The diary of Captain John Robert Wilson

From what appears to be the final part of a diary. On the next to rear page is a sketch of a 90hp RAF Armstrong Whitworth Bi-plane, on the tail plane, the number 6218, and at the bottom of the page the initials JRW and dated 7/2/17.

On the rear page is a list of names:-
1 Pockock - prisoner
2 White - killed
3 Matthews - killed
4 Taylor (Egypt) - killed
5 Major Black - killed
6 Ball (Egypt) - killed
7 Glasson - killed

Wed 17th Jan 1917
Rather dull morning. Sun came out later. Registered on 502 with 132 Siege Bty (very good shooting ) then 20 RX, fairly good. Was up with Gordon for 2hrs 13mins. Was taxying 5505 on Aerodrome in afternoon, getting on well. Huns dropped a note at Snevce informing us that Pocock was all right but that White and Matthews had been killed. Nothing further.

Thursday 18th Jan 1917
Windy and dull this morning. SE Wind. No flying on AWs. Rain came on later. Farrow went up on patrol on BE12 in very bad weather. Nothing further.

Friday 19th Jan 1917
Fine clear morning. Started reconn to Hudova with Gordon, got up to 12,000 feet, engine missing, terribly cold, Gordon frost bitten, so came down (70 mins). Denning brought down an Albatross near Kilinder, very little damaged. He landed beside it and the Bulgars started shelling both machines, but did little damage although he shot very well. Gordon, Mather and I went out to them by tender, roads awful. arrived at Kilinder station at dusk and walked over to the Hun. Worked until 2am on the Hun and the BE12 and slept in the rain in a pool of water for 1 hour. Got up at dawn and saw Denning off by air. Very Hungary. Rain all night

Sat 20th Jan 1917
Worked all day on the Albatross and Dale finally towed it back to Janes at 9pm. We nearly went over a cliff at Kilinder. Gordon and I got the planes to Hirsova house by 5.30pm. Tender bogged, roads awful. Stayed with RA at Hirsova house. Got to sleep at 11pm. Pouring rain all night.

Sunday 21st Jan 1917
Started for Janes by GS wagon and 6 horses with planes on board. Bitterly cold, sleet and snow coming down. Reached aerodrome early in the afternoon. Tender with the tail-planes arrived later. Weather still bad. Spent afternoon in hut. Wrote to Keith and No IX to M.B. Received Pass book from Cox (in hand on 4th Jan 36.11.9) posted it back.

Monday 22nd Jan 1917
Bitterly cold today-hard frost. Several Huns reported over and one seen by a scout. Little flying done on AWs. Much engine trouble. I went up twice with Gordon and Croil and returned each time with engine failure, 7mins and 12 mins, nothing further.

Tuesday 23rd Jan 1917
Another cold morning, hard frost. Not much flying. A pair of scouts BE12's tried Hudova reconn but returned-engine trouble. I tried in afternoon with Farrow but returned after 16 mins. Went up again with Glasson escorted by BE12, the latter's engine failed and we went on alone and did the reconn, landed after 1hr 31mins. Nothing further. Total flying time 132hrs 18mins.

Wednesday 24th Jan 1917
Cold morning but no frost. Clouds very low: no flying but test and patrols. One machine up all day otherwise nothing doing.

Thursday 25th Jan 1917
Raining and snowing all night. Snow lying on high ground round aerodrome. Absolutely dud today. No flying at all. Wrote to M. Bishop No ? and home.

Friday 26th Jan 1917
Pouring rain all night and all day, everything swimming in mud. No flying whatsoever.

Sat 27th Jan 1917
Drier today, but still muddy. Very little flying. Gordon and Croil went to Snevce and Ackroyd and Dickson came over here. Quiet day. Received papers from M.B.

Sun 28th Jan 1917
Dull today. Six machines tried Art. Obs. but all returned owing to bad light and a broken drift cable on one. Wrote to USA and M.B. No 12. Rain started this evening.

Mon 29th Jan 1917
Raining again. Started in the early morning and kept on all day and all evening- very heavy rain. Nothing doing at all.

Tues 30th Jan 1917
Raining this morning but cleared up in the afternoon. ???? started on recs to Kudova, got there all right and saw no Huns. Wrote to Bobs E. Ford, sent a cheque to Wm Anderson 10.16.0. Went for a walk with Mather for 1 1/4 hrs.

Wed 31st Jan 1917
Raining this morning and all afternoon - nothing doing.

Thurs 1st Feb 1917
Raining again, weather cleared about mid-day. Went up with Dickson on intimate recs for 45 mins. Afterwards came very low over Ardzan Lake to look for limbers marked X4. Put the wind up the RA at Andzan. Nothing further doing. Moonlight night.

Fri 2nd Feb 1917
Dull cold morning. Rain started at 10am and cleared up at 2pm. Went up with Brufton in the afternoon for 63 mins over the Salient. Made a bad landing and piled up into 6210, nobody hurt. Fairly dry after this, no more rain. Turned in at 10.30pm. Wrote No 14 to M.B.

Sat 3rd Feb
Dry today but very dull and cloudy. Sutherland brought over a new A.W. No flying. Still no news of Egypt. Heard about it first about 9 days ago. Wrote home. Rain on again. Brufton went away this afternoon.

