Saturday, July 13, 2019

Arnold Watterson's War Diary with the 384th Bomb Group

    Arnold Watterson, a native of Cridersville, Ohio, enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942. After completing basic training at Camp Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, he was sent to aircraft mechanic's school at Keesler Field, Mississippi. He graduated in November 1942 then spent a month at B-17 school with Boeing in Seattle, Washington at which point he was assigned to the 546th Bomb Squadron, part of the newly formed 384th Bomb Group flying B-17s. The group completed its stateside training and by June 1943 was on its way to England where it was assigned to the 8th Air Force. His diary picks up the story from that point.

Corporal Arnold Watterson and his bride Ruby Hinkle
on their wedding day in April 9, 1943. 

Watterson served two years as part of a ground crew at Grafton Underwood England during World War II. His primary job was "keeping 'em flying." While he initially worked as a mechanic, in January 1944, he was promoted to crew chief and was apparently a very good one- he was awarded the Bronze Star for keeping his B-17 named "The Challenger" flying for 100 straight missions. He remained with the squadron until the end of the war and was discharged in September 1945.

    He kept a war diary for most of his time while in England. Most of his entries consist of just one or two lines but give a sense of life for the ground crews of the 8th Air Force. He also took quite a few pictures of friends and life on the base at Grafton Underwood, most of which I have shared with the 384th Bomb Group website which can be viewed here.

Special thanks go to my step dad John Watterson for preserving this diary and photos which paint a fascinating picture of life with the 8th Air Force during World War II.

Private Watterson with his future wife Ruby Hinkle upon completion of basic training at Camp Benjamin Harrison, Indiana in June 1942.

June 1, 1943
At sea somewhere on the Atlantic. Stormed yesterday but OK today. Not sure of destination but should arrive tomorrow. (Ed. Note: Arnold Watterson left Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, sailing aboard the Queen Elizabeth on May 27, 1943 at the Port of New York.)

June 2, 1943
Entered the Firth of Clyde at 06:00. Dropped anchor at Greenock, Scotland, welcomed by hundreds of seagulls. Threw overboard everything loose. (Greenock is downstream from Glasgow.)

June 3, 1943
Boarded the ferry at 10:00, welcomed at dock by Scottish band. The land felt very good. Boarded train and rode through prettiest country ever seen.

June 4, 1943
Arrived here at 12:15, 20 minute truck ride to camp. Ate chow and to bed by 03:00. Got up at 11:00 and slowly getting settled. Looks like a nice place. (‘Here’ is Station No. 106, Grafton Underwood Field, Northamptonshire, England.)

June 5, 1943
Awakened by alarm at 12:20-no planes seen but gunfire could be heard. Walked about a mile out to planes, ours not here yet.

June 6, 1943
Removed de-icer boots, pretty good to be working again. June’s birthday-poor kid. Getting settled, not much work. (Watterson’s reference to June is a remembrance of his younger sister who had died the previous year.)

June 7, 1943
Very nice day, pulled inspection on 026 (42-30026 B-17F-80-BO “Battle Wagon”). My ship not here yet, but expect it tomorrow. Raining hard tonight. Good night for alert.

June 8, 1943
A very nice day. 036 came in tonight but I haven’t seen it yet (42-30036 B-17F-85-BO, no name). Got our exchange currency tonight and rations, too late for me to get any. First mail call.

June 10, 1943
Planes overhead all the time, getting pretty good at a tight formation. British planes passed over all night long.

June 11, 1943
Worked some in the A.M., slept in the afternoon. Back mail came in and I got 12 letters. Ruby asks if I still love her- crazy kid. (Ruby is name of Watterson’s wife.)

June 12, 1943
Guard duty tonight. Plane flew all afternoon so no work to do. Had lecture on ground defense-some laugh.

June 13, 1943
First V-mail from Mom. Washed clothes this A.M., rummaged around wreck this afternoon. (036 referenced in June 8th entry had mid air collision over Grafton Underwood on June 12th.) Another nice day. 005 came in today. (42-30005 B-17F-80-BO ‘Salvage Queen’)

June 14, 1943
Sort of chilly today but not bad. Received some photos from Ruby-do they look good. Here’s a kiss, honey.

June 15, 1943
Payday-this money won’t even fit in my bill fold. Have hopes of going to town soon. Raining today.

June 16, 1943
Finished 005 today. Out of work again. Expect to get another plane same day. Think I’ll be assistant crew chief on it.

