In spite of continuing bad weather on Corsica or over targets, the squadron managed to fly more than 30 missions in March. Ang flew his two final missions in March, but not until the 13th and 16th. On the 6th, he is finally able to tell Betty about Tom Cahill, and then tries to reassure her that he is “over it” and is fine now.
Somehow he manages to write some fairly newsy letters, touching on many topics, including post-war plans, salary, cooking. He sends an article about the paintings on the planes. There were some photos of these paintings in his scrapbook. I'll post those later. He mentions someone named Canfield twice, but I can't seem to find that name in any files or records.
Betty is busy as ever with board meetings, sewing an outfit for the Membership Tea, going to a few movies. She talks with Mrs. Abel (Ang’s new roommate).
Thursday March 1. Busy at the office—Dark and rainy. Napped before dinner—Wrote a couple letters—to bed about 11:00. Sure tired.
[Letter. Postmark 3-3]
Oh darn—this is one of those days where you go crazy for lack of something to do—and then when you finally decide to write some letters—you just can’t get started. You remember how restless I used to get around the house—not being able to sit down—and yet not knowing what to do—that’s the way I’ve been all day today.
I guess I’ve had it—its about time I was heading for home. I haven’t pestered any of the wheels, because I’ve been kinda hanging around for that Captaincy deal. However, nothing seems to be coming out of it—and its beginning to get on my nerves just laying around. I think I’ll fly two more missions—and if nothing develops by then, I’ll quit and start packing for home.
It isn’t that a Captaincy would mean so much to me—although the extra money wouldn’t hurt us. Its just that as a Captain when I got back to the states, I’d have a little more to say about where I wanted to be stationed and the type of job I wanted. However, nothing is worth staying over here indefinitely. So, if an opening doesn’t develop pretty darn soon, I’m just going to give it up. I’ll let you know for sure in about two weeks time.
I don’t feel as badly as this letter indicates—its just my restlessness—you know how I am when I have nothing to keep me busy.
Before I forget, yes I did get the film you sent—about a month ago—it sure made fast time.
You can watch the papers for the next couple of weeks. We’ve had a whole slew of reporters, writers, artists etc hanging around here lately—even flying missions with us. They ought to mention our Air Force at the bottom of some of their stories anyway.
Yes, I did get the two articles about Canfield. The little son-of-a-fun will be an ace before we know it. He always was a dead shot—one of the best skeetshooters I’ve seen. I’ll bet Ruth is in glory.
I love you darling—Love, Ang.
March 2. Rainy and cold, but it did clear up later. Had letters from Ang—got in touch with Mrs. Able—Ang’s new roommate.
[Letter. Postmark 3-3]
Well, I must say I feel a hell of a lot better today than I did yesterday. I don’t know what was the matter yesterday—just restlessness I guess. I suppose even I have to have days like that once in awhile—I suppose!
I’m sending you a few more snaps I’ve had around. I should say I’ve been doing alright by you. I’ve got quite a few more that I’d like to send home—but can’t. I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until I get home to see them—providing they’ll allow me to bring them with me. They’d better—I’ve gone thru a lot of trouble to get those—and I’ve got some beauties.
No dear, none of the snaps I sent you are commercials—they were all taken by me or one of the other boys. That one of the Nile was a beauty—I was quite proud of myself and the camera. I certainly do hope the Koda-colors come out –they should be extra special. I could send them to the states for development, but they’d have to go thru a lot of army channels, and I’m afraid something might happen to them. I guess I just wait until I come home.
Coming back to that subject again—I still don’t know when I’ll be coming home. However, I can tell you one thing—I’m going to fly very few more missions—and the ones I do fly, I’m going to pick. I’ve been flying them as the came—but I guess old Adams better start thinking about his wife and future family. I promise the few remaining will be milk runs—and nothing but. That was so you could stop worrying about me—that should put your mind more at ease.
Peg and Joe seem to be getting along allright, don’t they? By the way I sent Donny a big Teddy Bear from France—I thought it was very cute.
I also got some perfume for you and your mother—I’ll send it on tomorrow.
I love you honey—Love, Ang
March 3. Real nice day. My morning in office—not much to do. Bot some pads for suit. Home alone in evening—did some sewing.
Form 5. Mar 3, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:05h
[486th diary reports a stand own on this date, so this was robably a practice mission. Other squadrons did fly missions on this date.]
[Letter. Postmark 3-4]
I just happened to think—its only two weeks until my birthday. Time is sure going by—by the time this war is over we’ll be a middle-aged couple—almost! And on the twenty-seventh of this month I’ll have been in the Army three full years. That means I’ll start drawing foggy — an extra 5% — about 12 bucks a month extra. Boy, we’re really getting into the upper income brackets. Do you realize we’ve been earning about 500 bucks per month between us in the past 6-7 months. Holy Moses—if you’ll remember, that’s the figure we’d set for ourselves as the best living level. Well, we can always say that we attained it once in our lives.
Also, in about a month I’ll have been overseas a year—and be able to wear two overseas stripes on my sleeves. Boy, that blouse sure won’t look the same as it did when I left the states—providing I ever get around to putting everything on it. Of course it could also use a good cleaning.
One of your old letters (Jan 20) came yesterday—demanding the size shoe I wear. Really honey, I don’t need or want another pair of shoes. I’ve gotten quite used to the G.I. shoe—and I’ve got those boots I bought in Cairo. However, just before I come home, I’ll send you a request for a pair so you can get a coupon for me—O.K.?
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 4. Raining hard again today but cleared up a bit later. The [??unable to read] over for a while — to movie with Mary Tribing. Bed late.
[Letter. Postmark 3-6]
Got your letters of the 17, 18, & 19th—and since I don’t have to much to write about I’ll comment a little on them.
First, thanks for Gails letter—took a little dig at me didn’t she? I’m glad you plan on going to see her—it ought to do you both a lot of good. I can just see that she’s dying for a chance to give you the poop on the Bohlings—ha!
It certainly is too bad about Canfield—I hope its just a false rumor. Yes, it is true that Gabby can’t write about it—not for thirty days after its happened. It’s a very serious offense if he does—or anyone does. Its too bad, but that’s the army for you—and one of its damn regulations.
As far as your becoming a barfly goes—you can relax, because hubby definitely does not disapprove. As far as the word trust goes—I didn’t quite understand what you meant. If you wondered if I trusted you to take a couple of drinks and not make a fool of yourself—you can relax. You know what I think of your ability to handle yourself under any circumstances. If you mean the other kind of trust—well, all I can say is feel a little bit insulted. Don’t worry hon, if I ever get to the point where I don’t trust you that way—you’ll know about it—probably thru a lawyer. Ha, what a foolish thing to ask me. boy, after a few very important preliminaries, I’m going to paddle your little hind end—but good, as soon I get my hands on you. Oh me, what a day that will be—oh me!
I’m really glad you are getting hep on this cooking stuff. However, I want to warn you—don’t practice too much on this prepared stuff. All I’ll want when I get there is plenty of meat (mostly steak). French fries (no mash potatoes for Gods sakes) and plenty of fresh vegetables (mostly salads) and, believe it or not, gallons of fresh milk. Imagine me and milk, but its true, I’ll drink it by the gallon. Not that I’ll take any time off to eat for the first couple of days, but _ _ _ _. That was kind of raw and I didn’t even think it up—it’s the standard last words of all boys heading for home. You can see where our thoughts are concentrated most of the time—ha!
I hope you say something definite about your plans in one of your next few letters. If you are leaving for Chicago this month, I’d better start addressing the mail there. However I won’t start until you tell me to—I wouldn’t want to get that screwed up or you’d probably never talk to me again.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 5. Marian out all day — sure didn’t work very hard. Shopped for [??] but no luck. Wrote letters in evening. Bath and bed.
[Letter. Postmark 3-6]
The enclosed article is about one of our Squadrons. Those paintings on the planes are really cute—I really go for them.
Now to get to my moustache—or rather my lack of one. Really honey, it looks a lot better in the pictures than it actually is. Actually it was very mousy looking—I couldn’t get it trimmed at all. However, I’ll think it over, may I will grow another one before I come home.
I would hardly say that I disapprove of our families getting together—in fact there is nothing I would rather happen. I hardly think that Eleanor will contaminate my mother.
By the way, I sent the Cannes presents off today. I sent yours to Chicago, just to be on the safe side.
While we are still on the subject of Cannes—I cashed a check for $150.00 yesterday. I suppose I could have gotten away without cashing a check—but it would have left me broke and still owing some money—so I thought I’d better get straightened out once and for all.
You seemed to be a little excited about our post-war plans—really I’ve changed my mind since I last wrote you—several time. At the present I’m all at sea—although I do have a little deal cooking over here that I might take up after the war. Do you think you’d like to do a lot of traveling? That’s one thing that’s holding me up—I detest the thought of ever leaving the states once I get back to them. Its sort of an export-import deal—and the biggest drawback—you guessed it—money! Its still in the dreaming stages so I wouldn’t get too excited about it. More about it later on—if anything comes of it.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 6. Wasn’t much to do today but managed to keep busy. Mr. L. out of office. Mother to Rowena’s for trays[?]—so a late dinner. Sewed on [??coat?]. [Note: I originally thought Rowena was an in-law of Betty's uncle, but further research indicates she was Rowena Higgins, a friend of Betty's mother from their time in Arkansas when Betty was born.]
[Letter. Postmark 3-11]
Well, the waiting period that the army requires is over and I can tell you. Tom Cahill is missing in action.
Its been killing me to tell—to save you a lot of grief later on—and I couldn’t say a word about it until this certain waiting period was over. Those letters you sent me saying you had gone to visit Tom’s mother—and what a wonderful time you had with them and so on—almost drove me crazy. And then this letter you sent me about Canfield—it was practically the same circumstances—oh hell, I know the army has its reasons but it sure was hard not to say anything.
Even now there is very little I can say—and I’ll be darned if I know what to advise you to do. Without a doubt Mrs. Cahill has been informed of it by now, but if the Army has screwed up, I don’t want you to let her know about it. If you do call her up or see her before you leave, you’ll just have to use all your tact. If she doesn’t know--don’t say a word. If she does know—well, I’ll be darned if I know what you should say. You can tell her that there a fellow on his way home who will come to see her and give her as much information as he can. I guess I’ll write her a letter one of these days, but there really isn’t much I can say in a letter. All I can say is that he was shot down—and that its my personal belief that there is not too much reason for optimism—God, isn’t that a nice thing to write to a fellows mother. Of course there is always a chance—that’s why he’s listed as Missing in Action—but how can you build up her hopes on slim chance—and yet how can you destroy all her hopes when there is that chance—no matter how small. You’d better just say that I wrote he was missing in action.
You may have wondered why I’ve gone to so many rest camps lately—now you know. It hit me like nothing ever has before—or ever will I guess. I wasn’t much good for anything for quite a while. I’ve seen other fellows go down before, of course, and I didn’t feel too well after, but Tom was rather a special case. He was about the nicest person I have ever known—the kind one can’t help but like—and he was about my best friend. And to top that off, I knew his brother was listed as missing—and all I could think of was his poor mother.
I don’t know what else I can say darling. Don’t worry about me, I’ve gotten over it now—I guess you have to. It was only for a little while that it really knocked the props out from under me.
As far as the other kind of worry goes—you can stop that to. I’m only going to fly a couple more—in fact, I’m not sure I’m going fly any more. As I told you, I’m going to wait about 2 weeks (10 days now) to see if there is an opening for me to get my Captaincy, and if nothing develops I’m going to quit. In the meantime I’m not going to fly any missions. If there is an opening, of course, I’ll have to fly 2-3 more—and that’s all. I’ll let you know more in a few days.
I love you my darling—Love, Ang
March 7. Worked very hard today—typed all day. Had Bd meeting in evening. Home late—and bed late. Ugh.
March 8. Another busy day—a woman was interviewed but no soap. Home alone for dinner. Called P. Able. Wrote letters. Washed head.