Sun 4th Feb
Bright this morning and clouded over later. Patrols (BE12s) up all day, too dull for art. obs. Wilkinson crashed a BE12 just outside ...... in the plough. Rain started again at 2pm. Mail in from home. Papers from Bobs and No 4 from M.B. Fine moonlight night.

Mon 5th Feb
Fine clear morning. Plenty of flying. Several Huns over getting Archud. Went up with Maj. Black to look for targets, stayed up 55mins. Went Hun hunting with Wilkinson for 2hrs 5mins. Dived on one Hun (Albatross) over Salient had a scrap and chased him back to HUDOVA, saw a Hun chasing an AW and another AW on top of the Hun dived down like hell but the Hun went off home very low down. Glassons AW riddled with bullets but landed OK. We had two bullet holes in our Armstrong. Nothing further. Total flying time 137hrs 6mins.

Tues 6th Feb 1917

Dull cloudy morning. Bomb raid on Hudova postponed. No flying. Wrote home to Bobs and to M.H. (USA). The Beardmore AW is coming along well. Turned in at 9pm. Raining through the night. Cut the C.Os hair this afternoon.

Wed 7th Feb 1917
Raining hard in early morning. Very dull and cloudy afterwards. Artillery Captain was taken up for a joy ride, and was looped and stalled etc. Weather thick all day. Practically no flying. Mathers returned from battery.

Thurs 8th Feb 1917
Very cold dull morning. No flying at all. Snowing most of the day. High wind blowing from the North all day. Wrote No 16 to M.B. Turned in at 10pm. Two Artillery officers left here for their batteries.

Fri 9th Feb 1917
Still snowing. Snow lying on ground. No work possible. Wind dropped last night. Wrote to Cox for chequebook. Two Artillery officers here for instruction. Nothing else doing.

Sat 10th Feb
Fine today. Sun out, snow melted during the day. Went with Ackroyd to reconnoitre trenches North of Salient. Quite successful. Archy very close, nearly got a direct hit, lower plane hit. Came back after 65mins. Patrols up all day on 26th Divs front for big strafe. French Nieuports very active, a very big strafe is going on this evening. Very heavy gunfire for several hours. Turned in at 10.20pm. Guns still roaring away.

Sun 11th Feb 1917
Another fine day. Bomb raid on Hudova today. Eight machines left aerodrome. Two had engine failure before crossing lines and one after which got back. Five machines reached Hudova. Large number of Huns up- about ten. Denning had three fights and drove them off. Major Black did not return. Was last seen diving down with a Hun behind him. Result of said unknown. Nothing further. French aeroplane escadrille commander flew over here in a 'Shorthorn' "MF".

Monday 12th Feb 1917
Another beautiful day. Two machines bombed Hudova about 5am in the moonlight quite successfully and both machines returned at 5.45am. Several shoots done. One or two Huns up but only came a very short way over the lines. Wrote No 17 to M.B. and to Dixon Spain, re "the Gnome". When the two machines left this morning a green light was fired from Armutei by a spy. No news of Black or of Stopher who left French aerodrome to fly over here this morning. Went for a six mile walk with Mather.

Tuesday 13th Feb 1917
Pouring with rain this morning. No flying. Beardmore A.W. nearly finished. Raining off and on all day. Vardar wind started suddenly about 7.30pm. Nothing further doing.

Wednesday 14th Feb 1917
Cold clear morning but misty over the lines. Not much flying. Very cold indeed. The Beardmore A.W. did its first flight this morning, a huge success, little flying. Colonel Dawes arrived in "The North China", aeroplane BE2C, and came over with his usual hair raising spinning nose dive and landed all right. Pilkington and Stowell arrived this evening. German wireless says Black was killed.

Thursday 15th Feb 1917
Vardar wind all day-started about 6pm last night. German wireless says Stopher landed at DEMI HISSAR, machine undamaged. C.O. and Woodford went to Salonika on the Beardmore A.W. in a very strong wind. Went for a walk with Dickson to a hilltop E of Aerodrome. No flying, misty over the lines. Leaver and Cullen returned from batteries. Wind still very strong. Wrote home.

Friday 16th Feb 1917
Fine calm day. Went to take photos of trenches between Volovec-Boondanci and Gjavato. Much Archy. Landed after 1 1/2 hrs and found box of exposed plates had dropped off. Shall have to do the whole thing over again. There were six Huns over Salient, which attacked Wilkinson, and four went for Wynne Eyton but they were all beaten off. A Hun very high up dropped two or three bombs at aerodrome but nearest was 350 yds to South. Rotten shots. Wrote No 18 to M.B. The first De Haviland Scout arrived here.

Sat 17th Feb 1917
Another beautiful day. No sheathes and boxes available so could not take photographs. One Hun over this afternoon which Buckingham chased. There was a very tough fight and Buckinghams guns jammed. He landed on aerodrome, hit in about twenty places, through engine, oil tank, petrol tank, dashboard and cowl, and was hit in shoulder by a splinter. Wilkinson was up in the De Hav. twice, C.O. took up Beardmore A.W. and Dale for a few minutes. Speed 88-90 mph on level. I went up later with Denning for 20mins in same machine. Two more artillery officers arrived for instruction. Two KBS officers stayed the night here.