June 17, 1943
Finished up 005. Using inflation jacks on P.T.’s (Sgt. Percy T. Francis) ship. Started plane with oil cooler out-some mess.

June 18, 1943
Got a new ship-058. (42-30058 B-17F-85-BO, not named, lost in action June 26, 1943). Hope we have better luck this time. Rained all day and night.

June 19, 1943
Nice day-just about done modifying new ship. All personnel restricted to post for some reason-mission?

June 21, 1943
Slowly getting 058 modified. As fast as we add a part, someone takes it off. Very disgusting.

June 22, 1943
Our first combat mission, group lost two planes. 005 (Salvage Queen) got shot up pretty bad, waist gunner hurt, lots of excitement for a change. Ours didn’t go.
Mission to General Motors Truck Factory, Antwerp, Belgium

June 23, 1943
Second mission-no bombs dropped? (Lt. Philip A.) Algar flew our ship-good shape. The whole field sweats the ships out.

June 24, 1943
Guard duty last night, armorers woke me at 12:00 to unload bombs. Washed clothes this A.M., nothing to do. Sure is swell outside, I think I’ll lay in the sun.

June 25, 1943
Stayed in the plane all night-early mission. Weather closed in and the planes came back. Sick as hell in the night-a little better today.
Mission to submarine pens at Hamburg, Germany

June 26, 1943
Another mission-058 blew up in air- (Lt. Joseph) Rosio and (1st Lt. Lykes S.) Henderson (037) lost. No bombs dropped again-everybody mad as hell-too much sacrificed.
Mission to Villacoublay Airfield, Paris, France

June 27, 1943
Free-lanced today-helped (Arthur) Kohn on 026 (Battle Wagon). Everybody calls me Gremlin- in fun of course.

June 28, 1943
Another mission- dropped eggs. No opposition. Worked on (Lawrence) Coon’s new ship, modifying it. Weather still swell.

June 29, 1943
Another trip but couldn’t see target-guess they’re striking airfields. Salvoed bombs on 196 (42-30196 B-17F-90-BO ‘Sad Sack’) to see what caused accident. Someone must be nuts.

June 30, 1943
C2 tonight so off today. Not many drunks showed up. Lieutenant (Thomas) Davis spent most of the night with me. Paid today-lots of gambling.

July 1, 1943
A swell day-no mission. The replacement crews are doing some flying. Writing letters now. Heard rumors of getting bomb bays soon.

July 2, 1943
No plane yet so no work. Spent half a day on the line just laying around. Went to show-some way to win the war.

July 3, 1943
Still no work. Everybody in town tonight-big doings. Just reread letters. Still very much in love-can’t wait to get home.

July 4, 1943
Mission-all back with a few bullet holes. Tom Wheeler arrived as replacements seemed good to see him.

July 5, 1943
U.S. formally took over this field today, parade and flag raising. Some stuff! Mac and I played snooker in the afternoon.

July 6, 1943
Trading all our Tokyo planes for old Fs. Beats me-spent afternoon helping (Crew Chief S/Sgt Jack) Hunter modify his wreck. Eskimo sleeping out.

April 5, 1944
How time flies. Barracks to quiet tonight, so I got to rummaging through my things and found this. Wonder how long I’ll keep it this time. Made crew chief on January 20, 1944-991, which was group lead ship aborted because of lack of oil. (SSgt Jack) Hunter demoted to Private and shipped out. I took his place and had seven missions until ship went down on 1st Big Berlin. Had charge of night crew until getting new ship which was no fun. Changed engines on 211 and 222. Had the hell scared out of me by Lieutenant (Thomas) Davis and his taxiing-he’s crazy. Get in new silver ship 081-looks like a good G.I. job 3-12-1944 (42-97081 B-17G-40-BO, Patricia the Bronx Embalmer, lost in action May 8, 1944). Got in nine missions in March- no mechanical trouble yet. Lieutenant (Joseph) Corcoran pilot, Lieutenant (Gilman) Stewart co-pilot, ship named Patricia-the Bronx Embalmer. April started out rainy and up to now is same- no missions yet this month but are alerted tonight for the first. Spring is definitely here. What I’d give to go fishing.

April 6, 1944
Alerted last night but weather turned bad-no flying all day. Puttered around. Major (George W.) Harris (546th Squadron C.O.) stopped by and asked about plane-looked at shack-that is the nuts. Jake got a new ship. Just heard that Harris went to Captain (Edgar C.) Campbell and requested I be made Tech. Must have made some impression. Ha!

