Keith Dexter diary. Two

YDexterKI127249v2.pdf

Title

Keith Dexter diary. Two

Description

Day by day diary covering events from November 1942 to June 1943. Describes flying at Little Rissington and illness over Christmas 1942 which delayed posting. Eventually posted in January 1943 to 30 Operational Training Unit. Describes events at Stafford, RAF Hixon and RAF Seighford. Posted to RAF Lindholme for conversion to Lancaster, describes training and flying Halifax as well. Posted to 103 Squadron in June 1943 and describes operation to Oberhausen on 14 June 1943 and stand down on 15 June 1943 (last entry).

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Contributor

Steve Baldwin
Anne-Marie Watson

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

43 page handwritten diary

Language

Identifier

YDexterKI127249v2

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

[book front cover]

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[book lining]

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P/O K.I.DEXTER.
DIARY CONTINUED FROM
8TH DECEMBER 1942
TO

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[underlined] Nov 1942. [/underlined]
M. 9 11/. N/F.
T. 10 11/. N/F.
W. 11 11/. No N/F. Changing from Akeman St. to L. [inserted] K. [/inserted] Risington. 3 days off.
Th. 12 11/. 11.55 home. Can delighted. Repaired stove. Quiet evening. Heard Tiny’s brother killed.
F. 13 11/. Got up [indecipherable] with Hampstead modelling. Eldin Clark came to supper. To mess for drink with Tiny.
S. 14 11/. no transport. Started to walk to Stn. Picked up by m/bike, a road foreman, drink in “Cock” at Thurlow. On to Haverhill in another road foreman’s car. [inserted] K [/inserted]
Sun 15 11/. 10.10. Didn’t fly – clamp.
M. 16 11/. N/F improving – better on runways.
T. 17 11/. N/F .45 Solo O.K.
W. 18 11/. N/F quite confident now.
Th. 19 11/. N/F with [indecipherable] – good – he was pleased.
F. 20 11/. N/F.
S. 21 11/. N/F icing on wings – blew off in air!
Sun 22 11/. Got 24 hrs off. Caught posting’s bus to Cheltenham. 11.8 (1.15 late) to Bristol.

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change to G.W.R for Exeter – lunch in Restaurant Car! met Syd – nice to see him. Went to Scadding’s place – good collection of [indecipherable] L.M.S models. Layout worked well. Talked over Syd’s excellent design with traversers. Brain wave of working together! Went to Hotel in Seaton for a drink.

M. 23 11/. Had a look over the works saw Will & had a coffee with Gladys. Nice little cottage. After lunch to Exeter. Just missed the 2.45 train. Had tea with two girl friends of Syd’s (one after a job) – caught 5.25. Rang up from Cheltenham to find I’m on day flying to-morrow. Excellent caught last bus.
T. 24 11/. } Clamp.
W. 25 11/. “
Th. 26 11/. Had touch of belly ache – to bed with castor oil.
F. 27 11/. Up & all right again now – still clamp.
S. 28 11/. Hodgkinson & Gabbie to 14 O.T.U. (Cottismore) lucky devils. Clamp.

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[underlined] Nov 1942 [/underlined]
Sun. 29 11/. Full day flying – excellent. Soon got the hang of day landings.

M. 30 11/. Clamp morning. Told in afternoon that I’m on N/F again tonight. Flew badly – no solo soon get out of it after only one week. Ldgs [sic] good at the end though.

[underlined] December 1942 [/underlined]
T. 1 12/. No N/F. mist – spot of luck.
W. 2 12/. Rumour of posting. Saw F/L Parry. Came on early. Gave Barkworth an excellent circuit – ldg [sic] shuffle! Got in 3.45 solo. Landed at Windrush by mistake – taxied round & took off again – no one the wiser! Parry recommended my return to day flying. Bed 3.30am tired.
Th. 3 12/. Up early 10am. Posted to 24 O.T.U. at Honeybourne. Whitley’s – Halifax to follow. log [inserted] K [/inserted] book up to date. Leave.
F. 4 12/. 11.55 home. Felt rather heavy & tired.
S. 5 12/. Feel rotten saw M.O. at [indecipherable] – bed – chill.
Sun. 6 12/. Still bad & in bed. Tiny came up to see me.

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[underlined] Dec. 1942 [/underlined]
M. 7 12/. Still in bed. Glad I’m at home. Saw Ass. M.O. Sent another message can’t go till Thurs. Temp. 100.
T. 8 12/. Still in bed stiff feel rather rotten
W. 9 12/. Still in bed. Came down to fire in the evening. Con wizard nurse. Temp down.
Th. 10 12/. M.O came down. Got up quiet day in cottage – spot of modelling.
F. 11 12/. Walked over to see Sheila, feel a bit weak. Am to return tomorrow.
S. 12 12/. To L. Rissington. Felt tired, had to wait at Kingham for transport.
Sun. 13 12/. Saw M.O. he says I returned too soon. Let me go to Wellers. Off flying 24 hrs. flew to Weston. Throat a little painful. Wellers glad to see me.

