14 April 1942.
We had our Easter weekend in Auburn but were disappointed at
not seeing Charles Hollins whose day off was advanced by 24 hours.
Our journey in a hired car from Pensacola on a beautiful day
was our most pleasant run yet. I gather that in recent years
Alabama has become important for dairy produce and cattle are
frequently found wandering along the highway at night which is
rather dangerous for all concerned.
We stopped for a snack in a little town called Evergreen - almost
entirely coloured - and I do not think that the RAF uniforms
had been seen there previously. As we were leaving I distinctly
heard a townsman say 'Gee our Navy sure does look smart'.
The Wrights' house was again filled with guests so we stayed
with Monk in the cabin on Saturday night and the next morning
after breakfast he took us to the Bible Class where our old friend
Mr Sargent gave a fine address on America's duty in war time.
It was Easter Sunday - another beautiful day - and Auburn ladies
turned out in their new dresses to make quite a spectacle.
On the way back to Pensacola we had to observe the new 40mph
speed limit which had been imposed to conserve tyres, rubber
being one of the few shortages war has brought to America. We
saw that the Highway patrol were enforcing the rule strictly.
After our exams last week in Ground School, which I passed comfortably,
we are now attached to Squadron 4 for flying training but first
we have preliminary instruction on procedure in the air before
beginning our flights in Catalina flying boats next Monday. The
squadron is housed in a huge building right on the waterfront
with concrete slipways for the planes to taxi into the sea. Most
of the students here are pilots with only about 60 observers
in training and so far we have done little except to acquire
a general idea of what to do in our navigational flights.
20 April 1942.
Last week we spent most of the time lazing on the beach in warm
sunshine which was very pleasant in itself but it is not really
why we are here and we are all anxious to get on with flying.
However on Thursday I had an agreeable surprise with a phone
call from Mr Gervin who is the Shell representative for Alabama;
he was in Pensacola for the day with his charming wife and he
had been asked to contact me by Mr Fraser in New York. I met
them for dinner at the San Carlos in Pensacola and spent a very
Today we arrived at Squadron 4 fully expecting to begin our flights
but we were met with the news that we had to commence a 14 day
course in Air Gunnery which will include some practical work
in the air. This has one advantage in that we will be familiar
with the Catalina when our navigational flights begin but it
means an unwelcome delay.
5 May 1942.
Since writing two weeks ago we have been just killing time at
Squadron 4, listening to lectures, taking astro sights and in
general idling the hours away. It is very disappointing as now
we shall get very few flights and return home as very second
rate Observers. We have only about 10 days of the course left
and unless it is extended we shall leave with a mere 30 hours
flying time, but one thing is certain, we shall need a great
deal of training back home.