April 8, 1944
Up for a mission but scrubbed. No flying all day so just loafed. P.T. (Percy T. Francis) and I went to Bridgestock in P.M. Two gals fighting over (David C.) Payne’s peanuts.

April 9, 1944
One whole year of married life. A hell of a marriage-almost forgotten what my honey looks like. Up at 3:30 for takeoff at 7:30. Due back at 7:00-weather set in bad, I doubt if they make it home tonight. Longest mission we ever pulled. Went down on another field-Lieutenant (George W.) Schock (Pilot of B-17G 740) was lost today-the nicest fellow I ever met. Hope he’s safe.

April 10, 1944
Our squadron stood down-short mission. Planes came back at noon. Lieutenant (Joseph) Corcoran looked very sheepish when I accused him of F.O. Ship Ok. Made Tech today, so rumor must have been right.

April 11, 1944
Another long mission-11 hours. Boy have we got work! Two outer panels at least, Lord knows what all!

April 12, 1944
The poor thing!! Two wing panels off and one stress plate, no wing tanks damaged-lucky? Got one O.D. job to put back on. Mission recalled today.

April 13, 1944
Changed right hand flap and got right hand panel back on- left hand not finished yet. A swell day-mission to Schweinfurt again- 545th and 547th lost 9 planes. We came off lucky-two aborts in our squadron. Colonel Hewitt stormed all over the place.

April 14, 1944
Plane back in one piece-now to find the rest of it. No mission.

April 15, 1944
Worked to 12:00 P.M. in rain-finally stood down so off to bed.

April 16, 1944
Finally getting settled-still have to remove paint from right hand panel. Mission in A.M. no doubt. Plane seems OK, but never flown since panels removed.

April 18, 1944
Same as yesterday. All present in the barracks this P.M. Weather sort of cloudy.

April 19, 1944
Something big in the wind-saving 081 for ? Not much doing again today. Mission this A.M., all returned OK. Raining tonight- flew yesterday for a change.

April 22, 1944
Scrubbed two missions and finally took off at 4:30, back at 11:00 P.M.

April 23, 1944
Planes back ok, worked till 3:00 P.M. and up at 5:30, scrubbed mission

April 24, 1944
Gone 10 hours today-lots of damage, flaps, nose, plenty of sheet metal. Lieutenant (Bernard J.) Collins finished-was he pleased! Ship caught on fire upon landing and burned up. What fire fighters we got!

April 25, 1944
Every time we turn around there’s more holes. Lots to do-at least four days. Swell weather to work but looks like rain. What I’d give for a good pass. Invasion can’t be far off-planes all over the sky.

April 28, 1944
Finally got the ship fixed, another wing panel job. Now have two O.D. panels on silver ship-sure is pretty.

April 29, 1944
Went to Berlin today-minor damage. Weather still nice.

May 1, 1944
Up all night-take off at 3:30. Very pretty to see of the lights in the darkness. Lieutenant (Bernard J.) Collins came down in P.M. with a quart of wine leaving for ? tomorrow. Sure was a swell guy. Hope he makes out ok.

May 2, 1944
Nice day but windier than I ever saw it. Practice missions in afternoon. Stocker’s plane crashed yesterday-touch landings.

May 7, 1944
Aborted on the ground this A.M. The group’s 100th mission, about the fourth in the E.T.O. to achieve it. Nice today but very chilly at 3:00 A.M.

May 8, 1944
Spent the night on the line, didn’t go until 4:00 P.M. Just across the Channel but it was rough-Patricia ditched in the Channel- 3 got out. Crew from the 547th.

May 9, 1944
Sweated out (Lieutenant Joseph J.) Corcoran on a 544th ship. Sure glad to see him back-came taxiing in a whopping. Thirty missions and not a scratch-in climbing out of the plane he fell off the step. Went to interrogation with them and almost got drunk! Spent rest of the afternoon with the crew laying in the sun and talking.

May 12, 1944
Got another plane today- not very impressed with it. Missing out on lots of missions.

May 15, 1944
100th mission party-very chilly out. Picnic lunch which was very good.

May 22, 1944
Three missions to date and each time shot up badly. Worked until 4:00 A.M. last night. Now have a wing panel job. Weather is still nice which is a good thing.

