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The English Sure Like Their Tea

Posted by on December 7, 2015

February 17, 21, 27 and 29, 1944. We get a few V-mails from Stanley to Dad. Given the format they are short letters with a lot of single sentence paragraphs. The information is concise and to the point.

Apparently in a recent letter Dad had asked Stanley if he would like a pocket chess game. In reply Stanley writes, “There are only a few who play chess here and I guess I could get a game in sometimes. So if you like send me a game of chess.”

He also mentions that the AERO club has recently opened on base. In his V-mail of the 21st Stanley writes, “The other night we went to the AERO club on the camp and we enjoyed some toasted cheese sandwiches and some cookies. The have very nice fireplaces at the club and it feels so good to sit in a soft chair in front of the fireplace.”

Although it is cold in the barracks and “everyone now is cuddling up to the stove which is going full steam ahead” there is not much snow at Deenethrope, at least as far as an Albany native is concerned. “We had some snow a while ago, not much to talk about. It just about looked like as if someone sprinkled some powder on the ground.”

On the 27th Stanley writes that he has been delayed in writing having taken a two day pass to “…see what England looks like.” He went to Birmingham with a friend. Not being able to get a hotel room, they stayed at the Red Cross. He comments, “It was sure good to sleep in a soft bed at the Red Cross. I didn’t ever want to get out of bed.”

He writes, “We walked around the city looking things over. These English people sure walk around with smiles on their faces…” He continues, “That city sure has a mess of pretty girls if you ask me.” And as far as England’s favorite hot beverage, he writes, “The English sure like their tea. Anywhere you go you see English people walk to some place and get a cup of tea. Well, we did the same whenever we could.”

On the 29th Stanley notes that it is the end of the month. He is catching up on the work that “stacked up in a pile as high as a skyscraper” while he was away on his pass.  Being the end of the month he notes that, “Today was payday and in a few days the fellows will want to know when they will be paid again.” While he is marking time, he also comments that it has been nine months since his last furlough and that he has been in the service for sixteen months but that “the time has gone by pretty fast so far.”

As we wrap-up Stanley’s letters from February, 1944, it is time to run down the missions flown by the 613th Squadron of the 401st Bomb Group. They are:

  • Feb. 3: U-boat Construction Site, Wilhelmshaven, Germany
  • Feb. 4: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Feb. 5: Nazi airdrome in Chateauroux, France
  • Feb. 11: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Feb. 20: Aircraft assembly complex, Leipzig, Germany
  • Feb. 21: Airdrome and repair installation, Lippstadt, Germany
  • Feb. 22: Oscherslaben, Germany
  • Feb. 24: Ball bearing works, Schweinfurt, Germany
  • Feb. 25: Messerschmitt Factory, Augsburg, Germany
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One Response to The English Sure Like Their Tea

  1. Mike Murawski

    John – I like your technique of adding all the missions that Stanley’s squadron were flying during the time that he is writing such pedestrian, dull letters home. It’s a nice offset to compare what he is writing with what his unit was doing. They were busy bombing the Cr@p out of Germany, the Allies had the fighter escorts now available to protect he huge streams of bombers, and the Germans (like the Japanese) couldn’t replace experienced pilots. So .. they got shot down pretty quick. He makes no mention of any bomber losses during this time, although I’d be surprised if there were none in his Squadron/Group. The Schweinfurt raid is apparently a re-hit of a more famous mission in the Fall of 1943. That location in particular was pretty savagely defended. Mike

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