PASS TO LONDON

 

Got up at about 9:00 a.m. and started to get ready to go to London. Left for London at 2:00 p.m. Arrived at about 5:30 p.m. Got a room at the Red Cross, all hotels crowded. Visited Piccadilly then went to a dance at Covent Gardens.   Took a walk around town and saw the Parliament, Westminster Abby, Scotland Yard, and the Thames River. Stood under “Big Ben” at 12:00 p.m.

 

Stayed at Russell Square last night at Red Cross. Tried to get a hotel this morning, but no deal, so we got rooms at Red Cross again. We saw Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Waterloo Bridge and went through Westminster Abbey. Also saw Charing Cross Rd. & Lambeth Rd., the Mall, and the Pall Mall, Marble Arch. Visited Piccadilly again that night, very interesting.

 

Saw some Rocket bombs.

 

Got up at 8:30 a.m. and went out shopping. Went out to Marble Arch (shopping district) and bought a few things. Had to catch a train back to camp at 1:00 p.m. Got back to camp at about 4:00 p.m. and had the best meal in three days, and first glass of water. Got my rations. Hitting the sack early tonight, all corked out.

31 TO GO

FOURTH MISSION TODAY – NEUNKIRCHEN, GERMANY

 

Got up at 4:00a.m. Briefed at 5:00a.m. Took off at 8:55a.m.   Very little flack, inaccurate. Dropped ten 500 lbs. G.P.’s on a Benzol factory and fuel plants. We used P.F.F. Were only over enemy territory for 45 minutes. Flew over target at 25,000 ft.   Went right across the middle of France. 37 degrees below 0.   Got back at 3:45p.m. On Oxygen for 3 hours.

 

 

30 TO GO

FIFTH MISSION TODAY – LUDWICKSHAVEN, GERMANY

 

Got up at 3:30a.m. Briefed at 4:30a.m. Took off 7:15a.m.   Heavy flak, got about 115 holes in our ship. Lost No. 1 engine over target. Five holes in the waist, damn close.   One in the nose, one in gas tank, a couple in the stabilizer and more all over the ship. Dropped 6 – 1,000 lbs. G.P. on a chemical plant. I took 16 pictures of the bomb run. Saw 3 ships go down. 32 degrees below 0.

 

Seven hour mission, 4 hours oxygen, rough as hell.

 

29 TO GO

SIXTH MISSION TODAY – MUEMUNSTER, GERMANY

 

GOT AIR MEDAL

 

Got up at 2:30a.m. Briefed at 4:00a.m. Moderate flak, got one hit on our ship, in the wing. Dropped 20 – 250 lbs. G.P.’s on an airport. Took off at 6:30a.m. and landed at 2:20p.m.   Three hours on oxygen. 35 degrees below 0. Thought we were in for a rough one, but it turned out pretty nice.   Passed over Denmark. What I need is a good nights sleep.   Our own ship is in repair from yesterdays mission, will take a week to fix it up.

 

No mission today, but I’ll be damned if we didn’t go on a high altitude practice mission. Warren Copp came down to visit me and stayed for two days. We had a great time talking over old times. He’s stationed somewhere in the north of England. We where five hours on the mission, three on oxygen. They got us up at 7:30a.m., boy am I beat. After we came down Copp and I shot the bull the rest of the day.

They got us up at 3:00a.m. this morning to go on a mission. We briefed at 4:00a.m. and took off at about 8:15a.m. The fog was so think you couldn’t see your hand in front of you, so they called us back. We were all damn glad, because it was a really rough target, Muersberg.

 

Copp left this morning, we’re going to meet in London soon.   Got some sleep this afternoon. We were up for three hours.

 

28 TO GO

SEVENTH MISSION TODAY – SAARBRUCKEN, GERMANY

 

Woke up at 2:00a.m. this morning (my aching back).  Briefed at 3:30a.m. Took off at 6:15a.m. Moderate flak, we didn’t get any of it. Primary target – front lines. Secondary – marshalling yards at Saarbrucken, hit secondary. Dropped 6 – 1,000lbs. G.P.’s   Alt. 23,000 (P.F.F.) 45 degrees below 0. Saw one ship go down and explode into small pieces. Saw 2 chutes. Landed at 1:00p.m. Oxygen 5 hours.

No mission today, thank God. Slept till about 10:30a.m. Played a few games of ping-pong and some snookers. Cleaned our guns and took life easy. The crew in our hut that have just completed their missions are leaving tomorrow and they gave us all the stuff they didn’t want. Dagley gave me his bike and iron. They also gave us the radio. Hate to see them go, they were good boys. I really envy them.

