Keith Thompson's diary for 1944



Keith Thompson's diary for 1944


Keith Thompson was a navigator on operations with 101 Squadron, at RAF Ludford Magna flying Lancasters at the start of 1944. He completed his first tour on 31st May, was at 28 OTU from 17th June to 23 July, then 30 OTU as a staff navigator at RAF Hixon flying the Wellington. On 31st Dec 44 he was posted to 1659 HCU at RAF Topcliffe, flying the Halifax. He was commissioned in July.




Temporal Coverage



Large format diary


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[front cover of 1944 diary]

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[underlined] LINCS. [/underlined]

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[title page of Charles Letts’s Office Desk Diary 1944 War-Time edition]

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[Almanac 1944 for January - April]

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[Almanac 1944 for May - August]

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[Almanac 1944 for September - December]

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[bank holidays and significant dates for 1944]

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[sunset times, moon phases, time differences]

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[underlined] PRIMARY [/underlined]
230volts. 2,300 turns of 27 S.W.G: d.c.c. 115 turns & 10 layers on both poles.

[underlined] SECONDARY [/underlined]
!00 turns (50 on each pole) of No 12 S.W.G: d.c.c. 2 layers of 25 turns top at [underlined] 20, 40, 60, 80, 85, [/underlined] 90, & 95

[diagram of voltage system]

1 1/4” x [deleted] 24 [/deleted] 3” & 1 1/4” x 4 3/4” Pile of each 2 1/2” thick.

Aluminium & iron or [one indecipherable word] in bicarbonate of soda.

Al to + & Fe to -

Nickel Chrome 22 SWG (.028” dia) about 200 watts.

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[blank page]

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9th. JAN - 101, LUDFORD.

[deleted] 30TH. [/deleted]







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JANUARY, 1944 2nd Week

9 Sunday

[several deleted sentences]

[underlined] SUN. 9TH [/underlined]
Went to church parade with ATC. Was acting W.O. Had party. Our lads, WAAF’s & Dad’s pianists. Had good time Bill, John & I took WAAF’s home.


[underlined] Letter to & from Doris [/underlined]
Up at 10 - 0. Went to O & Ds for dinner. Went round the firm to see everyone. Got wheel, oil & grease ready to start on bike.
[underlined] Letter to Miss French & Mr Ryall [/underlined]
Gen talk with John & Bill. Cards before supper.

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Up at 10 - 0. Started bike. Put spot of paint on here & there. Had din then set too with grease. Got it finished before tea. Empire with family & John & Bill. “Reveille with Beverley” & “City without Men”.


Up at 10 - 15. Fitted bracket on bike had to drill new holes then painted it. Went to S. P & T [inserted] [underlined] shave [/underlined] [/inserted] Brought [sketch of Navigator Brevet] (1/6d) Went up to Gran M’s. Had tea there. Came back & changed trousers. Went to dance with John & Bill (2nd.) Saw Joyce Richardson & Frances Holden. Mum, Dad, P & P came to watch. Pat had a couple of dances with me.

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Up about 10 - 0. Fitted saddle bag [deleted] carrier [/deleted] on bike & put battle dress blouse in it ready. Packed pack. Read till din time. Had tea & set off to stn. about 5 - 10. Train out at 5 - 28 or so. Left Sheff [underlined] 1 hr [/underlined] late. Retford [underlined] 2 hrs. [/underlined] late. Mkt. Rasen 11 - 0 PM. Ludford 11 - 30. Got to bed about 12 - 30.


Up at 8 - 0. Porr; spuds & bacon DI’d. J - Jig. Battle order but we arn’t [sic] on. Ken due back tomorrow. Charlie & Fred not back. Joe sent bike to Pat (£8-16-5d.) 2 oranges & a lemon - issue. Put amyl-nitrate on ring. Should be OK. Went to Rasen in P.O. van. [one indecipherable word] for boots. Date with Amie. Bus into Louth. Short walk around. “The Man in Grey”. Toast & tea. Bus back. Bed just before 12 - 0. Ken arrived.

Lads went to same place as the [one indecipherable word] went.

