<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-16le"> </head> <body></body> </html> <p><br /> <title></title> <style type="text/css">body { background-color:#86BEF1; } table { background-color:#86bef1 } </style> </p> <p><img alt="Front cover of memo book" src="../images/AJR/Front_Cover.PNG" /> <img alt="Inside Front cover" src="../images/AJR/Inside_Cover.PNG" /></p> <p>This notebook was kept by my late father, Alfred John Richards (AJR), during his military service with the RAF. It measures 2 5&frasl;8 &times; 4 3&frasl;16 inches (65 &times; 106 mm) and contains 22 feint ruled leaves. The back cover is missing.</p> <p>Besides the diary transcribed below, there are pages with poetry (not original, I believe), reference information, comrades&#39; addresses and random notes.</p> <p>The diary covers the time between his enlistment and December 1943. During this time he served with No 1 Armoured Car Company RAF (later incorporated into the RAF Regiment).</p> <p>It begins on the back page, and is continued backwards through the notebook. The pages below are re-arranged into chronological order. Click on the page images for the full-size photographs, which are 3-4MB in size.</p> <p>In the transcript, the editor&#39;s notes and queries appear between square brackets, [ ]. Sometimes abbreviations are expanded with the added material in <i>italics</i>. The transcript is a work-in-progress, since many of the placenames are difficult to read and/or very abbreviated. If you have any comments, corrections or otherwise wish to get in touch, please send email to jonathan[at]orlopdeck[dot]net.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="../images/AJR/Movements_01b.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 1" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_01b.PNG" /></a></p> <table border="0" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="2" width="80%"> <tbody> <tr> <td><u>Movements</u></td> <td><u>Dates</u></td> </tr> <tr> <td>A.C.2 RICHARDS 1169237<br /> <u>RAF</u></td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Enlisted at Cardington<sup><a href="#fn1" id="ref1">1</a></sup></td> <td>6-7-40</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Arrived at Morecambe<sup><a href="#fn2" id="ref2">2</a></sup></td> <td>12-7-40</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Arrived at Carew<sup><a href="#fn3" id="ref3">3</a></sup> Pembroke</td> <td>4-8-40</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Promoted to AC1</td> <td>2-11-40</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Promoted to LAC</td> <td>4-5-41</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Posted overseas</td> <td>5-6-41</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left England<sup><a href="#fn4" id="ref4">4</a></sup></td> <td>12-11-41</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anchored Freetown</td> <td>23-11-41</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anchored Durban</td> <td>18-12-41</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anchored Bombay</td> <td>5-1-42</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anchored Basra [=Basrah]<sup><a href="#fn5" id="ref5">5</a></sup></td> <td>16-1-42</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Moved to N Camp Shaiba<sup><a href="#fn6" id="ref6">6</a></sup></td> <td>16-1-42</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Moved to Habbaniya</td> <td>24-1-42</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Moved to Mosul</td> <td>21-2-42</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Moved to Ain-Zallah</td> <td>23-2-42</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Back to Mosul</td> <td>27-2-42</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><sup>Footnotes:</sup></p> <p><i><sup id="fn1"><a href="#ref1" title="Return to text">1</a>. RAF Cardington, Bedfordshire, was one of the centres for enlistment of men in ground trades. AJR wanted to train to fly, but related that the RAF wanted skilled mechanics more than they wanted pilots.</sup> </i></p> <p><i><sup id="fn2"><a href="#ref2" title="Return to text">2.</a> No 9 School of Technical Training Morecambe opened in November 1939, training flight mechanics and riggers, and closed 17 May 1942. <a href="#srcA" id="refA">Ref A</a></sup> </i></p> <p><i><sup id="fn3"><a href="#ref3" title="Return to text">3.</a> Carew Cheriton (Milton), Pembroke.<br /> RAF Carew Cheriton was built in 1938 on the site of the WW1 RAF Pembroke, initially equipped with grass runways. The airfield was used as a support base for the flying boat operations at Pembroke Dock. Based here was &#39;B&#39; Flight 1 A.A.C.U. and 595 Squadron Target Towing Flight, equipped with Hawker Henleys. On 15 April 1941 12 airmen were killed in an air raid which hit the sick bay. From 1939 to 1942 the Coastal Command Squadrons - 217, 48, 320, 321, 236, 248, 254, 500 flew patrols from Carew over the Western Approaches, raids along the French coast, the escort of the Irish mail steamer and also Douglas DC-3 passenger services. Also between 1940 to 1941 the Coastal Command Development Unit was based here, and carried out trials of a new airborne radar equipment. <a href="#srcB" id="refB">Ref B</a></sup> </i></p> <p><sup id="fn4"><i><a href="#ref4" title="Return to text">4.