Ang went to Cannes for another few days of R & R. It seems he really does rest and relax. As usual, he writes nice long letters telling Betty about his trip. With his mission on the 28th, he now has 64 missions and his letters are full of discussion about getting home and when Betty should return to Chicago. Betty continues with her normal routine, including a visit with George Henthorn and his wife. Betty's uncle Frank ("Frankie") comes through Los Angeles. He is the younger brother of Betty's mother, Margaret.
February 22. Home all day today & didn’t do much of anything. Did some laundry—then read all P.M. Wrote letters in evening. Bed 11:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-23]
Well, here I is—all I can say is—combat sure is rough—ha! Boy what a deal—the best hotel in town—beautiful rooms—and wonders of all wonders, private bathroom. I’ll bet this is the only hotel outside of the states with that feature.
It’s not as nice as Alexandria—people don’t speak English—but its not bad at all. You should see some of the villas around here—practically palaces.
I’m determined to make a real rest period out of this so I’m kind of taking things easy—eat a lot, drink just a little, and sleep all the time. Mmm—those beds are sure comfortable. Yesterday, we rented some bicycles and pedaled all over the countryside. Boy, I sure was pooped—its been a long time since really had any exercise.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to buy much for you on this trip—everything seems to be rationed. Anyway, I still don’t like French styles—they irk me. The women wear Carmen Miranda shoes—three inch soles. It seems to be the latest style—and it irritates me just to look at them. Their dress styles stink, and their hats are outlandish. I haven’t suddenly turned into a clothes expert, its just that all your recent talk about your new suit reminded me that you are interested in styles. I sure would give a lot to see you in your old black dress—or for that matter in any dress - - or - - oh never mind. Tch, tch—I should be ashamed of myself—such thoughts.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 23. Lovely day—to Margaret Tribbey’s in evening—did decorations for dinner. Home and bed by 2:30. Ugh!
February 24. To doctor’s in AM. Then to dinner at Rockheed [?] Nearly fainted when I was paged—and Frankie’s in town. To bed at 2:00—talked!
February 25. Late Mass. Mom and Frankie out. Henthorns over in PM! We talked and talked—out to dinner and a movie. Bed by 12:00. Wonderful time.
February 26. Very warm today. Off at 3:00—home, dinner and then JJ drove us to Long Beach. Had swell time. Swell letters from Ang.
[Letter. Postmark 2-28]
Well, back at the old joint—and feeling pretty darn good. As I said, I was determined to make a real rest trip out of this—and I did. Boy, did I sleep—and eat—and sleep—and sleep. I really do feel pretty good now.
There isn’t a heck of a lot more that I can tell you about Cannes—I mean I didn’t have many adventures or see very much of the extraordinary. I had to deliver a package to a certain lady for one of the boys that had been there before me. After puffing up a couple of miles of mountains, we finally came to the villa—or should I say palace. God, what a joint. The garden is about a block square—and about the most beautiful I’d ever seen. The house was a huge place of stone—oh heck, I can’t describe it. I took a picture of it, and I’ll send it on to you when I get it developed.
Anyway, the lady of the house was a charming blonde of about 35. We sat in the garden for awhile while the maid brought out some liquor—and we had a couple of slugs of that. The subject got around to the Germans—and did she get excited—man does she hate them. The fellow with me happened to remark that he kind of felt sorry for some of them (the Germans)—and she, in a refined way, really chewed his tail good.
It turned out she had to hide out in the mountains while the Germans were in France—and her husband was a member of the Marquis. The Germans took her father away—and she hasn’t seen him since.
She has two of the cutest little kids—one about 1 ½ yrs & the other about 4—and they raised hell all the time we were there. I’d brought some candy with me, and of course we were buddies immediately. They sure made me homesick—reminded me of old time. Gee hon, it sure was a pleasure to play with two nice, clean kids like those two. Up until now—all I’ve seen are the snotty, dirty little brats of Italy running around begging or trying to sell something. “Wanna woman, Joe?” Ugh!
Needless to say, I had the time of my life with them. They sure brought out some old memories—oh well! Finally she sent them off for a nap.
I happened to mention that she had a beautiful home—so she asked us if we would care to see the inside. What a place—really marvelous. Happened to notice a picture of her and her husband at the opera—and guess who was sitting in their box with them—the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Gee whiz, don’t tell me I don’t associate with the upper strata—ha!
I guess I fooled her though. She evidently expected Americans to stare at the picture and act surprised. I merely gave it a polite look and strolled to the window to look at the view, while the other fellow asked her all kinds of questions and acted properly impressed. When we went out into the garden again, I complimented her on her beautiful home. She said that she had heard that most Americans lived in small apartments—was that true? I said—No, we had a fairly large home—eight or nine rooms (hers only had seven). I could just see her mentally picturing a movie type home. As we were leaving, she asked me if my name was Adam or Adams. I said Adams—and we left. I’ll be she still is wondering if I’m the great-great, or the great, great, great grandson of one the former presidents.
I guess I’m getting catty, but some of these French people make me mad. She was so obviously waiting to be condescending in answering boorish American questions about the Duke & Duchess—that I was darned if I’d give her the chance of pulling that superior French manner. Ha! At any rate, I did like her children.
I love you my darling—Love, Ang
February 27. Rainy today. Ate dinner out—then to movie. Left early though—one last visit with Frankie. Bed by 12:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-28]
I’m enclosing a couple more snapshots for you. I guess I’m doing all right for you in the way of snaps. By the way, in answer to one of your questions—don’t send any more film—I really have plenty—seven rolls to be exact. and—yes, I will remember to carry the camera with me—and if you mention it one more time, you are going to get your little behind paddled. No, I’m not mad—but you sure can pester a man to death. I’m only joking, hon, I really love it.
Now, to get started on answering the seven letters I had from you when I got back. That’s the one nice thing about going away for awhile—there’s always a lot of mail when you get back.
The most important thing (naturally) seems to be my homecoming—when, where, how. I suppose by now you have your plans all made—whatever you decide is fine with me. I’m sorry, but I really can’t even give you an approximate date for my homecoming—I wish I only knew. I figure about the 1st of May—but that’s only a guess—it may be a lot sooner or a little later.
All I can promise you, is that you will have at least a months warning. By that, I mean a month from the time you receive my wire or letter to the time I reach Chicago. Your main worry seems to be that I’ll surprise you and you won’t be there to meet me. I promise that won’t happen—no matter what happens you’ll have a months notice. The rest of your plans are up to you—I’ll be darned if I know what to advise you.
Now as far as the Re-classification center goes—that’s got me stumped because I didn’t even know that they had one around Chicago. I was planning on asking for Santa Monica—stopping in Chicago for a couple weeks and then both of us traveling on to L.A. If I can work it, that’s still what I’m going to do. However Henthorns news kind of knocks the props out of the plan—that is if he has the straight poop. If what he says is true, then of course there is only one choice—Fort Sheridan. Damn it, things never do work out just right do they?
Anyway, the best thing to do is to plan to spend the whole leave in Chicago, and then if I can arrange it, we can go on to L.A.
I guess that should settle it—in a screwed up way. At any rate, you are perfectly free to stay in L.A. or got to Chicago—whatever you wish to do.
I guess that’s about all for now darling--
I love you—Love, Ang
February 28. Frankie left this AM. Rainy, but cleared up a bit. Dinner at LA Athletic Club---very nice time. Bed late-of course.
Form 5. Feb. 28, _____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:40h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #64]
#64. Feb. 28.
San Michele R/R Yards.
Heavy, Scant & Inaccurate.
Center of Bridge
8 O.L. Cluster
[This cluster was never awarded, though he put the "Recommendation for 8th cluster" in his scrapbook. See the "Awards" tab.]
Capt. R.E. Jardine
Lt. Col. Ruebel
Thursday, February 8. Hard day today. Finally got a letter from Ang and some pictures! Wrote letters in evening. Bed by 11:00
Form 5. Feb 8, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:40h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSTION #62.]
#62. Feb. 8.
Piacenza RR Bri.
Heavy, intense & Accurate.
3 ships holed.
Hit center of bridge.
Capt. R.E. Jardine, Lt. G.P. Rahatz
February 9. Very warm today again and windy. Didn’t work real hard. Had a lovely meeting of LAOWC—but hectic. Bed very late.
[Letter. Postmark 2-11]
Well I’ve got another boy heading for L.A. –and he swears he’ll stop in to see you—just like the other ten or so. I think this one will though—he usually keeps his promises. His name is James (Jim) D. Smith. I’ve flown with him—and he should give you plenty of poop. By the way, he’s a captain.
Talking about captains—I’ve got a little poop for you. Possibly Maybe (that’s easier) you’ll have to set back my homecoming another month or so. I got kind of an offer today—nothing definite—there are a lot of ifs and buts to it. If a certain person goes home in the near future—it will leave a certain opening which I can have which will make me eligible for promotion—providing the war lasts long enough for me to get enough time in the job to rate a Captaincy.
As I said, there are a lot of ifs and buts to it—and as usual, I’m not expecting anything until I get it. It’s a fine opportunity, but as usual, it has its drawbacks. It means I will have to spend one to two months extra over here—What a blow! However, I won’t have to fly any extra missions—it’s practically a ground job—so it won’t be so bad.
Now, don’t get excited about it—there are so many if & buts that the chances are only about 50-50. Don’t tell anybody about it—if it doesn’t go through I don’t want to have a lot of explaining to do. Don’t even tell Henthorn about it. I’ll keep you informed one way or the other.
And now to get to one of your very interesting letters. The one in which you are all excited about an addition to the family. Tch, tch honey—I never hinted at such a thing. All I wanted you to do was to get a physical so could be sure. Then—whatever our plans were—we wouldn’t have to waste time. Just to quiet the fluttering of your wonderful little heart—I’ll tell you that a baby doesn’t enter into the future immediate future of my plans—but you never can tell when I’ll change my mind. So you do what you are told—and no back talk—see! I can see where I’m going to have trouble with you when I get home—but such troubles I hope I have for the rest of my life—Amen! Mmmm—I sure do love you!
I think you’ll get a kick out of the enclosed article. All I can say is that the 321st is lying—we did beat them last month—and the month before that. Ha, I sure get a kick out of the rivalry around here—worse than a bunch of boy scouts--
I love you darling---Love, Ang
February 10. My day off—didn’t get up ‘till 11:00. Worked on Club’s books. Got things for trunk together. To movies—sewed in P.M. Bed 12:00
February 11. To late Mass—then down to Long Beach. Had a nice time—left early & home by eleven. Read—bed pretty late.
[Letter. Postmark 2-14]
Hi Hon: I just finished writing to Joe & Peg—and my conscience is much the better for it. I got a letter from Joe two days ago—and that’s what started the twinging of the conscience.
I haven’t gotten the letter from you telling me you loaned them any money or not—so I didn’t know how they were fixed. I hope you didn’t let them go without helping them out. At any rate, I kind of got the idea, from your letters and the one of Pegs that you sent—that they were running a little low. I sent them a check for fifty dollars as a delayed birthday present for Donny. I suppose they can use it, but I hope Joe doesn’t take it the wrong way and have his feelings hurt. After all, damn it, I guess I can send my nephew a present if I want to.
You write and tell Peg that if they need any money not to be bashful about asking for it. They might as well have as good of time as they can while Joe is home. I hope they don’t have any trouble cashing the check—I didn’t have much cash so I couldn’t send a money order.
By the way, I haven’t cashed any checks over here. I found out that I was better off than I thought—so I’ve been able to cover most of the Cairo expenses with what I had on hand. Aren’t you proud of me?
Now, what else is there to cover—oh yes, my coming home. Well, honey it doesn’t look as if I can promise anything before the early part of May. Isn’t that a blow? I hope I haven’t wrecked your plans completely. Boy, we sure do take a beating, don’t we? That should be a definite date though, maybe a little sooner—I hope!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 12. Didn’t get up until 1:00—sure feels good to sleep late. Marian took me out to Bekins. Wrote letters all evening. Bed 11:00.
February 13. Mr L out of town—thank goodness. Worked steady today. Out to Marg Haacker’s in evening. Bed by 12:00
Form 5. Feb 13, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:20h
[FROM ANG’S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #63.]
