- Contributed by
- Pam Traynor
- People in story:
- Geraldine Poulton
- Location of story:
- Blankney Hall, Lincoln
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 06 November 2003
The following is a transcript of my mother's journal for 1944. I have included some comments which she added many years later.
Jan 1 - Was put on a charge by S/O Murray at personal inspection for having my hair on my collar. Afternoon played classical records and made a sausage hairband.
(Later note - As I have a short neck and WAAF greatcoat collars came up very high, it was virtually impossible to keep my hair off it. A sausage hairband was a ring of stuffed cloth worn like a crown over hair with the hair tucked into it all the way round. Could look very good on people with long hair, eg Jeannette Dyer-Melville's long silky black hair made a fat sleek roll framing her face - but my short hair probably looked grim in a roll.)
Jan 2 - Afternoon went for a walk and ironed. 23 Canadian WAAF arrived.
Jan 4 - Went on my charge with Sgt Gearing, Barbara Hicks (a cine projectionist) was my escort. F/O Wilson was quite decent. Gave me 6 hours cookhouse jankers. Did 2 hours this evening, peeling carrots and onions then made tea for the girls who'd been spring-cleaning Cleveland.
Jan 5 - Morning was late on duty and got a raspberry from Pam. Evening went for a moonlight walk with Helen, about 5 miles. Had a letter from Maureen and 2 prs silk stockings and a ten shilling postal order from Peggy.
Jan 6 - Did 2 hours jankers, great piles of awful greasy washing-up this morning with no soap powder, only soda. Afternoon went into Lincoln and bought various oddments including 2 little books for Angela and a little bunch of violets. Very tired all day. Bebe and Irene were put on a charge for not doing the washbasins. Wrote to Peg.
Jan 7 - Finished my jankers this morning, the last 2 hours in the cookhouse. Pay day. Received an Air Letter Card from Dad and a letter from Mum containing 5 shilling P.O. for my birthday. Afternoon went for a 5 mile walk. Evening duty. Read and did my tapestry.
Jan 8 - Morning personal inspection. Afternoon to Lincoln with Dorothy. Had jugged hare and game chips and Christmas pud at Holden's Cafe. Bought 2 tango records and Dorothy bought me Rachmaninov's Prelude for my birthday. Had a poetry anthology from Maureen when I got back.
Jan 9 - My 19th birthday. Received a Greetings Telegram from the girls in Cleveland. Went to 'Quiet Wedding' rehearsal and prompted for them then Jeannette, Dorothy and I took the gramophone into the Canadian's room and played our records to them by the fire with the lights off.
Jan 10 - Had a card, letter and office mag from Peg. Evening ironed and got ready for my leave. 8 am to 5 duty.
Jan 11 - Came home. Arrived about 1.30. Stayed in all day and played records. Mum said I could keep 'Morgenblatter', one of hers. Grandma gave me 10/- for my birthday. The wireless' electrical condenser went U.S.
Jan 12 - Stayed in bed until lunchtime. Afternoon went into town with Mum and Angela. Had tea at Bobby's. Bought a World Atlas and 'Things Seen in the Pyrenees'. Went to see Mrs Green. Evening had dinner at the Gaiety with Mum then to the Regent and saw Barbara Stanwyck in 'Striptease Lady'.
Jan 13 - Evening to dancing class in my red frock. Tim and Jim the only males there. Margaret said Ted had left a message for me that he'd be coming up tomorrow night but I'd already made a date with Tim.
Jan 14 - Morning into town. Afternoon put a note through Ted's letter box but he came up in the evening not having received it. Tim took me to the Palais as we couldn't get in to the Town Hall dance. I wore a black and white blouse I'd bought this afternoon. Had quite a good time.
Jan 15 - Morning went into Warwick, to the office. Had a long chinwag with Pat Leadley. Afternoon to shops and bought 2 collars, a tie, some lace-edging and a B.B. Had tea at Mrs Green's. Evening Tim fetched me at 6.30 and we went to the Fair at Tachbrook and then on to the Palais dance.
Jan 16 - Stayed in all day and read my 1940 Diary right through. Wrote to Dad.
(Later note - This diary I no longer have, which is a great pity as it would have included my last days at school, the announcement there that summer holidays were being brought forward, the evacuation from Jersey very soon afterwards, our journey to Leamington and subsequent 're-establishing' of ourselves after arriving in England with no possessions but a few clothes and very little money.)
Jan 17 - Morning had my photo taken at Walden Hammond. Very expensive. 35/- for one photo. Then to the Pump Rooms for coffee. Afternoon had my hair cut at Langridge's and enquired about trains. Read some mags - 'Britannia and Eve' and 'National Geographic' in the Library. Evening stayed in and read.
Jan 18 - Quite a good journey back. Had a meal at the Rainbow and got the 8.30 bus to Blankney. Felt awfully glad to be back. The girls had moved things around in Cleveland and were awfully sweet to me. Dorothy (Ellis) sent me to bed at quarter to one on night watch.
Jan 19 - Evening had kit inspection. Night duty 2nd half. Helen, Mary and I pinched bread, marge and jam from the Mess and made coffee on the rest room fire. Wrote to Mum as I had brought her back door key back by mistake.
Jan 20 - Afternoon had 2 inoculations at camp and collected 3rd pair of issue shoes. Then hitched to Lincoln, met Helen at the Spotted Cow, had tea and went to 'The Lamp Still Burns' with Helen, Mary and Nancy. Got the train back and had fish and chips in Metheringham. Went on duty at midnight.
Jan 21 - Went to Pay Parade at 11, were kept waiting ages and nearly fainted. Terrible sensation. Came straight back to bed and Nancy made tea and toast for lunch. Had a letter from Les and one from Peggy. Won the toss for a night in bed but had to get up at 5.15 owing to Jerries.
Jan 22 - Have a terrible cold. Stayed in bed all day. Wrote to Maureen and Les. Duty midnight to four.
Jan 23 - Felt rotten so stayed in bed all day and everyone brought me meals in bed. Went on night duty. Had to wash tables.
Jan 24 - 33 hours break. Went to bed 'til 2ish then hitched into Lincoln and had tea at Holden's. 3 Canadian RAF at my table wanted to pay for my tea but I didn't let them. Saw Judy Garland in 'Girl Crazy'. Bought a book of Masefield's poems for Maureen's birthday. A Canadian on the bus back wanted to make a date.
Jan 25 - Got up at 10.30 and did basins and bins as the others were all on S.O.P. Went into Metheringham for soap powder. Wrote to Peg and Mum. Had a letter from Tim.
Jan 28 - Evening went to see 'Quiet Wedding' in the Mess. Joan Yates was very good in the lead role.
Jan 29 - Cleveland was not called so we didn't get up until after 8. All day duty. Evening darned stockings and played classical records. Plan to buy Rachmaninov's 2nd.
Jan 30 - A real egg for breakfast! All day duty. All afternoon on N.RDF - Ellis in charge. Evening walk with Helen. Did a lot of French in the morning. Had sardine supper by the fire.
Jan 31 - Had a PC from Mum saying my photos were not ready. Also 2 letters, 5/- Postal Order and powder puff hanky for Xmas and birthday from Rosa Butler. Picked aconites in the wood opposite then did French all afternoon. Duty 5 to midnight.
Feb 1 - Got up for lunch. Had a letter from Les. Finished my 3rd French test. Afternoon went to fencing class with Helen (2nd time) 5 - 12 duty. Wrote to Captain Johns asking about jobs in Civil Aviation.
Feb 2 - We all went up to camp by transport this morning to see Battle of Britain film. Inspection cancelled. Evening wrote to thank Nurse Butler on 5 - 12 duty.
Feb 3 - My photos arrived. Thought them terrible and can't possibly send Les one. Rather a binding day in Ops. Felt very tired all day and had a busy time in the tote. Evening hitched into Lincoln with Dorothy and saw Paul Henried and Bette Davis in 'Now Voyager'. Thought it very good.
Feb 4 - Slightly better day in Ops. Evening stayed in and darned stockings. Discussion on religion and infinity - Dorothy, Jeannette and me. Jeannette mended my slipper for me.
Feb 5 - Had a long letter from Peg saying she'd had a wire and a letter saying that Ray was killed in a convoy going from Java to Japan. Dorothy said she thought it a fishy yarn, probably an atrocity. Felt worried.
Feb 6 - Got up for lunch. Afternoon went for a walk. Wrote to Peg on evening duty. Jeannette 'read' my palm - not too encouraging!
Feb 7 - Went into Lincoln for lunch at Holden's and bought a loose-leaf notebook for French. Had tea at the Spotted Cow. Got a Channel Isles book from the library. Had a letter from Elsie and one from Maureen about her love affair. Got 2 Saving Certificates, one entirely with threepenny bits I'd saved.
Feb 8 - Day duty. Evening Jeannette showed me how to 'tell' palms. Did French notes on duty and wrote to Les.
Feb 9 - Another day duty. Did French notes again. Was late this morning. Very tired in the evening. Did a lot of washing and Dorothy made the supper.
Feb 10 - 3rd day duty. Scotch eggs for tea. Evening only Mary, Jeannette and I were in. The usual long discussions. We made hard-boiled eggs on toast for supper and coffee.
Feb 11 - Mary and I made all the beds in Cleveland for people coming back from SOP, then I ironed and walked round the grounds after playing the Beethoven 'Emperor' records. Evening duty.
Feb 12 - Afternoon went to 3rd fencing lesson with Helen. Wrote to Maureen. Evening duty - very busy with Bullseyes and Huns. Morning went up to camp with Dorothy to collect gas ointment.
Feb 13 - Mary injured at hockey. Afternoon went to 4th fencing lesson. Very busy 5 to 12 duty. Lots of Huns round London. Very hectic in the Tote. Wrote to Dad.
Feb 14 - Margery Humble, Daphne and McKett posted to Coltishall and Carol to Newcastle. Went to see 'Dear Octopus' (Michael Wilding and Margaret Leighton) with Dorothy and had herring and chips in the NAAFI then a gin and lemon at the Great Northern.
Feb 15 - Daytime duty. Had an FFI. Did washing and read the sexy bits in the 'Bedside Esquire' to Cleveland, to their amusement, following a discussion on sex with Dorothy and Joan.
Feb 16 - Evening stayed at Mrs Loft's in Lincoln (first time). Went to the Assembly Rooms dance wearing civvies under my WAAF greatcoat. Met a Flight Sgt Bomb Aimer called Bob. Danced and sat out with him and had a Jamaica Rum and 2 Pimms in the Bar with him and he saw me home by 12.25. Had a wizard time.
Feb 17 - Had a late breakfast at Mrs Loft's and a light salad lunch at the Spotted Cow. Hitched back and bought lambs' wool soles and some black felt for making slippers. Evening duty. Had my French test back, got 77%. Had a letter from Dad.
Feb 18 - Afternoon ironed. Weather non-op so went to 'Me and My Girl' during 5-12 duty. Wrote to Elsie.
Feb 19 - Had the wireless. Morning big inspection by Wilson, personal and room. Did bathhouses with Pip. Afternoon went into Lincoln with Dorothy and had tea at Holden's. Missed the bus and hitched back in a jeep with 2 Yanks at terrific speed.
Feb 20 - Real eggs for breakfast! Had half Joan's as well. Had 3 helpings of trifle at lunch. Evening mended and listened to the wireless, then supper in Cleveland.
Feb 21 - Worked 8-5 then Dorothy and I went as prompters and 'noises off' at Quiet Wedding on camp. Then on midnight duty. Felt dead but came off at 4 am.
Feb 22 - Didn't get up until teatime. Had supper in Cleveland, boiled egg on toast and made pancakes as it's Shrove Tuesday and ate them with jam. Listened to a wizard play on the wireless - 'This Time it's Real'. Worked 1st half again as Dorothy and I swapped with Mary and Helen.
Feb 23 - Slept until 3.30 then did my washing. Evening hitched to Lincoln and saw 'Victory Through Air Power' by myself. Got the 8.30 bus back, tidied my drawer and started making a handbag. Had a letter from Les saying he'd be having leave on 23 March and had bought a small car. Got 4 oranges.
Feb 24 - Worked 12 to 4 again and did canteen out of turn. Wrote to Les. Letter from Maureen saying she'd enrolled for the WAAF. Had an egg supper in Cleveland. Arthur came up to fix the wireless.
Feb 25 - Went to 'Random Harvest' in the Mess with Dorothy. (Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson - thought it wonderful.) On duty 2nd half. Polished the passage.
