Intermission – Intermission

Time for a pause with placing on the puzzle more than 200 pieces Wendy Davis and Richard Hall had kept of their fathers’ service in the RAF and RNZAF.

Photos…

Log books…

A diary… and some postcards.

No. 6 P.A.F.U. Little Rissington

This message was sent by Richard Hall last July. He had some more photos to share. I was just waiting for the end of the second beginning to post it…

To your knowledge has anyone done a blog specifically about No 6 P.A.F.U Little Rissington….Maybe I could kick one off with the first bit of Dad’s diary and appropriate photos and logbook entries….I’ve also been in touch with BBC to see if they could assist me tracking down possible relatives of WAAF “Johnnie” who gave these pictures to my Dad…He bought these back from the war so they must have held some significance for him and the mystery is killing me…

Both my parents are deceased so can’t ask them…ain’t that a familiar mantra!

Cheers,
Rich

Johnnie 2
Johnnie
Will there be a third beginning on this blog?

Just click here…

Note:

P.A.F.U. is Pilots Advanced Flying Unit

My Darling Thelma,

On Friday September 1st, 1944, Stanley Hall wrote this…

Made up a parcel to send home; a handbag for Mavis, a wallet for Ray, blouse for Thelma and dress for Robin plus a few odds and ends; lace, hair clips, nets. elastic. So I will post it on Monday. To send a parcel I have to apply through Govt export control, get a permit and hand it into the P.O. I have a cold at present; it doesn’t take much exertion to start up perspiration during the monsoon weather which is so muggy. The low cloud blots the sun and all we get is rain and hot and cold breezes.

I am expecting to go on a “jungle course” soon. It is so that we will have jungle experience if forced down and it should make a couple of interesting weeks.

I’ve still to pick up two gunners, a wireless op/gunner, a bomb aimer and a second pilot so will have eleven in my crew very soon.

On September 4th, 1944, he wrote Thelma a letter.

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 62

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 63

NZ 403315
F/SGT. W. S. HALL 4-9.44

My Darling Thelma,

At last my patient wait is over for your letter as an air letter card arrived to-day, it was written on Aug. 8th but actually reached India on the 21st and since then it has been on its way to me, so when I get settled I’m sure they will come through O.K. Thanks so much for such a sweet letter darling it’s like having something new and beautiful again after such a long 6 weeks, in fact there must still be more posted previously to that one.

To your enquiries of Jock, Tiny and Steve; I left them all behind dear they were sent to a different place to me after I left but I did see Jock again just prior to coming over here. I have a film in being developed now and I bought 2 more and have hopes of another couple in a day or so.

I was going to town to get the snaps today and also to get a permit so send a parcel which I have previously mentioned but seeing it is one section of the community’s New Year most of the places are closed, so will go tomorrow.

I have just returned from a visit to a nearby swimming pool a very spacious outdoor pool with a smaller indoor one.

There is a cafe in the grounds where we had tea and cakes so it is quite a pleasant way of passing some of the time.

The last picture I saw was “Follow the Boys” not bad but “Rythmn Parade” was really good, Ginny Simms she’s a peach!!

Had an airgraph from Mavis saying that Dick was in Auckland lucky chap. I wish they’d let me have a Lib or something to come home in occasionally, I’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to associate with the fairer sex these days so when I do get home you’ll have to smooth down the rough edges darling. I always feel a bit timid if some white woman speaks to me.

I’ve just been having a busy time selecting more chaps for my crew, quite a family now I can tell I’ll get them all together in a snap one day and you’ll have a better idea as to what a job I have on my hands. Well my darling this second honeymoon of ours sounds good, in fact much better than good, I’m always thinking of it darling, I often wish I could as soon as I arrive next year in Wgton have a really nice dinner at the very best, stay the night and then go home the next day, I’ll want you all to myself so that no one else could ask questions and interrupt us or stop me from adoring you for one minute.

Darling I really should keep these things for a self censored card but today I’m so thrilled with getting your letter so hope you won’t mind. Space is getting short dearest so I will close now. Hope you had a happy birthday, sending a cable tomorrow.

All my love and thousands of kisses for you both

God bless from Your own Stanley xxxxx

September 9th, 1944

Getting all packed up ready to be posted on a short jungle course. I have recently received a marvellous lot of mail and have been very busy now. Yesterday I made my crew up to Liberator strength and now there are eleven of us. Sent a cable for Thelma’s birthday a couple of days ago.