M. 14 12/. Throat more painful. Kept me awake last night. Took things easily.
T. 15 12/. Throat really painful. Another bad night. Took early train. Saw M.O. sent straight to bed. Feel rotten but good treatment. Batwoman very helpful.

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[underlined] Dec. 1942 [/underlined]
W. 16 12/. Still in bed – throat bad. Con phoned, hope she’s not worried.
Th. 17 12/. Throat better. Doing some inhaling. Temp. Normal. Wrote to Wellers, Con & Syd.
F. 18 12/. Throat heaps better today. Doc says I can get up tomorrow.
S. 19 12/. Got up after lunch. Made huge fire in Lady’s Room & sat over it with a book. Feel a bit feeble.
Sun. 20 12/. Up after breakfast. Spent the day in the warmth of the mess & huge fires. Feel much better, throat no longer painful.

M. 21 12/. Allow out today. Went over to 8 M.U and climbed over a Mk III Wellington. Went down for some [indecipherable] treatment with the Doc.
T. 22 12/. J.M.O won’t give me any Sick [inserted] K [/inserted] leave – rotten tyke. Fiddle a 48 with two days added on! Doc O’Brian disappointed.

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[underlined] Dec. 1942 [/underlined]
W. 23 12/. Saw Cyril for lunch at the R.AC Club. Grand to see him again. 2.15 to Cons – got lift with S/LDR from Stead in buggy with handcuffed prisoner! Con delighted to see me & I her. Felt better already. Saw Phyl [sic] for few minutes hope she’ll be able to get down.
Th. 24 12/. Nice day walked over to Sheila’s with Con & [indecipherable]. Feel better. Did some modelling this morning. Tiny came into supper – nice girl – Phyl came in later and good evening was had by all.
F. 25 12/. [underlined] CHRISTMAS DAY [/underlined]
Got up late. Spot of modelling in the morning. Went over to Sheila’s to feed the cats with Phyl. Grand lunch of jugged hare given to us by the [indecipherable]. Quiet afternoon and evening over the fire with Con & Phyl – sort of thing I dreamed of this time last year – So restful & does you much more good than rushing about. Con very poorly.

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[underlined] Dec. 1942 [/underlined]
S. 26 12/. Very reluctant to leave on the 9.20 this morning. Arrived at Cyril’s in time for an excellent lunch. Had a grand talk & got some good advice re insuring Cons furniture. They walked down with me to Swiss Cottage & I caught my train to Oxford. After an hour’s waiting the bus arrived & took us to camp and bed. Tired though my throat seems to be quite recovered.
Sun. 27 12/. Saw the S.M.O this morning and was pronounced fit for flying. Good show. Here there’s to be a posting for 200 pilots next weekend! C.O staged a “quiz” between 5 & 6 Groups in the Intelligence Library – good fun. Few beers – bath – bed.

M. 28 12/. Clamp. Another quiz – this time on BAT flying. Free for all basketball in gym – somewhat amused.

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[underlined] Dec. 1942 [/underlined]
T. 29 12/. Clamp lifted but damned cold. Flying on but did not T.O this morning. Did not fly today. Saw “Son of Fury” at the Stn. flicks.
W. 30 12/. Flew all day – bit rusty at first but all right later on. Bright day but colder than yesterday,
Th. 31 12/. Defence Day. New Years Dance – not bad fun. Good drinking.
F. 1 1/43. [underlined] 1943. JANUARY. [/underlined]
Havers recommended that I should take a Sgt’s place on a posting to 30 O.T.U as they had kindly left me off both lists this week. Hung around waiting for it to come up. it did – good show shall now join Frazer – Hollins. [inserted] K [/inserted] off on 48.
S. 2 1/43. Haircut at Davis’ then to Phyl’s. Pip & Lew there. Later to F.D. for a pint or two with Watson. [indecipherable] A/L – slept in their flat.
Sun 3 1/43. Rang Con from F.D. told her the news. Phyl’s for an excellent chicken

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[underlined] JAN. 1943 [/underlined]
lunch – after to the Classic to see “Dangerous Moonlight.” Couldn’t get to the Box office for the 1st. House before it was full up but Pip talked to the manager who let us book seats for the 2nd. I had to run for the 8.5 still arrived back & soundly slept.

