Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 5 March 1942 to 25 March 1942

Trenton is a RCAF camp full of aircrew from all over the Empire for re-mustering and subsequent posting; on Saturday we were addressed very sympathetically by Squadron Leader Massey the CO and the next day we met a Board in order to determine each individual's future. My interview was very brief and I was told that I would be posted for Observer training which was what I wanted.
On Wednesday morning we were on our way to Moncton to await our next posting. Only a few days were spent in Moncton this time and I left on February 9 for Pensacola, Florida where I am now writing. I was included in a small draft of 30 - all my pals Alec, Leslie, Dennis, Norman Hallett and Reg Smith were with me.
Pensacola is a magnificent base on the Gulf of Mexico for training US Navy flyers but there are also a number of US Marine and about 600 British students most of whom are RAF pilots with a small number of Fleet Air Arm pilots and RAF Observers of whom we are only the third class.
We had no leave at our first weekend but a week later Louise & Monk Wright with Eleanor & Charles Rush came to Pensacola and took Alec and me to New Orleans about 200 miles away. We arrived in the city late on the Saturday evening and, after failing to get rooms in any hotel, we had a wonderful seafood dinner at Arnaud's the world famous French restaurant. Then we visited one or two night clubs and found ourselves in the old French quarter where we had delicious coffee and doughnuts in a cafe.
By then we were tired and Monk set off on the return journey but we travelled 60 miles to Bay St Louis before we were able to get beds in a hotel; from there we drove along the beautiful Gulf coast to Mobile for lunch. It was a lovely drive on a beautiful day.
So much for leisure but we are really here to work - it is hard but I am enjoying it and honestly feel that I am more suited to be a Navigator than a Pilot. We start classes at 6.30am and continue until 3.15 with an hour off for lunch so it is a long day - most of the work is on Navigation.
Most of us hope to be attached to Coastal Command at the end of the fourteen week course.

Monday, 9 March 1942. Today we began a new schedule of classes which concentrate on Dead Reckoning Navigation but also includes Semaphore and Blinker in addition to the others I have mentioned. Photography is mainly concerned with aerial map work and I would be keen to put it into practice. In the cinema tonight we saw Tommy Trinder and Claude Hulbert in '3 Cockeyed Sailors' which we found amusing but was not appreciated by the American audience.

Wednesday, 25 March 1942. It seems probable we shall be home before midsummer - even earlier if we fly which is remotely possible. But we are all disappointed in that we shall not be awarded our Observer 'wing' until we complete a course at home in Advanced Flying Unit, after which we go to OTU and then Coastal Command.
Meanwhile we are quite happy at Pensacola both in our work and play but a disturbing element has arisen in that days off have been granted according to the weather forecast. This may upset our plans to go to Auburn for Easter weekend as although the weather has now improved we have had some severe thunderstorms and very high winds which have been accurately forecast.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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