diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston





September 18-30 Summary

Johnston’s tour of 30 operational missions is finally over.

He spends the next few days at Witchford, before heading out on leave.


RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Mess - Room where meals were eaten

Wingco – Wing Commander - head of two or more squadrons

Thirty full trips – Thirty missions – a full tour of duty

PFF – Pathfinder Force – Group that preceded the main bomber stream to mark the target with incendiary bombs and flares

Dean – Johnston’s brother, stationed near Cambridge, north of London

Wex – Meteorological conditions, weather or forecast

Parade – Inspection

Hill, Don – Canadian pilot and friend who trained with Johnston, and was later posted to 115 Squadron at Witchford

2/10/10 – Two pounds, ten shillings, and ten pence

Battle dress – Woollen working uniform

Ely – Small town 20 kms north of Cambridge

Bury – Bury St Edmunds – a town in Suffolk 100 kms northeast of London

Goughs / G – Friends of Johnston who live in Great Barton, Suffolk

Daph – Daphne, friend of Johnston in Great Barton, Suffolk, daughter of Mr & Mrs Gough

Brian – Friend of Johnston in Great Barton, Suffolk, son of Mr & Mrs Gough

Assignment – Amount automatically deducted from one’s pay, and sent home (to Canada)

WDs – RCAF Women’s Division personnel

Roberts, Jack - Flight Officer friend of Johnston from Port Credit, Ontario

Gudge, Jack – Friend of Johnston

Johnston rowing in Hyde Park

September 18 - 30, 1944

(Selected diary entries from this period)

September 18
Got up about noon, sent telegram home but didn’t do much else. Wrote to Mom at night.
Stayed up in the mess for quite a while talking to the boys.

September 19
Saw the Wingco this morning and told him if they gave me credit for thirty full trips I’d go on PFF.

Going on leave tomorrow after duty for fourteen days – good show!

September 20
Got up in time for parade – cleaned out locker while others on it. Sold spare vest to Don Hill for 2/10/10. All the boys didn’t show up until nearly 11 a.m. so I couldn’t manage to pack and get away until after lunch.

Took my battle dress in to be dry cleaned in Ely then caught 3:50 train to Bury and taxi to Goughs.

September 21
Went into town with the Gough’s to buy some ties and socks. Brian had killed his rabbits and was taking them in to sell to the local butcher. We unloaded them onto the pavement then Mr. Gough set off and so did Brian with two rabbits to the bus depot to meet his Granny and there was Mrs. G. and myself standing guard over these eight rabbits as the butcher didn’t open for another five minutes – Lord we felt silly!!

September 23
Got up about noon as usual and went out hunting rabbits with Brian and the hired man in the afternoon.

We took a ferret and the darn thing kept getting it’s cord caught on roots etc. and we had to dig it out twice. The second time we dug three great holes about five feet deep before we got him and even then we were a bit away from him and I had to dangle the man down the hole by his heels so he could reach in for the brute – Lord it must have looked comical! I was dressed in a pair of old flannels belonging to Mr. G. (much too big around the waist and barely long enough) and an old coat of his that fitted remarkably well. I was quite a sight – the typical “country gentleman” shall we say?

Played cards after dinner. Incidentally, we got two rabbits for our afternoon work (one of which was about four inches high on his tiptoes!).

September 27
Went to Knightsbridge and changed my assignment to $140 – (some nice W.D.s there!). Found snack bar there too where you can get about anything – with all due reverence I had my first coke in a year. I also got some chocolate bars and peanuts.

September 28
Had a swell day today. Went ice skating at Queens Road with Jack Roberts and Jack Gudge. I really enjoyed myself!

We spent all afternoon there – there’s some lovely skaters there! Young girls of fifteen or so a lot of them – Lord what skating does for their figure! It’s worth the price of admission to watch some of them practicing!

I’m going to stay longer in London now I know about this skating rink. The only trouble is it’s all figure skates they hand out and I keep catching on the barbs on the front!

September 30
Bought some underwear this morning then off up to Hyde Park and took out a boat and rowed about for a bit (Jack Roberts and I). We took some pictures and then after having lunch we went skating again.

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