M. 4 1/43. Dreary round of getting clearance chits signed up. Havers very decent – seemed sorry to see me, the last of the Akeman St. Boys, go. Had a letter from Bob & L/C Pike last night.
T. 5 1/43. Stn. bus late so we missed our connection to Cheltenham from [indecipherable]. Adj. wouldn’t authorise transport direct [indecipherable] to [indecipherable] clearance. Eventually caught the 12.48 meant a rush. Just managed to transfer the luggage on [indecipherable] barrows from the G.W to L.M.S. Stns at Cheltenham. Same at B’ham [Birmingham] where I had to get Guard to

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[underlined] JAN 1943. [/underlined]
hold the train. Long tiring journey with 4 changes. Arrived O.K. Dispersed aerodrome billet about 1/2m. from mess. Living in concrete & brick huts. Wizard supper including an egg. Mess party. To bed early.
W. 6 1/43. Reported to usual round afternoon off. Met F. Hollins & saw Charles Holmes, whom I did not recognise at breakfast! Appears to be a good spot. Whimpeys Mk. III & X with Lancasters to follow – good. Had a bath. F. Hollins who already had 7 days now off for 7 or 14 more. Bad flying district with Industrial [indecipherable].
Th. 7 1/43. Ground School. Found Navigator W.Op & Rear gunner.
F8 1/43. Ground School. Intelligence makes you gasp. Still searching for Bomb aimer. 1/2 day off.
S 9 1/43. Ground School. Get B. Aimer not too satisfactory, looks dirty & unreliable type. Will try to change him. Parcel [indecipherable] to U.S.A.
Sun 10 1/43. Parade in morning – damned funny. Ground School. Wrote Con & Tiny. Letter from Phyl yesterday enclosing 10/- for flicks. She’s a brick

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[underlined] JAN 1943 [/underlined]
M 11 1/43. Ground School. Query on Caps. [inserted] LK [/inserted] Tried to get another B’ Aimer – no luck so decided to give O’Brian a try out anyway. Feel sorry for the lad, think he feels no one wants him so he will probably be a trier – whether successful or not? Much warmer.
T. 12 1/43. Ground School. E.N.S.A Concert – didn’t go. Had a chat to O’Brian I think my impression correct. Good material to work on. Letter from & rang Geoff.
W. 13 1/43. Ground School. Interesting lecture on Russia by bloke who was Adj. to the fighter boys there 1941. Letter from Syd.
Th. 14 1/43 ground School. Lecture on flak. F/O WOP/AG. had the nerve to describe us as “Stooge bus drivers” – wow! All up in arms & shot him down.
F. 15 1/43. Ground School, and half day off. Went for a short walk with Con. Letter from Tiny. Evidently ours have crossed so rang up tonight – she was out. Left message with her mother.

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[underlined] JAN 1943 [/underlined]
Went to the Camp Concert “Riff Raff No.2” it was damned good. I believe the producer was one in real life.
S. 16 1/43. Ground School. Collected a hefty cough so rather expect I’ve caught a cold there are tons about. Early to bed tonight. Found a new B’Aimer who arrived on Tuesday with two more. He’s about 30 & steady type much more suitable than O’Brian. Told the latter I was changing him & he did’nt [sic] seem to mind much so got C.G.I’s permission to get the new bloke who would otherwise have hitched onto 11 course. Names of crews taken today by the W/O.
Sun 17 1/43. Decided to go on C.O’s parade felt rotten. Stuck out lectures went to bed at 6pm.

M. 18 1/43. Went up to see M.O. told him I did’nt want to go sick got dosed up with pills. Spent day in Mess. Hot whiskey made me sweat 100%.

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[underlined] JAN 1943 [/underlined]
T. 19 1/43. Saw M.O again. Felt a little better. Another day in the Mess, and another sweat with hot whiskey.
W. 20 1/43. Saw M.O., feel a little better still. Went into lectures this afternoon, the smoke made me cough rather a lot. Coughed all night.
Th. 21 1/43. Feel awful this morning. Went into lectures but coughed myself inside out. Went to Sick Bay this afternoon & to bed. Nice to be in a day room etc. Slept mostly all day. Temp 103!
F. 22 1/43. Feel better today. had a good night’s sleep. Temp down to 99. Bed & rested all day. Letter from McKeckine.
S. 23 1/43. Feel better today though rather weak. Temp N. if same to get up tonight. [inserted] WK. [/inserted] Got up for an hour or so. Hot bath then bed.
Sun. 24 1/43. Feel better this morning. Up after lunch. Feel a bit groggy but Doc says O.K for discharge tomorrow Wrote Syd.

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[underlined] JAN 1943 [/underlined]
M. 25 1/43. Tottered out at lunch time [inserted] K [/inserted] drew more flying clothing – under wear this time.
T 26 1/43 Went to see G.W.T.W very striking. On 7 days to Cons tomorrow.
W 27 1/43 To Cons. Sheila came in for the evening. Rang Geoff.
Th. 28 1/43. Pottered around the garden. To Stead for pint or so with Geoff. Afterwards back to Cherry Tree & to Sheila’s for bread & cheese.
F. 29 1/43. Modelling this morning. Geoff in for [indecipherable] & the evening. Phyl came down on last train.
S. 30 1/43 tried to get into Bury got left off the bus. So went to Newmarket lift in by O.D. Chaplain – nice bloke. Missed last bus had to take taxi. Anyway got Con some seeds.
Sun 31 1/43. Sheila came in to share the chicken for lunch. Phyl went back this evening. Put S.B together got corners wrong.

