December 28, 2009
Now we get to the summer of 2008. Cousin David Hall went to Ottawa from Bangkok (where he was living) to visit Cousin John Hall. I had given John a copy of the “book” I had put together with your log books and Mom’s diaries intermingled. Apparently, this just caught David big time. He got in touch and we started a long correspondence amongst the three of us about what actually happened to you from 1938 to 1945 during the war years. As David got enthusiastic, he would fire me up and I’d learn something and then John would find something and we’d all go in bursts like that for a full year. In the process I think it was David who found Allan Hillman, an RAF aficionado in Truro, Cornwall. Allan steered us through the ORBs and the terminology and the history of the different squadrons you were in and helped us with some of our speculations. He has become a very dear internet friend to us all. And you would have loved the hunt!
And then the idea came along to go to Asch and celebrate your safe landing within 300 yards of the Mardaga. Well, that was it! The three of us were going to meet in London, John and I from here and David from Bangkok. We would visit the Imperial War Museum and all kinds of other museums and then go to Brussels on the Eurostar, drive to Asch and… And then Allan found the Mardaga Inn online! And it still exists! What a beautiful place it has become since you were there in the winter of 1944-45.
So plans change, right? John wasn’t too sure we were actually going to make the trip. He thought maybe we were just saying “What if we…”. So he made other money plans. And then I thought I’d like to have some company on the London part of the trip because David was talking about flying directly to Amsterdam and meeting us in Brussels. So I asked Bill if he’d go with me. I am pleased to say he was pleased to be asked – I think.
Then came the long trip to get my passport. I had had one but let it expire and then it disappeared in one of our moves. Anyway, the whole process was very long and very boring and very frustrating but I have both my little citizenship card and my passport now so am ready to travel.