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Up at 9 - 15. Went to Nav. section. Had look at logs (last 3 - 2 x Berlin & 1 Stettin.) No parcels. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Lecture on dinghy drill, oxygen & fighter tactics. No more mail. Nice long CHAT? over phone to Amie. Had TEA??!! Then had a wash. Got Betty to take shoes to be mended. Bus in. 2d of chips each & short walk around Louth. “Clive of India”. Bus back. Amie got photos of me and a few kisses.
[underlined] Letter to Ma. [/underlined]

16 Sunday

Up at 9 - 45. No ops. FOG all day. Entered astro shots. Called Amie up P.O. no mail being Sun. Set Silvo’s front wheel up & tried to do brakes. Dinghy drill cancelled Charlie flying :- G check. Shave & wash. Had tea & met Amie. Kings head ham & cold chicken Concert in town Hall. Bus back. X’e.

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Up at 10 - 0. No battle order. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Dinghy Drill! Bus into Louth. Had tea & toast in TOC - H. with Silva & [one indecipherable word] chap. Went to see “Casablanca” Tres bon. Place rather full. 2d of chips. Had to stand on bus. Silva had to walk!! back.


Up at 8 - 0. for; beans on toast & bacon. Parade at 9 - 15. No battle order. Dick plotting no mail. Sun ray treatment. Rubbed lube down a little. [underlined] Letter to Ma. P & P. [/underlined] Shave & changed. Log books “in”. Had tea. [underlined] Letter from Violet [/underlined] Bus in to Louth. Walk around the houses “[two indecipherable words] Review of 1943” Tres Bon. Cakes & tea. Bus back. Had couple or so dances. Amie tired & not too well so left before 11.30. Bed 12.30.

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Up at 8 - 15. Parade at 8 - 45. DI’d - J - Jig. then sat in hut with ground crew. No battle order. More Sun Ray. 3 mins each side. No mail. Phoned Amie. Escape & Intel lecture. Radar demonstration. (IFF etc) Had tea then read Sextant [sic] Blake book. Phoned Lynn. RAIN. Had supper, sos, spuds, prunes & cocoa. [underlined] Letter to Dad. [/underlined]


Up about 9 - 0 Shave. OPS! DI on J. Got route & [one indecipherable word] about 12. No din just of meal so pinched a “sweet”. Phoned Amie. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Finished flight plan. Didn’t go to main briefing. Airborne 4 - 30 [indecipherable symbol in brackets] 3 fighters over Berlin. Diverted Lindholme. NO ASI or API. Wizard landing. Port fin & rudder b- - rd! Hole in petrol tank & bomb door (port side.) Inter. Meal & bed. 40 gals left (Ie 10 for each engine.)

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Up at 10 - 30. No bus. Tea in pub. Transport at 12 - 0!! Row in Sgts mess over dinner. John & I eventually got ours. Jonney S/ldr Marshall came for us in F. (20 mins) Intel on combats. Phoned Amie. Taken off Battle Order!!! No Mail. Wash & shave. Bus in & out. “Dangerous Moonlight” Very, very good.

Didn’t get up till 11 - 0. Dashed down to Nav. Section. Stand down. Swept Nav. Section. Meeting Amie at bus stn in Louth. [underlined] Letter from Ma & Doris. [/underlined] Shower & clean clothes. [underlined] Laundry & photo album, spanners, orange & lemon Home (1/1d) also letter. [/underlined] 21st BD card to David (Amie got same,) tablet of soap (4 1/4d?) FULL HOUSE K’s head (chicken etc. 10/-) Went to dance till 9 - 30. Bus back & bed.

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23 Sunday

Up at 10 - 00 hrs. Stand down. Back plotting logs. Attempted to do mine (Berlin) Din. No mail. Seeing as Amie written a lot!! Lecture. Sorting kit out of lockers. Wash, shaved & changed after tea HAM!! Met Amie at 5 - 30. Went to K’s Head. Cold chicken & ham (8/6d.) Toc. H. Show in Town Hall. Tea & toast in T.H after. Bus back. Boys in bed & only 10 - 45 PM.


Up for breakfast & went up to parade! Should have been on PT. [underlined] Wrote to Ma. [/underlined] Stand down. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Fighter affil cancelled. Louth with Amie. Abbat [sic] & Costello in “Hit the Ice.” Coffee & cakes in Girls TOC. H. Bed about 11 - 30.