May 27, 1944
(Winston) Riley and I just back from London. Nothing exciting happened. Got to daydreaming on the train that I was on my way home in the good old U.S.A. The countryside was very pretty. All here on the post carry side arms-paratroopers attacked B-24 base a short time ago.

June 2, 1944
(Lieutenant Joseph J.) Corcoran flew in a new ship today-stationed in northern Ireland.

June 3, 1944
11 missions to date- Lieutenant (David L.) Rucker assigned to ship. Finished combat crews getting a raw deal- permanent guard duty for three months and then? Lieutenant (Gilman) Stewart left yesterday- asked him to write the folks.

June 5, 1944
Leonard Ulm visited me today. Took time out to visit him and then worked until 9:00. Went back down at 11:00 and stayed in shack. Something must be up as we are under orders to shoot anyone not knowing pass word and wearing arm band.

June 6, 1944
June’s birthday and also invasion. Had a 5 o’clock mission- three different groups went out. Too hazy to observe anything according to pilot. Rained in P.M. and grounded planes.

June 7, 1944
Seems no different than pre-invasion days-only one mission today. Worked till 8:30 again-seems like we always have something to do.

June 11, 1944
Weather remains nice. 16 missions to date, short trips now which suits me fine. Only three of us on crew. 20 planes in squadron. Everyone says we will be moved by September 1st. We’ll see.

June 17, 1944
Stood down after going strong since the 6th. Weather remains nice. Kept pretty busy today and changed starter. Frank Leonard from Lieutenant (Joseph) Corcoran’s crew is with me now. Al (Kosic) and Bert (Cullip) still here too. Bob got a ship of his own.

(Lauren L.) McKinney’s ship wrecked yesterday- evidently tried to take off with locked controls. He’s lost four and none in combat. Ship and (Winston) Riley got plenty of flak again.

June 28, 1944
Took off at 4:00 this A.M. Weather settled in and planes didn’t get back. (Winston) Riley and I are supposed to go on a 24 hour pass. Raining cats and dogs so I doubt if we go.

July 7, 1944
The first five days of the month were very wet-rain every day. Last two have been very nice but plane hasn’t flown since June 30th. Just came from the line (10:00) after sweating (Lieutenant David) Rucker in. Finished 31 missions tonight in less than two months.

July 9, 1944
More rain and I am beginning to get nervous from this inactivity. Rumors flying thick and fast and most agree we’ll leave by September or shortly after. Can’t describe what its like to dream.

July 10, 1944
Lost two planes today-collided in mid-air due to air pocket. Only four got out.

July 12, 1944
Another long mission-not back until 7:00 P.M. Everything ok. Bombing Munich in retaliation for Buzz Bombs. Anything goes.

July 13, 1944
Got up at 3:00 for only a spare. Slept rest of the day.

July 14, 1944
Attended a USO show-pfew! One ballet dancer and the rest opera. Half the crowd walked out. Very rude.

July 15, 1944
Lieutenant Rosboro (Pilot/First Lieutenant James Edward Roseborough, KIA, flew B-17G 42-97273 ‘Aces and Ates’) went down today-next to last mission-Munich. First crew we’ve lost in 64 missions. First plane since I lost 081.

July 16, 1944
Made Master Sergeant today-that’s all!

July 17, 1944
Went to Calais again-back at noon. No damage.

July 20, 1944
Another long raid-lots of body damage. One navigator had head shot off. Waist gunner in mine had broken leg.

July 21, 1944
Engine change-first on my plane-36 missions. M.E. for tomorrow-my guess is Berlin-will see.

July 22, 1944
Poor guess-went out for troop support today- 1500 yards ahead but visibility poor and brought them back.

July 23, 1944
Same as yesterday but done some good this time. 500 got one small piece of flak but it killed the tail gunner.

July 25, 1944
Again today and back at 2:00-went to show in P.M. (Pilot/First) Lieutenant (Ben H.) Clements assigned to ship. He’s a redhead with a likeable disposition.

July 31, 1944
Payday and our first fog of the fall.

August 1, 1944
Worked till 1:00 A.M. last night. Got Spam from home today. One of the 544th planes exploded after take off this A.M.

August 4, 1944
Planes crashed in the woods last P.M. Too foggy to see field. Same this A.M. but took off at 9:00 on a 10 hour mission. Experimental works.

