diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston





November Summary

November 1944 is a month in which Johnston has to contend with a lot of bureaucratic confusion.

He spends much of the month trying unsuccessfully to track down half of his luggage which British Rail lost late in September.

The Air Force suggests he is going home, then posts him to the base at Finningly, only to recall him when he is halfway there.

In between all this, Johnston spends much of his time on leave in London, skating, seeing shows, and visiting with friends.

Selected diary entries from this period appear opposite.


Throughout November, Johnston is based at 18 Operational Training Unit RAF Worksop, near Retford, Notts, a satellite field of 18 Operational Training Unit Finningly, although he spends much of the month on leave

Lofthouse / Lofty - Pilot and friend of Johnston

Crew bus - Transportation that normally shuttled the crews from their billets to the airplanes

Halifaxes - Halifax bombers. The Halifax was a four engine RAF bomber with a crew of seven, that could carry a payload of 13,000 lbs (5,900 kgs). Variations of this versatile plane were also used for special operations, reconnaissance, glider towing and paratroop transport.

V2 - A German rocket-propelled missile with a 2,200 lb warhead

Peardon, Johnny - Johnston’s mid- upper gunner

John Peardon

RCAF - Royal Canadian Air Force

Gen - General information, background

Wingco - Wing Commander - head of two or more squadrons

Barb - Johnston’s girlfriend in Ontario

Worksop - Home base of 18 Operational Training Unit, RAF unit near Retford, Notts

Lofty - Lofthouse, pilot and friend of Johnston

Posting - Assignment to a unit or squadron

Finningly - Base of 18 Operational Training Unit

Adjutant - Officer who assists a Commanding Officer with administration

91 Group - RAF bomber group consisting of squadrons based at several airfields 75 kms northwest of London

Auld, Johnny - Pilot and friend at RAF Worksop

Southcott, Gord - Friend of Johnston, who completed a tour at 427 Squadron

November 1 - 30, 1944

(Selected diary entries from this period)

November 4
Got up about 7:45 (Lofthouse and I) and went away on the crew bus at 9:15 to Doncaster to a glass factory where they also tore down wrecked Halifaxes and made armour piercing shell caps. It was really interesting. It’s the first time I’ve been whistled at by a bunch of women – embarrassing!

They told us they made Al Capone’s car bulletproof (the glass that is) and that it weighed six tons when they’d finished. They built an all glass pub near the factory too – a lovely place.

November 12
Had dinner at the Club and sat around talking to a Naval fellow then came to bed about 11 p.m. One of these V2 rockets dropped close by about 8:30. An awful crash - shook the building, so it must have been fairly close.

November 14
Got a letter from Mom and Christmas card from Johnny Peardon (on his way home) when I got here tonight.

November 16
A Sub Lieutenant Czech in the RCAF was here today and according to some unofficial gen he gave us all you have to do is write to Headquarters and they’ll send you home. Sounds screwy but it could be and anyway he’s sure stirred up a hornet’s nest – the whole camp’s talking about it.

November 17
The Wingco told us at noon that this gen of yesterday was all wrong.

November 18
Heard from Barb (twice) and Mom. They all ask me “When am I coming home?” My gosh I wish I knew. There’s no system at all apparently. Wotta life!

November 19
A few of the boys were posted to Worksop here when we got got back - notably Lofty.

November 20
Nothing much happened today until late in the afternoon when a big list came out posting nearly everyone to Finningly – including me.

November 21
After lunch went and signed out with the Adjutant. Transport left about 2:45 and we’d just got about twenty minutes on our way – to a little place called Bawtry - when a motorbike fellow came tearing up to tell us to turn back. What an organization! Nobody here knows the score except that the Wingco says 91 Group and Finningly both had a hand in this latest do, but he’s going to try and find out the score tomorrow. In the meantime, here we are again at the same old stand!

November 28
Went into Retford today with Johnny Auld, Gord Southcott, and myself. Played a game of pool in the afternoon then had some “Ices” – first time since it became legal to make ice cream (on Sunday).

November 30
Going to send us on Indefinite Leave tomorrow. What a job to pack all my stuff.

V2 Rocket

Previous | Next


© Bruce Johnston, Mark Johnston, Scott Johnston

Diary Pages | Colleagues | Terms & Slang | Operations | Timeline
Links | Guestbook | Search This Site