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1916 - Edward Packe's diary of World War I

Grey background shows when Edward Packe was in Britain.

JANUARY 1916

Jan 1th. Go with Pen and Lancelot in their car to Wickham Bishops. R.J. and Beats and Bryan also come, great fun. The Hunts come to tea. After dinner play Double Demon.

Jan 2th. Go to Church, play cricket and read. Church again in the afternoon, bed early,

Jan 3th. Bid farewell to Ruth and James, go off in car with Roy and Zep. Arrive in London about 2pm. and get seats for the Hippodrome for Sis and myself. Go on to Northwood arriving about 7.30pm. Talk and bed.

Jan 4th. Wrote letters. Went up to London and visited Muriel Clay and the Lawsons, back for dinner. Bed early.

Jan 5th. Wrote letters, then went up to London and had lunch at the Trocadero. After lunch saw The Ware Case. Visited Pulfords, then back and wrote more letters.

Jan 6th. Rise at 7am, and say good-bye, arrive at Victoria and leave there at 9.15am. The ship sails at 12.30pm. a pretty rough crossing arriving at Boulogne at about 2pm. Go to the Hotel de Folkestone with Moore. Go to the Pictures and bed early, Came down with Morris in the train.

Jan 7th. Rise at 10am. Have brekker and a haircut, Stroll round and have lunch. Meet Tom Mason again. Catch train back to Poperinghe.

Jan 8th. Arrived at Poperinghe at 1.30am. and go to Talbot House; have supper and go to bed. Rise at 10am. and have brekker, Find the Town Major to ask where the Battalion is, Back to Talbot House then lunch at 5a Rue de Dunkerque. Back to Talbot House and there meet Tubby Clayton. Move off at 3pm. and find our Transport lines. Have tea with Roberts. Go up to Elverdinghe.

Jan 9th. Went to Church and stayed to second service, came back and read and talked. Bed early. Wind up over a reported gas attack.

Jan 10th. Read and mucked about. After lunch get letters from Claudia, Sis and James. Put on a fatigue party at 4.30pm., back at 8.30pm,, wrote letters and bed.

[Extract from letter]

Jan 11th. Rose late, Packed and played Patience. March up to the trenches at Boesinghe on the extreme left of the Ypres Salient arriving about midnight.

Jan 12th. Spend a very quiet night in F.31, sleep some of the morning. Taylor shot through the head. When relieved in the evening our 'guide' lost us completely going back, it was raining and a pitch black night with neither firing nor Verey Lights to help one. Get back to Colne Valley, our support trench, at about 3am.

Jan 13th. Spend a fairly quiet day in Colne Valley, the reserve trench; sleep from 8pm. to 2am. Told I am to do a second tour in the front trench.

Jan 14th. Fairly quiet day, sleep most of the time. Relieved about 2pm, and go up to the Firegate trench next to the Canal and the French.

Jan 15th. Fairly quiet day in Firegate, go on fatigues at 9pm., relieved about 11pm. and get back about 1am. Farmers bombing stunt. ?

Droghlandt Airfield
Edward Packe's first Airfield, 15 Sqn. at Droghlandt
Jan 16th. Rise very late, shave, read and bed.

Jan 17th. Rose about 10am. Get a message from the Adjutant who tells me that my seconding to the R.F.C. (Royal Flying Corps) has come through - Hallalujah! Push off to Poperinghe with Smith in the afternoon and stay at Talbot House. Dine at 5a Rue de Dunkerque.

Jan 18th. Leave Paperinghe at about 2pm. arriving at St. Omer and go to Hotel de France. Go and shop, have a good dinner and bed.

Jan 19th. Rose late then reported to R.F.C. H.Q. who post me to the 2nd. Wing who are at Cassel where I am taken in a Crossley Tender. 2nd. Wing post me to 15 Sqn. at Droghlandt, where I go after lunch.


Jan 20th. Have brekker. Go up with my first flight with Jenkins. Do Lewis Gun for the rest of the day, bed early.

[Extract from letter]

Leo Jenkins
Leo Jenkins (died of 'Flu' 1919)
Jan 21th. Am Orderly Observer and spend the day in the Squadron office learning Morse. Bed about 10.30pm.

Jan 22th. Did Buzzer in the morning, also had a lecture on Artillery. Fired a Machine Gun in the afternoon. Played Vingt et Un in the evening.

Jan 23th. Buzzed in the morning and went for a joy ride with Stuart, reached 8000ft. and stayed there for an hour. Go and see Binning's crash among the hop poles. Buzzed in the afternoon and read after tea. Bed early.

Jan 24th. Get leave to go into St. Omer and come back in the new machine. See O'Hanlon and talk with him. Slack about and bed early.

Jan 25th. Buzz all morning. Go up in the afternoon with Jenkins. Fire revolvers. Played poker and bed.

Jan 26th. Rather a dud day. Get bed finished, do some buzzing. Get leave to go into St. Omer and shop. See Morgan and get to bed rather late. Get my first letters from home. I cannot describe one's feelings at living out of reach of shell fire, being always clean, being in a decent civilised Mess and having a dry, warm bed to go to at night.

Jan 27th. Orderly Observer. More letters which I answer. Play poker and bed.

[Extract from letter]

Jan 28th. Nothing much doing. Letter from Claudia. Shoot with Lewis Gun. Go up for a flight with Hudson which nearly has a disastrous ending.

Jan 29th. Dud day. Orderly Observer. Parcel and letter from James and clean washing from home. Shoot Lewis Gun. Sleep in Squadron Office. Write some letters.

Jan 30th. Up and take early parade. Have brekker then pass out on the parts of the Vickers also in firing it. Go to Hazebrouck and mess about. Back and bed early.

Jan 31th. Heavy gunfire in the distance. Do buzzing and artillery all day. A football arrives. Play poker in the evening.

FEBRUARY 1916

Feb 1th. A dud morning. Do some Artillery. Adams takes me up for a patrol but it's too misty and we come back. Parcel from Andre & Co. Bed early.

Feb 2th. Nothing doing in the morning. Go into Poperinghe with Bill Adams, go to the Fancies and dine at 5a Rue de Dunkerque.

[Extract from letter]

Feb 3th. Letter from Claudia forwarded on from 5th. Oxf. & Bucks. Lt. Infnty, Do Artillery in the morning. Slack about and bed early.

Feb 4th. Slack about and do Artillery, nothing much doing. Play poker and bed.

Feb 5th. Do Artillery and mess about. Go on a patrol in afternoon, nothing doing. Bed early.

Feb 6th. Rose at 6am. to stand by for a patrol but the weather dud. Boots arrive. Look at Hudson's engine, Go and try to shoot hares with revolvers in the afternoon. Rag about and play poker.