Sunday 18th Feb
Fine morning but cold. Tried to do Hudova reco with Denning on the B-AW but the engine would not start. We left for Salonika on a tender at 10.30am, got bogged once and arrived at 2.30pm. Went to HQS 17th RFC and AP and then into Salonique, had tea and a bath (hot) and dined at the White Tower, went to a variety show - most uproarious business, French, Serbs and Russians very happy! Went to the gaiety afterwards - French very tight and cheery! Got back to camp after midnight. Slept in a tent - very cold.

Monday 19th Feb
Cold dull morning, spent morning in Solonique shopping, met Denning and lunched at Flocas. Called at E.F. canteen, arrived at Janes at 5pm. Albatross and Nieuport collided over Gaeugueli at 10,000 ft - all killed (three). Field day for all allies' aeroplanes on 22nd div front. Big strafe on.

Tuesday 20th Feb 1917
Cold dull morning. Patrols up all day. 17sq's scouts here. Wrote No 19 to MB. Mail in, nothing for me. Very few Huns about. Nothing further.

Wednesday 21st Feb 1917
Cold dull morning, a little rain all day. No flying whatever. Wrote (1) Home (2) Bobs. Nothing further.

Thursday 22nd Feb 1917
Sunny morning. Strong wind from N.W. cloudy to N and N.W. No AWs up during morning. Mail in - nothing for me. Went up on close reconnaissance with Dickson in the afternoon and landed at French aerodrome at Gorgop with a message. Had tea there and got back to Janes after 55mins flying. Total flying time is now 140hrs 51mins. Nothing further.

Friday 23rd Feb 1917
Clear but very windy. Little flying. Went up with Pilkington on test flight for 35mins - very bumpy. Mail in - no letters for me - as usual. Dual control finished on 6221. Wind still very strong.

Sat 24th Feb 1917
Still windy and very bumpy. Went up with Denning on test of AW 6206 and in the afternoon took photos from Volovec to Gjavato OK. Nothing further. Flying time today 1hr 45mins.

Sunday 25th Feb
Fine today but very bumpy. About five Huns over. The three BE12s here had several fights. One Hun brought down at mouth of Vardar by Archy, one by Green (17RFC) and a Baby Nieuport got direct hit by Archy over Salonica. Went up with Ackroyd to photograph The Nose. Far too bumpy so returned. Photos taken yesterday turned out very good. Flying time today 25mins. A new observer arrived here this evening.

Monday 26th Feb
Fine very windy and bumpy. About ten Huns bombed GORGOP aerodrome and did some damage, also KARASOULI but missed the dump there. Eight of our machines bombed CEREMISTE very effectively. Wrote No 20 to M.B. About 14 Huns bombed the aerodrome. Five men killed and several wounded including Howes. I got into the air with Wynne-Eyton as about 6 bombs fell and when about 100 feet high a bomb just missed the machine. "Genevieve" the donkey got a direct hit. Flying time 30 mins.

Tuesday 27th Feb
Fine calm day. Twenty Huns passed over aerodrome and bombed camps near Salonika, casualties 40 killed 160 wounded. Not much damage done. 17sq RFC here all day. All machines went after the Huns and one was brought down. Colonel Dawes was at Corps HQs during the raid. Some trouble with him. Nothing further.

Wednesday 28th Feb
Calm dull day. 17ths Scouts here. Buckingham did Hudova reconn early this morning on a BE12. Wrote home. No Huns about today. A German Halberstadt (150hp Merc) landed near GORGOP. Nine of our Squadron AWs and BE12s bombed STOJKOVO Dump with 100 pounders - much damage done. Rain started this evening.

Thursday 1st March
Pouring rain and snow all day. Strong North wind. No flying. Wrote to RY Wilson. Frost thro' the night.

Friday 2nd March 1917
Vardar wind all day. No rain. Cleared up later and wind dropped in the evening. No flying at all. Wrote to CLS and MH (USA).

Saturday 3rd March 1917
Clear cold day but very windy. Three of 17s BE12s here but no flying in the morning. Wrote to MB No 21. Four BE12s did reconn to HUDOVA and VALANDOVA. Nothing further.

Sunday 4th March
About 8am ten Huns passed over aerodrome and bombed Summerhill camp. We bombed HUDOVA aerodrome just before this. No more Huns seen during the day over the aerodrome. Several fights took place near the lines. 17Sqd and ourselves again had a bombing raid on CESTOVA and did a certain amount of damage with 100 pounders. 45lb bombs unobserved.

Monday 5th March
Dull this morning clouds low. Went to Field cashier for messing Allce. (1061 20). Went up with Denning for 15mins and dropped experimental 45lb bomb which was dud. Nothing further.

Tuesday 6th March
Fine morning. Left for Salonica by tender and arrived at mid-day. Got the provisions for the mess. Heard that Ball had been killed in Egypt. Met Blatch and had tea with him and afterwards left for JANES. Arrived back 7pm. Went to concert at XII Hqs. Very good. Back at camp at 10.40pm.

Wednesday 7th March
Fine morning. Several shoots and short recos done. Record flying time today for the squadron - 41hrs 40 mins. Spent most of the day printing photos. Huns reported on bomb raid. Went up for 50mins with Pilkington and chased a large double engine Hun which however out climbed us. Huns dropped bombs on marshes near GORGOP as evidently wind was too strong for them to reach Salonica. No damage done whatever by bombs. Total flying time now 145 hrs 11 mins. "Bumps" were very bad today. Wrote to E.Ford.

