Peter Hattersley's Service Diary



Peter Hattersley's Service Diary


A service diary written by Peter Hattersley covering the period from November 1930 to 24 September 1948.Initially he served in the Royal Engineers but in February 1936 he joined the RAF. It covers his training and operations including a newspaper cutting of the award of a Distinguished Flying Cross in 1940. There are poems written before and during his time as a POW.

Temporal Coverage



One diary


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[underlined] 27TH. LONDON BTN R.E. (TA)
(London Elec. Engineers)
Nov 1930 – Dec 1935
[bracketed] Sapper L/Cpl Cpl [/bracketed] 306 Coy.
Lewis Sun. Sound Locator. Driver M.T.
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[underlined] 600 (CITY OF LONDON) B. SQDN AAF [/underlined]
Feb 1936 – Mch 1937
[inserted] ACH [/inserted]
AC.2 W/OP T.21 & TF. T.R.9.D.
Hant (passenger) 6 hrs
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[underlined] R.A.F.V.R. [/underlined]
Mch 30th 1937 – 3rd Apl 1938
[bracketed] Blackburn B.2 Hant (T) Audax [/bracketed] Flying Training Flt Hanworth Aerodrome
Assessment – above average pilot.
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[underlined] RA.F.
4th April 1938 – 7/5/38
MilesHawk Trainer & Magister
7/5/38 – 21/5/38
NO 6 F.T.S.
Netheravon 21/5/38 – 4/9/38
L. Rissington 4/9/38 – 17/12/38
Audax & Hart (T)
31/10/38 – 4/12/38
Assessment – above average pilot
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2/1/39 – 11/3/39
Anson (1st & 2nd Navigator)
Obtained 2nd cl. Nav ticker (R.A.F.)
106 (B) SQDN. THORNABY (“B” flt)
11/3/39 –
Regarded as P.O. 7/3/39
Fairy [underlined] Battles [/underlined]
Dual .35 mins to solo
Avro [underlined] Ansons [/underlined]
Dual 1 1/2 hrs to solo
Handley Page [underlined] Hampdens [/underlined]
Dual 1 1/2 hrs to solo
July assessment – Pilot – average Navigator – above average
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[duplicated bookmark]
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[underlined] 106 Sqdn (contd) [/underlined]
Made Sqdn Signals Officer abt 10/7/39 (Blackpool)
19/8/39. Squadron moved to Armament Training Camp Evanton
4/9/39 Squadron moved to Cottesmore
6/10/39 Squadron moved to Finningley.
10-11-39 Made Regional Control Officer [deleted] 10-11-39 [/deleted]
(& Sigs. Officer)
[bracketed] 1/1/40 26/1/40 [/bracketed] Astro Course at St Athan
28/1/40 Finningley made Sqdn. Navigation Officer.
[photograph of a Handley Page Hampden aircraft]
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[underlined] 44 Sqdn. Waddington [/underlined]
Posted to 44 Sqdn ‘B’ flt.
17/5/40 1st Operational flight [underlined] over Germany [/underlined]
Hamburg 4 x 500 lb G.P. bombs
Won D.F.C. (& navigator DFM). Crew [bracketed] Windle Atkinson Edmunds [/bracketed]
L.4154 (Q)
14/9/40 Posted to SHQ. & act. Flight Lieutenant
[inserted two newspaper cuttings]
[indecipherable text]
[underlined] 31 ANS [/underlined] (cont)
19/12/41 No 17 Co. ends. [underlined] Passed![/underlined]
19-26/12 Leave
[deleted] 26/12 [/deleted] 26-29/12 Lectures to SFTSs in Ontario
29-31/12 Party in Royal York – Toronto.
[boxed note 1/1/42 Mention in Dispatches {sic] (Ron. Gayette)]
31-6/1/42 Party in [indecipherable] Royal – Montreal.
6/1 – 27/1 Bermuda
27/1 – 28/1 Elizabeth City. N.C.
28/1 – 8/2 Bermuda
[collective explanatory note for period 8-9/2 to 12/2 – Posted 1 Group HQ.]
8-9/2 – Flying Atlantic
9/2 [deleted] [indecipherable] [/deleted] Stranraer
10/2 [two indecipherable words]
12/2 Leave
18/2 Reporting 1 Gp
[underlined] 1 Gp HQ Bawtry [/underlined]
8/2/42 Posted [inserted] (supernumary pending posting to S/L post G.N.O.). [/inserted]
18/2/42 Reported for Nav duties
1/3/42 Granted acting rank of Squadron Leader. – G.N.O. 1 group
