506th Bomb Squad, 44th Bomb Group (H), 8th Air Force|
VOYAGE ON THE S. S. CHANTIILY TO ENGLAND
by Ray I. Marner, Jr.
The ground echelon of the 506th Bomb Sq., 44th Bomb Gp., consisting of 14 officers and 270 enlisted men, and under the command of Capt. Green Benton, Jr., boarded the S. S. Chantilly, in New York, on Feb. 27, 1943.
The S. S. Chantilly was an old French ship that was taken over by the British in 1940. She was not in very good repair, and a lot of work was done on her in New York prior to our boarding, but she needed much more. The ship's crew was composed of some British and the rest were Hindu from Calcutta, India. There were approximately 1,000 troops on board including American sailors, marines, and infantrymen. The Chantilly, carrying the only troops in the convoy, joined the approximately 74 ships of the convoy in New York harbor and sailed on Feb. 28, 1943, for the United Kingdom.
In Ursell P. Harvell's book "Jaws over Europe" it was stated that the S. S. Chantilly was placed in the middle of the convoy to give the personnel carrier some protection in case of a U-boat attack. This statement was not correct as the Chantilly was centered at the rear of the convoy, with only 3 ships behind us. There is also a statement in Major Harvell's book as follows: "The shipment of skilled Air Force personnel, sorely needed in the 8th Air Force aboard the S. S. Chantilly, a condemned old English ship, the orders taking seventeen days to cross the Atlantic, was given by someone definitely irresponsible and came close to a disaster for the 8th Air Force." Any aboard the S. S. Chantilly would probably agree with this statement. It was truly a miracle that the ground troops of the 506th Bomb Sq. ever got to the Shipdham Aeredrome.
The first 11 days of our voyage were fairly uneventful, aside from very poor sleeping arrangements, seasickness, and probably the worst food any of us had ever eaten. However, on Ash Wednesday, March 10, 1943, this changed dramatically. Around 6:30 p.m. we heard an explosion and the muster bell rang. We headed up the gangway to the deck in time to see an oil tanker sink and 2 other ships were damaged. Any ship that sustained damage indicated this by lighting a red light that would be visible to any support craft. We later learned that our Captain saw the first torpedo coming toward us and he laid the Chantilly on her side and the torpedo went along our starboard hull and hit the ship ahead of us on our port side.
The Captain then began to change course every few minutes by rocking the ship from one side to the other and continued this for the rest of the night. He was rocking the ship as much as 43 degrees, which made it very difficult to stay on deck.
Around midnight we were attacked again and the red lights seem to come on all around the convoy. It was too dark to really see how much damage was being done, but - we knew it was bad.
Around 3 a.m. we heard another explosion and either a munitions ship or a tanker with high-octane gas was hit and the flames grew larger and larger, lighting the entire area. The light endangered the whole convoy, so a British Corvette shelled the ship, and a terrific explosion followed with the flames shooting hundreds of feet in the air. The ship then quickly sunk.
In our position at the rear of the convoy, there were three ships behind us and three ships to our front. At dawn, on March 11, 1943, we found that we were alone well behind the rest of the ships. All six ships were either sunk or some may have changed position. We felt that we were like sitting ducks in this vulnerable position. We spent the next day trying to catch up with the rest of the convoy. Obviously we were probably the slowest ship on the seas. Luckily no more attacks were forthcoming.
In a letter to Major Ursell P. Harvell, in reply to his request, the Dept. of Navy gave the following information:
During the attack by U-boats on March 10th and 11th, 1943, the following ships were torpedoed and sunk:
1. British Cargo TUCURINCA
2. British Cargo JAMAICA PRODUCER
3. Norwegian BRUMM COUNTY (or BRANT COUN'IY)
4. U. S. Cargo LAWTON B. EVANS
5. U. S. Cargo ANDREA F. LUCKENBACH
There were other ships in the convoy that were damaged by torpedoes but did not sink. HMS HARVESTER was damaged when she rammed a U-boat. She took on board prisoners from the U-boat and afterward she sank. It was reported by German prisoners that there were 12 U-boats in the vicinity of the convoy.
HMS ACONITE sank U-boats No. 432 and No. 442. There were many stragglers in this convoy, scattered because of the high seas and fog, and many left the convoy and proceeded to their destination.
The S. S. Chantilly remained at the rear of the main convoy and sailed up the Firth of Clyde, near Glasgow on March 15, 1943, going ashore on March 16, 1943.
After a long train ride from Scotland we finally arrived at Shipdham Aeredrome on March 17, 1993.
A few days after our arrival at the Air Base I was walking from our living site to the flight line, when a staff car stopped and offered me a ride. Being a kid of only 20 years and not very military I piled in the back seat to find then Colonel Leon B. Johnson. I guess the General wasn't very military either. He couldn't have been nicer to me. He wanted to know all about our trip over the Atlantic and all the details of the submarine attack. I will always remember how reassured I felt with this man as my commanding officer.
Ray I. Marner, Jr.
1541 Buresh Ave.
Iowa City, Iowa 52245
DIARY ENTRIES FROM MARCH 17th 1943 THROUGH AUGUST 31st 1943 NOT YET INCLUDED DUE TO CURRENT PROGRAM LIMITATIONS.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1943
More men are still coming back from Africa. Rudy and Bras are now back. Howard Haaf went down in Lisbon with a ship from the 389th. He's been interned there.
SEPTEMBER 2, 1943
Got a letter from Gwenn and she's going to have a baby in March.
SEPTEMBER 4, 1943
General Arnold was in Hethel to talk to our boys who went to Africa. Col. Johnson has assumed command of the 202nd Provisional Combat Wing. It is composed of the 44th and 392nd. Lt. Col. Posey is now Group Commander.
SEPTEMBER 4, 1943
We got in two new combat crews. Just came from the States. We've been pretty lucky so far Losing only four planes and 42 men. Capt. Green Benton got a card from Capt. Swanson, who is a POW. Banks, Shiefelbusob and Myers are POWs too.
SEPTEMBER 5, 1943
Nick gave me a billfold that he got in Marrakech, Africa. He didn't get to go to Tel Aviv - Palestine but did land in Malta once. Joe Edwards landed in Sicily once, returning from a raid.
SEPTEMBER 6, 1943
Left today for London. Planes went on a diversion. Was supposed to meet Sam but missed him at Kings Cross Station. Got a bed at the ?? Crescen Club.
SEPTEMBER 7, 1943
Went to Washington Club. Went to Covent Gardens where Blanche Coleman's girls band was Playing. Really solid! Girls good jitterbugging too. Met Nick there. He got a date with the singer in the band. We went to the dance again at night. Went clear out in the east end and were running all over catching tubes and busses. They stop running at midnight. We stayed at the Mostyn Club that night.
SEPTEMBER 8, 1943
Today we saw a show, went to the dance and just barely caught the train for Norwich. We bought a bunch of records and were talking to the owner of the shop. He spent 15 years in the States getting ideas for songs. He wrote "Red Sails In The Sunset," "South of the Border, "Harbor Lights," "Dinner For One, Please James", "A Pair of Silver Wings" and others. Found out our planes couldn't find their target today, so bombed a convoy off the Dutch Coast.