B.E.2.C.
B.E.2.C.
Feb 7th. Rise at 6am for my first reconnaissance. We leave the ground at 7.30am. and cross the lines at St. Julien, four B.E. 2Cs I think in diamond formation. A good deal of Archie mostly behind us, we were on the left of the diamond. A swarm of Huns appear higher than us at Roulers; one Hun, a stationary engined Fokker monoplane dived on us and I, never having fired a Lewis Gun in the air before and with the idea of holding one's fire until 'one saw the whites of their eyes' held my fire until he was pretty close, much to the agitation of my pilot (Paul Maltby I think). I fired when he was pretty close and having pressed the trigger kept on firing instead of short bursts, however I think I must have done him some damage as he side slipped past under our left wing, shaking his fist at us as he passed, and did not come back for more. This was East of Thorout. We landed at 10pm. In the air one hardly heard the Archie and machine gun even when pretty close, compared with the noise I was accustomed to in the trenches, and I thought the Reconnaissance had been great fun and said to my Pilot "Is that an ordinary sort of Reconnaissance?" to which he replied "No, thank God" and taking me to the tail of the aircraft he showed me five bullet holes in the fuselage which can only have missed his backbone by a few inches. Prestwick was wounded and died in hospital. Slack about. Cake from home. Played Banker and bed.

[Extract from letter]

Feb 8th. Rose at 9am, Did Artillery, read after lunch; finished with Artillery. Letter from Claudia. Played Banker.

Feb 9th. Go up for another Reconnaissance but it was too misty so we return. Nothing doing in the afternoon. Go into Wing H.Q. at Cassel to be briefed for a reconnaissance next day. Bed early.

Feb 10th. Dud all day, Orderly Obvserver, nothing doing.

Feb 11th. A dud day, went into Ypres and looked round, shopped in Poperinghe. Bed linen arrives from home. Played Banker.

Feb 12th. Orderly Officer. Mooch about and write letters. Sleep in Sqn. Office.

Feb 13th. Another dud day. Take on Orderly Observer. Do Buzzer. Stockings arrive from James.

[Extract from letter]

Feb 14th. Standing by for a reconnaissance but it doesn't come off, try to straf hares. Go into Cassel with Jenkins. See Rendall. Bed early.

Feb 15th. Standing by for a reconnaissance. Try to straf hares, high wind and nothing doing. Bed early.

Feb 16th. Another dud day with high winds. Go hare-strafing and Riversdale Elliott bags one. Nothing much doing, bed early.

Feb 17th. Also a dud day. Go into Poperinghe and see the Fancies also buy some stuff for the Mess.
RFC badge
Royal Flying Corps badge


Feb 18th. Dud day. Go into Steenvoorde to buy various things without much success.

Feb 19th. Dud day, slack about in the morning. In the afternoon go with Johnson into Reninghelst and see the 6th. Dorsets. Bed early.

Feb 20th. Do a reconnaissance in the morning, two holes in the aircraft. Cake from home. Go into Cassel in evening and dine with Hugh Rendall.

Feb 21th. Got up about 8am. Hudson gets wounded but brings his machine back to Bailleul, Letter from Sis. Flying cap arrives from Andre, parcel from James. Horace returns. Go into Cassel in the evening,

Feb 22th. Rather a dud day with nothing much happening. Cake from home. A Martinside Scout arrives.

Feb 23th. Snowing most of the day, am Orderly Observer,

Feb 24th. Do a reconnaissance but couldn't see much for the haze. Go into Cassel in the evening and see Rendall. Letter from Claudia.

Feb 25th. News that Hudson is all right. Finish Claudia's letter. Ominous news that we may be moving. Nothing much doing.

[Extract from letter]

Feb 26th. Nothing much doing, Wrote to Robinson and Cleaver after lunch, relieved the Orderly Observer for dinner. Played bridge.

Feb 27th. Overslept and got strafed for being late. Orderly Officer and spent the afternoon in the Orderly Room.

Feb 28th. Nothing much doing as its too misty. Go into Cassel and get rid of Horace (?) to Rendall. Bed early.

Feb 29 1916 (Leap year) Get up at 7am. Ellis crashes his aircraft. Go over to 20 Sqn. for a reconnaissance but there is too much cloud.

MARCH 1916

March 1th. Nothing much doing, am Orderly Observer. An uproarious Mess.

March 2th. A very dud day. Went to St. Omer and bought various things, Standing by for a reconnaissance.

March 3th. A dud day. The move postponed. Try to straf hares.

March 4th. Pack up for a good start at 1.15pm. and arrive at St. Omer at about 6pm. Go to the Commerce, dine with Willie Parker and have great fun. Sleep in sheets.

[Extract from letter]

March 5th. Move off at 7am. and have pretty nearly every sort of breakdown arriving at Au Vert Galland at about midnight, Not a bad trip.

March 6th. Look round for billets and choose a room and get kit moved. A dud day and Squadron doesn't arrive.

March 7th. Get kit settled in. Go for a walk, riotous scenes with Barnes in the evening.

March 8th. Nothing much doing. Do Artillery, The Squadron arrives at midday, show them around and bed.

March 9th. Orderly Observer. Do a patrol in the morning. Rather a boring day.

March 10th. A dud day and nothing doing, bed early.

March 11th. Orderly Officer. Nothing doing, spend night in the Sqn. Office. Letter from Claudia, write to her.

March 12th. Not much doing. Try a patrol at midday, Go over to Marrieux with Brock (the C.O.) in afternoon. Service in evening. Rather a 'Blind' in Mess.

March 13th. Buzzer and Smoke Helmet drill in the morning. Go into Amiens and have my hair cut, bed early. Parcel from home.

March 14th. Horse dead (?) Did a lot of Morse, went on a Photographic patrol with Bill Adams. Bed early.

March 15th. Orderly Observer, wrote a lot of letters. Nothing doing, bed early.

March 16th. Go up to 48 Battery (60 pdrs.) for an attachment. Went up to the O.P., quite an amusing time. Played bridge after supper, bed early.

March 17th. Read and look around. See a 60 pdr. fire, got souvenirs. After dinner played chicken feed.

March 18th. The tender arrives at 10.30am. to take us back to Au Vert Gallant in time for lunch. Letter from O'Hanlon. Went badger strafing but saw none. Bed early.

March 19th. Patrol at 10am., some Huns about, Jenkins ought to have got an Aviatik. Letter from Claudia. Bed early.

March 20th. Went over to Batt. (?) in morning and visited the Canteen on the way back. Inspect H.O. Tung (?). After tea went for a walk, bed early,

March 21th. Orderly Observer and spent most of the day in Sqn. Office. Letter from Hollins, go for a walk in the evening.

March 22th. Lectures in morning and afternoon. Go for a walk and Bill Adams tries to catch hares as if they were kangeroos. Go into the Canteen, a rowdy evening and bed.

March 23th. Do Morse. Fit up Sir Robert (?). Lecture after lunch. Drum and fife band in the evening.

March 24th. Told I'm to be moved to C Flight. Johnson goes in the afternoon. Visit Doullens, also Flesselle. Letter from Angel. Band practice in evening.

March 25th. The move postponed, nothing much doing. Go into Doullens. Danby and Moore come to dinner.

March 26th. Ready for the move but nothing happens all day. Go for a walk in the evening.

March 27th. Went on early morning patrol, came down in time for the move to Marrieux arriving there about 10am. Choose a hut and go to the Canteen. Orderly Officer.

March 28th. Shaved and tidied hut. Put up an Armstrong hut, nothing else doing.

March 29th. Nothing doing. Went into Amiens in afternoon. Bed early.

[Extract from letter]

March 30th. Messed about and did various things in the Orderly Room. Did a two and a half hours patrol in afternoon. Bed early. Wellsford and Joyce lost.

