Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945
 8 December 1941 to 25 December 1941

The war has not as yet changed anything here and no one knows whether the duration of the course will be affected. We have so far had no opportunity to contact people outside the camp to learn their reaction to the new war but radio bulletins are depressing in so far as Pearl Harbour seems to be a big disaster.

Saturday, 20 December 1941. On Wednesday we left by special train for Albany Georgia which we reached late in the afternoon. We stopped briefly at Columbus where I took the opportunity to 'phone the kind people (Charles & Eleanor Rush) who entertained us recently. Albany is just 80 miles away and they have given us a cordial invitation to visit.
We are now at Darr Aero Tech which is our Primary School for elementary flying training and after two days here I am impressed. It used to be a civilian flying school run by Mr Darr and it has been taken over by the Air Corps for training British cadets.
Today we all had our first flight - tonight everyone is busy comparing first impressions of the experience. Mr Brown is my instructor and today he spoke to his group for half an hour on the rules which we must follow.
I went up with him at 3.26 and first I put on my parachute, adjusted my safety belt and speaking tube which only works one way - instructor to pupil. Mr Brown took off and told me in the rear seat to follow the controls and generally observe. We climbed to 200 feet, turned to the right, climbed to 400 feet and then turned left out of the traffic pattern still climbing and when we reached 3000 feet Mr Brown lifted his hands in the air telling me to keep the plane in level flight. This was not difficult but soon he demonstrated gentle and medium turns which I did not do well; also we did shallow climbs and glides before landing at 4.08, a 42 min flight. It was a thrilling experience somewhat tempered by worry about my performance but I try to console myself by saying that it was my first try.
The schedule here has been stepped up so that we are working a 7 day week with staggered open post for each class. At first it was thought that there was to be no open post, not even at Christmas, but this is incorrect so we have been phoning to and fro with The Wrights in Auburn; they are coming to pick us up at 5pm on Christmas Eve and we have leave until 9pm on Christmas Day.

Thursday, 25 December 1941. The gloomiest Christmas Day I have ever spent. We were told that all personnel had to stand by on Christmas Day and that open post would cease at 2am. I hardly knew how to tell Louise in view of her journey here and all the arrangements she had made for us. However Louise insisted that we were to go to Auburn and off we went. She drove like the wind for two and a half hours so that we arrived at Auburn at 8.30pm. First we had supper with Monk, Louise and their three children beside a huge Christmas tree laden with presents for all. Then we went out on a round of visits which was to have gone on all night until 5am when Alec, Charles and I were to have played Santa Claus to the children.
Everything ended too quickly and we were back in camp about 2.30am. I suppose the reason for confinement of everyone to camp was to have all the troops on alert against a possible Japanese invasion but surely that is a remote possibility in Georgia.
We listened to the King's speech this morning and it increased my feeling of homesickness.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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