#63. Feb. 13.
San Ambrogio Landslide.
Heavy, Intense & Accurate.
All planes holed Lost 6-W & 6-Y.
Maj F.W. Dyer, Capt. V. Meyers
1st Lt. M.W. Knighton, 2nd Lt. J.C. Smith, 2nd Lt. E.C. Reseburg, Sgt. J.R. Long, S/sgt. A.A. Kropp, Sgt. R.R. Chappins.
1st Lt. R.J. Figler, 2nd Lt. J.V. O'Connor, 2nd Lt. R.F. Siman, Cpl. N.R. Lewis, Cpl. C.R. Chaflin, Cpl. J.R. Davidson.
[From the 340th Bomb Group diary, February 13, 1945: "The group flew an unusual mission today, a bombing attack on the rock overhang above the Brenner railroad near San Ambrogio. The idea of the mission was to jar loose the earth and rock and slide it down over the right-of-way. The mission failed. So did attacks at the same time directed against the San Ambrogio station yard and Calcinato rail bridge. Two planes of the 486th squadron flying in these operations were shot down by flak. They were flown respectively by 1st Lt. Roman H. Figler (Ship 6Y, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”) and 1st Lt. Marshall W. Knighton (Ship 6W, “Idiots Delight”). (Pilots and crews of both aircraft all bailed out and were taken prisoner by the Germans.)"
February 14. Worked steady today & accomplished a lot. Mr. L. should stay away for good. Mr S for dinner—wrote letters. Laundry. Bed 11:30
[Letter. Postmark 2-15]
Hi Darling: Happy Valentines day. Ha, I bet you thought I’d forgotten—and to tell you the truth I guess I had. Thanks for all the cards—they were cute. I guess it’s terrible the way I always forget dates and holidays—but then we never did get very excited about Valentines day.
I got a big kick out of you telling me about your gold filling—until I happened to think of something. It doesn’t really stand out when you smile does it? I mean it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb does it hon. I don’t think I could stand that—we’d have it changed to that white stuff they fill teeth with. I’m only kidding—I know you said it was just a cap.
Boy, Joe’s and Pegs letters really had me drooling with all their talk about the places they had gone to in Chicago. Oh me, oh my---ah well, our turn will come some day.
I suppose that by the time you get this, Henthorn will be home. I just thought I’d warn you about something—if he isn’t in a happy mood he’ll probably bitch a lot about this squadron and the men that run it. He figured that he deserved a Captaincy and he didn’t get it, so he’s a little bitter—and he’s probably got a right to be. However, things aren’t a tenth as bad as he thinks they are—so just don’t let him worry you. By the way, tell him that I’ve sent his things to him some time ago. And ask him where’s the letters he promised me.
I’m sorry, but my mind seems to be blank as far as anything to say goes, except--
I love you—Love, Ang
February 15. Didn’t work so hard today. Had last appt at dentist. Thank goodness. Out to Cahills in evening. Bed by 12:00
February 16. Typed all day today and got a lot done. Mr. L. in tomorrow and it’s my Saturday. Dinner and movie with Martha. 12:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-17]
I’m just getting your letters which you wrote when you weren’t getting any of mine. Gosh hon, even if it wasn’t my fault, I still feel like a heel. You’re so nice about it, even though I know you were worried sick. Well, I guess its just one of those things which just can’t be helped.
I’m enclosing a little poetry which I think you’ll get a big kick out of. It was written by a bombardier name Schmidt about 7-8 months ago, after he came down from his first mission. I think he does a good job. He has a couple of more floating around, which I’ll copy and send to you someday. I’m also enclosing a couple of pictures. The one of the beach is really beauty.
I got a letter from Johnny (A) today—I guess he’s about ready to ship out now. The way he talks though—he sounds like he’ll be on sub-patrol. He’ll probably go down to Cuba or South America which isn’t a bad deal.
I also got a letter from Jen—I sure get a kick out of hers. I know what you mean about her—and to tell you the truth I’ve been giving it a bit of worried thought myself. There isn’t much I can do about it now, but I’ll have a long talk with all of them as soon as I get back. As you say, something must be done—and done rather soon. Poor kid, she does take a beating.
Gee, I sure feel in an ugly mood tonight. For two cents, I’d go up and insist on flying the rest of my missions on the wing and getting started for home. I suppose I’d be foolish to pass up the slight possibility of getting a Captaincy when it would only mean an extra month or so over here, but tonight somehow, I just don’t seem to give a damn. Don’t mind me darling—its just a mood and I’ll be over it by tomorrow. I just haven’t been feeling too happy the last couple of weeks—someday, I’ll be able to tell you why. Don’t worry, its nothing really affecting me or us—its just one of those things—the fortunes of war---damn them!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 17. My Sat[urday] to work but didn't do much. Napped in PM - sure tired. Home alone all evening. Odd jobs. Bed late.
[Letter. Postmark 2-18]
Here I go again—this time to France and the Riviara(?). Don’t ask me questions that I can’t answer—all I can say is that it beats the hell out of me. I can make a pretty good guess, but - - oh well! I’m on the orders—so that’s that.
I can’t say that I really don’t want to go—but I would much rather wait until I was finished. Oh well, there is no sense argueing—this is the Army Lt. Adams. In a way it’s funny—I’ll bet I’m the only man in the Air Corps who bitches about going to rest camp too often.
I’m going to really make a rest period out of this one though—just see the sights and dozens of movies—it says here! All kidding aside though, I promise to watch my money, and try not to go over next months salary.
I know I can mail letters from there, so I promise to write often. This trip will be a lot shorter than the one to Cairo. Boy, I sure am getting to be quite a cossacker.
By the way, did I tell you that my new roommate is also from L.A.—or should I say South Pasadena. Before you get all excited, yes, I’m going to give you his wifes address:
1551 Diamond Ave
Tel: Blanchard 71300
His first name is Bob—and he’s a pilot. That should be all the information you need.
I sure get a kick out of you and your officers wives club. I don’t mean that as a dig either—I really am glad that you are in something like that. I think I’m more proud of you being elected to the job you hold than I’ve ever been of anything before. Really, darling, sometimes you amaze me—I think you’re wonderful. When I think of the worrying I did over you making your first trip out to L.A. I sure have to laugh. I guess I just never really did appreciate the wonder that was to become my wife. Honey, I stand before you (don’t I wish I were) with head bowed.
That kind of sounds like I’m drunk—but, really, I haven’t had a drink. Its just that since I’ve read your last letter (Feb 4.) I’ve been sitting here reviewing the past—and I really can’t describe my amazement. You must admit there is a wide gulf between the time ( is it eight or nine years ago) when Bud practically had to force me to go out with scrawny little girl so he could date up her girlfriend—to the wonder that is Elizabeth R. Adams. Gee whiz!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
P.S. The pictures I promised yesterday are enclosed today.
February 18. To late Mass. Did a little sewing. Mr S & out to dinner. Then to movie with Margaret. Bed by 12:00.
February 19. Didn’t work very hard today—rainy and cloudy. Had swell letters from dear Ang. To bed by 11:30
February 20. Nothing much doing today—Ate dinner alone & wrote letters in evening. To bed by 11:00
February 21. Worked steady today - but not rushed. Mr. S for dinner. I went to movies. To bed by 1:00. Tired.
Ang finishes writing about Cairo and tries to explain his expenses. There's a bit of a SNAFU about addresses for family notifications. Apparently Betty was a little put out that Ang's folks received a letter from General Cannon, instead of her. Oops. Betty doesn’t mention this in her diary, but clearly Ang heard from her about it. Ang also reports he has a new roommate and sends the photo of the general giving him medals from the December medal ceremony.
On the 6th he mentions “I got stinking-eyed drunk last night—in fact I was as looped as I have ever been. I had a good reason for it—but I can’t tell you what it was until I see you. That’s a dirty trick, but I really can’t.” We know now that his good friend Tom Cahill’s plane was shot down on the 5th. Reading these letters now, it’s easy to notice his irritation about people calling themselves heroes and why he tries to explain how the war was affecting people.
Betty is very worried at this same time because she still hasn’t heard from Ang in weeks — due to his Cairo trip. She is busy with her regular activities of work, movies, meetings and visiting. Her sister Peg calls from Norfolk and she hears from Ang’s old tent mate, George Henthorn.
Thursday, February 1. Rained all day today—ugh! No mail from Ang—ten days. Sewed on black suit—yum! To bed by 11:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-4]
No mail today—I hope the situation isn’t getting screwed up again. I’m not too sure I want to get any though, the ones batting my ears down ought to be about due about now. Boy, I’m going to be afraid to open some of them.
I got a letter from Johnny yesterday—sure glad he got home.
Talking about home, the way those Russians are going the war ought to be over by the time you get this. Those kids are really moving. I’ve got enough missions now so I don’t have to worry about being sent to you know where when this is over—so, as far as I’m concerned, it can end tomorrow—I hope!
Boy, when it does end—this is sure going to be one drunken brawl—let me tell you. I’ll even drink some of that Eytie crap they have around here.
And now to get to the bad part of the Cairo trip—the money. It’s the first of the month—and I’ve got to settle up. In real small print I’ll tell you what I spent-- $400.00—yep, 400 bucks.
Wasn’t it me, that not so long ago, said that we must save money. I’m sorry honey, but it just goes like water down there—even so, I spent 1 to 400 dollars less than anybody else.
I bought a pair of combat dress boots (35.00)—made to order—isn’t that awful. They sure are beautiful boots though. Then I had a combat jacket made—45 bucks—then your purse and trinkets—but that’s a secret.
Then of course I had to pay a little for experience—for instance: As we were riding along in a horse drawn buggy—a little Arab kid jumped on and tried to sell us all kinds of trinkets. With tears in his eyes he kept on showing us his empty wallet and begging us to buy something. We wouldn’t, so he really put on an act for us. Looking carefully all around him to make sure no cop was watching, he quickly slipped out one of the most beautiful rings I have ever seen. It had 3 large “diamonds” in it. Constantly looking around for the cops (very impressive) he gave us the story. He had found the ring, and he knew it was very valuable, but he had no way of selling it, so he’d give it to us cheap—only 50 £ (200 dollars). I told him to scram—but he shoved it in my hand—and as I said before it was very beautiful. As I examined it, his price kept on coming down. I scratched at the face of my watch—and it left a great big scratch on it. There was a little glass window on the side of the cab, and the “diamond” almost cut thru’ it. I got a little excited—got the kid down to 5 £ (20 dollars) and bought it.
To make a long story short, the next day, at the brazaar, I was attracted by a large display of rings—over 50 of them—and all looking exactly like mine—and they all cut glass. Oh well, such is life.
This letter is getting to be a novel—what I wanted to tell you was that I’ll have to cash a check for about $150.00 to pay what I borrowed. Forgive me darling, I’ll really watch my pennies from now on—this should be my last rest trip.
I’m enclosing a few more pictures.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
P.S. Charley is on his way home—I doubt if he gets to L.A., but he might.
February 2. Didn’t work very hard today—it rained all day! Sewed some in evening. No mail???
February 3. Alone in office today. Met Zana and Donna for lunch at LAOC. Also to Ambassador! To movies.
[Letter. Postmark 2-5]
I got as far as the “Hi Hon” yesterday, but just then my new roommate was introduced to me—and that ended that. He’s a new boy, so naturally I had to spend the evening showing him around and telling him all about “combat”—ha!
His name is Bob _ _ _ _ _ oh hell, I’ll sneak a look at his suitcase later on and let you know. He told me what it was yesterday, but you know me. I don’t know why I’m like that—it’s awful, isn’t it?
He’s a great big tall kid—friendly and inquisitive as can be. Of course he doesn’t have much trouble getting me to talk—so there went the evening.
I received your package with the Esquires and the calendar. You’re a sweetheart—do you know it? There sure are a lot of pictures in the Esquires for the walls—I’m really getting quite a collection.