March 31th. Orderly Observer, spent all the day in the Sqn. Orderly Room doing photographs. went up for an hour with Maltby. After dinner visited B Flight.

APRIL 1916

April 1th. Took photos from 10am. to midday. After lunch work at a photo map, also after tea, go down caves. Bed about 10pm.

April 2th. Did a patrol of three hours at 6.15am. Worked on photos the rest of the day.

April 3th. Up at 4.30am. and did a three hour twenty minute patrol. Did photos the rest of day. Dined with B Flight.

April 4th. Dud all day. Worked on photos, Bed early

April 5th. Waited for a lecture by Dudlow Hewitt, our Wing Commander, arrived about 12.30pm. and gave quite a good lecture. Did photos and went to Amiens, bought curtains.

April 6th. Finished photos and arranged curtains. Went into Amiens and did various things. Bed about 11.15pm.

April 7th. Mounted the photo map on a board. Went out to visit a Topographical section with Brock. Have lunch with some French friends of his who produced a Cognac which they said had twice been buried for the Germans. Bill Adams climbs a tree. Dine with B Flight.

April 8th. Take photos and do a patrol. Mark in some new trenches.

April 9th. Rather a dud day. Try for an Artillery dud (sic) but its a washout. Go to Intelligence at Brigade in the evening.

April 10th. Did photos and trench map. Went up for a short weather flight. Visit some Batteries. Some night flying on.

April 11th. Another dud day, Did Morse and had lectures from Brock, bed early.

April 12th. Orderly Officer, a dud day. Went up for 15 minutes but it comes on to rain. Go over to see Christopher. Slept in the Squadron Office.

April 13th. Practised Morse and after lunch passed the Test. Read and ragged about, Went for a walk. Letter from Sis. With Binning started a no cigarettes for a week at 2.30pm.

April 14th. Nothing much doing. Letter from Claudia, write to her at once.

April 15th. Nothing much doing all day, went for a walk in the evening. Dine with B Flight. Revs and Mich Robins back from leave.

April 15th. Tried doing a shoot with the Gunners in the morning. Donaldson wounded. Started on some more photos and did Orderly Observer. Do some strafing. Bed.

April 17th. Dud Morse, a dud day, played golf and shot. Letters from Sis and James. Dined with B Flight.

April 18th. Did photo map all day also Artillery targets and Lewis Gun jambs. Jenkins and Jaques go on leave.

April 19th. Dud all day. Finish photos. Played golf and tried to do a shoot.

April 20th. Henderson and Moore crash. A dud day, Go to see some Batteries in the afternoon and evening. Brock to dinner. Some Night Flying.

April 21th. Not a good day but managed to do a target with Maltby from 11.30am. to 1.30pm. Balloons arrive on our front. Played golf in evening. Bed.

April 22th. Do a shoot. Nothing much doing. Play golf. Bed.

April 23th. Go and do an early shoot with Binning, very bumpy and am very sick. Orderly Observer. Play golf.

April 24th. Go up at 7am, and do a target, landing at 10am. After lunch go up for another shoot but it's no good so do a patrol. Down at 5,15pm, and after tea go and visit Batteries. Baccy from Gage and letters from Sis. Six hours flying.

April 25th. Go up early for photos. Do my first shoot with the Gunners. Fly again in afternoon. Go and visit the Gunners. Work on photos till 1.30pm. Six hours flying today.

April 26th. Left the ground for photos at 10am., down at 11.20am. Leave ground again at midday for an Artillery shoot, down at 3.20pm. Go and visit Batteries at Hebuterne. Bed.

April 27th. Nothing much doing all day. Go up to visit Batteries. Play golf.

April 28th. Not much doing. Start on second board of photos. Go up for a joy-ride with Danby. Bed early.

April 29th. Do the 2nd. patrol and do a test, also photos. Play golf. James Stuart crashes.

April 30th. Do photos also a shoot with Maltby. Read during the afternoon and then another shoot. Stay up till dusk and see a strafe. Four hours fifty minutes flying.

MAY 1916

May 1th. Orderly Observer. Leave ground at 8.25am., down at 10.55am. Do some photos. Leave the ground again at 1pm., back at 3pm. Clare comes over for tea. Play golf. Bed early.

May 2th. Fired a machine gun (Lewis) with Jenkins. Nothing much doing. Went up with Binning and did Lamp, rather a farce.

May 3th. Orderly Officer and performed the usual duties. Went up with Maltby and again with Stuart. Wrote letters.

May 4th. Did photos. Went up with Binning and took some more photos. Practised lamp in the evening, bed early.

[Extract from letter]

May 5th. Did photos all the morning. Went into Amiens after lunch and had a haircut. Bed early.

May 6th. Nothing much doing except for a patrol in the middle of the day. Rather a boring day.

May 7th. Nothing very much doing, did some photos and a map. A short patrol in the afternoon. Jenkins comes to dine.

May 8th. Dud all day. Did some lamp. Hot Air Ashmore and Hewitt found and installed (these were two rooks named after our brigadier and Wing Commander). Dined with B Flight.

May 9th. Pretty dud all day. Looked at Jackdaw's nest. Fed Ashmore and Hewett. Mackay goes on leave. Went with Stuart up to the Batteries in the afternoon,

May 10th. Orderly Observer all day. Wrote some letters. Played golf in the evening. Bed fairly early.

May 11th. Nothing much doing all day. Did lamp.

May 12th. A rather dud day. Did lamp and Contact Patrol in the afternoon.

May 13th. A dud day. Shot rooks, read and played golf. Bed early.

May 14th. A Service in the morning, Shot rooks and read, fed Ashmore. Went up to Division, bed early,

May 15th. Dud morning, fed Ashmore. Went with Maltby to interview 4th. Div. about Contact Patrol. Listened to B Flight's gramophone. Got two more young rooks and named them Serre and Puissieux after two villages on the German side of the lines.

May 16th. Left ground at 8.30am, and did a practice Contact Patrol, Wrote out my report. Fed rooks. Went out on the ground for the afternoon Contact Patrol. Came back, then went out to interview the Div. for the tomorrow's practice.

May 17th. Started for the morning show but got lost in the clouds and landed at Bertangles. Had a slack afternoon. Went off to see the 4th. Worcesters and the 5th. Gloucesters.

May 18th. Practice Contact Patrol 9am.; wrote report, fed rooks. Letter from Jim. Went off on ground for afternoon show then back and out again to arrange for tomorrow's show.

May 19th. On the ground for the morning's practice, up in the air for the afternoon one. Go out to arrange tomorrow's practices. Bed early.

May 20th. Did the morning show with the W. Yorks and had carburretor trouble. On the ground with the York and Lancs in the afternoon. Fed the rooks and did some Lamp.

May 21th. Went to H.C. Did both shows at Yvrench, quite good fun and nearly lost once, talk till late.

May 22th. Binning takes over as my pilot. Did a patrol, nothing much doing.

May 23th. Nothing much of interest. In the air for the morning practice and on the ground for the afternoon one.

May 24th. The morning show on the ground. Weather turns dud in the afternoon. Go into Amiens and have dinner at the Godbert.

May 25th. Went off to Yvrench and met Dawes but too dud in the morning. The afternoon show comes off. Fed the rooks and talk; go to A Flight after dinner.

