And so we hit December 1943. Dad is flying a Hurricane IIC and is a solo pilot. For the first time, he is undertaking G.C.I (Interception). Had to use Dr Google for this one! It stands for Ground-Controlled Interception and seems to have been used to guide interceptor aircraft to an airborne target. Dad was also involved in dog fighting maneuvers; low flying formation; practice attacks; air to sea and formation; plus flying to Beirut (presumably from the 127 Squadron base). Knowing Dad, he would have enjoyed the cross-country flying to Beirut and back to base (December 9).
I’m having a bit of trouble deciphering his comments and their meaning.
- December 3: Beirut gun-posts. Not sure what this means. On this day, Dad was involved with “ack-ack co-op, low level” – I’ve encountered this term in his log book before. I’m not entirely sure but I believe it means anti-aircraft fire but I don’t understand the co-op part. Help please! I don’t get the comment about gun posts either.
- December 4: Tripoli – practice homings on way back – 10,000 ft. No idea, help!
- December 6: I can’t decipher the first word in the Comments section. The rest reads Baalbeck – quite nice! This was during low flying formation.
Dad would have really enjoyed the dance on December 8 back at base (I presume; although he says airport). My mother was a marvellous dancer. According to my Mum, Dad was so-so at dancing but I remember, as I was growing up, watching them dance together in the living room of my childhood home. Usually to Glenn Miller music – Dad’s favourite songs being Moonlight Serenade and A String of Pearls. To this day, I hear Glenn Miller music (which I’m very partial to) and it takes me back to that living room scene. Sometimes, Dad would ask me to dance with him but I trod all over his toes. Well, actually since I was around 10 years old or so, I would stand on his feet and he would guide me whilst he danced. It wasn’t until my 20s that I took up Latin and ballroom dancing for a few years.
So it was great to read that Dad attended a “big dance at airport last night – a real good show too“. I wonder what orchestra or musicians played? And where did the girls who surely participated in this dance come from? Did they have a big assembly hall that was cleared for the dance? I would SO love to have been there!
On December 8, Dad was flying to base (I think) and recorded “Curses” in the comment section of his log book. Why I wonder? Presumably, he wasn’t too keen on returning to base because he loved flying so much. On December 9, whilst flying cross-country to Beirut and back, Dad writes 1.10. I’m guessing this is for 1 hour and 10 minutes? The time it took to fly to Beirut and back?
And finally, a very intriguing comment on December 13 – Hitch-Hiked Back. From log book entries, doesn’t seem that Dad was involved in delivery of aircraft, so why was he hitchhiking back? On that day, he flew to Beirut in a Hurricane IIC marked with U, which he’d only flown once before in December (on the 1oth to Balbo). Where the heck is Balbo? Dr Google (as I lovingly refer to Google and its ability to give you answers) suggests that Balbo could be Baalbeck.
Well, a bit of a frustrating time for me in this section of Dad’s log book. The last date on this page is December 24 and that means the next page will be all about Christmas 1943. Can’t wait!
Click on photos below to enlarge.