In Los Angeles and Corsica, it begins to feel like Fall. On Corsica the weather impacts everything, especially the number of “stand downs” due to rain. Betty stays busy with work, movies, meetings of the Los Angeles Officers Wives Club, and packing and sending care packages to people like Ang, her uncles and their friend Bud. They both have their September 26 wedding anniversary on their minds. But the big news is the money Ang was winning playing poker. He sent most of it to the bank at Ft. Sam Houston. The story we grew up with was that after the war, he went back to college on the GI Bill and they lived on the money Betty earned and what they saved from the poker games on Corsica.
Thursday, September 14. Very fallish today. Brrr. Marian & I alone today and stalled as usual. Washed head and wrote letters - as usual. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. C-14, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:40h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #37.]
Rimini Troop Concentrations.
Heavy, moderate & inac .
4 ships holed.
[verso: "D.E. Glade Woolcott, R.C."]
[Crew sheet under Official Documents tab. Link to more info about this mission.
[Letter, Postmark 9-14-44.]
I hope yesterdays letter didn’t get you all excited—I don’t remember just exactly what I wrote—but I don’t imagine it was very sensible. I remember that the main thought in my mind was to get rid of the money before I lost it again—so I gave it to Skeezix to hide—and since I’ve still got it—I guess everything is O.K. and I’ll send it off today.
Not only that—but the few dollars I kept in my pocket—I invested in a game—and this morning I woke up with an extra 300 bucks in my pocket. Holy mackeral—drunk or sober—I just can’t lose lately. I suppose now that I’m so far ahead—I should quit playing—but I haven’t got the heart to quit while my luck is running so hot. I guess as long as I send my big winnings to the bank—I’ll do O.K. I never take more than a hundred into a game—that way I can’t lose very much.
I’ll send the money off this afternoon. Just to keep the records straight—that will be $1800.00 I’ll have sent to the bank this month and last month. Maybe you’d better buy some bonds—do whatever you think is best. Boy, that’s a load of dough—isn’t it? Gee whiz!
I’ve got our wedding picture on the table and a couple of the colored snaps around the edges. Gosh darling—I sit here looking at it—and it almost drives me nuts. Mmmm-you sure do look good enough to eat. Without blinking an eyelash—I’d give that $1800 just for a couple of hours with you right now. Honey, honey—I sure do love you a lot.
September 15. Had quite a day at the office - very routine. Went to L.A. Officers Wives Club in evening. Very nice group. Payday! Bed 11:30.
[Letter, Postmark 9-18-44]
I haven’t got any mail for three days now—not your fault, none has come in. Woe is me! I’ve been pretty luck[y] so far—I mean my mail has been pretty well distributed—one or two a day, instead of all in bunches. So, I guess I’ve got no kick coming if the Post office fails me once in a while.
I guess you can stop sending all the magazines now—I’ve been getting them all. Somebody always gets the Esquire too—and I can always see theirs. I’ve been meaning to thank you for the good care you’ve taken of me. You are a sweetheart—thanks a lot honey.
We are having another dance tonight—although I don't know why they insist on calling them dances. I’ve always thought there had to be some women at dances—and since there are not—well? I don’t think there is anybody who knows how to conduct a barn dance—or we’d be doing that. At any rate—the Col. picked up 500 lbs of steaks for the party—so we ought to enjoy ourselves a small dab. He said he had planned on having a pork barbeque—but the damn pigs hadn’t shown up. Ah well, such is life.
Its been a little cool lately—and its brought to a climax a little idea I’ve had for a while. On second thought—It just struck me that you don’t need one in California so I won’t mention it. But, if I didn’t mention it, you’d probably tear all that pretty hair out. Ah me, I also just remembered how nice it was to put my head on your shoulder and smell that pretty smell that came out of your hair. Why do I think of such things—my poor constitution!
Anyway, before I find myself a divorced man—I’d better finish. I was going to suggest that you invest some of that money in the bank on a fur coat—but since you are in California, you might as well wait and give me the pleasure of helping to pick it out. Of course, if you find something that you really like—go ahead and buy it and consider it a birthday present.
By the way, I sent an extra hundred—and that makes it $1,900.00 for the two months.
I love you honey—oh me, that wedding picture—Love, Ang
September 16. Alone in office and not busy at all. Xmas shopped all P.M. Out to late dinner & movie. “Mr Skiffington” Swell. Bed 1:00.
Form 5. C-16, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:20h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #38.]