I’m sorry darling—I’ve been trying hard to write a decent letter but I can’t do it. I’ve had a rough day—and I’m completely pooped. I know you’ll forgive me if I give up and hit my sack.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 4. Didn’t get up till ten—to late Mass. Wrote letters all P.M. Had dinner late—then did some sewing in evening. 11:15
Form 5. Feb 4, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:30h
[FROM ANG’S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #61.]
Ala RR Bridge
Heavy, moderate & inaccurate
Hit South Approach
Led: G.B Thabault, R.G. Woolcott
[From the 486th diary: "Mission today, results 90%. Good concentration of phosphorus on flak positions caused very little flak opposition."]
February 5. Very slow day at the office. Had a call from Peg—just wanted to talk. They’re on to Norfolk. To Marg Tribbey’s in evening
[Letter. Postmark 2-6]
Before I forget, I’d better put this business of your address and my decorations straight. As I’ve told you, I had the folks address as your permanent address—and I have changed it now. I’m sorry—it was very unthoughtful of me.
I don’t understand about these letters about my awards though. I didn’t even know that they sent such things until you told me about Arne’s folks getting one. When you told me that, I was really worried. If my folks had gotten that letter addressed to you from the government—they would have probably died, while they were trying to reach you to get permission to open the letter. So you see, in a way I’m mighty glad it was addressed to them.
However, it beats the hell out of me why it was addressed to them. On every piece of paper or card I remember filling out—I naturally, have you as my next of kin. Then at the bottom where it asks for parents name and address, I have the folks. Off of one of those cards or papers the general must have got the names and address to send the letter. Why he sent it to the folks instead of you leaves me confused.
Are you sure that the letter Eva got was addressed to her and not his folks. Maybe it’s the general’s policy to send stuff like that to the parents instead of the wife. That’s the only explanation I can think of—unless it was addressed to you and they took the liberty of opening it. If they did, don’t blame them too much—I can see why they’d rip open a letter from the government or army without thinking twice about who it was addressed to—can’t you?
At any rate it’s probably all my fault—and all I can say is I’m sorry.
As far as the Presidential Unit Citation goes—that really leaves me up in the air. I’ve asked everybody in the Squadron—and no one else’s parents got such a letter—no one in the group for that matter. I told you that we had gotten one a long time ago—but it wasn’t for 100% accuracy of bombing—it was for something altogether different. It beats the hell out of me—unless the President has awarded us the fourth presidential unit citation—and, although there have been rumors, no one in the group knows for sure about it.
Ho hum—I guess I’m getting to be quite a hero and don’t even know it.
I’m sorry honey, I guess there is something wrong with me, but I just didn’t realize how you and the folks would feel about these medals and decorations. What I mean is that over here the medals are practically routine with us. There I go, it sounds like I’m trying to sound like a modest hero—doesn’t it? What I actually mean is that it’s no great honor (in spite of what the newspapers and the civilians think) to get an air medal or a D.F.C. So many successful missions and we get the air medal—so many more and we get another cluster—and so it goes. As far as the D.F.C. goes—they are just looking for a chance and a reason to give that to us. The first little thing that a man does that’s a little bit extraordinary and will sound good to the general—and we’re in for it. Therefore, practically all lead men and some wing men get it.
The Unit Citation on the other hand really means something. It proves that, as a group, we’re pretty hot stuff and have done something a little better than the other groups.
I hope that clears up the award situation once and for all. I sure do leave you in the dark on a lot of things—I’m sorry—I’ll try to do better.
By the way, before one of those jerks at Wing sends you another letter and I find myself a divorced man, I got the sixth cluster to the Air Medal a couple of days ago. That brings you up to date. Boy, you were getting a little angry at me—weren’t you?
It sure took a lot of paper telling you all that—but I guess that’s what I’d better do on all these subjects that come up—that is, if I want to have a loving wife to come home to.
I guess I’d better not start on anything else—this is one of my longest letters as it is.
I’ve got 61 missions now—I’m not getting there very fast—but I am getting there—and that’s something.
I guess I’d better shut up shop now.
I love you very much darling—Love, Ang
Letter sent to Ang's father, Sam Adams about the Distinguished Flying Cross. While Betty apparently was upset it didn't come to her, I think it was probably good that it went to my grandfather. I'm surprised it survived in pretty decent condition. I can imagine my grandfather pulling it out and showing it to family, and maybe even strangers on the street!
February 6. So-so day. Am still thrilled about talking to Geo. Henthorn yesterday. Still nothing from Ang-? 2 weeks.
[Letter. Postmark 2-7]
Got your letter which told me your plans about quitting work—so I guess I’d better comment on it.
I still can’t tell you about when I’ll be home—because I really don’t know—and the army quite often changes its regulations. I know, unless the war ends, that I won’t be home for my birthday—but I probably will be finished by then or shortly after.
So your idea of quitting work around that time is probably a very good idea. As I’ve told you before, it’s up to you. If you feel that you’d like to stay with your mother as long as possible (and I have no doubt that she will be pretty lonesome all by herself.) it’s quite allright with me. As I’ve told you before, I’ll be able to give you plenty of warning. From the time I finish to the time I get to Chicago will be 5-6 weeks—so it gives you plenty of time. Again, as I’ve said before—it’s entirely up to you—just do what you think is best.
Now, in my crude way, I’d better try explain Joe’s attitude, which seems to be bothering you quite a bit. I really hadn’t given too much thought to such things—not until you started talking about Joe and the “disappointing” way he has been acting.
Wondering if perhaps my attitude, when I did get home, wouldn’t also be a little disappointing—and I’m afraid it may be.
I’ve talked to several of the boys who have been home and have come back—and its kind of given me an idea of what happens when a man gets home—and the reasons for it. The night before last a major who has just returned told me how he felt—and I think he put it better than I or anyone else ever could. “It’s funny, Adams,” he said—“when I left here, I said I was going home. But didn’t really feel like I was getting home until I got back here. I felt out of place back in the states—and the only time I didn’t feel that way, was when I was alone with my wife.”
I think that was Joe’s main trouble—he felt out of place—and I doubt if you or anyone else could have done anything about it. After all he had been gone for almost a year—leading a life almost entirely different from what he would have in the states—talking and thinking of things he never would have on shore—and was in constant contact with people like himself and no one else—certainly no one like the family and other people he had to deal with when he got back.
I’m not trying to make this sound like that bull that you’ve been reading in the papers and magazines. I’m just saying that there is noting wrong with Joe, and that he hasn’t changed his feelings towards Donny or Peggy or the family—he just feels a little strange and it will take him a little while to get back into the swing of things—so I wouldn’t worry about him.
I’m just telling you these things to protect myself when I get home. I told you [I] haven’t changed—and I haven’t, but I’ll bet you’ll think I have for the first week or so when I’m home. I got a preview of what it would be like when I was down in Alex. As I told you most of the people speak English and its pretty close being an American town. On Corsica the usual procedure at the table when you want something is to yell at the other end of the table “pass the _____ jam” in Alex it was “Please pass the jam.” We ate most of our meals at the Red Cross mess hall—and occasionally one of the Red Cross girls would sit at our table. Instead of making the party gayer—she seemed to dampen it. Immediately we would all go on the alert and start watching our step—and of course that ruined everything.
That’s just a small example—but it gives you an idea of why the boys feel strange—and as one of those screw-ball magazine articles put it: seem to draw into their shells.
So, darling, if when I come home, I act a little funny don’t get mad at me—God knows, it won’t be because I’m not happy to be there—that’s all I’ve dreamed of for 10 months. I doubt if you have anything to worry about though—you know how I am about sliding in and out of things—I can usually make myself feel at home in no time at all. I just thought maybe this would make you feel easier about Joe.
I can’t think of anything else that you have been asking. Oh yes—the film. Don’t send me any more—I got four rolls in Cairo and have all I’ll ever need. Please send me Esquire and the other magazines you send me. That takes care of the request—so you see I’m really trying to be a good boy.
I got stinking-eyed drunk last night—in fact I was as looped as I have ever been. I had a good reason for it—but I can’t tell you what it was until I see you. That’s a dirty trick, but I really can’t.
I sure am glad that Peg and Joe got over to my folks—that sure was a cute letter that Joe wrote. I can just see Dad shoving lamb chops on his plate.
I just read Jack’s letter that you sent me a couple of weeks ago. I had put it aside and forgot about it until then. Is that kid crazy—does he actually expect to believe the stuff he hands out? He either takes opium or he sees too many movies. Found two Germans sleeping—took their gun and drank their liquor—Good Lord—I give up. You know I usually ignore things and people like that—but holy mackeral—two Germans etc. Gee whiz—what a man! Oh well, that’s what the war does to some people.
I love you darling—Love, Ang.
February 7. Nearly went nuts today with worry about Ang. Called his folks and they had a letter. Thank goodness. Out with BJ etc.
[Letter. Postmark 2-9]
I don’t guess that the enclosed picture needs any comment—does it? I guess I just wasn’t made to do anything right. Regulations say that I should be staring straight ahead—so of course I have to be looking straight down.
It wasn’t altogether my fault though—the general was feeling in a jolly mood and he had to pick on me—that accounts for the sickly grin. He had trouble pinning the medal on, so I thought I’d sneak a look to see what the matter was—and of course the picture was snapped at that moment. Woe is me—everything does happen to me.
How do you like that triple chin—my goodness! Honest honey, I’m not getting that fat. I weighed in at 160 the other day—and that’s a lot less than I left the states with.
Take a good look at that mustache—because I have a confession to make. I’ve given it up. About two hours before I got your letter telling me not shave it off under any circumstances—I shaved it off. I’m sorry honey—but I just wasn’t built for one. It tickled me—and it bothered the daylights out of me—and it always got into my coffee.
I’m also enclosing an article. Show it to Henthorn when he gets there—he ought to get a kick out of it. Don’t let the underlined section get you all excited—as usual it’s very exaggerated—it sounds a lot worse than it actually was. We weren’t even shaken up.
I sure get a kick out of that picture though—every time I look at it I have to laugh.
I love you honey—Love, Ang
[Note: I believe the article he enclosed is the one I featured in the post for July 1-7, 1944. (Been Cossacking. And the story of "Kathleen.") Ang and George Henthorn were on the July 5th mission mentioned in the article. In fact, they flew together on many missions, on "Kathleen" and on other B25's as well. He tells Betty they "weren't even shaken up" so it's a good thing he didn't send her the photo of Kathleen showing the results of the crash.]
Ang's January 1945 R&R trip to Cairo and Alexandria lasted 12 days, during which he did not send any letters! So he spends some time apologizing and then makes up for it (maybe) by writing very newsy letters about the trip. He finally was able to use his camera with the color film and I have a few of those photos here, as well as a number of B&W snaps.
He finally flies Mission #60 on the last day of January! (Only 6 more to go!) He's quite mixed up on dates, again, so I'm glad to have the envelopes with postmarks.
General Knapp visits on the 31st to dispense medals.
Betty was busy with her regular activities, but notes a few special things like her mother's birthday, and the installation dinner as treasurer of the wives club. Interestingly, instead of just noting going to a movie, she specifically notes seeing "Winged Victory" which she already saw in October.
Tuesday January 16. Three letters today - 57 missions! Shopped at noon. Sewed some and ironed in evening. Bed 11:30.
January 17. Worked hard, but not so steady today. Shopped in 10¢ store at noon. For shoes—no luck. Sewed all evening.
January 18. Another swell letter today. Shopped after work for Mother’s coat. To dentists today. Ugh. Bed by 11:15.
January 19. Met the old officers from club & had dinner. Very nice evening—big plans being made. Bed late—sure tired.
January 20. Worked today -- told ARL that I was leaving. Looked for pattern - no luck. To Marg Tribbings for dinner - nice time. Bed by 1:00.
January 21. Up about 10:00 & to late Mass. Wrapped A’s packages and wrote some letters. Did some sewing too. Bed by 12:00.
January 22. Cool today - almost like rain. Shopped - but no luck. Had four grand letters. Ang has DFC. To bed by 11:00
January 23. Worked like a demon today. Took shoes to have dyed. Out to see “Winged Victory” and very good. Bed by 1:30.
