Allen A. Fitch|
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
May 2, 1990
Hi Will and Irene:
Just a few lines - want you to get the pictures before you leave for Norfolk. I'm sending you the negatives also. They came out pretty good.
I received the Logbook and they did a good job on the pictures. I don't know what David Klaus will think of it, but who cares! I sent him pictures of the ground crew guys and Fearless Fosdick. I told him he could have the pictures of the Ground Crew guys but I wanted my picture of Fearless Fosdick. I wrote that name on the back of the picture. He told me he had a copying machine and he could do it easily and send it back to me.
I still never found that picture of me and the dog - the dog and I'm holding the rabbit as if I just took it away from the dog.
James Auman from St. Mary's, PA, said he subscribed to the Logbook. He looked at mine and then took pictures of the whole page and the letter. Karl Breakey's brother said he would send for the Logbook also. He let me have a picture of Karl getting the ... medal and Karl right after he got his gunnery wings for combat. When Karl got shot in gunnery school, he had 28 stitches in his left arm and also lost the right thumb (first to the joint) and they let him go on and finish and become a gunner.
P.S. Will send you pictures of Karl later.
May 29, 1990
I forgot to tell you that I let James Auman look at my Logbook for about two weeks, so he knew about the reunion. By the way, that air raid shelter was right by the sheet metal shop where Mitchell worked. Our plane was cross the perimeter then close by. We had electric out of the sheet metal shop. We had the works in there, toasters - radio and even kept a keg of beer on a bomb rack behind our clothes. I wasn't much of a drinker. We really had it nice in there.
I think Kinion was the fourth guy that lived with us.
Do you remember that 68th (WANA) plane that blew up when the ordinance guys caught it afire? It scared the hell out of us, but we had the safest place - the shelter! Don't remember ever coming in the shelter? Most of the guys used to sneak in and have a beer. Remember Leo Thatcher? He used to get our beer.
I hope you enjoyed yourself at the reunion. These pictures of Karl are for you to do with whatever you want. Karl has nephews that never saw a picture of him so I had some made for them. If you ever want the negatives, just holler loud!
Wish you the best,
Allen and Milly
P.S. That is Kinion and Sheets by "Down De Hatch" with the dog.
June 27, 1990
Thought I'd write and tell you about the air raid shelter.
We had a 50-gallon oil drum on the vent side of the shelter. We mixed 100 octane with the oil. When we ran the stove (aluminum tubing coiled around the stove jacket), it would send little spurts of water up and into an old oxygen tank. That's how we got the water for shaving and washing. The stove valve was regulated by hand so you would get a drop of oil immediately after the first drop exploded (burned) and it would keep the shelter warm.
We also had electric lights, radio and a toaster. Electricity was taken from the sheet metal shop and it was our neighbor.
Kinion probably deserves most of the credit for the shelter. He was a little buster to get things done.
A lot of guys came in that shelter - it's odd McNamara never did or he would have seen a nice, dry shelter.
When that 68th plane caught fire and burned on February 7, 1945, we had a ring-side seat, but we only took a couple of looks at it cause we knew they had been putting bombs on it. It killed a guard about five or six hundred feet from us when a bomb blew. Webb Todd has a picture of the aftermath in his book.
By the way, I sent you a picture of Karl Hall and one other guy with a bomb between them. I think that other guy in he picture is Cheek and he worked with Arthur.
Leo Thatcher got us a couple of small kegs of beer for the shelter and it lasted a long time.
We had a nice supply of canned fruits and Spam and etc., courtesy of our guys on K.P.
We had a good bunch of guys in our outfit. I'll name a few I liked: Ray McNamara, Wes Mitchell, Bagley, Dean Johnson, Heinback, Sheets, Denis, Calloway, Charlie Green, Bruce Brown, Bob Eddings, Curly Nelson, Craddock, Stowers. I guess I liked them all. I was with John Wernette out in Iowa where we were sent for discharge.
I hope you got the last pictures I sent of Karl Breakey. I have to go up and see his brother and take the originals back. I hope he found something else.
Allen A. Fitch
P.S. That 68th plane that blew up was across the perimeter from us and just a little to the left. Name "Wana."
