Saturday 28th September, 1940
The postal system seems to be improving considerably and is rapidly approaching normal. Mother's letter took only two days to arrive, which is not bad.
Well, you know by now that I'm a fully fledged first pilot - I am very fortunate to get to that so soon, as some chaps have to do a dozen raids as Navigator before they graduate. We had a long trip on Thursday night in the most appalling weather. There were low rain clouds all the way, and heavy sleet in the target area made it impossible to see anything. I was circling for nearly an hour before we positively identified the target and were able to attack it. It took us six hours to get home from there against headwinds, and the complete trip took 10 minutes short of 10 hours - that's a long time to sit in one place.
The blokes on the ground had an anxious time waiting for us, because these aircraft are only supposed to stay up for eight hours. However, I have made a study of fuel consumption, and I nursed it carefully. The CO nearly collapsed when I told him I still had 148 gallons left in the tanks, nearly enough for three hours longer. One of our blokes wasn't so fortunate, and ran out over the coast, having to abandon the aircraft. So far only the pilot has been saved, but the others may be picked up later by a search ship.
I have received three letters in quick succession from Old Tom, who appears to be having a fairly pleasant time at Stoke-on-Trent. I should like to get over to see him one day, as there is an aerodrome only three or four miles away. I will try to get a bit of time off and drop in on him for an evening. Of course, there is always the flight commander to consider, but it would be a good idea to approach him on the subject.
Some of us went up to York the other evening and visited the theatre. It was rather a ropey show, but we were all in the right mood for slapstick, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a box for four, but six of us crowded in, two overflowing on to the parapet. We stayed the night at Linton-upon-Ouse aerodrome, and drove back in the morning - made quite a change.
I got a chunk of Poggle’s wedding cake on Wednesday - very sweet! Glad everything went off well at the wedding - I hear that mother got sozzled with champagne, and danced on top of the piano while Uncle Fred played “Roll Out The Barrel”.
I think that is about all the news I can give of the moment. Give my love to Mother and Sylveste.
Cheerio, hope to see you all soon.
From your loving son,