When we got to Attleboro there was a raid in progress. They dropped a few bombs, and three planes were shot down. When we stopped at Cambridge, they brought the news on the train that Italy surrendered.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1943
Planes went out early this morning to Abbeyville Field, FR. No opposition at all. This was the target the 44th first bombed one year ago. Then, two Squadrons were forced to turn back, and another was wiped out. The plane went out again this afternoon) but were called back. Five by Five cracked up when they landed this morning. Nick nor any of the crew were hurt. The nose wheel collapsed. Every plane of this island was supposed to go out on two missions today 3000 planes were in the air. They were thick all day long. They announced at briefing the invasion of France had started. We've heard nothing further. So far, looks like there'll be missions tomorrow, too.
SEPTEMBER 10, , 1943
Missions were scrubbed today because of the weather. Nick and the rest of Rebich's crew are in the hospital, merely shaken up a little is all. Their ship won't fly again and they have a brand new one - Mr. 5 x 5 II. L (Not identified).
SEPTEMBER 15, 1943
Planes went out on a mission and hit an airfield. Two of our planes were forced down on other fields, but got back later okay.
SEPTEMBER 16, 1943
Well, the planes took off again. Probably back to Africa or to Sicily. We may follow later. Frank Adams got to go this time.
SEPTEMBER 19, 1943
Nick left today too. Sure hated to see him go. We sure were having fun. No news yet on where they went or for how long.
SEPTEMBER 22, 1943
BAF were flying over this evening before dark! First time I'd ever seen their formation. They fly spread formation, much different from our close ones. You could see Lancasters for miles and miles. Probably headed for Berlin
SEPTEMBER 23, 1943
Indications are that the planes may return soon. They are down in Africa again.
SEPTEMBER 29, 1943
Rumored that the planes will return next week. A few of our planes are left, have been going out on diversions. McKee made Captain. Sure was glad to see him get it.
OCTOBER 2, 1943
About 50 P-47s landed here today for refueling. They carried belly tanks and probably went on a long raid I was out on the line watching them
OCTOBER 3, 1943
Capt. Slough's crew came in today and brought nothing but bad news. They were based in Tunis this time and pulled two raids over Italy. Then, on October 1st, they flew a mission to Weiner Neustadt near Vienna, Austria. The Group lost a lot of planes. Some say 10, others 16. Our squadron lost Lt. Olsen's crew, Capt. Allen, Ferkaugg, Hearne, Bell, Goodson, McMenamin, Butler. Jerry Mason, Neeper and those were reported down. Nick went down on Hobson's ship. Cutshall, Maury, Williams, Kallal, Hyde, Vaden. Can hardly believe it. Other ships were shot up. Some were believed to have made crash landings. Nick may still be okay.
OCTOBER 4, 1943
Major Beam and Anderson came back with Capt. Strong today. They brought news that Butler's crew landed in Sicily and are okay. Still nothing about Nick. The 66th and 67th are practically wiped out again. Capt. McAtee's crew is the only original crew left in the outfit. We still have Slough and Strong who joined us in Salina, Kansas.
We sent a couple planes out on a diversion today and lost one ship. Everything is going wrong. It was Lt. Johnston's crew, which has been with us a couple weeks. The Group lost two planes altogether. They shot the wing off a Me 109 and it crashed. head on into Johnston's ship.
No chance for survivals. Sure is tough. One ship came back all shot up and with a couple wounded men.
OCTOBER 5, 1943
Left today on furlough. Stayed in Norwich. Oct. 6th. Took a train at 7 a.m. and went through March, York, Newcastle, and arrived at Edinburgh 7 p.m. Went to Palais and New Cavendish. No jitterbugging allowed!
OCTOBER 7, 1943
Went to Princess Ballroom. Crummy. Found out they allow no jiving in Covent Gardens. Things are getting bad! We're staying in the Red Cross. You can Edinburgh Castle through the window. Lots of monuments and statues around here. Met Lee Birka here by chance. We talked a long time. Sure was good to see him.
OCTOBER 8, 1943
506th Squadron one year old today. Went to a pretty classy bar today (County Bar) Had a good time. All the boys were there. Harby, Fred, Griff, Herb, Dan, Paul, etc. We were all together here - about a dozen of us are up here.
Paul T. Jr. born today.
Today Paul, Ken, Irene (Ken's date) and I went up to the Castle. Really very nice, high up over the city. You look clear out to the North Sea, and can also see the Forth Bridge. We were in the shrine. Took pictures. Lot's of historic spots here beside the Castle. Scott's monument, the Galleys, the Palace, etc. Saw the King of Norway in front of a hotel today. Went clear out to Granton View by the North Sea also. On the way back from the Palais tonight I saw a man get hit by a bus. It was pretty dark so I went closer and saw that one bus wheel was right on top of him. He was a mass of blood and mashed terribly.
OCTOBER 10, 1943
Left Edinburgh by myself today on the Flying Scotsman and got to London tonight. Am staying at the Hans Crescent Club. Saw Kenny Sleichter's name in the state register at Edinburgh.
OCTOBER 11, 1943
Went to Covent Gardens in the afternoon. The ban on jitterbugging really exists. At night, went to Paramount. Babes are okay, and can they dance. That's my hangout from now on. It's on Tottenham Court Road. Warren Street Station.
OCTOBER 14, 1943
Just got off my furlough. Official notice came through that Nick is MIA. Still can't believe it. Maury and Vaden weren't on that ship. Newbold and Swicker went down on a ship, not Bunker's. (It was 67th's Henderson's) We didn't lose any ships on the East Prussia raid.
All the men aren't back from Africa yet, but most are. Knox, who went down on Austin's crew August 16th, is back. He was wounded, captured and escaped, now is in Africa.
Slough's crew was transferred to the 67th Sq. Jim, Harby, Don~ , Griff, Sieg, Nelson and Warren left for the States to take Cadet training.
OCTOBER 18, 1943
A bunch more of the boys came back from Africa. Maury came in, said that at least five chutes came of Nick's ship. Maybe there's a chance yet.
OCTOBER 22, 1943
Our planes have gone out a few times, but we haven't lost any. Knox Jett, Hickerson and some others went over 200 miles in 17 days when they escaped from an Italian prison camp. We have 17 crews now and about 520 men.
OCTOBER 23, 1943
Rebich's new crew is being transferred. Dale Maury is leaving, too.
OCTOBER 24, 1943
Joel Parker just came back from Africa. The ATC ship he was on cracked up in Algiers. The rest of the crew are still down there.
OCTOBER 27, 1943
Eight months of overseas service today. Rest of the guys got back from Africa.
OCTOBER 29, 1943
Am 21 years old today.
NOVEMBER 1, 1943
Mundell is back. Escaped from Italian prison camp.
NOVEMBER 3, 1943
Col. Leon Johnson made Brig. General!! Beam was transferred to Gp Hq. and was made Group Air Executive Officer. Major Anderson is pur C.O. Capt Strong is Operations Officer.
Planes went out over Wilhelmshaven today. No planes were lost. Larson's crew and Capt. Scott were transferred to the 482nd BG. Big raid on Ipswich tonight. We could see everything. They hit a London train. A couple RAF planes crashed returning from a raid. One crashed in Dereham. They brought a lot of injured people over here. Quite a few were killed.
NOVEMBER 4, 1943
Jett, Lee, Whitby, Hickerson are back! They all escaped from a prison camp in Italy. They really had a rough time of it.
