Ian Archer Wynn diary



Ian Archer Wynn diary


Diary commences on joining Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 3 October 1940 and training at Babbacombe, Newquay and passing out as an aircraft fitter. Posting to RAF Kenley 6 January 1942 and association with fighter pilots Bluey Truscott, Paddy Finucane and Geoup Captain Beamish. Postings to RAF St Athan 14 October 1942 and then to fitter engines course on Lancaster. Posting to 12 Squadron at RAF Binbrook and then aircrew training at RAF Wickenby in November 1942. Describes life and training for November and December 1942 including a visit from AOC AVM Harris on 21 December 1942 . Writes about first operation to La Rochelle on 3 January 1943. Last entry 31 January 1943.




Cover and 26 page handwritten document


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Cover of diary headed DAY BOOK

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Inside cover [deleted]Postage & travelling Exs. Etc [/deleted]

[underlined] Diary [/underlined]

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Service Log.
OCT 3 1940 Went to Padgate and was accepted into the RAFVR as from the 6th Oct 1940 as U/T Observer. Called to the colours on 22nd MARCH 41. Reported to Babbacombe, Devon April 5th . Posted to 7. J.T.W. Newquay Cornwall Taken off the course in May & Posted to 6 s of T T Hednes final as a U/T FME. 29/5/41 Passed course in Oct 1941 A C 1 & Returned to 6 s s of TT as a U/T Fitter.

Passed AC1 on 22/12/41. Posted to Kenly on 6/1/42 became acquainted with “Bluey” Truscott, “Paddy” [undecipherable word] & Group Capt Beamish.

Posted to 3 C O T U Cranwell 25/3/42. (Flew to Shetlands August 1942) LAC at Cranwell July 1942. Posted to ST ATHANS (4 s of TT) on F.E. course on 14/10/42.

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Commenced F E Course on “Lancasters” 16th October 1942
Passed School Exam (Written Paper) 76% A. class pass 6th November 1942
Passed Trade Test Board 12/11/42. Sgt. 64.26%
Posted to 166 continued at Skellingthorpe didn’t arrive there landed at Swinderby midnight. Transferred to Waddington 17/11/42. Introduced W/C Nettleton VC who [indecipherable words] This was cancelled & we were posted to 12 Squadron at Binbrook who were in the process of converting to Lancs. from Whimpeys [sic]. However the squadron was stationed at Wickerby where we eventually arrived about 10 pm on the 18th. Thoroughly browned off.

19/11/42 This camp is in process of construction & is not organised. Mess. Hopeless.

20/11/42 Went to Binbrook & drew flying clothing. The Raf gets interesting at last.

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21/11/42 Crewed up. Am in [indecipherable word] Flight Commanders Crew due for first flight 1300 hrs.
Went on C&L with Skipper, who was very pleased at the way the kite handled & he coped well. [underlined] 2.55 mins – 1430 to 17.25 hrs [/underlined].
Still have to meet rest of the crew
Climbed above the clouds to 9,000 ft & had the most wonderful view possible of a huge sea of clouds with high banks arising to the west like snow & mountains. There were most wonderful strands of pink mauve & rainbow effects.

22/11/42 Flying again today with F/O Stevens & Sgt Aubert [underlined] 2 hrs. C&L [/underlined] P/O Stevens very steady pilot. Sgt Aubert knows his way around. (Check up times of flying).

23/11/42 Flying again. Acted as No.2 to F/O Stevens 1 1/2 hrs. [underlined] 1130 to 1300 hrs. [/underlined]. Low haze vis poor had difficulty in finding runway, which gave no chance of doing gun shoot drill. Coped OK I think?

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23/11/42 Continued
On leave. Caught 5 o’clock from Midland Stn Lincoln (B flight should start night flying tonight if the mist clears.)
The rest of the crew have not woken up yet. Will see them after leave. Apparently all have bags of hrs in.
Called home from Hartford around 12.30 am. Kathleen upset about Vera who died on Sat.

25/11/42 Attended Vera’s funeral.

29/11/42 Went to [indecipherable word] Church with Bert & Mr Turner.

