LOOK GOD |
This poem was carried by the wife of Charles L.Starr for 45 years and has been submitted by his daughter Sandra Brown.
Look God, I have never spoken to You,
But now I want to say "How do You do."
You see, God, they told me You didn't exist,
And like a fool I believed all of this.
Last night from a shell hole I saw Your sky,
I figured right then they had told me a lie.
Had I taken time to see the things You made,
I'd have known they weren't calling a spade a spade.
I wonder God if You'd shake my hand,
Somehow I feel that You will understand.
Funny I had to come to this hellish place,
Before I had time to see Your face.
Well, I guess there isn't much more to say.
I'm sure the zero hour will soon be here,
But I'm not afraid since I know You're near.
The signal! Well God I'll have to go,
I like You lots, this I want You to know.
Look now, this will be a horrible fight,
Who knows, I may come to Your house tonight.
Though I wasn't friendly to You before,
I wonder God, if You'd wait at your door?
Look, I'm crying! Me! Shedding tears,
I wish I had known You these many years.
Well I have to go now God, so I'll say goodbye,
Strange, since I met You, I'm not afraid to die.
The above poem was found on the body of an Unknown Yank killed in action
My Life in the Service
Charles L. Starr Jr.
Rank - Lieutenant
S.No. - 190606
Unit - 67 Bomb Sqd. - 44 Bomb Grp.
Stationed at - Bengasi,Africa
Religion - Protestant
Date of Birth _ Oct. 14-1916
Wt - 198 lbs
Height - 6' 1 ½"
Hair & Eyes - Brown
Service Record, Transfers & Changes Rank in "My Life in the Service"
I joined the R.C.A.F. on Oct. lst 1941 at Vancover, B.C., where I undertook Pilot training. On Oct. 2nd I was sent to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to a classification depot and then to I.T.S. at Saskatchewan ,Sask.
On completion of this training I went to Boundry Bay, B.C. for D-F-T-S on Feb 10, 1942 and finished on April 8-1942. Then I was sent to S-F-T-S. at Mac Leod, Alberta on May 10-1942 where I rec'd my Wings. I was posted to Active Service overseas. I left Halifax, Nova Socotia, Sept 28 - 1942 for England on the Queen M. Elizabeth. Arriving in Grenock, Scotland, 4 days later. We were stationed at Bournemouth, England for 10 days and then went into the R.A.F.
On March 20th 1942 I transferred from the R.A.F. to the U.S. Army Air Corp. and after a month of Officers training we posted to combat duty with the 44th Bomb Group, 67th Bomb Sqd on B-24 Liberators. On June 26th 1943 under very secret orders we were posted to North Africa and landed in Bengazi, Libya on June 28th.1943.
On entering the Service on Sept 29 - 1941 I weighed 207 lbs.
Citations, Awards and Decorations (this was not completed)
Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak-Leaf Cluster
Martin Richards - Vancover B.C. Capt. Kolliner, Pilot
Ernest Starr Lt. Rinehart, Pilot
John Gilsow Capt. David Arnold (my bombadier)
Robert Pinneo (came home with me from Saskatchawan for Christmas dinner)
Air Marshal. Breadmer R.C.A.F.
General Hodger U.S.Army
General Eaker U.S.Army
General Andrews U.S.Army
General Devers U.S.Army
Colonel Johnson (my C.O.)
Colonel Kane (98 Group. C.O.)
The following pages contain the Diary of "My Life in the Service".
Since I have received this book quite late in my career as a Serviceman there are many there are many things which I cannot enter in it which would be interesting but they have been too numerous to remember. Many of them are important and many are amusing so I shall start with a short resieme of the past and then follow with the future.
My life in the Service was started back in Sept. 194l when working at Starr and Naso's. I found that with rationing and Priorities, my position as part owner in that business establishment was not secure and that in time I would probably go bankrupt because of the war even though the U.S. had not entered it yet.
Feeling as tho sooner or later I would be called upon to do my little bit I decided it would be best to be in something I liked so I chose the flying end.
Being married it was impossible to enter the U.S. Air Corp so I joined the R.C.A.F. with the idea of someday transfering to the U.S. Army Air Corp. After entering this service, I soon found out that the training would be very hard and much work but I was determined to receive my Wings and with the help of God I did on August 27th 1942. At this time I was given my posting overseas, and also two wk's leave to visit my family before sailing for active Service overseas. I ask to be posted overseas because I thought it was there I belonged and also being a wild devil all my life I guess I was looking for the excitement which I found.