May 26th. Did the morning practice, on the ground for the afternoon one. Fed the rooks and did some Lamp.

May 27th. Nothing much doing. Read and had Elliott's rifle cleaned. Fed the rooks and did some Lamp.

May 28th. Nothing doing all day. Fed the rooks and did some Lamp.

May 29th. On the ground for the morning show, in the air for the afternoon one. Went and saw Christopher. Dined with Ashmore. (Ashmore was eventually given command of the defence of London from the air, and did well.)

May 30th. Serre, one of my rooks, died. In the air for the morning show, on the ground in the afternoon. Shot two rooks after tea.

May 31th. Start off for Yvrench but a cylinder bursts near Vert Galland; get another machine and carry out the morning show. Shoot rooks in the afternoon and dig for worms for my birds. Bed early.

JUNE 1916

June 1th. Did the morning show over beyond Berneville, landed there to get a map and broke a tail skid but quite a successful show. Tried to shoot rooks and catch trout after tea but no luck. Bed early.

June 2th. Infantry Signallers arrive to do a Brigade show over at Yvrench, some show.

June 3th. Do a morning show, train Signallers in the afternoon. Try to shoot rooks.

June 4th. Went up early but weather too dud. Attended Service. Did a morning show and one on the ground in the afternoon, also arranged for one for tomorrow,

June 5th. More Signallers arrive. Dud all day. Arrange tomorrow's show. Bed early.

June 6th. Dud all day, Do maps in the morning, play golf in evening. Dine with B Flight, bed about 10.15pm.

June 7th. Pretty dud all day. Played golf.

June 8th. Nothing much doing,

June 9th. Nothing much doing.

June 10th. Nothing much doing.

June 11th. Orderly Officer, a duddish day. Maltby returns from leave, Bed fairly early.

June 12th. Attended Church, Patrol in the afternoon. Landed and nearly killed two men in doing so. Dined with B Flight.

June 13th. Left Vert Galland with Hudson and entrained, getting to Havre at 10.30pm., sailed at 11.30pm., had quite a good night.

June 14th. Landed at 10am. and got up to London about 12.30pm. Shopped and caught the 3.25pm. to Witham. Found James staying at the Firs.

June 15th. Got up late. Made to go for a Walk with James and played cricket, after tea tried for rabbits. Pen and Lancelot arrive. Play Double Demon after dinner.

June 16th. James shot a rabbit. Played cricket, Hoopla, and exercised Roy. Shot a rabbit after lunch. Constance Snell comes for tea. Kitty Hunt comes for the night. Played Double Demon.

June 17th. Arrived in London at 10.20am. and met Lancelot. Shopped, then had lunch at the Piccadilly. Went to A Kiss for Cinderella, tea at Rumpelmeyers. Back to Northwood, Peter arrives.

June 18th. Rose early and went to H.C. Visited Feering Croft. Left about 10.20am. reaching Southampton at 2pm, had some lunch then met the Barclays who are nursing at Netley. Went on the pier and listened to the Suffolk band, then went to Netley and looked round. Sailed at 7.30pm., got some sleep.

June 19th. Landed about 2.30am., slept in the train arrived at Amiens about 6am. Telephoned the aerodrome, had a bath and haircut also dinner, arrived at Marrieux about 12.30am.
Heath Robinson cartoon
Learning the Goose Step
Heath Robinson cartoon
The Boche Catcher
World War I cartoons by W. Heath Robinson


June 20th. Orderly Officer. Instructed Signallers. Wrote to Claudia. Went up to take photos, our manifold blows off. Do photos after tea. Dropped half a dozen of Heath Robinson's 'Hunlikely' books of cartoons of the Germans on their side of the line.

June 21th. Instruct Signallers in the morning. Do a Contact Patrol on the ground in the afternoon. Shoot on a target in the evening. Bed.

June 22th. Three of us shave our moustaches as a 'protest' against overwork and Brock takes it seriously, quotes Kings Regs. and forbids us to leave the aerodrome until we've grown another one. Inspect the Prieux Sight. Do a Contact Patrol. Instruct Signallers. Go up to take photos. Rearranged the Mess, and bed.

June 23th. Instruct Signallers. Sammy lands with one wheel only on his undercart. Contact Patrol on the ground in the afternoon. A huge storm. Steele crashes. Fairly riotous evening and then bed.

June 24th. Letter from Claudia and a photo. Write to her and various relations. Try the Le Prieux Sight over the line and hit the tail plane. Bed early.

[Extract from letter]

June 25th. Do maps and a Contact Patrol in the morning, maps again in the afternoon and an Artillery patrol in the evening. A cake comes.

June 26th. Finished the map of the area. strafed a target. Took photos. Bed early.

June 27th. Hung about all morning and wrote letters. Clothes arrive. Took some photos and fired machine gun, saw some gas. Prepared maps.

June 28th. Pretty dud and useless all day. Some gramophone records arrive. Z Day postponed forty eight hours on account of the shocking weather. Did some work!

June 29th. Did some work in the morning. Letter from Beats. Took photographs in the afternoon and also in the evening, dropped some more Heath Robinsons over the line at Puisieux. Plotted photos after dinner. Z Day positively put off till Saturday,

June 30th. Dud day most of the time but managed to take some photos at tea time. I took the stick for the first time, climbing back onto the wing to do so, Repeated this after tea. A lecture after dinner to prepare us for Z Day which is to be tomorrow.

JULY 1916

Map - first Battle of the Somme
The map shows the extreme left sector of the British attack during the first Battle of the Somme. It is almost certainly the one used by E.A.P. when he was wounded while acting as Observer during the first day of the battle. On this sector the attack was completely unsuccessful and casualties extremely high. German trench systems (in red on the original) can be seen as "wiggley lines", for instance in the area just south of Beaumont Hamel.
July 1th. We were delayed taking off as the mechanic had over filled with oil, but we were off by 7.20am. and over the lines by Zero Hour 7.30am. It was an awful sight to see our men lying out in lines opposite Beaumont Hamel, either dead or wounded. Only in two places did I see any of our troops reach the German trenches, and only a handful at each. I got a bullet into my buttock whilst we were at 2000ft. over Beaumont Hamel, the bullet having gone through our petrol tank first, there was no future in staying out, so we returned. I went to the Squadron Office and gave a verbal report to Brock who disbelieved me at the time. (Events subsequently proved me right). I walked up to my hut in the woods and the R.A.M.C. Orderly came and patched me up, having pulled bits of horse hair and petrol tank out of the hole. After about a couple of hours the ambulance arrived and took me to Gizaucourt, Tucker, the other Contact Patrol Observer, was also wounded by a bullet that went through the fleshy part of both legs, thus acquiring four holes from one bullet. The hospital very quickly filled up to overflowing and I spent an unpleasant night on a stretcher on the floor.

July 2th. Entrained at midday and arrived at Rouen at midnight. Slept like a top.

July 3th. Write to Bill Adams. Shipped off to the harbour at Rouen and embark at midday. Sail at 3.30pm. Get leave to go on deck as it's fearfully hot in the ward.