Thursday 8th March
Fine morning, got up early - 7am. Scouts on patrol. Wind was about 80mph at 9000 feet. No flying after 9am. Col. Dawes flew over here today. Wind increased during the day, now about 50mph on the ground. Mail in - letter from home, No 5 from MB and papers from Bobs and home. Wrote No 22 to MB. Wind very strong. Sun out. Weather quite warm.

Friday 9th March
Three machines went on bomb raid at 2am in the moonlight to HUDOVA and CESTOVA. Plenty of archy, rockets, MG fire and searchlights. One or two Huns up over the lines. Went up with Pilkington to spot HV gun but it didn't fire. Landed then almost immediately went up again after reported Huns which however were not seen. Flying time today 2hrs 0mins. Wynne Eyton on a BE12 nearly collided with us at 9000 feet. Nothing further. Weather very changeable, some heavy showers.

Saturday 10th March
Howling gale today. Am Orderly officer. No flying at all. Wrote home and to J. Lumsden. Murlis Green and an observer landed here on a BE2c and crashes owing to the wind. Nothing further.

Sunday 11th March
High wind blowing all day. No flying. I got a piano on loan for the mess and had a sing song and a boxing tournament. C.O. in good form.

Monday 12th March
We did a big bomb raid on Hudova aerodrome with about eleven machines. Much fighting near Hudova. Glasson was shot down and killed. Huns bombed VERTEKOP and did a lot of damage there. Dickson hit a train at Hudova. Huns bombed our Aerodrome, Archy and other places but did no damage whatever. Some of the Hun bombing machines have two or three engines and very big and apparently armoured as well as bullets seem to cause them no inconvenience. Went up with Beardmore for 50mins. Total squadron time 51hrs (record).

Tuesday 13th March
Dull cloudy day, no flying. Went to Salonika by tender with Thomas, got stores and returned at 8.30pm. Saw "FBA" over town. Rain started about 7.00pm.

Wednesday 14th March
Raining this morning. Green came over on BE and went off with C.O. to look for landing ground. No further flying. Croil and Gordon came over from SNEVCE. Nothing further. Wrote No 23 to MB. Still raining.

Thursday 15th March
Dull morning, little flying. Rain started in early evening and got very heavy later. Herr Leishner our tame observer feeling very bucked at getting a direct hit on an empty gun emplacement (not knowing it was unoccupied), sent in English " That's cooked your goose for you, you buggers!". Nothing further. 'C' flight going to KIREC soon.

Friday 16th March
Wet and windy today. 'C' flights new commander arrives today. No flying today. Went and reported to Anti-Gas School, course of three days begins tomorrow. Put in second application to learn piloting. Wrote home.

Saturday 17th March
Dry but very windy. Practically no flying. started gas course, was nearly gassed once! Nothing further. Bulgars with wind up, shelled us with gas shells. Heavy bombardment all day and night.

Sunday 18th March
Windy today. One Hun over this morning. Gas course finished this afternoon. Huns carried out bombing raid on CAUSSICA Station and round about - some casualties. Green got another Hun, large two engine one which crashed hopelessly in no mans land. Wrote No 24 to MB. Received No 6 from MB. Went up twice with C.O. on an AW for 30mins after Huns.

Monday 19th March
Cold dull morning. Left for Salonika with Dale at 8am. Arrived there did some shopping and returned at 8.30pm. Green got another Hun today, an Albatross, which came down in flames across the lines. Bell around with gramophone today. Green got his DSO today.

Tuesday 20th March
Fine morning. One of 17squadron got another Hun this morning. I went up with Dickson this afternoon to shoot on 504 and had a splendid shoot blowing up a large amount of Hun shells. One new Pilot and one new observer arrived today. A Sopwith Bi-plane arrived Greens "Tigers Club" this morning. A Tri-plane is coming later. Huns raided somewhere - no news at present. Flying time today 3hrs 1min. Total flying time is now 151hrs 32mins.

Wednesday 21st March
Fine clear day, quite warm. Recd letter from Bobs and cheque book from Cox. Wrote to Bobs, No 25 to MB. Went up for 20mins on Beardmore AW with Gibson to inspect target No 127. Cowling blew off on first flight. Went up again on RAF - AW for 40mins. Flying time today 1 hour. Nothing further. Campbell Robertson and another pilot arrived today.

Thursday 22nd March
Fine warm day, wind from the south. I did no flying today. No Huns about far over the lines. Farrow crashed a De Hav owing to the wind. Am O.O. today. Piano here for the day. Saunders and Bamford came to dinner here. Frogs on ponds making a deuce of a row. Weather much warmer.

Friday 23rd March
Warm again today, sun out nearly all day. Fair amount of flying in spite of high wind at over 5000 feet. Did a practice shoot (puff-balls) for Dubois. Wrote to USA 2 letters and No 26 to MB. Quite mild tonight.

