1917 Hounslow diary discovered

Volunteer researchers have located a miniature 1917 pocket diary which describes the life of a mechanic working at Hounslow Aerodrome during World War I.

Published: Tuesday, 12th November 2019

Corporal Gordon Tucker and the miniature diaries
Tucker Diaries: 'Life in a Pocket Diary' exhibition

Volunteer researchers have located a miniature 1917 pocket diary which describes the life of a mechanic working at Hounslow Aerodrome during World War I.

The 1917 diary is one of four covering the period 1916-1919, each measuring just 3”x2”, which detail Gordon Tucker’s experience as an air mechanic and rigger during World War I at Beaulieu, Hounslow and Wye aerodromes, which are now on display at Hounslow Library, Hounslow House, 7 Bath Road, Hounslow TW3 3EB until 29 November.

The diary was kept by Corporal Gordon Tucker and is notable not just for the descriptions of numerous crashes that he had to deal with on a daily basis, but also for his complicated lovelife. While working at Hounslow during 1917 he dated at least ten different girls and sometimes went out with two individuals on the same night!

Gordon’s elaborate lovelife was perhaps not that unusual at the time. More airmen were killed in training during World War I than in actual combat and this perhaps inspired a desire to live life to the full while they could. While Gordon was a mechanic, he frequently flew with the trainee airmen and describes hair-raising incidents throughout the diary when he could easily have lost his life.

In fact, he survived the war and took up a job at a coal distributing company. The diary, however, is full of brief reference to those who were not so lucky. In one entry for 2 July, for example, he records: ‘Lovely day. Two Curtis smashes. In the evening go to the Alcazar to see the Battle of Arras. Not up to much.’

Extracts from the diaries have been compiled into a small exhibition along with Gordon Tucker’s VPK camera, personal photo albums, uniform and detailed handwritten rigging manuals.

The exhibition is located on the first floor of Hounslow House and everyone is welcome to come and look at these remarkable pieces of living history. Schools and local history groups wishing to arrange larger group visits to view the exhibition should email communications@hounslow.gov.uk.

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