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Pretty Good Service

Posted by on January 26, 2016

April 1, 6 and 10, 1944: a few V-mails from Stanley to Dad. Stanley is still with the 401st Bomb Group in Deenethorpe, England. As is the case back home in Albany and in Topeka where Dad is, Easter and spring time are on the way, Stanley gets to see some of London while on a two day pass, and a chess set that Dad sent to him finally arrives.

Stanley writes that he had another two day pass and spent the time in London with a friend of his. They stayed at the Red Cross Club and “did a lot of walking around looking the city over.” They also rode the subway in London about which Stanley comments, “They are much better than the subways in New York [where] you can lose yourself. The subways are so simple here.” While at the Red Cross Club he got a haircut for nine pence “which is only nine cents.”

He writes that they went to see a play and a couple of movies. “We saw a stage play entitled ‘Panama Hattie’. It was a comedy. We also saw the movie ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. It was a good picture. The best picture we saw was the movie ‘The Song of Bernadette’. It was a story of the girl Bernadette and the Miracles at Lourdes, France. It was a sad picture and everything in the show was quiet. It was the best picture I’ve seen in a long time.” As far as other movies go, he mentions that he “read in the Stars and Stripes where England has been showing the movie ‘Gone with the Wind’ for the past four years.”

He also writes that, “We saw the parade the Americans and British [were] made a part of. We watched the parade as it passed by the Trafalgar Square.”

Back at camp after his pass, on the 6th he is getting prepared for Easter as they are “starting services in our chapel”. In addition to that he spent some down time at the AERO club “and enjoyed a sandwich, some cakes and coffee and had quite a talk with one of the fellows from France.” Stanley also writes that “today in our P Xchange rations for the week we got a can of grapefruit juice. That was a surprise. It will come in handy some evening.”

On the 10th Stanley writes that with Spring on the way “it doesn’t get dark till late and that’s what I like. Sometimes it really gets hot around here… Who said England was always foggy?” As far as Easter services on base, Stanley reports “I went to confession and communion. There was a record crowd in church on Easter.”

Lastly, he writes, “Today I received the package you sent me containing the pocket game of chess. Thanks a lot brother. Now I can brush up on the game. I know if you played the game with me you would beat me. The package was dated 17 Mar 44. It took a little less than a month to get here. Pretty good service, I’d say.”

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