NOVEMBER 5, 1943
The planes went out again today. We didn't lose any ships, but some were shot up badly. A few men were injured. One ship made a crash landing (Peep Sight). Three or four ships dropped flares, one of our crews was shot up and are in the hospital. The raid was on Munster, Germany.
NOVEMBER 6, 1943
We were supposed to make two raids today, but weather didn't permit.
NOVEMBER 9, 1943
Went to London with Paul and met Rico there. Met a couple swell girls. One a direct descendent of Lord Lister (Listerine) and one the great grand daughter of Nelson (Battle of Trafalgar) Saw the all-soldier show "This Is The Army" with Irving Berlin.
NOVEMBER 11, 1943
Saw Bebe Daniels in "Panama Hattie" Pretty good stage show.
NOVEMBER 12, 1943
Major Beam made Lt. Col. I got six packages today.
NOVEMBER 13, 1943
Saw Lt. Simons today and the whole back of his head is shaved. He's got a whole lot of little holes in it from a flak burst in that mission a week or so ago.
We went over Bremen today and everything went wrong. Mission was unsuccessful and the 44th lost a few ships. One of ours circled around the field, and then crashed a few miles away. A kid by the name of Olsen was killed and also Cliff Hurst. I knew Hurst real well. Ralph Strait isn't expected to live through the night. Two others will probably die. Pretty tough. A short time ago they asked all men with blood type AB to report to the hospital.
Hamel and Fleming completed their tour of 25 missions. Will be going home soon.
NOVEMBER 15, 1943
I guess the rest of the guys on Hart's crew will live. Some are still in a bad way.
NOVEMBER 18, 1943
We went out on another raid, this one over Norway. One ship landed in Sweden (Weant's) The Group lost some ships, but our Sq. didn't. Five of the 506th landed elsewhere in England. One of the 67th's planes had only one wheel down; seven men bailed out over the field. A pretty sight. Then the 67th pilot, Lt. Griffith, made a great crash landing because he had a seriously wounded man on board. It was a beautiful landing. She skidded across the field, sideways and finally backwards, but no others were hurt, no fire.
Lonnie Ackerman came back from Africa. He's still got a piece of steel in his leg. Haas and Germann are going to the States. Neither will walk for sometime. Lonnie has the Purple Heart, air medal with four Oak Leaf clusters. The DFC with one cluster to it, and the Silver Star. He's some guy.
NOVEMBER 22, 1943
Col. Brig General Leon Johnson was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor today - in the cold and wet drizzle. Devers, Eaker, and all the Big Boys were here for the ceremonies. Motorcycle escort, etc. Some show!
We don't know about our citations now. It's a mix-up. We're supposed to get them for Kiel, Ploesti, Weiner-Neustadt and Bordeaux. We should be able to wear the citation ribbon soon.
NOVEMBER 23, 1943
We were supposed to go to Berlin today but the mission was scrubbed.
NOVEMBER 26, 1943
Planes went out to Bremen again today. I don't believe the Group lost a plane (One lost due to a collision). One man was shot and frozen. One 67th Sq. plane crashed on the field when nose wheel collapsed. No one hurt. Lots of flak but no fighter opposition.
DECEMBER 3, 1943
Just got back from London Nothing much happening of late. We've gone on a couple of raids, but lost no planes. Johnson made Brig General. I was mistaken before, but now official. RAF plane crashed here last night returning from Berlin. The crew is in the Aero Club now. They sure are a calm bunch.
DECEMBER 5, 1943
Col. Dent is now Group Commander. Posey is going to the States. Dent came from Wing. We were hoping Beam would get it. Capt. Strong is now Group Assistant Operations Officer. That makes McAtee Operations Officer. Planes went out today but were recalled due to terrible weather over France.
DECEMBER 8, 1943
Major Anderson got the Distinguished Service Cross for the Ploesti raid.
DECEMBER 10, 1943
Just found out that nick is a POW. Boy, am I glad! The whole crew except Kallal is safe. He was killed. All of Olsen's are okay except Olson. (Dunn Also KIA)
DECEMBER 11, 1943
We went over Emden again today. We lost no planes, but the 67th lost Lt. O'Neill when hit by our own bombs. Capt. Shaw, Lt. Grimes and Dan
Kennon were on it. I can hardly believe Danny went down. It was Shaw's 25th mission. Sieg, Harby, Griff and Jim are pretty broken up about Dan.
DECEMBER 16, 1943
Planes went over Bremen again today. We lost no planes. Ralph Adams came over today. Sure was swell seeing him. He's only four miles from Norwich. We only got to talk a few minutes.
DECEMBER 19, 1943
Col. Beam has been transferred to Bomber Command.
DECEMBER 20, 1943
Raided Bremen today. We lost one ship - the first in two months.
Lt. Maynor's crew. Lts. Gunnell and Gray, Mike Liss, Aho, Coonelly, Corigan, Stoffel, Scanlon and Parker all went down. (KIA - Aho, Stoffel)
DECEMBER 21, 1943
Capt. Butler cracked up today near Wendling and the ship burned. No one was killed, but seriously injured. Nick Garza was aboard. Capt. Adams transferred in as Executive Officer.
DECEMBER 22, 1943
We hit Munster today. 66th lost two planes. (K. Miller and Oakley). Capt. Davenport finished his missions.
DECEMBER 24, 1943
Planes went out over northern France today (V-l sites) No losses.
DECEMBER 25, 1943 CHRISTMAS
Today is Christmas and I worked all day. Had a good turkey dinner. They had some parties in the Aero Club.
DECEMBER 30, 1943
Planes went out today and all came back. Hit a target in France (Actually was Ludwigshaven, Germany) Received a Christmas box of candy from Ruth.
Just found out that four planes were lost today, but not 506th's. Target was Ludwigshaven. Capt. Fretwell finished his missions.
DECEMBER 31, 1943
Planes went deep into France today to hit an airfield. No losses in the Group.
JANUARY 4 & 5, 1944
Planes went to Kiel twice - no losses. Went to London again. Had a good time.
JANUARY 6, 1944
Don Orr was busted and transferred. Rowell is new 1st Sergeant!!
JANUARY 7, 1944
Planes went out, but were recalled. - very bad weather.
JANUARY 11, 1944
Met Jack Jean in Norwich in the London House. He's a 2nd Lt. pilot. He used to play basketball for Conesville.
Planes went out today and bombed a secondary target. I think a lot of American bombers were lost around Berlin. Things were screwed up.
Many B-17s landed here. We lost no planes, however.
JANUARY 13, 1944
A plane from 68th Sq. crashed on the field today killing all ten men. It was a training mission. It blew up. Quite a mess.
JANUARY 14, 1944
Planes went out at noon today to southern France - a 67th Sq. plane was lost. We got a new C.0. today, Captain Kolliner. Major Anderson went to Group HQ. Capt. Kolliner has 30 missions and came over with the Group in October 1942.
They are loading again tonight. Maybe this is it.
JANUARY 19, 1944
Capt. Rogers was transferred to 50th Stat. Comp. Sq. Lt. Doughten is now adjutant.
JANUARY 21, 1944
Planes went over France today. The Group lost six ships, but the 506th didn't lose any. Major Anderson was Command Pilot and went down. It was his 25th mission.
Oliver Germann came back from the hospital today - from Africa. He was shot up over Foggia (16 Aug. )
Just learned that Major Anderson and the ship he was on cracked up in southern England. He and the pilot were killed.
