Book cover and notes:
Note: The diary was published in London. Since he arrived in September, 1943 there were no 1943 diary editions available so late in the year. As a result a 1944 diary was purchased and Ed seems to have attempted to make the entries on the right numeric day - even though the days of the week were not correct.
The fly page of the diary had a taped notice as follows:
Private diary of EDGAR L. MOORE, 2nd Lt. 0-683288, 324th Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (H) AAF, 1 October, 1944.
Upon release to be mailed to :
Mrs. Leona M. Arnold (M)
827 South "E"
Arkansas City, Kansas.
Sep 8, 1943
Today we left for Presque Isle, Maine. Got as far as Benton Harbor, Michigan. Exactly on course when McGee takes over and tries to fly on radio. Weather was bad and his radio goes out on him. Consequently he gets good and lost. Finally find ourselves after the navigator takes back control on the N. E. tip of Ontario. Took a heading for Syracuse and landed there. We were pretty pissed off at the pilot. Actually we should have set down in Chicago but the pilot said no. Tomorrow we go to Rome. I proceeded to get drunk with a nurse in Syracuse. Some Capt. had just been promoted and was setting them up.
Sep 9-11, 1943
The beds were sure hard at Syracuse but we got up and left for Rome to refill the gas tanks. Ate a couple of sandwiches and took off for Presque Isle, Maine, again. This time over Worchester, Mass. The pilot's home town. 350 miles out of the way. We left Boston on a T.H. (True Heading) for P. I.. On the way I ask the pilot to tell me the second we pass a beam. When he promised he would I started doing something else and McGee obviously forgot himself. We found ourselves out 5 miles from the ocean. Took a heading and hit P.I. head on the nose at dusk. Hire I met a WAAC from Ft. Worth, Texas. We go to town and bowl. She is very nice. Bruce is sweating out his baby. Not knowing whether his wife is pregnant or not. Checked my sextant here with Jack and William Littleton McArthur. Mac went through San Marcos with me and it was good to see him again. Well, Hazel, I'm still thinking of you. The WAAC and I searched Presque Isle all over for hot tamales or chili. These people up here don't know what good food is.
Sep 12, 1943
Left Presque Isle today and headed for Goose Bay, Labrador. Trip was uneventful and we smacked it right on the head. The country up here is nice. Nothing to do but sleep and talk. Met a navigator here who had just had 34 missions and only 3 bullet holes in his plane and two of them put there by their own gunners. He graduated in Dec and is already a 1st Lt. Sort of gives a guy hope. Spend most of our time sleeping and just messing around in general.
Sep 13, 1943
The beds are pretty rough here but we will survive. It isn't very cold up here. Somebody tied a dog outside the window and he howled all night long. Met the P.X. Manager (a Captain) and he explained how all their supplies for a years supply came in on a boat. I bought a bracelet for mom and Hazel but later lost it. It was pretty nice too.
Sep 14-15, 1943
Left Goose Bay today and headed for Blooie West #1 (or BW#1). Flew a great circle course and my last leg hit the beam right on the solid side. Came into Tungliarfic fiord and headed right around Sugar Loaf Mt. This was about as beautiful a sight as I want to see. Icebergs floating up the fiord and on our left was Brede fiord chock full of ice. Just off Sugar Loaf was a half sunken hulk of some old ship. I'll bet it could spin some yarns. Passed it and going right on by a glacier on our right to land at the base. Here the poor G.I.'s there had been 24 and 26 months without seeing their wives or women. In fact in that time 4 nurses had stopped for a few hours at the post. It was a beautiful place. We are bedded down in a nice building. Here I learn to like sardines. They are really good. Narvak or Narsak, the little town at the foot of the fiord is off limits (and 50 miles away). There is a mountain here and McGee and I climbed it (by a marvelous waterfall). The thing is 6,000 feet high and damn hard work. We finally descended after looking over the beautiful lake at the top of the mountain. I took a few pictures and hope they turn out OK.
Sep 16, 1943
There is a glacier about 7 miles inland so we go over to see it. There we see salmon shot with a rifle. We ourselves were hunting show shoe rabbits, but no luck and also no luck as far as the glacier goes. We get within a 100 yards of it but a river was in the way. So, back and dead tired when we arrived.
