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12 November 1944

Very little sleep last night. There was heavy firing from the heavy, medium & light AA all around us until 9 p.m. Then there were odd alerts during which nothing much happened until about 4 a.m., when Nip bombers started coming over at five minute intervals—or so it seemed. Each time they appeared, all hell broke loose. The 90-mm’s just over the hill from us sound like bombs dropping, which further confuses the issue.

A bomb was dropped near G.H.Q., which was hardly cricket.

Lying in my cot in the small hours, praying for a little quiet, I made up the following verse a la Ogden Nash.

“I wish a mosquito

“Would bite Hiroshito

“And if it were malaria

“I should be simply hilarious”.

Went to 11 a.m. Mass at the Town Church. It is an old stone building so damp and crumbling in appearance on the outside that when I first saw it I thought it was a disused ruin. Inside it is also very shabby, but it is so vast (bigger than most Australian cathedrals), and so well proportioned, that one quickly forgets the shabbiness. I think it must be early eighteenth century.

The statues have real hair wigs and silken robes. One Madonna or saint, I could not tell which, wore silver earrings.

The music was magnificent. An organ with a noble tone played as it were under its breath, and the choir of men sang almost without fault.

We received General Absolution, of which I was glad.

Just after lunch, in bright sunshine, a Jap plane flew boldly over the town, crossing our building at about 4,000 feet, pursued by all the AA in the area. They didn’t get him. After this, our fighters went up & patrolled around, but every time the sky was free from them, Jap aircraft sneaked in. It was a noisy afternoon. If they were taking photos, as they probably were, we can expect a big raid pretty soon, I should think.

Good news of a big Jap convoy smashed at Ormoc.