August 5, 1944
Rough! Quite a bit of flak-Hamburg. Got a spar hit but don’t know what work I have to do. 5 men bailed out of Jake’s ship for no earthly reason. Hydraulic motor on fire.

August 7, 1944
Pulled our outer wing panel and main tank. Depot changed mind and said no need of it! Boy did I swear. Hot as hell today-very nice weather.

August 9, 1944
At long last have the plane back in one piece. Loaded it for a mission even before we were done.

August 10, 1944
P.F.F. ship came back from mission and caught fire in traffic pattern. Four bailed out- one chute never opened and one other died of injuries-others ok. Plane landed safely and fire put out.

August 12, 1944
Mission 47 today-510 (42-97510 B-170G-15-VE ‘Satan’s Playmate’) landed in France for gas. Pilot said women and children swarmed all over the plane. Down to Bridgestock last night. Marcy says this is the hottest it has been for several years.

August 16, 1944
Mission 50 on the plane today.

August 17, 1944
Stood down for a change. Shipping rumors all over the place-maybe the fortune teller knew her onions.

August 19, 1944
Rain today-first in a long time. Engine change and a tank to get dropped. Did we ever get soaked.

August 24, 1944
(Winston) Riley and I were up to Leeds on a 48 hour pass-pretty nice people. People seem more friendly than in London.

August 25, 1944
Came back to two engine changes. The last originals on the ship.

August 28, 1944
Raining today and very chilly. Gosh, but I hate to think of this winter. Honestly believe I’ll be home before the first of the year.

September 8, 1944
Tempus Fugit shot up again about three days ago, busy ever since. Still it rains. (First Lieutenant Ben H.) Clements asked how I’d like to fly back. Boy would I like to surprise the folks some fall day.

September 11, 1944
Lost Pierce’s ship on the 9th and P.T.’s (Percy T. Francis) today. Seems more like old times. We didn’t go-engine change. Allies inside Germany according to the radio-pilots say they are way in. Who knows.

September 12, 1944
(Sgt Alfred G.) Clayton’s ship landed on the coast-engine out. Fog in late this evening.

September 13, 1944
Bob Jones landed on coast but guess it is a wreck. Only 16 ships on the field in commission, 7 in our squadron. 501 up for slow time-be ready by morning.

September 14, 1944
Got up at 4:00 A.M. but no trip, too foggy. 501 up getting more time on the engine. Interviewed yesterday for some kind of an award. Ho hum.

September 15, 1944
Plane landed at another field last night and blew a tire. I’d asked to change them two days ago. Didn’t have any trouble getting tires today. Ha!
Going on furlough tomorrow. Notice in previous entry that we may leave by September 1st-still here. We are building packing boxes though, supposed to be finished by the 20th. Skippy visited us today-been in hospital 2 months with ankle he broke in ball game. Crew from (Howard B.) Pierce’s ship landed inside Germany but made it back to the field in two days. 6 more missions to make by the 23rd of month- 200 mission party.

September 22, 1944
Back from furlough today-London. All barrage balloons moved to coast for Buzz Bombs.

September 23-24, 1944
Party-stayed in barracks on 23rd. Rain on 24th-all events cancelled but nobody working. Women all over the post-no morals whatsoever. Glad to still be in love with my honey.

September 25, 1944
Mission 60 today. (Harold) Schieble’s plane collided with a B-24 and still came back to base. (Frank) Presnietz lost his. Sick as hell today-something I ate.

September 28, 1944
Lost 222 (42-31222 B-17G-5-BO ‘Lazy Daisy’) today-another mid air collision. Old 501 back again. Went to Tiddington and donated a pint of blood. No ill effects.

October 5, 1944
Boom! The whole squadron got it today- Cologne. Hope the weather stays nice. Four missions the last five days.

October 11, 1944
Changed one engine and another went out on slow time. Been busy ever since 5. Ok now but didn’t go in today’s raid and am I glad! Have 13 planes but only three in commission tonight. Cologne again. Lost two ships as far as we know. Hope my luck holds for another 25 missions. We’ll see.

October 15, 1944
Mission yesterday and today-no damage. Weather pretty cool but nice in the daytime. Heard the Ohio State-Wisconsin game last night. Only one in the barracks- oh to be rich!
(In a game carried via shortwave radio by the Armed Forces Radio Network, the Ohio State Buckeyes football team defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 20-7 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. The Buckeyes didn’t lose a game during the 1944 season, ending the season ranked number two in the nation.)