Sep 17-18, 1943
Here I sold the ½ case of bourbon that I had for $8.00 a pint. Had I saved it until England I could have gotten $10.00 easy. Met a fellow there that knew Wanda Handshow, the girl I met in Clinton. He tells me she is married and has a baby now. How well I remember her! The weather isn't too bad. In fact, I like it. Just cold enough to be brisk. Beds were hard as usual but sure felt nice to crawl into them. Went all over the post. Incidentally, the post here is BW#3 the tip of the fiord being #1. Here also I start my first engine for an aircraft. We go out (McGee and I) and dilute the oil. It is quite a thrill.
Sep 19, 1943
Took off and landed at Iceland Meeks Field. Boy, what a hole. Nisson huts and dirty sheets. On our way over the ice cap we go down to Sugar Loaf and go over into Brede fiord to cross the cap. It is a beautiful sight. Pure snow and nothing but mountain peaks breaking through. Many a ship has landed there and sank 7 or 8,000 feet down in the snow. Crevasses there are enormous. Here McGee pulled a climb on course on me and didn't tell me about it. Jack found us by a piece of rock jutting out of the ocean. Came in right on the beam again and let down on the field. It is pretty cold here and damp.
Sep 20-22, 1943
Today we left Meeks for Prestwick, Scotland. Had trouble with McGee again after flying a perfect mission up to Meeks and on it to Stornoway, Iceland, he wouldn't take the heading I gave him to come on down to Prestwick. After he gets himself lost again we go back up to Stornaway and then down into Prestwick. Scotland is very beautiful country. We landed and went to the debriefing room where I turned in all my maps and charts and then we were briefed for our trip on into England. They had us down for Burtonwood but we didn't go there. Instead, we waited on the ship to be repaired. They made all the necessary repairs while they were processing us. But, the next day, we didn't want to take off and by bitching and complaining finally convinced McGee we should stay over. So we found something else wrong with the plane #230712. Well, they took it away from us then and there. I didn't mind because I wanted to ride in the English trains so we transferred all our stuff the a 'Goods Wagon' or box car and then went back to Adamson House for the afternoon. Adamson House was the place. It was an old Scotland estate with beautiful lawns and grounds and acres on acres of trees all around it. I took more pictures and hope they are all right. It is beautiful country and the climate is just right. Down a lane to the stables and the PX. What a surprise, the lanes have big hedges and they are trimmed to perfection. Enormous Peacocks on them and the stable is an American equivalent to a mansion. Then on in to Glasgow where we were to catch the 10:00 PM train. It is all very dark as we go through Glasgow but nothing happens and so we take the train for Stafford.
Sep 23-24, 1943
Arrived here at 6:30 AM beat to a pulp. The train ride was horrible but I still like the English system much better (trains). Got to Stone, our base, at 8:30 AM. Had a pretty good breakfast of hotcakes then over to bed, and what a bed. Concrete would have been softer. But they felt good to us. We received more processing and listened to the Chaplain. About the best Chaplain I've heard. Transferred our money into the English system. Also sent cables to mom and Hazel. Lord how I miss them. I would give anything to see that darn (red-headed) dad of mine!
Sep 25, 1943
Took a train over to our new station. Bovington. Seems like quite a place. We are here to learn the English way of doing thing. To me, that is a treat because they are the fathers of our navigation. The field has a nice Officers clothing supply and I'm going to stock up on clothes, about $150 worth. Here I came to know Kenneth Rangstad, a hell of a nice kid, and Francis Manniello. I wonder where they are now?
Sep 26-27, 1943
I should be getting some mail so I try to find out and am told I probably won't get any mail all the while I'm there! Finally received some towards the last. No school as yet, so we went to town. McGee and I went into a pub and tried to get a girl to go to a dance with me but she wouldn't leave her girl friend so Bruce and Hill took them. Then I met some girl. She was married and McGee took her sister and we went down to the station platform and waited until their train pulled out. I caught a dreadful cold there. It was raining sort of a light rain, but treacherous as all hell. Back to base and then to sleep all day Wednesday. Sacks are pretty tough here but just a little better than Stone.
Sep 28, 1943
Started school today. It is going to be interesting at least. They talk to us about what has happened and practical experience they gained from it. All the instructors have completed 25 missions. They are teaching me all about the 50 caliber machine gun. It is quite an instrument.
Sep 29, 1943
School again today and nothing out of the way interesting. Looked over the field and decided it was quite a place.
Sep 30, 1943
Got paid today and I sent $375.00 home. I had a wad of Pound notes that I couldn't carry around. Thank goodness they are gone. That makes me $800.00 saved since I've been in the Army, plus what I have spent. Bought the clothes and now find I'm short of money. Sunday is as any other day here, so school again.