30/11/42 Leave over Returned to Wickerby the other Crew in the billet just gone on leave

1st Dec Some of my crew are not up yet so acted Engineer to Sgt HUDSON of 5 flight [underlined] 1 hr 40 mins [/underlined] Felt groggy went to bed at 9 pm. Sweated out the cold.

2/12/42 [indecipherable word] morning. Saw F/O Stevens who informs us that S/L [indecipherable name] is tacking over the crew

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am not enthusiastic yet. Went to plane in the afternoon but the tail [indecipherable word] Was U/S so should not fly.

3/12/42 Thursday.
Duff weather no flying attended a lecture in the morning on George. In the afternoon saw a “Ditching Film” quite good & instructive.
In the evening we had a House Warming dance in the mess. It was so cold that everyone was stuck in the bar until quite late & most people were tight. Bags of excellent refreshments. Had quite a good time. Short slept with a dame all night. [underlined] Shaky do!! next bed. [/underlined]

4/12/42 FRIDAY
Got up late & in not to [sic] bad condition. Went to Binbrook on 1215 bus to draw pay & [indecipherable word] a shirt returned 1815 & spent night in billet.

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Heavy rain [indecipherable words] we (Sq/L & P/O) got in 3 hrs. Circuits & Bumps. What a good show. Hobbled down too late to obtain a ticket on the transport to Lincoln. Walked into Wragby with Morton visited the two pubs which are quite good “Locals” but was astounded at the lack of Females who were conspicuous by their complete absence which is indeed a rarity even in small villages these days. In the Adam & Eve we collected some “Erks” & proceeded to Langworth via bus to a [indecipherable word] it was dead ropey – Rachs [indecipherable word] 4 school girls and to [sic] old age pensioners (approx). Did not enjoy the walk back a bit, which was about 4 miles or more.

Sunday 6/12/42
[indecipherable words] Sgt did not fly. Went up on an A/C test with P/O Graham

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who dive bombed the mess & drome in general. He can certainly handle a plane. Went to Lincoln at night saw F/O Stammers & Huver. Found out we could obtain nice sandwiches at the Oxford (a temperance hotel).

7-12-42 Still no flying getting browned off with the Sq/L is [indecipherable word] or he is stalling for some reason. A.V.M. came in the afternoon & told us that he was pleased with our progress etc. etc. [indecipherable words]

8-12-42 Flew today with Sq/L. (45 mins 11.50 – 1235.) in our own plane J for Johnny. A new plane & the engines seem O.K. Would have been airborne longer but the weather came u/s & several minor defects were found out. Mainly intercom up though a faulty plug. Skipper made a very ropey. Spent the afternoon

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around the plane, with the mechs and oiled the flap lever etc.
Received parcel of laundry today together with an onion which shall be eaten with enjoyment later. Spending [underlined] the night [/underlined] in the billet.

Wednesday 9-12-42
Received a letter from Rex who tells me that A Griffin the lawyer has died and it will cause even further delay in settling up dads estate. Went out to the sea just of [sic] Mablethorpe & did a little Air to Sea firing that is the Rear Gunner & Front Gunners did. Came back & Sq/L made two ropey landings. The second was terrible I thought we had had it bounced at least 25 ft first [indecipherable word] numerous times shot about it. He will never live it down on this squadron.
Went to Lincoln in the evening

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saw Stammers & Co on the bus all were merry & bright.

Woke up heavy this morning & dopey all day. Flew out to sea with Sgt Withall on an NFT in [underlined Johnny [/underlined]. Heard great news when we returned. Bloomfield is posted as Wing Co to another squadron Stammers is going to try to get us back for his crew. I hope he does because they are a good crowd & he is a damn good pilot & a fine chap. I was down for night flying tonight but the flying was cancelled owing to weather conditions. I don’t mind really as I don’t feel too lively. Spent evening in the billet won 1/- at darts & lost 5/10 at pontoon not my lucky night at cards though I played cautiously.