December 27, 1990
Getting back to the 44th, I Just received a Model D Liberator Kit. It will be a 27" wingspan, 17" fuselage - that's a pretty big one (a winter job for me). My one boy looked in every Mall around and they are tough to find!
I just received a letter from Ray Ward about his book Tidal Wave. I'm going to send for one. I have a couple of pictures I think a P-47 with Curtis Kinion and Frank Sheets. The other one is a trainer plane with Curtis Kinion in the cockpit and Frank Sheets standing on the wing. The one shows a little of a wing from another plane. Maybe like a Pipe Cub or etc. I'm going to take pictures to a photo shop tomorrow and if they come out okay, I'll send them to you.
I don't write to anybody but you and Howard Robb. He made me feel good (Howard) when he sent me the pictures of Fearless Fosdick. The picture that Klaus kept had almost all of the bomb missions painted on the side. That was a real nice picture. That picture was made during the war - almost a sandy color to it. He's a stinker!
You know I worked with Vlosovich and McNamara and Mastronardi on Suzy Q for quite a while - maybe till they made that second trip to Africa. Then I was with Grisham, then they got more planes, and I went with Syd Calloway as his crew chief. I remember "Pappy Moore." He had a half-smoked cigar every time he came back after a mission on Suzy Q. When he came into the Dispersal we always looked to see if he had his cigar in his mouth!
Do you remember how Murphy and I and Sheets (one more) can't remember lived in that air raid shelter? It was warmer than in the barracks. Do you remember how Joe Bailey used to urinate in his helmet and then dump it on the coke - smelled, but not like roses. We kicked him out of the barracks when we caught him. That all happened at night. I can't remember if they let him back in or not.
When reading your book, I noticed that a friend of mine in the 506th was killed when their plane crashed (loaded with bombs) while in a traffic pattern - explosion and all were killed. Your book shows it happened on August 8th. He was a tail gunner about 29 missions when it all happened. I have a picture of him, me and James McMurray (Hdq. on 14th Wing). In our cemetery, they have a monument at his grave. He's buried in England. If you would like a picture of him, I'll send you one later. All three of us were from Johnsonburg.
Somewhere I have a picture of me and a dog that used to hang around our tin shop. The dog caught the rabbit. Looks like the same dog in a picture with Pappy Moore. It's page 170 in your book. I'm really enjoying your book.
Did the 506th put out a book yet? Karl Breakey (KIA) in the crash on August 8th. His brother asked me and I don't really know.
I sent to Joe Worth for some patches and received them. They are nice. Can you still get the 8th Air Force insignia? I'd like to get some.
Will, when I get these pictures I promised, I'll send them to you.
Have a Happy New Year.
Allen and Milly Fitch
ALLEN A. FITCH
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
February 8, 1980
Sure has been a long time but sometimes absence makes the days gone by a little fonder!
I'm enclosing a couple of pictures. I can't remember the one fellow's name but I knew him well. He's in the picture with you. Did you buy that book on the 44th when it was published? I did and it is real nice. James Demi (Clearfield, PA) was in our bunch of mechanics.
I know the names of different guys around here that was in the 44th GP. I stopped to look for that book and the name is Liberators over Europe. It was published in the late 1950s I think .
Enough of that. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I'm not much for traveling - I'm a homeboy - live sort of out of town. I work in a paper mill. Money isn't too good. I'll never be rich, but the contentment I have is real.
I have a friend who goes to the reunions. He's been to Norwich, England a couple of times. He was a gunner in either the 66th or 68th squadron. He's a real nut on this stuff. He lives in St. Mary's, PA. He'll probably go to this one if it is the same one you are talking about.
I never hear from anyone and you really surprised me. I was looking at some old pictures a couple of days before I got your letter. Just thinking about that picture with you in it - is that other guy Fogelman? [Yes]
I'm married to a swell girl named Mildred. Three sons and one daughter. Seven grandchildren. I'll be 61 this fall and when you get a chance, send me the addresses you have.
It might never get to see you but maybe we can write to each other once in awhile...sort of keep in touch. Okay?
Allen A. Fitch
P.S. I'd like to know about your family. Seems to me I received a card when you were married - or maybe at Christmas.
Hope you enjoy these pictures. The book I have has a lot of pictures in it. Our engineering section plus all the other guys.