Oct 2, 1943
Somewhere along in here I went to the London Philharmonic. It was sure swell. Music was wonderful. Kenneth Rongsted and I went. Then we went to a dance afterwards. I sure wanted my women folks around. I met Gladys Langford. She reminds me very much of Hazel and she is very nice.
Oct 3, 1943
School today I guess. Somewhere too, along here, I went to the hospital and had my cold fixed up. The hospital was a hell of a long way from the base. Watford was a very nice place. Close to London and the people were pretty nice. There was Nick's (the Athens caféwhere we ate steaks. Of course, the steaks were very small, but still sweet. Every meal over here is constituted mainly of potatoes. I remember Hemel Hempstend was 3 stops on the train from Watford. You could take the bus in if you wanted. It took much longer but you saw much more country and England's countryside is beautiful.
Oct 6, 1943
Tonight is the last night I'll get to see Gladys so in we went. It was raining and we didn't know what to do. Seems to me I met here and we drank in a pub. The Rose and Crown Bar in the Rose and Crown Hotel. Then out to the town hall for a play or something that Gladys had tickets for. Then we said goodbye on the steps there at the town hall.
Oct 7-8, 1943
School was out today and we were assigned to the 91st Bomb Group. We made the trip in a GI truck. Getting ready for the trip early in the morning the truck arrived at 11:00 AM and we left at 4:00 PM. Finally, arrived in Bassingbourne. I and Jack and Bruce 'sweat out' the returning forts from a raid. We saw them drop their red flares for the wounded and, wonder of all wonders, the 230712 passed by, home from its first raid. There were 3 holes in the plane from flak.
Oct 9-11, 1943
Today we met the CO Major Wietzenfelt. He is a young guy. Also, Captain Krueger and he is also a very good guy. Funny how he is never around. Lt. Diffle and Capt. Peterman were there and I see them every day. They are all damn swell fellows. We settled in our room #9 mess #2. The CO didn't want to give it to us because 4 other fellows had gone down and they had had this room. Actually, it is the best room in the house and this is no time to be superstitious. We started school today. The school isn't much, but it is a way to beat the passing of time. Navigators are sure expendable over here. They are checking the bombardier, Jack, out as a DR Navigator. I went in and tried to meet the group navigator and he was out so I talked his clerk out of a Longines watch. It is a pretty darn good watch. I finally met the group navigator. He is Capt. Williams and boy is he ever young. Also met P. P. Adams, the squadron navigator. A hell of a swell guy and really a good navigator. Herky is another guy I have to mention. Hazirjain is his name and quite a character. He has just a few more missions to go and he is through. But, he has been through the tough ones.
Oct 12, 1943
Jack and I found out that we could get 40 rounds of .45 ammo any time we wanted it. So, we go and get 40 apiece and shoot our 45's. I'm dickering around trying to get a 45 I can call my own and I may yet.
Oct 13-16, 1943
Today, Jack, Bruce and I went in to Cambridge to see the town. It would take a week to actually see the place as it should be seen. It is a beautiful place. Kings College and the Cathedral. Of course all the stained glass has been removed from the cathedral, but, it is a massive and impressive sight. The religion is Church of England and the greens are so well kept that it is nothing short of marvelous. The streets are narrow and the shops are old, but the pubs are the same as in every nation the world over. Only I think more women work in them here. We ate dinner at Friars, a small place, and I had Welch Rarebit and tea and crumpets. Bruce and Jack had beans on toast. My rarebit wasn't at all good. We looked the place over for souvenirs and of course everything was closed. Came back that night and slept Sunday and then Monday, or rather Sunday as the diary is a day ahead of itself. We went up for our first practice mission. Flew over England all the while. Mainly to teach me to read an English map. It is hard but after you get on to it, it would be hard to go back and read an American map. The English system of navigation is perfect, but, nearly all radio.
Oct 17, 1943
There was a practice mission scheduled for today but no takeoff as every day when there isn't a mission there will be a practice mission. It all ties in with school. After the first 2 or 3 they are for the purpose of practice in formation flying for the pilot.
Oct 19, 1943
Today we had a regular practice mission. We flew just as if we were going to Germany and the P-38's met us and hovered over us. This is the beginning of the experiment to have pursuit cover the bombardment all the way to the target and back. It worked out perfect and the P-38's gave you a thrill watching them. They swing back and forth overhead through your formation forming a protective cover that was beautiful.
Oct 29, 1943
Another mission, but nothing exciting happened. Just routine flying.
Oct 22, 1943
We were off today so we went in town to a movie. All the movies over here are about 1-2 years old back in the states.