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11th Dec 1942 Friday
Very dull sort of day. One bright spot was a practice bombing [indecipherable word] trip in K with Stammers & crew F/O Fatten wash his usual self ([indecipherable word] flying all over the place). A nice spot of Fighter Affiliation with three Bostons who could not get inside us at all. Stood by till 2230 hrs for night flying which was then cancelled Weather U/S

12-12-42. Duff weather all flying cancelled had very interesting talk by a F/L Pepkin who bailed out of a Halifax over Duisburg & got away with it took him about 7 weeks most interesting. Received a very disturbing letter from Kathleen. The Civil Liability people have stopped 32/6 a week grant which actually makes our combined income 4s a day more than when I was an L.A.C. & comparatively in a safe job. I take a very poor view of all this. It does not say much

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for our Country’s appreciation of our job when a slim fool like me jeopardizes the future of his family for a net gain of 4s a day while thinking what the hell will they do if I go for a burton?
I must go into all this immediately because if nothing can be done about it my enthusiasm [underlined] is ZERO!!! [/underlined]
Incidentally I shall be worse off having more expenses to pay out etc.
Went to see the Padre in the evening with Ryan to the loss of income. He seems to think that I have a chance of getting my allowance made up some anyway. Have to let him have particulars of expenses & wife’s allowances I am in a state of complete browned offness. I will write to Kathleen.

Sunday 13-12-42
Actually got airborne on X country to day Went up as far as Stranraer came back over Bassenthwaite & Skiddaw. Saw them through clouds. Listened to BBC 1 o’clock news while

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over Skiddaw.
Should have gone on a night X country but G was u/s so after being airborne for 30 mins abandoned trip did a dual [indecipherable word] as engineer with Sgt Dunwick who made a superb landing (his first shot). Packed up owing to U/S weather. The flare paths looked like an arterial road lit up in peace time.

MONDAY 14-12-42.
Did a short night X country to Penrith. It was marvellous above the clouds in the moon light. I find I am quite duff at Morse I must get hold of a buzzer & practice some. F/O Stammers invited F/Sgt Hule [indecipherable word] to the officers mess afterwards where we enjoyably drank many beers, and [indecipherable word] in a spot of jocular line shooting.

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TUESDAY 15-12-42
Went as passenger in a “Ferry Wellington” to Doncaster & Helsham to pick up a crew & some spares for K. Kitty (gets oil seal)
In the afternoon went Lincoln shopping and bought Kath a bag which I dont like now I have it. Also went to The Astoria which was a lousy dance place shall not go again. Missed the bus to camp & could not get accommodation so slept in a parked bus bitterly cold & not comfortable. Then was a warning at about 3 AM. Ignored it & apparently so did everyone else. After the all clear I was disturbed by a friendly Bobby who let me remain. Was I glad when the YMCA opened at 5.30 AM.

Wed 16-12-42
Short local trip 1 1/2 hrs in
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daytime & 3 hrs 35 mins night & photo trip at 4000 ft quite good bags of other A/C flying.

Thursday 17/12/42.
Nothing doing of interest.

Weather duff no flying today. Wing Co’ gave a bit of a jaw at midday. He wants the squadron operational [undecipherable word] after Xmas. I dont think there will be many of us operational that soon unless we get better weather. Went to Lincoln in the afternoon where I me “Olga Coe” who is now 21 & an M.T. driver in the waffs at Waddington. When I last saw her she had just left school & was a gawky kid who wanted to take [indecipherable word] out in the pram. Came home on the 10.45 bus.

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19-12-42 SATURDAY
Weather still duff did dingy drill in the morning & collected an interesting “Escape aid” from the intelligence library
Stayed in camp all day
broke & browned off.

SUNDAY 20-12-42
This morning saw a demonstration of dingy inflation in a plane. Later went with “Bluey” Graham as Engineer in X (LANC) to LEVENHALL but vis there was bad did not land. Took some “Erks” with us. One was about to use the Elson when we went into a dive. Others landed in a heap on the cabin floor.
Air firing & bombing in the afternoon. Kay dive bombed the last bomb with great success would like to try further bomb by that method wrote six letters tonight. quite a record for me. The Scots boys in the billet have a little kitten which

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has been getting mad at its own reflection in a mirror to our amusement. Early this evening I heard a terrific explosion it sounded like a plane going up with a load of bombs, heard later that it was. Not confirmed though yet.

