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Catching Spring Fever

Posted by on December 27, 2016

February 14, 21 and 28, 1945: Stanley writes a few letters to Dad. Stanley continues his duties managing payroll for the 613th Squadron of the 401st Bomb Group in Deenethorpe, England.

On the 14th he sends a short V-mail. As is the case with most of his correspondence, topics are mostly the seemingly day-to-day trivialities of his down time on base. He writes that “work has slowed up a little so I have some extra time to myself. Starting today there is an American musical in one of the theaters in one of the cities nearby. I hope to get the chance to go see it.” Note that he does not mention which nearby city it is as that detail would likely have been censored out.

Among the other items he mentions is “I’m trying to raise a mustache for the heck of it. It’s been growing for a week now. If I can trim it and it looks okay I guess I’ll keep it for a while or else I’ll shave it off like I did twice before.”

By the time the 21st comes around, he writes that the “Last few days have been really busy. Some work has piled up…and it will take some time to straighten it all out.” The weather has “warmed up a bit, we go outside for about ten or fifteen minutes and get some calisthenics.  After not having some for a while, most of my joints ache a bit. …For a couple of days we have had some real summer weather over here. Although the days are a bit cool, the sun shines very warmly. …I think I am catching spring fever as I feel somewhat lazy and tired lately. Boy how I hate to get up in the morning”

The letter on the 28th is the longest of the lot, both sides of a 14 inch sheet double spaced. It is “dear old payday and some fellows will be either rich or poor overnight. You know what I mean. That isn’t for me. I’d rather save something for myself for the future.”

Stanley has also received the news that Dad has been moved to McCook. “I just got to the point where I memorized your old address and then you go change it again. Now I will have to start all over… I found your new location on the map and you are not too far from where you were. I hope you get a good break in the new outfit. I’m sure you got a good deal out of the transfer.”

Stanley also writes that he had a new main spring put in his pocket watch. “I tried to get it fixed in town but it would take a few weeks to have it done. We have a fellow in our squadron who was a watchmaker … He put an Elgin spring into the watch. He said the spring was a bit strong and might make the watch gain a few seconds. He said if it did to come over and see him again and he would adjust it for me. It didn’t take him more than an hour to do the work and it seems to be running pretty good at the present time.”

In other news he received a clipping about their friend Eddie Falkowski who is a fighter pilot as well as a letter from him. Stanley writes that in the letter, Eddie wrote that “sometime in the near future he was expecting to go home for a rest. He also said that he would probably get married if he did get home.” As far as Falkowski’s war record, Stanley writes, “So far he has three in the air to his credit and a fourth probable and also is credited with eight on the ground. I hope that he can finish his tours over there and get back home safely.”

Before wrapping up his letter, Stanley reports on other goings on at Deenethorpe.  The first he relates to what is happening back home in Albany. “Seems as if back home the food and coal situation is pretty bad. But I guess everything will be okay as soon as it starts to warm up a bit. Here our barracks are rationed on coal and we seem to be getting along on what we get.”

Although coal is rationed for the barracks, it seems that the Army is making sure the men get other niceties when they are available, as Stanley details, “A few days ago for supper we had roast turkey. Don’t know what the occasion was but it tasted good anyway. I guess it was just a treat for the boys. They do it once in a while like that. A few days ago our AERO club had banana sandwiches. I didn’t get any but the fellows said it was pretty good.”

He wraps, “Well, I guess I’ll be closing for a while. I think I’ll go to chow now and after chow see if I can get paid. Here’s wishing you the best of luck and God’s blessings.”

That brings us to the end of February 1945.  As has been the custom, below is the list of the missions flown by the 401st Bomb Group that month. Notwithstanding the routine news that Stanley has relayed from Deenethorpe, the 401st continues to be engaged in some of the most important strikes to date including their participation in the largest allied air raid on Berlin on the 3rd and the bombing of Dresden on the 14th and 15th.

  • Feb. 1: Marshalling Yards at Ludwigshaven
  • Feb. 3: Berlin
  • Feb. 6: Giessen/Eisfeld
  • Feb. 9: Oil Production Facilities at Lutzkendorf
  • Feb. 10: Fuel facilities at Dulmen
  • Feb. 14: Marshalling Yards at Dresden
  • Feb. 15: Marshalling Yards at Dresden
  • Feb. 16: Oil Facilities at Gelsenkirchen
  • Feb. 20: Marshalling Yards at Nuremburg
  • Feb. 21: Marshalling Yards at Nuremburg
  • Feb. 22: Rail Lines at Ludwigshist
  • Feb. 23: Rail Bridge at Ottingen
  • Feb. 24: Oil Refineries at Harburg
  • Feb. 25: Marshalling Yards at Munich
  • Feb. 26: Berlin
  • Feb. 27: Marshalling Yards at Leipzig
  • Feb. 28: Marshalling Yards at Soest


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