Feb 26 - Stayed in all evening and had powdered egg on toast supper. Worked 1st half and was sent to bed at 2 as we were Non-op.
Feb 27 - Quite thick snow. Slept 14 hours and got up for tea. Finished making hogskin shoulder bag.
Feb 28 - Went into Lincoln in the morning (against rules) with Dorothy. Saw 'The Man in Grey' (Stewart Grainger, James Mason) and had lunch at Holden's and tea at the Ritz. Bought a record 'This Can't be Love' and saw 'Stage Door Canteen' in the Mess.
Feb 29 - Letter from Mum. Miserable day. All confined to camp for 4 days as an ST was found down the drain. Evening Jeannette went to dinner with Lady Londesborough. Miserable evening in Cleveland, all feeling irritable. Mum's letter said Uncle Tom had arrived in England.
Mar 1 - Stayed in bed all day and Wicks and I even made tea in Cleveland instead of getting up for tea in the Mess. Mary received a photo of Mary Hughes from her friend Myfanwy. Did my washing then to a dance in the Mess. Not bad. Jeannette got cracking with her new S/Ldr Chris Le Roux. Is going night-clubbing in Town on the long break with him.
Mar 2 - The Ellis sent me to bed all night on night duty last night and I slept 2 until 4 today. Got up for tea. Evening had dried egg on toast and listened to swing music on the wireless. Dorothy went on her 48 for her brother's wedding.
Mar 3 - Although CB went into Lincoln with Mary early afternoon. She ordered lace for her wedding dress and I had my photo taken at Harrison's. Wore civvy blouse under WAAF coat. Evening saw 'Candlelight in Algeria' - James Mason and Carla Lehmann. Very good. Caught train back and came in by the drive. Had a lovely letter from Les. Felt dead.
Mar 5 - Dorothy came back very tired from her 48 so I cleaned her buttons then got ready for long break before midnight duty.
Mar 6 - Hitched down to London with D in open lorry. Felt frozen. Arrived Marble Arch 1.10. Went and saw 'Circonstances Attennantes' at Studio One then 'Druid's Rest' at St Martin's Theatre, then went for a long walk and got the tube to Dorothy's home in Palmers Green and had a lovely supper, eggs and trifle.
Mar 7 - Mr Walesby drove us to the station. Met Joan Yates there and travelled back with her. Had lunch at Holden's and Dorothy and I bought records. Hitched back. Jeannette is on a charge for coming back late. Very busy in Ops on 5 to 12 duty but found time to write to Les. Had letter from Elsie and Janet Cambray.
Mar 8 - Morning had to do basin stooging. Afternoon went for a walk through the park.
Mar 9 - Got up for room inspection and we polished the floor. Afternoon went for a walk. 5-12 duty. Non-op. Wrote to Elsie re her proposed visit to Lincoln. Did my washing.
Mar 10 - Didn't get up in time for breakfast. 8 to 5 duty. Evening started making slippers out of moleskins.
Mar 11 - Didn't go to breakfast. Felt very tired all day. Evening ironed. Had a message through Ops from Elsie. Dorothy had a parcel from her mother which contained a Mars bar for me and we had hot lemon to drink.
Mar 12 - Real eggs for breakfast. I just made it. Only Dorothy, Joan Yates and me in Cleveland this evening. Did tons of mending. Had sardine supper, provided by Dorothy.
Mar 13 - Afternoon hitched into Lincoln with Joan and met Elsie at Holden's. First time I'd seen Elsie in 10 months. We wandered round Lincoln all afternoon and had waffles at the Spotted Cow. Saw 'You were never lovelier' in the Mess on evening duty as we were non-op.
Mar 14 - Morning stooged - cleaned the far landing and stairs. Then went up on the roof and did exercises with Jeannette and taught her the rudiments of fencing. Had a letter from Les and one from Peg saying Grandma had moved out, gone with Uncle Tom. 5 to 12 duty. Biggest Blitz ever - terrific flap. Had an FFI and got 3 weeks' back sweet rations today.
Mar 15 - Stooged in the morning - passage again. Kit inspection by S.O Murray afternoon. Pretended to have lost one pair of stockings so I could get a new pair. Wrote to Peg and Les. Quite busy 5 to 12 duty.
Mar 16 - 8-5 duty. Did my washing and sewed my pink webbing bag. Jeannette wrote a poem about me and one about the Tote.
Mar 17 - Did canteen stooge. Evening went to see 'Edge of Darkness' - Erroll Flynn - in the Mess and didn't think much of it. Evening felt a bit depressed.
Mar 18 - Morning had a set-to with Fred and the Ellis over cleaning Fenton's office. Evening went to Lincoln Assembly Rooms with Joan Yates. Had a good time in spite of having a headache. Met 2 Yanks who saw us back to Mrs Loft's. Had a sore throat.
Mar 19 - Stayed the night at Mrs Loft's. Wizard hitch back with very amusing 'airborne' Lt. Big Blitz on 5 to 12 duty. We shot one down. I have a cold threatening.
Mar 20 - Spent the afternoon mending stockings etc. 5 to 12 duty. Ellis sent me to bed at 10.30 as it was non-op. - new system. Doped myself with Ovaltine, 3 aspirins, Vick and Benzedrine.
Mar 21 - 8-5 duty. Went to Casual Pay and got my 16/- ration money. Evening went for quite a long walk with Nancy and got on with making my slippers. Cold much better but dosed myself with aspirin.
Mar 23 - Came home on leave. Left at 12 noon and arrived shortly before 8. Peg was out and there was no letter from Les so felt cheesed and went out straight away without a meal. Took the bus into Warwick and walked back via Myton. Afterwards chatted to Peg and Ted in the sitting-room. Mum very cheesed.
Mar 24 - Morning Les called for me unexpectedly while I was washing so he came back later and we went for a walk round the Jephsons. Afternoon had tea at Pattison's with Mum, Peg and Angela. Evening Les and his friend Maurice called for me in the car and we collected Les's sister, had a few drinks at the Bath, then Les and I went to the Town Hall dance. He drove me back via Guys Cliffe and we had coffee in Warwick. Alert sounded. Got home at 1.15. Mum furious.
Mar 25 - Les called for me this morning and drove me over to Stratford. He'd been to Guys Cliffe at 6.30 this morning and found the glove I'd lost last night. Went to 'Wuthering Heights' by myself this evening.
Mar 26 - Went out walking morning and afternoon, on my own, as Peg weekending in Stratford. Les called for me unexpectedly and took me to tea at his home. We went to the Boot Inn and I got home about elevenish.
Mar 27 - Morning went to the office with Peg. After lunch Les took Mary and me to Worcester. Had tea on the way back then went to a pub in Warwick with Maurice, Jim etc. Took Mary home then Les took me to Guys Cliffe again. Agreed to go back from leave with him. Got in at 12, syren was sounding.
Mar 28 - Didn't see Les all day as he'd had to go home. Morning and afternoon went into town with Peg. Afternoon had tea at Pattison's with Mum, Peg and Angela. Evening cleared up and got things organized.
Mar 29 - Got the train for Birmingham. Peg carried my kitbag to the station. Met Les at Snow Hill and came back in his little car, very scenic drive as he went via Derbyshire Peak District, Bakewell etc, places I'd never seen before and thought lovely.
Mar 30 - Les went on to Driffield, dropping me off at Leeds. Ticket collector didn't query fact that I'd apparently gone from Leamington to Lincoln via Leeds so no extra to pay on Travel Warrant.
Mar 31 - Dorothy said really pleased I was back - said they call me the 'peacemaker' and that they all have rows when I'm not here but when I am, she says, I always say something that makes them laugh when they're about to argue and it keeps the peace. Amazing - felt both flattered and a bit disillusioned as I can't imagine them ever having rows.
Apr 1 - Did a lot of washing. Went for a walk in the park before 5 to 12 duty.
Apr 2 - Very quiet duty 5 pm to 12.
Apr 3 - Cycled through the Park with Nancy and Helen. Wrote to Les. Had real egg supper, chips and coffee. Duty 4 to 8 am.
Apr 4 - Afternoon cycled into Metheringham with Nancy. After tea hitched to Lincoln with Dorothy and saw Robert Donat and Elissa Landi in 'Count of Monte Cristo'. Had a drink at the Naafi afterwards. Felt very tired on duty.
Apr 5 - Got up for lunch. Pottered and played records.
Apr 6 - Cycled up to Highfields with Nancy. Had a nice tea there.
Apr 7 - Went to church, as it's Good Friday, with Nancy, Mary, Helen and Dorothy. (Later note - I was not normally a church goer but the Hall had its own Estate Church with a gate from the grounds into the little churchyard and I thought this rather special.) Then cycled up to camp with them and collected stockings and mug. Still can't get on and off the bike alone. Evening fencing with Helen then played table tennis with her. Real egg supper in Cleveland. Letter from Peg.
Apr 8 - Did washing. Evening played records. Not feeling too good.
Apr 9 - Got up for wizard lunch. Afternoon went for a walk. Evening played table tennis with Dorothy and ironed.
Apr 10 - Were on duty all night as it was Op, except for one hour. Had an Auntie Mabel talk by the Group MO after duty. (Later note - Auntie Mabel talks were given to improve our knowledge of the 'facts of life' and to warn of the dire consequences of putting theory into practice.) Very amusing but didn't get to bed 'til after lunch. Evening went for a walk and did French in the Quiet Room.
Apr 11 - Got up for lunch. Afternoon went to Woodhall Spa with Dorothy. Hitched there, had tea and went on the swings. Came back by train to Lincoln, had a meal at the NAAFI and saw Jack Buchanan in 'The Middle Watch' - very good. Up all night as hostile activity. Three of our aircraft were lost, one of Digby's Mosquitoes and two Spitfires. No Huns shot down.
Apr 12 - Had a letter from Les and one from Mum. Evening went to the Fair in Metheringham. Went on swingboats and horses and tested our SA (Later note - SA = Sex Appeal) - mine said 'Naughty' and Dorothy's 'cautious'. Had 2 drinks in the Star and Garter with Larry. Came back with fish and chips.
Apr 13 - Didn't get up for lunch - hardboiled egg on toast in the bedroom. Did washing. Tipped out writing case and got organized on Napoleon's life for my French course.
Apr 14 - Didn't get up for lunch as we were called out twice in the night over Hostiles. Had a P.C. from Maureen saying she'd arrived at Cranwell. Evening wrote to her and started cutting out black cami-knickers.
Apr 15 - Got up for Casual Pay at 11.45. Hitched into Lincoln after lunch. Collected pink blouse and took jacket to be dyed. Went roller skating at the back of the Ritz. Hitched back part of the way with S/O Holland, on her knee. Started P.O. account with one pound. Had egg supper in Cleveland.
Apr 16 - Afternoon went into Lincoln with Jeannette and saw 'Reap the Wild Wind'. Had tea at the Naafi.
Apr 17 - Hitched down to London with Dorothy. Had lunch at Dunstable. Looked round St Paul's and had tea at Bourne and Hollingsworth. Evening saw Michael Redgrave in 'Uncle Harry' at the Garrick Theatre.
Apr 18 - Hitched back. Got a car all the way from Baldock to Lincoln and the chappy stood us lunch on the way. D rather fell for him. Letters from Les and Dad when I got back. Duty 5 to 12.
Apr 19 - Uneventful day. Posted letters in Meggy to Les and Dad. Had an FFI. 5 to 12 duty. No work as weather US. Had a letter from Maureen. Wrote to her and Peg on duty.
Apr 20 - Afternoon walked into Meggy and ironed. Morning stooged - far passage. Bags of hostile activity on 5 to 12 duty but had a fairly quiet time in the DF Room.
Apr 21 - 8 to 5 duty. Pat Lewis read short stories to us in the DF Room. NCO's were put on the plotting exercise. I was in the tote. Very tired after tea, fell asleep on my bed, then finished off my French course and went to bed. Wrote to Mum on duty.
Apr 22 - 8 to 5. Evening went into the Park with Nancy and a bike and at last learned to get on and off. Went right through and back via the road alone. Did my washing, sewed my chevron on and did some mending.
Apr 23 - Rather late lunch as big 'window' exercise on in Ops over lunchtime. Hitched into Lincoln to meet Maureen as arranged but she didn't turn up. Was told lots of people had been turned off the Cranwell bus. A sailor tried to pick me up in the Naafi. Got the 8.30 bus back.
Apr 24 - Afternoon went for quite a long cycle ride by myself, to Martin Bomber drome and the primrose bank. 5 to 12 duty. Had letters from Maureen and Les.