</a> From the dates which follow, it appears that AJR was aboard Convoy WS 12Z. <a href="#srcH" id="refH">Ref H</a>. This was made up of 15 ships, 9 loaded at Liverpool and 6 loaded at Clyde. For voyage chart see <a href="#srcC" id="refC">Ref C</a>. The convoy divided, and he proceeded with WS12ZB to Bombay.&nbsp;<a href="#srcD" id="refD">Ref&nbsp;D</a>. Only four of the Liverpool ships (assuming AJR shipped aboard in Liverpool) were in WS 12ZB, </i>viz. ADRASTUS, CAPETOWN CASTLE, DUCHESS OF BEDFORD, <i>and</i> EMPIRE STAR.</sup></p> <p><i><sup id="fn5"><a href="#ref5" title="Return to text">5.</a> Convoy BP 31(A) sailed from Bombay to Basrah, unescorted by the Royal Navy, although HHMS GEORGIOS AVEROFF departed Bombay 9th January to give cover. The ships of this convoy arrived in Basra between 14th and 17th January, with the INDRAPOERA (for description, see <a href="#srcE" id="refE">Ref E</a>) arriving on the 16th, with 1192 troops and stores. <a href="#srcF" id="refF">Ref F</a>. INDRAPOERA had joined WS 12Z at Durban; I infer that AJR&#39;s unit trans-shipped either in Durban, or in Bombay.</sup> </i></p> <p><i><sup id="fn6"><a href="#ref6" title="Return to text">6.</a> i.e. Shaibah, also written Shu&#39;aiba in contemporary documents.<br /> RAF Shaibah lay in the desert 13 miles away [SW] from Basrah and was renowned for the harshness of climate and primitive, isolated facilities. <a href="#srcG" id="refG">Ref G</a></sup> </i></p> <hr /> <p><a href="../images/AJR/Movements_02L.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 2L" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_02L.PNG" /></a> <a href="../images/AJR/Movements_02R.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 2R" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_02R.PNG" /></a></p> <p><u>Contd. from back pages</u></p> <table border="0" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="2" width="80%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>Movements</td> <td>Dates</td> <td>Notes</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ret<i>urn</i> to Hab<i>baniya</i></td> <td>1st week June 42</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Flew to Cairo</td> <td>1st week Aug 42</td> <td>19 days in Cairo IOA over, ret<i>urn</i> to Main [illegible]</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Return to Hab<i>baniya</i></td> <td>Aug 42</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Recco to Teheran</td> <td>Sept 42</td> <td>12 days trip through Hamadan ?Kunansha [=Kermanshah?] ?Kasvine [=Kazvin] down through Qum Sultanabad Kurumabad Ahawas [=Ahwaz] to Shiaba [=Shu&#39;aiba] up main track</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Moved to Mosul</td> <td>end Oct 42</td> <td>admtd SSQ Jaundice (3 weeks in bed)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Escort 237 Wing to Teheran</td> <td>2? Nov 42</td> <td>Took Intrepid Tigris &amp; Harvester up Pytec [Paitak] Pass for first time in ACC history</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ret<i>urn</i> to Mosul</td> <td>18 0116 Dec</td> <td>via South road up &amp; back<br /> Bread Riots Teheran</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Xmas at Mosul</td> <td>Tip top feed plenty of beer. Drunk Xmas Day in evening</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td></td> <td></td> <td>Took trade test 23rd dec AC1 FMI 73%</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><sup>Footnotes:</sup></p> <hr /> <p><a href="../images/AJR/Movements_03L.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 3L" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_03L.PNG" /></a> <a href="../images/AJR/Movements_03R.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 3R" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_03R.PNG" /></a></p> <table border="0" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="2" width="80%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>Movements</td> <td>Date</td> <td>Notes</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Retnd Hab<i>baniya</i></td> <td>1st week in Jan [1943]</td> <td>Admitted GH immediately Poisoned thumb. Bed most of time for 3 weeks, 3 incisions, lucky to have top of thumb left. out bed of Feb [sic]</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left Hab for ME</td> <td>26 Feb</td> <td>Non stop journey apart from meals &amp; breakdowns (petrol) 50 hrs</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Arrived Cairo</td> <td>28 Feb</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left Cairo</td> <td>23 March</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Arrived Trip<i>oli</i></td> <td>1st May</td> <td>Remd of Det retd 11 or 12th</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Retd Delta Helwan</td> <td>20 May</td> <td>Bags of bursts <u>too low pressures</u></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Moved up to Benghasi</td> <td>1000 12 June</td> <td>Put up at Benina 212 G</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Recco to M&#39;Sus 5 [?15] day</td> <td>July</td> <td>Para scare supposed rescue Kite to land Ambush NBG [= No Bloody Good]<br /> Baloney!