July 4th. Go on deck and watch us arrive opposite Netley where we anchor at 9am. Am asked where I live and when I say Essex, am told that I shall go to Bristol. I insist on going ashore on my two feet, we entrain and leave at 7.30pm. arriving at Bristol about 11.50pm. Am made to have a bath and finally get into bed. I suffered considerable annoyance from the nurse on the ship who tried to insist that I should keep the bedspread over my bed in spite of the fact that it was a very hot day. I was in the top bunk just under the carriage roof, and had been crammed into thick hospital flannel pyjamas. I eventually appealed to one of the Doctors who allowed me to do what I wanted. While we were waiting on our stretchers on Southampton station platform, all sorts of kind people came along and gave us cigarettes, chocolate and handkerchiefs etc. Today filled in for me the full picture of the first day of the Battle of the Somme on the 8th. Corps, front. I had met most of the senior officers of each battalion engaged in the battle when practising Contact Patrol during the preceding months. I saw the battle from the air, and on the ship and in the hospital I met various officers who had been wounded in the battle.

X-Ray - Bullet in buttock
X-Ray of the bullet in his buttock
July 5th. Wake up and have brekker. Write to Sis and Claudia. Read most of morning. Send out and get some stuff. Am X-Rayed in the afternoon. A concert in the evening.

July 6th. Roused and wash, read. The X-Ray photograph of my bottom comes round and shows a fat bullet still in my bum. Allowed out in the afternoon. Bath and read.

July 7th. Bullet localised and operated on at 11am. Feel rather washed out.

July 8th. Have an antitoxin rash from the anti-tetanus injection, this consists in the most intolerable irritation of the skin all over the body. Get various letters including one from Claudia. Pen and Lancelot arrive in the evening. Repent of my food. Rash nearly gone.

July 9th. Feel very much better. Write various letters. Lancelot and Pen arrive. Have a good lunch. Write more letters and read.

July 10th. Slept like a top. Pen comes along about 11am. and we play Double Demon. Go and see Tucker. A concert in the evening. Have conversation with wenches outside.

July 11th. Was moved from Queen's Ward to D Ward at 5am. Dressed in the morning and went and bought a walking stick. Was taken out by a Miss Davis for miles in her car and then to tea. Was asked where I'd been wounded and said "in the leg", whereupon a barricade of chairs was arranged round my ankle in case somebody kicked against it during tea. Got back and went and dined at the Royal Cinema.

July 12th. Went out about 1pm, and went to the Royal and on to the Empire then back to the Picture House. Shopped and dinner at the Exchange Restaurant, the Empire afterwards. Bed late and had altercation with the Guard at the hospital entrance.

July 13th. Letter from Claudia and various people. Wrote letters. Got dressed by 2pm. and went out to the Cinema. Tea with Lady Howel Davis. Dinner at Clifton.

July 14th. Receive the news that I have been made a Flying Officer. Letters from various people. Tea at the Picture House and dinner at Clifton then to the Hippodrome,

July 15th. Nosed around. Concert in the afternoon. Tea with the Kings. Dinner at the Exchange Restaurant and on to the Empire.

July 16th. Had lunch with the Kings and tea at Sherbrookes. Dinner at the Royal.


July 17th. Dressed and lunched with the Sherbrookes. Took Miss Sherbrooke to the Cinema and to tea. Dined with the Kings. Went to the Hippodrome. Back to Hospital late to find my bed filled with empty soda water syphons by the Night Sister to repay me for being back so late.

July 18th. Dressed and cursed Nurses. Various letters. Lunch at Stock Exchange Restaurant. Tea at the Davises and dinner at the Kings. Went to the Empire. I had ordered a cabbage to be sent in a florist's box to the Night Sister and had also covered the mirror in their Duty Room with sticky Charity Stamps. All this led to a certain amount of hilarity and eventually to the consumption of some champagne which I had brought back to the hospital for this purpose. I went to the Bristol Zoo in the afternoon.

July 19th. Dressed and packed and caught the midday train. Met Toby Pilcher. Met Pen and Lancelot. Went to my tailor and then caught the afternoon train getting to Witham at 5.29pm. Played Double Demon after supper.

July 20th. Salter arrives to have a look at me. Wrote letters and picked Black Currants, Shot two rabbits after tea and another one after dinner. Played Double Demon then had a bath.

July 21th. Not much doing. Wrote letters. Killed five rabbits during the day. Played Double Demon.

July 22th. The Hills come, Killed two rabbits after lunch and Lancelot one.

July 23th. Went to Church in the morning. Played Hoopla. Ragged about. Wrote letters, went to meet Sis and Pen.

July 24th. Went into Colchester and got fitted for a suit, bad lunch there. Mrs. Parker, the Snells and Simmonds come to tea. Tried for rabbits.

July 25th. Pen goes in the evening. Went to Coopers Place and shot five rabbits.

July 26th. Go up by 1pm. train and go to Gunnersbury and see the Samuels (Beatie and Babs). Meet Moore and have dinner, then go to the Bing Boys. Have supper then bed at the Piccadilly,

July 27th. Rose at 7am. and went with Moore to Claygate, then on to Guildford and then back to London. Meet James and Ruth, and back to The Firs. Tried for rabbits in the evening,

July 28th. A slack day. Tried for rabbits.

July 29th. Catch the 10.30 train and go to Colchester and am fitted for my suit. Lunch at Wrights with Sis. On to Northwood and see Peter Richard Pelly christened. Start back to London in the brown bus (Lancelot), getting there about 9pm. Dinner at Piccadilly and home about 12.30am.

July 30th. Go to Church at 11am. Go and see the Pellys. Bath and bed.

July 31th. Went round to Beats and got the bike going again. Started at 11am, and arriving at Hertford Heath about 12.45pm., saw Fenning in Hertford. Had lunch and talked. Left at 3pm. and arrived home at about 4.30pm. The Hunts come to tea. Bagged a rabbit after dinner.

AUGUST 1916

Aug 1th. Tried for rabbits. Played cricket. Pretty hot.

Aug 2th. Pretty slack day. Young and Irene Pritchard come over to tea.

Aug 3th. Nothing much doing in the morning. Went to tea with the Harecourt Golds.

Aug 4th. Went over to Feering Bury and went on the river with Mrs. Reid.

Aug 5th. Not much doing. Played cricket and tried for rabbits.

Aug 6th. Wrote letters. Took James to H.C. Slacked in afternoon. Church in evening. Bed.

Aug 7th. Played 'cricket' and ragged about. Went to Mill Beach and bathed. Dinner with the Harcourt Golds.

Aug 8th. Messed around. Played Stump Cricket. Letter from Claudia. Met Lancelot. Tried for rabbits. Played Double Demon.

Aug 9th. Messed about. Got petrol from Lancelot. James rides bike. Went to the Warrens at Feering and play tennis. See Mrs. Perkinson. Double Demon and bed.

Aug 10th. Go off and spend the night with Canon Lambert, quite good fun. Play Clock Golf.

Aug 11th. Played Clock Golf and walked about. Got back home in the evening.

Aug 12th. Party, go and see 'Man who stayed at Home'. Met Barbara and Alex, Saw Jenkins and Mackay, also Brookes. Spend the night with Beats.

Aug 13th. Went to Church in morning. Hills to tea and go to them for supper.

Aug 14th. Went to London and shopped. Saw 'Hobson's Choice' with Ruth and Pen. Slept at D (?).