Apr 25 - Awful bother trying to fix 36 hr break to coincide with Les's leave, but did not succeed. Wrote to him and Maureen and posted them in Meg. Boiled egg in Cleveland this morning.
Apr 26 - Afternoon went for an hour's cycle ride by myself. Then went up and sunbathed on the roof. 5 - 12 duty.
Apr 27 - Had boiled egg for breakfast in Cleveland during our 'bedmaking' time. Fried egg and chips etc for tea and had 'real' scrambled egg for supper. Evening did washing. Pam said I could have my '36' on the 8th after all, so wrote and told Les.
Apr 28 - 8-5 duty. Evening went into Lincoln with Joan Yates and saw Robert Donat and Greer Garson in 'Goodbye Mr Chips'. Horrible crowd of French Canadians, terribly drunk, on bus. Went to Jim for gen on duty. Started getting a cough.
Apr 29 - Cough much worse. Barbara gave me some medicine. Evening went for a walk on my own and was disgusted by seeing a dead snake tied to a gate post, just where the catch of the gate had to be opened - I expect to discourage anyone from going into the field. Cleaned buttons etc.
Apr 30 - Morning cycled to Sleaford and met Maureen. Had a puncture and had to leave the bike there. We chatted in a field and had a cafe lunch. Came back on same bus as Wicks and Nancy. Sent to bed at 9.40 on 5 to 12 duty as cough much worse.
May 1 - Had 2 letters from Les arranging the break. Afternoon bussed to Sleaford, collected bike and cycled back. Bought a traycloth and transfer in Sleaford. Got terribly hot coming back and felt pretty rotten. Wrote to Les and Mum. Had egg supper.
May 2 - Letter from Mum saying Dad very surprised about the boyfriend but he'd said I had rather an old head on young shoulders and he wouldn't think I was subject to an infatuation. Am having a week in the DF Room. Did a bit of 'telling'. Started my traycloth and read 'Don John'. Evening ironed and went early to bed.
May 3 - Finished 'Don John' and mislaid it. Rather lazy day. A notice went up on D R O's about the trade of Clerk GD Computor. Rather interested. Went to bed early and started 'Helene' by Vicki Baum. Did my washing. Jeannette and Dorothy played records.
May 4 - Found 'Don John' in the DF Room - very relieved. Afternoon did potatoes and did half an hour overtime on them. Evening played the gram - swing and classical and went to bed early. Had my French Test back - 76%. Rumours of 36's being cancelled.
May 5 - Did basin stooging. Afternoon went into Lincoln - hitched in and got 4.30 bus back. Poured with rain. Bought a Cutex Coral lipstick (3/6) and 2 little books for Angela. Had a letter from Peg saying she's not going to marry Ted after all. Was sent to bed early after non-op evening in the DF Room. Played telegrams.
May 7 - Peggy Burns and Poopy posted overseas. Almost thought I'd 'had' my 36 but it was a false alarm.
May 8 - Hitched home on my 36. Met an RAF Cpl on the Newark Rd and hitched with him right to Leamington. Arrived about 6.15. No sign of Les. Walked to Warwick, met Mr Hawes and chatted. Tried to phone Les's mother but couldn't. Walked back via Guys Cliffe.
May 9 - Met Tim and hitched back with him. Arrived Lincoln about 6ish. Went to see 'Madame Curie' - Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. Loved it. The girls were very sweet on hearing about my disappointing 36.
May 10 - Couple of new Canadian males arrived - very dim. Had both on RDF with me. 8-5 duty. Eveing Joan, Jeannette and Dorothy went to the Mess dance. They asked me to go but I stayed in and washed my hair, played classical records, mended my slippers, did some darning and read some French. About 12 Jeannette came in and told me all about her adventures with Mac and Harry, having invited Harry and spent most of the time with Mac. Joan very indignant and disillusioned.
May 11 - Did middle landing and stairs. At 1 pm phoned Les. He said he hadn't received my second letter until he returned, had called at home about 4 and had gone to Birmingham next day. Was rather shirty to him. Sunbathed on the roof. 5 to 12 duty.
May 12 - Was paid 3 pounds (10/- extra). Afternoon walked into Meggy, bought some soap and posted letters to Mum and Maureen. Went to see 'This Above All' (3rd time) on duty. Did washing.
May 13 - Did stairs and landing. We had both personal and room inspecs this morning but got up in good time for them. Afternoon walked through the fields and picked some cowslips. Ironed and tidied my drawer.
May 14 - Afternoon went to Jim for gen. (Later note - Jim was an elderly [probably about 40] Sgt, whose job was to lecture us on all matters concerning the Ops Room and to train us for out trade tests. [Very stiff - practical, written and oral]. I'd passed my LACW [came top which amazed me] on 26 October 1943.) Evening ambled across the fields, did stacks of washing, went to bed and read poetry after a natter with Jeannette.
May 15 - Read Dummy Run to George, the new Canadian as yesterday. (Later note - A dummy run was a practice - not genuine plots - to train people in plotting etc.) Came to bed in the evening prior to 12 to 8 duty. Read more poetry and had egg on toast supper in bed. Had about one and a half hours in bed on night duty. Had a long natter with Elsie on the fighter line at 12. Suggested seeing her on my break. Tried on Nancy's riding habit. Jeannette came back from her 36 and said Chris was divorcing and wanted her to marry him.
May 16 - Had letters from Mum and Dad.
May 17 - Cold wet day. Stayed in bed most of day. Wrote to Peg in bed saying I'd decided definitely now to return to Jersey as had broken with Les and how about a flat. Amused myself planning the clothes I shall need after the war.
May 18 - Came off at 8. Went for a stroll across the fields in slacks and sweater as it was a lovely morning. Then went to bed and dreamed that Les rang me up on the Pickwell line and that I was talking to him in a very sentimental way with all the DP Room listening. Woke up to find a letter from him on the dressing table. Evening went on the booze in Meg with about half the control. Had a sing-song afterwards in the Mess. George played the piano.
May 19 - Got up for tea and afterwards cycled to Coleby with Barbara. Went to bed and Jeannette played Rachmaninov records. Wrote to Les. Duty 12 to 2 am then 4.45 to 8. Canteen stooge.
May 20 - Evening Jeannette and I hitched into Lincoln all on the spur of the moment to see Barbara Stanwyck, Betty Field etc in 'Flesh and Fantasy'. Very good. Boiler was U.S. when we returned.
May 21 - Had 3 helpings of wizard trifle for lunch.
May 22 - Morning came off duty at 8 and exercised on the roof with Jeannette. Evening saw Fred MacMurray and Paulette Goddard in 'Standing Room Only' in the Mess with Jeannette. Hostiles on duty (as last night). Bed about 4.30 am.
May 24 - Changed my mind about going to Lincoln for '36' and decided to go home but lunchtime had a letter from Les saying he might be able to get to the Mecca Locarno at Leeds tonight so hitched up there. It took about 4 hours. Stayed at the YW, changed into civvies and went to the Mecca. Didn't see Les but enjoyed it and came back to the YW with a Sgt A.G. named Mickey.
May 25 - Morning ambled round Leeds. 1 pm train was cancelled at last minute. Tried to phone Les but he wasn't there. It rained and next train not 'til 5.30 so went back to YW, changed into uniform and hitched back in three and a quarter hours.
May 26 - Evening hitched into Lincoln to see 'Jane Eyre' - Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles. Saw Muriel and Joan in the queue and they asked me to join them. Wizard film. '36's' cancelled.
May 27 - Got up at 11.35 for Casual Pay. Felt tired and dispirited all day. Slept all afternoon on bed. After tea walked into Meg and bought an Air Letter Card and soap powder.
May 28 - Got up for tea. Evening cycled about 10 miles with Barbara, then did my washing. Sweltering day.
May 29 - Afternoon sunbathed on the roof and got a bit sunburnt. Evening plotted hostiles on RDF - two interceptions by Wing Co. White-Boycott - one shot down, one probable.
May 30 - Morning went round Orby Transport full of B Controlites. Afternoon went off on my own in Skegness. Had tea en masse. Waited hours for it. Evening danced at the Sun Castle and had a drink. Returned about 12.30
May 31 - Lunchtime was running full tilt up the Ops passage and fell very heavily. Smashed my mug and strained my arm. Nearly fainted in the Mess afterwards so didn't have any lunch. Arm very stiff and painful all day. Very quiet 5-12 duty. Did some French vocal and chatted to Diana Marks.
Jun 1 - Arm still stiff. The girls binded at me about reporting sick but couldn't be bothered. (Later note - We had to go up to Camp [Digby] to report sick.) Took my French into the park and was soon surrounded by a herd of bulls which came up to inspect me. Felt rather scared. Afternoon went into Lincoln. Bought 2 blue vases for Mary's wedding present and 2 records for myself - 'Tenement Symphony' and Artie Shaw, 'I Cover the Waterfront'. Dorothy gave me 'The Voyage de M. Perrichon'. Arm still stiff.
Jun 2 - 8-5 duty. Kit inspection in the morning. Did 2 plotting exercises. Evening cycled up to Camp with Muriel and Joan for gas kit inspection. Wrist hurt a bit. Evening read in bed and chatted to Jeannette and she played the gram.
Jun 3 - Mary's wedding day. Helen and Nancy got back about one and a half hours late from it this evening - said it was wonderful. Did my washing after 8-5 duty then went to bed and read. Still can't straighten elbow.
Jun 4 - Bacon and egg for breakfast as on Friday. 8 to 5 duty. Group Dummy Run around lunchtime when Section was ordered to patrol Warwick. Evening went to Church then for a cycle ride.
Jun 5 - Morning cleaned the bathhouse with Dorothy. Afternoon wrote French essay about a tour of Europe. 5 to 12 duty - went to flicks in the Mess with D - 'Hit Parade of 1943' - Susan Haywood. Jeannette says Second Front appears to be 'cooking' - much excitement on top deck.
Jun 6 - Second Front started this morning. Fighting in Caen. Evening in DF Room, we all plugged in to Pickwell and heard the News and the King's speech on their radio. Felt very stirred by the news, as we all did.
Jun 7 - A rather binding day. Afternoon hiked up to camp with Jeannette and went through the gas chamber to test our respirators. Hitched back. The papers say Germans have said British paratroopers have landed in Jersey and Guernsey but we make no claim. (Later note - False report) Felt terrible, have a cold coming on. Little hostile activity in Ops.
Jun 8 - Evening cycled to Metheringham Bomber 'drome with Mary, Barbara and Diana. Danced with some quite good dancers and enjoyed it but there was a rather cheesing auction sale at the end.
Jun 9 - Fried egg for breakfast - only just made it. 8-5 duty. Afternoon had a DR lesson with Smoky. Enjoyed it. Evening Barbara presented me with an egg which I had on toast. Had a letter from Maureen, censored. She is now at W. Beckham. Wrote to Peg. Our new 'Mrs Harris' returned from her honeymoon.
Jun 10 - Evening got an SOP. Stayed at Mrs Loft's and went to Linc. Assembly Rooms dance in civvies. My hand hurt, result of my fall still, I think. Dance terribly crowded. Danced with a Sgt AG, very good-looking and he took me 'home' to Mrs Loft's.
Jun 11 - Got the 1.30 bus back. Jeannette came back from her SOP with Mac. 5-12 duty in Ops. Had a letter from Elsie. Barbara informed me I'm in the Operational Crew, in the Tote, as Pam thinks I'm very good at it - Shucks! (Later note - Operational Crew - people chosen to specialise in certain Ops Room jobs for when there was a lot of hostile activity. The Tote was everyone's least favourite position, an awful job at busy times, almost impossible to do perfectly.)
Jun 12 - 24 hour break. Afternoon hitched into Lincoln. Met Mary at the Windmill and was introduced to new husband Reg Harris. Went to see 'The Phantom of the Opera' and had tea at the Ritz. Had a wash and brush-up then went to a dance at the Montana. Some wizard pros there. (Later note - professional dancers) Was escorted back by 2 WAC's and got 10.15 bus.
Jun 13 - Went to the Guard Room for the mail and found a letter from Les. Seems to be cooling. Probably met someone else, or doesn't want to get too 'steady', in his situation. Morning went up to camp and saw the MO about my hand at last. He says it's just badly wrenched. Had a lift back on a DR's motor bike. Evening cycled to Navenby with Barbara, had a quick one and cycled back with the wind behind us. Chatted to Allan in the sentry box and he drew me a little man in my autograph book.
Jun 14 - 8-5 duty. Pip heard that her brother is OK in France and Margery Greening heard that her husband was wounded and is now in England. Evening played Artie Shaw and Hutch and read a Somerset Maugham story 'The Human Element'.