Saturday 24th March
Warm today, wind from south. Sun out all day. No Huns about. Rather misty this morning but rather good shoot on 127. Got off 200 rounds. Flying time 2hrs 50mins. Col. Dawes flew over from Greens aerodrome at HADZI JUNAS and nearly hit the tents taking off (across wind). An infantry General went up for a joy ride and had a forced landing and a little Archy.

Sunday 25th March
Another fine day. Did no flying. Am going to Egypt to fly. Going to await embarkation at Salonika tomorrow!!! Official total flying time is 158hrs 10mins. Wrote home and No 27 to MB.

Monday 26th March
Still fine, getting hot now. Spent morning packing up and handed the Mess over to the Doctor. Wilkinson on a De Hav and Bamford on a BE12 collided at 11,000 ft. Wilkinson landed and crashed just outside the aerodrome, and Bamford lost his fuselage, tail plane and one set of wings but was unhurt when he hit the ground! Machine in splinters. Left Janes by tender at 13.30 hours. Reported to S.A.P. Had a look round the park and stayed there all day. Saw the crashed Sopwith Tri-plane.

Tuesday 27th March
Rather dull this morning. Went round the hangers with Sutherland. Still waiting for orders. Went into Salonique with Dales, Brooks and Sutherland. Had tea at Flocas, then a haircut and bath. Dined at the ???? Militaire and went with Dale to the "Gaiety". Met two very nice Serbians (Aviators) and two Russians (Nikolas was one). Raining very heavily all evening up till 11pm. Got back to camp at midnight.

Wednesday 28th March
Fine sunny morning. Wrote No 28 to MB. Got into drill today. Orders came thro' this afternoon. Walked over to 43 Gen Hospital to see Gordon but found on arrival that he had gone to HORTIAK.

Thursday 29th March
Left Miksa Bay at 9am. Arrived in Salonika, changed money for good old 1 notes and embarked on S.S. PACUARA and sailed at 4pm. Passed thro' the boom with a Destroyer as escort at 4.50pm, and are now in the danger zone. Slept well. Messing on board very good

Friday 30th March
Awoke at 6.30am and had a beautiful hot bath. Had breakfast at 8.30, and had a sun bath all day. Weather perfect and is getting hotter. Tried to make an "Evinrude" motor run - fair success. Played deck Quoits and another game - shuffleboard with success. Wrote No 29 to MB. Passed many Greek islands today.

Saturday 31st March
Weather still getting hotter, no excitement, no ships seen and we are out of sight of land with no escort. Finished letter No 29 to MB.

Sunday 1st April
Arrived at Port Said about mid-day, lunched aboard and went ashore at 2.30pm in a rowing boat. Got luggage settled and booked at Eastern Exchange Hotel. Went to Casino Palace Hotel and had one dance, had dinner and went to Maxims - rotten place. Got back to our hotel at 11.30pm and turned in.

Monday 2nd April
Did some shopping in Port Said this morning and went to the station by garry. Train left at 12 noon. Lunched on board train. Passed KAMTARA, ISMAILIA, TEL EL KEBIR etc, country very flat and sandy, plenty of palm trees. (Egyptian state railway runs parallel to Suez Canal part of the way). Changed at BENHA and arrived in Alexandria at 8pm. Put up at Hotel Majestic, dined there and went to the KURSAL, show was rotten so returned at 11.30pm and turned in. Three Turkish prisoners came by on train to Alex and one was the Turkish General who captured Townshend.

Tuesday 3rd April
Got up at 6.30am and caught the 8.30am train for ABOUKIR. Reported there at 10.30am and was sent to ABBASIEH. Arrived here in afternoon and reported to Dixon Spain: am billeted in the old infantry barracks with Dale in the same room. Wrote home and No 30 to MB.

Wednesday 4th April
Dale and I went into Cairo by garry. I sent two parcels off, one home and one to MB, value 2.10. 0 each. Bought drill etc. Went out by garry and camel to the Pyramids Sphinx etc. and returned to Cairo at 6pm. Dined at the Majestic Hotel and returned to ABBESIEH at 10pm. Wrote home and No 31 to MB

Thursday 5th April
First day of course. Started physical drill at 6.30am. Worked all day up to 7.00pm. Wrote up notes in books. Finished at 11.00pm. Had the rest of the day to myself!

Friday 6th April
Felt very tired this morning. Same hours 6.30am - 7.00pm. weather very hot. Met several observers here who came from India, nice easy time there. Turned in 10.00pm.

Saturday 7th April
Third day of course. Weather settled down, very warm. Nothing further.

Sunday 8th April
No work today. Got up at 8am. Wrote to Woodford, Sutherland and No 32 to MB and PCs home and to E. FORD and to Thomas. Went into Cairo and visited the zoo at Ghizeh. Received papers and a letter from Keith and one from MB. Wrote No 33 to MB. Turned in at 10pm.

Monday 9th April
Fifth day of course. Received letter from J.L. Wrote to Littlejohn and to FORD. Nothing further.

Tuesday 10th April
Sixth day of course. Very hot. All our course (12th) had photos taken this afternoon. Wrote to Keith and No 34 to MB. Turned in at 10pm.

Wednesday 11th April
Seventh day. Rather dull and mist this morning. Feeling very fit now, - we have the "Physical jerks" to thank I suppose. Wrote to Woodford re allowances for Dale, Brooks and myself. Penrose Webster came out 1st in the last course exam. 50 pt to batman for boots.

