I have to start off this post by saying I’m not sure if Dad is referring to himself when he comments in his logbook (for July 19, 1943): Jimmy pranged – engine failure in dark. A good show!
I think he is though. Funny to read Jimmy for Dad was always known as Jimmy. Once again, we find Dad buzzing around in a Hurricane IIB and yet again there’s engine problems. Dad is also doing far more night flying and I guess pranged the Hurricane as he landed at night with engine failure. Not sure why he’s referring to himself in the third person.
Anyway. I did find in this part of Dad’s logbook a fact I had not known before. Well, I sort of knew; guess this is confirmation. Dad’s father, my grandfather, died many years before I was born. I’ve been told he was giving a speech at a bowling club in Wellington, NZ when he keeled over – presumably from a heart attack. Dad never talked about it so I have never known when he died, although my mother told me it was during the War and that it was a very difficult time for Dad. I looked up the NZ death database last year and found that my grandfather died in 1943. I’ll have to order the death certificate to get the exact details but it’s the same year as recorded in Dad’s logbook. He was 56 years old – so young!
On July 31, 1943 Dad makes the following comment in his logbook:
To Cairo re Dad – not much…..
and I really can’t decipher the last word. It’s in quotation marks. Is it “Gen”? (see photo below).
Because I didn’t know Dad’s parents, I’ve not really been curious about them until recently. I was very close to my mother’s parents and spent a huge amount of time with my grandparents as I was growing up.
But now is the time to discover more about my paternal grandparents. Things are coming together. I wear my grandmother’s engagement ring because writing this blog prompted me to reunite with my Dad’s brother in February this year (and he gave me his mother’s ring).
I don’t know why Dad travelled to Cairo. Clearly, he already received the news of his father’s death and he didn’t travel back to New Zealand because logbook entries continue in August. Possibly he travelled to Cairo to receive a telegram? Looks like he didn’t return to NZ for his father’s funeral either. So it’s a bit of a mystery.
I presume Dad hadn’t seen his father for quite some time. I’ll need to look in the logbook to try and work that out. It’s possible that whilst at No. 3 E.F.T.S. Harewood (which was in the location where Christchurch airport is now positioned) he didn’t see his father because Christchurch is in the South Island and Wellington in the North Island. Here’s a photo of my grandfather – he’s the dapper chap on the right, wearing the bowler hat.
For July 1943, there also seems to be a new 127 Squadron leader – P.W.Lovell (Peter Wilson Lovell).
Click on photos below to enlarge.