Form 5. Jan 23, flight as navigator, B-25D, 1:00h
[Perhaps flying back to Cairo from Alexandria?]
January 24. Another busy day at office—ugh. Shopped at noon--& after work. Cut out black suit. Yum. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. Jan 24, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:55h
Form 5. Jan 25, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:45h
[These two flights recorded on the Form 5, were probably part of the return to Corsica from R&R. The 486th BS diary reported on the 25th, "The Cairo plane returned today with its complement of utterly exhausted, physically weary and morally broken men" and I assume Ang was on that returning plane.]
[Letter. Postmark 1/27/45. I assume this letter is misdated and should be 1/25/45.]
Dearest- - -
Now – now – I know you hate me -- -- and that I’m probably a divorced man by now - - - and that you never want to see me again - - and twelve days without a letter is a long, long time – but honest—I really couldn’t help it. I know this sounds corny, but it’s the truth – the army didn’t have a postal service at the place I’ve been. Of course I could have written from Cairo, but only stayed two days, and I thought I’d let things slide until I got to Alexandria—and then it was too late. All I can do is say that I’m terribly sorry, because I know how you must have worried and sweated me out.
Just to prove I was thinking of you all the time, I kept a pretty accurate account of all my goings since I left here—sort of a running diary. It will probably take a couple of letters to tell you all about the trip—so I guess I’d better give you a general account of it first.
We spent two days [in] Cairo – saw the pyramid-sphinx—wonderful food—several nightclubs. Spent 8 days in Alex—wonderful food and lots of nightclubs—What a town—a second Chicago—honest!
Well, here goes the blow by bow account. Before I start, I want to say I had a wonderful time—the best since I left the states. The man who writing this is completely exhausted—but very satisfied and contented.
Arrived in Cairo rather late—so didn’t do much. We all felt rather like the farmer on his first day in the city. All the permanent boys at the field were dressed—ties, neat clothing etc. Quite a contrast with our leather jackets, open necks and unpressed clothing. It’s a good thing that none of those rear echelon A.T.C. heroes made any cracks because we were in a mood to punch a couple of noses.
It’s just like back in the states—plenty of “chicken stuff.” The big sign warns us that ties will be worn, superiors will be saluted, no flight clothes worn off the flight line (remember Columbia), blouses will be worn after six, etc. After the way we’ve been living on Corsica, its enough to drive a man nuts.
After a couple of hours of red tape & “C.S.” we finally grab a truck for town. We were really amazed at the town—it’s really very nice—but confusing—beautiful buildings & filthy Arabs—a 1942 buick and a stinking, horse drawn two wheel cart—beautiful, modern women & veil covered Egyptian hags—oh well, enough of that.
We pulled up before the Grand Hotel and immediately there were a dozen arabs hanging all over it.
“Hey, Yank, me carry bag.”
“Hey, Yank, me official guide.”
“Viva la Yanks…”
Finally the M.P.’s drove them away and the hotel’s porter took our bags to our room. The hotel wasn’t the best in town, but was nice and clean—and it looked like heaven after our shack.
There was a button next to my bed, and after some argument we decided to push it to see what would happen. A few minutes later the “bell hop” knocked on the door. Did he have any whiskey? Sure thing! And a few minutes later he walked in with a tray of scotch whiskey. That was promising sooooo- - - could we have some ham sandwiches? Sure thing, boss!- - And he brought up honest-to-goodness baked ham sandwiches (with lettuce & tomatoe—on Rye bread.) That was the first baked ham I’d sisnce I left the states—they sure were good.
We decided, since it was rather late, not to go out. But, we did keep the “bell-hop” running until the wee hours of the morning.
I get a kick out of that expression “bell hop”. This character was a dark-skinned, always grinning, always bowing boy. His attire consisted of a fez, a nightgown, and a pair of sandals. He seemed to understand our English, but all we could get out of him was “sure thing, boss” and off he’d go. He sure took good care of us though.
This letter is pretty long already so I think I’ll continue tomorrow—and that is the pyramids etc.
When I got back here, I had 18 letters waiting for me—what a land fall. I’ve been reading like mad all day—and do I love it. I’ll answer some of them in future letters.
I love you darling—very, very much. Love, Ang
January 25. Worked hard today - again! Picked a pin out for Mother from J.J. Called Chicago - Kay’s - talked to Frankie!
[Letter. Postmark 1-28. This letter was typed--see image. Probably misdated as well.]
Please excuse the typewriter – I’m alert officer tonight, and I might as well do something to keep myself busy – it takes just twice as along with a typewriter.
Before I start my adventures, I want to get one thing straight, and that’s the business of loaning money to the kids. I’m going to paddle your hind-end when I get ahold of you---what are you trying to do do – make me feel like a Simon Legree? It seems to me that a long time ago I very clearly stated that at any time, any place that any member of either of our families needed help, you should give them as much as they need. God knows that includes Peggy and Joe and my only nephew. Honey, sometimes you---Oh well, ‘nough said before I really get mad.
And now kiddies, back to Cairo and what happens to little Angelo---. At nine o’clock the “bell-hop” (I still get a kick out of that) strolled in and served us coffee in bed – this is the life. By the time we finished breakfast, they announced that the cab was ready to take us on the tour.
First they showed us the churches and temples – then we headed for the pyramids. Frankly (you know me) I wasn’t too impressed – they look like a bunch of stones and rubble to me. Oh well! At any rate there are seven of them and the sphinx. We rode around the area on camels—smelly creatures and awful rough riding. I used my whole role of Kodak-color film there, and we should get some good shots of me on a camel, pyramids, and sphinx.
From there we went to the brazaar (market place), where they tried to sell us everything, including the nightgowns off their backs.
“Hey Yank, you wanna buy “channel #5” – you wanna buy ---?”
All I bought was a leather purse and some trinkets for you. I’m glad that’s all I got now, because the “channel #5” turned out to be Woolworths special –and at five pounds (21 dollars per ounce) –wow! Some of the fellows really got stuck.
That evening we went night-clubbing at the “Troccadero” –not bad, almost as bad good as some of our second-rate clubs. We had steak and it was pretty really good – and they had some good scotch so we really made a night of it. A little later the “B” girls swarmed around the table. Do you want to dance Yank – Yes, some of us did – buy me a drink, Yank – O.K., what will you drink – Champaign – Did you say champaign – Hey waiter, bring a bottle of champaign – Did you say two and half pounds – good God, man –that’s ten bucks ---never mind, babe – you’ll drink beer and like it.
We all got drunk and really had a good time. Three of the fellows had girls, and as it turned out all three of them were Greek. When they didn’t want us to know what they were saying, they spoke in Greek. You should have heard them cuss the boys out when they wouldn’t buy them champaign (am I spelling that right). And you should have heard them discussing the “finer” points of their respective men – and how much they were going to charge the boys to stay the night with them. Boy, even I was blushing and I had a hard time not saying anything.
Just before we got ready to leave, I called the waiter over and started to talk to him --- in Greek. I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the “girls” --- you should have seen their eyes bugging out, and looking at each other trying to remember what they had said to each other. I’ll bet I laughed for a solid half hour. Gosh it was really funny. They were so astounded that they could hardly talk. At any rate they only charged the fellows half of what they had decided on in Greek. I guess I should be ashamed of myself, but I must say my Greek came in very handy all through my vacation. Greek is practically the second language down there, and Alexandria is practically a Greek town.
There isn’t much to say for the next day – we just toured around town sight-seeing. We spent the evening touring the night-clubs -- The Troc, Arizona, Dolls, and a few others. The floor shows stink, but we really got a kick out of them. Most of the girls were fat and ugly, but there were a few beauties. There were several really good acrobatic acts. The bands are pretty good second raters. The whiskey fairly good, and the food delicious. We got stinko—naturally!
I guess that’s enough for tonight – tomorrow it gives with Alexandria.
I love you darling –
January 26. Had dentist appt today. Met Mom and JJ for dinner and a show. A very nice evening. Bed by 11:45.
January 27. Worked today. Met Mom & we shopped. Exhausted so napped in P.M. To movies with Martha. Bed by 1:30. Very tired.
Form 5. Jan 27, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:05h
[I assume this was the practice flight Ang mentions in his 1/27 letter. He starts the letter on the 27th and finishes it on the 30th, saying "I had to go on a practice mission for a couple of hours—and it would up lasting 3 days."]
[Letter. Postmark 1/31/45.]
I’ve just discovered that I’m a day behind in dates again, so just push the dates on the last two letters up a day. I don’t know why I get so screwed up on dates—it’s probably just that I have no reason for keeping track of them—I guess.
In one of your last letters you said that you had made no plans for my homecoming on my birthday—and you are a very wise girl for it. Frankly, this trip of mine has set me back considerably, and I can’t see how I can make it by then. Of course, the way the Russians are going, the damn war may be over by then. Just don’t give up hope sweetheart, I’ll make it home one of these days.
Frankly, if I didn’t love you so much, and if just the thought of seeing you again didn’t make me almost crazy, I doubt that I’d have any desire to get to the states before the war ended. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just that I got a look at what the states are like while was at Cairo—wearing ties and the rest of the “C.S.” and it almost scared me to death. I sure go for this free and easy life. As I said before though, don’t be alarmed—free and easy life or not, I’d still give anything I have for a few minutes with you.
I was interrupted at this place and here I am again—three days later. I had to go on a practice mission for a couple of hours—and it would up lasting 3 days. Reason and place are military secrets—but I can say it was a hell-hole—and I almost froze to death. When I got back, I had your letters of the 13, 14, 15 & 16th. So you are now a treasurer—nice going honey! I’m really proud of the way you’ve been carrying on. If I have ever said anything (and I have) about giving up any of your activities—I’m sorry—I only thought you might be wearing yourself out. You seemed so happy and contented in those four letters—that I had to laugh out loud—in pleasure and relief. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—it really is wonderful the way you have taken my being over here. It makes everything so easy for me, and—oh well, I’m just very pleased and proud with, and of you—and I love you, I love you—really I do—you’re a sweetheart. Doggone it—I’ll say it again—I love you!
(Once more) I love you honey—Love, Ang
January 28. Didn’t get up til late and to late Mass. Went thru’ trunk then sewed in P.M. Wrote letters in evening. Had dinner out. 11:30
January 29. Didn’t work very hard this day—Had installation dinner—very nice time. To bed by 11:30.
January 30. Payday—at long last. Worked steady but not hard. Wrote letters and did laundry. To bed by 11:00
January 31. Worked awfully hard today—and steady too. Had a Board meeting at Ruth Fl..i..s [Flinn’s?]. Rained all PM
Form 5. Jan 29, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:10h
Form 5. Jan 29, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:40h
Form 5. Jan 30, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:20h
[See Ang's 1/27 letter. Nice that he got credit for these flights. Too bad we don't know where they went! These might have been a training mission for new crews who were arriving.]
Form 5. Jan 31, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:55h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #60]
Rovereto Gun Positions.
Chaff. Heavy, intense, & Accurate.
5 planes holed.
2 men injured.
Hit bridge in center.
G.A. Horton, G.P. Davis
[The two injured men were on a different plane. From the 486th BS diary: "Again a mission to Roveretto in the Brenner Pass. Unfortunately two men were struck by flak – Lt. Eddy and Sgt. Kingsbury – We are very unhappy to report such bad news but we wish them the best possible recovery. Bombs were dropped directly across the R.R. bridge and the Sq made 100%. Lt. Harbough had his hydraulics shot up and had to land tail dragging. He used excellent judgment when he saw he could not stop at the end of the runway by revving up his right engine to spin completely about, thus averting an accident off the end of the field."]
[Letter. Postmark 2/2/45.]
It’s taken me an hour to get past the “Hi Hon” –too many interruptions. In regards to one of your questions—yes, I do have my folks address as your address. I’ll have it changed in the morning.
