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The News Has Greatly Improved

Posted by on February 13, 2017

April 26 and May 5, 1945. Stanley wraps up the month of April with a short one page letter to Dad “to let you know that I’ve received your change of address. Based on Dad’s San Francisco APO, Stanley surmises “Looks like I won’t see you for a while. Maybe someday in the future I’ll see [you] over there. I hope we see each other back in the good old USA. I can remember how busy we were before we came over to ETO (European Theater of Operations). There were more odds and ends to do.”

On the 26th Stanley also shares that a cat that lives in the barracks has had kittens “…four of them. One was all black…the other three were brown with a little white. They looked so cute. It was so funny to see the fellows betting shillings on what color the kittens would be.”

On the fifth, Stanley writes another short letter as he has a typewriter at his disposal in the orderly room. He writes that, “Everything is sort of peaceful around here at the present time. The news on this front has greatly improved and it seems as if the war on this side will come to an end in the near future and I hope it comes fast.”  As far as his duties in the office, Stanley writes, “…we are pretty busy at the present and will be during the entire month checking this and that.”

When not busy working, Stanley spends some of his time at the club on base as he details, “Last night I was really hungry about nine thirty so…I go to the AERO club and have two big lettuce sandwiches and a cup of coca cola and that chased the hunger away for a while.” In terms of other ways to pass the scarce free time he mentions that, “Lately we have played a lot of volleyball and would have played some more but the rains have come and that might last a few days.”   

While Stanley writes about rain from a meteorological standpoint, from a figurative standpoint, the 401st Bomb Group has been raining bombs down on strategic targets. For the month of April, 1945 they have flown the following missions:

  • April 4: Ordnance Depot at Unterluss
  • April 5: Ordnance Depot at Ingolstadt
  • April 7: Marshalling Yards at Lunsburg
  • April 8: Marshalling Yards at Halberstadt
  • April 9: Airfield at Furstenfeldbruck
  • April 10: Ordnance Depot at Oranienburg
  • April 11: Tactical Target at Friehan
  • April 14: Coastal Fortress at Royan
  • April 15: Coastal Fortress at Royan
  • April 16: Railroad Bridge at Regensburg (250th Mission)
  • April 17: Tactical Target in Dresden
  • April 18: Power Station at Traunstein
  • April 19: Marshalling Yard at Falkenburg
  • April 20: Marshalling Yard at Brandenburg

The mission on April 20th was to be the last flown during WWII by the 401st, however at the time they were not made aware of the fact. After the Brandenburg mission there would be numerous times during the last ten days of the month when the flight crews of the 401st would take off from Deenethorpe, only to be recalled after a few hours in the air. With the German Army being pushed back quickly to Berlin and the impending end of hostilities in Europe, the 401st would soon officially be given the order to stand down.

Next up: Stanley’s VE Day letter

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