Jun 15 - 8-5 duty. Pat Lewis asked me to go to the Meggy Bomber dance with her. Quite enjoyed it - wizard eats, jellies, trifles etc. Saw a Navigator I'd met before and had a dance with him. Had a flat tyre coming back and was cycling against the wind - rough going. Didn't get in till 12.15.
Jun 16 - Morning stooged, ST's and lavs. Twit and I had all Cleveland to do as well. Afternoon cycled up to the Feathers with Twit and helped Mary wash-up and clean her bedroom. (Later note - I think Mary was staying at Highfields, briefly -probably Reg got a bit of time off to join her there and brought Brutus, his collie dog, exactly like Lassie. Muriel agreed that Brutus could stay at the farm after Mary and Reg went, provided that he was fed, as they had big dogs of their own. Accordingly Nancy and I arranged for the Mess to give food and we cycled up with it for him.) 5-12 duty. Went to see 'Watch on the Rhine' - Bette Davis, Paul Lucas and Geraldine Fitzgerald. Had seen it before but loved it and felt keener than ever to go to France after the war.
Jun 17 - Morning we had an 'Auntie Mabel' talk and personal inspection. Afternoon dozed and listened to classical records. 5-12. Wrote to Maureen and a final note to Les. Also wrote to Mum.
Jun 18 - Got up for lunch. Afternoon went for a walk. D.F. crew - did some French.
Jun 19 - One posting came through to Biggin Hill and one to Uxbridge and Mary Harris got the one to Biggin. Helen and Nancy are away on a '24' so spent the evening in Typhoon. Joan Gray may be getting the Uxbridge posting and Bebe asked me if I'd like her bed in Typhoon, if she goes, but I'm happy in Cleveland. Mary is all organized for her departure tomorrow.
Jun 20 - Boring day in DF Room. Felt cheesed. Wicky left. Evening took Brutus's food up to the farm and met Muriel. (Later note - We used to have a very big tin with a string threaded through holes in the top. The cooks filled it with meat, scraps etc and we cycled up to Highfields with the string looped over the handle bars.) Walked into Meg and got some chips. Met Jeannette on the way back. Very cheesed too, and we went to the Naafi. Went to bed early and read. Had a letter from Mum saying Dad had gone to Lebanon and liked it.
Jun 21 - Had a wonderful letter from Les in response to my chippy note. Had a tin of cakes from Mum. Evening went to a dance in the Mess with Diana and Barbara. Officers invited didn't come, except Ibbotson, as they were on duty. Danced with a Canadian erk who got a bit fresh and tried to make a date but I refused.
Jun 22 - Did stairs stooging. Afternoon cycled up to the farm and fed Brutus, as yesterday, also brushed him. Cycled to Dunston with Barbara. 5 to 12 duty.
Jun 23 - Had a letter from Peg today saying she'd got her Leading Wren. Also parcel from Mum containing my red frock and shoes. Awful cleaning bind in Cleveland this morning as usual on this day. Cycled up to the farm with Nancy to feed Brutus. 5 to 12 duty.
Jun 24 - Leo Darbyshire, who reads character from handwriting, 'told' Dad's for me. Wrote to Mum. New girl, Pat Tanks, arrived today in Cleveland in place of Wicks.
Jun 25 - Terrific room and personal inspection by Beaven and Co. It went off OK. Afternoon Helen, Nancy and I took the 4 farm dogs for a walk. 5 to 12 duty.
Jun 26 - On '24'. Went to Lincoln and saw 'The Courtship of Andy Hardy'. Went up to the Bishop's Palace and got 8.30 bus back.
Jun 27 - Got up at 10. Evening had best session ever on my French course and completed Test 5. Night duty once more - first half. 12 to 4. Quite a few 'Divers'.
Jun 28 - A lovely day. Afternoon hitched into Linc. with Nancy. Shopped and had tea at Eastgate Court. Met Thwaites and went to 'Halfway House' - Glynis Johns and Francoise Rosay etc - at the Savoy. Played my new record 'Two Guitars' and 'Holiday for Strings' in the washplace as Pat was sleeping. Everyone thought it lovely. Have saved 35/-.
Jun 29 - WAAF 5th Anniversary. Had a seaweed bath this morning. Got up for special anniversary tea - egg salad, strawberry trifle and birthday cake. Evening went to the dance on camp. Borrowed Barbara's flowered linen frock and received lots of compliments. Towards the end went for a walk with a chappie named Ray but he proved a bit of a wolf. Duty 4-8 and did canteen stooge.
Jun 30 - Our anniversary dance in the Mess here. Wore my scarlet frock and black and silver shoes - bags of compliments, most gratifying. Had to leave at 11.15 to relieve 'A' Watch. Ray gatecrashed the dance and wanted a date with me.
Jul 1 - To bed at 3 am on night duty. Was on 'standby' but didn't get called. Afternoon alone in cleveland. Played records and messed around generally - nice. Wrote to Dad and posted his photo. Evening dance at Nocton. Met a Frenchman called Georges Bederion. Walked with him in the woods and made a date.
Jul 2 - Got up for lunch and cycled up to the farm with Nancy then cycled up to Nocton and met Georges. Had tea at the Mess there on a large metal tray with compartments for the different kinds of food. Walked in the woods and he asked me to marry him! (Later note - Not, in fact, the most rapid proposal I ever had. The following year, in London, a Yank proposed marriage the first [and only] time I met him - was trying to fix a date for the Register Office, spoke of getting a Licence, seemed serious. People are really weird in wartime. Of course, I declined both offers.)
Jul 3 - Got up for lunch. Poured with rain all day. cycled to Nocton, met Georges and we hitched into Lincoln. Had tea at Holden's then went to a lousy film at the Savoy. Had a drink at the Saracen's then got the 8.30 bus to Nocton and cycled back from there in the rain. Georges wanted to buy me a ring at a Lincoln jeweller's but I wouldn't let him.
Jul 4 - Cycled up to Nocton at 12.30 in order to meet Georges before he left for Hull but the sentry gave me a note from him saying he'd left at 10 and had written to me. Went for a long cycle ride, came back very tired and went to bed after FFI and tea.
Jul 5 - Evening open-air dance at the Fletchers. Went with Nancy and Helen. Took Brutus, Sam and Regen for a long walk and lost Regen. Spent ages looking for him and eventually came back to find him waiting in the hall. Mostly Yanks at the Fletchers' dance, I danced with one named Joe. Cycled back to the end of our Mess dance and saw Ray there - I'd asked him to come to that dance but forgot - embarrassing.
Jul 6 - Morning got all spruced up for interview with S/O Rae-Martin re France. She was very nice but said I hadn't a chance, being under 21. (Later note - Yet I was allowed to go to India, a country in violent revolt against the British, rioting and burning our lorries and buildings, when I was still under 21.) Afternoon played French records. Had a very amorous note from Georges. Evening exercised Brutus again. Bed at 2.30 on night duty.
Jul 7 - Afternoon Nancy and I went to Lincoln and had a strawberry and cream tea at the Spotted Cow. Put one pound five shillings in P.O. though was paid 4/- short this morning. Hitched back and I took Brutus's food up to the farm. Evening went to see 'Claudia' in the Mess. Went on duty second half and had less than an hour in bed.
Jul 8 - Awoke to find on my table a long cutting about the 'expected liberation of the Channel Isles' and two 'yearning' letters from Georges. Evening and afternoon garden fete in aid of the Red Cross in the Fletchers' grounds. Worked hard at washing-up, played in the Ladies' comic football match and danced with the Yank who introduced me to Georges at Nocton. He had a rabbit up his tunic.
Jul 9 - Very tired and stiff after yesterday's football followed by night duty. Got up for lunch and had 3 helpings of trifle but went back to bed for the whole day.
Jul 10 - Duty 2nd half during which I wrote 3 letters. Great excitement as Jeannette, Dorothy and Helen went off to London without passes and left 'bolster bodies' in their beds. Had a pass and intended going to the Assembly Rooms but slept until teatime then went up to Highfields with Brutus's grub. Had a curse pain when I came back and felt tired. It was 6.30, lovely and peaceful in Cleveland so stayed in and did some French - wrestled with the subjunctive. Went to bed at 1.15 am.
Jul 11 - Slept until 12.30. Afternoon went up to the farm with Nancy and cycled to Meggy. Very cushy 5 to 12 duty. A notice went up saying service in France must be for 2 years - some people are backing out. Tap lessons offered on D.R.O.s.
Jul 12 - Got up for Cleveland inspection. Joan flapping a bit about it as usual but in the end there wasn't one. 5 to 12 duty. Had a letter from Dad.
Jul 13 - Very routine-ish sort of day. Basin stooging in morning. Afternoon patched up green coat and went up to the farm with Helen. Took the dogs for a walk. Evening duty - very flat discussion group on 'Is England a democracy?' Felt irritated by the constant chat while trying to read 'The Way of a Transgressor'.
Jul 14 - 8-5 duty. Evening very amusing Nocton Patients' Dance. Barbara, Pat and I missed the transport so walked there. I spent the evening with a Yank (not a patient) named Louis. Jessie and one of Arthur Murray's dancing buddies gave a Beguine demonstration. I went for a walk with Louis in the grounds and missed the transport back but was lent a bike. Got back at 11.15 and left the bike by the water-pump - all OK. I noted there are French classes at Nocton at 11.00 on Weds -asked if I could go.
Jul 15 - Took the bike back to Nocton and met Liz and Mickey there. Hitched on to Camp dance.
Jul 16 - Felt very tired so didn't keep the date I made with a Canadian last night. After 8-5 duty went to bed.
Jul 17 - On '24'. Drill and personal inspection this morning. Twit and Nancy departed to ROC for a week and 2 ROC girls came into Cleveland in place of them. After taking Brutus's food up and grooming him, hitched into Lincoln, had tea and saw Robert Taylor and Susan Peters in 'Song of Russia'. Interesting, as am reading about Russia in 'Transgressor'. Hitched back but walked a lot of the way and picked some lovely flowers. Played the gram. and went to bed.
Jul 18 - Morning got up at 8.30 and did half an hour's compulsory P.T. as I forgot to write my sports down last week. Afternoon stacks of ironing and took Brutus's food up. 5-12 duty.
Jul 19 - P.T. again at 8.30. We polished Cleveland for Beaven's inspection but she was too busy interviewing people for France to look over the rooms. Twit and Nancy, who were specially recalled from ROC, passed their interviews. (Later note - I never heard that Twit and Nancy actually went to France.) I should have gone up to Nocton with Edna to meet the French-teaching Froggie but she was off on stand-off. 5 - 12 duty. Am loving the 'Transgressor'.
Jul 20 - 8-5 duty. Evening cycled up to the farm and went over to Kirkby Green Manor with Muriel and Brutus and had raspberries and cream. (Later note - Kirkby Green Manor was Muriel Fletcher's home before she married Tom. Her brother lived there at this time.) Watched the tennis on the courts there for a while.
Jul 21 - 8-5 duty. Long, busy session on RDF - enjoyed it. Went round selling Red Cross raffle tickets for Muriel. Sold them all and got 2 pounds 4s 6d - M. very pleased. Went over to the NAAFI and got some sandwiches for Jeannette and Pat. Rae-Martin saw me, tore me off a strip and made me take them back.
Jul 22 - Afternoon did my French test corrections and lots of washing. Evening Nocton dance. Was taken up to Ward Q where I met 3 Frenchmen. Enjoyed dancing with a chappie named Paul.
Jul 23 - Long lie-in. Afternoon should have gone riding with Muriel and went up to Kirkby Green but she couldn't come until 4.30 so had 'had' the riding. Picked raspberries and logans and had them for tea.
Jul 24 - Twit and Nancy came back from ROC. Took Brutus's food to farm. 5 to 12 duty. Went to a concert in the Mess. Very good violinist, Raymond Mosley, played Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and a pianist played lots of Chopin. Enjoyed it a lot.
Jul 25 - 8-5 duty. Evening went to my first tap lesson with S/O Payne. Said I'd like to be in the Show so was put in the front with Pam, Joan, Molly and Jeannette. Enjoyed it but, never having done tap before, got a bit tied up. Afterwards discussed Negley Farson's book with Joan and played Chopin records.
Jul 26 - Morning canteen stooge. Afternoon had to go up to Camp for a re-take of my 1250 photo. Took most of the afternoon over it, hitched there and back and returned a book to the Ed. Officer etc. Evening dance in Sgts' Mess on Camp. A W.O AG stood me 1 cider, 1 gin, 1 whiskey and 2 gin and limes - heavy going for me! A Canadian Sgt named Al wanted a date but I declined it.