My brother, Jim, guessed it from the first but my wife being a grand believer in me believed my story of not wanting it. On my way home I thought of an easy way in which to say, Good Bye to my loved ones and make it easy for them. This was done by inventing a story of returning to Canada and getting transferred to the U.S.Forces. The part I play in this I think was well done and my wife also played her part very well. Of course Mother and Dad had an intuition that I was going for a long time. My leaving that day was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I knew this may be the last time I would ever see them but I didn't want them to know how I felt. Soon I began to realize what this all meant and I actually felt ashamed of myself for making them so miserable.
I traveled across Canada by train meeting my class mates all the way across and they were all feeling quite differently. We arrived in Halifax,Nova Scotia early in Sept and awaited for transportation to England, which finally arrived. This was to be on the __________________. After arriving on board this ship we found that it had just finished a trip with German Prisoners on board from Egypt. There were so many bugs and lice that we all walked off the boat, and back to our billets where we waited for the Queen Elisabeth.
After crossing the Atlantic we landed in Grenock, Scotland and immediately boarded a train for Bournesmouth, England on the English Channel. This was a lovely Summer resort town and gave us a good impression of England, which was soon to be changed. Since the winter was just approaching we began to have rain and fog which became unbearable at times and I think that was the coldest winter I have ever seen. I used eight blankets and flying suit to keep warm.
We were soon posted to a flying station where we met some fine flyers of all nationalities. The Polish flyers were the best and still are the best. All the lads I came over with and myself became great buddies but were soon to be Separated and sent to different Combat Squadrons, some on fighters and some on heavy Bombers.
When I reached Bournemouth I filed application to transfer to the Army Air Corp. but after thinking it all over I thought maybe I would like the Navy Air Corp. which I looked into but was soon disillusioned mostly by the type of work to be done. I rec'd word later that all transfers had been stopped so I spent some time trying to convince the High Commissioner of Canada that we had the right to transfer. It finally came thru and I was accepted into the U.S.A. Air Corp. with the rank of F/O which was given all transferees. This Rank paid me $372.00 per month where a 2nd Lt. Was only $352.00 We were quite happy. We were then given our choice of aircraft we wanted. Some wanted fighters but I chose heavy Bombers - then I had to choose between the "Fortress" & Liberators. I chose Liberators for several reasons, it had longer range, easier to bail out of, and above all had better motors - It also carries a larger bomb load and is faster than the Fortress.
I then joined the 44th Bomb Group, 67th Bomb Sqd. Of Lib's at Chipdaru, Norfolk County, few miles from the Channel. This group had been almost completely wiped out in the six months they were in England. The reason for this was the small amount of Liberators in England. In the Air your greatest safety is in the number of planes with you. They had been going over Europe with as few as nine Libs'.
After a couple of raids over Europe we were taken off of combat to be strengthened by Lib's from the States which incidentally was about the time of the coal strikes in the U.S. We needed Airplanes very badly and just couldn't get them. Then one day we were briefed and the Colonel, Our Commanding Officer gave us the news that we were to start practicing for low level Bombing. This was like being hit in the head with an axe because everyone knew it was suicide but we were all great admirers of the Colonel and had faith in him.
After practicing for weeks on this the rumor began to start that we were going to leave the ETO for another theater of war. No one knew where or when and in fact there were few that believed it, but gradually things began shaping up and one day we left England for a destination known only to a few of the Leaders. That day we flew to the farthest tip of England where we refueled and stayed all night. Early the next morning we took off for Africa across the dangerous waters of the Bay of Biscay. About noon we spotted Spain on our port wing and flew for quite a time around Spain & Portugal to the Rock of Gibralter. We finally landed that evening in Oraw,French Morocco, where we refueled and stayed all night. The next day traveling across Tunisia, the mareth line past Tripoli and landed in the hell hole of Bhengasi, Libya where I am writing this.
Bengasi is an African city of about 30,000 people in peace time but since there has been so many important battles in its streets and has changed hands so numerously it has become a grave yard of many nationalities. It used to have a population of mostly Italian in the Orabico or the farms & outskirts. Now there are no Italians and few Arabians . One thing I note of this city is its beautiful Catholic Cathedral It has been bombed but little damage done to it. Another amazing thing is the number of different languages these nations speak.
The kids try to sell us old Italian money for souvenirs. I have made a total of ten raids from our base on Sicily & Italy. On that day of July 10th 1943 when the invasion of Sicily occurred we were kept very busy bombing Air-droves over that Island.
END OF DIARY ENTRIES.
It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the the campus organizer,
Who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the Soldier
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
"We must never forget that freedom is never really free; it is the most costly thing in the world. Freedom is never paid for in a lump sum, installments come due in every generation. All any of us can do is offer the generation that follows a chance for freedom."