About the writer

Dan Findlay served in the RAFVR during World War 2, having volunteered when it became apparent that men over 30 were to be conscripted - he preferred, he said, not to have to wear the HLI bunnet. Coming top in cypher school, he left the UK on a troop ship bound for North Africa. He spent some time in the Middle East, living in a little flat in Cairo where, according to him, Pilot Officer D.G.H. Findlay would happily have stayed for the duration, had not an enthusiastic friend suggested that all three flat-mates (did they call themselves that, I wonder?) volunteer for duty in the Western Desert. As a result he spent a great deal of time in a tiny tent and a signals truck, witnessing first hand the Battle of Alamein and having to abandon, apparently, a newly-fried breakfast as they retreated under Rommel's advance.

The tiny, photographed letters from this period have vanished, although some wonderful photos remain - sadly, in many cases, without annotation. But the bulk of this account comes from the last year of the war, when Acting Flight Lieutenant Findlay was stationed in Essex. From his tin-roofed shack and the office where he seems at that time to have been increasingly under-employed, he wrote almost daily letters to his wife, the present blogger's mother, who was expecting their first child - me - in September. These letters give a fascinating insight into some of the events of the time, seen through the eyes of a wonderfully intelligent commentator. It is these that I hope to edit and reproduce here.

Christine McIntosh, neƩ Findlay
January 2011.

Service Details

Joined                                    30 August 1941
Seniority as F/O                     1 October 1942
Acting F/Lt                            19 August 1943


Embarked 2 December 1941
Arrived Egypt 28 January 1942

Jan 28, 1942 - June 16, 1943                   Egypt, Libya, Tripolitania, Tunisia,
June 17 - July 20, 1943                            Malta
July 21 - September 24, 1943                   Sicily
September 25 - December 8, 1943           Italy
January 2 - 3 February, 1944                   Syria
February 18 - March 22, 1944                 Egypt
March 30 - August 24, 1944                    Corsica
August 25 - October 7, 1944                    France
October 11 - November 15, 1944              Italy
December 2, 1944                                     Disembarked