Jul 27 - Scrubbed Rest Room floor with Irene - hard work! Evening to tap rehearsal - didn't cope awfully well. Very morale-raising letter from Peg. Took food to Brutus and Muriel gave me a whole tinful of apples. Only Jeannette and I now in Cleveland, others all on pass.
Jul 28 - Didn't get up until 11.15 as J and I overslept but there was no inspection. Did Pat's landing stooging for her. Afternoon went up to the farm and Muriel gave me another tinful of apples and we picked marigolds from the S/L place. Tap lesson on evening duty. Got on better and enjoyed it. Lot of bother over Barbara not coming back from pass.
Jul 29 - On '24'. Afternoon bought Jeannette a birthday present - little petit point mirror and hand cream. Saw John Mills in 'This Happy Breed', stayed at Mrs Loft's and went to Assembly Rooms dance in my scarlet dress. Also wore my green coat. Spent entire evening with a Canadian Pilot Officer Navigator named Arthur. We sheltered from pouring rain for an hour in the cathedral arch.
Jul 30 - Good hitch back. Afternoon tap rehearsal. Jeannette, Pam and Joan tried to teach me new routine. (Later note - I don't think they managed as I wasn't in the show. Had never done tap before - the others had.) 5-12 duty. S/O Payne held a 'B' Watch meeting.
Jul 31 - 8 to 5 duty. Evening went to see Robert Donat, Valerie Hobson and Glynis Johns in 'Adventures of Tartu' in the Mess. Then 12 to 8, second half.
Aug 1 - Felt absolutely dead at the end of night duty but had precious little sleep this morning as Pat kept banging around. Got up for tea and evening just pottered. Played records for hours, starting with swing and finishing with Dorothy's concertos. Read Jeannette's new birthday present anthology of poetry.
Aug 2 - Got up just after lunch and we polished Cleveland for Payne's inspection. Pat Tanks went to bed after her '24', left us to polish her bit and then banged about in a temper as we'd made a noise. Went to Discussion Group, then short tap rehearsal then to the dance where I met a NZ Flying Officer named Barry from Meggy.
Aug 3 - Tap rehearsal. Lots of washing afterwards and came up tired out. Lay on my bed while Dorothy played Chopin records. Went on night duty, 1st half.
Aug 4 - George Saul's numerology prediction - end of war! Fooey! Had a letter from Maureen. Had to get up for Pay Parade then went up to Camp with Twit and Nancy and got the 664B stockings I wangled. Then hitched into Lincoln and bought Angela a little book. Hitched back and went to tap but didn't cope with the kicking routine. Cycled up to the farm with the dog food.
Aug 5 - Duty 2nd half. Pat and I had to wash the Main Ops Room table. Got up for tea.
Aug 6 - Edna told me Sgt Bouvier had been asking after me so Twit and I cycled up to Nocton to see him but he was out, wandering around. Met up with 2 wounded Yanks and drank Coca Cola with them and they bought us chocolate and invited us to tea. Made a date for Wed for Twit, Nancy and Self. We teased Nancy that they were Froggies and that hers was called Adolphe Pontigniac.
Aug 7 - Hitched home on '33'. Arrived about 1.45. Played my records and looked through my books. Evening to Palais dance which was dreadfully hot. Left before the end and wandered all around Leamington. Felt lonely and cheesed.
Aug 8 - Left about quarter to 9. Met Edna Curtis (Later note - A girl from the typing pool at Public Health Dept, Warwick, where I worked before I joined up though I was a clerk, not a typist) on her way to P.H at Warwick. Got a hitch with a Yank from Warwick to Leicester. Arrived Newark 12ish and had lunch. Arrived Blankney 3.30. 5 to 12 duty. Very hot all day but terrific thunderstorm this evening. George Saul told me I was sometimes 'like the effervescence of youth'!
Aug 9 - Afternoon Nancy, Twit and I went up to Nocton. Teased Nancy all the way about 'Adolphe' and she made every possible excuse not to go. The Yanks all turned out to be 'wolves'. Twit and Nancy very disgusted. My bike broke - pedal fell off.
Aug 10 - Afternoon went into Lincoln with Dorothy intending to see 'Topper Takes a Trip' but discovered it wasn't on. Terribly hot and smelly in Lincoln. Tried to buy B.B's but couldn't. (Later note - A 'BB' was a bra - I think the term must have derived from the very old-fashioned 'bust bodice' though we would never have said that.) 5-12 duty. Pretty good oral French session with Twit.
Aug 11 - 8 to 5 duty. Pam told me I was to go to ROC next week. Discussed with Twit my new idea of hitching up to Argyll on my next leave. Evening set out with Dorothy to hitch to Lincoln for long-awaited Moseivitch concert. Small child came along, very much cut about having fallen off her bike, so we took her home and thus missed quite a bit of the concert but heard Beethoven's Emperor and his 7th Symphony. D treated me, very good of her. Had a snack afterwards at the Bishop's Palace.
Aug 12 - 8 to 5 duty. Canteen stooge, also had to scrub it out. Evening ironed, mended and packed for tomorrow.
Aug 13 - Did basin stooging then ROC man took Joan, Muriel Morris and me by car to the centre in Lincoln, calling at a post on the way. Missed personal inspection through this. Had lunch at the Centre - very tasty - then went on duty 3 to 11.
Aug 14 - Worked 8 to 3 then had 32 hour break. Joan hitched to Southport and Muriel and I to Stratford. Went right through Leamington but didn't go home. Stayed overnight at Services' Hostel. Lots of blokies tried to pick us up on our evening walk round Stratford.
Aug 15 - Morning shopped and went on the river for one and a half hours. Had our photos taken and were horrified to find they were 2 bob each - 8/- altogether. Had lunch at the Judith Shakespeare then hitched to Warwick and looked over the Castle grounds. Left Warwick 3.45, stayed in Leicester for tea and arrived Lincoln before nine.
Aug 16 - Went on duty 11 to 7 at ROC centre, feeling dead after our standoff. (Later note - The ROC girls who came on exchange to us were always allowed night duties in bed, if humanly possible, and we expected the same. But they had smaller staff and worked right through every night the whole shift - a smaller table with a different plotting system, rather confusing. Of course they worked a shift system, like us, to man it 24 hours a day but people working at the table didn't get relieved, as ours did quite frequently.) Next day slept at the Toc H and afternoon Joan and I went swimming with an RAF corporal Joan met while hitching home to Southport. Afterwards we met Muriel and all went to see Leslie Howard and Ingrid Bergman in 'Escape to Happiness.'
Aug 17 - 11 to 7 duty again. Didn't feel nearly so dead this time. Slept at Toc H again and only had breakfast all day as a cold took my appetite away. Evening went to the Assembly Rooms in my red dress with Muriel. Met Arthur again and we tried to make a date again but no coinciding free time. Returned with a rather nice Australian F/O Pilot named Roy.
Aug 18 - Worked from 3 pm to 11.
Aug 19 - Worked 8 am to 3 pm. Evening Muriel and I went to see Ronald Colman and Anna Lee in 'My Life with Caroline'. Went to the Naafi and two rather rough and ready soldiers kindly insisted on paying for our stuff and taking us home. Had supper afterwards with Midge in the canteen.
Aug 20 - Muriel went back this morning. Joan and I changed our '24s' and stayed on for the party tonight.
Aug 21 - Ron Markham gave Joan and me a lift back this morning. Slept all afternoon. Received a wire from Peg asking about the break, so wrote to her then did a lot of washing. Duty 4 am to 8.
Aug 22 - Got up for tea. Evening cycled to Meggy Bomber drome with Muriel and saw Ann Harding in 'North Star' - yet another Nazi propaganda thing. Duty 12 to 4 am.
Aug 23 - Got up for lunch and went for a stroll on the island. (Later note - Blankney Hall had a lake in the grounds with an island. Also a church, tennis courts, veg. gardens etc - all available to us.) Evening went to the ENSA classical concert in the Mess with Dorothy. Duty 12 to 4 am as swapped with Pam Hope-Jones. Decided to buy Norah Skellington's riding breeches.
Aug 24 - Got up for tea. Evening cycled up to Camp with Di and Muriel and as we had bags of time before the dance, went and looked round the Watch Office. A Flt. Lt. there told us all about Air Sea Rescue, different types of dinghies etc. very interesting. Dance lousy, lots of sweaty RAF Regiment there so left early. Duty 12 to 4 again - and canteen stooge.
Aug 25 - Afternoon wrote to Maureen and to Dad in bed. Got up for tea. Great surprise - received a letter from Georges, now in France. My black suede gloves also arrived and started them this evening. Lost my fountain pen last night. Put up a notice about it. (Later note - Buying a glove kit to make gloves meant no clothing coupons needed. The pen, a Conway Stewart, a sad loss - bought with 10/- given to me by Uncle Harry before he returned to Buenon Aires at the start of the war.)
Aug 26 - Evening did a lot of French in the Rec. Room and got ready for leave.
Aug 27 - 32 hour break. Went to bed at 4 am. Overslept and awoke with diarrhoea. Pouring with rain but it cleared up later and I felt OK. Left at 8.45 and got in in record time, in the house at ten to one. Mum very cool but lovely seeing Peg again. Posy also on leave, all three had tea at Bobby's and Peg and I had our fortunes told at Mrs Ongley's. Had lobster mayonnaise at the Gaiety then to a dance at the Palais. Escorted back by an English RAF type. Previously danced with a Mexican and a Canadian Halifax rear gunner.
Aug 28 - Hitched back this morning. Bad luck, a puncture outside Warwick but got in in good time. Hitched with a Major who asked me out to lunch but I didn't go.
Aug 29 - Did S.T's and Aunts with Joan Wright. Afternoon cycled up to Highfields then to the Snowdens with Nancy. Saw some ducks there being plucked and de-entrailed then came back for 5 to 12 duty. Went to see Ann Sheridan and Jack Benny in 'George Washington Slept Here'. First performance of 'Acting Unpaid' was given tonight - we heard it went off marvellously. (Later note - The show with the tap-dancing chorus line)
Aug 30 - 8-5 duty. Cycled up to camp straight after tea with Di and Muriel and saw 'Acting Unpaid' - very good. Then went to Sgts' Mess dance - had a very good time. Cycled back alone as I was the only one with a late pass.
Aug 31 - Was paid 6sh. extra (credits). 8-5 duty. Evening intended to do lots of chores but was too lazy. Margaret Kingsford moved in, complete with radio and iron - a great asset to Cleveland, nice girl too. Took food up for Brutus and ironed. Drafted rough copy of letter to Jersey Airways. Yet another epistle from Georges in usual mournful strain.
Sep 1 - 8-5 duty. Evening Muriel, Di, Vera, Wendy and I got a bus to Waddington and had dinner at the 'Horse and Jockey' - chicken, but all skin and bone and waited 2 hours to be served. Altogether sank about 12/6 on the evening. George Saul was there and stood us a beer. A taxi took us back to Lincoln buckshee.
Sep 2 - Poured with rain all day. Took the dog food up. Felt cheesed so cycled up to Sgts' Mess - wore my ground sheet and took a spare pair of stockings as knew I'd get soaked. Had a good time with Mark, chief runner and bouncer of Sgts' Mess.
Sep 3 - Afternoon took Brutus's food up and cycled to Meggy for soap. Duty 5-12. Long chat with Pat Saggs about various RAF stations. Am in throes of deciding definitely to stay in WAAF after the war. Our army marched into Holland.
Sep 4 - 8 to 5 duty. Afternoon went to the Messing Meeting and made quite long speeches about eggs, bread etc. Evening listened to Puccini programme on wireless, attended a Discussion Group on 'Equal Pay for Women', did my washing, went to bed fairly early and read 'La Derniere Victoire' in bed.
Sep 5 - 8 to 5 duty. Went to special dance this evening - 528 Squadron farewell do on camp, with Pam Hope-Jones, Muriel and Di. Perfectly bloody do - bags of very coarse men who did nothing but drink so we had a very thin time. Prior to going, was excited to hear a broadcast of Maurice Chevalier records from a German station. Agreed with Sue, new Honiley girl, to try and wangle an exchange posting there.
Sep 6 - 8 to 5. Am loving 'La Derniere Victoire'. Muriel decided to put in for Honiley too, so we can go together. Evening to Meggy and up to Brutus with Di - the dogs and Nigel very amusing. Dorothy and Jeannette are putting in for Admin commissions. (Later note - Jeannette got her commission - in Photographic Intelligence, I think, better than Admin. But Dorothy was not successful - a shame - less extrovert, poised and confident than J. but D would have made a good officer too.) Copied out some poetry from J's book into my own anthology.