EIGHTH MISSION TODAY – OBER LAHNSTEIN, AUS.

 

Got up at 4:00a.m. Briefed at 5:00a.m. Took off at 8:20a.m.   Landed 2:20p.m. Flak was light, but we got it in four places.   One tail-gunner was wounded. Dropped 10 – 500lbs. on marshaling yards (P.F.F.). Good fighter support. Enemy planes were in the vicinity, saw none. Bombed at 25,000 ft.   34 degrees below 0. Oxygen for four hours. Our group completed it’s 100th mission today, we’re having a party soon.

Stand down today. Slept till about 10:00a.m. Didn’t get up till 11:00a.m. (it was too damn cold to get out of bed). Went to ground school for about 10 minutes and took off. Bolton and I made a few sorties to steal some wood. Fixed up my newly acquired bike. It works pretty good now. Went to the show tonight and saw “Northern Pursuit”. Ward and I had something to eat and hit the sack.

 

Slept toll 10:30 a.m. this morning and thought we were going to have an easy day, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t spring a high altitude mission on us. Briefed at 11:45 a.m..   Took off at 1:15 p.m. and landed at 5:00 p.m. Two hours on oxygen. We hit some pretty bad weather coming back and had to sweat it out. Listened to the radio and shot the bull at night. Hit the sack early.

Stayed down again today, the weather is still bad. Slept late again and took it easy most of the day. Played a little ping-pong and snooker with Ratliff and Ward. Read a book called “I Walked in the Sun”. It was a pretty good book. Wrote some letters and shot the bull, as usual. Hit the sack early and did a little more reading. We go to London again tomorrow.

 

LONDON

 

Got up early today and got our stuff ready to go to London. We fixed it up with the C.O. to get our passes early and we’re leaving at 9:00 a.m. instead of 2:00 p.m. Rode into London with the whole crew and Ward and I went to look for a hotel. We couldn’t get any good rooms, but finally got a pretty good deal. We stayed at the Broadway Hotel on Baker Street. We visited Madame Tussard’s Wax museum. Went to a show at Whitehall.

 

Got up at 9:30a.m. Ate breakfast and did some shopping. We didn’t buy anything, just looked around. Had our pictures taken. Ward fixed us up with dates with a couple of Wac’s, but they didn’t show up, so we met a couple of nice English girls and went with them. We went to a dance at Covent Gardens, had a pretty good time. Got something to eat at 12:00p.m. at Lyon’s and went back to our hotel. We ate six meals today, full meals (rationing you know).

Got up at 9:00a.m. ate and went out to see the Tower of London. It was raining like the devil, but it was very interesting and we had a very good guide. We had to catch a train back to camp at 1:00p.m. at Liverpool St. and after a little mix-up on the Underground we made it. Got back to camp at 3:30p.m., ate dinner and read “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” a very good book.

 

No mission again today, because of the weather. It’s still raining. We’ve been changed from a strategic bomb group to a tactical group. It should mean shorter missions, but I have my doubts. It may be a good deal. We’ll be supporting the ground forces. Not much more doing. Read a little. Got my rations. Hit the sack early. Should be a mission tomorrow, but the weather does not look too good.

 

Got up at 4:00a.m. this morning to go on a mission. Briefed at 5:00a.m. Got our guns in, got dressed and I’ll be damned if they didn’t scrub it (two red flares from the tower). Put my stuff away and made a bee line for my sack. Slept till 12:30p.m. got up, ate lunch. Had a meeting of all crews for P.W. information. The weather is still miserable, so I stayed in the hut and read till 11:00p.m.

 

Got us up again this morning at 3:30a.m. Briefed at 4:45a.m.   Took off at 8:15a.m. We were to bomb an air field somewhere in Germany, but the weather was against us. We got all the way to the I.P. when they called us back. We really got screwed. We may get credit for the mission, but I doubt it. We finally received our Air Medals, I’m sending it home. Rained again tonight. Read a little, hit the hay early.

 

26 TO GO

NINETH MISSION – COOK’S TOUR OF GERMANY

 

Got up at 4:00a.m. Briefed at 5:00a.m. Took off at 8:00a.m. We encountered flak on about 12 occasions and some of it too damn close. We set out to bomb Mersberg, but the weather was with us, so we didn’t. We got as far as the I.P. and turned. We opened our bomb-bays on the target of last resort, but we didn’t bomb that either. We then took a tour of Germany and every son-of-a-German was shooting at us.