<sup><a href="#fn7" id="ref7">7</a></sup></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Moved all det to Barca</td> <td>Aug 14</td> <td>Bags of Bathing learnt to swim a few strokes</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><sup>Footnotes:</sup></p> <p><sup id="fn7"><a href="#ref7" title="Return to text">7.</a> This was an attempt to disable a plane that was being sent to pick up some Italian parachutists that had been dropped to carry out sabotage work on the RAF and USAAF aircraft in the area. Unfortunately the plane flew over Msus but it didn&rsquo;t land, despite the RAF Armoured Car officer firing the required red Very light, and they weren&rsquo;t able to capture the aircraft and crew. The plan was to get the plane to land and then an RAF officer was going to shoot its tyres out with his revolver thus preventing it taking off. The armoured cars would then do the rest. <a href="#srcI" id="refI">Ref I</a></sup></p> <hr /> <p><a href="../images/AJR/Movements_04L.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 4L" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_04L.PNG" /></a> <a href="../images/AJR/Movements_04R.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 4R" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_04R.PNG" /></a></p> <p><u>Movements</u></p> <table border="0" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="2" width="80%"> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td>Sep 17 or 18</td> <td>Took LAC Board passed 82%</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Retd to Deta</td> <td>abt Sept 23rd</td> <td>Put in at Helwan<br /> Moved to Cairo West next day. Took Chev tourer 200 miles with wood block for front spring<br /> Work Shops recamfd.[?] Oct 4 &amp; 5th</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left Cairo West</td> <td>Dec 10th<br /> 11.30 hrs</td> <td>Did Guards before leaving on kites carrying big cheeses to Mena Conference</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Arrived Ismalia at dusk</td> <td>Dec 10</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left next morning at 7 &amp; made Asluy [?] 2</td> <td>Dec 11</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Broke camp 6.30 and made camp 30 miles short of Mafrak 2000 hrs</td> <td>Dec 12</td> <td></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><sup>Footnotes:</sup></p> <hr /> <p><a href="../images/AJR/Movements_05L.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 5L" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_05L.PNG" /></a> <a href="../images/AJR/Movements_05R.JPG"><img alt="Movements diary page 5R" border="5" src="../images/AJR/Movements_05R.PNG" /></a></p> <p><u>Movements</u></p> <table border="0" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="2" width="80%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>Broke camp 7.00 hrs and made H4</td> <td>Dec 13</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Arrived Hab<i>baniya</i></td> <td>Dec 14<br /> 13.30</td> <td>Took over old Cars[?] billet<br /> Parked vehicles in yard &amp; did inspections ready to move off</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p>References:</p> <p id="srcA"><a href="#refA" title="Return to footnote">A:</a> <a href="http://www.lancasterwarmemorials.org.uk/essays/e26.htm">http://www.lancasterwarmemorials.org.uk/essays/e26.htm</a></p> <p id="srcB"><a href="#refB" title="Return to footnote">B:</a> <a href="http://www.pembrokeshire-war-memorial.co.uk/page79.htm">http://www.pembrokeshire-war-memorial.co.uk/page79.htm</a></p> <p id="srcC"><a href="#refC" title="Return to footnote">C:</a> Convoy WS 12Z course UK to Indian Ocean <a href="http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/chart/ws12z.html">http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/chart/ws12z.html </a></p> <p id="srcD"><a href="#refD" title="Return to footnote">D:</a> <a href="http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/ws/ws12.php?convoy=12_3">http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/ws/ws12.php?convoy=12_3</a></p> <p id="srcE"><a href="#refE" title="Return to footnote">E:</a> <a href="http://www.derbysulzers.com/shipindrapoera.html">http://www.derbysulzers.com/shipindrapoera.html</a></p> <p id="srcF"><a href="#refF" title="Return to footnote">F:</a> Admiralty War Diaries <a href="http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWD-EF1942.htm">http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWD-EF1942.htm</a></p> <p id="srcG"><a href="#refG" title="Return to footnote">G:</a> <a href="http://www.habbaniya.org/ShaibahBasrah.html">http://www.habbaniya.org/ShaibahBasrah.html</a></p> <p id="srcH"><a href="#refH" title="Return to footnote">H:</a> Text <a href="http://www.naval-history.net/xAH-WSConvoys04-1941B.htm">http://www.naval-history.net/xAH-WSConvoys04-1941B.htm</a></p> <p id="srcI"><a href="#refI" title="Return to footnote">I:</a> Personal communication 18 December 2012 from Dr Nigel W.M. Warwick, Corps Historian RAF Regiment</p>