World War II
History and Biography
(Taken from a letter sent to Will Lundy)
The art of writing or deciphering messages in code
Until recently, little to nothing has appeared in the 44th BG records concerning this activity at Station AAF-115, Shipdham.
Sgt. Cyril Nieman, recently located in Indiana, was kind enough to give some descriptions of his job and his activities in this work while at Shipdham.
He stated that he was 20 years old when he arrived at Shipdham in the summer of 1943 after having had training in this work in the US. He states that there were eight men assigned to the 44th BG; one of whom was Sgt. George W. Bauer. They had a very unusual work schedule in that they were on duty for 24 hours, under tight security. Then, off-duty for 72 hours. So on off-hours they were free to travel as they pleased.
Sgt. Nieman said that he became tired of people stealing his bicycle, so he went to Norwich and purchased a special bike that would be difficult to steal. So he used this bike to travel about the countryside, became very familiar with that area. He also traveled to London quite often, especially after he met a very nice young lady there.
On one of his trips to London, he left his bicycle at the Thuxton Train Station after paying this agent a pound for safe keeping of it. But upon his return, both the bicycle and the agent had disappeared.
Cy stated that he was active in sports, played both softball and hard ball, a catcher on the Shipdham teams, and was active in basketball as well. There was plenty of time off for these activities.
Having a girlfriend in London, Sgt. Nieman said that he volunteered to be one of the small party of men who remained on base at the end of the war to protect it until they were finally replaced by the RAF. There was a good reason for this act as he had married his girlfriend and was able to spend much time with her before the finally closing of the base. His wife finally got passage on a ship with the G.I. Brides, but was eight months more before they finally joined again the U.S. They had three children and now eight grandchildren.
While at Shipdham, his friends learned that one of the officer barracks in his site had a few vacant rooms at the back of the barracks. Someone suggested that it would be great if they could fix it up as a pub, make life easier for them and some of their friends. So they scrounged around the area, came up with a piano, toaster oven, furniture, a bar, etc. "Cy" had a great contact near the base with fresh eggs for sale and in good numbers, so this group obtained bread, butter, cheese, etc. from the Mess Hall and served good fried egg, canned beef, and cheese sandwiches. Beer was available in large quantities, as well as other liquors, so they soon had many customers, with everyone having a great time. But one day, after the word got out, he was ordered to report to the Adjutant, who questioned him about a business being held on government properties without permission and big profits. Cy thought for a minute about offering to make donations, but thought better of it and the "Pub" was deactivated. Cy never did identify which site this was located.