21st Dec 1942 MONDAY.
Weather not too good but some flying although our crew did not participate. The A O C (AVM Harris?) came to Wickenby & gave us a little [indecipherable words]
Feeling generally browned off but received 25/= PO from the Comfort fund at Norby. Went to the White Hart at Lissington bought a stock of baccy & cigs & spent 24/6. Came back to the mess & had a Sing Song around the Piano with Mortons Crew & Sgt Driver who is an AG. was flying in the second day of the war

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as an LAC/AG. He was awarded the second DFM of this war & has two lots of Dinghy hours in. Retired quite merry.

Fine day though the met people predict all sorts of muck. Worked like Joe Soap on K all morning then went on long X country in G. The tail trimmers went U/S but we carried on flew 1150 miles at 15000 ft with marvellous visibility. In some cases up to 200 miles completed the trip (dispersed to dispersal) 6 hrs 35 mins. Should prove an interesting trip for consumption data etc.

23-12-42 WEDNESDAY
Moderate sort of day did a spot of A to S firing & bombing in the morning & a night bombing practice trip. We were annoyed at having

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to do the Bombing trip but we were down again at 8 PM. Went to the Sgts. Dance in the mess had a nice boozy time but did not think that it was as good as the last.

24th Dec 1942
Ferryed [sic] a Lancaster to LYNDHOLM with Bluey Graham. The mess there was wizard & met Ratcliffe & Hind who have only just started their conversion course. Returned in a Wimpy with F/LT Stammers. Came back to the mess & most of the boys have gone to lunch. The billet was deserted & there was no mail for me. Not a bit festive yet. Later went to Wragby & had a booze in the local with crowds of Erks. Not too bad but I would rather have been at home. Went in the kitchen & helped to prepare Xmas dinner until 5 A M

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25th DECEMBER 1942
Quite a good feed in camp today. Went to Lincoln in the evening & had a quiet night. Stayed all night.

26th Dec.
Quite foggy no flying went to Lincoln by train had a quiet evening at the flicks came back by taxi.

Still a duff day & no flying. Went to Wragby in the evening & had a quiet night again.

Bags of excitement everything ready for a big show. Everyone excited 16 crews briefed. (MUN) found the briefing quite interesting – was cancelled at the last moment & everyone annoyed. It is perhaps as well that it was so or many of us would [underlined] not [/underlined] have returned.

Weather still duff. Some gardening trips proposed but eventually cancelled. [underlined] Snow fell [/underlined] in the evening.

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30th DECEMBER 1942
Snow still lying around did a low level X country trip over [indecipherable word] & district lasting about 2 hrs. It was quite nice to see the country covered in snow from a plane. Went to Lincoln again in the evening went to the flicks & saw a well acted but sloppy picture. Stayed the night at the Y.M.C.A. again.

Quite a nice morning with the snow still about. Stood down from Ops. Acted Engineer for Sgt Morphett in an NFT.
Sgt Aubert & Sgt Marshall came back from Skegness doing some [underlined] Real [/underlined] low level stuff.
Spent the evening in billet quietly. In bed before midnight.

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Nothing doing again today.
Stood down again.

A few letters today & 10/= from Rex for my birthday.
Still nothing doing.

3rd Jan Sunday.
My 35th birthday & all’s well. Celebrated it by completing my first Op. which was rather boring in as much as it was quiet. Only 2 shots of light flack near us from a vessel at sea. (Mining of La Rochelle).
The number of lights visible over France was amazing & La Rochelle seemed to have very little black out at all. Quite a successful trip.

Tonight we started off on a H L bombing attack over Essen

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but apparently we were not getting sufficient supply of oxygen & all behaved peculiarly & did not reach the target so we dropped the bomb 20 mins away from T & returned. All made a foolish calculation thought we would not have enough juice to do the full trip bad show.

Snow fall & all stood down.

6th Proceeded on leave at noon.

Back off leave & learn with regret that 3 of our crews are missing in the last week. F/Sgt Baker. Sgt Marshall & Sgt [indecipherable name] did a ferry trip to Hemswell & A/C test.



Ian Wynn, “Ian Archer Wynn diary,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 13, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11456.

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