7/11/42. Posted to BLYTON to form and command No. 199 Sqdn Granted acting rank of WING COMMANDER.
9/12/42 Missing. France.
12/12/42 Captured P.O.W until 2/5/45.
1/1/43 Mentioned in Despatches (Jan. honours list.)
2/5/45 Released near Lübeck
7/5/45 Arrived England (Wing)
8/5/45 Cosford
9/5/45 Leave until 22/6/45
1/6/45 Applied for P.C.
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22/6/45 Cosford
23/6/45 Medical = A1B.
23/6/45 – 9/7/45 Leave
10/7/45 Reported 7. F.I.S. Upavon for refresher fly course.
[inserted] 24/7/45 Applied for 18 months postponement of release. [/inserted]
7/8/45 Posted to HQ 43 Group for S.P.S.O. duties. [inserted] as CO Unit. [/inserted] w.ef. 17/8/46 [/inserted]
26/3/46 A.M. P’gram advising will be offered E.S. Comm.
28/3/46 Signalled AM from 43 Gp provisionally accepts.
1/4/46 Posted to AM [inserted] D of Nav [/inserted] as NAV. P.I. retaining acting rank.
Aug ’46 Gazetted Permanent Commission
20/3/47 Posted to HQTC for disposal (Sfy) [indecipherable word]
8/4/47 Posted to 1382 T.C.U. on no35 Course. Passed
15/8/47 Posted Syerston further T.C. course passed
17/9/47 Trip to India flying Dakotas until Oct. 2 [underlined]nd[/underlined]
10/10/47 Posted Abingdon Deputy o/c Flying Wing
2/12/47 Posted Oakington Senior Nav officer & Dep. o/C F.W.
29/6/48 Jun & July 48 Berlin Airlift
24/9/48 Died at RAF Oakington.
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Ode to the skies [underlined] – Up There. [/underlined]
Up there we speed amongst the clouds, Whose billowing shrouds absorb the sounds Emitted with the smoke & flame, From our steed – the aeroplane.
Up there we travel in between Great towering banks of pure white screen. Truly – Castles in the Air, Whose beauty takes your breath, - up there.
Up there we sit and let our gaze Wander in a cloudy maze, And think ’tis shame that Beauty reigns – But seen by us, in aeroplanes
Up there we roam in sunlit sky, A world apart for those who fly. Whilst men upon the surface lurk In cold November’s fog and murk.
Up there unfolds the beauteous night, The moon in all her glorious might, The stars undimmed by Autumns mist, The distant hills by sunset kissed.
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Up there and now the early dawn Begins to herald in the morn. Long ‘ere earthly man’s aware The rays are lighting us, - up there
[underlined] Finningley Nov 1939 [/underlined]
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[underlined] To my beloved Sally [/underlined]
Sweet Sally how I miss your loving charm, The feel of you, your hand upon my arm; Your sweet warm breath upon my eager lips; The lovely imperfection of your hips.
Dear Sally how I love your flaxen hair; The breath of Spring about you everywhere. The soft light melting on your smooth white skin, The gentle perfume of your lovely skin.
Hey Sally I can’t say how much I miss The exquisite trembling of your tender kiss; The thrill of sensing your dear lips on mine, My body pressed into the warmth of thine.
Fair Sally how I love your eyes to show That feeling of such tenderness I know; That lovliness [sic] those perfect lids conceal, But opened such a wealth of charm reveal.
Sweet Sally within those slender arms entwined Is our love’s great [indecipherable word] defined. Such moments in their sweet embrace exist, I could not, - if I wanted to, resist.
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Oh Sally that we two should ever part Not always hand in hand and heart to heart, That this should happen darling, never fear, I’ll fight the very Gods to keep you near.
- Finningley Dec. 1939.
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[underlined] To – a Love, - a requeim [sic] [/underlined]
We met, we saw, we noticed, In times of strain, of strife. Our paths ran close together, Sweet moment in a life. Tis not for me to wonder Why paths should so converge, And enter realms of beauty Then suddenly emerge.