Last night I bought two plates. They are metal chrome finish and have beautiful working on them and the colouring is done with the powder of jewels. It is made into a paint and makes a very effective finish. I shall keep them in my tin trunk to bring home when I come.

Hope to get a pair of nice vases next pay.


This is the end of the second beginning on this blog…

the-end-of-the-beginning

ARCHIVES

W.S. Hall’s Diary – September 1945

Only one entry…

September 16th, 1945

Still waiting on the boat.

The other day we got all our kit ready to go aboard and something wrong was discovered on the boat so that means another week.
In the meantime my name has gone in for repat. and if the authority comes through before the boat leaves I will probably continue the journey to N.Z. Otherwise I will be repatted from Australia because all of us are being sent home.


We all know how all this will end don’t we…?

 

Intermission – Ray Spriggs, Wireless Operator

Richard’s brother just remembered…

Hi Pierre,

My brother Peter remembers visiting Ray Spriggs…in the Midlands somewhere while on a trip to England with Mum and Dad (1975). Ray definitely was the wireless operator so he tells me…
Cheers,
Richard

Now we know for certain who was the wireless-operator in Stanley Hall’s crew.

Ray, Phil, Jock, Bob in a reunion in Calcutta

Ray Spriggs in Calcutta

Ray Spriggs in Nowshera

W.S. Hall’s Diary – August 1945

August 15th, 1945

Well, war has ended at last the fighting will no doubt go on for a while yet.

There is nothing much going on in the way of celebrations, a few flags are hoisted but there have been no parades.

 

 

August 2nd, 1945

Yesterday my kit arrived from Egypt after being in storage for over 12 months.

Fortunately, all my personal belongings were alright but the service underwear etc. was in a mess. One kit bag was wet half through and everything went mildewy.

It was great fun sorting it out last night – all my letters and snaps again and I also had 12 packets of ‘Greys” and only one was affected,

The back-pay for my W/O came through a few days ago x with a few other allowances. I drew 850 Rs.

With my banking acct and it I will soon have 2,000 Rs.

Hope we go within a few days, monotony increases with nothing to do and the lads are getting very touchy and sensitive.

I was squadron orderly officer yesterday.

August 12th, 1945

Arrived in Calcutta a couple of days ago after an uncomfortable train, boat, train journey when all our luggage had to be moved each time.

Have been doing a bit of shopping and bought a silver powder compact Rs 60 and a moonstone necklet Rs85 for Thelma. I bought another “kikkn so have a pair of them now.

I hope we soon get on the boat. They have been holding our mail in Australia but two letters came through today.

August 15th, 1945

Well, war has ended at last the fighting will no doubt go on for a while yet.

There is nothing much going on in the way of celebrations, a few flags are hoisted but there have been no parades.

I expect I shall still go to Australia and join up with my squadron, but to get home is the only thing that I’m interested in now.

Collected my photos from Bourne and Shepherd today.

Went to see The White Cliffs of Dover”.

August 27th, 1945

Still waiting for the boat but somehow I don’t think it will be more than a week before we are sea-borne.
Bought a pr of sheets recently (R.S. 24/10). I have been to see a few pictures and a play and yesterday spent the afternoon at the new Calcutta swimming pool.

I will be glad to get out of this place, the weather is very uncomfortable at present, no clear sun – just a humid swelter.

Mail has been coming through very well, but there are still a lot of parcels missing.

September 16th, 1945

Still waiting on the boat.

The other day we got all our kit ready to go aboard and something wrong was discovered on the boat so that means another week.
In the meantime my name has gone in for repat. and if the authority comes through before the boat leaves I will probably continue the journey to N.Z. Otherwise I will be repatted from Australia because all of us are being sent home.

 

Next time September 1945…

W.S. Hall’s Diary – July 1945

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 57

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 58

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 59

Flight Sgt Hall 238 squadron logbook 4 July 1945

July 5th, 1945

Yesterday I received eight “Auckland Weeklies’. Some of them were posted on Oct 3rd so it can be seen that 9 months must be nearly a “record!!”

July 8th,1945

Received a parcel from the Patriotic today.
Still waiting to move off on posting to Australia … it’s a bit of a job finding enough to do to fill in the days.