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[underlined] FEB 1943. [/underlined]
M 1 2/43. Did’nt go back as suggested so modelled most of the day. Took S.B to bits & did it up again – much better. Nice to have an extra day with Con.
T. 2 2/43. Got lift in with S/L [indecipherable] got to Town at 2pm. to Stafford at 7pm. rang [sic] into Thomas, Jock & Heslop so we all went for a few pints.
W. 3 2/43. Over to Seighford. Cheery Mess fair billets.
Th. 4 2/43. Over to Hixon for new type flying [inserted] K. [/inserted] kit – the Taylor suit. After snow.
F. 5 2/43. Got to town at 10.30am. to watch people then to NC. saw [indecipherable] & all the gang. After to FD for booze up with three musqueteers [sic] – saw Mary.
S. 6 2/43. Got some pork pie etc & down to Cons lovely to be back again. quiet evening.
Sun 7 2/43 Went over to Sheila’s for lunch & tea. Geoff & the Corporal came in Got into trouble with Sheila for not playing cards. Left Pepys behind.

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[underlined] FEB 1943 [/underlined]
M 8 2/43 Cut up the up-rooted plum tree with help of Hempstead. Went over for Pepys.
T 9 2/43. Modelled in the morning. Quiet day all round.
W. 10 2/43. Took Con into Bury. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Went to flicks.
Th. 11 2/43. Modelled in morning. Quiet day.
Fr. 12 2/43. Modelled mostly all day. Got inside roof of S.B done O.K.
S 13 2/43. Caught a lift to Newmarket via [inserted] K [/inserted] 4.12 train. Better than 10/- for taxi. Party in evening.
Sun 14 2/43. Went up to see Phyl but found her out. Another party in evening.

M. 15 2/43. Went down to F.D Williamson did not keep date at [indecipherable]. Caught 4. O/C to Stafford. A few beers in the Bar & on to Seighford by bus.
T. 16 2/43. Compass swinging.
W. 17 2/43. Over to Hixon – fuselage section. Got an Irvin [indecipherable]!

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[underlined] FEB 1943 [/underlined]
Th. 18 2/43. Over to Hixon – handed in all my flying clothing except Irvin glad to get rid of it.
F. 19 2/43. Link this afternoon. After to Stafford for a spot of beer with Tom & [indecipherable] – others on duty. Good evening.
S. 20 2/43. Quiet day – afternoon off. Fixed up for dingy drill Monday. Bed early.
Sun 21 2/43 quiet day – wrote to Con.

M. 22 2/43. Spent a day at Hixon and dingy drill & bale out procedure. Quite a good show by the lads.
T. 23 2/43 climbed over A/C. Went to Lighton’s place in evening – good time.
W. 24 2/43. Dingy drill – beat Lighton’s crew by 2 Secs (17 – 15 Secs) on Emergency Bale out. Very pleased with my lads.
Th. 25 2/43. Climbed over A/C in morning. Went for walk in afternoon & got talking to local signalman and spent an hour in his box. Four Track main line requires thought – I found.

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[underlined] FEB 1943 [/underlined]
F. 26 2/43. Link. Wrote to Dan and took over O.O. from Lighton.
S. 27 2/43. O.O. Parcel to Con. Orderly Officer. Went to Seighford for a drink good beer – but sour-faced landlord.
Sun. 28 2/43. Link otherwise nothing all day wrote to Barbara Cole.

[underlined] MARCH 1943 [/underlined]
M. 1 3/43. They’ve started us on circuits [inserted] P.K [inserted] at last. Not my turn yet. Link. Parcel from Con – socks & toffees the darling. Seighford for a beer – landlord Ok.
T 2 3/43. Flew this afternoon – as usual on a new type I did’nt do well first time – so damned slow to learn. Wizard kite to fly though a bit heavy on the stick. Went into Stafford for a Concert by the B’mouth [Bournemouth] Philharmonic Orchestra – very good. They played Tchaikovsky’s 6th. (my favourite.)
W. 3 3/43. To Hixon for dingy drill. My crew are damned good – 26 Secs on the Emergency bale out with full harness. (Lighton 27). To Woodeaves [sic] by cycle for a few pints.

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[underlined] MARCH 1943 [/underlined]
Th. 4 3/43. No kites available. Took afternoon off. To Stafford for a spot of shopping with Lighton. Went in by bike – enjoyed the exercise.
F. 5 3/43. Link. No kites. Went to [inserted] PAR K [/inserted] Woodseaves for a cheery evening.
S. 6 3/43. Link. No kites. Over to Gnosall to the “Dukes Head” – good pint. [inserted] L.K. [/inserted]
Sun 7 3/43. Did link in morning. Flew in afternoon but viz. bad so only had 20 mins. Wrote to Phyl. Parcel to Con yesterday.