JANUARY 25, 1944
I met a kid in town from this base who used to report for the Press Citizen. He covered games at Riverside. Don's brother, Jack, was over.
JANUARY 26, 1944
Germann just came in with all his medals on. He sure has a slug of them. He just got back from the hospital in Africa and got them all at once. Silver Star, DFC with one cluster, Air Medal with three clusters and a Purple Heart.
JANUARY 27, 1944
RAF went out and a couple planes crashed near here. About three haystacks were on fire.
Today we got our citation for Ploesti and we can now wear the citation ribbon. We are getting one for Kiel, too. We'll wear a cluster on it. Only one other group has got it in this war so far. We're still sweating out the Meritorious Service ribbon. Hope we can get it.
JANUARY 28, 1944
There was an article on Germann in the Stars & Stripes today. Got word today from Boots that Nick is safe. He's a POW. His mother got a letter from him. Sure am glad. Had a BLACK alert tonight.
JANUARY 29, 1944
RAF raided Berlin two nights in a row. You can hear them going out again tonight. Our planes hit Frankfort today. The 66th & 67th each lost a plane. All 506th came back again. We're getting a terrific record. One of our planes crash-landed - Lt. Duffy's with two men hurt. Klingle and Kooken finished their missions.
Just got another BLACK alert. Forty some planes are over Norfolk area. That's quite a few for the Jerries.
JANUARY 30, 1944
Planes went to Brunswick, Germany. We lost none. Rumors going around that this group is going home...
FEBRUARY 2, 1944
Planes went to France today. Lt. Bolin's crew crashed into a hill in southern England. They didn't get over the target, but came back across the Channel because of engine trouble. All were killed and mashed up pretty badly. Lts. Ackerman, Schwab, Bolin, Wulff. Also Bales, Strait, Yurick, Deward, Maloy and Wilson. That's the 8th crew that we've lost.
G. Portor came back from Africa today.
FEBRUARY 3, 1944
One of our crews is going to Africa. We are going to get one of their crews from down there - a swap. It is Lt. Waines crew.
Planes went out today, but were called back.
FEBRUARY 4, 1944
Planes went out again and didn't drop their bombs. We got three new crews today. Jerry was over all last night. Some of the surrounding towns were hit.
FEBRUARY 5, 1944
Planes went over France today. 68th Sq. lost a ship. Lots of the boys finished their missions today. Kolliner made Major.
FEBRUARY 6, 1944
Planes went to France again today.
FEBRUARY 8, 1944
Planes bombed France. 66th lost a plane. One of our green crews were on a practice flight and ended up over France. Got back okay though after Major Kolliner chased after them. They got into some flak. Saw Sam in town today. Sure was okay.
FEBRUARY 9, 1944
The Stars & Stripes say we can wear the Unit Citation ribbon permanently as long as we were in the Group when we had the action. The Kiel citation is approved. We are waiting for the Ploesti one now. Also, the Meritorious Service award.
Saw a B-17 burning south of here after it cracked up. I guess all were killed. We got another new crew.
About 65 men in our Squadron are being transferred to form a new Group Danny, Don, Swen, Ryke and a lot of others are leaving. I could go if I wanted to.
FEBRUARY 11, 1944
Planes hit France. A man in the 68th was killed by flak, and another was seriously injured by flak.
FEBRUARY 12, 1944
Planes hit France again. The 506th put up 11 out of the 23 planes. Big changes are going to be made.
FEBRUARY 13, 1944
Planes were out again. Glenn John was killed in a crackup of a returning ship. Larson's plane.
FEBRUARY 17, 1944
Met Ruth one year ago tonight. Lt. Vaden got a card from Nick. Tuttle, Cutshall, Kyle, Hobson are all okay. The rest are dead.
FEBRUARY 19, 1944
Found out today Capt. Swanson, Myers, Bell, Gooden, Hearne, Ferkauff Hanson and some other are out of prison camp. Must have escaped.
FEBRUARY 20, 1944
Planes went into Germany today. We lost Lt. Rawson's crew. Their first mission, too. The 67th lost a ship, too, We were alerted again this afternoon, but they scrubbed it.
FEBRUARY 22, 1944
Planes went out. 67th Sq. lost a couple planes. I went to Cambridge and met Sam and Hank Miller.
FEBRUARY 24, 1944
Planes went out again into Germany - Gotha. The 67th and 68th Sqs. lost planes.
Saw Ella Logan tonight on the base - also, Jerry Shelton.
FEBRUARY 25 (24?) , 1944
Planes went into SW Germany. Some of the planes are not accounted for yet. A lot more boys are finishing their missions. All the 506th planes got back.
FEBRUARY 27, 1944
Today marks one years of foreign service. A year ago today we boarded the Chantilly.
MARCH 1, 1944
Orders came out awarding me the Good Conduct Medal. General Orders #6, dated 21 Dec. 1943. Reads: The Good Conduct Medal is awarded to the men who, after Dec. 1941 have honorably served one year of active service in Federal Military Service while the U.S. is at war and have displayed exemplary behavior, efficiency and fidelity during such service."
MARCH 2, 1944
Orders came out transferring 80 men out of our Squadron. All ground men. We're getting a lot of new personnel. Keefe and I are staying in the 506th. The rest are going to the 856th Squadron, 492nd BG. Based at North Pickington. Some have already left.
MARCH 5, 1944
Planes went out into Germany. No losses. Lt. Duffy crashed on takeoff and Col. Dent was with him. No crewmen were hurt. (Was Dent??)
MARCH 6, 1944
Our planes hit Berlin for the first time. No losses in the 44th, although 68 bombers went down.
MARCH 8, 1944
Planes hit near Berlin again. No losses.
MARCH 9, 1944
Planes over Berlin third day running, without a loss. 44th is doing alright. One of the pilots was wounded pretty badly. (66th's Jewell)
MARCH 10, 1944
A year ago tonight we were torpedoed.
MARCH 12, 1944
Planes went to Pas de-Calais again. No losses. Our field is closed in so they all landed at another field.
MARCH 14, 1944
Quite an air raid tonight. Jerries were over for some time. Bombed south of here.
MARCH 15, 1944
Planes went to Brunswich and the 66th lost one plane.
MARCH 16, 1944
Planes hit into Germany - no losses. YEAR AGO TODAY WE LANDED ON THIS island.
MARCH 17, 1944
A year ago today we arrived here at Shipdham airdrome.
MARCH 18, 1944
Planes hit into Germany. 67th Sq. had a crackup killing five men (Note: This was on the 16th).
MARCH 18, 1944
Our ships went to southern Germany, 13 planes are missing. Only two of our (506th) came back. Albert's ship blew up. Don't know all details yet. Capt; Cardenas went down with Lacombe (in Switzerland) Houghtby's, Lucas and Irwins crews went down. 506th lost four ships and 41 men.
MARCH 19, 1944
The Group lost 8 planes in all yesterday. Bolick was on his 26th mission. Capt. Johnson's crew went to the 66th Sq. Major Kolliner transferred to the 67th Sq. Lt. Brandon is new C.O. He just came back from Sweden - "ESCAPED."
MARCH 22, 1944
Planes went to BERLIN. No losses. We got 6 new combat crews! Our new APO number is 558.
MARCH 26, 1944
Planes came back pretty well shot up, but no losses. I've been made Squadron Supply Sgt.