Thursday 12th April
Eighth day of course. Nothing exciting. Wrote to Keith and J. Lumsden.

Friday 13th April
Ninth day of the course. Wrote No 35 to MB. Exam comes off on the 25th. Nothing further. Dale and I applied yesterday to fly scouts.

Saturday 14th April
Tenth day of course. Nothing of interest. - Weather very hot.

Sunday 15th April
Eleventh day of course. Had two hours of instruction this morning on machine guns. Passed out on Lewis gun. No mail from Salonica. Went into Cairo and then to Mena house and walked up to Pyramids. Had a pretty miserable time. Turned in 10.30pm.

Monday 16th April
Twelfth day of course. Weather very hot. Wrote No 36 to MB. Nothing further.

Tuesday 17th April
Thirteenth day of course. Cool in the morning, very hot later.

Wednesday 18th April
Fourteenth day of course. Half holiday on account of cricket match. Wrote home and to Ashcroft of HMT "Pacuore". Went to Cairo and visited the Kursaal.

Thursday 19th April
Fifteenth day of course. Weather cooler. Nothing further. wrote No 37 to MB and sent a photo.

Friday 20th April
Sixteenth day of course. Passed out on Vickers machine gun. Nothing further.

Saturday 21st April
Seventeenth day of course. Passed out on the "bomb sight" Good lecture on Artillery ranging by a Staff Captain RHA. Am OO today.

Sunday 22nd April
Eighteenth day of course. went into Cairo with Dale. Had tea at the Mena House, went to Kursaal and got back here at 11.30pm.

Monday 23rd April
Nineteenth day of course. Weather cooler today and rather dull. Wrote No 38 to MB.

Tuesday 24th April
Last day of course. Weather very indeed. Strong South wind blowing from the desert. Wrote home.

Wednesday 25th April
Exam on all day today. Weather still very hot. Did engines, fair, rigging good, rest fair. Results out in a day or two.

Thursday 26th April
Went on range to do Vickers gun shooting and got on well. Went to Cairo and then to Luna Park Heliopolis in the evening and went on the water chute and scenic railway. Exam results out, Dale 3rd, and I was 4th. Mail in, received six letters, from home (2), from Woodford (2), USA(1) , EF(1), MB(1)(No 9). (This adds up to seven)

Friday 27th April
Wrote home and sent off photos. Wrote No 39 to MB., to AW and to E. Ford. Did the Lewis gun on the range in the afternoon.

Saturday 28th April
Left Abbaseih and arrived at Heliopolis for MF flying. Went into Cairo in the afternoon and got a mosquito net and a pair of "Triplex" goggles. Went to bed early.

Sunday 29th April
Got up at 3.45am. Quite dark and very chilly. Had 27mins dual at 6.10am and cleaned machine and had lunch at 12.45. Slept during afternoon then went for a walk to Heliopolis with Dale. Dined here and turned in early.

Monday 30th April
Got up at 3.45am. Had 40mins dual and took control on the straights, got on well. Did half an hours ?????? Slept during afternoon. Wrote to Oi/c Pay Duties, No 40 to MB and home.

Tuesday 1st May
Early flying again. Did about 40mins dual and turned in early. Recd No 10 from MB. Papers from Bobs, letters from USA and E. Ford.

Wednesday 2nd May
Early flying, More dual. Am going solo tomorrow. Went into Cairo and the to Heliopolis with Dale.

Thursday 3rd May
Did 37mins dual today and then 17mins Solo -( scored out) dual this morning. Made two quite - (scored out)

Friday 4th May
Went up for 17mins solo today. (Good landings - scored out) Went into Cairo and fitted on our new clothes. Wrote No 42 to MB.

Saturday 5th May
Did my second solo today stayed up 55mins, very bumpy - landing ditto. No letters in. Had a great dinner and went on a three ton lorry to the Pyramids, got back here at 2am.

Sunday 6th May
Holiday today. Went into Cairo and to Ghizeh came back here at 9.30pm. Wrote to Bobs, Sutherland and to F. Thomas.

Monday 7th May
Went up twice solo today very bumpy second time but made good landings. Wrote No 43 to MB

Tuesday 8th May.
Did more solo today - Weather very bumpy made good landings.

Wednesday 9th May
Finished solo today - 5hrs 2mins. Am standing by to go to Aboukir. Wrote No 44 to MB.

Thursday 10th May
Left for Aboukir at 10.30 am, got here at 4.30pm. Met Goodfellow and Davies. Am going to "Avros" and am posted to "A" flight under Davies.

Friday 11th May
Did 20mins dual this morning with Davies. Did well. I like Avros very much. Wrote home and No 45 to MB. Bad crash here this afternoon two machines - Bristol and a BE collided at 2000ft. Funerals tomorrow.

Sat 12th May
Did 55mins dual this morning. Half holiday today. Mail in, (1) from USA MH (1) from home and 2 from MB No's 11 and 13. Wrote No 46 to MB.

Sun 13th May
Had some more dual this morning. Went into Alex with Dale in the afternoon, visited "Ambasadeurs Cinema" and returned home by 9pm train.

Mon 14th May
Did 35mins solo this morning on Avros. Engine cut out on last flight but got into aerodrome and made a good landing. Was control officer today. Wrote No 47 to MB.