Aug 15th. Came down by early train and had a Board at Colchester. Given three weeks light duty.

Aug 16th. Went up to London and lunched with Lancelot and saw a Submarine. Reported at W.O. then went home.

Aug 17th. Went over to White Notley and saw Sedgwick. Played Double Demon in evening.

Aug 18th. Nothing much doing. Played tennis in afternoon.

Aug 19th. Went into Chelmsford. Played tennis with Pellys. Double Demon, bed.

Aug 20th. Went to Church in morning. Played tennis with Harcourt Golds in afternoon and evening.

Aug 21th. Nothing much doing, Played tennis with Pellys in afternoon. Double Demon, bed.

Aug 22th. Did nothing much in morning. Played tennis with Pellys in afternoon.

Aug 23th. Did nothing much. Shot two rabbits on Coopers Farm. Double Demon and bed.

Aug 24th. Put up stop netting and marked out tennis court. Went into Chelmsford. Various people to tennis. Played Double Demon.

Aug 25th. Exercised Roy and wrote letters. Shot two rabbits after tea. Played Ping Pong. Went to Royds. Heard from W.O.

Aug 26th. Exercised Roy. Tennis at Pellys in afternoon.

Aug 27th. Went to Church. Read and exercised Roy.

Aug 28th. Nothing much doing. Played tennis at Pellys in afternoon.

Aug 29th. Exercised Roy and played tennis.

Aug 30th. Played tennis.

Aug 31th. Went up to London and did some shopping. Lunch with Lancelot. On to Northwood and saw Pen and Nurse Butler. Went home.

SEPTEMBER 1916

Sept 1th. Nothing much doing. Shot and played tennis.

Sept 2th. Nothing much doing. Shot and played tennis,

Sept 3th. Go to Church. Mabel Hunt comes up to tea.

Sept 4th. Nothing much doing.

Sept 5th. Just catch the train and go up to London, do some shopping. Have lunch and go to 'Daddy Long Legs'. Tea at Princes Hotel, then back into Piccadilly and do some more shopping. See Sheldon and Radcliffe, also James. Go to Old Country. Have supper and bed.

Sept 6th. Up by 9am. Mabel Hunt arrives and fetches Miss Vian (?), taken to Kensington Gardens, then to lunch at a ghastly vegetarian 'Eustace Miles' Restaurant. Get back to Wickham Bishops late.

Sept 7th. Went over to Mersea for brekker with Sis. Back late, played tennis.

Sept 8th. Nothing much doing in morning. Pellys come in afternoon. Bryan plays tennis, Godfrey comes up.

Sept 9th. Shot with Willie Parker in morning. Lazed about, Played tennis at the Pellys in the afternoon.

Sept 10th. Went to Church twice. Took the cylinder off my Rudge Multi, tried the bike out in the evening.

Sept 11th. Shot over Shuttleworth's ground with Oming (?), bagged 4 brace and a rabbit, 1 brace and a rabbit to my gun.

Sept 12th. Went with Bryan to see Jimmy. 'Sabbath Day's Journey', back late.

Sept 13th. Went into Witham and shopped. Hunts arrive in afternoon. Bag six rabbits with Bryan in evening.

Sept 14th. As the end of my Sick Leave is approaching, go over to Tolshunt D'Arcy to ask Salter about treatment for my wound. He insists on further Sick Leave and sends off the necessary documents; he then tells me to go home and get my gun and come shooting with him. Back to Wickham Bishops on my Rudge and fetch my gun. Have quite good fun, bag consists of 10 brace of partridges, rabbits, a hare and a landrail. I should add that by this time although I could move about easily my wound prevented me sitting down properly.

Sept 15th. Messed about with my Rudge Muiti. Letter from Claudia. Went over to White Notley. Shot rabbits.

Sept 16th. Put a new tyre on the Rudge. Wrote letters, went to Coopers and bagged a couple of rabbits. Fetched Sis from station. Tennis at Laurences.

Sept 17th. Church, read, write, exercise Roy.

Sept 18th. Bagged a brace and a half of partridges on Shuttleworths.

Sept 19th. Uncle Edmund and Aunt Mary (Pellys) come up for tea.

Sept 20th. The family go over to the Warrens.

Sept 21th. 'The Pilgrims' arrive to lunch. Go and shoot.
piece of a crashed zeppelin
"This is part of the first Zeppelin to be brought down in England on 23rd September 1916. It fell, I think, at Potters Bar and was brought down in flames by Leefe Robinson. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for this exploit."
"Robinson and many other pilots had fired at Zeppelins before without producing any result, but on this occasion Robinson had been given Pomeroy bullets which were explosive on impact and had the desired effect."
"The next time the Zeppelins came over Brandon got one, and on the next occasion, Sowry also bagged one; thereafter the Zeppelins ceased coming over."


Sept 22th. Went up to London and had lunch with Lancelot. On to Hertford where I was met and taken up to the village, sat and talked in the sun; after dinner went out and watched searchlights.

Sept 23th. Claudia and I went up to London by the 11.30am, train. Went to Andre and thence to the Piccadilly, met Moore and Stretton there, had lunch and went to Wyndhams. Tea at the Ritz, back to Hertford on the 6.30pm. train. Incident on the stairs. An air raid by Zeppelins and everybody goes out at midnight to watch, one brought down.

Sept 24th. Went to Church. After lunch went to Haileybury, saw Latham also young Weaver Adams, came back to the Vicarage for tea, talked, Church, looked for searchlights on steps, bed.

Sept 25th. Church. Looked at photos in Schoolroom. Went to Ware with the Grey. Weaver Adams to lunch. Went down to Broxbourne and went on the river, tea at the Crown. Came back to find that Angel's new Bear Leader had arrived, a Miss Salmone a Greek. Talked and ragged about on the see-saw. Dinner, talked and bed.

Sept 26th. Church, talked and went to Post Office. Did Hand Reading; after lunch ragged about. Claudia drives down and sees me off. Arrive home about 6pm.

Sept 27th. Letter from Claudia, telegraph scheme (?). Shoot at Shuttleworth's and bag two brace. See Pellys off. Go and see the Zepp. Write to Mrs. Barclay, Play Double Demon after dinner, bed.

Sept 28th. Packed and went to Witham and caught the 1.40pm. train, travelled with Murray Round. Arrived at Wyton aerodrome near Huntingdon. Find Dismal Jimmy and Bush there. To bed in a tent.

Sept 29th. Strolled about; went up in a Morris Farman. Went into Huntingdon with Dismal and went to the Pictures and had dinner.

Sept 30th. A dud day and nothing doing. Went in and got bike, bed early.

OCTOBER 1916

Oct 1th. Up for early morning flying, after brekker went up with Greer and Shields in Morrises, also went up in an Avro with Dismal. Brown crashes. Dinner in Huntingdon.

Oct 2th. Went up with Shields but weather gets dud. Bush crashes, not much doing. Go to Cinema and dine at Old Bridge Hotel,

Oct 3th. Went into Cambridge for a Medical Board. Lunch with Grenfeld and Drope. Went up with Donaldson.

Oct 4th. Hopelessly dud day. Went into Huntingdon and dined at the Old Bridge with Donaldson.

