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Just Another Year Older

Posted by on May 7, 2016

July 30, 1944. Stanley writes a letter to Dad. It is Stanley’s 23rd birthday, and he notes that he is “just another year older” and he marvels about “how time went fast.”  Being that it is his birthday, it seems that Stanley is in a bit of a silly and mischievous mood, typing the letter on multiple angles and commenting that “I hope you will be able to read this letter by the time I get through with it. The censor will have to work just a little more than usual.”

As far as news from the 613th Squadron of the 401st Bomb Group in Deenethorpe, Stanley relays that the “barracks is getting sort of filled up. We have two fellows…who just moved in yesterday. It isn’t too crowded and we don’t walk over each other.”

Adding to the population in the barracks is something that “the First Sergeant was involved in… He started to clean his foot locker and there on his long johns was a nest of five baby mice. Their eyes were closed and they had no hair on them at all. They all were pink.”

In other news, there is a squadron enlisted men’s club being built “right next to my barracks.”  Stanley details the construction. “It seems to be going up pretty good. The foundation is finished and the sides are going up at full speed ahead. In another two weeks or more we shall be having it in use. It will be somewhat of a recreational building, and if we can get beer we’ll have that in the evenings. Most of the wood which was used for the sides came from big crates and make a good sturdy wall.”

As far as spare time activities, Stanley writes of plans to “go to the movies and see ‘Hitler’s Children’. I don’t know what it is all about, but from curiosity I think that I will go see it.” He also mentions that he read an article in the June 1944 edition of Popular Mechanics that “had a picture of the DeWitt Clinton boat which was…used as the Day Line going up and down the Hudson River.” Stanley writes that the article mentions that the ship was built in 1913 for the Navy, sold to the Day Line and is now back in service as a military transport. Stanley doesn’t “know what they named the ship now as it did not state for security reasons.”

Stanley finally runs out of room on the paper, so he signs off with his traditional “God bless you, brother.”

An image of the letter which Stanley wrote to Dad on July 30, 1944. Stanley imagines "the censor will just have to work just a little bit more than usual."

An image of the letter which Stanley wrote to Dad on July 30, 1944. Stanley imagines “the censor will just have to work just a little bit more than usual.”

As is my custom, since we’ve hit the end of another month here is a summary of the missions flown by the 401st. In addition to hitting strategic targets, the 401st flew several missions in support of ground forces that were fighting their way through France in the month following the Normandy D-Day invasion.

  • July 4, 1944 – Railroad Bridge at Saumur, France
    • Target obscured by clouds, no bombs dropped
  • July 6, 1944 – Rely and Enguinegatte, France
  • July 6, 1944 – Renescure, France
  • July 7, 1944 – Aircraft Engine Factory, Leipzig
  • July 8, 1944 – Mont Louis Femre
    • 613th Squadron stood down for this mission.
  • July 11, 1944 – Aircraft Engine Factory, Munich
  • July 12, 1944 – Aircraft Engine Factory, Munich
  • July 13, 1944 – Aircraft Engine Factory, Munich
  • July 16, 1944 – Stuttgart (Target of opportunity)
  • July 18, 1944 – Rocket propulsion facility, Peenemunde
  • July 19, 1944 – Messerschmitt Plant, Augsburg
  • July 20, 1944 – Ball Bearing Factory, Leipzig
  • July 21, 1944 – Ball Bearing Factory, Schweinfurt
  • July 24, 1944 – St. Lo, France
    • Tactical support of advancing ground forces
  • July 25, 1944 – St. Lo, France
    • Tactical support of advancing ground forces
  • July 28, 1944 – Oil and Ammonia Plant, Merseburg
  • July 29, 1944 – Oil and Ammonia Plant, Merseburg
  • July 30, 1944 – Munich, Germany

 

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