Tues 15th May
Went up solo for 20 minutes. Did a good spiral and a fair landing.

Wed 16th May
Did 25mins solo this morning with sharper turns and a right hand spiral. Am doing 15 hours on "Avros" then will go on to Bristol Scouts. Wrote No 48 to MB.

Thurs 17th May
Four crashes on Avros this morning, Fraser badly hurt and a Sergeant killed. Wrote home, to E. Ford and to WW Ashcroft and to CL Stuart.

Friday 18th May
Did 30mins solo today and am finishing my 15 hours on Scouts, going to Bristols and then home. Too windy for flying in the afternoon. (Wrote to CL Stuart USA - scored out)

Saturday 19th May
High wind today, no flying in the morning. Much sand blowing about. Wrote to M Hester USA and No 49 to MB

Sunday 20th May
Still very windy, no flying. Spent weekend in camp as I have no "backsheesh"

Monday 21st May
Calm this morning: did three flights solo with eleven landings and some turns over 45 deg bank. Flying time today 2hrs 10mins.

Tuesday 22nd May
Windy this morning. Did no flying. Wrote No 50 to MB.

Wednesday 23rd May
Made three flights today - total time 2hrs 5mins. Weather very gusty and bumpy. Received letter from Woodford who is at S.M.A.

Thursday 24th May
Up for 55mins this morning. Flew through clouds at 2000 feet. Wrote to Woodford. Went up again in the afternoon for 50mins and did some stall turns over the sea. Went to concert in the recreation hall this evening.

Friday 25th May
Up for 40mins and 25mins this morning. Very bumpy and gusty, made four landings - one across wind and got strafed for it. Wrote No 51 to MB. Finished 10hrs 5mins on Avros and am going on to Bristol Scouts tomorrow. Dale went to hospital with Malaria today.

Sat 26th May
Got Diarrhoea this morning. Too bumpy for flying. Wrote to E. Ford and J. Lumsden.

Sun 27th May
Weather too gusty for flying. Went into Alex with Hyde-Pearson and visited two picture shows. Came back by 11.20 train. Wrote to Dale.

Monday28th May
Did my first solo on Bristols this morning and second in the afternoon. Landings not very good. Total time 1 1/4 hours on Bristol Scouts.

Tues 29th May
Went up on Bristol Scout this morning, did 40mins. Inlet valve went and just managed to get into aerodrome from 9000 feet. wrote No 52 to MB. to Dale and to Woodford. Did 20mins formation flying this afternoon with Goodfellow and Pearson.

Wednes 30th May
Did 45 mins this morning. Was "scrapping" with Goodfellow for 20 mins. Did cartwheels and steep turns right and left. Received letter from Dale. Wrote to Bobs and home. Did 45mins this afternoon and a scrap with Goodfellow.

Thursday 31st May
Finished my 5 hours on Bristols today. went into Alex and saw Dale who looks pretty well. Went to Picture house afterwards. Transferred to "X" Base Depot RFC. Waiting for a boat.

Friday 1st June
Did 15mins on "5321" this morning. Engine went dud so came home.

Saturday 2nd June
Went up for 30mins this morning and had a scrap with Bannister on another Bristol. Wrote No 52 to MB.

Sunday 3rd June
Did 25mins this morning, had a very good scrap with Goodfellow. Wrote to Keith. Letters in from home, Keith, J Lumsden and Ashcroft. Wrote home.

Monday 4th June
Went into Alex all day, got back here 10pm.

Tuesday 5th June
Had a 20mins flight with Pearson who got into a spinning nose dive and got out of it again. Suddenly got orders to leave. Left Alex by the 11.30pm train after a good time in Alex and arrived at Benha at 4.30am waited there till 7.45am for train to Port Said and embarked on HMT Aragon at 1.30pm. went to bed early.

Wednesday 6th June
Not sailing for a couple of days. Went ashore and cashed allowances cheque in the morning.

Thursday 7th June
Still in Port Said harbour. Niggers diving for coins and high diving from top deck - very good. Went for a bathe in the afternoon. About 500 more troops came on board in the evening.

Friday 8th June
Still in Port Said. Watched Gyppies diving for coins and high diving. Many Porpoises in Harbour.

Saturday 9th June
Sailed from Port Said at 6pm escorted by two Japanese destroyers, "O" and "P", we have two Brigadier Generals on board. Strong wind at sea.

Sunday 10th June
On watch for 8 hours today. About 1600 coolies on board. No land in sight.

Monday 11th June
Out of sight of land. No ships seen. Passed some wreckage at 8am.

Tuesday 12th June
All quiet this morning. Submarine sighted at 6.40pm, engaged by the two destroyers at 6.45pm which fired about 10 rounds. Signal "Submarine probably destroyed" sent from Destroyer "P". All quiet again. Course altered.

Wednesday 13th June
Sighted Malta at 9.30am. Went straight into Valetta Harbour and moored at 12 noon. Went ashore with Buchanan in a Gondola. Visited San Antonio gardens a rotten cinema show and saw the whole town. Bought presents value 4-4-0. Got back on board at 11.15pm. Clocks here put on one hour. Weather hot.