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Up at 8 - 15. [underlined] Wrote to Violet & Doris. [/underlined] Battle order. A. apple. Flight plan. Din & ops meal. Main briefing. Finished flight plan. Crew out at kite. SCRUBBED. Phoned Amie & meeting her in just over 1/2 hrs. Washed & changed. Forgot to go to Intell so went back. Dick got wallet etc. NO TEA. Bette Davis & Les Howard in “Its love I’m after.” Tea & toast. Dance. Bed 12.30


Up at 8 - 15. Parade. [underlined] Letter to Tommy. [/underlined] Started one to Norah. Stand down. Fighter affil. (30.) Photo of Joe. [underlined] Letter from Ma & Doris Collins. [/underlined] Lecture on emergency landing field. Leave etc. etc. Went to P.O. out of rain. [underlined] Letter to Ma. [/underlined]. Supper. [underlined] Letters to P & P & Dad. [/underlined]

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Up for bfst. P.T. Battle order! [underlined] Letter from Mary [/underlined]. Went to see Amie in dental office. Meal. Flight Plan. Early take off. Berlin. Quiet trip. Saw a JU 88.

28 Friday

Up at 12 - 0 Battle order. Late take off. Went to see Amie again. One kiss. Jonny called for us (NAVS.) Ops meal. Scrubbed. O not ready. Changed & got on bus with Amie. Fred came for me to FLY. Flight plan finished swept w/v’s. Put on in S. DRC (ADI) U/S, oxygen in mid upper u/s. Stbd outer MAG drop! Didn’t go. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined]

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Up at 11.30. Nothing doing so tried to contact Amie. Saw Vera & she gave me the gen. Had dinner & changed. Just missed Lincoln bus so went into [deleted] one word [/deleted] Mkt Rasen on P.O. van. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined]. 6/2d for shoe repairs. Bus into Louth. Spam & chips. “Hit Parade of 1943” Bus back.

30 Sunday

Up at 9.45. Battle order in H. How. BERLIN, nice short route! Dinner. Went in to see Amie. X. Briefed. Took off 5.20. Landed 12.05. Very quiet. Dick saw JU. 88. Merton got one & 2 probables.

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JAN. - FEB., 1944


Up at 10 - 0. Wash! & SHAVE!! Stand down. Clean shirt from Home. [underlined] Letter from Mum. [/underlined] Had din then went to see Amie. Oiled 3 speed. Rough house with Charlie. [underlined] Letter to Mum. [/underlined]. Had tea & met Amie. Bus in. Went to see “The Rains came” at the Palace (Myrna Loy etc.) Tea & toast. Bus back.


Up at 8. 0. Bfst for a change. [underlined] Letter to Mary & Norah. [/underlined] Made log book up to date. [underlined] Letter from Violet. [/underlined] Went in to see Amie. Tried to hang mirror up but couldn’t get nail in wall. Dinghy drill cancelled! [underlined] Letter to Doris Collins. [/underlined] Bus in. Playhouse “White Captive.” Bus back after tea & toast. Went to dance in NAAFI.

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Up at 9 - 45. Overslept! Put nickel & last op. up on board. Dinghy drill. Had din. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Went to see Amie. Saw old Porter (miserie.) [sic] Went into Mkt. Rasen. 2/6d book of stamps & 12 x 1d; 12 x 1/2d stamps. No mail for me. [underlined] Letter to Ma, P & P & Doris Ryall. [/underlined]

Had supper then went to WVS. Bill, Bet & Amie there. Got rations from mess.


Up at 9 - 0. Natter by & with old Finch. Tom Coder poped [sic] in to see us. No mail. Had din. Went to see Amie. Concentration chart plotting. [underlined] Letter to Miss French. [/underlined] Wash & shave. Read after tea. Met Bill, Bet & Amie in the NAAFI. ENSA presented “Gaslight”. Very good.

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Up to 8 . 15. Cleaned up & made bed up. Stand down. Plotted [one indecipherable word] for “Rudy’s” template. 6 mins sun ray. Adexolin capsules. [underlined] Letter from Ma & [one indecipherable word] [/underlined] Went in to see Amie. £6. 6s pay. [underlined] clean sheets [/underlined] !!!!! [underlined] Letter to Ma & M.D. for £6. [/underlined] Met Amie. Bus in. Front of picture queue. Eric Portemon [sic] in “Squadron Leader X.” Chips, toast & tea & bus back. Terribly cold wind.


