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…?

 

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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…

 

W.S. Hall’s Diary – April 1945

Stanley Hall is now stationed at Gujrat.

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 53

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 54

There are no entries in the diary for April 1st and 2nd, 1945.

Flight Sgt Hall 238 squadron logbook 5

Stanley Hall does not write that much about his flying.

April 3rd, 1945
Went to an Indian dance performance last night and found it strange but entertaining. Have been practising supply dropping lately and find it quite interesting – on night flying as well as day.

April 7th, 1945
Last night I went to see “Lloyds of London” which showed in the camp cinema and I enjoyed it very much. Went on a x/c this morning and after 15 mins the weather closed in to had to find my way back. blind. I was in heavy cloud and it was raining like blazes and some of the fabric came off one wing but with the aid of radio and a break in the clouds near base we managed to get back o.k.

April 11th, 1945
This morning I went off on a x/c flight at the end of which I had to drop supplies by parachute. When I got to the dropping zone a blasted “kite hawk” got in the way and it went right through the port propellor and imbedded in the front of the engine. I made a hurried return to base and landed and fortunately there was no damage done. These hawks are a pilot’s curse over here, they are protected by Indian law and there are thousands of them about even up to 4.000 ft.

April 15th, 1945
Did my first lot of glider towing yesterday and did a circuit in one of the gliders. Have just finished a x/c and supply dropping trip this morning and have almost finished the course. Night glider towing tomorrow.

April 21st, 1945
Finished the course with glider towing last night and are moving out en route to Burma Tuesday. We are going by train so it’s not the kind of journey that I’m looking forward to, however we shall see how things turn out. We have started taking anti malaria tablets, little yellow things with an awful taste but if they are going to be a prevention I don’t really mind.

April 25th, 1945
We should have been on our way by now but last night about an hour before we were due to leave, the posting was cancelled and there have been many optimistic deductions for the reason. Rumour has it that cholera has broken out in Calcutta, so goodness knows when we shall go now. It’s rather boring hanging about doing nothing.
Received a Patriotic parcel yesterday.

April 26th, 1945
Still awaiting the posting, there is an epidemic and the place to which we were going is under isolation. In the meantime I wouldn’t mind a bit of leave but I suppose it’s too much to expect. Receiving mail from home regularly. A lovely lot this week.

Next time May 1945…

Stanley Hall is joigning 238 Squadron!

Flight Sgt Hall 238 squadron logbook 1

W.S. Hall’s Diary – March 1945

March 7th, 1945
Arrived at Chaklala three days ago, they sent a couple of kites over for us so it was more comfortable than a train journey.
I am in a tent with 3 others and conditions are fairly good.
Group Capt. Caldwell visited us today so we had quite a natter about our welfare.
I have started on a ground course which is to last about 2 weeks then I will be on flying for the rest of the course.
I now have an Australian 2nd pilot.

March 10th, 1945
This afternoon, our only time off for the week, I cycled into ‘Rindi which is about 4 mis from camp.
I had a look around the bazaar which I thought quite good compared with the usual kind over here. Some very nice silver ware at a terrific price. I would have liked a coffee set but 3 pieces cost £18 (NZ).
I had myself measured for a khaki drill uniform.

My two kit bags haven’t turned up from the ME yet.
During the rest of the week we have lectures, some quite interesting but others very boring but I will be on the flying part soon.

March 19th, 1945
I have now completed the ground course and today had an oral exam.
Last evening I cycled into ‘Rindi to visit Major and Mrs Woodcock and dined with them at the Davis Hotel.
Wore my new khaki drill for the first time.
Tomorrow we are leaving for Gujrat to do the flying course so I expect to say goodbye to the North West frontier.
Tonight I saw a very good English film called “Thousands like us.”
The weather is foul at present, have had thunderstorms and rain for two consecutive days and does it rain!
Receiving home mail more regularly of late and it makes life much brighter out here.

Sunday March 25th, 1945
Flew over here (Gujrat) from Chaklala last Tuesday, and got settled in pretty smartly, thanks to a little organisation which exists in this place.
Started flying on Dakotas on Thurs and I went solo after 1½ hrs.
I’m not flying today but will have a lot to do next week.
This camp is well away from civilization and the towns and villages nearby are all out of bounds so we have to make as much of it as we can in camp.
However I don’t expect to be here for more than about 3 weeks.

Friday March 30th, 1945
Well it’s Easter again although it doesn’t mean a thing over here, work goes on just the same and there are no celebrations.
Flying at midnight.
Sorry there are no facilities for cabling Easter greetings home.