Sep 7 - Morning swept top landing. Afternoon took food up for Brutus and afterwards Dorothy gave me a golf lesson - enjoyed it. Took an egg Di gave me to the Mess for tea and had it fried on toast. Quite nice. 5 to 12 duty. Five A and C Watch girls are going to France.
Sep 8 - Long lie-in. Afternoon Nancy and I walked round golf course with Walesby en route to Highfields. Did ironing. 5 to 12 duty.
Sep 9 - Another long lie-in. Afternoon Nancy suddenly decided to go riding so got all dressed up, took Brutus's food up, then to the stables. No horses available so went to Kirkby Green for tea. 5 to 12 duty. Started studying Modern History and teaching Muriel a bit of French. Wrote to Twit.
Sep 10 - 8 to 5. Evening Nancy and I went up to the riding school again. Had booked horses but again none left. Went up to Highfields, sat by the fire and had fried tomatoes and fried eggs for supper. Drew 2nd prize, 14/6d in the National Savings draw.
Sep 11 - Evening went to the riding school and rode a very large horse called Molly. Not good. Came off twice. Nancy and Kingsford coped marvellously. Afterwards went up to Highfields for supper again. Duty 12 to 4. Barbara returned from leave.
Sep 12 - Got up for lunch. Afternoon Nancy and I went up to Highfields and cycled around Meggy. Went to a really mad old gardener to buy some honey. He kept saying, 'The bees don't make that for YOU,' though in the business of selling honey combs. Gave in my name as sole volunteer for India. (Later note - I was the only one from B Watch but A and C had a few volunteers.) Evening Nancy and I cycled to Snowdens' farm. Collected the eggs and made the butter up into pats. Had a lovely supper - masses of different home-made cakes and pastries.
Sep 13 - Evening took Brutus's food up for the last time. Mary and Reg were there. Chatted to Mary for hours. Later I cooked the supper, chips and tomatoes, while the others played cards. Duty 12 to 4 am. Wrote 2 ALC's to Dad but didn't tell him about India.
Sep 14 - Still stiff from riding. Got up for pay parade. Letter from Peg saying she couldn't make Oxford on Monday. Mum also wrote and sent Dad's photo. Stayed in, listened to the radio and genned-up on India.
Sep 15 - Duty 4-8. A busy hour on RDF then, amazingly, bags of Divers appeared. I plotted one which was shot down by a fighter.
Sep 16 - Margaret (Kingsford) and I went up to Scopwick and saw Walesby then went to the 'Battle of Britain' memorial service in the Cathedral. I lost my purse containing 4 pounds ten and six that I'd been saving for my leave. Enquired twice at bus station and searched bus but no joy. Went to 'Paris Calling' but could only see 20 min. of it having to meet and search the 7.45 Digby bus. Met Margaret's 'Pip'.
Sep 17 - Hitched home. Mum very pleased about India and gave me my written 'permit' to go. Afternoon tea at Mrs Green's. Evening had a look round the Fair and went to the Palais. Spent the evening with Harry Court, who took me home. Enjoyed it. (Later note - This was a Monday and must have been the day I'd intended to spend in Oxford with Peg. Harry Court was a keen, very good dancer at the dancing class I'd attended before I joined up. He was later crippled in a motor cycling accident.)
Sep 18 - Hitched back. Left about 10 am, arrived Lincoln 2.10 pm. Felt very tired. 5 to 12 duty. Jean Gearing told me all the other India bods had had their interviews and medicals while I was away. Went and asked Rae-Martin about mine and she said it would be OK and asked about my lost purse.
Sep 19 - Twitty came up on a break so cycled out to the Snowdens with her and had tea there. Daily Express published the news that Chris had been killed on a non-op flight from France to England. Jeannette is taking it very well. 5 to 12. Went to the Mess dance. No men there so danced with Elizabeth.
Sep 20 - Was told I'd have to go up for my interviews tomorrow so did lots of ironing and pressed my uniform. 5 to 12.
Sep 21 - Morning went up to camp on the officers' transport with Dorothy and Jeannette and saw Bevan, the G.C. and the M.O. Got through everything OK. Came back for lunch and worked until 5. Evening went to see Dinah Shore and Danny Kaye in 'Up in Arms' with Barbara, who insisted on treating me, because of losing my purse.
Sep 22 - 'Cleveland' gave me 10/6 to compensate a bit for losing my purse - they're really good. Had a letter from Maureen. Wrote to her, Mum and Peg on 8 to 5 duty.
Sep 24 - Afternoon pressed all my civvies and packed for leave. 5 to 12 duty. Went to bed early.
Sep 25 - Went by train to Edinburgh with Muriel. Arrived about 7.15 and had a heck of a job finding accommodation. At last, aided by a very nice chappie who carried my case, we found a YW. Had baths and went straight away to bed.
Sep 26 - Morning looked at the shops in Princes St. Had lunch at a YW and took our cases round to the Dean Hotel where we're going to stay. Afternoon went to the zoo and evening to see Bobby Howes in 'By Jupiter' at the Empire.
Sep 27 - Morning went round the Castle and War Memorial and over Holyrood House and walked down the Royal Mile. Afternoon took a train out to Portobello and walked along the sea front. Looked round the shops again and evening wrote postcards in the bedroom by the gas fire. Went to a dance at the Palais and my bag went missing but hooked it out of Enquiries OK after much ado. Coming home we met two Canadian officer pilots who were coming into the hotel.
Sep 28 - Morning it rained. Went to the shops and I bought green undie material, a Pyrex dish for Mum and pastels and a book for Angela. Afternoon we went to the Forth Bridge and across to Dunfermline in the ferry. We saw a Dispatch Rider injured, crushed against the quay wall, by a truck (American) driven at mad speed off the ferry. Evening we went to a wonderful play in Edinburgh, Cedric Hardwicke in 'The House on the Bridge'.
Sep 29 - Morning went to Roslyn Castle and Chapel, the latter very beautiful. Afternoon, shopping again. Bought a wide RAF belt, lace edging, pink pants and a nice brassiere. Spent the evening chatting to a Lt. in the lounge.
Sep 30 - Morning moved out to the YW. Walked round Gardens and saw the floral clock. Lunch at YW and afternoon went mountaineering. Evening to a wizard Naval show at the Usher Hall.
Oct 1 - Left Edinburgh on 9.22 train. Muriel got out at Crewe and I changed at Wolverhampton, both en route to our homes for rest of leave. Had only 1/10 to pay at the station, the difference on my rail warrant. Evening stayed in.
Oct 2 - Afternoon went round town and to tea at Mrs Green's. Evening to the Palais. Billy Tennent's band but the place full of Yanks. Spent the evening ditching one after another.
Oct 3 - Had a terrific turn-out of old clothes, papers etc. Gave stacks of stuff to Angela who received it gratefully. Evening went to see 'The Prisoner of Zenda' - Ronald Colman, Raymond Massey, David Niven, Doug Fairbanks. Loved seeing it again.
Oct 4 - Mum washed on of my Van Heusen collars and made a long slit in it Yesterday - Lord knows how. Started hitching back before two. Met Muriel in Leicester and we had tea together. Hitched on to Newark then tried to get a hitch to Lincoln but it was too dark, so had a coffee and got the bus. Got the 10.15 from Lincoln and met Dorothy and Joan on it. Heard that the first France bods had been flown to Paris and are now in Belgium and that Pam Hope-Jones's husband is missing after Arnhem. Also that 2 girls are on leave for India.
Oct 5 - Duty 4 to 8. Awakened during morning by Gearing and informed that I had to go to camp for vaccination, at 1.45. My name was put forward for a Yank party at a Mrs Ballingham's who wanted to entertain them at her home and had requested '6 nice girls' to complete the party. I thought I'd had it but was back in time from Camp. Went with Muriel and had a lovely time. Met lots of Airborne Yanks with lots of decorations, a much better lot than the Yanks one normally comes across.
Oct 6 - 12 to 4 am duty on which I was canteen stooge and felt dead. Went to Kirkby Green with Nancy and had coffee and apples and pears. Then to Highfields for rest of evening.
Oct 7 - Rather pleasant 8-5 duty. Spent evening alone in Cleveland. Did stacks of ironing, cleaned buttons etc. Got chiffon pants finished on duty. Pat's Guy hitched up AWOL to see her.
Oct 8 - Evening went up to Highfields with Nancy. Got cracking on Nigel's cake. I made the mixture while the others did the fruit. Then did some French. Cycled back fast in the dark, came out of Highfields Lane, across the main road and careered on to far side grass verge where I fell off. No lights - didn't know I'd left the lane.
Oct 9 - 33 hour break. Muriel had a bad cold so we cancelled London. Hitched to York, part of way with Sheila Kelly. Arrived in time for lunch at the Tudor Cafe. Afternoon bought some fine WAAF stockings and looked round shops. Had cream cakes for tea. Evening dance at the Co-op Hall. Danced with rather nice English chappie most of the time who took me back to the YW.
Oct 10 - Left 9.30ish. Wizard hitch from Selby to Newark with an F.O. Flight Engineer named Howard who had the DFC and drove at breakneck speed. He was surprised by my (apparent!) calm, said most of his passengers were scared and nearly ducking under the seat. He showed me his log book - had been on lots of ops, to Leipzig, Berlin etc - and gave me some chocolate. Had a lovely chicken lunch at Mrs Holden's then hitched back to Blankney. Went up to Highfields and helped get the tea then ate some hurriedly with Nancy and rushed back for 5 to 12 duty. Gave Nigel his birthday present - two little wooden animals on wheels, bought in York.
Oct 12 - Long lie-in. Didn't get up till lunch. Afternoon did a lot of washing. Evening 5 to 12 duty. A few Divers - one shot down by a fighter, guns got another, one crashed in the drink. Marked my new stockings, mended my gloves and played darts on duty.
Oct 13 - Morning we polished Cleveland for room inspection. Afternoon went up to Highfields for tea with Muriel. 5 to 12 duty.
Oct 14 - Pay Parade while on duty. Evening went to Mrs Billingham's. Enjoyed it. Saw Ted there again. Mr Billingham told me they used to live at Stoneleigh. Had to leave rather early to catch 9 pm bus.
Oct 15 - 8-5 duty. Evening got 5.30 bus into Lincoln and saw David Niven in 'The Way Ahead'. Loved it. Had to queue a long time for it. Got the last bus back, full as usual with drunken Canadians.
Oct 16 - Morning did ST's and Aunts for Margaret who'd gone on pass without fixing anyone - probably forgot. Felt weary and had a nap in afternoon. 5 to 12 duty. Took the Met report when almost asleep. Went to see Bing Crosby in 'Going My Way' in the Mess.
Oct 17 - 8 to 5 duty. Did quite a lot of work in morning - the tote and 2 doses of RDF. Quiet afternoon in DF Room so did stacks of French. Evening went up to Highfields on my own and washed my hair up there. Had fried egg, tomatoes and bacon for supper and milky cocoa. Cycled on to the far side of main road grass verge again in the dark coming back. Showed Muriel all my photos.
Oct 19 - Worked 8 to 5. Evening went by transport to the RAF Regiment dance on camp with Wendy, Muriel and Sheila. Bags of men there but they weren't dancing so all a bit of a dead loss.
Oct 20 - Inspection by Wing Officer. Joan and Dorothy polished Cleveland. Afternoon did my 6th French test and posted it. 5 to 12 duty.
Oct 21 - Lovely long lie-in. Afternoon went for a 2 hour cycle ride on my own, then shopping in Meggy. Did my washing then went on 5 to 12 duty. Les Darbyshire ran a quiz on politics.
Oct 22 - Margaret Kingsford posted to Newcastle. Another long lie-in. Stayed in all day, copying poetry into my anthology. 5 to 12 duty. General Knowledge quiz run by Sue Merryfield. I made a face flannel out of a piece of lint.
Oct 23 - 8 to 5 duty. Jim gave us a Gen. Knowledge Quiz this morning and a spelling bee this afternoon. I participated in both fairly creditably. Evening at Highfields where I copied out more of my anthology.
Oct 24 - Stayed in bed all day. Got up for tea. Went to the Fair with Nancy and Muriel. We met Tom in the Star and had 3 ports then some chips and afterwards supper (baked apples) at Highfields. On night duty Nancy and I were both given the night off and felt very glad of it.