July 11th,1945

Received two parcels from Thelma – chocolate and cigarettes.
There has been a leopard prowling around our billets at night and causing much excitement. Its cub was run over by a truck about a week ago.

July 15th, 1945

The other day we got paid a month in advance so it’s a temptation to go on spending sprees.
Last night I went to town and bought a ladies velvet evening purse all worked in coloured wire and thread (28 Rs).

July 18th, 1945

Received birthday cable from Mum. It arrived in Bombay on June 30th. Bought Robin a pyjama set (18Rs) and a dressing gown (25RS).

July 20th, 1945

Still waiting for the word to get packed up and go. I have been made NCO I/C baggage – what a job!! We have practically nothing to do all day so this afternoon I shall describe a day’s operations over Burma.

The evening before operations we attended a briefing at 8.45 where the O.C. called a roll of the detail and gave out particulars of the sortie. The intelligence officer would then give out latest gen, where Jap troops were, and the condition of the air strips.

The signals would then give out radio information.

After that the Nay. section pointed any special routes to be followed. We next placed our names in a book for a call at 0300 the following day. My detail was take off 0500 for Myingan with 25 reinforcements and to then fly to Miktila bringing back 20 stretcher cases to base.
That journey would take about 5 hours, meaning an arrival back at base at about 11A.M. allowing 30 minutes stop at each place. We then went to a canteen and had a meal and back to the aircraft for take off at 1200. This time our load was supplies, about two tons of it and destination Magwe. Upon landing a truck backed in and coolies unloaded the aircraft and we sit off with a couple of passengers for Ramree Island where there were more casualties to bring out.

Arrival at Ramree was about 1500 hrs and there we managed a cup of tea whilst stretcher cases were loaded. Departing at 4 o’clock we arrived back at base again at 6.30P.M. – a 13½ hr day with about 11 hours flying. We then went to see the intelligence officer to report the day’s work and anything else of importance.

One place, I think it was Myingan, a chap told us to look behind a bush and there in a hole were a couple of dead Japs – grizzly looking sods. At one time the Japs had one landing strip and we had the other on the same ‘drome so when we were flying reinforcements in they all jumped out as the aircraft slowed up and we had to turn quickly and take off down wind occasionally with the Japs firing from their positions – as soon as our chaps arrived they went straight into action.

We used to strike some horrible weather over the Chin Hills and often went up to 17,000 ft. to keep out of cloud.

If we struck a storm along the Arakan coast we had to find somewhere to land as the weather closes in very quickly with great turbulence, thunder and lightning and rain. The Irrawaddy valley is quite a fertile one and is dotted with pagodas that show up white against the darker background.

Near the larger objectives and in them, most of the buildings have been burned and the bridges destroyed but our boys soon built temporary ones.

In fine weather the trip up the Arakan was very pleasant and over sea most of the way.

Next time August 1945…

 

W.S. Hall’s Diary – June 1945

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 55

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 56

June 1st, 1945
I have done several trips down to the forward areas and even though we have got Rangoon it doesn’t mean to say that the Burma campaign is over.
I usually fly every 2nd or 3rd day and then I fly all day from 8am until 5pm to dark.

June 3rd, 1945
I am getting into the way of the routine now.
The weather usually necessitates careful study as now the monsoon is approaching we strike some awful storms.

Flight Sgt Hall 238 squadron logbook 2 June 1945 to 19 June 1945

Have been flying wounded from the forward areas, and yesterday we just about had a death aboard; an Indian ex P.O.W.

He was unconscious when we took off and when he came to and found he was in an aeroplane he passed out, even stopped breathing so the medical orderly with the oxygen supply at emergency and artificial respiration managed to bring him around after about 15 minutes.

June 9th, 1945
There is big talk of going to Aussie but I’m not sure if they will be taking the recent arrivals which are we.

June 15th, 1945
Preparations are being made for the departure to Australia but they have not told us just who is going.
It’s very annoying I’d just like to know if we are going or not.

June 15th, 1945
The monsoon weather is really with us now.
Yesterday there was a terrific storm in the morning and lightning struck a hut and some trees, tearing them down.
The thunder overhead is deafening and one can actually feel the concussion and the lightning literally sears the sky and plays on any metal object.
Our mess bar has a metal top and tonight a flash caught it, now the barman requests that any money be handed to him and not left on the bar top where he has to pick it up.
I flew a kite to Chittagong this afternoon and came back with another chap. They are getting rid of all our old kites.

