Hedley Madgett RAF Diary 1943



Hedley Madgett RAF Diary 1943


Entries start at home and then cover posting to RAF Waddington and Winthorpe, medical boards and leaves. Posted to 61 Squadron at RAF Syerston on 10 March 1942. Covers first 18 operations starting 22 March and ending 12 June 1943. Targets include Duisburg, Berlin, La Spezia, Stuttgart, Essen, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Bochum, Pilsen, Stettin and gardening in the Baltic.



Temporal Coverage



Thirty five double page pocket diary

Conforms To


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DIARY [page break]
[Inside front cover of diary]
XMAS 1942
To Hedley [?]
From Dad Mum [?]
With best love
“Happy landings”
Whoopee! [page break]
[underlined] Personal Memoranda [/underlined]
Address. 127. LONGLANDS ROAD
Telephone No. Foots Cray 1695
Motor Car No. FLO 311
Driving Licence No. 4/4445
Due. 1/4/43
[underlined] Train Service [/underlined]
To Town
9.19 [page break]
Memoranda from 1942
[page break]

JANUARY 1 Friday 1943
Sick leave 23rd. Dec. to 13th. Jan. (3 weeks). Appendics [sic] out Dec. 25th. [page break]
[Pages from 2 January 1943 to 7 January 1943 have been left blank]

JANUARY 8 Friday 1943
Took Mum & Peter to see Tommy Trinder in “Best Bib & Tucker” at Palladium. Quite good effort. Up to George Black’s usual standard. [page break]

JANUARY 9 Saturday 1943
Took Mum & Dad to Lewisham Hippodrome this evening – Billy Cotton, Adelaide Hall, Nan Kenway & Douglas Young (very tasty, very sweet!) were the well known ones. Very good show really.
[Pages from 10 January 1943 to 12 January 1943 have been left blank]

JANUARY 13 Wednesday 1943
10.10 a.m. train from Kings X [smudged] X [/smudged] change at Grantham for Lincoln. I was in Waddington just after 2 p.m. 1661 Sqdn. Con. Unit has moved to [inserted] W [/inserted] inthorpe nr. Newark & think my kitbags in store have gone there also. Medical Board Inspection at Rauceby not til [sic] 18th. so no work yet. Only report to S.W.O. office every day at 9 a.m.
Its [sic] going to be very boring doing nought. Was told that I would pick up another crew at Con. Unit. If so, am not making application for transfer to light bombers as had intended. [page break]

JANUARY 14 Thursday 1943

No trace anywhere of my 2 kit bags.
In afternoon went to Lincoln to look round, had tea at a café & and then saw Abbot & Costello in “Pardon My Sarong”. Pretty good & very funny. Palled up with an AG I met in the cinema & we had supper in the town N.A.A.F.I. which is quite a modern place. [page break]

JANUARY 15 Friday 1943

[underlined] Pay day - £7-10s. [/underlined]
Still looking for my kit. To Winthorpe, nr. Newark in afternoon looking for kit – no results. Its [sic] a sea of mud over there, and everything half-finished in construction. No time to see Brom himself at Bottisford [sic] (10 miles from Newark) Had meal in N.A.A.F.I. Lincoln & came back just before warning went, & later actually saw a night fighter shoot a Jerry down which had just bombed Lincoln. Good shooting. [page break]

JANUARY 16 Saturday 1943

Rang up Brom at lunch time at Bottisford [sic] after 2nd attempt to find him. Says he put my kit into discip. office, not stores. So I enquire at all discip. offices here & ring Winthorpe. No success but ringing again tomorrow.
Our aircraft over Berlin this night

JANUARY 17 Sunday 1943

I’m orderly Sergeant today. Quite easy job. Rang Winthorpe again twice at last found the missing kit & and was now in Winthorpe Gaurd [sic] Room. [page break]

JANUARY 18 Monday 1943

[underlined] Memo: [/underlined] 12.45 hrs. report S.S.Q. for transport [underlined] to Rauceby Hospital [/underlined]
Got through Medical Board at Rauceby O.K. & am now A.1. flying fit again.
M.O. took pulse before & after jumping on and & off a chair five times & then did the old mercury blowing affair. Did O.K. on 2nd. go, but first time did not take big enough breath to start with. Collected my kit at long last at the Gaurd [sic] Room this evening after being sent over from Winthorpe. [page break]

