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.
A diary… and some postcards.
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!
Will there be a third beginning on this blog?
P.A.F.U. is Pilots Advanced Flying Unit
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.
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…
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…
Now we know for certain who was the wireless-operator in Stanley Hall’s crew.
Ray Spriggs in Calcutta
Ray Spriggs in Nowshera
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.
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…
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.