Oct 5th. Looked round the sheds. Wrote to cousin Lucy. After lunch went into Cambridge and had tea with Moore at the Old Bridge, went on river.

Oct 6th. Write to Bryan. Went to Wilburton and saw Aunt Addie. Pretty dud day. Dined with Grenfeld at Old Bridge. Donaldson leaves.

Oct 7th. Dud day. Went into Cambridge and shopped with Grenfeid and Stevens; went to the Theatre.

Oct 8th. Nothing doing all morning, slept in afternoon. Joy ride in evening. Dined at the Old Bridge.

Oct 9th. Nothing much doing, wrote various letters. Put on 'The Mat' for missing early morning flying, my name had been added after the list had been put up. Flew after lunch. Went into Huntingdon and had tea.

Oct 10th. Nothing much doing all day. Went into Cambridge and saw 'The Headmaster', pretty dud.

Oct 11th. Nothing much doing. Went to see Aunt Addie.

Oct 12th. Pretty dud. Went in to Cambridge and saw 'Tina'.

Oct 13th. Same as yesterday. Rather late in getting back from Cambridge, a tyre came off.

Oct 14th. No early morning flying. Rode over to Binstead, went shopping with Pen, picked up Lancelot, went to a Cinema in the afternoon.
Maurice Farman
An early Maurice Farman


Oct 15th. Went to Trinity. In afternoon go to Kings. Have tea with the Wingates. Rode home in the evening.

Oct 16th. Went up with Morris in a Rumpity (Morris Farman). Slept in afternoon. Went into Cambridge and saw the Bing Boys, made the acquaintance of Rita Nay.

Oct 17th. Did various flights with Morris. Letter from Mrs. Barclay. Went into Cambridge and the Bing Boys again with a party. Had Supper at The Castle.

Oct 18th. Not much doing. Went into Cambridge and paid a farewell visit to the Bing Boys with Steve.

Oct 19th. Row with Morris. 46 Sqn. leave. Bed early,


Oct 20th. On early morning flying and do First Solo, breaking two wires on landing and bend the socket of the tail skid. Do machine gun.

Oct 21th. Finish my two hours on Humpitys and leave Wyton for good. Detailed to go to Joyce Green near Dartford to learn to fly Scouts. Meet D. West (?). Stay at Bull Hotel at Dartford.

Oct 22th. Wait about at the Bull till a tender arrives to take me up to the aerodrome. I report and make the acquaintance of Robinson, one of the instructors and who in civil life was a Gym master at Eton.

Oct 23th. Kent, who used to be in 15 Sqn. turns up. Go up to London and see Razzle Dazzle in the evening.

Oct 24th. Dud weather. Played hockey in afternoon, bed early.

Henri FarmanPusher Biplane
Henri FarmanPusher Biplane
Oct 25th. Not much doing. Go up to London with Robinson, Kent and his brother.

Oct 26th. Not much doing all day. Instruction from Robinson in a Henri Farman. Guest night in Mess.

Oct 27th. Dud all day, played hockey in afternoon. Went up to London with direst (?) in evening. Bed early.

Oct 28th. Pretty dud weather all day, did some theoretical work on engines (one Rotary, one Stationary) and Rigging, for my exam to get my Pilot's Wings. Played hockey in afternoon.
R.F.C. wings
R.F.C. wings


Oct 29th. Did theoretical work most of day, pretty dud weather.

Oct 30th. No flying again, did more work on Engines and Rigging.

Oct 31th. No flying. Work in morning, hockey in afternoon.

NOVEMBER 1916

Nov 1th. Go up to London in the evening with James and see 'Romance' with Owen Nares and Doris Keene playing 'leads'.

Nov 2th. Record Lost.

Nov 3th. Had instruction an a Henry, not much else doing. Played hockey in the afternoon.

Nov 4th. Dud day. Played hockey in afternoon. After tea went up to London and saw Chu Chin Chow.

Nov 5th. Rotten weather. Did some work on engines. Went for a run with Leigh. Wrote to D. West.

Nov 6th. Left Joyce Green to go for our Pilot's Exam at Reading, at 10.30am. Lunch in London at the Piccadilly and go on to Reading in Mac's car arriving about 4.30pm. Reported, then did some work.

Nov 7th. Exam papers on Engines, Reading Morse, Maintenance of Machines and Theory of Flying. Went to the Palace in the evening.

Nov 8th. Rigging and Bomb Exams and more Reading Morse. Dined with Bengough and went to the Palace again.


Nov 9th. Finished the Sending Morse exam. Met some O.H.s, walked round, heard that we had all passed the exam, great rejoicings. Bath and bed. (The truth, I believe, was that there were a lot of R.F.C. casualties and pilots were badly wanted and the authorities did not want to lose any potential pilots because they were not good mechanics and riggers, abilities that are not really necessary for pilots in war time, that war at any rate. My knowledge at any rate was very limited; I had never even seen the Curtis engine which was the stationary engine I chose.)

Nov 10th. Went and saw the Adjutant and then pushed off in MacGregor's car, Got to London and had lunch at the Piccadilly, did some shopping and visited Cox. Got down to Southampton about 6pm. Much perspiration over a telegram. Rang up Bob. Went to the Palace.

Nov 11th. Brekker about 10am. Went out and found a car and arrived at Netley about midday and met Bob. Come back to the Great Western Hotel and have lunch. Went out to Romsey and wandered around, went over the Abbey. Had tea at the White Horse and came back. Had dinner and went back to Netley. Came back had a bath and went to bed.

Nov 12th. Went to church in the morning, after lunch read and talked. Went to Netley at 5.15pm. and picked up Bob, went far a drive till 6,15 then came back to the Great Western Hotel and talked, had dinner there with her at about 7pm. and talked afterwards. Took Bob back to Netley then came back to the hotel. Talked to a Belgian finally catching the midnight train and arrived back at Joyce Green in the early hours.

Nov 13th. Got back to Joyce Green at 6.45am. but it is a dud day. Ratted in the afternoon. Went to bed about 7am.

Nov 14th. Did my Solo on a Henry. Had dual on a Vickers Fighter in the afternoon.

Nov 15th. Flew a Henry again and had more dual on a Vickers.


Nov 16th. Did first Solo on a Vickers Fighter. This was not intended but Red Chapman (my instructor) got out of the machine to re-start the prop and I thought he meant me to go off again, so I did so and managed all right. Bed early.

Nov 17th. Dud all day. Robinson comes back, play hockey in afternoon. Go up to London and see "Vanity Fair."

Nov 18th. Another dud day. After lunch Robins, Kent, James, Mac, Woollett and Self go up to London, dine at Princes' and go to the Palladium.

Nov 19th. A pretty dud day. After lunch, went up to London and had tea with the Lawson, then went to the Triangle at Northwood.

Nov 20th. Flew for a short time before brekker. Got leave and went up to London to meet Christopher, who was on his way back to France, had lunch at The Rag and went with him dawn to Folkestone. Had dinner at the Queen's Hotel and afterwards went to see The Tiger's Cub. Caught the 1.45am. train back to London.

Nov 21th. Got back to Joyce Green on the early milk train and went to bed till 6.30am., got up at 8am,, flew for an hour in the morning; ratted in the afternoon. Bed about 7.45pm.

