Alan’s notebook, written during RAF training

October 8, 2009
Alan kept a notebook during his time of training with the RAF, which gives an invaluable first hand insight into everyday life as a trainee bomber pilot.
I have transcribed his notes exactly as he wrote them.

Transcription of Alan Bateman’s note book

Page 1

Home Address ; 21 Avenue Road, Isleworth, Middx. Tel Hov. 0480

RAFVR – No. 1284073

    1. No – 781060

Date attested ; 9/8/40 call up dating from 12/8/40

Medicals ; 9/8/40 Air Crew medical at Uxbridge

2/1/41 ditto – remustered from Air observer to Pilot

Reported at Stratford-on-Avon 15/3/41- Flight 1/12 sec 2 – Shakespeare Hotel

Page 2

29.3.41 – posted to Aberystwyth No 6 I.T.W flight D Squadron 4

-/5/41 air t …. – medical

7.6.41-Posted to No. 4 EFTS Brough Flight A Sec 1 Instructor P/O Woolley 2nd Instructor Sgt Howitt

19.7.41 Leave

30.7.41 No 15 SFTS Kidlington 1st instructor F/O Spading 2nd Instructor Sgt Rogers

9.9.41 Medical exam following interview and commission

Page 3

layout for kit inspection and diagram

Page 4

Gas exam april 1940 89%

Maths exam april 1940 94%

Law test april 1940 94%

Page 5

Saturday 30/8/41

First cross country in Oxford. Weston-Oundle-Cranwell. Dirty weather and no sign of Cranwell on ETA. Circled for 20 minutes and pin-pointed over Grantham getting somewhat mixed up in right hand circuit. Map-…..to Cranwell. Duty pilot was Billy who shared my billets at Brough. Finally arrived Weston 1.5 hours after ETA. Ground crew practically stoked their aircraft apparantly dubious about its return.

Sunday 31/8/41 ;

Due for 36 hour pass but this did not materialise owing to …… parade.

Thursday 2/9/41

No flying as

Page 6

duty pilot under instruction owing to bad weather D.P took day off. So much for the “instruction”. …… landed at Kid. On cross-country elsewhere. Had twice tried to find Kid. On cross-countries and unable to do so.


Weather too misty for flying. Lectures by instructors. Sgt …… spoke from first hand experience of night-fighters – the goal of most pupils here. Mentioned that when his night flights squadron was tested for night-vision the majority of pilots failed. The pilot with most ….. to his credit was assessed as “unfit for any night flying duties”. Interviwed by CGI re commission (presumably). All the usual questions

Page 7

turned up “school, OTC, sports etc. The main qualification for commission in CGI’s view is clearly rugger.

6.9.41 Saturday. 36 hours pass – not issued until 18.30 owing to station sports! Hitch hiked home – army band – private cars – covered van to Uxbridge. Returned Sunday by train and met 2 W.A.A.F’s, Mimi and Dreda (or some similar name) who had interesting experiences in occupied and unoccupied France during summer and were lucky to escape. They now work on C.O’s office at the station!

8.9.41 My room mate – Tony Croft set out cross country to Cranwell? At 14.30 – no sign of him all afternoon and evening. News arrived 9.9.41 that he has landed and

Page 8

is awaiting weather. 9.9.41 – interviewed by board consisting of C.O, C.G.I, Squad leader, Group 6 commander and another, re commission. I thought up an answer to each question and it now remains to see whether these were the desired answers.

12.9.41 – did first night flight successfully

13.9.41 – sent to SSQ Shipton Manor as cough worrying M.O

18.9.41 – Released from SSQ just in time for exams

22.9.41 – Recommended flying dual with F/Lt |Adams, Flight Commander, am some 15 hours behind course, but hope to catch up without being unflighted.

28.9.41 – Set off on cross-country flight – Kidlington – Market Deeping-…… Fenton –

Page 9

South …… Shortly after Northampton forced down to 600 – by cloud and turned back. On return … met Croft, who was following 30 minutes behind, head on. Godd navigation! Shortly after landing at Weston Croft landed and likewise the 5 of them who had attempted the trip.

29.9.41 ; made second attempt at No.2 cross country. Again forced down by weather and landed at Moulesworth? An operation aerodrome in the heart of nowhere. When weath. Cleared received instruction to return to Weston.

30.9.41 Third attempt to complete No.2 cross country. Weather good as far as Rugby……flew through

Page 10

storms to ETA south …… No sign of S.C and eventually pin-pointed ours by Coventry? (2). Set course for S.C which never appeared and in view of state of petrol tanks and weather, decided to hold course and land at first aerodrome. Eventually landed at Farnborough. No 100 octane fuel here and Kidlington phoned instruction to continue to White Waltham and repeat then ‘phone for further instructions. Landed at W.W and Kidlington instructed return to Weston. As it was already dark, was not disappointed when o.c/W.W decided to hotel me for night. Spent pleasant evening at all services club and returned

Page 11

to Weston following morning. This was counted as a “pass” as I completed circuit under my own steam.

1.10.41 ; did No.3 cross country Kidlington-Leominster-Devizes_Reading_Kidlington. Met wind (self-assessed) proved perfect and courses exact. Missed Reading on 3rd lap owing to believing Newbury to be Reading. Soon found error and pin-pointed at Didcot where followed railway to Reading and set course Kidlington. A good aircraft and a satisfying trip.

Page 12

6.10.41 ; went home to collect birth certificate. Hitch hiked from camp to home in 2 hours

10.10.41 ; had flight commanders test. Fortunately taken by F/O……..

Page 13

instead of F/Lt Adams. Did precautionary instrument take off. Flapless landing. Precautionary and operational low flying and single engine landing.

11.10.41 Had “Wings Test”. Flew Banbury normally, thence instrument to pin-point Stony Stratford thence map-read to Aylesbury and so to Weston. Taken by F/O…… of K flight.

13.10.41 Had C.F.I test by …… macho? Did some single engine flying (rather badly) and a circuit and bump. Quite a good circuit and certainly a good bump!

15.10.41 ; Did first formation flying. Finally broke off and made a somewhat erratic course home

Page 14

including steep turns, dives etc. Was surprised to be overtaken by instructor – F/O Eccles who had not given signal to break off!

I hope he enjoyed pulling alongside me during this somewhat erratic proceeding!

28.10.41 ; Posted to Abingdon. Have at least two weeks of ground subjects before flying. 11.11.41 ground subjects to continue for further week as weather has held senior courses up.

Page 15

15.12.41 ; Flew with Ron …… an uneventful trip except for …… effort in taxying when he knocked a wheel barrow and an oil drum for six with the rear turret which unfortunately put the aircraft, as well as drum and barrow, U/S.

16.12.41 ; Night flying with Sgt Howland. Very near thing to a collision with another Whitley in the dark, subsequently found other plane flown by Sgts Seabrook and Coleman.

17.12.41 ; Sgt. Coleman resigned his stripes and wings.

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