The picture I enclosed was taken by the squadron photographer. I look kind of rugged, don’t I—and that mustache looks even worse. However it’s in full bloom now—the ends are beginning to curl up—it will really knock you for a loop when you see it. Yep, I’ve decided to keep it, until you see it. Now, don’t get excited, I’ll shave it off immediately after that. Personally, it’s getting to be a nuisance—it gets in my coffee. I’ve spent so many hours dreaming and thinking of the look on your face when you saw it, that I’ve swore I’d put up with it until then.
By the way, the general decorated me (and 50 others) yesterday—I got the D.F.C.—Air Medal and 5 clusters—that’s not bad for a starter. They’re real pretty like—I’ll send them to you tomorrow with the purse, trinkets and souveniers that I picked up in Egypt.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
For Betty, 1945 starts with her nephew's birthday. Joe Fairchild arrives in time for the birthday, though not for the birthday cake -- I assume he was on leave from the Navy. The Fairchilds left on the 12th. I think they stopped to visit in Chicago on their way to the East Coast. Also on the 12th, Betty mentions seeing Mrs. Henthorn (George Henthorn was Ang's tent mate for a while) and that she's now treasurer of the wives club.
Ang has his dates messed up throughout the month. I know from the group and squadron diaries that there are many stand down days in January, but Ang gets in missions 58 and 59 on the 4th and 9th. He reports that Arne Bylund (pilot of his first crew and first tent mate) and George Henthorn (also a pilot and Ang's 3rd tent mate) are finished and have left for home. On the 8th and 11th, Ang mentions he'll probably be going on R&R - headed to Cairo. He says he'll write when he gets there, but doesn't write again until after he returns from R&R.
Monday January 1. To late Mass. Jr. left about 2:30. Had Donny’s cake at noon. Joe arrived about 6:00. Good to see him. Bed 12:00
January 2. Worked hard today. Ugh. Everyone tired at home & office. Home in evening. Laundry etc. Took tree down. Bed 11:30
January 3. Another hard day—golly. No mail. To Marians for dinner—had real nice time. She drove me and luggage home. 11:30.
[Letter. Postmark 1-4-45.]
[12- crossed out; 1/3/44 crossed.]
Gosh, I sure am having trouble with that date—first the month and then the [date-crossed out] year (boy, I am having trouble). You’ll just have to excuse me—we have just finished eating some of the stuff we got for Christmas. I cleaned up last night—and he’s [Henthorn] cleaning up tonight—and being very obvious about it—if you know what I mean. Without saying a word, he is definitely hinting that I should help him. Ha, that’s a joke.
As I’ve told you, he’s all finished and is waiting for his orders—and is as happy as a lark. I sure get a kick out of him. This shack is a rat race—and I mean rats—millions of them, all over the shack. He’s even more afraid of them than I am –and you should see us when there is rat running around here—its really a scream.
The other day we decided to get a cat—so we got one—and it was biggest mistake of our lives. She lays quietly in a corner for hours until we completely forget about her. Then suddenly she smells a rat—and whoosh—she’s across the floor after him—and Henthorn and I hit the ceiling.
The other night she was up on the shelf sleeping—and I was on my sack dozing. I guess she smelled a mouse because she gave a terrific leap—landed on my stomach and shot across the room. If my hair is gray when I get home—believe me, it’s not the war that’s done it. God, she sure scared the daylights out of me.
I must give her credit for being quite a mouser though—she sure gets them. As soon as she gets rid of the mice though—out she goes. My old heart just won’t stand it much longer.
It’s a good thing she doesn’t stay here all night. She stays willingly all day but about 11 o’clock she starts raising hell until we let her out. I strongly suspect her of an affair with a big, black tom cat that belongs to one of the enlisted men. He (the tom cat) insists on getting out at 11 o’clock too—sooo. . . ! Oh well, as long as she catches rats.
I don’t think that you should send me too many more packages, darling. They take about two months to get here—and I really think two months will be my limit here—I hope. I know what you are going to say, so I’d better make a request anyway.
Please send me some magazines—film—and a few other things that I usually need.
Its getting pretty chilly in this part of the world—and I sure am glad I moved down in this shack. It’s nice and tight and warm. It really is comfortable.
I have 57 missions now—really getting up in this world.
I love you sweets---Love, Ang
January 4. Sure am putting in some hard days this week. To Higgins for dinner - finally met Jim. Lots of mail from Ang. Late.
Form 5. Jan 4, flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:55h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #58.]
Motta Di Livezza RR Bridge
Heavy, Intense & inaccurate
2 ships holed
Did not drop
January 5. Worked like a dog today—sure am tired. Mr. S for dinner, so to movie with kids. So to bed late again.
[Letter. Postmark 1-9-45.]
It’s too bad the mail situation is screwed up on both sides of the ocean. From your last letter, it doesn’t sound like you’ve been getting your mail regularly either. Mine is beginning to trickle through two at a time—yesterday I got one (yours) of the 5th and one of the 25th. Oh well, as long as I get some.
Arne has left—I guess he’ll have his bambino on his knee pretty soon. He got all his orders sooner that he expected. I sure am glad for him. It was really getting him, sitting around here the way he was. That’s one of the reasons I’m so glad that we didn’t “start” a family before I left. I think I would be a raving maniac by now. On the other hand, maybe it would have been a good idea. You could have had the brat housebroken, etc, by the time I got back home.
By the way, that gives me another idea. Somewhere maybe you could find the time to visit the doctor and have yourself checked for things like that. I mean, could you have a baby—if you could, would it be O.K for you to have one---Oh damn it, honey-you know what I mean. I’ll be darned if I don’t think I’m blushing a little bit—how do you like that? As I’ve said, my plans are hardly concrete—but when I get home I don’t want to waste anytime—get me?
I love you darling—Love, Ang
January 6. Worked until nearly one PM. Marian drove me home tho. No Club but to U.S.O. Wrote some letters. Bed 1:00
January 7. Up about 9:30 and to 12:00 Mass. Took some snaps and had dinner at Bar BeCu. Wrote letters in evening. Bathed - bed at 12:00
Form 5. Jan 7, flight as "other", B-25D, 1:45h
[There is no mission listed in the squadron diary and note that this was not a B25J as usual. I'm guessing it was a practice flight on the same type of B25 they would fly to R&R in Egypt. See my photos below of me with a B-25D.]
[Letter. Postmark 1/10/45.]
Got yours of the 11 & 24 today. As I told you in the last letter, they are coming in two’s now. I guess they will catch up one of these days.
Henthorn has left me now too—he should be seeing you one of these days. Boy, it’s getting to be that I’m the old man of the squadron. I see them come and I see them go. Oh well, my turn will come one of these days. At worst, the war can’t last forever—or can it?
Don’t worry dear, I won’t try to surprise you when I come home. When I get to about 5 missions from finishing, I’ll write you and you can quit your job (with two weeks notice) and head for Chicago. It will take me about a month to finish those last five missions and get orders—and three-four weeks to get home.
It takes about two weeks for my letters to reach you—you give two weeks notice—and that gives you 3-4 weeks to get to Chicago. That’s giving us a large leeway—but as I’ve said before, I don’t want to waste any time.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
January 8. No entry
[Letter. Postmark 1/10/45. Letter misdated as '44.]
My conscience has been bothering me a little bit—so I guess I’d better sit right down and write plenty of letters. Boy, I guess I owe just about everyone. I guess I’m just a bad boy—that’s all there is to it.
I guess the doc feels that I need another rest—because I have been informed to get ready for another little trip. This time it’s off to Cairo and vicinity (Alexandria, Jerusalem? etc)—I hope! I don’t know just when I’m going but I thought I’d warn you so if you don’t get any mail for a couple of days, you’ll know what’s happened.
I don’t especially want to go on this trip—I’d rather stick around and fly—but who am I to argue. Oh well, I guess I might as well see as much of the world as I can while I’m over here. I doubt that I’ll have any desire to see any part of it outside of the city limits of Chicago when this war is over.
Cairo is supposed to be quite a deal—I guess just about everybody speaks English. There are plenty of night clubs (honest to goodness floor shows) and just about everything else one could desire. I should have a good time.
I’ve been saving my color film—and this should be a perfect place to use it. I guess when I’ve finished this trip, I’ll have seen everything this part of the world has to offer. Lets see, I’ve visited Casablanca, Algiers, Naples, Capri, Rome, Sicily—and now this trip. If I can get to Athens and the French Riviera someday, I ought to be an authority.
This war sure has done funny things to people—hasn’t it?
Darling, are you sure you are not overdoing it on all these activities of yours? You sound like you are being worked to death. I hate to say it (who am I to bitch about something like that) but your letters to me are falling off—in length and content. I was willing to let you go to work, and join all those other things you joined—but I do think you are overdoing it right now. There is no sense in wearing yourself out in trying to keep yourself busy. I’m not bawling you out, but, really honey, one good, long, long letter from you is worth a lot more to me than the 100-or 125 dollars you earn. I’m not telling you to quit your job or give up any of your activities, but I do think you ought to slow down a small dab. I guess you know what you are doing; I just thought I’d stick my two bits worth in this letter, because I have been worrying a little bit about you lately. I don’t know why, I just have—probably because you sound so pooped in your letters.
I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings—I didn’t mean to—it’s just my fatherly instinct coming up.
I love you darling---Love, Ang
January 9. Am taking tom. off so worked hard today. Went down to show after dinner. Had a lovely birthday dinner for A[??unable to read].
Form 5. Jan 9, flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:45h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #59.]
Palazzola RR Bridge
Center of Bridge
J.D. Smith, F.J. Gowiski
[The crew list (see Official Documents tab) was dated the 6th which was crossed out and changed to the 8th, but lists Smith & Gowiski as crew with Ang. The 340th history says no mission on the 6th and mission on the 8th was scheduled but cancelled due to weather. The order for the OLC can be viewed under the Awards tab.]
From Ang's scrapbook. Labeled "59" on back. I haven't found a target photo on the 57thBW site, but the 340th diary for this date mentions The "Palazzola rail bridge was also effectively bombed." The 486th BS diary reported: A mission today that paid all the way. Another bridge crumbled to the chant of “Gott in Himmel.”
January 10. Stayed home from work today while kids went shopping. They had company in evening. Bed about 12:00.
[Letter. Postmark 1/12/45]
I’m throwing my hat thru the door—please don’t throw it out---I promise to be a very good boy from now on. Ish-ish---my head is bowed and my cheeks are burning with shame—oh, woe is me!
I think you know what I’m talking about—if you don’t –I’m referring to that last letter of mine. It seems to me that I said something about your letters being short in “length and content.”
Ha-ha—of course you realize I was only kidding—ha, ha—of course you do—ha, ha. Oh me, I certainly wish I could recall it.
Today (Oh, why did I send that letter) I received (I knew I shouldn’t have sent it) four letters from you—date Dec 19 (6 pages) (Don’t be mad at me honey), Dec. 24 (7 pages) (You probably hate me by now), Dec. 25 (6 pages) (Just remember that I love you), and Dec. 31 (9 pages) (Please don’t divorce me, I’ll be good from now on.)
“Short in length and content”—ha! Do I feel like a damn fool. Maybe this shows why I try not to get excited or do things on the spur of the moment. I always regret it—it never fails.
As I told you, the mail was all messed up over here—it was not coming in the order it was sent. For about two weeks I got nothing but two page letters from you—and of course little baby Angelo felt that he was being neglected. Oh me, why do such things happen to me? Please forgive me sweetheart. I really do love you so very much.
It certainly was news—wonderful news—about Benny coming to see you. Just like an extra Christmas present. You must have felt like I did when I saw Bud over here. That ole crowd of ours is sure split into all parts of world—isn’t it? I’m going to drop him a line as soon as I finish this letter.
So Frankie made it home for the New Years. Doggone it, I think I’m even happier about the fact that he finally got home, than I will be about my own home coming. He certainly had a leave at home coming to him. And, as you suggest, it ought to do both of the Grand-mas a world of good. I certainly was happy to see that letter of his.
I can imagine how excited you must have been—seeing Benny and Jr. and knowing that Frankie was in the states—all at about the same time. You were probably jumping around worse than Donny. And then the phone call from Joe—wow, I bet that apartment is in an uproar. Come to think about it, I’m a little excited about it all myself.