October 17, 1944
Cologne again and we should have stayed home. Today made 70 missions on the wreck. Another crash landing last night-almost a weekly occurrence it seems.

October 18, 1944
Not much damage, only seven Tokyo tanks and wing panel. I feel all pulled out tonight.

October 24, 1944
At long last- everything in ship shape until preflight. Worked until 3:00 A.M. by myself changing magneto to no avail. Worked all day and finally found trouble about 4:00. Magneto harness?

October 26, 1944
I’m a liar-same trouble all over again. (Line Chief Marvin) Hudson finally found the trouble tonight. Water in vibrators-time consumed, four days.

October 30, 1944
Well what do you know? A mission today and all is well.

November 5, 1944
Lousy weather. Mission last two days and everything ok.

November 6, 1944
Boom! Two wing panels, cylinder and interior damage. Raining like hell tonight and I had to go back and tie down the plane. Still at it trying to get plane out of the mud.

November 15, 1944
A very heavy frost this A.M. Still pretty hazy (12:00) and looks like rain. Planes will probably have trouble getting back. No mission since November 7th.

November 17, 1944
Planes not back yet-first time this has happened for a long time. Came over the field this afternoon but had to go back.

November 18, 1944
Planes arrived late this P.M. Weather still damp. Fourth engine change for us.

November 20, 1944
Worked late last night and got slow timed today. (First Lieutenant Ben H. Clements) Clem only has one more to go. Hope he flies 501 on last trip.

November 23, 1944
Thanksgiving Day. Had a nice piece of white meat and all the trimmings. Mission today and (First Lieutenant Ben H. Clement) Clem finished up. He’s really a tickled boy and promised me anything I wanted. Spent about 2 ½ hours in the barracks this evening and I enjoyed talking to him. Promised to write Ruby and Mom-bet he does too. Too bad we had no phone as he wanted to call Ruby.

November 28, 1944
On 48 hour pass in the barracks. Weather is still swell and still running a mission a day. I got my $5 today. Mission 81 on the plane today.

December 7, 1944
Had two planes crash land this week, (James) Flynn’s and (John Stachon) Stackos’. Jim’s was hit with a 7 lb piece of flak. Lieutenant McClean (Pilot/Second Lieutenant William S. McLean) assigned to plane now. Cornered me today and gave me Bronze Star.

December 10, 1944
First snow today-didn’t stick on the ground. (Bernard C.) Ollman back from Russia. Lots of tales. Rode 2500 miles by truck and 21 days on the water.

December 11, 1944
Mission today but not back yet (11:00). Seems to be warming up.

December 14, 1944
Field closed in the past two days, warmer today though plenty busy with inspections. Slick’s plane didn’t come back the 12th.

December 17, 1944
Mission yesterday which was diverted before completed. Didn’t come back till this P.M. P.T.’s (Percy T. Francis) plane cracked up on landing at other base. Only came in on December 7th. 014 back into squadron today.

December 19, 1944
Mission 88 today and also an engine change.

December 22, 1944
Finished the engine change. Foggy weather here for four days and worse tonight.

December 23, 1944
Made the Tanoy tonight-my! Soon want us for a personal appearance.

December 24, 1944
Awakened this A.M. by an explosion. Quite a few V-1s landed somewhere. Planes took off in zero visibility, arrived back safely but closed in before all get down.

December 25, 1944
Worked until 5:00 A.M. on turbo. Slept most of the day. Terrible weather at present- heavy frost, cold and foggy.

December 27, 1944
Another all night job, more fun. Scrubbed ship.

December 30, 1944
The spell is broken. Aborted today on 117th mission. #2 engine went out on takeoff.

December 31, 1944
All in town but P.T. (Percy T. Francis), (Harold) Schieble, and I. Pretty cool outside too. 9:30 now so I’ll kiss Ruby goodnight and hit the bag. Happy New Year’s honey.

January 1, 1945
It don’t seem a bit different today. Starting out the New Year right. The engine we just changed went out on takeoff for slow time.

January 2, 1945
Going to change the others while we are at it. Raining tonight and just had a red alert.

January 7, 1945
Oh Joy, finally back in ops again and another abortion. Props ran away. I just don’t give a damn anymore. I need a pass and a few drinks-getting edgy as hell.

