Returning to base at night presented many challenges. One rarely had enough fuel to cope with an extended problem - like locating the base. Weather usually was not a problem in the desert but it could be - particularly in the winter.
On one occasion fog was. We landed one night as the fog was rolling across the airfield at Fayid and had covered a small portion of the runway. lf you didn't make the landing, there were no alternates within range of your remaining fuel. You had to bail out the crew and abandon the plane.
Lt. Dick Miller, pilot, and Lt. Mayfield, co-pilot, flew such a mission to Naples on December 4, 1942. They had some engine trouble, but managed to reach the target for a successful raid.
They lost #3 engine on the homeward trip. They transferred gas to start it only to have engine #4 go out. Near Gambut (LG-139) in the Western Desert~ they fired the colors of the day and flicked their landing lights but no runway lights came on. They went on to Cairo with the same results. With all hope gone~ Dick ordered the crew to bail out. They all did.
As Dick Miller was preparing to jump, he thought he saw runway lights. He was correct. He put his wheels down. The #2 engine caught on fire and then sputtered out as he landed with only one engine. It was a perfect landing. It turned out to be Fayid near the Suez Canal. The next morning all the crew members were located. There were no injuries. He said he felt lonesome, there all by himself and everything was so quiet - it was an eerie feeling.