Oct 23, 1943
I guess Britain does good at that. It is a marvelous country to hold off and stand up as she did under the pressure she received. We didn't come over here to win this war for Britain, but to hasten the victory that was already hers. We are quartered in the best billets available. Evan a lot of England's fighting men aren't living so clean and nicely as we are! Our room is, I should say. 10 feet square and 10 feet high for two people. We have electric lights and a radio which we paid $88.00 for and steam heat and it is located right over the mess hall and the club and also only 2 blocks from the line. The food is good and well prepared. The spam that is so universally disliked has yet to be set before me. We do get quite a bit of salami and baloney fried, but I like it also so I'm not worried. School is so arranged that it keeps you busy practically all the time, consequently, my correspondence is falling off. Thank God for mother and Hazel. May they never stop waiting. I believe I would rather miss a meal than a letter.
Oct 26, 1943
We were alerted for our first mission. I had heard all along about how scared a man gets when he is called. You are scared it is true, but I felt no different from waiting to be called for a run on the R.R. I laid awake and wondered if I was going to get to go, but all to no avail because the mission was scrubbed because of weather. Bomber Command selects the target and calls all it's stations and tells them there will be a mission tomorrow. So you are alerted. This, if the weather clears up and they can get the mission under way they send for a wing man to come up and get sealed orders. Which he does and then brings them back here. Then the machine starts rolling. The crews that are going are called and told when to eat and what time briefing is. Then you get up and wonder where you are going. You go down to breakfast and then over to briefing. While all this is going on my feelings are the same as getting up on a chilly morning. I seem to feel duck bumps and be shivering, but it passes after you get your clothes on and some hot food down. Then you start feeling as if it were just another practice mission.
Oct 30, 1943
Well today we did better. They called Jack and I and we went to the briefing room after going to breakfast. The target was Gelsen Kirchen, a marshalling yard for railway cars. 2,000 box cars a day are run through there. Actually, they wanted you to hit the center of the town. They sent incendiaries along and you can't wreck a R.R. with incendiaries. I think they are starting a war of nerves on the German populace. We were all ready to leave the English coast after assembling when the radio told us to turn back. The mission was scrubbed due to bad weather. So we came back and went to bed. I just laid around all day.
Oct 31, 1943
Today was payday and I paid Bruce back the 32 pounds I owed him and had quite a few pound notes left so I put them in the bottom of my trunk. I might be able to send some of it home. Sort of help a nest-egg along.
Nov 1, 1943
Went to town today to get some things for the room but everything we wanted was much too expensive. So, we went to the show and then caught the bus home.
Nov 2, 1943
Flew around today slow timing a ship. There were 2 nurses and 2 doctors along. Stayed up about an hour. Pat Corrigan and Joan Denton were the nurses and they are air evacuation nurses. Joan has 6,000 hours in the air. Parsons and I wolfed them, but never followed up our advantage. They are sure nice people though.
Nov 3, 1943
Today was the mission to Wilhenshaven and I wasn't on it. Jack and McGee and Parsons went and I think some of the enlisted men went. It was Jack's first mission. I remember the night before how we sat around and talked about what I was going to do with his stuff. Kidding of course, but we had fun kidding each other. The radio was mine and he wanted his clothes sent home to his dad and his pistol to Edna. Of course I told him I was going to hock them and keep the money. We lost 3 ships from the 91st, all from the 401st. Rutledge, Pitts and McAdams.
Nov 4, 1943 - Number 1
A few days ago I was loaned out to the 401st in fact on the Gelsen Kirchen raid and was flying with Rutledge and his crew. They were all good fellows. Tom Merrit S/Sgt., was the bombardier and he was really a good guy. On Saturday the group went back and wiped out the target at Gelsen Kirchen. I can't imagine why they hit it. The tracks are 12 deep and the 2,000 cars a day could be equaled by the Arkansas City yards. But, the population is 25,000. Maybe that is the reason.
Nov 6-7, 1943 - Number 2
Nothing happened today. Weather was fairly bad. So, naturally, we didn't fly. But we were alerted for the mission the next day. I went to bed wondering if I were going or going to be scrubbed again. Well, at 4:45 AM the next morning they woke us up and we had breakfast and then off to briefing. The target was Wesel. Another center-of-town rail road yards deal. We went along for the ride on this mission because the target was completely covered by clouds and there were in all about 30 bursts of flak. One fighter came up and the 47's came in to take care of him. We dropped our bombs and turned around and came home. The high spot of the raid was the freezing to death of a tail gunner. His oxygen went out and he froze. Of course it was cold -43 degrees C at 27,000 feet. It was a very good mission to start on. I got the bends because I didn't go on oxygen soon enough. I flew with Homer Chatfield. Neff and Edwin Close as Pilot.