Up about 8. Bfst. & parade. Air test. Told Silva gen for Amie. Fetched Charlie & put best blue on. Take off late so rang Ma up & told her to tell Amie to met [sic] me at bus stop at 1 - 30. Up 1.45hrs. Just made bus but Amie gone down towards mess. [underlined] No mail but laundry arrived. [/underlined] P.O van into Rasen. Bus to Grimsby then to Cleethorpes. Walked on beach. Coffee & cakes at Grimsby bus stn. Toast & tea in Louth TOC H. Bus back to camp. (9/7d in bus fares!) Had good talk over with Amie.

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6 Sunday

Up at 10 - 30. Nothing doing. Joe & Les. cleaning guns. 48 for us starting Tues. Collected parcel from P.O. Just laundry NO! Cake! Went to see Amie & fetched her bike from Grd. Room. Cleaned it up. Shave & tea. Bus into Louth. Chicken & ham at K’s Head. TOC. H. show. Not so hot. Toast & tea & cake. Bus back.


Up at 8. HAM & fried spuds for breakfast. Turned trunk out, all most! [underlined] Letter to Ma. [/underlined] Cleaned buttons & had a shave. Bus in. Playhouse “Flying Tigers” AGAIN. Tea & toast. Film made me feel rather miserable. Went for sun ray. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Went in S.S.Q. kitchen after seeing Amie. Took Amie’s bike back.

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Up at 8 . 30. Kit inspection canceled, [sic] because we weren’t ready, till 5 - 0 PM. Bang! goes the 48. Ticked off by Marshall then told we could go at 3. Sun ray & a few adexolins. Went in to see Amie after I’d changed. Packed. Fred went for passes. Got ‘em about 3.5 or 10. Took iron to Amie. Rode to Mkt. Rasen. Parked bike at stn. Lift to Gainsbro [sic] then to Bawtry then to Wickersly. Home at 6 - 30. Bath & bed about 1 - 30


Up at 12 - 30. Had din, then had shave. Went into town & took Sallie. Tried to get 9V battery. None in Woolys. No Pencils either. Got 2 on Effingham street 1/6d each. Got another from Wigfalls for 1/3d. Went in to see Gupa. Gaffer & H. came in. Ma followed. Walked home with Ma. Played cards with P & P, Dad & S. John.

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Up at 10. Bacon & egg. Coffee. Gran. came. Gas men fitting fire & meter. Went into town with Gran. Took Sallie. Went on trackless. Bought 2 pencils x 5d. & coloured one x 7 1/2d. Got bottle of [one indecipherable word] for Gupa. 2/- for Printator. Went in to see Gupa. Put him on bus. Went across to Dunn’s to phone Dad. Left home at 5 - 5. Arr Rasen 9 - 50 about 3/4 hrs late. Arr camp just after 10.30. Met Amie. None of the lads back. Made bed & cocoa. 12 - 30 AM.


Up at 9 - 0. Rest of lads back. Les took my pass in. Mr Casper back. Had usual natter. 1/4 hrs U.V.R. Made list of astro watches. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Went in to see Amie. LIPSTICK!! Went in one mail van. 4/6d for Amie’s shoes. Changed & had tea. Bus in. Saw “The Crystal Ball” Paulette Goddard. Tea & toast. Sgts. Mess dance. [underlined] Letter to Ma. [/underlined] S.P’s all over camp.

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Up at 10.30. 16 mins U.V.R. 8 mins each side. Saw Amie in P.O & told her I couldn’t get for cycle ride. Air test of B. [underlined] Letter from Ma. [/underlined] Had tea then went back to billet & wrote letter to Ma. Phoned Amie & took her for a walk for 1/2 hr. [underlined] Letter to Ma & Violet. [/underlined]

13 Sunday

Up at 10.0. Ops in B. Beer. Tracks & dists. Left wallet etc. with Amie. Porter sick “in dock.” Ops meal. Flight plan. Changed & went out to kite SCRUBBED. Front suspected. Snow & fog with it. Washed, shaved & changed. Met Amie at 5.30. Bus. Cold chicken & ham at K’s Head. (10/-) Tea & toast at T.H. Concert. Pretty good. More tea & toast. Bus back. Thin stratus cloud but no sign of snow or fog!! Bed 11.45.



Keith Thompson, “Keith Thompson's diary for 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 18, 2024,

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