Nov 22th. Did a certain amount of flying, nothing much doing.

Nov 23th. Start off on a cross country flight with Johnson and Randall to Croydon in Vickers Fighters, rather a duddish day but arrive there at about 11am. The weather turns too dud to go on so stay put. Go to the Empire in the evening, sleep in the Mess.

Nov 24th. Get up about 11am. Johnson goes away, still too dud to fly, leave the Mess and book rooms at the Greyhound Hotel, go to a Cinema, dine at the Cafe Royal and go to the Empire, meet H.M.(?).

Nov 25th. Got up about 11am. as it's still dud, had lunch then went off to Northwood, made a pal on the train. Had dinner and stayed the night with the Pellys.

Nov 26th. Left Northwood at 9.15am., getting to Croydon about 12.30pm. Took off and landed at Joyce Green all right. Letter from Bob; answered it then played Bridge.

D.H.2.
D.H.2.
Nov 27th. Flew a Henry and acted as a target for Reid to 'shoot' at, Went off in a Vickers Fighter on a second Cross Country and went to Wickham Bishops and played around there, the flight lasted 1 hours. Played Bridge after tea.

Nov 28th. Fly a certain amount and do a Solo on a D.H.2, my first flight in a single seater. Nothing much doing, played Bridge.

Nov 29th. Pretty dud day and not much flying. Went up to London in the evening and saw the Bing Boys with Chapman. During the afternoon Tidmarsh and Black Chapman gave an exhibition aerial scrap.

Nov 30th. Flew an F.E.8. for the first time, nearly a disaster taking off as I had not been told that these machines did not require full left rudder on taking off like the D.H.2.s. Went to Dartford about some furniture. Report from C.O. Tanks in the evening (?)

DECEMBER 1916

Dec 1th. Dud weather. Went round kitchens. Went out in a boat. Arranged with Stiddulph about furniture. Played hockey in the afternoon. Go on week-end leave, catch the 5.5pm. train and arrive at Wickham Bishops at about 3.30pm., talk and bed.

Dec 2th. Went to Post with B.M. Shot a rabbit. Tried the Brough when Sis returns. Saw the Snells. Played Double Demon after dinner.

Dec 3th. Went to Church and stayed to Second Service. Rode the Brough after lunch and altered the controls, Left Witham at about 6pm. and got back to Joyce Green at about 9pm.

Dec 4th. Not much flying, a shortage of machines, Get leave to go and choose more furniture. Met a pal in the train coming down.

Dec 5th. Went up to London to choose furniture. Bought a Mongoose but he is very fierce.

Dec 6th. Did some flying. Tried my Mongoose down a rat hole. He killed a huge rat but when he emerged from the rat hole was promptly killed by Abe, Waller's Bull Terrier.

Dec 7th. No flying. Shot a snipe.

Dec 8th. Went to London with Beery Bowman who used to be at Haileybury.

Dec 9th. Went shooting and bagged three birds.


Dec 10th. Went to Hendon to fetch a Henry but the weather is quite dud so go on to Northwood and see Hills; go to church in the evening. I am told I am to be made an Instructor. (My total solo flying time was little over twenty hours.)


Dec 11th. Start from Hendon about 11am. I have no map, engine starts losing revs and the clouds clamping down. Finally the engine cuts right out and I make for the only spot of green in sight amongst the rows of houses. As I'm making my approach I see my piece of green is a football field with rugger posts all over it and a split paling fence across the middle of it. S-Turning round the football posts I saw I should hit the fence so I switch on the engine and get result from about four cylinders and manage to clear the fence and drop like a brick the other side of it. This is Dulwich College football ground. I have barely got out of the machine when up comes a Police Constable who asks me if I have a licence to 'fly this here'. I was given lunch in the College Hall, having rung up Joyce Green who send a Crossley Tender to take me back, thick fog having come up.

Dec 12th. Went over to Dulwich with a new engine (Gnome 60H.P.) but the fog is still thick. The C.O. (Swart) and Chapman turn up and we all have lunch in the College Common Room.

Dec 13th. Did some instructing in the morning but weather still dud for a cross country. Went to choose Turkeys in afternoon, then went up to London. Went to Hammond for some britches. Dinner at the Trocadero and went to Vanity Fair with Exley (?),

Dec 14th. Dud weather all day. Ratted in the morning. Arranged my room in the afternoon. A rowdy Guest Night.

Dec 15th. Went over to Dulwich but weather still very dud. On up to London and went to the Colliseum with Robins. Slept at the Piccadilly.

Dec 16th. The fog still holding. Shot a brace of Plover. Played Bridge, bed early.

Dec 17th. Still dud, went shooting and discovered the Snipery, i.e. the Sewage Farm. Total bag one brace of each Snipe, Pheasants and Partridges. Played Bridge, tea and dinner.

Dec 18th. Go over to Dulwich and as No. 1194 Henry Farman was so sodden with damp, it was extremely unlikely that I could have got it off the ground and high enough to clear the various obstructions, she was dismantled to go back to Joyce Green by road, I go up to London and shop. Have a bust at the Piccadilly and go and see London Pride.

Dec 19th. Rather a horrible day but do some instruction. Play Bridge.

Dec 20th. A lovely day for a change. Simpson, a test pilot for Vickers Armstrong, who had a shed at the other end of our aerodrome, killed himself testing one of their aircraft. We stop flying as a mark of respect although this was no longer done with Service pilots and pupils. Went shooting with Baker the Adjutant and killed a brace of snipe.

Dec 21th. Dud day again. Go to the recreation room in "The Tavern". Play Bridge for the rest of the day,

Dec 22th. A certain amount of flying done.

Dec 23th. Simpson's funeral. Go up to London and do some shopping, meet Bay. Go home and bed early,

Dec 24th. Get up late. Shoot in afternoon.

Dec 25th. Play Bridge in morning. See the Men's dinners, have a great lunch party. Go up to London with Swart, the C.O. and Black Chapman. Have dinner at Swart's house, sleep at Charing Cross Hotel.

Dec 26th. Get back about 11am. Nothing much doing. shoot in the afternoon and kill a Snipe.

Dec 27th. A very thick fog all day. Go up to London with Black Chapman and do same shopping. Meet some pals of Chapman at the Piccadilly; also meet a female friend of Swart's and ask her to dinner and afterwards take her to Romance at her special request. Chapman takes her back to her home, poor chap, but I go to Murrays with Fletcher and De Rouske. Bed about 2am. at the Piccadilly.

Dec 28th. Brekker at Charing Cross and caught the 8.5am. train down to Dartford arriving about 10.10am. Do some flying but the weather turns dud later on. Go for a joy-ride with Chapman. Wrote to Father Astill, a pilot in the Lovat Scouts who had been grounded on account of his bad eyesight.

Dec 29th. Pretty dud weather so go up to London early with Chapman. Meet the Fletcher brothers again at the Piccadilly and have dinner there. Go and see Charlie's Aunt and then on to Murrays. Sleep at the Charing Cross Hotel.

Dec 30th. Catch the 8.5am, back to Joyce Green but weather pretty dud. Go and shoot.

Dec 31th. Get up at 11am. Go and shoot and again after lunch. Play Bridge. We have an awful 'blind', bed about 2am.

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