Nov 8, 1943
Nothing happened today. We were supposed to have a mission and it was scrubbed. Jack and I slept until 10:30 and made a good leisurely morning of it. Then went down and got 1 hr and 30 min of link trainer.
Nov 9, 1943
There was another mission today but it was scrubbed so they pulled a high altitude mission on us. Up to 18,000 feet and nothing accomplished. We buzzed a couple of haystacks and houses at about 30 or 20 feet off the ground and doing 200 miles per hour. You talk about your thrills. You haven't had one until you've buzzed a fortress that low and that fast.
Nov 10, 1943
Another mission scrubbed so another practice mission. Were supposed to go to 23,000 feet but just got on the taxi strip and 33 B-26's came in and landed. They had been on a mission and ran low on gas. We finally got up to 2,000 feet and our left rudder froze so we came home. I was glad that we did.
Nov 12, 1943
The mission to Bremen where we lost 15 bombers and shot down 43 fighters. Our group went but couldn't climb above the weather so they came home. There was a party to go to tonight and it was plenty OK.
Nov 13, 1943
Gladys came down and we went to the dance. I had a good time wolfing everyone else's girl. Gladys has changed her style of dancing and I don't like it. I'm not asking her down any more. We slept late and got up and Gladys, Vera, Joe Pletta and I went to Cambridge. We went through Kings College again and took in a show. 'Honky Tonk' Then home on the train and to bed.
Nov 14, 1943
Another day when I made my $10.00 the easy way. Nothing to do so we slept. That isn't entirely true because there is always something to do. Snider, the bombardier and myself went out and shot our 45's. I sat up an aerial insulator and knocked it off 4 or 5 times with a few lucky shots. It sure impressed him though. Then we cleaned our guns completely.
Nov 15, 1943
This morning they called Jack and he went on his third mission to Knoben, Norway. It is Germany's only source for molybdenum (sp!) and they really messed it up. I was lost all day long. Every thing I seemed to do was useless. All except the time I spent writing to Hazel and mom and dad. Also wrote grandmother and granddad.
Nov 16-19, 1943
Today we got up and went to the regular 08:45 hrs mission meeting and then they told us we could move our locker room. So we started. The we got a 48 hour pass. Well, Jack and I were almost dressed when Bomber Command restricted all crews. It sort of 'P' us 'O' but nothing we could do. They pull that on us every once in a while. Most of the time it doesn't affect us. But this particular time I had intended going to the American Military Cemetery to see Ernie. It was a beautiful day. Just right for pictures too. I don't want to write to Mr. and Mrs. McGee until I can tell them something about Ernie. I fee like a heel not having already gone but it has been impossible. Went on a practice flight today and had to clean 4 guns because some dumb armament officer wanted us to have guns up there. I caught a slight cold. They had a big party but I didn't go. Too true to Haze I guess. The 18th I and Jack changed our room around. Made quite a big improvement. Then the 19th I stayed in all day because of the cold. My little Scottie dog has a cold too.
Nov 20, 1943
A rather amusing incident happened last night. Yesterday I helped 'Stud' Evans pack. He was going to be transferred to the 351st. He was a hell of a nice fellow. He and Westwood went to the bar to get a drink and I left them. At 10:00PM I went to bed. Along about 11:30 some one opened our door and backed out. Then he started throwing dishes and breaking anything that would break. Well, it was noisy, but we didn't say anything. Finally, Hill got up to put a stop to the noise and I was right behind him. We no sooner got to the door when we heard a 45 go into battery. In another second, we were prone in bed and just in time because he fired 'Stud' 5 rounds and we were laying there hoping none of the came our way. Finally Honbath [sp] went in and quieted him down. Our wall was brick and it would have stopped anything coming through. I have one of the shells and cartridge case. After it was all over and they had taken him to the guard house for the night we went back to sleep. Then we learned the story. He had refused to go on the Ankam raid and Maj. Wietzenfeld had courts martialed him. It caused a nervous breakdown on his part and he wasn't cured of it when they released him, and it had been preying on his mind all that time. Consequently, he cracked over it. But it caused us a hell of a hard time for a few minutes there.