MARCH 27, 1944
PLANES FLEW NEAR SPANISH BORDER. (Longest flight so far from Shipdham). They hit an airfield in France - Mont De Marson. One 67th plane landed in Spain, interned.
MARCH 28, 1944
The Presidential Unit Citation for the Kiel Raid came through today. We can wear a cluster on our ribbon now.
APRIL 1, 1944
Col. Dent and Major Kelliner went to 95th Wing. General Johnson went to the States on furlough, so Col. Gibson is now Group Commander. Capt. McAtee will be Squadron C.O. and Capt. Sayler is Operations Off. The 2nd Division bombed Switzerland by mistake, except for our Sq. Always on the ball!
APRIL 3, 4, 5, 1944
Went to London APRIL 6th. The whole E.T.O. has been restricted.
APRIL 8, 1944
Planes raided Brunswick and we lost five crews plus three other men. 53 men in total. Bartol was killed (co-pilot). All of the planes that came back were shot up badly.
APRIL 9, 1944
I've taken over Supply and made Buck Sgt. today. S.O. #98 dated April 9, 1944. Planes went out today, most recalled due to weather. One plane lost.
APRIL 10, 1944
The boys going to N. Pickingham left today. We got men in from the other Squadrons here on the field.
Had four stitches put in my hand because of a K-Ration can cut. Capt. Linch is executive officer now. Welford is 1st Sgt.
APRIL 11, 1944
Lt. Money's crew went down today. Herby Hill, Blake, and others were along. The ship blew up (three POWs) We've lost ten crews in three weeks now. More than in the first year of operations.
APRIL 15, 1944
Planes have gone on a few raids. No losses, thank God. Have been working day and night for a week. I feel plenty beat up.
APRIL 16, 1944
A kid came in today looking for his brother. He didn't know he had gone down a week ago. Name was Hickman, Alfred. Robert Hickman went down on April Bth, was on Guy Johnson's crew. He went down in France and got back by the Underground.
APRIL 17, 1944
Captain Jim Clements and crew are going home for a 30-day furlough. Completed one tour and will return to start another.
APRIL 21, 1944
Last night we had an air raid. One of the barracks was strafed by the Jerries. Some bombs dropped, too, but luckily no one was hit. (Webb Todd has details).
Planes went out, but were recalled. A couple collided and crashed. Only a few men got out. (No collision, caused by ice buildup). 8 men KIA. Hoven's 68 Sqd.
APRIL 22, 1944
Planes went out but got back after dark. Jerries followed them back and attacked several bases while the planes were attempting to land. They shot some down over at Hardwick.
APRIL 27, 1944 ??
Early this morning the Jerries came over, dropped a bomb just a little south of our site, in a field. The explosion woke me up and nearly knocked me out of bed. Too close for comfort!
Planes went out to France twice today. A direct hit in the bomb bay of a 67th ship (Lt. Clarey's). Blew it to pieces - Two survived.
APRIL 28, 1944
Last night some guy in our squadron killed a kid in the 66th. Another guy was killed in Hi~bam by a Limey. Rough!
APRIL 29, 1944
Planes went out over Berlin. Group lost three planes over the target (two lost). Lt. Hruby and crew ditched in North Sea, but all got out okay. Some combat men from Wendling (392nd BG) was the one who killed Maynard from the 66th Sq. He meant to hit Lopez of the 506th. Lopez ducked and the 2 x 4 hit Maynard - an innocent bystander.
MAY 9, 1944
Planes have pulled quite a few missions of late. A couple over Berlin. The 68th Sq. had a ship blow up today. Actually, own bombs exploded when dropped, half of crew returned with ship).
Sam made Tech. Sgt.
MAY 11, 1944
Planes went out and our Group lost three. Lt. Waich's ship, of the 506th, went down. (Actually, only Walch's was lost.)
MAY 12, 1944
The 67th and 68th each lost a plane today on the mission to Zeitz.
MAY 22, 1944
We had an alert and some enemy paratroopers were (supposedly) dropped near the base. Searching parties failed to find any of them.
MAY 23, 1944
Went to N. Pickenham to see a lot of our boys. After last night's scare, we will be putting two guards on each plane.
MAY 24, 1944
Everyone is getting a carbine back - for own protection. He has the right to carry it everywhere, day and night. Little ammo, though.
MAY 27, 1944
The field was covered with a fine-toothed comb today. Everyone's identity was checked in an effort to locate spies believed to be on one of the airdromes.
MAY 29, 1944
Jerry dropped bombs near here last night. Shook the barracks again. We lost a crew today (Golubock's, plus one from the 68th).
MAY 30, 1944
Lt. Golubock went down yesterday. Fitzsimmons, Conner, Dunlop, Killian, G.N. Smith were with him.
JUNE 5, 1944 (Believe it was the 4th)
This evening as I was coming into the site I heard a motor droning, looked up as a B-24 went into a flat spin and fell around 13,000 feet and crashed a few miles from here. Three explosions followed, and flames shot up a couple hundred feet. No one got out. The wing from #1 engine was torn off, and slowly floated down. What a sickening sight. Two firemen from here were killed when they went out to fight the flames. (Killed by the bombs exploding)
JUNE 5, 1944
No one was allowed off the post tonight. All men in town are being brought back. The 50 cal. guns in the site are now uncovered and will be manned all night. Every ship available is scheduled to fly tomorrow morning. Already combat men are at briefing (11 p.m.) This certainly looks like the invasion.
JUNE 6, 1944 -- D-Day!
This morning at 6 a.m. the invasion started. Everything is going fine. This morning the 44th led the 8th and 9th Air Force on the first mission. Some honor!!! General Johnson was flying. We went out on three missions today, tried for a fourth. Tonight's reports came through that paratroops landed in Hardwick. I have been up most of the night issuing ammunition, etc.
JUNE 7, 1944
Planes went out again. Invasion going good.
JUNE 14, 1944
Met Marvin Gingerich in Norwich. He's stationed at Hethel.
JUNE 16, 1944
Planes have been going out almost every day. Sometimes twice. Rumors getting heavier about our going home. Maybe in three or four months. Looks like more landings in Europe will be made soon. I think it's been postponed twice because of the weather.
JUNE 21, 1944
We lost Lt. Howe's crew today over Berlin. (eight POW, one murdered) .
JUNE 27, 1944
We lost Lt. Scudday's crew today. Also, a man bailed out of a ship over France (William Strange) and his plane crashed in England. Romeo was killed in that crash in England. (Lt. Tucker's crew)
JUNE 29, 1944
We lost both Lt. Westcott's and Landahl's crews today.
JULY 7, 1944
68th Sq. lost three ships today, while N. Pickenham lost twelve.
JULY 9, 1944
Tonight a Buzz Bomb (v-i) hit outside of Watton. Like to shook me out of bed. Some explosion! The time one hit the Regent Palace Harbison was in it, on the 3rd floor. The bomb blew off the 7th and 8th floors.
JULY 10, 1944
We can now wear four bronze stars to our ETO ribbon. For Ploesti, Sicilian Campaign, Italian Campaign, and Air Offensive over Europe. We also can wear a service stripe for each six months of service overseas.
JULY 12, 1944
Planes went to Munich yesterday and today. 68th Sq. had a ship that ditched in the Channel, killing five men. Four men survived.