Bologna Gun Positions
To clear path for bombing formations---used phosphorous bombs.
Approximately 20 bursts of flak before bombardiers picked up gun positions.
Must have got guns or scared gunners---no flak shot at main formation.
[Note: "Barney" was the bombardier, W.E. Barnard. Pilot on this mission was D.J. Satterthwaite. His book about his WW2 experience is "Truth Flies with Fiction: Flying B-25 Bombers into Battle during 1944." The crew sheet for this mission is under the Official Documents tab.]
September 17. To late Mass—very dreary day. Wrote letters—then out to see “Wilson.” Late dinner and then to bed about 11:00. Quite tired.
[Letter, Postmark 9-18-44.]
I got four of your letters yesterday—Aug 24, 30, 31 & Sept. 6. The one of the 24th explained why you were going to the doctors—I’m sorry I raised all that stink. I don’t know what else to write about so I’ll answer questions.
I’m highly peeved because you thought that I thought our anniversary was the wrong month—or isn’t that what you meant? Gee whiz, don’t you think I have a brain—and anyway you put the date in great big printing in my address book—so there.
Please don’t worry about my clothes—I’ve got more than I can ever use over here. The rest of my things came about a week ago—I’m glad to say that all of my stuff was in the bag except for the sheets—somebody took those out. Oh well, I’ve got one sheet and one mattress cover and Skeezix always keeps one clean for me—so I’m all set.
Yes we go swimming as often as we can—its one of the best diversions.
Don’t feel so bad about your letters, Hon—I’m not complaining. Of course I can never get enough of them—but I think you are doing quite well by me.
Now what gives you an idea I had a run in with Arne? We’re not on the same crew anymore—but we still are the best of friends. you should have seen him the night he got the telegram—was he a happy boy. He’s got more missions than I have—and he should be finished in about a month and on his way home. Don’t say anything to Ev, though—let him break his own news.
I don’t believe I knew a Cooper in Columbia.
I don’t know what else I can tell you about Charley. Since he was the other navigator here when I arrived—we naturally had things in common—and so we got together. He helped me get started and catch on and made things easier for me all around.
I did too mention that I was at Earl Carrolls—several times.
Honey, please don’t worry about money and bank accounts-etc. I don’t expect you to scrimp and starve—you know that. As long as there is money in the bank its all yours to do whatever you want with it—at any time without asking. Gee whiz—you make me feel like a Simon Legree when you apologize for something like that (Aug. 30).
Boy, if I’m going to have to explain how come I got “all that money” last month—I’m sure going to have trouble about this months. Its really very simple—I always was pretty lucky and I’m getting to be a 1st class poker player—I should be—I’ve played just about every night for the last four months.
Hon, you don’t have to send writing paper every week—my God, what will I do with all of it. Once a month is plenty.
I’m reserving my decision about your driving—you’ll have to convince me—if you know what I mean.
You are doing right about your deductions—its what I told you to do before I left.
Honey, in your last letters you seem to have started worrying about me a little too much. If you don’t cut it out you’re going to get a paddling when I get home. Really, your fears are ridiculous. You should spend your time worrying about the poor Germans instead—the poor jerks haven’t got a chance. What we do to them shouldn’t happen even to Hitler. Really—sometimes I really do pity them. Please stop worrying--
I love you—Love, Ang
September 18. A usual Monday - all day. Called the Adams - and glad to talk to them. Had swell letter from Ang about trip to Rome. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. C-18, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:45h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #39]
Followed cloud bank which ringed target---and then swung out and dropped bombs.
Surprised Germans did not have time to line guns on us---and first two boxes did not get a burst of flak.
3rd box (489) got the hell shot out of them.
Beautiful patterns. 96%
[verso: "Led. Barnard, W.E. D.J. Satterthwaite" / Fourth Cluster]
[I don't have a crew sheet for this mission but here's a link to the 57th BW site with more info about the mission. However I can't find detail about the 489th results that Ang mentions. He notes on the verso of this page that he got his fourth cluster for this mission. The "orders" are under the Awards tab. http://57thbombwing.com/340th_History/487th_History/missions/091844_Rimini.htm]
September 19. Everyone on edge today at office - ugh. Packed some boxes for Bud and Frankie. Listened to Bob Hope. Bed about 11:30. Dead!
[Letter. Postmark 9-20-44.]