M. 8 3/43. Did’nt fly today. quiet [inserted] LK [/inserted] evening in Mess.
T. 9 3/43. To Hixon for a spot of “groping” in grope box. Crew did well. Letter from Syd – he’s got engaged!
W 10 3/43. Orderly Officer. No flying – Link. Got a cold. Parcel from Con.
Th 11 3/43. Went SOLO after 1 1/2 hrs dual this morning. Coped quite well Landings O.K. wizard A/C to fly, tho’

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[underlined] MARCH 1943. [/underlined]
a bit heavy of course. 2 1/2 hrs Solo circuits in the afternoon. Hard work. Made me sweat with this damned cold.
F. 12 3/43. Advanced dual. Front bulkhead door blew open on T/O – that B/F Kyall (Screw) flew on with it open until it seemed like an icebox – me with a cold & he would’nt let me shut it!
S 13 3/43. No flying. Parcel to Con.
Sun 14 3/43. No flying. Quiet day. Cold better.
M 15 3/43. No flying. Went into Stafford [inserted] LK. [/inserted] for shopping & hair cut in afternoon. Letter from Con. Beer party.
T. 16 3/43. Flew this afternoon. Hydraulics shaky Semi-flapless landing. Upset my left ear a bit – guess its due to this damned cold. Stood in for Lighton as O.O. got to take 8.30am. parade tomorrow.

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[underlined] MARCH 1943 [/underlined]
W. 17 3/43. They’ve started an 8.30am parade – B/S. had an argument or rather discussion with F/LTs Helmore & Metcalfe. Went to Woodseaves in battle dress. The above officers with Roberts & Lester came in too & did’nt like us not being in tunics. Metcalfe got a bit snotty about it. In my opinion purely taking the rise because we stood up to them. Some people – small minds! Orderly Officer.
Th. 18 3/43. Link X Country. G/C making [inserted] WK> [/inserted] us clear up the camp – extra ordinary idea.
F. 19 3/43. Finished circuits – solo – in bad vis. Could’nt see the drome at 600’. Hard to make good landings. Sent parcel to Con & spent afternoon is S.B. on the block – very good form.
S. 20 3/43. Bad vis. To Hixon. Afternoon in S.B. quiet compared with yesterday

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[underlined] MARCH 1943 [/underlined]
To Woodseaves in the evening. Travelled so fast there did’nt enjoy 1st pint!
Sun 21 3/43. Still clamped. Wrote to Bob, Charlie, S/L Havers and Syd. Quiet evening. Doc says ear not yet right – hope its not going to be troublesome. Listened to Churchill’s speech – good as usual.

M. 22 3/43. To Hixon for a spot of [inserted] LK [/inserted] dingy drill. Quiet day. Ear fit.
T. 23 3/43 Bad vis no flying. Cycled out to RG just to have a look at the country. To Woodseaves for a drink. Letter from Con.
W. 24 3/43. Dual X.C. vis very poor so navigation not so good as to map reading. Good out to sea.
Th. 25 3/43. To Hixon for A.M.L & to give B’Aimer some practice at map reading.
F. 26 3/43. Not flying today. went [inserted] WK [/inserted]
Into Stafford for swimming & beer after.

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[underlined] MARCH 1943. [/underlined]
S. 27 3/43. First solo X.C. To Isle of Man & across the Welsh Mts. Lovely day & lots of low Cloud over the Mts. Crew did much better & we did quite well. To Lighton’s afterwards – tired.
Sun 28 3/43. 2nd. Solo XC. To Peterboro [Peterborough] Cottismore & out to sea this time weather fair. Oakham looked good also Burley Hall. Crew O.K. Dropped sea marker went down to 250’ to give gunners practice. Quite a good effort.

M. 29 3/43. Not flying today. photos of our Day trip through – fair, though did not pass, for 1st attempt.
T. 30 3/43. No flying. Parcel to Con. Cycle round finished up over fields. Early night.
W. 31 3/43. Set off on 3rd. Solo XC. After bombing at Cannock S/C Peterboro viz so bad that we got lost. Pp. March marshalling yards eventually

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[underlined] MARCH 1943 [/underlined]
got to Peterboro’. Tried to climb thro’ cloud but still in it at 9000’ & beginning to freeze up so let down over the Wash and S/C base. Raid abandoned – viz nil on return. Cloud base about 500’.
[underlined] APRIL 1943 [/underlined]
Th 1 4/43. Did not fly today. photos for 27th. March through not too bad. Two passes Sim bombing. Can’t arrange leave at Stead. Phoned Con.
F 2 4/43. Not required today for flying [inserted] F.K. [/inserted] duties.
S. 3 4/43. No one started work before lunch! Must have been a good party. Heard rumours of re-organisation & that we’re going to A flight at Hixon. No flying today.