JULY 16, 1944
Danny Mattis was killed when a recon hit a truck - accident. July 21st. Today we lost Lt. Butler's and Lt. Allen's crew over Munich. The 68th Sq. also lost a ship.
JULY 25, 1944
The 44th led the 8th AF today and bombed 1500 yards in front of our troops in Normandy, France.
JULY 29, 1944
Lost Lt. Eberhardt's crew today. They collided with another ship - 67th's Lt. Green - just six miles off the coast from Cromer.
AUGUST 8, 1944
We lost Lt. Komasinski's crew today and Lt. Jacob's crew crashed near the base, killing everyone. Coley Richardson was on the first ship but survived.
AUGUST 11, 1944
We had our 200th mission party today. Brad Barber was killed in a crack up at Pickenham. 2nd mission and only one on ship killed.
AUGUST 12 , 1944
Lost Lt. McGuire's crew today. Only the pilots were killed.
AUGUST 13, 1944
Lost Lt. Milliken's crew today. It was their last mission. All became POWs and Lt. Milliken escaped the first night.
AUGUST 15, 1944
Made S/Sgt. today, S.O. #227. The 856th Sq. has split up and went to Cheddington. The fellows went all different places from there.
AUGUST 20, 21 and 22, 1944
Went to London. Sam is in hospital. Buzz Bombs kept me awake all one night. They kept going over and dropping nearly all night. Some shook us up fair amount of time. London is taking a beating again.
AUGUST 30, 1944
A kid named Kenny James, who worked in Finance, was killed when a truck hit him on his bike. He was a nice guy, too.
SEPTEMBER 6, 1944
Lots of men are coming back after being shot down. Most of Komasinski's crew are back. John Milliken also escaped.
SEPTEMBER 16, 1944
Castro came back after living with the French underground for six months. Three Ploesti raiders came back after being liberated by the Russians.
OCTOBER 1, 1944
The Group lost two ships on today's raid. (Probably 30th Sept).
OCTOBER 2, 1944
Lt. Irwin came back from Switzerland. Capt. Cardenas is back, too. They both went down in March.
OCTOBER 7, 1944
We lost Lt. Salfen's and Lt. Still's crews today. Too, Lt. Jones' crew landed in Belgium to get medical attention for the pilot, Jones, whose leg was shot off. Lt. Holcomb, co-pilot, landed the ship with only one arm - the other being badly injured. Two engines were out, making this a most difficult task. Flak caused all of the damages.
OCTOBER 13, 1944
A couple Buzz Bombs came right over our site. One landed a way from us but shook us up some. They were so low that they vibrated the barracks.
OCTOBER 14, 1944
We got another battle star for the Western Europe Campaign. Makes five Bronze Stars. We can wear one Silver Star now.
OCTOBER 17, 1944
Danny Bitzell came back from Ireland. Plenty nice over there. Harry Davis is in Paris now.
OCTOBER 23, 1944
Left on furlough today. Went to Peterborough, and then caught train up to Edinburgh. Spent the night there. Met Don Wombacher at the Palais. He said Wes Pogge went home.
OCTOBER 24, 1944
Went on north to Aberdeen. Spent furlough there. Had a swell time. Danced, etc. Also swam in Municipal pool - best in Britain. Roamed around the harbor, Hazelhead Park, College, etc. All houses there made of granite. Came back on London train. Sir Stafford Crypts was on it!
OCTOBER 30, 1944
We lost Lt. Bentcliffe's crew today over Hamburg. Only three men POWs.
NOVEMBER 4 1944
More Buzz Bombs again tonight. One really shook us up. No broken windows, however.
NOVEMBER 6, 1944
Goluback's crew came back from Sweden. Killian and Smith came in tonight.
NOVEMBER 21, 1944
Man in 67th Sq. killed by flak - Navigator Burke.
NOVEMBER 24, 1944
A Lib from Rackheath cracked up in Norwich, killing the whole crew. It hit near the City Station (Actually, date was 22nd.)
DECEMBER 2, 1944
Lt. Bayless and crew went down today. The 68th also lost one ship. Both were shot down by fighters after the formation broke up in heavy clouds.
DECEMBER 14, 1944
Went to Steeple Mordon - (Sam's base) which is near Royston.
DECEMBER 24, 1944
Largest raid in the world today - Group sending out 61 planes. The 8th AF had a maximum effort due to weather delays on Battle of the Bulge. Lt. Hosington was forced down in Brussels.
DECEMBER 25, 1944
Christmas. These are the coldest days we've ever had over here 19 degrees F.
DECEMBER 28, 1944
The 68th lost two ships on mission to Kaiser lauten marshalling yards today. They also had a ship abort and it cracked up on the landing. One of the 1,000 pounders exploded killing the whole crew. It really shook us up down here, which is about two miles away from Shipdham Road.
JANUARY 5, 1945
Buzz's ship caught fire and burned pretty badly. Probably have to be salvaged. No one was hurt, as the gas didn't explode. Buzz was burned a little on his face.
JANUARY 6, 1945
Dunlop came back today from Sweden. He's headed for home!
JANUARY 8, 1945
Went to London. Saw where a V-2 hit some flats near Charing Cross. Most of them have killed people in the hundreds. They were still digging them out. We got our first real snow since we've been over here.
JANUARY 13, 1945
Lt. Edkins crew crash landed on the Continent. They got back here today, okay. But the ship is no good.
JANUARY 14, 1945
Saw a ship crackup near North Pickenham today. All must have been killed. It was a British Halifax.
JANUARY 17, 1945 (16th)
Planes hit a target south of Berlin today. Longest flight we've ever pulled from England. They covered the continent almost completely. They swung way down south. It was closed here on the return, so they landed in France. All but eight ships have reported in, including Jarvis' crew. Four ships are known to go down, including Col. Snavely, our Group C.O. (Only Snavely's ship was lost).
JANUARY 18, 1945 (17th?)
The planes that were still on base left here on a mission. One of our (506) ships came back with 200 holes from flak. Three men wounded critically. An RAF mosquito made a crash landing here - it broke right in two, but men were unhurt.
JANUARY 19, 1945
Lt. Jarvis' crew reported in, and are okay. Col. Snavely is also alright. They bailed out in France and just got back.
JANUARY 25, 1945
Sixteen men from the Squadron (76 from the group) went to the infantry today. Most were volunteers. Looks like more will be taken. Copain volunteered to go to the Bulge area to help hold the Jerries. Hated to see him go.
JANUARY 28, 1945
Planes went out today and the 66th lost two ships over the target. They collided, or so it was reported and no one got out. A 68th plane crashed on T.O. but the engineer was crushed when the top turret came loose, crushed him. Ammunition was going off like mad as the plane burned.
FEBRUARY 3, 1945
Van Wye came back from Russia and is here for awhile. He's had some good experiences. Traveled through Persia, also.
FEBRUARY 6, 1945
Plane blew up in the air south of here this morning while the planes were getting in formation. No one got out. (The 68th Sq. had a plane catch fire while loading bombs on Feb. 6th, bombs exploded, killing one guard 300 yards away).
FEBRUARY 11, 1945
Got a letter from Copain. They are having rugged training. All the men from here will be riflemen on the Western front.
FEBRUARY 17, 1945
Charley Walters came over here today - a 1st Lt. now. Used to work in our Operations back at Pueblo, CO.
More men are going to the Infantry. Luke Holmes is going. They are taking nine men from the 506th this time.
