During this last part of December 1944, Ang flies five missions and writes five letters. He manages to pass on many newsy tidbits including a hope to attend Mass at St Peters in Rome; descriptions of his Christmas activities -- including meals consumed and liquor obtained; and of course mail recieved. He mentions that he received his books from the University; lost and found his wallet; and reports receipt of about 15 Christmas packages. Betty must have enquired, becasue he tries to explain his current status and why he's not yet a captain.
Betty continued her usual keep-busy schedule of work, shopping, volunteering and visiting friends and relatives. She finally recieved a package from Capri on the 27th!
I've shared some information about the 340th BG Christmas party provided for some Corsican children. Ang mentions it briefly, but it was also discussed in the group and squadron diaries. In 2013, I was delighted to see a Tweet from the National Archives with a link to a film about the party. I've included that link below.
In the 486 BS diary for December 24, it was said, "Stand-down again – It seems as though we were not sent here to fly." Finally, after Christmas, the weather cleared enough for missions and Ang's 486th Bomb Squadron flew every day through the 31st.
Finally, I want to note Ang's 12/27 letter in which he reports to Betty, "By the way, in case you don't know, Tom just told me that his brother has been reported missing in action somewhere in France. Damn the war!" Thus begins my father's side of the Cahill family tragedy. The story is told in my friend Michelle Cahill's book "Dear Mom: A Family Finds Its Past in World War II Letters Home." Michelle is Tom Cahill's niece. I'll have a post devoted to this story later.
In his December 27th letter, Ang mentions a Christmas party for some Corsican children. They collected candy from their own "provisions" and a group of them went up to Cervione to deliver it.
The 340th BG mentions the collection on the 23rd.
"A very large collection of candy, garnered from the PX rations of officers and enlisted men in voluntary contributions, is being built up in the public relations office. Two large G.I. equipment cases in the office are loaded down with 25 cubic feet of hard candy, peanut bars, chocolate bars, and packages of gum. The kiddies of the little town of Cervione will go wild when they get all that.'
On the 24th, the diary reported:
"Captain William Anderson of the 489th, who lately has been working with the public relations officer, took his Speed Graphic camera, an ambulance loaded with 250 pounds of assorted candies and sweets, and a few enlisted men carolers up to Cervione for the children's Christmas party this afternoon. It was supposed to have been a happy success."
And again on the 25th:
"The Cervione Christmas party went over with a bang, the local mayor making a speech of thanks and the kids apparently dazed at being given so much candy after being candy-starved for about four years. About 450 children were served, and about 2500 candy bars or small boxes of candy were distributed."
On December 18, 2013, The National Archives posted a video and story on one of their blogs, which I happened to see on Twitter. I didn't see Ang in the video and so, while he may have been there, I think he's using the "Royal We" in his letter. Here's the link to the Archives blog with the video. :
Friday, December 22. Very nasty day—rainy. Ugh! No work tomorrow. Marian drove me home & we had a drink. No mail today.
December 23. Up early—and to store in A.M. Cleaned up and down to Officers Wives Club. Had a real nice time. Bed 12:00
[Letter. Postmark 12-28-44.]
I think I’ll be going to mass at St. Peters tomorrow night—so if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days—you’ll know where I am.
Our Christmas booze came in today—and it amounts to practically a quart a man of Seagrams V.O. Man, what a party this should be—wow! I doubt if there will be a man in the squadron fit for flying for quite some time to come.
We didn’t get any mail today either—its been some time now. I’d better get a bushel basket full when it does come in.
I was pretty busy today—decorating the walls of the shack. You should see my pin-ups—wow! It looks like a college boys dream room now—ha! Oh well, I have to do something to pass the time. Don’t worry though, hon—I only have two pictures of Lana, and at least a dozen of you—ha!
Have you heard from Bud lately—its been some time since I have. I suppose it’s the mail mess.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
December 24. To 12:30 Mass. Wrote a letter to Eve[Evelyn Bylund? Arne Bylund's wive?] Just did odds and ends all day. Sat around in evening but no one showed up.
December 25. To 9:00 Mass. Then breakfast and then presents. Lots of lovely things! Schrickers over to dinner—lovely dinner. Bed 10:30.
[Letter. Postmark 12-28-44.]
Merry Christmas, honey:
I must say I don’t feel very merry—but what else can I say. Oh me, what a head I’ve got on my shoulders—what a Christmas eve last night was—wow! As I told you, we got plenty of whiskey for the celebrations. As far as celebrations go, this one took the cake. What a drunken squadron this was. As I’ve said before, what a head I’ve got.