I don’t suppose you meant that your mother might go to Chicago for good—did you? It certainly would be nice if she did—ha! Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want you to influence her—not much!
Yep, Cahills mother gave you the right poop about how and when we quit. However, we usually have a pretty good idea about when it’s coming, so I’ll give you plenty of warning. Of course if Mother is staying in L.A. you’d better stay with her as long as you can and help keep her company. However, is she’s going to Chicago for a visit, you’d better pack up and go with her and stay there. I can just about promise to finish up before 1st of March, so you’d have to leave for Chicago by the time she got back, and that would be kind of silly.
I guess that’s all the poop for now.
I love you. Love, Ang
[Letter. Postmark 1/12/45. Letter is again misdated as 44.]
Or should I say goodbye darling—because I’ll soon be on my way to you know where. I’ll write as soon as I get there, and you should get a couple of letters from me while I’m there.
Do you know what—I’m a little excited about this trip. And the reason for it is that I’ll be able to see a good floor show (so the boys tell me). It’s kind of silly, but I really do have a craving for one. I’ll probably clap myself silly at the acrobats and roll in the aisles at the comedians.
I did write to Benny yesterday, and I also wrote to Bud—the folks—Corsons. My conscience was bothering me.
I got the orders for my D.F.C. today. I’m really beginning to get some color on my blouse—ha!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
January 11. Had to work hard today. To bank at noon for kids money. They’re leaving tomorrow. Helped pack in evening. 11:00.
January 12. Worked like mad today - dashed home then to station with kids. To Off Club with Mrs. Henthorne - very nice. I’m treas.!
Form 5. Jan 12, flight as navigator, B-25D, 8:10h
[Most likely the flight(s) to R&R in Egypt. The form indicated 2 landings and a total of 8 hours. In his book "Truth Flies with Fiction," Dale Satterthwaite describes his June 1944 R&R trip to Cairo and Alexandria. He says it's 1700 miles "as the crow flies" and mentions a segment from Benghazi to Cairo.]
January 13. Worked today but didn’t accomplish much. Out to U.S.O. but didn’t need me so to movie. Read in evening. Late.
January 14. To late Mass. Then downtown to movie. Mr. S. took us out to dinner. Did some sewing—To bed by 12:00.
January 15. No mail today—nuts. Marian drove me home. sure wish work would let up a bit. To bed by 12:00.
Form 5. Jan 15, flight as navigator, B-25D, 1:05h
[Probably Cairo to Alexandria. In his letters about the R&R trip, he says they were in Cairo for two days.]
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.
The long, slow, middle of December. More lousy weather for the 340th Bomb Group. Ang only flies one mission but manages to send letters nearly every day. While they are pretty newsy about other people, he doesn't talk much about anything he is doing. One bit of news is that his roommate, Charley Vail, is in the hospital with a broken leg, and Ang has moved to another "shack" further down in the valley. He says it's warmer there. His new roommate is George Henthorn. Betty is spending her time working and Christmas shopping.
Monday, December 11. Marian got back—hurrah! Didn’t work very hard today. Shopped & got babies [gifts] out of way. Bed by 11:00
December 12. Awfully warm—ugh—the middle of December. Met Mrs L-. Mr. S. for dinner. Peg & I to movies. 12:00
[Letter. Postmark 12-13]
Today is one of those days where a person stays inside—gnashes his teeth—plays with his lips—slams his fist against the wall—and then lays back on his sack and thinks of home the little woman. That’s just what I’ve been doing all morning—and now I’m really in sad shape.
Boy, do I love you—wow! It’s a good thing you can’t see me now, because I’m sure my ears are long and pointed and my fangs are drooling. Ahwoooo (in case you don’t recognize it, that’s a wolfs call—a lonely and lovesick wolf at that).
I’m not really that bad off—I don’t think. However it’s a good example of what the power of suggestion can do to a person. I guess I’d better go out in a little while and organize a pinochle game—or something.
I sent you a copy of the group paper yesterday—I thought you might like to see one of them. I sure got a kick out of the cartoon on the front page. Cute, eh what?
I got another package from you yesterday—the one with the cigars in it. Gee whiz, darling—you certainly do take care of your hubby—imagine, two-bit cigars. I’ve hidden them very carefully—or else the wolves would have been after me in no time at all. Such cigars are only for me on special occasions and for visitors above the rank of colonel—ha! That special issue of “Life” was really something—about the best I’ve ever seen. Do you remember the picture near the back of the Private and all the movie stars. The one where he is in the background and the eight girls are laying on the grass with all the behinds sticking up and towards the camera. One of the boys took one look and moaned “Look at this—a million dollars worth of behinds—and I can’t even get two bucks worth.” Cute—huh?
The section on what they are going to do for the service man was also interesting. Boy, according to Life, we’ll never have to work again! What a life.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
[Note: I'm pretty sure the Life Magazine issue Ang mentions is September 25, 1944. I think it's page 114 at this link.
December 13. Mr L. out of office today—warm again. Shopped, then with girls at Biltmore—dinner & a show. Bed 12:30.
December 14. Worked hard today. Did some shopping at noon. Wrapped packages & did laundry. Bathed & to bed 10:30.
[Letter. Postmark 12-15-44.]
I just got your letter of the 4th (Dec)—you sure do sound pooped. I’m all for your keeping busy—but I hope you’re not overdoing it. I realize that you know what you are doing, but there is no sense in killing yourself.
Thanks for the new calendar—it should help me considerably in keeping track of dates. Also thanks for Jen’s letter. When she does write, she writes a clever letter, doesn’t she? I sure get a kick out of some of her expressions.
I told you that Arne had been put back on flying, didn’t I? He’s all finished now though—and he’s just sweating out his D.F.C. before his orders can go in. Its too bad he has to waste so much time just sitting around here doing nothing. Thank goodness, my D.F.C. is already in—and I should have it in a couple of weeks. When I do finish, my orders will go in immediately and I’ll be able to leave two weeks after that. Poor Arne will probably be here for 1 ½ to 2 months yet. It certainly is a shame. If I was in his position, I know what I’d tell them to do with the D.F.C. Its alright to be a hero—but its hardly worth an extra two months over here. Oh well, such is war.
Yes, I have heard from Bud. I know approximately where he is, and I’m going hunting for him someday. Maybe I’ll try it at Christmas—it would be nice to be together.
You should get this about that time so Merry Christmas sweetheart. I guess you know how I feel about the holidays—so I’m not going to say anything about it. I’ve been thinking of the holidays pretty regularly—and it doesn’t make me happy. I don’t know why I’ve brought up the subject, I’ve ruined my whole day now. I certainly am a sentimental little baby.
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
December 15. Have a whole day off for shopping—1/2 today. Bot coat for Donny. Took him home—napped in P.M. To bed early.
Form 5. -15, flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:50h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #52]
Voghera RR Bridge
Maj. G.B. Thabault. Dozier. Wollcott
December 16. Didn’t get much work done this A.M. Did some shopping—dashed home to U.S.O Wives Club—then duty. Bed 10:30.
[Letter. Postmark 12-20-44.]
Well, I do have a small dab of news for you today—Vail has a busted leg—and I’ve moved from the shack. That’s a hell of an association of ideas—but they are connected.
What I mean is, it gets pretty darn cold way up there on the windy hill—and I’ve often had a desire and several offers to move in one of the shacks in the valley where the wind doesn’t get at them so much. However, I never took up any of the offers because I thought Charley’s feeling might be hurt if I moved out.
Well, as I’ve said, Charley busted his leg—and now his home is in the hospital—and mine is in the “valley.” Charley sure does have a bunch of rotten luck—he’s almost as bad as Bud—maybe that’s why I took up with him. Oh well!
I now live with a fellow named George Henthorn—another L.A. boy. He (George) should be leaving for home one of these days—and will stop in to see you. I’ve flown a lot of missions with him, so you ought to get plenty of poop from him.
I got six of your letters yesterday—Nov 20 to 27. I’m glad you are not trying to satisfy all the kids of our acquaintance with Christmas presents. I can imagine what a problem it is for you—and its almost worth being overseas just to escape all that.
I’m sorry this is so short darling—I love you very much—Love, Ang
December 17. To 10:30 Mass. Wrapped packages in P.M.—and did a bit of sewing. Wrote letters & to bed by 11:00.
December 18. Didn’t have to work very hard. Shopped at noon. Finally had letter from Ang. To bed by 11:30
[Letter. Postmark 12-22-44.]
Who in the hell, may I ask, is this “Marion” who sent me two suckers for a Christmas present. What - -- - oops, I just remembered—the girl that works in your office is named Marion—isn’t she? Give her my thanks—or should I say Henthorns (my shack-mates) thanks—he enjoyed both of them immensely.
Charley is in good shape—it was just a simple break—nothing very serious. Besides, he has a cute nurse and he can use a rest.
You should see the officers mess now—we really have it decked out for Christmas. The “cutest” print curtains border the windows—boy, are they hot stuff. The nudes painted all over the walls have grass skirts glued to their lower extremities—I guess that’s a concession to the chaplain and the religious spirit of the holidays. The trees that Christmas trees are made of grow wild all over the island—and so we have dozens of wreaths. Your wreath and sign hang in the middle of mess hall. All in all—in looks pretty snappy—I’m rather proud of our labors.
Yes, I did receive the package with the two rolls of film—thanks, hon. I haven’t received Uncle Georges box yet, but it ought to get here one of these days. I’m sure glad you’ve been able to get as much as you have for me.
I also got the little “dolly” you sent me in the letter. Didn’t I feel foolish—sitting in the mess hall, a little doll dangling from my fingers, and a very foolish expression on my face. Oh well!
I got a “V” mail from Gram. Har[rington]—I nearly strained my eyes trying to read the small print before I remembered the magnifying glass you sent me. I, too, noticed how much she favors Donny. She seems to be crazy about him. She didn’t say much—mentioned Frankie, John, etc.
I can’t get over the difference the radio makes around here. Its almost a pleasure to lay around now. Even Gildersleeve (he’s on now) sounds good.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
By the way, my orders for the Air medal and five clusters came in—I am now officially a hero—ha!
[You can read about and listen to episodes of the radio show Ang mentions here: http://www.greatgildersleeve.com]
"The enclosed pictures were taken before Christmas and the scene is our squadron officer’s mess. I am only in one of them, and am right behind that pipe and under that mess of hair. The wall decorations were all done by Willy, and as you may note, tinsel skirts have been added to a couple of the girls. That was simpler than trying to paint goose pimples, we found.
Comrade Adams appears in all three pictures. He is playing cards in two of them (Hearts I think was the game) and in the third picture he is leaning against the wall near the bar in the make-believe downing a snort. I say “make-believe” because I am sure those bottles were empty at the time—otherwise there would have been a larger group in the pictures.
In the bar picture also is Garnett Carroll being served by Fisher who is behind the bar. Over the fireplace is our squadron insignia. The fellow that I am playing cards with (Double Solitaire) is Jim Clarke of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. That is Davis nearest him at the next table though hardly clear enough to identify him. The slot machine in the background was purchased out of the mess fund for an ungodly sum, and then it was discovered that nowhere in this theater were there coins to fit it. And there it sits."
[From "Dear Mom" by Michelle Cahill, niece of Tom Cahill.]
December 19. Took off at noon today—Did some shopping—then home. Wrapped packages. Home all evening. Bed 10:45
December 20. Warmish today—sure not very Christmasy. Shopped after work—bot black bag. Wrote letters in evening. 11:00
[Letter. Postmark 12-22-44.]
Gee—its only five days to Christmas now—the holidays are practically upon us. I don’t suppose the holidays will be too much for us—but just the idea kind of gets one. The best Christmas present we can get is to fly a mission on Christmas—that means one more towards getting home.
I’m afraid I’m a little moody today. The closeness of the holidays have kind of knocked my usual cheerful disposition all to hell. As I’ve told you before, I’m usually pretty contented over here—but on holidays or on days that have a special significance to us- - - well!