Nor ‘tis for me to question The fancies of the Fates, Who play their human playthings Behind their golden gates. But rather should I show my thanks For moments far too rare, For seconds in this passing hour Too lovely to compare.
‘Tis better for to love and lose, Than never know that bliss, That height to which you raised me In the heaven of your kiss. And so I thank thee Sally, For moments we embraced, And look towards the future Which can better now be faced.
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For though our paths diverge again, That fleeting instant showed, A world of such complexity, - Of magic yet untold; A world if I’d not known thee Would still be dull and bare, But having met thee dearest I’ll so much better fare.
And so into a memory So sweet, your presence parts, But say not that we wasted Those hours near our hearts. For memories we have Dear, That I’d not give away, For all the worlds sweet treasures Could never mine repay.
Finningley. March. 1940.
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[underlined] To Ann. [/underlined]
I saw you vaguely one vague day Not thinking that again we’d meet, But I felt your impression stay, - Oh Ann, - I found you very sweet.
I found beneath your face of calm, Shown with bold trust and openly, - A world of gay and subtle charm, Oh Ann, - how much I’d give for thee.
I write and see your face appear – You’re in my thoughts so constantly, Your voice in every sound I hear, Oh Ann, - I pray thee smile on me. –
Cottesmore, June 1941
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[underlined] Ode to an invitation [/underlined]
Come, give me your lips fair Pamela, give me your lips, Let their ripeness be mine fair Pamela, - so sweetly mine. Keep not their fair sweet freshness yourself Keep not their joy and fragrant wealth, - Give me your lips fair Pamela, - so sweetly thine.
Come, give me your hand sweet Pamela, give me your hand, Place its’ smallness in mine fair Pamela, sweetly in mine. Hold not its’ sweetness in solitude Hold not its’ fairness and beautytude [sic], - Give me your hand sweet Pamela, give me your hand.
Come, give me your self fair Pamela, give me your self, To love and to hold sweet Pamela, to hold and to love. Keep not your purity obscure, Keep [deleted] [indecipherable] [/deleted] your goddesslike [sic] allure – But give me your Self fair Pamela, give me your Self
Bawtry [underlined] June 1942 [/underlined]
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[underlined] To Kay, as Love appeared. [/underlined]
In all Her bountiful and queenly grace arrayed Views from high Olympus Earthwards strayed, And gave Her blessing. Thus enchanted she Did bid me kneel and pledge my faith to thee.
Uncalled unthought [sic] of, unexpected came That sweet sensation; with a name So often lipped unmeaningly [sic], yet far above All other words, - sweet Love.
Undream’d [sic] of, unexpected happiness Encompassed me, as I perceived that this Ungiven [sic] heart could err no more, Now given to my Katherine’s tender care.
Sagan, August 1943
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[underlined] To Kay. [/underlined]
Calm moments give to golden thoughts, from thoughts to reverie On untold things in days to come, With Thou and me in harmony.
Such thoughts make life seem beautiful, And seeming, therefore is. What need of other wishes, What more achieve than this?
Sweet Kay, what need to pen these words When all to this succumbs, - Dear when I shall have won thee Life itself a poem becomes.
Sagan, February 1944



Peter Hattersley, “Peter Hattersley's Service Diary,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 19, 2024,

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