June 23rd, 1945
The other day I did a trip to Barrackpore and while my aircraft was being loaded I managed to get into Calcutta for a couple of hours. It just gave me time to go to the bank and have a decent meal. Last evening the officers’ mess invited us over to celebrate the wind up in this theatre and the pending move to Australia.
I’m very thrilled about going I haven’t really been in civilization since leaving England. Not the kind that I understand anyway.

June 29th, 1945
I am just waiting for further news of our departure from here – of course all is shrouded in secrecy and as usual our bearer can tell us things before they are officially announced which is a standing joke in India.

There is much speculation as to how and when we are leaving and from where.
I would like to get to Calcutta so to get my banking transferred as I have accounts at two banks there.

Went to the pictures tonight to see “English without Tears” and quite enjoyed it.
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” will be here soon so I hope we are here then as I would like to see it again, the last time was in London.

Next time July 1945…

 

W.S. Hall’s Diary – May 1945

May 23rd, 1945
Well this finds me on a Squadron and it’s something for I’ve waited 10 months in India. Left Calcutta about 3 days ago and after overnight on the train we boarded a ferry paddle steamer which took us down a river for 6 hrs. We then got aboard a train again and arrived at Comilla at 2am. I do my first sortie tomorrow morning so I hope the weather clears as we’ve been having thunderstorms and torrential rain, the approach of the monsoon.

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 54

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 55

May 10th, 1945
Arrived in Calcutta yesterday morning after a fairly comfortable rail journey of 3 days.

Ray, Taffy, Stanley, Jock, and Robert

I’m billeted in a tent adjoining what used to be a college. The surroundings are rather pretty, nice green shady trees and some with pretty yellow and red flowers.
The conditions for troops in the city are not very adequate and filth prevails in many ports hence the recent outbreak of cholera.

Yesterday was very warm and in the morning we spent most of our time getting bedded down and cleaning ourselves as we were filthy after the train journey.

We got buckets of water and dowsed ourselves in soap suds: I don’t think I’ve drunk so much water and perspired so much in one day as I did yesterday, especially in town.

We went to a restaurant for a meal (I like one good one each day) and found it much more expensive than over the other side – steak, egg and chips with a glass of orange cost 10/-. Today is nice and cool so I want to find Lloyds Bank and open an account there.

I have 300RS in the Imperial Bank but it’s a bit of a fag getting it out so I will leave it there and draw it out just before I leave. I think it takes about 2 months as it has to be referred to the original bank of issue.

May 15th, 1945
I think I have seen most of the city now and have spent most of my time seeing picture shows.

Recreational amenities for the forces are inadequate and what there are, are always crowded. I had my photo taken today so hope it will be a good one.

We had a terrific thunderstorm last night and torrential rains. Expect to leave here soon, at present we are totally unheard of – as usual no-one knows the next step.

May 16th, 1945
Today I met one of my old Gunners. He has just come out of Burma after being shot down and a prisoner of war for 4 months.

May 20th, 1945 (according to the record of servicce)

May 23rd, 1945
Well this finds me on a Squadron and it’s something for I’ve waited 10 months in India. Left Calcutta about 3 days ago and after overnight on the train we boarded a ferry paddle steamer which took us down a river for 6 hrs. We then got aboard a train again and arrived at Comilla at 2am.

I do my first sortie tomorrow morning so I hope the weather clears as we’ve been having thunderstorms and torrential rain, the approach of the monsoon.

log book of pilot Flight Sergeant Hall

Logbook of navigator Robert Davis

May 25th, 1945
Returned today from yesterday’s sortie. I went to a place near Mandalay then south and after that to Ramree where I picked up casualties.
Got about half way home and hit a terrific storm so turned back and landed at Akyab. We slept in the aircraft and the storm raged – thunder – lightning and rain.
One aircraft couldn’t get down so I believe they baled out.
This morning we brought stretcher cases up from Akyab. The patients were quite a variety, some had body wounds, one with a piece of rubber tube in his stomach to keep him alive. Another was absolutely batchy so they had to tie his hands together.

Next time June 1945…