9 July 1942.
Still at Montreal but I hope and think that my days here are
numbered as I have had one successful check flight and after
one more it should be only a few days before leaving for home.
I could have checked out today but I thought it would be foolish
to navigate across the Atlantic without ever having flown at
night so I have requested a night training flight next weekend.
Yesterday's flight was great fun - in a Hudson to Detroit and
back with Evans doing the work back to Montreal while I did the
outward leg. It was my first real cross-country trip and we followed
the St Lawrence before cutting across the plain of Ontario past
Trenton, Toronto and London with a stretch over Lake Ontario.
I was able to plot some good fixes with sun sights and radio
bearings so that the whole trip was most enjoyable.
14 July 1942.
While writing these notes last Thursday afternoon I was suddenly
told to prepare for a night flight that evening; there followed
a busy few hours preparing charts and instruments very carefully.
I joined the cosmopolitan crew consisting of Norwegian pilot,
Australian observer and Canadian wireless operator for a flight
to London, Ontario. I had the homeward flight to navigate and
fortunately it was a clear night so that it was easy to identify
the stars for sextant work; with this astro navigation and radio
bearings I was able to make a fair job of it and we arrived at
Dorval within a couple of minutes of ETA.
This completed my training and I reported to Dorval the following
morning expecting to be checked out for a flight home; this was
duly done but in addition I was told that M. Mirepois, who was
on the Detroit flight last week, had asked for me as his Navigator
on the transatlantic flight. Naturally I jumped at the chance
which began to come true at 1pm yesterday when I was invited
to attend a briefing for the flight.
After this I had a frantic afternoon getting my clearance certificate
signed by more than 20 departments. After packing surplus kit
which would exceed the 50lb limit on the plane, I joined up with
John Barras and we decided to have a final night out in Montreal.
We left our surplus kit at the railway station for despatch to
Bournemouth but when and if we see it again is doubtful. Our
night out consisted of an excellent dinner at Chez Ernest, then
a visit to the El Morocco night club, but we were not too late
in getting back to camp as we had to be at Dorval by 7.30am for
Earlier in the day John Barras and I went to Flt Lt Rhodes about
our future in Ferry Command and he contacted the CO telling him
that we were good enough to be included in the Ferry Command
pool of Navigators for further flights. The CO approved even
although we are still LACs but Dorval will write to Air Ministry
for the award of our beret and stripes. In any case we are to
return to Canada at least once (by sea) for another ferry trip
which is very gratifying.
15 July 1942.
(still at Gander) On Tuesday morning we prepared a flight plan
for Gander hoping to take off at 9am but several minor faults
were found in the aircraft, a B25, so that we did not get away
until 2 o'clock. The crew is M. Mirepois (Captain - a Free Frenchman),
Mr Irving Pischel (Co-Pilot from California - a Hollywood film
producer), Mr Highfield (Radio Operator from Yorkshire) and myself
(Navigator and the only crew member in uniform).