To top everything off, I lost my wallet somewhere. Thank God, I only had a couple of dollars in cash in it. I had $150.00 in money orders made out to myself in it. If someone doesn’t return it by tomorrow, I’ll report the loss to the post office. It’s a lucky thing that the post-office is the only place to cash a money order—that way I can stop anybody from cashing it.
I don’t know why I’m getting all excited—it’ll probably be turned in—or maybe its already turned in at group or one of the other squadrons—I hope. Oh me, I don’t know why I ever take a drink—I sure make a mess of things when I do.
As you’ve probably guessed, I did not get to Rome for midnight mass. The reason is a military secret—I guess. Oh well.
I got several packages yesterday. One was some candy from the Greek Star Mothers (whatever that is). How do you like that? I also got a bridge set from the Falls. And then I got my books from Illinois. Now I can really get started. Also received your package with the notebooks, typing paper etc. Thanks darling!
Amos and Andy are on now—they certainly have improved their program, haven’t they!
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
December 26. Worked hard today but no heart in it. No mail. Out to B.J. Miller’s[?] in evening—very lovely time. Bed 1:30. Ugh.
Form 5. -26, flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:20h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #53.]
Chaff & Phos.
Light & Inaccurate
-- Tom really go the damn guns.
[According to the 486th BS diary, 15 planes went on this mission. There are two pages for the crew list for this mission. Ang and his friend Tom were both on 6H. Here's a link with mssion information:
December 27. Dark & cloudy day. Package from Capri arrived. Also Adams’ Xmas present. Peg & I to movies. Bed 12:30.
Form 5. -27, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:35h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION 54.]
Borovinca R.R. Viaduct East
Knocked out seven spans of viaduct.
Led group. Maj. G.B. Thabault. Lt. Col J.W. Ruebel, R.G. Woolcott
[I believe Ang's notes in pencil were added later, when he was revieing his records. He noted that this mission was into Yogoslavia. This Unit Citation "order" is dated December 27th, but is for the mission in September. This 6th OLC order can be viewed under the "Official Documents" tab.]
￼Photo from the 340th BG Diary on the 57th BW web site: "General Knapp Awarding Decorations Photo: 57th Bomb Wing Archive" The diary reported "A special medal- awarding formation was held today for combat crew members who are awaiting orders to go home after finishing their missions. General Knapp made the presentations, as usual."
[Letter. Postmark 12-28-44.]
I certainly have been getting boco packages from Christmas. Yesterday I got one from you—cigars etc—and two from the folks—a pipe-eats-film-candy etc. Today I got one from you (food) and one from Kay--a fruitcake. I guess I'll have to start on my "thank-you" notes tonight. Boy, altogether, I got about 15 Christmas packages. You certainly took advantage of the post office on the Christmas package deal. Thanks darling---I love you for it---and for many, many other things too of course!
I'm glad you got over to see the Cahills and had such a nice time. The way Tom talked, I figured that you'd enjoy his people. By the way, in case you don't know, Tom just told me that his brother has been reported missing in action somewhere in France. Damn the war!
I'm sorry I've stirred up all this fuss about that cablegram. But really, I didn't know that it was going to cause what amounts to practically an international incident. Sorry, Darling.
I guess I do neglect you in the way of information, but it really is pretty hard to know what one can say or not say. It seems that you are even more in the dark than I thought you were. Sorry!
Here's the poop. My present status is Navigator---darn it! That means that I have no particular crew of my own. I just fly with the lead crew.
The reason it is taking me so long to finish, is that the navigators rotate on the missions and so we don't fly as often as the wing men do.
As I've said before, being in the "lead" means nothing to us---except an extra 3-4 months overseas. Oh well, at least are "wheels” and get to ride a jeep to briefings, while the others ride a truck--ha! Does that sound like sarcasm?
Of course once in awhile one of the real "wheels" goes home or something and one of the "leads" slips into the vacancy and becomes a Capt., but there isn't much chance--so, as I've said (or did I), I love to ride jeeps. I'm not bitter, darling, it just gets me mad sometimes that I always slide into deals like that. If it was the wing men that had to rotate their missions, sure as hell, I'd be on the wing. Oh well.
George Henthorn, the fellow I moved in with, is finished now. He ought to be seeing you one of these months. Did I give you his wife's address--no?
Buff (Elizabeth) Henthorn
4441 Clarissa Ave
They have a little daughter and they live with his mother.
