War diaries online



Forgotten no more

The reason I have been writing since 2009.

Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire - No. 62 “Beaver” (Operational) Base)

History has forgotten most of the unsung heroes. Every veteran who came back alive had stories to tell, but most kept them hidden from friends and family fearing they would not believe them or that those stories were too painfull to share.

interrogation after a sortie

Since 2009 I have been writing about such stories.

The first was about a sixteen year-old kid who had lied about his age to enlist in the Royal Canadian Navy back in 1944. He was my wife’s uncle who told for the first time in 2009 he was a stoker on HMCS Athabaskan. I was never able to verify his story, but I believe he never made up a story about HMCS Athabaskan who was torpedoed on April 29th, 1944.

This morning someone wrote me and asked me if I was related to Donald Hickson about whom I had dedicated this blog in 2016.


Hi Chris,


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The Impatient Virgin Revisited

The Impatient Virgin Revisited

About VF(N)-101

A tribute to Richard "Chick" Harmer and US Navy Night Fighter Squadron VF(N)-101


I wrote this exactly a year ago. That was before I decided to pay homage to 39 pilots.

colorised version

Colorised version (still work in progress)


I am not the author of the article The Big E’s Impatient Virgins. Dr. Bartlett is the author. He is a retired professor of history at Cape Cod Community College. His article was written after he interviewed Richard Emerson Harmer.

This week, thanks to Robert Brunson who flew with Richard Harmer, I contacted “Chick” Harmer’s son who allows me  to use some of his father’s war memorabilia.

This is why I will edit Dr. Bartlett’s article.




The Big E’s Impatient Virgins

By Randolph Bartlett

In January 1944, Lieutenant Commander Richard Harmer’s VF(N)-101 became one of the Navy’s first carrier-based night fighter squadrons.


Once at sea, however, Harmer had an uphill climb getting permission for his pilots to fly their radar-equipped Corsairs…

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2017 – A Look Back Over The Last Three Years.

About someone passion for preserving the past

Aviation Trails

As 2017 draws to a close and another year passes, I’d like to look back at some of the highlights of the blog so far.

Since starting the site, way back in 2014, I have learned a lot about Britain’s airfields, their design and construction, and the men and machines that flew from them. What started as a record of memories has turned into a passion of history and hopefully, a dedication to all those who served, fought and died at these places. I have also seen how gradually, over time, many of these historic sites have sadly disappeared, beaten by the onslaught of time, the developers pen, and the ploughs of the industrial farmer evermore determined to draw out more crops from his expanding domain.

What were once massive military sites covering a vast acreage of land, homes to several thousand people who were all doing ‘their bit’ for…

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Need I say more?


Just arrived!

Or maybe this…

When Pearl Harbor goes up in flames, eight lives will change forever.

A shock wave ripples across the world, setting off a chain of events in which no one is left untouched.

From a con man in New York, to an Ulster Home Guard, to an American naval nurse, to a French Countess, and to a German Jew, each will bear the consequence of Japan’s surprise attack on the American naval base.

What challenges will they face? Will they find their ways and come through?

Step into these tales of eight men and women spread across continents after the fateful day of December 7, 1941. See through their eyes how one event shook their lives and devastated the world.

The Stories:

Deadly Liberty by R.V. Doon: Connie Collins, a navy nurse on the hospital ship, USS Solace, takes liberty the day before Pearl Harbor. Her budding romance wilts, an AWOL nurse insists she find a missing baby, and she’s in the harbor when WWII erupts. Under fire, she boards the ship–and witnesses a murder during the red alert chaos. When liberty turns deadly, shipmates become suspects.

The List by Vanessa Couchman: A high-ranking German officer is assassinated in Western France and 50 hostages are shot. Fifty more will be executed if the killers are not handed over. Jewish communist Joseph Mazelier is on the list. Will Countess Ida agree to help him escape?

Christmas Eve in the City of Dreams by Alexa Kang: On his last night in New York, a young grifter sets out to turn the table on those who shorted him before he leaves for the draft. Will he win or lose?

Allies After All by Dianne Ascroft: Although their nations are allies, from their first meeting American civilian contractor Art Miller and Local Defence Volunteer, Robbie Hetherington loathe each other. But Northern Ireland is too small a place for such animosity. What will it take to make the two men put aside their enmity and work together?

Time to Go by Margaret Tanner: A young sailor, who died at Pearl Harbor, finally meets his soulmate on the 75th Anniversary of the battle. Will she be prepared to leave the 21st century with him? Or will they forever remain apart?

Turning Point by Marion Kummerow: Eighteen-year-old German Jew Margarete Rosenbaum is about to be sent to a labor camp, when a bomb hits the building she lives in. Emerging from the rubble she’s presented with an unexpected opportunity. But how far is she willing to go to save her life?

I am an American by Robyn Hobusch Echols: Ellen Okita and Flo Kaufmann are high school seniors in Livingston, California. Ellen is a first generation American who lives in the Yamato Colony, composed of about 100 families of Japanese descent. Flo’s father is a first generation American. After Pearl Harbor, the war hits home fast and brings unforeseen changes to them and their families.

A Rude Awakening by Robert A. Kingsley: Singapore, December1941; the fortress sleeps, believing its own tales of strength and invulnerability. A rigidly class based society throws garden parties and dines sedately, disregarding the slowly growing number of warning signals. Suddenly, the underestimated enemy ferociously attacks and the myth of invincibility is shattered forever.