JANUARY 19 Tuesday 1943

Reported to M.O. that I passed Medical Board & asked him if he could not hurry my papers through for posting to the Con. Unit – he rang up Adjutant & he has done something so M.O. gave me 3 days leave for the posting to come through.
Got 3.45 p.m. train from Lincoln arrived home at 10 p.m. [page break]

JANUARY 20 Wednesday 1943

Spent morning in hanging around doing nothing in particular, but in p.m. went shopping with Mum in Eltham Stayed in in evening. I was going round to see Diana Tatnal [sic] but put it off as it started raining.
During dinner time there was an alert & guns going. 6 out of 30 Jerry kites had reached London & dropped their bombs. They were F.W. 190’s & Me 109’s. 10 of them shot down but a lot of children in a London [deleted] shcool [/deleted] school killed. No balloons up or warning till all over. Somebody ought to catch a packet for being aslepp [sic]. [page break]

JANUARY 21 Thursday 1943

Went round to see Mrs. McJames with Mum. She had just come out of a week in hospital with a poisoned little finger, & has had several ops. on it. It is getting better now though.
Stayed in in [sic] evening to write Rosemary. Have not heard from her since being in dock nor from Edna. [page break]

JANUARY 22 Friday 1943

Had bath in morning & caught [deleted] 9 [/deleted] 2.35 p.m. from New Eltham as there was an unexploded bomb [deleted] on [/deleted] near the line to Sidcup.
4.00 p.m. train from Kings X and 6.45 p.m. [deleted] tr [/deleted] local train from Grantham to Lincoln where it was pouring with rain having left London in quite decent weather. I got in camp 8.30. p.m. – i.e. 4 ½ hours from home.
Other occupant of my room due back from leave today. [page break]

JANUARY 23 Saturday 1943

Reported to M.O. in morning & he told me I was already posted to Winthorpe. Caught 2.50 p.m. train from Lincoln to Newark where got a taxi as had my kit. Lot of bother finding the airfield. Nobody knows what I’m here for – typical Raf [sic] as all crews are complete here. Will see adjutant first thing tomorrow. The mess is terrible – wrotten [sic] food & little of it. Also hell of a lot of mud everywhere.

JANUARY 24 Sunday 1943

C.G.I. is fixing me up a crew. Only 2 more members to get hold of, & probably will be posted to another Con. Unit. Heard old Brom. has died. Something wrong with his oxygen mask on Berlin raid on [sic] Jan. [page break]

JANUARY 25 Monday 1943

A wretched day from all points of view. C.G.I. out all morning and got wet in the pouring rain going again in the afternoon to his office but was informed he had this day off! So I couldn’t do anything except get wet again going back to the mess.
The meal for tea was an improvement & was quite good – cheese-potatoe [sic] & mash potato & sauce. But we still have no jam or marmalade. Stayed in the mess all evening & got to bed early at 10.30 p.m. [page break]

[Pages from 26 January 1943 to 27 January 1943 have been left blank]


Arrived in Cambridge at 5.30 p.m. after having an hours wait for a train at Ely. Bob Grimwade (at Marshall’s Airport which is a short bus ride out of town) could not be found. Presume he had gone out so am calling again tomorrow.
Saw “In Which We Serve” with Noel Coward. A very good picture & very moving in places. It is supposed to be the best film ever produced. All about a destroyer – H.M.S. Torrin. [page break]

JANUARY 29 Friday 1943

Spent all morning finding Bob Grimwade with no success; learnt at last he was on leave & due back tonight. Had dinner in the mess and caught [deleted]010[/deleted] 1300 train to Liverpool Street. Next train to Hornchurch where Bob lives was too late for me to catch him, so went straight on home.
Wonderful weather for a change. Quite a warm sun. [page break]

JANUARY 30 Saturday 1943

Many heavy hail storm showers today & very windy. Took Mum & Dad to Odeon and saw Diana Barrymore in “Nightmare”. Pretty good. Also “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch”. I did not like this much – old fashioned style.

JANUARY 31 Sunday 1943

Rain all day and extremely windy. Left Sidcup in pouring rain; caught 8.20 p.m. King’s Cross & arr. Newark 11.45 p.m. only 16 min. late. In my bunk by 12.20 a.m. [page break]

[Pages from 1 February 1943 to 2 February 1943 have been left blank]

FEBRUARY 3 Wednesday 1943.