January 10, 1945
Lots of snow and ice this A.M. Crews flying in terrible weather. Lost one ship on takeoff-four of ours failed to return. P.T. (Percy T. Francis), Slot (Ted Slotwinski), and I went rabbit hunting with sticks this A.M. Got wet is all.

January 12, 1945
Warmer and rain. Snow all gone. No mission last two days.

January 13, 1945
Up for an 8:30 practice mission after being stood down for two days. Diverted so no planes for a mission in A.M. One buzz bomb this A.M.

January 20, 1945
Mission today from which they didn’t return. Had a heavy snow. (Alfred) Clayton and another plane collided on runway after landing-too slippery. (Arthur W.) Kahn’s crew bailed out after running out of gas-110 missions on it.

January 21, 1945
Planes came back again. Group lost six ships by ditching.

January 22, 1945
Mission 96-everything ok. Two more ships collided on the runway. Our bombardier got flak wound on hand.

January 23, 1945
Mission today and none of them back-too much snow.

January 26, 1945
Planes back today-I’ve got a wing panel change-only battle damage in squadron. Getting it ready for A.M. Drafting men into infantry. Still cold and snow on the ground. No fuel but (David C.) Payne got a load of 2x4s.

January 28, 1945
Still snowing occasionally with lots of the ground. Two ships run off runway on takeoff-plenty slippery.

February 1, 1945
Mission today-first since 28th. Just like spring today with the snow all gone.

February 3, 1945
Mission 100 and it was the end of the Challenger. Rumor has it they had an engine hit and went on to Russia. Pilot said in the A.M. he’d do it if in trouble. First and last mission on this plane was to Berlin.

February 4, 1945
Slept till noon and took a hell bath in the afternoon.

February 5, 1945
(Howard B.) Pierce got a new plane and we helped modify it. Heard complete story on 501-ditched in Channel-three men died. One life raft didn’t inflate entirely. Why did they try to make it?

February 6, 1945
Group to lead division on mission today. Some 547th crew chief taxied plane into mud at runway intersection and none took off.

February 22, 1945
Lots of water under the bridge. Been on 48 hour pass-worked nights and now have another plane. Mission #1 today. (43-39203 B-17G-105-BO ‘Globe Trotter’)

March 3, 1945
Missions every day-not able to even pull inspections. A little cool but nice. Something big coming up-C-47s and gliders practicing like before D-Day. Probably jump across the Rhine.

March 9, 1945
Rumors of German planes strafing towns which are lit up. All night flying planes up for slow time. Twelve missions and hardly any flak seen. Hope it keeps up this way.

March 21, 1945
Been on an 8 day furlough to London. Plenty of rockets and not too far off. Visited where one hit and was amazed at the smallness of the hole. Saw some barrage balloons up again. Plenty of wounded infantry in town. Wouldn’t want better weather.

March 22, 1945
Flying every day-not so good today. We have both wing panels, both stabilizers, plus tanks and cables.

March 25, 1945
(Winston) Riley headed for Virginia again. I’ve a hunch this will end in no good for us. God, but I hope not. I love her so.

March 30, 1945
The group’s 300th mission and very little damage. The weather is still nice. Predict the middle of April we’ll be off operations.

April 2, 1945
Waist guns being removed from all ships. Ball turret is also the rumor. Spamliner went on a mission March 31st and led formation. Goldie (Edwin H. Goldsmith) was papa Easter Sunday.

April 5, 1945
Plane hit tree on takeoff, mashed hell out of the cowling and magneto harness. What a mess. Lucky to get back.

April 10, 1945
To love and honor until death do us part, I do. Honey I love you so much. Let’s hope our sacrifices will not be in vain.

April 25, 1945
Planes landing after mission crashed into parked plane. Nobody hurt. P-51 belly landed.

April 26, 1945
Our plane made a lone photo mission over Germany-gone 8 hours.

April 30, 1945
Been stood down for 5 straight days-almost a record. Snowed today and has been very chilly.

May 1, 1945
Believe we are actually off ops. Just standing by in case.

May 2, 1945
Big squadron meeting today and commanding officer practically said we are going to the states and not be occupation forces.

May 3, 1945
P.T. (Percy T. Francis), (Alfred) Clayton, and I were to the continent today. Landed close to Cologne and motored to Dusseldorf.

May 5, 1945
Rumors and more of them. The latest being we’ll be in south France by last of the month. Time will tell. Still think I’ll be here this year yet.