Today, the 20th, I went out and shot skeet. Got a 19 on it. The weather all along in here is foggy every day so much so that they won't let us go upstairs. I guess just being me and plain lazy is the reason I'm so glad. Bassingbourne sits in a valley and when there isn't any wind the fog settles in on us. Consequently we are fog bound quite a bit of the time.
Nov 23, 1943
We were up bright and early this morning and were briefed on Bremen. They were going to make sort of decoy ducks out of us. The other two wings were going to Berlin, but we were to go in ahead of them and over Bremen to draw all Germany's fighter defense to us. We got to the planes and were ready when they called it off. Then they threw a practice mission at us but it was scrubbed also. The way they keep you on the jump around here is terrible. You can't call a minute your own.
Nov 24, 1943
We started on a practice mission today and were supposed to bomb a rock out in the North Sea somewhere. It was to be al too perfect a mission and some fool navigation officer wanted us to keep an air plot to see if it could be done in a wing ship. I don't think he found out as we never got any place. On the Lever Kusen raid I after found out it can be done, but you have to keep your eye on the compass constantly and going across the channel a time interval of 30 min I had that many different headings to average. I think it impractical for what they want to use it for.
Nov 25, 1943
The 25th is of course Thanksgiving and we dined royally. Everything we had been used to back in the states. Of course the main thing wrong was that Hazel and Dad and Mom were missing.
Nov 26, 1943 - Number 3
Alerted for the 26th and was called early 04:30 and briefed for Bremen. It was a long mission, quite a bit of it over water, and the other part over enemy territory coming out. The flak was pretty heavy but nothing enormous. I went on oxygen at 8,000 feet and had the bends again. No fighter attacks. We lost 29 ships. I rode with McGee and Parsons and Hill crew.
Nov 27, 1943
Today there wasn't anything doing so we slept late. I wrote letters home and went out to the pistol range. In my mind, I think I am getting pretty good with a 45. It is a pretty good gun after you get onto it. But, it was never made for target shooting ' shooting from the hip at 25 yards I can place 7 shots or a clip full within a 5 foot circle.
Nov 28, 1943
Nothing doing today either but loafing so I wrote home again.
Nov 29, 1943
Briefed again for Bremen and finally got into the air and after flying all over England finally headed out to Germany. Got within 30 or 40 minutes of the target and they scrubbed the entire mission. It sort of pissed Peterman and Vickery off as it was their 25th mission. They messed us up though in assembling at the last moment the change the plan and the weather wasn't suited for the pan they adopted. Consequently, they used up too much gas and hadn't enough left for the mission.
Nov 30, 1943
Up again at 3:30 and briefed for Solingen, Germany. It is part of the Ruhr and consequently flak was supposed to be very heavy. But, as usual, we got 12 way over the channel and they called us back. This time on account of weather. Again it cut Pete and Vickery out of a mission. It sort of gets kind of cold up there - -43 degrees centigrade - which is pretty damn cold. But you don't seem to notice it. I work in thin wool or silk gloves and don't wear but 1 suit of clothes and my heated suit unplugged and one pair of coveralls. What you notice more than anything else is your mask freezing up and chunks of ice dropping down on your maps.
Dec 1, 1943 - Number 4
We were awake at 4:30 and briefed for Leverkusen, Germany. I rode with Sgt. White bombardier and Holman and McGee and crew. It was a pretty good mission. Plenty of flak and close. Also got gobs of fighters. We estimated a hundred. I got to shoot at one of them. He made a head on attack on us. Graham got a 50 caliber through his top turret and Holman's window was shattered by a shell. Our group lost 5 ships. I wondered before how I would feel when my first attack came but it was just as a big pin ball machine and I was shooting to run up a higher score. All-in-al it was fun and I enjoyed it up until I got the bends again. I had gone on oxygen from the ground up and it was the worst attack I ever had.
Hornbeck went down on this raid. They pop off like flies, 3 of Jacks Bridge partners went down and it doesn't take long for all the old faces to go and be replaced.
Dec 2, 1943
Went on pass this morning. I went straight to Brookwood to see Ernie. It is an impressive place. But very overcrowded. I found out all I could about him and then went back to London and saw 'For Whom the Bells Toll' and 'Flesh and Fantasy' They were both good pictures. We walked around London quite a bit and I was surprised at the small amount of damage done. It is all cleared away and so clean. Of course, al buildings are old in London and consequently very grimy with coal smoke. We bought some things at the Officers P.X. and went in and looked at some tapestries. I saw one for 100 Pounds that I would certainly have bought had I the money. It was a beautiful piece of work. I know Hazel would have loved it hanging on one of our walls. At the show we met a couple of girls and they took us to a place called the Keiv Restaurant where we got a very good meal and a quart of wine for our supper. The girls were nothing more or less than small scale gold diggers, but it was a pleasant interlude. Then the train ride home and I met a very nice nurse, quite different from what we had been with before.