M. 5 4/43 live bombing & Sim at Stert Flats Passed quite near Bath & flew all over

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[underlined] APRIL 1943 [/underlined]
the mendips. Sim bombed lighthouse on Flatholm & generally enjoyed the trip. Bombing good. Hellish drift on return.
T. 6 4/43. Rumours true we’re for Hixon tomorrow for our M/F. Did some bombing at Cannock to finish off our day work in foul weather.
W. 7 4/43. To Hixon by lorry & bus. Got a billet with McGuin & we’re all N/F together. Scheme is for each flight to be doing one exercise at a time for a fortnight. E.g. A. N/F Conversion, B Day XC & so on. At the end of each fortnight you go on with the next. We use both ‘dromes for N/F conversion.
Th. 8 4/43. To flights at 7pm. N.F.T. Dual later but cloud 500’ so stooged round and we came in. Bed at 3.30am.
F. 9 4/43. N.F.T but no N/F. Bed 4.am.
S. 10 4/43. N.F.T then 2 1/2 hrs C&L at Singhford started in daylight! Whimpy a bit difficult to control & keep lined up

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on the flarepath. Afterwards two hours dual at Singhford when [indecipherable] bagged Kite & so spoilt some solo for me. Got in 20 mins but on landing the starb’d [starboard] tyre burst (probably due to the bagging earlier) & we careered onto the grass before we could do much about it. No one hurt no fire.
Sun 11 4/43. N.F.T. dual check then 2hrs solo. Difficult at first in levelling off correctly. Get it now O.K.

M. 12 4/43. N/F. Solo tonight at Singhford. Coped alright.
T. 13 4/43. Waited after kite had gone U/S but did not T/O.
W. 14 4/43. Got off on dual X/C tonight. Could’nt see much but got round O.K. F. Hollins also on. Letter from Con – bless hera nickel.
T. 15 4/43. Off 2nd. Period but got to the kite & it was scrubbed for weather.
F. 16 4/43. Did our dual IR & bombing. Good results on the latter. [indecipherable] said we were

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[underlined] APRIL 1943. [/underlined]
quite a good crew. Got tomorrow night off.
S. 17 4/43. Night off. Went to the “Cock” at Stowe for a pint or so with Gillam & Metcalfe. Good evening.
Sun. 18 4/43. Up for bacon & egg breakfast then back to bed till lunch. 6hr screened X.C. Worry re balloons at Hull otherwise good trip. [indecipherable] says we’re a good crew.

M. 19 4/43. Down for IR but [indecipherable] mucked about with the kites so much that we only got in H.L.B. Good results.
T. 20 4/43. Long Solo XC with IR stage at end. Could’nt find Goole – in fact all the targets were difficult to see. Recalled whilst at Newark. Rather disappointed that Nav & B’Aimer got a little het up when we were lost.
W. 21 4/43. Sent on IR in appalling vis. Decided to return & got recall message whilst returning. H.L.B.

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[underlined] APRIL 1943 [/underlined]
Navigator etc. better on this trip. Has unfortunately a good opinion of himself & needs keeping in his place.
Th. 22 4/43. No nickel or bullseye as we hoped. Two H.L.B’s. mistake re bombing we’re not getting our own bomb plotted. Worrying for the B’Aimer.
F. 23 4/43. Stand down – bad weather Went to the Cock & H for a spot. McGuin left to go to a Whimpy Sqdr.
S. 24 4/43. Scheduled for a Nickel on Paris – scrubbed due to weather. To the Cock for a spot.
Sun. 25 4/43. Weather still U/S. blowing like nothing on earth – met say wind 75m/h at 10,000’! No nickel.
M. 26 4/43. Still blowing but met gave good. N.F.T 3pm. Briefing 5.30pm. Took off in ‘D’ Don at 9.35pm. Vis. Difficult still I think we crossed the French coast at the right place but could see

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[underlined] APRIL 1943 [/underlined]
very little of [indecipherable]. Did square search thought we identified the [indecipherable] so dropped the load. The photo flash did’nt work. S/C Home. About two miles from the French coast someone ahead loosed off a photo-flash which brought up heavy flak at us! Put the nose down & weaved. Crossed our coast at Brighton and had to alter course to miss London. Evidently a bull’s eye in progress & the search light display was wizard. Landed O.K trifle [indecipherable], but called up our “Half back” instead of “Lodger” & in the bother with Control over Q.F.E forgot my nose and downward lights. Slept like a log. Did’nt feel half as nervous as I thought – especially re flak.
T. 27 4/43. Spent all afternoon getting cleared from the flight. Shot of beer in Mess.
W. 28 4/43. Got cleared. To Cons tomorrow. [inserted] K [/inserted]

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[underlined] APRIL 1943 [/underlined]
Posted to Lindholme on the 5th. May for conversion to Lancasters.
Th. 29 4/43. To Cons arrived at 3pm. Lovely day & the garden looks wizard. Turned colder & clouded over in the evening. Paul got measles.
F. 30 4/43. Rained after lunch all day. Messed about the house & wrote to Syd.
[underlined] MAY [/underlined]
S. 1 5/43. Cleared for a spell in the morning. Cut the hedge. Rained in the afternoon. Walked to [indecipherable]. Paul came home by ambulance.
Sun 2 5/43. Cleared today so set to & made an inside Lav out of an old lavo[sic] seat, which we pinched yesterday from a ruined cottage & a lot of wooden boxes. Quite a fair effort. Con delighted. Spot of hedge cutting in the evening while Con did some gardening. Felt tired Slept like a log. Paul came home from Newmarket yesterday – sounds better.

