Chapter 72: Bombing Missions Limited By Supplies. Looking Forward to Return to Italy. Man Kills Dog! Warned We Must Behave in France!
Aug 26,1944 Alto, Corsica. We flew two dive bombing missions this morning, with one wing tank and one 500 pound bomb. The range to targets in France is getting too great now, so we will start operating in Northern Italy again. The Allied troops in Southern France are almost in Paris now.
In the afternoon I helped Woody with his plane (No. 77). We stopped a couple of hydraulic leaks and increased the manifold pressure by a couple of inches. We flew a couple of training missions today because we just received 10 new pilots.
Lt. Ridley is going to Alexandria, Egypt on furlough. Lt. Pridgeon is going home. I am told I will get my old plane (73) back from France. There was a notice on the bulletin board saying that 'A' party will go to one of the two staging areas soon, for the move to France. I am to be in 'B' Party, as a co-driver in Number 4 Jeep, with Sgt. Volter our Flight Chief.
In spite of these arrangements, we stand a good chance of going back to Italy! I would sure like to get to see Rome, Florence, Leghorn, Pisa, Milano, etc.
I received a letter today from Cousin Marvin Berrin today saying that he has arrived in England. Through some coincidence, my brother Murray was on the same convoy! He is a forward observer in a Field Artillery Battalion.
Aug 27, 1944. This morning, my Italian friend Luigi told me that he and the other three Italian KP’s (kitchen workers) are being sent back to Italy. It seems that we received a directory from the 12th Air Force saying that we cannot take anyone to the mainland of France who is not a native of that country!
I worked on several different planes this morning, since I don’t have one of my own rights now. We received an order from Group Headquarters requiring us to take our atabrine tablet (anti malaria) before eating now. It seems some fools have skipped taking it and consequently came down with malaria.
At 2.00 PM I went to the rifle range and fired 15 rounds with my new carbine rifle. I was supposed to do that yesterday but ducked it. Sgt. Volter gave me hell this morning for it so I had to go today.
There was a squadron meeting after dinner this evening and we were read the Articles of War. This is the code of military justice which is the law that is applicable to those in the military. Major Mallet (Our adjutant Officer) said that we cannot 'carry on' while in France like we did when we were in the British 8th Army in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Aug 28, 1944 At breakfast this morning, the cooks told us that they are not allowed to draw any rations because we are scheduled to more out on Wednesday (the day after tomorrow). I worked on various ships today, helping those crew chiefs that needed it.
Aug 31, 1944: The 'B' party of our French friends (the Lafayette Escadrille) who share this field with us, move out today, headed for France.
I worked on plane no. 71 today and helped change the tail wheel which had blown out. Then I did the same for plane no. 74. We returned to the camp area at 2.30 to be paid. I drew $29.00 , because everything else is being sent to my parents on an allotment.
In the afternoon I drove the flight truck around getting spare parts for those mechanics that were making repairs. Upon return to our camp area I took a dip in the stream, and went to the day room. There I played black jack for 5 hours and came out losing $200.00. Some days are like that! I guess I had too much to drink because as I sit here writing this I have trouble writing in a straight line!
Sept 2, 1944: We flew three missions today, two of them escort and one dive bombing. We know that our time in Corsica is drawing to a close very soon, because there are only enough bombs for three more missions for us on the Island. Only one supply vessel has landed here during the past month!
Major Leaf had Goldstone’s dog killed because his dog 'Eewa' didn’t like him! (Eewa in Arabic means 'yes'). Today Major Leaf was awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross. In a curious turn of events, we (the 66th squadron) have to fly the 64th squadron’s missions for them because they have 60 men hospitalized with ptomaine poisoning. Bad cans of chicken are what did it!
The Germans are in full retreat on the 7th Army’s front. Generals Patton, Patch, and Bradley are all advancing. Right now the Americans are only 14 miles from Germany itself! The Ploesti oilfields have been taken by the Russians, and Bucharest, Romania has fallen.
In France, the Allied armies from the south and the north have just joined up. The news is good on all fronts right now.
So ends part 72 of my wartime memoirs