Up late. After tea caught 5.33 p.m. train from Newark for Nottingham again, & met there in a pub Sgt Dundas & Sengus [?] & few others ex Kinloss. Dundas has done one trip to Berlin as 2nd. dicky and did a Lorient raid on their own. Went to the other dance hall – Victoria Ballroom – but did not like it so much as the Palais.
Stayed for the night at same place as on Monday night. [page break]

FEBRUARY 4 Thursday 1943

Got up too late to catch 9.15 a.m. train back so caught 11.30 a.m. & in meantime played snooker at Y.M.C.A. with Canadian soldier.
Did not go out in evening but wrote letters to home & Rosemary. Have not yet heard from her for ages now. I wonder why? [page break]
[inserted] Paid £7 – 18s -0d. (for 1 month) [/inserted]

FEBRUARY 5 Friday 1943

In the afternoon was one of the coffin bearers in the Aussie A.G’s funeral, who was killed in a prang on Monday night. Very cold as we could not wear greatcoats. After this had a meal in town with some Flight Engineers and went to see Jean [sic] Tierney in “Sundown” which I have seen before.
Then back to camp for the mess dance. Plenty of beer drinking but dance itself not so hot. Music supplied by Horace Finch on the Organola. He played O.K. but awful to dance to. At piano was George (?) Cohen of [deleted] Abl [/deleted] Albert Sandler’s trio. Bed at 1.00 a.m. but did not get a date. [page break]

FEBRUARY 6 Saturday 1943

This evening went to a dance at the Technical College down town with Harry Robinson who I have palled up with and is to be my Flight Engineer. His tart got me in as a ticket was required, the reason very few Raf chaps there. Harry’s tart’s friend was Mary & was a real bundle of fun. Was a nice crowd & bags of fun & girls who were very nice. Took Mary home & made telephone date for Monday.

FEBRUARY 7 Sunday 1943

Down town with Harry for free cinema show news, a cartoon, “Crime Does Not Pay” Serial, & Wallace Beery in “Barnacle Bill”. Bang on show! [page break]

FEBRUARY 8 Monday 1943

Very cold today.
Stayed in mess in evening for a change & wrote letter home. Bed early. [page break]

[Pages from 9 February 1943 to 9 March 1943 have been left blank]

MARCH 10 Wednesday 1943

Posted to 61 Squadron, Syerston. Notts. [page break]

[Pages from 11 March 1943 to 21 March 1943 have been left blank]

MARCH 22 Monday 1943

First op. to [underlined] ST. NAZAIRE [/underlined] as 2nd. pilot to F/LT Barlow, an Aussie & very nice chap. I acted as Engineer.
Rather uneventful trip – very little flak or search-lights. Back over base we were diverted to AYR because of vis.[sic] At AYR had best meal ever in R.A.F. – egg, chips & bacon in big helpings.
6.15 hrs.
14 S.B.C.s

MARCH 23 Tuesday 1943

Flew back to base this afternoon – 1.35 hrs.

[Pages from 24 March 1943 to 25 March 1943 have been left blank]

MARCH 26 Friday 1943

2nd. op. as 2nd. ‘dickie’ again to F/LT Barlow to [underlined] Duisburg [/underlined]. Moderate flak.
5.00 hrs. In our own aircraft “B” (ED 722) Christened “Brenda”. It is practically brand new & this is its 2nd. op. it is the latest type of Lanc – type III.
1 x 4000 lb. 12 S.B.C.’s (90 x 4) [page break]

MARCH 27 Saturday 1943

Ops. to the big city – [underlined] BERLIN. [/underlined]
I was pilot & had F/O Burgess as a captain Navigator & acting as my Engineer – Robi. Did not come.
A lot of S/L’s & guns.
8.00 hrs.
1 X 4000 lb. 10 S.B.C.’s (90 X 4)

[Entry for 28 March 1943 has been left blank]

MARCH 29 Monday 1943

Ops to [underlined] BERLIN [/underlined] again with our whole crew complete.
More flak this time & we had one hole in port wing but not serious.
7.45 hrs. Weather very foul over North Sea – bags of thick icing cloud.
1 X 4000 lb.
12 S.B.C. (90 x 4) [page break]