Gee, listen to me moan—you’d think I had the cares of the world on my shoulders. I’m sorry darling, I just don’t feel in a very happy mood today. You know how it is once in awhile.
Charley is in fine shape—and getting better all the time. Arne is still waiting.
Darn it hon, I just haven’t got it in me to write a letter today. Maybe I’ll add to it tonight.
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
December 21. No diary entry.
[Letter. Postmark 12-23-44.]
I suppose you’ve got yesterdays letter and are worried sick about me by now. It sure was a pukey letter, wasn’t it? Just ignore it, sweets—it was just one of those days when a person feels way, way down in the dumps. All day long the radio blared about the great German offensive and about the Allies retreating—and it sounded like the damn war would last forever. That, and Christmas being so near really got me down.
However this morning I bounced out of the right side of the bed—and am my usual optimistic self. That’s a long way of telling you I fell pretty good today.
It doesn’t look like I’m going to get my trip to Rome for the Holidays—however I’m still trying—and you never can tell. I sure would like to be there—oh well!
We haven’t been getting much mail lately—just Christmas boxes. I guess the post office is clogged with the presents, and the boys are probably tearing their hair out trying to straighten out the mess.
The radio just announced that the Pope is going to celebrate midnight mass on Christmas eve—and its going to be broadcast. Thats what I’d like to see at St. Peters. Oh well!
Its too bad that John can’t come to see you since he is on the west coast. I certainly hope that Frankie gets home by Christmas. Is he coming home on rotations or just a leave—or don’t you know? I sure hope he’s home for good—he certainly has done his part for this war.
Say, hon, take it easy on those magazine sections, will you? I’d rather get some magazines such as Story Mercury etc. don’t get a subscription for me—just send me some when you get a chance.
We saw a U.S.O. show the other night that was pretty good—three men and three girls. The men danced, cracked jokes, sang and other things—the girls just wiggled. Boy, the girls were sure good—ha! I guess that’s all a show needs over here—a pretty girl that looks, acts, and speaks American. The American girl is sure going to have a cinch with the G.I. back from overseas. She’s been raised so high in comparison to foreign women that it isn’t even funny. Ah well!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
Ang gets two missions in during this first part of December. He doesn't mention stand downs, but the 340th BG history tells us the weather was still causing stand downs. This explains (again) his Form 5 that lists more flights than his personal log book. Sometimes they would leave Corsica, only to return because of bad weather at target. Other times they flew practice or training flights. Ang & Betty's activities remain the same as always: Betty working, attending meetings, helping at USO; and Ang writing letters and attending a USO show in between flying and waiting for mail. They are both busy getting Christmas cards sent out and with waiting for mail to arrive. Ang is still dreaming of a trip to Greece, or maybe to Rome for Christmas. Betty mentions work on a photo album -- sure wish I knew what happened to it! Ang talks about taxes and we see his earnings should come to $3,023.42. Speaking of money, he has a new "post-war plan" that will take a lot of money so he claims he'll take up bridge instead of poker in order to save money. I'm guessing Betty laughed at that one - he never gave up poker! But he reassures Betty that his plan is not a restaurant. Reminds me I need to do a post about his Pre-War business venture - a restaurant!
Friday, December 1. Sure am getting tired. Worked hard all day as usual. To meeting for Inf. Center in evening. Bed 12:45.
Form 5. -1, flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:00h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #50.]
Villalvernia RR Bridge
[Later mission reports indicate that the bridge was not destroyed, but that the bombs did damage the nearby town, killing many people.]
Led group. Moyer. Lt.Col. J.W. Ruebel
December 2. Worked until about 12:45. Dashed home and out to Servicemen’s Wives—then Hostess work. Looked through Tribs—bed 12:00
December 3. To 9:00 Mass. Did Xmas cards. To movie—brought dinner in. Wrote letters in evening. Washed head. Bed 11:30.
Form 5. -3, flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:00h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION 51.]
Mantoua East RR Bridge.
Led group. Thabault. Woolcott
[See photo from Ang's scrapbook, below. The 340th BG and 486th BS diaries aren't quite as clear as to whether the bridge was "down.". http://57thbombwing.com/340th_History/487th_History/missions/120344_Mantua.htm]
[Letter. [Postmark 12-4, envelope stamped “Passed by Examiner." Also re-closed with tape “Opened by Army Examiner.]
I just got the news that one of the fellows who went home called up my folks and promised to go over and see them. I certainly am glad that he was nice enough to do it—I’m certain it made Mom very happy—just like a Christmas present.
However, if I know Dad, I kind of feel sorry for him (Anderson, the fellow I’m talking about). Dad will probably set up a banquet in his honor and my relatives will pester him to death. Oh well!
I went to see a U.S.O. show last night—and it really was very good. It was a colored unit and the band was kind of brassy—but I certainly did enjoy it a lot. I must losing my taste, because I sure got a bang out of some of their old & corny jokes.
We bought ourselves a radio yesterday—and I won’t tell you the price because you’ll faint. Its really a beauty—but it takes up about half of the shack—it sure is big. Its really worth the money (wouldn’t you like to know) though—because it sure is a pleasure to be able to listen to programs such as Hope, Benny, Axis Sal—etc. It makes the time go a little easier. When I get ready to leave here and sell it to one of the fellows—then I’ll tell you what I paid for it. I’m not cashing any checks though—and I’ve still got enough for the Athens trip.
O.K., O.K.—so its mean—so I’ll tell you—we paid 250.00 for it 125.00 apiece—so there.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
December 4. Another busy day. Walked home from the office. Had a lovely steak dinner—Mr. S. up. Donny awfully cross. Bed 11:15.
December 5. Had a dentist appt today—ugh. Didn’t work quite so hard today. Tom Bridge lesson with Martha—USO. 12:30
Form 5. -5, flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:00h
[Standown from 5th to 8th of December per the 486th squadron diary.]
December 6. Sure will be glad when Marian’s back—am sure getting tired. Wrapped 8oz for Ang. To bed 11:00.
[With thanks to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum; here's a link to the June 2, 1944 Postal Bulletin explaining Christmas Mail for Overseas. Ang mentions the Christmas package deal in his 12/27/44 letter.
[Letter, Postmark 12-5-44. A couple misdated letters here, which Ang finally notices in his 12/9 letter.]
I guess I’m getting to be a bad boy—its been three days since I wrote last. I don’t think that I’m getting into a rut—and I promise not to let it happen too often—its just that I haven’t been getting any mail lately and its so hard to find something to write about.
I received yours of the 17th & 25th today though—so I’ll try to make up the missing letters in this one. First off—I’ll clear up a few old matters that you’ve been after me for.
Yes, you are doing the right thing about the taxes—just what I wanted you to do. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided that we’d better pay it—and I also figured out how much I’ve made. My total earnings this year—including everything that is taxable (Base—flight & overseas pay) comes to $3,023.42. When you make out the joint return remember to add your pay to mine & then subtract the family allowance 1,200.00 & the military allowance 1,500.00—then the balance is what is taxed. I figure the balance will be about $1,000.00 and the tax in no case should amount over $150-$200.
If you get the blank early just send it to me with the total of your earnings—reductions etc & I’ll take care of it. If you don’t—just make it out yourself & send it in. However if your figures turn out to be over $200 in taxes—just don’t send anything in & I’ll take care of it when I come home.
Its kind of early for all this—but as I said, I’ve been thinking about it & I might as well give you all the poop on it.
Now to get to your letters. Yes, I get plenty of cigarettes—all I need.
I’ll write & try to find out Connelley’s address one of these days. One rule (according to the officers guide) that an officers wife must learn—is that she must never write, phone or otherwise pester any army superior or and dept. I guess that lets you know where you stand—ha!
You are forgiven for not writing on the 23rd—what else can I do with the record I have for writing. A fine howdoyado—playing around with a couple of sailors—ha? I’m glad you invited them out, though darling. I know how I’ve felt when I’ve been away from home on a holiday, and its not a very nice feeling. I know I’d give a lot to be invited to a decent home & dinner on a day like that—and what I wouldn’t give to be able to accept an invitation to your home—wow! Oh well!
Say, I should say your family is getting famous—nationwide papers—radio—I guess pretty soon I’ll be known as Lt. Angelo Russell—ha.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
December 7. Mr. Latimer out today--& I really accomplished a lot. Home alone all evening. Wrote letters. Bed 11:00
Form 5. -7, flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:00h
[Standown from 5th to 8th of December per the 486th squadron diary.]
[Letter. Postmark 12-6-44. Letter misdated.]
Well, I’ve finally got all my Christmas cards off—sent off the last today. I just went thru the little book and took them as they came. I hope I didn’t forget anybody—oh well, I tried not to.
I also wrote a few letters yesterday—one to your mother thanking her for the bracelet. I guess I should have long ago—but I thought it would be nicer if she got the thank-you note around Christmas. That’s a pretty good reason—at that.
I certainly am glad we bought that radio—it certainly helps the day pass. I’m beginning to catch up on the radio programs.again. Its kind of detracting from the letter writing though—Bob Hope is on at the present—so please excuse any lapses.
I see where they are having all kinds of trouble over in Athens—so I guess that will contribute to another delay. Oh well, one of these days. I’ll get over there before I leave—even if I have to swim over.
In regards to coming home—I now have 51 missions. I can’t tell you how many I have to fly—but I am within screaming distance of the last one. One of the boys ought to be in to see you in a couple of weeks—you can get the poop from them.
There are rumors that there are bags & bags of mail somewhere around. I sure hope so—about a dozen letters & a couple of packages sure would do miracles for me. Of course a dozen letters & a couple of packages would be a miracle!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
[Letter. Postmark 12-12, “Passed by Army Examiner, re-taped with examiner’s tape]
In case there has been any confusion on your side about the dates on my letters--I want you to know there has been plenty of confusion on this side. I have been a day or two ahead of the calendar all the way---I'm OK now though---I think today is the ninth.
I got six letters today—four from you—one from Gale and one (a Christmas card) from Pat Reardon—imagine?
Gale certainly does write a nice letter. She wanted to know if I remembered how she used to hop on Gabby when he came through the door---and wanted to know if I could imagine what she would do to him when he came back from overseas. "If he thinks he's having a busy time now, just wait until he gets home." Ha , I can well imagine. I can just see her as he walks in the door--wow!
The rest of the letter was bragging about the baby, remembering a few old scenes. She sure is a sweet kid, isn't she. She seems (according to the letter) to take Gabby's absence a lot better than I thought she would.
There didn't seem to be any questions in your letters (for once)—so I can't answer any.
I must say I'm very proud of you darling--the way you have taken my overseas tour I mean. Its been rather easy for me to stay fairly happy over here and I think your wonderful attitude has been the main reason for it.
What I mean is that we fellows over here have troubles of our own--and if we had to worry about the folks (especially wives) at home---it would be rather rough. The way you have tried to keep yourself busy and fairly happy makes me love you like nobodies business. If you were one of these clinging wives, and bitched and moaned that you were dying for want of me all the time---I don't know what I'd do. I think I'd go nuts over here. Keep up the good work, sweets.
Now don't get me wrong--a letter from you once in a while telling me how much you miss me--and how tears come to your eyes when you look at my picture, etc etc is good for my morale. After all, ones ego must get a boost once in a while.
I'll be damned if I know what brought all that on except one of your letters (especially) made me realize what a really wonderful wife I have. Just keep on the way you've been going dearest. You're perfect.
I just can't get over the radio we bought. It's a godsend. Frank Munn is on now and even he sounds good to me.
As far as getting rid of the money so we won't have it to worry about---nothing doing. I think I've at last decided what we are going to do after the war---and it's going to take a lot money. I think I'm going to have to talk you into it, so I'm not going to say a word until I can use my personal influence on you. It's not a restaurant or anything like it.
As of here and now--the Adams family goes on a money saving binge---me too. I'm taking up bridge instead of poker.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
December 10. 12:00 Mass. Packed couple overseas boxes. Pasted in photo album. Did laundry—washed head & bed by 11:30.
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.