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[underlined] MAY 1943 [/underlined]
M 3 5/43. Lovely day with fair weather cirrus. Hampstead came up & we staked up the porch & some of the rose arches. Finished off the hedge. Quiet evening with Con feel heaps refreshed for my few days in the country, Cons cooking & some good grub including eggs.
T. 4 5/43. Got a lift into Newmarket on an heavy lorry with wind [inserted] K [/inserted] screen! Bit draughty. Saw Cyril for a spot of tea at his club and Phyl for half an hour before that.
W. 5 5/43. Got a room to myself in the ex-married quarters at Lindholme Pre-war camp. Frazer – Hollins here do a spot of flying on the Halifax as well as the Lancaster.
Th. 6 5/43. P.T. Course appears to be a false alarm. Hung around all day. Went to [indecipherable] quarters in the afternoon.
F. 7 5/43. Decided to try for tomorrow

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[underlined] MAY 1943 [/underlined]
off and to get to Branston’s or Auntie Edith. Worked O.K. could’nt get Aunt E on phone so stayed with Branstons who were really glad to see me. Lashings of eggs & we went to the Volunteer for a drink, Bob, [indecipherable], Mr B & me. I slept on the couch in the front room.
S. 8 5/43. Went into Nottingham with Charles who was going to Market. Rang up & was invited to lunch with Aunt E. Saw Buddy Hawthorne & “Bill” who’s got much older & matronly.(5 kids) Auntie Edith same as ever and really delighted to see me. Had a long chat before lunch. Enid could say nothing but “oh my” 3.pm to Lowdham & 6.48 to Doncaster via Newark where I saw Sanderson. Had to run like stink to catch the 10p.m. bus just made it.
Sun 9 5/43. Mooched about getting ready for Blyton tomorrow. Did’nt have to get cleared after all. Troops had to draw

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[underlined] MAY 1943 [/underlined]
electric flying kit etc. We were supposed to but decided my Irvin was quite enough.

M 10 5/43. Went by lorry & bus to Blyton, which is cold miles East near Gainsborough. Dispersal not unlike Singhford, billets good (Lighton & I share a small room) but the Mess is dull in comparison.
T. 11 5/43. Talks by various people and some lectures. Letter from Con.
W. 12 5/43. Flying this morning – dual, with screens & another pupil who halved the flying with me. Coped successfully though the Halifax II is rather heavier, higher of the ground and floats a longer than the Whimpey. Had the afternoon off. Went for a pint into the village with Lighton.
Th. 13 5/43. Ground school – lectures. Spot of beer in the Mess – quite a cheery do. Letter from Con.
F. 14 5/43. Went over to Wickenby [sic] (No. 12 Sqdn.)

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[underlined] MAY 1943 [/underlined]
in the Halifax II and after a spot more dual went solo with my Flt/Engineer. Coped all right and made one really good three pointer. Had quite enough after 3 1/2 hours. Flt/Eng. Seems capable but rather a surly type. Afternoon off.
S. 15 5/43. Ground school all day, also duty offices. Some of the Sgts in 7 course tried to do a spot of fooling about so of course they were sat on. Clay pidgeon shooting in afternoon also kite hoisting (by Very pistol) for use in a dingy. Letter from Mrs Branston – also from Con, bless her, yesterday. Wrote to Geoff.
Sun. 16 5/43. Local map reading. Flew to Oakham, Nottingham (found Auntie Edith’s House) & to Caythorpe (for the Branston’s). good shout. P.F.F demonstration in the evening. Good pub call on the way. Wrote to Con & Auntie E.

M. 17 5/43. Ground school & link. Wrote to Uncle Billy.

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[underlined] MAY 1943. [/underlined]
T. 18 5/43. More map reading. Flew to Stradishall and had a look at the college from 1500’. Wizard day and did wish I could have landed in the garden! Did not see anyone about.
W. 19 5/43. Ground school. Cheque etc to Con.
Th. 20 5/43. More map reading to Henley on Thames this time to find B’Aimers girl’s place of work. Good practice & his map reading has improved. Lovely weather. Borrowed a bike and went to East Ferry for an odd pint or so. Good evening.
F. 21 5/43. Ground school. Letter from Uncle B.
S. 22 5/43. Still ground school.
Sun. 23 5/43. Still ground school. Borrowed a bike & rode into East Ferry for a pint or so. Got 3 eggs from an old cottager on the way back. most welcome. Wrote to Con.

