Extract from Chapter 8: ‘Christmas and New Year in North Africa’: Some of you may recognise Charlie Peace, featured in the previous photograph, seated cross-legged on the floor at the front of the throng.
‘The next week was the Officer’s Mess Party on 10th December. This was a big affair for the Squadron, with around fifty guests invited to a dance and a buffet supper. Owen’s Cairo West detachment was now closed and all the aircraft returned to base, so the Squadron had its full complement. We spent all morning decorating the mess with whatever we could find; mostly palm leaves, which looked marvellous, I thought. In the afternoon I put on best blue and went into Alex int he CO’s car, with Dudley Arundel, Jenx, Jack Barnes and Atkins. We had a few drinks at the Cecil to get in the swing of things and then picked up the invited Wrens from the ‘wrennery’ and took them to Idku with us in style in the three-tonner. The party was one to remember. There were plenty of girls and eats to keep us all happy. The RAF band had been brought in from Aboukir and we danced the evening away in the open under a brilliant moon. It was a magical setting.’