I thought I sent you Wheeler's address. He's away for a week or so, but I'll send his wife's address as soon as he comes back.
We had a very nice Christmas---big meal etc. There wasn't too much drinking in the Squadron---too many hangovers from the night before.
We took some candy and stuff up in the hills to some French children---made us feel like Santa Claus.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
December 28. Overslept this A.M. & was it a mad dash. Awfully busy today—wrote cards in evening & laundry. Bed 11:30.
Form 5. -28, flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:55h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #55.]
R.R. Viaduct, East.
Knocked out rest of spans.
Capt. J.M. Moyer, Dozier, T.D. Cahill]
[A December 28 clipping, below, was in Ang's scrapbook.]
December 29. Worked like dog today. Tried to do some shopping for Donny—but no luck. Marian drove me home. Bed late.
[Letter. Postmark 1/2/45.]
Before I forget (I did in the last letter) my wallet was returned to me. Everything was in it. It certainly is nice to have some honest men around you. All I’ve got to say for myself is that it’s a darn good thing my head is connected to the rest of my body. Boy what a jerk I am.
In your last couple of letters, you seem to hint that perhaps I’m not writing as often as I should. I’ll admit that I have been rather slack lately—but it’s not that bad. I usually get at least four letters a week off to you—and that’s not too bad. Maybe some of them have been getting stuck in the Christmas rush.
Charley said that he had written to you—I guess a thank you for the Christmas card. He’s well on the road to recovery now.
Arne got his D.F.C. the other day—he should be leaving soon. It got here sooner than I expected—I certainly am happy for him.
I’ve got 55 missions now—so you can start expecting me any month. My birthday is still a good guess—I hope. The chances are that I’ll have the same deal as Arne on No. of missions—darn it, why do I look so healthy.
By the way, I’ve got a nice mustache on my upper lip now—and it’s only two weeks old. I’m not going to shave it off until I get home—in fact I’m not even going to trim it. I just wanted to warn you, so you can be ready for the shock of a couple of pounds of hair curled around my face. Really, in spite of the fact that I don’t like mustaches, I am proud of this one. Don’t worry darling, I promise to shave it off as soon as I get home.
Well, New Years Eve is two nights off. I wish—no I don’t either. I’m perfectly happy to spend it on Corsica—ha, ha, ha!
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
December 30. Didn’t have to work today. Had a letter from Benny—maybe he’ll be in tomorrow. Jr. down for a few days. To movies after U.S.O. Late.
Form 5. -30, flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:00h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #56.]
RR Bridge #2
Heavy, Int. & Accurate.
Seven ships holed.
Capt. Dozier, J.D. Smith, F.J. Gowiski
December 31. To 10:30 Mass Benney[?] got in about 2:00. Sure good to see him—he stayed for dinner. Feel bad now though. Wrote letters.
Form 5. -31, flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:00h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #57.]
Calliano Gun Positions
Chaff & Phos
Heavy, intense, & accurate.
Dave did a good job on guns---none of the following ships were holed
[G.P. Davis is listed as bombardier on the crew sheet, so perhaps "Dave" is "Davis."]
[Letter. Postmark 1-2-45.]
Happy New Year—and I really mean it. What I mean is that I hope it will be a happy new year for both of us—and I’ve also got a hunch that it will be a happy one. I can actually see the end of my missions coming—and I can even see myself back in the states and with you one of these days.
Don’t mind me, hon—I just feel pretty darn good tonight—and it isn’t because I’m drunk—I haven’t had a drink yet. I’ve got a hunch I’m really going to put one on though—that is if I’m not flying in the morning.
I got three more packages yesterday from the folks and two from you-- -- “T” shirts, nuts, magazines, etc. You sure are good to me.
I know this is short but you’ll have to excuse me—the boys are calling—“Yoohoo, Ange, come one over to the club you _____.” You know how it is when “duty” calls.
Goodnight darling—and Happy New Year--
I love you sweetheart—Love, Ang
From Ang Adams' photo collection, labeled "57" on back of photo. Also: Left to Right R. Middlekauf, G.P. Davis, Slocum, R.C. Adams. Bottom Row Shorty, John, Sour-puss Navigator (that would be Ang Adams.) The crew sheet lists Middlekauf, Adams, Adams, Davis, Slocum, Coupland, Garvin. Ang's mustache is visible.
Joni Adams Sesma, daughter of Angelo and Elizabeth Adams. Ang served on Corsica with the 57th Bomb Wing, 340th Bomb Group, 486th Bomb Squadron. April 1944-April 1945.