Hi Hon: I got ambitious the day before yesterday and wrote Boco letters—you-folks-Johnny-Falls-Joe F. etc—but I must have overdid it a bit—haven’t felt like touching a pen since.
Besides I feel kind of blue—the orders came thru that we had to get rid of the Eyties—and so Skeezix is leaving us today. What a blow. Boy, I can see the mess this place is going to be in without him to clean up after Charley and me. Woe is us!
Oh well, such is war. I think his stay with us has done him a lot of good. If nothing else—he’s got into the habit of brushing his teeth—his family will probably think he’s gone crazy and throw him out of the house. He’s put on a little weight—and has learned about taking baths. he has plenty of clothes—and a bag full of food, candy & cig to take to his family.
I don’t know if we’ve completely reformed him though. Just a while ago he was telling us how he felt about leaving here. He felt very bad and was practically in tears—but then a bright thought lit up his face a bit. He said there was one good thing about going back to Sicily—“the signorina’s there were nice and fat—and he could get it wholesale—only five dollars for the night” The little punk—I should have wacked him good.
There’s not much else to write about—except that I love you very much—Love, Ang
P.S. by the way, I sent Mom a check for $25.00 for her birthday—mark it up will you.
[Note about "Skeezix" and the other "Italian help" who were sent home from Corsica per orders from 12th Air Force Command. No one was pleased with this order. It's mentioned in both the 340th Bomb Group and 486 Bomb Squadron diaries.
From the 340th diary. "The Italian K.P.s who have been with us since we were located at Pompeii A/D [Airodrome] have been ordered to pack up for they are being returned to their homes. A recent directive from XIIth Air Force made the Group's choice on sending them home a matter of following orders."
From the 486th diary. "The Italian help was returned to Italy and now a few Corsican lads are substituting in the mess."
In August, Ang's friend Tom Cahill mentions Carlos, Henthorn's Boy Friday who came by Tom's tent and sampled cookies sent by Tom's mother. Tom says Carlos "does all Henthorn's laundry, keeps his tent and area in good shape, shoes shined, etc., for his meals, a couple hundred lire per week (about $2)." (In "Dear Mom: A family finds its past in World War II Letters Home" by Michelle Cahill. https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Mom-Family-Finds-Letters-ebook/dp/B00ZVYZ9T2
I don't know if Henthorn's "Carlos" is the same person as Ang & Charley's "Skeezix" (Ang said his name was Carlos, when he got back from Sicily) but my guess is he worked for more than one tent.
In any case, the Italian/Sicilian boys were greatly missed when they had to leave Corsica and go home.]
September 20. Didn’t have much to do at office. Packed a couple of boxes and wrote letters all evening. Bed 11:00. Tired.
September 21. Had a swell letter from Ang today. He sent me $50 for our anniversary. Washed hair and wrote letters. To bed about 11:30. Tired.
[Letter. Postmark 9-22-44.]
I guess winter is getting about ready to hit us in this part of the world. Its beginning to get kind of chilly around here—and the weather isn’t so hot anymore. You know how it was in Chicago—rain for days on end. Oh what a life.
You remember how I used to tell you how nice it was in our house on the hill because of the cool breeze that we always got. Well, the breeze still blows—but its no longer cool but freezing cold. I guess we’ll just have to winterize—and put sides on our house. I sure hope I finish up and head for home before winter really hits here.
I haven’t had any mail for a couple of days now—so I don’t have much news for you. I sure hope I get a batch of it tonight.
Before I can mail this, I’m going to have to make [a] trip to the post-office for some Air Mail envelopes. I had about a dozen of them on the table when that “little” breeze I was talking about picked them up and carried them out into the mud. Woe is me.
I’m sorry, hon, I’m trying hard to make this into a real letter and I can’t—my mind is a blank. I promise to do better tomorrow.
I love you very very much sweets—Love, Ang
September 22. Worked hard today - for a change. Sent Ang a cable for our anniversary. Napped in evening and got box ready for Jack. Bed 12:00.
Form 5. C-22, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:15h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #40.]
Pavia (S Dona d. Piave)
(N. of Venice)
Left engine acted up.
Flew last 90 miles to base on single engine.
Chief made a beautiful landing.
[verso: "Glade Woolcott"]
[486th crew list for 9-22-44 is under the Official Documents tab. Looks like this list was originally for 9-19 but according to 57th BW diary there were weather stand downs on the 19-21th Note that Ang is one of several moved from one crew to another, ending up on 6A, known as Sahara Sue II.]
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.