 

Some fun, landed at 2:30p.m. Oxygen 6 hours. 40 degrees below 0.

 

Stand down today, because of weather. Got up at 10:00a.m. We started the celebrations on our 100th mission party. Boy, what a party. Everyone got soused (not me of course). They had a stage play and it was very good, “Blithe Spirit”. Also had a midnight show. All the free beer you could drink and all the food you could eat. Our group has one of the best records in the 8th Air Force. Got to bed about 2:00a.m.

THANKSGIVING

 

Stand down all day today, for the 100th mission party and Thanksgiving. We wouldn’t have stayed down if it wasn’t for the party. Had a swell supper, with all the trimmings. All the turkey you could eat. Went into Ipswich with Ward & Belt. Had another Thanksgiving dinner at the Red Cross and went to a dance. Got back to the base at 2:15a.m. Just our luck, we’re stood down again tomorrow, I thought sure we’d fly. It was a beautiful night.

 

Got up at 10:30a.m. Got my first Christmas present from Dot & the kids. Don’t know whether to open it yet or wait till Christmas??? We were supposed to be stood down for training, but we didn’t do a damn thing. Our group has dropped 12,000,000 lbs. of bombs on Germany in 100 missions. We were alerted early for a mission tomorrow, it must be a rough one. We found out we are on the list to go, so we hit the sack early.

 

 

25 TO GO

TENTH MISSION – MERSCHBURG, GERMANY

 

Got up at 2:30a.m. Briefed at 4:00a.m. Took off at 7:30a.m. We finally got around to hitting this place, after three scrubs. The flak was the second worst in Ger. And was very intense and accurate. We lost three ships out of our Group. We dropped 12 – 500 lbs. G.P.’s on the oil refinery. P.F.F. Good fighter support. 48 degrees below 0. Landed at 4:15p.m. Oxygen for6 1/2 hours. Saw one ship blow up. It was a rough one. Got one flak hole.

 

24 TO GO

ELEVENTH MISSION – HAMM, GERMANY

 

Got up at 5:00a.m. Briefed 6:00a.m. Took off at 9:00a.m. We didn’t get much flak, but the guys behind us did. This is the second time we hit this target. We hit the marshaling yards again with 12 – 500 lbs. G.P.’s. Bombed at 27,000 (P.F.F.). We saw another ship blow up, two chutes. Landed at 3:30p.m. Oxygen for 4½ hours. 39 degrees below 0. One of our ships is missing. Saw some V-2 rockets. It was a pretty easy mission for us. Another crew lost their ship yesterday, the pilot was killed.

 

23 TO GO

TWELVETH MISSION – BENGIN, GERMANY

 

Woke up 5:00 a.m. Briefed at 6:00 a.m. Took off at 9:20 a.m. Moderate flak from I.P. half way to target. No battle damage. Bombed marshaling yards with 34 – 100 lbs. G.P.’s & 2 – 500 lbs. incendiaries at 26,000 ft. 9 minute bomb run (P.F.F.) Oxygen for 41/2 hours. Landed at 2:45 p.m. 40 degrees below 0. Saw a parachute from a fighter at 30,000 ft. Also some more V-2 rockets. Got our oak-leaf cluster today. Good fighter support. We’ve finished 1/3 of our missions.

 

No mission today, thank God. Slept till 10:00a.m. Nothing to do all day, except for a meeting of all combat crews at 1:00p.m. Lasted for 15 minutes. Played a few games of snooker with Ratliff and Ward (won a shilling from Ward). Cromwell’s crew (one of the crews in our barracks) went on “flak” leave. They have 20 missions. I hope we go around Christmas time. We went down to the “Aero Club” at night and had a bite to eat.

Ground school today.  Assembly at 8:30. Had about 20 minutes of Jam Handy and was finished for the day. Fixed a flat on my bike and what a hell of a job it was. It took me three hours. The mice are getting bad in our hut, they kept me awake last night. Bolt, Hawkens, Kenny, and myself made a few sorties for wood. Going to the dance tonight and London tomorrow.

 

LONDON

 

Got up at 8:00. Got ready, got our passes and took off for London at 9:30a.m. Arrived in London at about 12:00a.m. with Haap, Collin, Bolton, Rivas. Got a room at the Regent Palace Hotel, one of the best in London, and had something to eat. We had steaks at the Victory Café (real steaks). Did some shopping the rest of the afternoon and met a couple of girls that night and took them dancing.