Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 1 April 1942 to 5 May 1942

Tuesday, 14 April 1942. We had our Easter weekend in Auburn but were disappointed at not seeing Charles Hollins whose day off was advanced by 24 hours. Our journey in a hired car from Pensacola on a beautiful day was our most pleasant run yet. I gather that in recent years Alabama has become important for dairy produce and cattle are frequently found wandering along the highway at night which is rather dangerous for all concerned.
We stopped for a snack in a little town called Evergreen - almost entirely coloured - and I do not think that the RAF uniforms had been seen there previously. As we were leaving I distinctly heard a townsman say 'Gee our Navy sure does look smart'.
The Wrights' house was again filled with guests so we stayed with Monk in the cabin on Saturday night and the next morning after breakfast he took us to the Bible Class where our old friend Mr Sargent gave a fine address on America's duty in war time. It was Easter Sunday - another beautiful day - and Auburn ladies turned out in their new dresses to make quite a spectacle.
On the way back to Pensacola we had to observe the new 40mph speed limit which had been imposed to conserve tyres, rubber being one of the few shortages war has brought to America. We saw that the Highway patrol were enforcing the rule strictly.
After our exams last week in Ground School, which I passed comfortably, we are now attached to Squadron 4 for flying training but first we have preliminary instruction on procedure in the air before beginning our flights in Catalina flying boats next Monday. The squadron is housed in a huge building right on the waterfront with concrete slipways for the planes to taxi into the sea. Most of the students here are pilots with only about 60 observers in training and so far we have done little except to acquire a general idea of what to do in our navigational flights.

Monday, 20 April 1942. Last week we spent most of the time lazing on the beach in warm sunshine which was very pleasant in itself but it is not really why we are here and we are all anxious to get on with flying. However on Thursday I had an agreeable surprise with a phone call from Mr Gervin who is the Shell representative for Alabama; he was in Pensacola for the day with his charming wife and he had been asked to contact me by Mr Fraser in New York. I met them for dinner at the San Carlos in Pensacola and spent a very enjoyable evening.
Today we arrived at Squadron 4 fully expecting to begin our flights but we were met with the news that we had to commence a 14 day course in Air Gunnery which will include some practical work in the air. This has one advantage in that we will be familiar with the Catalina when our navigational flights begin but it means an unwelcome delay.

Tuesday, 5 May 1942. Since writing two weeks ago we have been just killing time at Squadron 4, listening to lectures, taking astro sights and in general idling the hours away. It is very disappointing as now we shall get very few flights and return home as very second rate Observers. We have only about 10 days of the course left and unless it is extended we shall leave with a mere 30 hours flying time, but one thing is certain, we shall need a great deal of training back home.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

Back to previous page  Page 13

Go to next page

 To go straight to a specific page, click on the page number below:

 1  3  5  7  9  11  13  15  17  19




 29  31  33  35  37  39

 43  45  47
 2  4  6  8  10  12  14

 18  20  22  24  26  28  30  32  34  36  38  40  42  44  46  48