance, presented a jar of jam to the winner of a lucky number and lead the applause for the chorus girls. Missed the train and spent the night in an air raid warden’s post. The warden woke us in the morning, gave us tea and sent us on our way,. We got back at 7:15.

Sat May 23, 1942:
Drill, then armaments, PT (baseball) and armaments. In the bombing teacher and the gun butts where we fired the Vickers Go gun - cleaned them.

Sun May 24, 1942:
Flying and navigation the 7:15 detail this morning. Route - Base - Caernarvon, Wales - square search in the Irish sea just south of the Isle of Man then to Base. Millam, Caernarvon looks a bit interesting from the air. The castle and several medieval buildings stand out. We came down and had lunch then went up again at 2:00 (14 hrs) for a 3 and a quarter hour trip - to Millam at 5:34 - 2NO 320W- St. John’s Point, Ireland - Bardsley Island, Wales - Chicken Rock, Isle of Man - Millam. While around St. John’s point I noticed the whitewashed cottages and barns, gleaming white compared with the farm houses in Cumberland. When we landed we learned we would do details to-morrow and as I am pretty tired I will go to bed early. To-day is Empire Day, but everyone is too tired to do anything about it.

Mon May 25, 1942:
 PT this morning as flying was washed out owing to poor weather. Despite the raining weather we were detailed to fly at 2:00 (1400 hrs) and prepared our trip. It was put off for one hour then the route was changed. Finally the detail was washed out.

Tues May 26, 1942:
Another day of classes. In the afternoon we prepared for the night flight. Webb and I were on the first detail. The second flight was washed out.

Wed May 27, 1942:
Our day off so I slept in till noon. Paid a trip to the station dentist. Eleven of us went into Milborn, where we had ordered dinner at the West Country Hotel. Three shillings bought, soup, tongue, peas, spuds, pudding, coffee, cheese and biscuits. And then a quick ale at the Peel Hotel.

Thurs. May 28, 1942:
In classes this morning. At noon we told we were to fly. This time we were to have a South African trained lad. This was a sea trip. Milborn - Workington - Stranraer - Skerries - Milborn (Base).

Fri, May 29, 1942:
Classes all day to-day. In the evening several of us were sitting in the Pupil Sargent’s Mess, when several Warrant Officers came in and invited us to a concert in the Station Sargent’s Mess. We got to bed at midnight.

Sat May 30, 1942:
To-day we heard we would be leaving for O.T.U. next Tues. They asked for volunteers for Bomb Aiming. Only a couple gave their names in. In the Evening Joe Bulando and I had a balancing and tumbling workout at the football field.

Sun May 31, 1942:
Early flight to-day. Milborn, - Whitehaven - Douglas, Isle of Man - Milborn. Flt. Sgt. Thompson told us eleven of us would go to O.T.U. #14, Cottesmore, Rutland. Klufas, Nicoll,, Baldock and Bulando go to another O.T.U., while Kieswetter and Lee stay at Milborn for a few days. Only a couple of fellows volunteered for Bomb Aimers. We have the afternoon off and fly to-night. The night flight didn’t go through as the pilot had the day off.