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Many Things Have Happened

Posted by on January 17, 2017

March 19 and 27, 1945: Stanley wraps up another month with the 401st Bomb Group in England with two letters to Dad. He writes the first letter “in the barracks. It is now eight thirty five. The radio is playing but it is starting to go on the bum. We have had a lot of service from it. I guess the tubes are almost shot….I built a fire in the stove about an hour ago and now it is pretty nice and warm….It is raining outside to beat the band.

Stanley got word that Dad was home on furlough. He writes, “Was really happy to hear you were home on furlough I wish I were there also. That would make things complete. I know mama and the rest of the folks at home were really happy to have you home.”  

As he wraps up his short letter, he mentions that he is “getting sort of sleepy right now” and he suspects that he has a bit of a cold that is getting the better of him and making him drowsy, writing, “My eyes are just about shutting on me. Looks as if I’m going to be [asleep] as soon as I finish this letter.

On the 27th he writes another three page letter from the barracks while he listens “to a French radio program” where “they announce the titles of songs in English “. While listening to the radio he hears the news that “the Polish Port of Gdynia was just captured. That is sure good news. The news sure looks good on the Eastern and Western front.” As a matter of reference, Gdynia is a major port near Gdansk (known during the war as Danzig) on Poland’s Baltic (north) coast near the mouth of the Vistula River. Given its size and location, it holds major strategic significance. During its occupation after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, Gdynia was converted for use as a German Naval base. It’s reclamation by Allied forces was certainly an important development in the march to liberate Europe. More about Gdynia during WWII can be found here.

A map of wartime Poland showing the Port of Gdynia along the Baltic Coast. As you can see on the map, at the time Gdynia and Danzig were Poland’s maritime link to the outside world. 

In general, Stanley reports that he is “feeling pretty good” even though he has “been quite busy again. Just when I think I’ll have time to myself, something always comes up.” So much for month end when you have to do payroll. That being the case, he notes that “the weather is the best since we’ve been here….The time sure went by fast if you ask me.” As if dropping a hint, he writes, “Yep, many things have happened since we’ve been here.”

It also looks like Dad was dropping a hint in his last letter to his brother, as Stanley asks, “What do you mean by having finished taking plague shots? Never heard of them. Must be that you are headed for the Pacific.” He wraps up his letter, “Here’s hoping if you do go overseas that your trip be a pleasant one and that you get to your destination safely. God bless you, brother.”

With that, March of 1945 closes. As is my custom, following are the missions flown by the 401st Bomb Group to which Uncle Stanley was attached:

  • March 1: Marshalling Yards at Heilbron
  • March 2: Marshalling Yards at Chemnitz
  • March 3: Marshalling Yards at Chemnitz
  • March 4: Messerschmidt Plant at Schwabmuchen
  • March 7: Marshalling Yards at Siegen
  • March 8: Marshalling Yards at Essen
  • March10: Marshalling Yards at Hagen
  • March 11: Submarine Base at Bremen
  • March 12: Naval Docks at Swindemunde
  • March 14: Marshalling Yards at Lohne
  • March 15: German Staff Headquarters in suburban Berlin
  • March 17: Power & Oil Plant at Molbis
  • March 18: Marshalling Yards at Berlin
  • March 19: Cellulose Plant at Plauen
  • March 21: Arms Dump at Hopsten
  • March 22: Support of Allied Ground Forces at Barmingholten
  • March 23: Railway Depot at Gladbeck
  • March 24: Clearing for Bridgeheads on the Rhine
  • March 24: Airfield at Twente Enschede (Holland)
  • March 28: Armament & Motor Works in Berlin
  • March 30: Submarine Base at Bremen
  • March 31: Oil Production Plant at Merseburg
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