flight to Gander was uneventful and I was able to pin point our
position several times on the way to Newfoundland, principally
the Northern tip of Prince Edward Island. We climbed over cloud
to 12000 feet after crossing the coast at Stephenville and let
down to 1500 feet a few miles from Gander where the weather was
very bad - not unusual here. The flight time was exactly four
hours and, as there was a good weather forecast for the Atlantic,
we could have crossed that night but M. Mirepois decided that
we should all have a good night's sleep.
16 July 1942.
The airport at Gander must be one of the wonders of the war,
having been carved out of the wilderness in the centre of Newfoundland
to form a huge expanse of concrete so that planes can land into
the wind in any direction.
This morning the weather is fine and we have every hope of taking
off tonight so John Barras and I have checked our sextants. We
saw the Group Captain I/C, after my co-pilot had spoken to him,
and he has kindly given us each a letter to the CO at Prestwick
recommending that we should be granted leave - I understand that
Prestwick has a nasty habit of returning personnel straight back
to Canada without leave.
The weekend before last was the occasion of a crash in a lake
near Montreal when a Hudson carrying Squadron Leader Pat Christie,
Wing Commander Carr-Davies and LAC Clem Llewellyn was lost and
all the crew killed. Christie was one of our foremost fighter
pilots and it seems doubly tragic that he should lose his life
while acting as chief check pilot of Ferry Command. Clem Llewellyn
was one of my Pensacola colleagues and he was to have married
a Jacksonville girl in a few weeks. His funeral, which we all
attended, took place last Saturday at Mount Royal Cemetery with
full military honours and this is the first time since I joined
the RAF that one of my close associates has been killed.
And so we said goodbye to Montreal, for a while at least, after
six weeks of very peculiar existence. All the time I longed to
get away and at times I was somewhat miserable but there were
good days in what is really a very pleasant city. We have had
a briefing this afternoon with favourable weather forecast so
that we should take-off tonight and land in Prestwick about 11am
These notes have been compiled at intervals since October so
I shall just add a few lines when we reach Scotland tomorrow
and that will be the end. I have enjoyed writing it and maybe
it will provide some happy hours while reading it in years to
18 July 1942.
I am writing in the train to Gourock en route for Canada so I
was premature in writing finis to these notes. It is a sad disappointment
to say the least.
21 July 1942.
(at sea) The story of my transatlantic flight is soon told and
was quite uneventful. We took off from Gander at 23.00 GMT last
Thursday before it was dark and soon crossed the Newfoundland
coast where I was able to pinpoint our position as being on track.
We climbed to 7000 feet and maintained this height all the way
with a billowy white blanket of cloud below us so that we never
saw the water throughout the flight over the Atlantic. There
were few hours of darkness and at the beginning the stars were
obscured but it soon cleared to enable me to get several good
fixes by astro navigation; these showed us to be slightly south
of track. It was fortunate that I was able to plot our position
because the radio did not function.