May 9, 1945
War has officially ended. Not much celebrating on the post. Orchestra playing nightly at club is all. No passes being issued. Lots of victory programs on the radio.

May 12, 1945
Lovely weather-crating all of our things and stripping planes of all guns, armor, etc. Turrets to be dropped and 50 seats to be installed.

May 14, 1945
Slightly cooler today, probably be that way for a while. Advance party leaving for France last of week. Wonder what sort of place it will be?

May 20, 1945
Since last entry, we changed #2 and #3 engines. Been to London on a 48 hour pass and #3 was changed again. Plane now at another base to have turrets dropped and seats put in. Expect to move around 1st of June. Rained today and tonight.

May 30, 1945
Red Parent (S/Sgt Leroy C. Parent, shot down and POW 10/14/43 at Schweinfurt aboard 42-29800 ‘Me and My Gal’)- tail gunner on (Thomas) Wheeler’s crew showed up today. Liberated May 2nd. Told of stuffing on food at first chance, made wireless sets from rings, etc. Passed time by making anything: dolls, suitcases, all from flattened tin cans.

June 16, 1945
Been laid up two days with a sprained back. Been to Istres (France) twice-looks worse each time. Some debate as to whether we’ll ever go at all. Suppose to be locating another place. Changed commanding officers at both Group and Squadron. Captain McNair says we’ll all be replaced in six months. Hope he’s right.

June 26, 1945
Rest of squadron left for Istres and I went to hospital-back.

June 28, 1945
Out of hospital and just lying around. Staying in the 547th area now. Just the ball team and a few truck drivers here left of squadron.

July 2, 1945
Ted (Slotwinski) and I, Skip, and (Samuel) Vaughn went to London on a pass. Feeling pretty good but still limp.

July 6, 1945
Arrived at Istres-what a place!

July 7, 1945
Back in harness again-flight chief. Nobody kept very busy. Flying 12 ships per day in Green Project.

July 8, 1945
Only two complete squadrons here besides the 92nd Bomb Squadron so we fly every other day.

July 17, 1945
Engines starting to go bad and quite a few are being changed.

July 19, 1945
Entered hospital at Aix, France. Back no better so I decided to find out what’s wrong.

July 21, 1945
Quite a few in my ward with my condition. Don’t know what they’ll do yet.

July 29, 1945
Doctor decided just a bad sprain and will get better so I’ll return to duty. (Line Chief Marvin D.) Hudson and Renero left for home on the 14th of July.

August 2, 1945
Back in the squadron. (Roland) Flynn and Ehron (Philip Ehrhorn) and (Flight Chief Frank W.) Priesnitz left for home.

August 5, 1945
Guess the boys that went to England got shipped back to France in a mobile repair unit.

August 6, 1945
P.T. (Percy T. Francis) and (Arthur W.) Kohn left today and flew home-lucky guys.

August 7, 1945
All squadrons here now and only flying three ships per squadron. Not a very good arrangement.

August 12, 1945
Talk of Japan surrender. Lots of bitching on the line because of Rowland.

August 15, 1945
V.J. day but you’d never know it. Work as usual. Some of the staging areas had riots. Everyone wonders how it will effect demobilization.

August 16, 1945
Looks like Green Project may fold up-one ship per day.

August 17, 1945
The rest of the line left today for England-got half way and lost #3. Returned to Istres. Only 11 men of original Group left here on line. Some tall talk that the rest of the 85 points men will leave in a day or so.

August 18, 1945
Finally got started again and landed in Paris and then to the 358th Fighter Group. Waited three hours in truck to get us. Reported Intelligence that we had ditched in Channel yesterday.

August 19, 1945
Assigned to 370th Fighter Squadron. Has clothes check and a talk by the Group commanding officer. Only three of the original ten together now- Skip, (Howard) Pierce, and I. Went to Red in P.M. and met the rest of the gang and on to show.

August 20, 1945
Met the squadron commanding officer and reported to the hospital. Some physical-just asked questions. This is induction days all over again. Look to ship to the states soon-I hope.

August 26, 1945
Started to school today- Skip, Pierce, and I. Everyday but Saturday and Sunday but better than laying around.

August 27, 1945
Took five mile hike today (Saturday). Rumor has it that all will leave soon.

August 29, 1945
Left for Stone at 1:00 and arrived at 7:00. Finally got beds and eat about 10:00.

August 30, 1945
Starting processing all over again.

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