FEBRUARY 18, 1945
Two more Battle Stars came through, making a total of six. The one on the Germany Campaign is still pending and will come through soon. We have stars for the following: Ploesti, Invasion of Sicily, invasion of Italy, Normandy, Northern France and Air Offensive Over Europe.
FEBRUARY 23, 1945
The group completed 300 missions today. Lots of rumors going around 'that we will move in April.
FEBRUARY 25, 1945
Lots of boys just came back from Switzerland. They really had a good time there. Brought back a lot of watches, etc. with them. These boys were interned there for a year.
FEBRUARY 27, 1945
Entered foreign service two years ago today. Having an inspection sometime this week by some Inspector Generals.
MARCH 3, 1945
Major General Jones is on the post today to hold inspection.
MARCH 3, and 4, 1945
We were attacked tonight and early in the morning by Jerry piloted planes for the first time in months. Jerry was about for around three hours He strafed the field and hit some planes and hangers. Boys were hitting "the deck" for the first time in a long while. No casualties here on the station - to my knowledge. Some people in these small towns were killed.
MARCH 4, 1945
Jerry was over again early this evening strafing the field. No one hurt here on the drome.
MARCH 10, 1945
Two years ago tonight we were torpedoed. Unconfirmed report came on teletype that Japan was invaded. It hasn't been made public as the report came from Japan.
MARCH 17, 1945
Jerry was over again last night.
MARCH 21, 1945
Jerry was over tonight. One plane made a pass at our site. I saw him coming and we all hit the ditch. He went right over us when every .50 caliber in the site opened up. Almost got him.
MARCH 22 to 29, 1945
Went on furlough to Aberdeen with Bill S, Bill P., Paul and George Nugent. Had a swell time. Swam, danced, etc. Even played a game of golf at Hazelhead.
MARCH 24, 1945
Planes dropped supplies to troops for the Rhine crossing. We lost Lt. Chandler and crew - probably all killed (two survived) It was a low-level drop. Also, Diaz was killed when he was pulled from the ball turret hole while pushing out supplies.
MARCH 30, 1945
Hard for us to bomb now because they can't keep track of the "bomb Line."
APRIL 4, 1945
Lots of rumors floating around. We have to start packing our excess equipment. Don Swem and some other fellows are going on D.S. to the continent. Rumors have it that we'll move to Frankfort.
APRIL 5, 1945
Lost another crew today. Lt. Brown's crew. It's believed that they may be airtight. (Pilot and radio operator killed).
APRIL 12, 1945
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT DIED TODAY.
APRIL 14, 1945
Got a letter from Copain. He's in Germany and seems to like it.
APRIL 15, 1945
Colonel Smith is now Group C.O. Col. Snavely went to the 14th Wing McAtee made Lt. Col.
APRIL 18, 1945
MoAlpine, Otto, Burkhart, Sampley, Lt. Barry and Lt. Flowers of Brown's crew came back today. Nash was killed. These fellows were POWs for 12 days and were liberated later. Flowers hid out for quite some time. They were in the Ruhr Pocket, where they parachuted.
APRIL 19, 1945
Vance, from Chandler's crew, came back! He and De Blasio got hurt, the rest of the crew were killed. They crashed and exploded.
APRIL 20, 1945
Danny Bitzel came back here on furlough. He is stationed in Brussels and Paris. Has a good deal.
APRIL 24, 1945
F/O Thomas came back from Germany. He was on Brown's crew. He was captured and a prisoner.
APRIL 30, 1945
Lou was transferred to Eccies Road. Six men were transferred to the 453rd to go home and then to the Pacific. They sent us replacements. We are having crates made here for our equipment.
Heard on the radio that Russ Cloes and about four other men were not scratched when a shell burst in their midst. Miracle!
MAY 1, 1945
Last Wednesday the Russians and Yanks linked up. Mussolini was killed in Milan. Many more Allied prisoners have been liberated. Maybe Nick is Out by now. Looks like it will be over soon.
We haven't flown a mission since the 25th of April. We have 343 missions now. Looks like the 8th AF is stood down for good. General Spatz says air occupation men will be based on the Continent. That means us. They are going to fly men from ground crews over our many targets in Germany. I'll probably be on pass at that time.
MAY 2, 1945
Hitler is reported as dead and Doenitz has taken over for the Jerries.
MAY 4, 5, 6, 1945
Went to London with Paul. Saw some V-is and V-2s on display. Also saw the Crown Jewels. Took another trip around the city. Saw St. James Palace, Waterloo Bridge, Lord Mayor's home, Charles Dicken's old Curiosity Shop, and all the places I have been to before. Also, the Bomb-out sites which were hit Dec. 29th, 1940. Blocks and blocks in the east end.
MAY 7, 1945
Teletype came in about 9 a.m. telling of the end of the war!
MAY 7, 1945
They broadcast it to the public this afternoon. Unconfirmed, however. German radio say they surrendered. Don't feel very elated over it all. No celebration here.
MAY 8, 1945
TODAY IS VE DAY! Churchill and Truman announced it at 3 p.m. People are really celebrating in London and Norwich.' Yesterday, on the Continental trip to Germany, a ship from our division went down and 14 men killed. Another went down today. Am kinda leery about going.
MAY 10, 1945
Went on flight to Continent today. First time I've been off the island in 2½ years. Flew with Capt. Wynes in the lead ship of Division. There were 17 of us on our ship. Took off at 9:30 a.m., crossed channel to Ostend, Belgium, Over Brussels, down past St. Vith where the Germans broke through in Dec. 44; over part of Luxemburg, down to the Rhine River to Ludwigshaven and Mannheim. Then over to Ashaffenburg and Frankfurt, up to Koblenz to the junction of the Rhine and Moselle. Then up to Bonn and Cologne. The Cathedral is practically the only building left standing in Cologne even close to the cathedral. All these cities are like ghost towns. Then up to Dusseldorf where I didn't see one building that wasn't bombed out. All the bridges up the Rhine were bombed out, including the Remagen bridge. We saw three prisoner of war camps. One must have been ten miles long and about three miles wide. Every inch was taken up by prisoners. I believe I saw at least a million men today. From Duseldorf, we flew over the flooded parts of Holland and over Rotterdam and The Hague. Back over the North Sea and landed at 3:30 PM. What a wonderful trip.
MAY 11, 1945
Edkins and crew cracked up near Watton today. All six men were injured pretty badly and the ship was demolished.
Got an article today from Aunt Alma about Mary Garden. She was the lady we met in Aberdeen. Star of silent movies and opera,
MAY 13, 1945
Capt. Doughten gave me orders to start packing today. Looks pretty definite that we'll go home in about one month.
MAY 15, 1945
Our squadron is supposed to be alerted. Don't know for sure. Doughter is going to 14th Wing. So are Paul and Peaches. Gen. Kepner has taken over the 8th AF. He was formerly head of 2nd Air Division.
MAY 25th, 1945
Started working day and night since May 16th. Not getting much sleep and have to take Benzedrine to keep going. Have most of the QM stuff shipped out and the Medical stuff is done. CWS equipment will be out in a couple days. Still have TAT equip. to do, not to mention bicycles, show downs, PCS piro. etc. We were alerted about the 17th to be ready to go. Will leave around the 1st of June. All the key personnel must stay until last, and go by boat. Paul, Peaches, and Capt. Doughter aren't going to 14th Wing.