Thursday 14th June
Left Malta at mid-day. Passed torpedoed Collier proceeding S.E. with escort of about five warships. Another submarine about 1 1/2 miles off at 4pm sunk (probably) by two rounds. Escort now two Japanese Destroyers "J" and "K", these Japs are very smart. Very heavy rain and thunderstorms thro' the night.

Friday 15th June
Thunder and heavy rain early this morning. We have on board a German spy and a sailor off the "EMDEN". Sea very rough and sky very cloudy.

Saturday 16th June
Nearing France. Weather calmer now and very hot. Sighted Marseilles about 4pm and arrived in the harbour at 6.30pm. Went on shore leave and had a look round, returned on board 11pm.

Sunday 17th June
Got on train at 3.30pm and left at 5.30pm. Stopped at ORANGE at 12.30 am and had a hot meal. Left at 1.30am. Passed Lyon etc. living on oranges, bully beef and biscuits.

Monday 18th June
Very few stops today. Had a meal in afternoon at LES LAUMES. Slept most of the time.

Tuesday 19th June
Arrived at JUVISY at 5.30pm. Several Caudrons flying at aerodrome here. Passed NANTES, and MANTES and ROUEN and arrived at HAVRE in a terrible thunderstorm. Got up to Rest Camp at 10.30pm, had a long drink and turned in at 11.30pm.

Wednesday 20th June
Left Havre for Southampton at 9.30pm. caught in a thunderstorm and soaked thro'.

Thursday 21st June
Arrived outside Southampton at 5.30am. Went ashore at 9am, reported at Maritime Chambers. Caught train for London and arrived there at 1.30pm. Lunched and reported to Air Board and to Training Brigade, granted leave to July 1st. Met Myra in the evening.

Leave from 21.6.17 to 1.7.17.

Sunday 1st July
Arrived at Upavon, posted to "C" Squadron. Living in tents. Wrote to MB.

Monday 2nd July


The writer of the diary was Captain John Robert Wilson of the Royal Flying Corps, previously of the (Territorial) Royal Engineers. He was killed in action on Monday 20th October 1917, aged 24 years, whilst flying a Sopwith Camel (serial No B6352). He was "Mentioned in Despatches" on the day he died. He is buried at Harlebeke New British Cemetary, Belgium, the grave reference is Plot 2, Row A, Grave 5.

M.B. Probably Myra Bishop

Sun 11th Feb 1917 `Shorthorn MF' is a Maurice Farnon Shorthorn aircraft.

Archy - Anti aircraft fire

Scouts - What would later become called `fighter'. aircraft

From the list of names on the last page of the diary:-

2/Lieutenant A.D.Pockock, taken prisoner after crashing, near Geuvgueli, with what was thought to have been engine failure, after a raid on the German airfield at Hudova on January 5th 1917.

Major Maurice Adam Black, died Sunday 11th February 1917, formally of 5th Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales's ). Buried in Skopje British Cemetary Macedonia.
The message on the German radio on the 13th February was :- "East of Hudova, Lieut. Ebranecke shot down an English bi-plane which was completly smashed by its fall. The pilot is dead."

2/Lt Arthur Ball, killed on Monday 19th February 1917,formally of Kings Own Royal Lancashire Regt., attd. 57th Reserve Sqdn., Royal Flying Corps. Buried in Ismailia War Memorial Cemetry, Egypt.

2/Lt Donald Havelock Glasson, died of wounds, Monday 12th March 1917, 47th Sqn Royal Flying Corps. He is buried in Skopje British Cemetery, Macedonia.
2nd/Lt Glasson came originally from New South Wales, Australia and joined the RFC in February 1916, he died in combat on 12th of March 1917 during a raid on the German airfield at Hudova. During a realiatory raid on Janes the Germans dropped a note with the message:-
"Royal Flying Corps. British aviator shot today between twelve and one o`clock, shot in the stomach. More particulars to follow. Has just died."

2/Lieutenant Douglas John Taylor, 21st Reserve Sqn RFC. Formally he was with the University of London Officer training Corps. Born in Haslemere Surrey, he died in Egypt on Friday 29th December 1916, aged 27, and is buried in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.

2/Lieutenent Henry Matthews, Killed in action on Monday 15th January 1917, aged 32. 24th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, Buried at Salonika, Lembet Road, military cemetery.
On 15th January 1917 Lt White (Pilot) and 2/Lt Matthews were on patrol with Major Black when Whites aircraft was attacked by two enemy machines, before Major Black could offer assistance, White was shot down and they crashed in the steep, forested slopes of the Beles.

Lieutenant Spencer John Meadows White, Killed in action on Monday 15th January 1917 aged 27, Royal Flying Corps, formally 1st/4th Bn., Norfolk Regiment. Buried at Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery, Greece

The message dropped by the Germans at Snevce on 17th January read:-
"The Royal Flying Corps. The German aviators are very sorry to inform you of the death of the two English aviators which were killed on the 15th January at 10.30 am, after a fight with our aeroplanes. The English aviators had been fighting very bravely, but their aeroplane dropped after about 5 minutes fight and `skilled'. They died as heroes, and have our respects. Their bodies will be buried with all military honours.
We are informing you also of your Lieutenant Pockock having been made a prisoner by the troops without being blessed. We are obliged of your having informed us of the four German aviators which you have made prisoners.
"The German Flying Corps."