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How Time Flew By Fast

Posted by on March 2, 2016

May 21-31, 1944.  Stanely writes five V-mails to Dad in this span of time. He recollects that a year ago in the middle of May he was home on furlough.  He comments “Boy, how time flew by fast.” He brings Dad up to speed on the day-to-day goings on at Deenethorpe. Spring has come to England and so has Bing Crosby’s latest movie. When Stanley is not busy with his clerical duties, he makes it to the movies, takes care of his regular soldier duties and has time to keep up on his correspondence, sharing a few jokes with his brother.

He writes that he saw Going My Way with Bing Crosby. His review is that “…it was a different type of picture from the kind Bing usually plays in. He usually plays in musicals. This time he played the part of a Catholic priest who was being assigned to a church of which an old priest was a pastor. He later received charge of the church and pays up the mortgage. It was partly a comedy, [partly a] musical and partly religious. It was one of the best I’ve seen in a long while. Have you seen it yet?”

Spring has finally coming to England. It has “…been a nice warm day with a cool breeze blowing.”   It was nice enough to play some volleyball. He notes that he hasn’t seen any robins, but “they have some birds that look like sparrows but have small orange breasts.”

He mentions that his duties have changed since he doesn’t make out payrolls anymore. However, he does not indicate what he is now doing.  Even so, on one day he writes that he “had extra work to do and didn’t get to bed until 5:30 in the morning” but still managed”…to get about two and a half hours sleep during the night.”

Although Stanley is getting used to a lot of things in the Army, he still has not gotten used to the beer in England. “The beer they have over here is light and dark, that is mild and bitter.  The first half of the glass doesn’t taste bad, but the other half you might as well forget to drink it because it tastes awful by the time you get to the bottom of the glass.”

One thing that is certain in the Army is that sooner or later it will be your turn to clean the barracks.  Even though everyone takes turns, “even the first sergeant”, it came around to Stanley.  So he “…swept and mopped the floor” and when he got back to the barracks after his work shift “the barracks [were] in the same condition as before [he] started to clean it.”

Finally, as Stanley wraps up the month with a V-Mail on the 30th, he shares a few jokes that he heard.  “Did you hear about the one where a colonel phoned a WAC detachment and asked for one of the officer personnel. ‘I’m sorry, sir’, came the reply, ‘there’s not a single officer here.’ Muttered the colonel absentmindedly, ‘Well let me speak to a married one then.’”

He relays another joke.”…a cute blonde got on a crowded London bus. A GI quickly stood up. But before he could say a word she pushed him back into his seat and said, ‘Thank you, but I prefer to stand.’ The soldier stood up again and she shoved him down again explaining that she preferred to stand. The third time the exhausted GI stood up and screamed, ‘Miss, please let me off- we passed my stop three blocks back.”

Although Stanley wraps up his last V-mail of the month with a few jokes, and his notes from Deenethorpe reflect the ordinary aspect of life on base, the 613th squadron of the 401st Bomb Group to which his is attached has spent the month doing extraordinarily serious work. Here’s a rundown of their missions for the month of May 1944:

  • May 1: Nazi rocket installation, Siracourt, France
  • May 4: German airdrome, Bergen/Alkmaar
  • May 7: Berlin
  • May 8: Berlin
  • May 9: Marshalling yards, Luxembourg
  • May 11: Railway shops, Karthaus
  • May 12: Synthetic oil plant, Merseburg
  • May 13: Stetten
  • May 19: Shipbuilding yard, Kiel
  • May 20: Airfield, Villacoublay, France
  • May 22: Shipbuilding yard, Kiel
  • May 23: Bayon, France
  • May 24: Berlin
  • May 25: Gun battery, Fecamp, France
  • May 25: Marshalling yards, Metz
  • May 27: Marshalling yards, Ludwigshaven
  • May 28: Engine works, Dessau
  • May 29: Aircraft assembly plant, Sorau
  • May 30: Aircraft assembly plant, Oscherslaben
  • May 31: German airdrome, Luxeuill, France
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