Dec 5, 1943
The 5th we were briefed at 04:30 for Paris, France, and it would have been an easy mission, but, they scrubbed our flight because the fog moved in so fast. Parsons went and landed at Ridgewell. They didn't even drop their bombs. I guess maybe it was for the best that I didn't go though. Who knows?
Dec 6, 1943
Nothing much happened these days up to the 10th. The weather was rotten all the time. Fog closed in and would lift, we were alerted the 7th and 8th, but they were called off. On the days we don't have a mission we usually catch up on our back work. I checked my flying equipment and got in a few hours link time and read up on escaping from Germany.
Dec 10, 1943
The 10th Jack and I went into Cambridge and bought our bicycles. Nine pounds [cost] each. While there I had another date with Margaret Burroughs. I had met her on a previous jaunt into town. She is 18+ and has a beautiful form, also, very nice personality. She helped me pick out the presents for mom and Hazel. I met her mother and little sister this time, they are nice people. Margaret, Jack, May, Paine and myself went to the show and dinner and frankly had a darn good time. Margaret isn't very much of a rounder. In fact, I am pretty sure she's another Hazel Ann Keene. Jack had a very good time with May and wants to go back again which suits me fine. (I love my Hazel, but 'Oh you kid, tch tch' We had about 20 pounds between us and when we paid for the bicycles we were down to 2 pounds and we were worried sick about how we were going to complete our dates on 2 pounds. But, 'Muscles' our bartender came by in a truck and we loaded the bicycles on it and borrowed 5 pounds from him and as I said had a darn good time.
Dec 11, 1943
Not much doing. I was grounded by a bad cold and they had a raid to Emden. It turned out to be a beautiful raid too. Just my luck. I got up and went to the briefing with Jack then came back and crawled in bed and stayed there all day trying to break the cold. They lost 17 forts and knocked down 117 enemy fighters which is about an even trade in dollars and cents.
Dec 12, 1943
Today was another one of those days due to weather! We slept late and I went to the hospital and was put back on flying status again. Just in time too because we are alerted for the 13th. So early to bed and early to rise gets a man home to a certain Hazel and mother and dad that he knows.
Dec 13, 1943 - Number 5
The 13th we were awakened at 04:15 for briefing at 05:15 for Bremen. We took off at 08:00 and returned at 01:30. It was a pretty nice mission. No fighters and quite a bit of flak. The flak is getting more accurate each time we go to Bremen. Nothing unusual happened. We bombed through 10/10's clouds so we don't know what we hit and Bomber Command still doesn't know as they announced it was 'targets in N. W. Germany' If they had known the results they would have announced the town. We received a flak hole in our right stabilizer and a hole in our left wing. Went with McGee and crew.
Dec 14, 1943
We dropped leaflets and incendiaries this morning (the 14th). We were awakened at 01:30 for a mission. I had all thoughts imaginable about what it was - the invasion had started and it was a practice mission for night operations. But, it finally turned out to be a raid on Berlin. We had excellent weather and the Germans couldn't get their planes off the ground and if they had come up they couldn't have found their way back. Everyone was bitching and moaning about Berlin but I could see no reason for complaining. It looked as if everything was in our favor. Then they scrubbed it. It seems the weather had opened up and the fighters could have gotten up after all. We went back and were briefed for Bremen again. But, after getting to stations and all set, it was scrubbed. So back to our bed and then up at 2 PM, then back in bed again for the night at 08:00 PM. So, not much of a day, but fairly exciting. Our target in Berlin was the air ministry offices but I think it was more a pounding of the civilian moral than anything else.
Dec 16, 1943 - Number 6
We were up at 04:40 for a briefing at 05:50 for Bremen again. Bomber Command is taking no chances on missing that place. It was a very poor day to send us out on a mission because of the weather. We took off in ceiling zero weather and climbed above 5,000 feet of solid soup. We formed a K and were on our way out when they started doing 360 degree turns in the middle of the North Sea. This threw a _____ into everybody's plans and finally they got on course again and bombs away. We never saw land or water but one time through out the entire mission and that for about 2 minutes. We finally got back to the English coast and Burkett was making 360 degree turns again out over the wash obviously lost. Finally we broke lose from the formation and came on in. We missed the field once but hit it on the return trip.