Oct 25 - Maggot left this morning. Got up for lunch. Afternoon hitched into Lincoln, saw 'Cover Girl' and got a Maurice Chevalier biography our of the Library. Went to a French class at Lincoln Tech. Quite enjoyed it but didn't learn a thing. Got 10.15 bus back and had quite a pleasant duty, on second half.
Oct 26 - Slept until teatime then went up to Highfields with Nancy and spent most of the evening picking parsley in preparation for the making of the Stuffed Chine, a Lincolnshire speciality. Duty 12 to 4 am. Was canteen stooge.
Oct 27 - Had to get up for Pay Parade then went into Lincoln on my '24'. Afternoon shopped, evening went to the Assembly Rooms. Had 'words' with a Yank officer and walked off the floor in the middle of a dance. Saw Roy there, now a Flt. Lt. and he said Hello but by then I was dancing with a Canadian Flt/Sgt Bomb aimer named Frank. Also met his friend, a Sgt Navigator, who was feeling cheesed as he'd been jilted. Drank a beer and 2 whisky cocktails with them and Frank took me home to Mrs Loft's.
Oct 28 - Afternoon rested, evening went to the Snowdons' with Nancy. We had tea and supper there and I whacked them all at Lexicon.
Oct 29 - 12 to 4 am duty. Nancy and I had to polish the DF Room floor. Felt sick from 3 to 4 am, went to bed and woke at 10. Was sick three times and had diarrhoea. Stayed in bed all day except for button-cleaning session and didn't eat anything all day.
Oct 30 - Hitched to York - as far as Newark with Di - rest of the way on my own. Arrived 12.30. Lunch at the Tudor Cafe. Had tummyache and felt sleepy so slept in afternoon at the YW, then had a little tea and hot bath and went to a dance at the Co-op in civvies. Met a good dancer but no-one smashing as a male.
Oct 31 - Left York about 10.30. First hitch was with a very snooty Squad/Officer. Felt OK today. Arrived Newark one-ish and had a lovely steaming meal, liver, peas, fried onions and spuds - flet ravenous so really enjoyed it. Bought 'Brush up your French'. Joan Grey came up to Cleveland, on return, and gave me some derogatory gen on India. 5-12 duty.
Nov 1 - A binding day - personal, room and kit inspection. Put in for a new towel and a pair of gloves. Afternoon wrote to Georges. Had a letter from Mum and my French test back - 75%. Corrected it on 5 to midnight duty in DF Room. Pat Saggs was in there - enjoyed listening to her conversation, as usual.
Nov 2 - Afternoon wore one finger out doing piles of washing. 5 to 12 duty. Had a terribly hectic time in the Tote - 2 Totes full of aircraft, masses of area raids and then X raids cropped up as well.
Nov 3 - On duty 8 to 1. Afternoon hitched to Lincoln and saw George Raft in 'Follow The Boys'. Not frightfully impressed. Stayed at Mrs Loft's and went to Assembly Rooms dance. Pip and Pam were there. didn't have such a good time as usual as got irrevocably saddled with a Yank, a USAAF Signals Officer. We drank gin and lemons and he took me home.
Nov 4 - Returned from Lincoln about elevenish - RAF Regiment chappie brought me right up the drive. Afternoon went up to clothing parade on duty. Got new towel and gloves on 664B and changed gym shoes, sussy belt, 2 prs stockings and got a larger tunic. Did stacks of ironing and spent the evening at Highfields.
Nov 5 - 8 to 5 duty. Evening stayed in and did French by the fire in the Rec. Room. Pam told my fortune in Cleveland. Altered my WAAF belt, marked new stockings and mended a BB.
Nov 6 - Got up at 11.30 and stooged. Did Nancy's stairs for her as she was on Pass. Afternoon tidied and pottered. 5 to 12 duty. My turn for flicks but let Irene Parking go as it was 'Follow the Boys' which I'd just seen and didn't think much of.
Nov 7 - Had a letter from Twit. Persuaded Nancy and we went to Flight and asked about remustering to Bomber Ops. Nancy didn't want to when she heard we wouldn't have to remuster al all, but I put in a written application for watch-keeping. Did some washing then Nancy and I went to the Snowdon's. I helped Michael with his French prep. and we sang hymns and carols, then we had a game of Lexicon before supper. Cycled back. I fell off twice, Nancy likewise as it was the muddiest ride ever.
Nov 8 - 8 to 5 duty. Evening Maeve Rea and I hitched into Lincoln in the dark to the French class. We were half an hour late. It was fun - afterwards we discussed Mr Rickelton's shortcomings with the Flt. Lt. Dropped Maeve at ROC and got 10.15 bus. Maggot and Pep were on it. Nancy had bad news about her mother.
Nov 9 - 8 to 5 duty. Weren't called until 8. Read 'Beau Geste' on duty and loved it. Evening my bath was almost cold. 'Paged' my hair and went to aircrew cadets' Social at Ashby Hall. Had a wizard time, bags of 'tag' dances and 'Musical Knees' and Bigamy games. Met Ian, a Scot, ambled round the grounds with him and made a date for Monday. He came back in the transport with me.
Nov 10 - Morning had to stooge. Did bathrooms after pay parade. Didn't have time to sweep M.I. Rooms but the officer was sweet and said if I did it later it would be OK. Had 2 letters - one shattering one from Peg saying she was going to marry Mac and one from Maureen. Took Alicia up to Highfields.
Nov 11 - Morning cycled up to Camp with Pat Lewis, Nancy and Mary Hegman who were going up for W. Europe inocs. Pat contrived to be too late for her Medical as she wants to do watchkeeping instead. Gave our forms in to Bevan's deputy. PM cycled up to Camp with Muriel to ask about Ireland. Had a letter from Les!! Great thrill. Went up to Highfields with Nancy and she heard her mother was worse so I organized a '48' for her with Rae-Martin, who was very nice.
Nov 12 - Pm went up to the farm. 5 to 12 duty. Posted a letter to Les. Stuck my 'Halifax' picture up over my bed.
Nov 13 - 8 to 5 duty. Came off watch at 3.30 pm. All the lights fused in Ops. Evening they fused about 20 times. I kept my date with Ian - not as young and innocent as he looked, needed keeping in line. Nancy came back from '48'. Got ready for my '48'. Did some ironing in Pam Beeton's room and she told me her old Squadron Leader had proposed and that he's worth 750,000 pounds. (Later note - Offer refused, I gather - maybe she didn't believe it either.)
Nov 14 - Left at 8 am and hitched down to Pompey. It was dusk when I reached Farnham about 6ish so bussed remainder of way and reached Pendragon about 9 pm. Felt bilious and cold and had tummyache. Chatted to Peg in their Rec. Room then went to bed in her 'cabin' ('Illustrious') after being introduced to everyone.
Nov 15 - Morning went round Southsea and Portsmouth. I remembered the Pics and the Guildhall. Arranged to meet Peg at Kimballs for lunch but didn't know there were two and I went to the wrong Kimballs. We met back at Pendragon and went shopping. Evening went to the Anglo Polish Ballet. Loved it. A grey civilian suit belonging to one of the Wrens was stolen at Pendragon. The Wrens chattered for about 3 hours while I was trying to sleep. Felt so tired I could have cried.
Nov 16 - Left Pompey about 9.30. Arrived Hounslow 1ish and reached Newark at 7.15. Pitch dark so bussed to Lincoln, had a meal at the NAAFI (my first since breakfast) and got 10.15 bus to Digby. Duty 12 to 4 am.
Nov 17 - Stayed in bed 'til teatime. Evening stayed in and pottered - tidied up, copied out more poetry and played a few French and classical records. Duty 4 to 8 am.
Nov 18 - Egg for breakfast. Alicia and I had half each of Dorothy's as she was feeling bilious. Evening went up to Highfields with Nancy and did my tapestry.
Nov 19 - Set out with Muriel to hitch to London but as we couldn't even get to Sleaford we hitched back and on to Derby. Looked round the shops and went to Matlock on the train. Had a meal and got fixed up for bed and breakfast. Went to a wizard film, Paul Henreid and Ia Lupino in 'In Our Time'.
Nov 20 - Were only charged 3 shillings for our board. I gave the old girl my unused 48 hour ration card. Got train back to Derby. Both bought little aeroplane brooches and an orange, had lunch and hitched rest of the way back. Duty 5 to 12. Very distressing letter from Peg saying Ray had apparently broadcast and was alive and well. (Later note - This entry horrifies me as I'd liked Ray, Peg's husband, and he must have endured hell as a POW of the Japs in Java. The distree was hers and Mac's [who was a staunch Roman Catholic]. Ray had not 'broadcast' - some man earned tips by listening to a radio station somewhere which gave out lists of POW's and their next of kin and this man would then notify the relatives in the hope of financial reward for his 'good' news. The report was false. Ray was, in fact, dead.)
Nov 21 - Another letter from Peg. Got up for lunch. Afternoon went up to Highfields. Had tea and peeled onions, assisted by Muriel and Dorothy, until my hands stank and my eyes streamed and smarted. 5 to 12 duty. Posted a letter to Peg. Wrote letters to her and Mac yesterday but scrapped both. (Later note - Must have been very difficult letters to write, feeling as I did about the whole thing.) Found I'd lost my NAAFI ration card once again.
Nov 22 - Volunteered to stooge - lower landing. We polished Cleveland. I had a curse pain so disn't put myself out unduly. Afternoon cycled out to the Snowdens' with Nancy and had tea there. 5 to 12 duty but was sent to bed early - had an upset tummy.
Nov 23 - 8 am to 5 duty. Offices stooging aided by Dorothy Betts. Evening Nancy and I went up to Highfields and washed our hair in soft water. Had an ALC from Dad and wrote him one at the farm. Did a bit of French by the fire until Tom came in, a bit tiddly. Chatted and had supper.
Nov 24 - 8 to 5 duty. Evening Nancy and I went up to the farm and cycled down to Meggy and collected fish and chips, ordered by Tom. Dropped in at the Star and Tome stood us 2 ports then we returned to Highfields and consumed the f and c.
Nov 25 - 8 to 5 duty. Lovely lunch. Evening bussed into Lincoln and saw Ronald Reagan in 'International Squadron'. Had supper at the NAAFI and got 10.15 bus back.
Nov 26 - Got up at 11.30 and did the bathrooms with Sue, also cleaned out the fire. Nancy, Barbara and Jeannette went on leave. Afternoon went up to the farm. 5 pm to 12 duty. Wrote to Maureen and did a bit of French.
Nov 27 - Commandeered a lovely big bomb box to keep civvy clothes in. Swept lower landing. Had a letter from Peg re booking rooms for her and Mac in Lincoln - coming on a visit. Evening I phoned the Gt. Northern and Saracen Hotels but both full. Evening stayed in - only Alicia and Dorothy in most of the time. Had dried egg supper and sewed props on my new tunic. We all had two inoculations this afternoon.
Nov 28 - 8 am to 5 duty. Quite busy in Ops, masses of bombers going out. Evening Maeve and I caught the bus by the skin of our teeth and went to the French class in Lincoln. Quite enjoyed it but felt terribly tired. Have felt weary and depressed all day. After class Maeve and I had chips in the Naafi and got 10.15 bus back. We nattered about our post-war Civil Aviation careers and arranged to go up and see Frecknall about it.
Nov 29 - 8 am to 5 duty. Morning did canteen stooge. Had a letter from Mum enclosing 2 pounds as Xmas present from Dad. Letter said they may not return to Jersey to live. Evening did stacks of washing and wrote to Peg telling her I'd fixed a hotel. Then Alicia and I cycled up to Highfields. Found them entertaining Flt Lt Joyce and his wife to a 'cards' evening. Helped Muriel get the very pukka supper - bags of nice pastries etc.
Nov 30 - Got up late. Only Alicia and I in Cleveland. Made tea and toast and had a hectic rush to prepare Cleveland for inspection. Went into Lincoln with Alicia after lunch. Bought Savings Certificates, soap, ribbon and building bricks for Angela but couldn't see a book I liked for myself. 5-12 duty. Went to see 'Crazy to Kill' - Van Johnson and Donna Reed in a very good Dr Gillespie film.
Dec 1 - Afternoon cycled up to Camp with Maeve to see the Education Officer but he was away. We went all over a Flying Fortress and I sat in the pilot's seat and played with the controls. Great fun. Duty 5 pm to 12.
Dec 2 - Lovely long lie-in this morning. Afternoon Liz, Mary, Mickey and I were invited to Mrs Billingham's for tea - another of her tea parties for the Yanks. We didn't think much of this lot. On 5 to 12 duty the Padre came into the Rest Room to talk to us. He looked at my book to see what I was reading - rather embarrassing as it was the very risque 'These Foolish Things'.