We have three ships taking off tomorrow, and the rest Monday and Wednesday Nineteen altogether. Six left last Monday. Don went on one. There will be less than 200 of us to go by boat. Sam called me up and will be over Mon. or Tues. Nineteen groups are going home within the next two months. We are the first to go.
We got some men in today from the 56th Fighter Group. They replaced men from here with less than three months overseas. We will get two more Bronze Stars, since they split up the German Campaign into The Rhine, Ardennes, and Central Germany. That will make NINE STARS and I'll have 106 points. We won't get the Stars until we get home because they won't have time to enter them on our service records.
Looks like we'll dock in Boston. The ships (our planes) are landing at Bradley Field in Connecticut. We'll get 30 days furloughs. This movement is really screwed up. They have changes every day and teletype about three feet long. Am about ready to tear my hair out! Didn't have a chance to shave for five days because we've been so busy. It's rumored that we'll be in A.T.C. back in the States on the East Coast. Some Groups will end up in South America and Africa.
MAY 27, 1945
Got rid of 40 boxes of C.W.S. stuff today and 20 boxes of T.A.T. ready to go. Just about through. Nine ships are leaving tomorrow and the rest go Wednesday. It looks as if we'll leave around June 7th. Some Colonels inspected my books today and I got some very good compliments. They are from USSTAT~ Said I have done a remarkable job.
Major Linch told me today that he, myself and the 1st Sgt. must go to our own base, as soon as we dock, and get the place set up. I won't be able to take my furlough till the rest get back. Don't know where we'll be stationed yet.
MAY 28, 1945
Ships didn't take off today. Valley, Wales can't handle them now. They had a broadcast from the field today about the 44th going home. Lord Ironsides spoke. It will be broadcast over all the States this Saturday, and another one on the following Sat.
MAY 29, 1945
Sam came over last night and left this morning. Was glad to see him before we leave. Have all my equipment shipped out except T.A.T. which is ready. Plenty of work to do yet, however.
MAY 30, 1945
Ships finally left today. We have only two more to go. Went to a meeting in the War Room with Major Linch. All the Brass were there, including Col. Smith. They only succeeded in confusing me. Now I know why this movement is so screwed up.
MAY 31, 1945
Went to another meeting this morning. Same deal! Everything is screwed up.
JUNE 1, 1945
The last of the planes left today. Most of my work is done. Worked until 2:30 a.m. again. Shouldn't have much more night work.
JUNE 4, 1945
Well, we're about ready to go. Will be restricted tomorrow. Am working again tonight. Should leave here about the 7th. Supposed to catch one of the Queen Mary ships. I believe the Mary is sailing the 9th.
Got a letter from Nick and he's okay. He should be home soon. I believe he's in France, but he didn't say.
JUNE 7, 1945
Today we were supposed to leave, but we are held up. I still think we'll go on the Queen Mary, which is supposed to sail on the 14th. Looks as if we'll leave here around the 12th. Went to town yesterday. Saw Ralph and had a long talk. He is going home around the 25th with Rackheath
As long as we remain here, I still have plenty of work to do. All of the planes are now in the States.
We have been issued new combat jackets in place of field jackets.
JUNE 10, 1945
Got rid of all our T.A.T. baggage today. Also, all the TAT equipment. All we're doing now is waiting. We'll leave on Wednesday or Thursday. Will have a 14-hour train ride.
JUNE 12, 1945
We will leave on Thursday the 14th and go to Greenock, Scotland.
JUNE 14, 1945
Left Shipdham today and caught a train at Yaxham. Travelling all" night,, via Doncaster, York, New Castle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
JUNE 15, 1945
Arrived in Greanock at 0800. Detrained and got a tug boat which took us to the Queen Mary. We get two meals a day and sleep on deck one night and below one night. About 17,000 men aboard, also 400 nurses. Ship pulled out today at 5 PM. Met Kenneth Kinsey on board. He's a sailor. He was in southern England for a year.
JUNE 16, 1945
Nice day today. ' Plenty of sunshine. Nice on sun deck. This is a really beautiful ship. The promenade Deck is terrific. They have a~ mess hall over the swimming pool.
JUNE 17, 1945 SUNDAY
Rough today. Wind is so strong you can't stand in it. We are supposed to get in the harbor Tuesday, dock Wednesday. Will probably go to Kilmer for about one day. Lots of publicity for this trip. This is the first boat load of only returning veterans. Be lots of bands, etc. in New York for us.
JUNE 18, 1945
Nice out today. Somewhat warmer. Everything OK.
JUNE 19, 1945
Must be pretty close to New York. Should get off the boat tomorrow. Really hot last night and this morning - which is something new for us!
JUNE 20, 1945
Came into N.Y. harbor today. Everyone is on deck. Two Navy Blimps, helicopter's, P-47s, Launches with bands of WACs and WAVEs, etc. Came out to meet us. Came by the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson river. Docked at Pier 90. Bands and crowds here, also. Wonderful feeling. We got off the boat about 10 p.m. Red Cross gave us inilk on the pier. We got on a ferry and went down to Jersey City. Beautiful sight down river with all the lights we've seen in 2½ years. Got on train at Jersey City for Camp Shanks.
JUNE 21, 1945
Got into Camp Shanks. Had a band there for us, and a steak dinner at 4 a.m. Today didn't do much but eat ice cream and drink milk. Phoned Mom and Ruth.
JUNE 22, 1945
One sailor was killed on the Queen Mary when he fell to a tug below. Everyone is leaving today for their reception stations. Paul will be home soon. The advance party will leave Monday. We get passes tomorrow.
JUNE 23, 1945
Went to New York this morning by bus. Caught the 8th Ave. subway from 168th to 34th and met Ruth at Penn Station. Went to Hotel Penn and then out to Roselle Park and saw Lorrie, her father, and Ruth's folks. They were all swell to me. Lorrie saw the QM come up the river while at work, Lorrie and Ruth came back to NY with me. Left at midnight.
JUNE 24, 1945
Boarded a train for Shanks for Sioux Falls, S.D. Got a hot coach and plenty dirty. Went upstate NY, past West Point and Hyde Park. Saw Roosevelt's home. Up to Albany and then over to Syracuse and Buffalo. On to Cleveland, and through to Chicago.
JUNE 25, 1945
Had a lay-over in Chicago and got cleaned up and went down to the Loop for/awhile. Left Chicago at 9 p.m., up to Madison, Wisc.
JUNE 26, 1945
From Madison we went up to St. Paul and Minneapolis. Stopped at St. Paul for a couple hours. Then down to Sioux Falls. This is just a redeployment center and will be there a short time after furloughs for processing. The Group will go to Great Bend, Kansas for conversion to B-29s. I may go along with the Group, or be discharged.
JULY 31, 1945
Back to Sioux Falls, met Paul, Capt McKee and most of the boys. Don Swem and John Walmsley got married while home.
AUGUST 4, 1945
Finished processing today and am 4B (eventual discharge). Am supposed to fly to Great Bend on the 9th to check on records. If I go it will be for only a few days.
AUGUST 13, 1945
Started for GB today. Left at noon, went to Worthington, MN. Down to Iowa, to Omaha, etc.
August 14th Arrived in Kansas City, out to GB at midnight. War is over.
AUGUST 19, 1945
Turned over equip to new 44th which is moving - will be occupation AF in the Pacific.