Dec 17, 1943
The 17th I swung compasses all day and thought I would have to swing them today. But, the weather is holding fast. If it breaks we go on a mission, if it doesn't we lay around waiting for it to break! Oh well, guess I can catch up on my correspondence again.
Dec 19 - 20, 1943 - Number 7
Today I slept late and was trying to break up a little gland trouble in my throat when they called me to go to Foulshelm after a plane. Burkett and I navigated up and back. It wasn't much of a trip and we were back by 04:30 PM. I ate supper and was in bed at 06:30 PM feeling darn low. Then at 05:00 - or rather 04:30 - we were awakened for a briefing for 05:20. It was Bremen again. We left and went over the target with good weather. I saw Bremen for the first time in 4 trips. The flak was terrific! At least 2 times as bad as the last mission there which was supposed to have been so bad. I was going to watch for bomb hits but flak was too close and so I went back to my log. About that time we had a good fighter attack but by the time I got to my guns it was over. I saw 6 of them queue up and come in 3 at a time. Then it was over. I don't know how much damage we did but I imagine a terrific amount. The flak was very intense and we were hit in the left wing. But not bad. On our last Bremen we were hit 3 times, all light. Still I think this was pretty bad. It was so terribly close, 20 or 30 feet from the plane. I don't imagine we will go back there soon!
December 21, 1943
Nothing happened today. I went over to the hospital and they looked at me and said you are grounded until further notice. McGee is also grounded, so I don't guess there will be any missions for us anyway soon. I have only a sore throat, but boy, what a whopper. The weather is rough, sort of a heavy fog.
Dec 22, 1943
Weather was fair today so they sent a mission to Osnabruk, Germany. Wasn't a bad mission but Fred Wyert went down. He was a pretty good kid. Both McGee and myself are grounded as yet and not doing anything but catching up on our back work.
Dec 23, 1943
We are still grounded and really getting bored. The weather is still bad. Alerted for tomorrow, but not for me. They left today for Calais, France, to get some rocket gun emplacements. It was a pretty good raid. Quite a bit of ships shot up. We all thought the invasion had started when we had a glimpse of the target (at the briefing hut).
Dec 25, 1943
This morning Glen Neff and I went for a ride on our bicycles all over the countryside. Finally wound up at Steeple Morden and had a wonderful turkey dinner and all the trimmings including ice cream. Then we started hitting the pubs on the way back and by the time we arrived home we were well on our way to a happy Christmas. We were hungry again so at 3:00 we ate another large meal. Then out to get the mud off the 'steed' and a bit of sack time. Then supper (sandwiches).
Dec 26, 1943
Lay around today enjoying yesterday's meal. Put a check on my flying equipment and it was OK. I don't know what Boxing Day is but the English celebrate it much more than they do Christmas. Went to the latrine and they called me for a flight. Captain Garrett wanted to go to a field down by Reading so away we went. Neff went along as co-navigator. It was rough getting there because visibility was so bad. But, we made a good trip of it and landed. Then an immediate take-off again. But, too late, the fog had already set in so we climbed over it. Me without a damn thing to navigate with but a compass and a pair of dividers and a map. I didn't know my winds and had a pretty fair idea that my compass was wrong. But, finally, when we hit an open spot in the undercast I was only 2 miles off in my calculations which was darn good. Nothing happened the 27th. Another bad day.
Dec 28, 1943
Today I started on the navigator's room and did a lot of other things. Got a detail and cleaned out the squadron briefing room. The navigation room is going to be OK soon as we get it finished. After all my work I suppose some other jerk will get credit for it.
Dec 29, 1943
The room is finished and now I have to paint it. Today I started to take some pictures and Capt. Garrett wanted to go up to Pattington, so away we went. We got there just fine but I got lost coming back. Sort of pissed me off because I still can't figure out why. But everything is OK. Capt. Garrett is a plenty right guy and the equipment officer for the group.
Dec 30, 1943 - Number 8
Well today we were up at 04:45 and briefed for Ludwigshafen, Germany. Really deep in the heart of Germany. After briefing we were supposed to be spares in case anyone aborted then we could go on the mission. Otherwise, we turned back in mid-channel. We had made up our mind to go on anyhow. I flew with Parsons, Hill and Dudley as Pilot. It was a good mission. No flak and just a very few fighters. The cloud bank was solid beneath all the way. When we hit the coast coming out we aborted just so we could land first. We were in the truck coming out when Westy clipped a wing tip and delayed us just that much longer. But finally got in an briefed, then home to a shower and bed. Alerted for tomorrow again.