[Pages from 30 March 1943 to 12 April 1943 have been left blank]

APRIL 13 Tuesday 1943

5th OP. to [underlined] SPEZIA [/underlined] Italy. On last leg, NAVI & I boobed & steered wrong course for 15 mins. Making us too late for target so bombed Savona & got back with very little petrol to spare.
11.00 hrs. my longest trip. [page break]

APRIL 14 Wednesday 1943

6th. O.P. to [underlined] STUTTGART [/underlined]
6.40 hrs. A good prang – moderate but accurate flak and a fair number of S/L.
8 x 1000 lbs. [page break]

APRIL 15 Thursday 1943

APRIL 16 Friday 1943

7th. op. to [underlined] PILSEN [/underlined] Czechoslovakia.
8.20 hrs. Thought we had pranged the target good & proper, but found later everyone had bombed another village south of Pilsen. All the newspapers said Pilsen had been bombed very effectively!! Propoganda [sic]!!!!!
14 S.B.C. (90 x 4)

APRIL 17 Saturday 1943
[ blank]

APRIL 18 Sunday 1943

[underlined] 8th. OP. to Spezzia, Italy. [/underlined]
14 S.B.C.’s (90 x 4). 9.25 hrs.

APRIL 19 Wednesday 1943

APRIL 20 Tuesday 1943

[underlined] 9th. op. Stettin. [/underlined] 9.05 hrs.
1 X 4000. 12 S.B.C.’s (8 X 30)
Bang on trip – low level on the deck. Bags of shooting up by towns & flak ships. 31 holes in our kite, but was not our own “B” Brenda. [page break]

[Pages from 21 April 1943 to 25 April 1943 have been left blank]

APRIL 26 Monday 1943

[underlined] 10th. op. to Duisburg. [/underlined]
1 x 4000 12 S.B.C.’s (90 x 4)
6.00 hrs. [page break]

APRIL 27 April 1943

APRIL 28 Wednesday 1943

11th. op. Gardening in Baltic Sea just off Swedish Coast. 5 mines.
[underlined] 7.55 hrs. [/underlined] [page break]

APRIL 29 Thursday 1943

APRIL 30 Friday 1943

12th. op. to Essen.
1 X 4000. 12 S.B.C. (90 X 4)
[underlined] 4.45 hrs. [/underlined]

MAY 1 Saturday 1943

MAY 2 Sunday 1943

MAY 3 Monday 1943

MAY 4 Tuesday 1943

13th op. to Dortmund.
1 X 4000. 12 S.B.C’s (90 X 4)
[underlined] 5.30 hrs. [/underlined] [page break]

MAY 5 Wednesday 1943

[Pages from 6 May 1943 to 10 May 1943 missing]

MAY 11 Tuesday 1943

MAY 12 Wednesday 1943

14th. op. to Duisburg.
1 x 4000. 12 S.B.C.’s (90 x 4)
[underlined] 4.50 hrs. [/underlined]
[underlined] Took off after midnight [/underlined]

MAY 13 Thursday 1943

[underlined] 15th. op. to Pilsen again [/underlined]
1 x 4000. 4 x 1000.
[underlined] 2 X 500. 7.35 hrs. [/underlined]
2 ops in 24 hours !!! [page break]

[Pages from 14 May 1943 to 22 May 1943 have been left blank]

MAY 23 Sunday 1943

16th. op. to Dortmund
1 x 4000.. 12 S.B.C.s (90 x 4)
5.35 hrs. [page break]

[Pages from 24 May 1943 to 10 June 1943 are left blank]

JUNE 11 Friday 1943

[underlined] 17th. op. to Dusseldorf. [/underlined]
1 x 4000. 4 x 500 M.C. 12 S.B.C.s (8 x 30)
[underlined] 5.00 hrs. [/underlined] [page break]

JUNE 12 Saturday 1943

[underlined] 18th. op. to Bochum [/underlined]
1 x 4000. 4 x 500 M.C. 12 2/3 S.B.Cs. (90 x 4).
[underlined] 5.05 hrs. [/underlined] [page break]


Hedley Robert Madgett, “Hedley Madgett RAF Diary 1943,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 20, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11267.

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