Dec 3 - 8 to 5 duty. Evening nice time in Cleveland, only Dorothy and Alicia were in. Did my ironing and plucked my eyebrows. Water was too cold for a bath. Barbara came back from leave.
Dec 4 - 12 to 8am duty. Alicia and I were given the night off but still slept till lunchtime. Afternoon did a bit of French in the Rec Room then cycled up to the farm. Cleaned out the dining room graate, laid a bit of a fire, got tea and had it there then came back to Cleveland, did a bit more French and listened to the radio by the fire. Duty midnight to 4. Plotting table in process of being moved. Was DF crew while homing an aircraft coming in on one engine.
Dec 5 - Got up for lunch. Had a letter from Peg and my new RAF diary arrived - one and a penny extra to pay on it. Managed by the skin of my teeth to get 4yds yellow and white checked gingham in Rec Room, with no coupons. Cost 6s 10d - very thrilled. Afternoon hitched into Linc. with a Lt. in a Jeep and went to a tea dance at the Astoria. Danced with an English army Sgt. on 28 days leave from Italy who asked if I danced only as a hobby - very flattering. Had a Spotted Cow tea then met Maeve at French class and we got 8.30 bus back. Jeannette and Nancy were back from leave.
Dec 6 - Afternoon Maeve and I cycled up to Camp to see the Ed. Officer about Vocational Training but he said there wasn't any until after the War. Evening Nancy and I went to the farm and we made a colossal Christmas cake.
Dec 7 - Got up too late for lunch but Nancy and I cycled up to Highfields and had baked apples and syrup and a cup of tea. Then hitched into Lincoln and went shopping. Appalled by the prices, we didn't buy much. Hitched back to the farm in the dark. Helped June to read her book and had supper - my usual pickled onion sandwiches. Duty 4 am to 8 during which we polished the passage and I sewed all the insignia on my new tunic.
Dec 8 - Went to Casual Pay Parade and eventually to bed. Got up at 6.30 and went to Highfields. Mr Rough was there, a friend of the Fletchers.
Dec 9 - Got up for lunch. Afternoon Nancy and I cycled out to the Snowdens. Heavy snow and strong head wind - hard going up the lanes and along by the dyke, across the fields to their farm. We met John, their Italian POW, who works on the farm while their own son is away in the Army. We played Lexicon and Rummy. Strong wind again coming back and pouring with rain. Got wetter than ever before. Duty 4 to 8 am. Nancy was on 1st half.
Dec 10 - 32 hr break. Hitched as fas as Leicester with Muriel and continued to Coventry - had the one hitch, all the way from Lincoln. Arrived 2ish and found Peg home. Had rather a 'do' with her as she wouldn't lend me a civvy coat. Afternoon shopped. Evening went to the Gaiety with Peg and then to the Palais, still in uniform. Danced first with a nice, amusing Yank, then a Canuck Air Gunner, known as Lucky. He took me home and asked if I'd be his permanent girl friend. I explained about Les, my now defunct 'serious' affair and said I didn't want to 'get serious' with anyone else yet awhile. He was very nice and understanding about it.
Dec 11 - Started back just after 10. Had a hitch with a would-be amorous Yank from Coventry to Leicester. Arrived Lincoln 3ish, had tea and a wash and asked about the rooms I booked for Peg at the Grand. Hitched back here for 5 to 12 duty.
Dec 12 - Got up for lunch but wasn't in time for 1st course. Afternoon did some washing and cut out my gingham dress. Started sewing it on 5 to 12 duty this evening.
Dec 13 - Got up for lunch. Afternoon Nancy and I cycled up to Highfields for tea - nice cake and pastries. 5 to 12 duty. Applied to go to Honiley on the 3 month exchange DF crew racket.
Dec 14 - 8 to 5 duty. Mickey moved into Cleveland and Pat Tanks moved out. Evening got 5.30 bus into Lincoln and met Muriel Fletcher. We went to see 'Rebecca'. Muriel insisted on paying and we went in the 3/6d's, very grand. Muriel wasn't allowed on the 10.15 Forces' bus, which was awful - hadn't realised it was Forces only as it's a bus Co. bus, and I had to get back or be on a charge, so had to leave her. I walked up from Blankney to Highfields where Nancy was baby-sitting Nigel and asked her to book us both in. I stayed ages with Nigel as Tom hadn't come back. Muriel returned by taxi so then I could leave Nigel and I sneaked in at 12.15. All would have been well but Peggy had sent a telegram, which gummed up the works. Two Corporals were sent up to Cleveland to look for me. Attempt to give Muriel a rare night out went horribly wrong.
Dec 15 - Was summoned to the Guard Room by Tommy and Bob, cross-questioned and third-degreed. Told them the whole truth and they said Nancy and I are 'two good girls' and they wouldn't charge us. Nancy had to tell the tale as well.
Dec 16 - Met Mac and Peg off the 6.37 train at Lincoln. Mix-up about rooms at the Grand and they turned the dining room into 2 singles, divided it, as a lady in one of the singles I'd booked had become too ill to move. First time I'd ever met Mac - this was purpose of visit. Went to flicks, got 10.15 bus back.
Dec 17 - Got 5.20 bus into Lincoln after 8 to 5 duty. Stayed at the Toc H and spent the evening with Peg and Mac in the lounge at the Grand, imbibing coffee and chatting. Peg gave me a Red Cross message sent to me from Jersey by Beryl Keast, an old school friend.
Dec 18 - Morning did my Xmas shopping. Bought a lovely mirror (21/-) for Peg, toast rack (7/6) for Mum, calendar (3/6) for Mrs Green etc. Afternoon walked around Lincoln with P and Mac and had tea at Holden's. Returned for 5 to 12 duty. Sent cards to the Warwick office, Maureen, Les, Tim and Janet, Peg, Mum, Angela, Grandma, Mac, Mary and Twit and Elsie.
Dec 19 - Muriel and I cleaned the offices and were told they weren't good enough so we did Flight's again and were peering through Fenton's door when he came up behind us and said, 'What are you going to do?' and on being told, he said it was quite OK, not to bother. Told Pam I didn't mind giving up my leave to go to Honiley. Felt terribly tired and depressed all day. Evening cycled to Meggy in thick fog and posted remainder of Xmas cards and presents. Went to bed early.
Dec 20 - 8-5 duty. Less tired but still feeling cheesed. Evening did some washing and ironing, then Nancy and I went up to Highfields. I tacked a false hem all round my new gingham dress, washed my hair in soft water and we made the Xmas puds. Had late passes and stayed for bacon and egg supper with lots of nice home-made 'piggy' things. Had an Xmas card from Mum.
Dec 21 - Had Xmas card from Maureen. 8 to 5 duty. Evening Nancy and I went to Highfields. I pressed my hem and Nancy's skirt and the rest of the time just pottered. The Ops Magazine came out - very good, I thought. There was a quotation in it for each of us - supposed to describe us - and mine was 'Self-possession is the secret of success.' Amazed, I said 'Why?' and Marge Greening said, 'Because you always walk about as though you owned the place!' Astonishing.
Dec 22 - Nancy and I were given the night off. Got up for Pay Parade but it was half an hour early so we missed it. Afternoon Nancy and I cycled to Snowdens but only Michael was in. 5 to 12 duty. Went to see Rosalind Russell and Brian Aherne in 'The Beautiful Cheat'. Had a letter from Maureen.
Dec 23 - Duty 8 to 1. Had a letter from Mum, a little RAF calendar from Les, a 5/- postal order from Mrs Green and a card from Elsie. Afternoon hitched into Linc., joined Boots Library and got 'The Last Enemy' out - at last. Went to Assembly Rooms dance in civvies and danced with a Scotty Flt Engineer named Bill. He took me back to Mrs Loft's in his car. There weere 7 buzz bombs over Lincoln - first time ever. Siren went but I slept through it all.
Dec 24 - Hitched back in thick fog. Got back by 11 am in time to do my basin stooging. Duty 1 to 5, very busy in Ops, bags of bombers up - 3 were coming back SOS. Evening Cleveland Xmas party. Bags of eats and we all opened the little gifts (costing 6d to 9d, not more) that we'd agreed to give each other. Poor Nancy got postcards (ordinary blank ones) from nearly everyone because she's so famous for sending beautifully written p.c's with masses of news on them. I held my word competition and Dorothy won the toothbrush and Joan, 2nd, the shampoo. Dorothy, Jeannette, Alicia, Nancy and I went round all British rooms singing carols and collecting for Red Cross POW's.
Dec 25 - Duty 12 to 4 am. Got up for lovely Xmas lunch. Afternoon walked to Meggy with Nancy. Duty 5 to 12 but went to latter part of the Mess dance. Lovely trifle but dance stank. Everybody tight and Yanks and WAAF necking all over the place - though not our lot, of course.
Dec 26 - Duty 8 to 1. Afternoon pottered. There was a good fire in Cleveland. Got 5.30 bus into Lincoln and stayed at Mrs Loft's. Went to Assembly Rooms in civvies and met Bill, same type as last time. Spent the whole time with him and had a grand time. He took me home - minus his car this time - and we had quite a 'deep' conversation. Like him a lot. Yesterday received my Xmas presents from Peg - cami-knickers, a photo, cosmetics and a silk hankie. Muriel Fletcher sent up a lovely lace hankie and Bronnley's soap for me, also some rations for the room.
Dec 27 - Wizard morning today, pale blue sky and thick frost, trees looking lovely. Hitched back from Linc. Duty 1 to 5. Evening cycled to Sgts' Mess dance with Sue and Pam Hook. Tommy in the Guard Room kicked up a stink about no rear lights so I stuck a bit of red paper on lamp, filched from Mess decorations. Drank 3 gins and 2 ports and ate cream cakes and mixed pickles alternately. Cycled back, arrived midnight. Duty 4 am to 8. Felt full of a cold, throat and nose bunged up.
Dec 28 - Slept fitfully 'til teatime. Received a pretty powder puff hanky from Rosa Butler and a long letter from Peg. 5 to 12 duty. Felt bloody owing to my cold. Fancy dress dance in the Mess, just peeped in at 12. Pat Lewis's Derek Freeman came round Ops.
Dec 29 - Duty 8 to 1. Decided to cancel S.O.P because of my cold. Afternoon hitched into Linc. in a car containing a youngish and attractive man with scrambled egg round his cap. Shopped a little, had tea at the Spotted Cow and went to see Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins and John Loder in 'Old Acquaintance' - very good. Got the 8.30 bus back.
Dec 30 - A day of interesting conversations. Nancy had a hitch with an Army Captain who'd had his skull cracked in 3 places, was thought dead and put in a coffin. Was 'brought back to life' by a Yank M.O. who did research on any who'd died of head wounds, to further his career as a brain surgeon after the war. Evening went up to Highfields and talked to Mr Rough (or possibly Ruff) who's said to be an ex-Squadron Leader, about the Pyramids. Chatted to Pam Hope-Jones on night duty about her sister's interesting job in Photographic Intelligence.
Dec 31 - Slept 'til about 3.30 and found Cleveland deserted. Got up and made toast and hot orange, played 'Canzonetta', 'Vous qui passez sans me voir' and 'Les Petites Choses' on the gram.
Jan 1 - 5 to 12 duty. Bags of binding from Sue Merrifield and Co about 'B' Watch always being the one to be on duty for celebration days. In the DF Room most of evening. Vera and I went over to the Mess. Art let us have bread, marge and cake and George Saul provided sardines, peanuts and canned apples and orange juice so we had a bit of a beano, just the 2 crews. Had to man up suddenly and the lights failed. Later, while in bed, decided to take up a Secretarial career, learn commercial subjects in spare time, carry on with French, take RSA exams and go to a good London Secretarial College after the war, get them to 'finish me off' and help me to find a job, if possible with a travelling man.
(Later note - Much later, from 1970 on, I did indeed take a lot of RSA exams - Advanced typing, Audio typing, Teachers' Certificates in Typing and Office Practice - but not at one of the posh London Secretarial Colleges but at Bromley College of Technology - and worked, not for a 'travelling man' - (scarcely practical, with a husband and two children) but at Eltham Green Comprehensive School. Before this I'd taken 5 'O' Levels (to compensate for early school-leaving, at age 15 and a half, caused by evacuation from soon-to-be enemy-occupied Jersey), a London University Diploma in Literature at Goldsmiths College and a Teacher's Certificate (Institute of Ed.) at Avery Hill College.
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