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[underlined] MAY 1943 [/underlined]
M. 24 5/43. Still doing ground school. Rang up McGuin at Rimmington. Hope to meet him at Scunthorpe someday when he’s not operating. Some beer in the Mess, after an E.N.S.A. show which was’nt bad.
T. 25 5/43. Letter from Con. Spot of gro0und Sch.
W. 26 5/43. They’re still not ready for us in the Lancaster Flight but we’re finished with lectures after today. wondered if we could get tomorrow off but we’re to do dingy. Got roped in for a spot of beer in the CO.’s party. Most uncouth bloke in front of his wife – left party as soon as I could.
Th. 27 5/43. Dingy drill this morning. Went to Gainsboro’ [Gainsborough] with Lighton re cycles. His luck in spite of a copper who does some up in his spare time. He was too expensive.
F. 28 5/43. Soloed in the Lanc after 1.30 hrs. wizard kite to land & fly – very satisfied. Beer locally.

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[underlined] MAY 1943 [/underlined]
S. 29 5/. Dinghy out in one of the Kites. Did not fly today. to East Ferry for some beer. Bought Pyjamas & Shirts.
Sun. 30 5/. Pouring rain today. cleared before lunch so did a spot of solo check. Lost cap in Mess Party damnation. Jock sick with VD.

M. 31 5/. Cross country to Reading – Bury – Alston (Yorks) – lovely down South but ran into icing and cold front up North.
[underlined] JUNE 1943. [/underlined]
T. 1 6/. Spot of gunnery today. Drogue U/S out at sea. Landed in a rainstorm. Jock out of crew. We’re for 101 Sqdn.
W. 2 6/. No flying today or tonight. Hitched to Nottingham via Newark only took 1.30 hrs. looked up Aunt E went down to see Rene with her. Stayed overnight came back by bus to Retford.
Th. 3 6/. Bus to Retford then hitch to Blyton

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[underlined] JUNE 1943 [/underlined]
Still not flying so got tomorrow off. [inserted] K. [/inserted]
F. 4 6/. To London. Phoned Mac had [indecipherable] done & looked up Phyl. Back via Gainsboro’. Letter from Geoff.
S. 5 6/ Still not flying can’t afford to dash about anymore otherwise should be tempted to go to see Con. Pity they could’nt have given us three days off. Parcel from Con & letter from Mrs Weller. Wrote to Con, Jacko, Sam & Mr. Wells. Went down to local for a pint with the lads.
Sun. 6 6/. Got a new W/OP & did dinghy to get him into the scheme. Seems all right. Winston back from America via Tunisia – good show – we don’t want anything to happen to him. N/F landings rough at first.

M. 7 6/. Up midday. Invitation to Syd’s wedding on the 24th. Don’t expect Con & I can go. Blooming RAF [indecipherable] deducted I.T again. wrote to Stroud. N/F landings spoilt by the screen who nattered.

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[underlined] JUNE 1943 [/underlined]
T. 8 6/. Down for XC but it was scrubbed did C+L’s instead. O.K. solo without a nattering screen.
W. 9 6/. Six low X.C. all round England & here via Bury. Icing in high cloud at 20,000’ so climbed to 22,000’ & got over it. Low cloud on return but found aerodrome O.K. Came in too fast did small bounce – 3 point half way down the runway and – brakes would stop us. [sic] Charged off end of runway through a hedge and came to rest in a field! On examination no damage to A/C – extraordinary.
Th. 10 6/. Got cleared and packed off to Squadron to make room for the next lot. Going to 103 not 101 so they are moving South. Arrived by bus after a stop in Brigg for a pint. Much nicer Mess than anywhere dispersed before. Been going longer &

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[underlined] JUNE 1943 [/underlined]
better organised. Good billet – room with two other blokes.
F. 11 6/. Usual round. Might get a bike Posted to ‘C’ flight. Sqdn operated to Dusseldorf. Scholes led it.
S. 12 6/. Messed about in morning. X.C. in [deleted] Sqd [/deleted] Flight Commanders ‘R’ Robert. Wizard kite. All around England at 21,000’. Thought we saw a blitz on Swansea or Pembroke Docks. Good landing but W/OP did not wind in the trailing aerial. Bacon & eggs. (Sqdn – Bochum)
Sun. 13 6/. Flight Commander complained that we left the I.F.F & Oxygen on – damn thought we’d gone over the kite on landing Supposed to be a flight affiliation [inserted] WK [/inserted] but scrubbed. Wrote to Con. Stand down.

M. 14 6/. Ops tonight. Flight affiliation arranged but scrubbed. OBERHAUSEN in the Ruhr. Got off O.K. to a good take off. Climbed over ‘drome to 21,500’.

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[underlined] JUNE 1943 [/underlined]
and away. Got South of track avoiding flak etc. at Antwerp and we were 10 mins. late at the target. Saw P.F.F markers O.K but thought they were nearer than they were. Terrific barrage over target. Coned in searchlights all the way through. Bombed the biggest fire. Did not see any fighters but got hit several times by flak. Glad to get back – landing good.
T. 15 6/. Stand down. Over 50 holes in A/C! Photo good – 80%. Rang McGuin and saw Dunton.

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[book lining]

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[book back cover]

Collection

Citation

Keith Dexter, “Keith Dexter diary. Two,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 22, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/9373.

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