March 5, 1945

Monday

At last! After a 48-day hiatus, Wayne finally writes in his journal. He is a patient in the 155th Station Hospital1 on the Cape Gila Peninsula of Morotai Island in the Netherland East Indies.

March 5, 1945

Flew missions on the 17th and 19th [of January] my 61st2 and 62nd3 respectively. The last two before going to Sydney, Australia on my second rest leave. Between the 19th and the 26th, flew no missions because we’re getting ready to move out.

On the 26th [of January] flew to Hollandia and checked in at the 22nd Replacement Center. Stayed here for three days. That place hasn’t changed much. A lot less material and planes. The roads dusty as heck but little traffic. PX stuff easy to obtain.

The place swarms with WACs and is like a ghost town now compared to what it was when we were temporarily stationed here in August of last year. The food is terrible. All C rations and little of that.

The airfields have no aircraft except transport type. All combat planes having moved up the line to somewhere in the Philippines.

For recreation we went to the “Dust Bowl”, a Red Cross setup where one could read and write; and where drinks were served — coffee and doughnuts, now and then, juice or lemonade (synthetic). Also went to the fights one night which weren’t very good; and to picture shows in the same area. All old-time pictures.

Left for Sydney on the 30th [of January]. Landed at Nadzab, Townsville and Blackall. Spent the night there and left early the next morning for Sydney. Spent ten days eating and seeing sights. Wrote letters. Roomed with a buddy named Tisdell4 at the Grand Hotel5. He kept dating a girl named “Molly” and tried to date me with one named “Judy”. No soap! And it took a lot of damned arguing and cursing to keep him in line on that subject.

We stayed 11 days and left on the 11th [of February] for Sansapor. Landed at Townsville, on the return from Sydney and remained overnight. Bought a lot of fruit and had our last milk shake for a long time. Took off in the a.m. landed at Nadzab and then Hollandia. Remained there for five days of misery.

On the 17th of February our group [42th Bombardment Group (M)] brought planes in. Gladly we collected our baggage and headed for home base. Picked up cargo at Biak6 on the way. Fourteen men on the plane plus baggage and some food.

Spent the time between the 17th and 26th [of February] washing clothes, writing letters and on sick call with a fungus infected ear. A hell of a lot of pain and misery as a result. Doc Meyers didn’t think I ought to leave by plane for Morotai, but Dr. Avakian insisted. Result we landed at Morotai7 on the 26th. Ground crew took the boat same day. Entered 155th Station Hospital on the 27th [of February]. Have spent all this time since right here, nursing my ear. Doc was afraid I’d have to be evacuated if the fungus perforated the drum. He used Boric Acid and Argyrol8 as a treatment. Today [March 5], I had 9 sulfa tablets and 15 bicarb of soda tablets. Feel like a stuffed goose. Will see how the ear is tomorrow and with a blood count. It doesn’t feel bad tonight.

The war news during this period of time is good. Russians on the Oder River, 30 mi. from Berlin. Manila cleaned out. Corregidor landings. Palawan landings (our new station?) 9. Iwo Jima landings. Carrier strikes and B-29s over Tokyo. Allied offensive on the Western front rolling them up. Yanks five miles from Cologne, U.S. 9th, 3rd, 1st and 7th British and Canadian 1st. Nice going boys. That’s all folks.

Oh yes, Lt. Fincham came up yesterday and brought me three bottles of beer and a carton of cigarettes. Was all out of the latter; but had a case of beer from the hospital lottery. So we drank three or four bottles a piece. Very good; and slightly tight all except I dropped two places on the list.10 Am now fifth. Phooey, fiddlesticks, etc.

Meanwhile in England, Verne writes in his diary . . . .

03-05-45

On a practice mission this morning from five until noon. Slept most of the time and also all afternoon. No mail today. Jerries have been sending over Buzz bombs today.11 Just heard one explode. Everyone I know over here says that I have changed considerably. Must be getting flak happy.12

Notes & Commentary

1 “155th Station Hospital, Unit History.” WW2 Medical Research Centre. (http://www.med-dept.com/unit-histories/155th-station-hospital/ : accessed 26 January 2015).

2 On January 17, 1945, Wayne flew on a two-plane shipping sweep. The pilot of the aircraft, B-25J #076, was 2nd Lt. Harold D. Finchum with whom he trained at Columbia Army Air Base in Columbia, South Carolina. Other members of the air crew included 1st. Lt. Leonard R. Orcutt, T/Sgt Elmo L. Bowden, T/Sgt. Joseph D. Labbe and 2nd Lt. Jack B. Subury.

Operations Order No. 17, 17 January 1945, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Operations Officer, 17 January 1945, microfilm A0577, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 108-109.

The mission aircraft departed Mar Air Field at 0600. Each B-25J carried four 500 lb. fragmentation cluster bombs plus a full load of ammunition. The aircraft searched the Soela Islands from 0845 until 1100 at an altitude of 500’. A single masted schooner loaded with packing crates and barrels was strafed and sunk at 1000 southeast of Taliaboe Island. Each plane made two passes at minimum altitude. No personnel were observed on the schooner. 2,500 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition were expended during the attack.

A native canoe was also observed during the sweep. Although its native occupant dived into the water without attempting to give the customary “V” signal when the plane went down for a look, neither the native nor he canoe was strafed.

Propaganda leaflets were dropped on Ceilatoe Island in the Obi Islands, at Tolong Village on Taliaboe, and on Seko Island in the Soela Islands.

Weather reports were transmitted hourly. These were relayed through Morotai since the ground station at Mar could not be contacted.

The mission aircraft recovered at Mar Air Field at 1320.

Final Mission Report, Mission No. 250, 17 January 1945, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 17 January 1945, microfilm A0577, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 106-107.

3 Wayne’s 62nd mission was the bombing and strafing of La Carlota Airdrome. For this mission which occurred on 19 January, he flew as a member of the aircrew of B-25J #105 piloted by 2nd Lt. Harold D. Finchum. Other members of the aircrew included 2nd Lt. Richard Healy, 1st Lt. Edmund H. Flagg, S/Sgt. James E. Wood, and Pvt. John M. Hanley.

Operations Order No. 19, 19 January 1945, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Operations Officer, 19 January 1945, microfilm A0577, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 94 & 98.

The eight mission aircraft depart Mar Air Field between 0618 and 0623 and landed at Morotai at 0830 to refuel. They departed Morotai for the for the target, La Carlota Airdrome between 0930 and 0935. The bombing run was made at 1310 after which the aircraft flew directly to Morotai where they landed between 1730 and 1735. After refueling they departed and landed at Mar Air Field between 2000 and 2005.

The bomb run was made at minimum altitude with 48 100 lb. para frags dropped plus 13,000 rounds of ammunition expended. Three direct hits on large buildings in area #4 scattered debris 50’ in the air. Seven direct hits on buildings in area #3 had debris 50’ in the air. One direct hit was on an “L” shaped building approximately 3,000’ south of the target.

Light antiaircraft fire was moderate and accurate from positions in and near the two lines of trees extending west from each of the two target areas. This fire holed three planes. Medium antiaircraft fire was moderate and generally accurate holing another plane. This fire came from an improvised flak tower some two miles north of the target area. The tower used to be a silage or some other type of tower used on the farm. Several steel-framed buildings have been burned out near this tower.

Final Mission Report, Mission No. 252, 19 January 1945, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 19 January 1945, microfilm A0577, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 93 & 95.

4 S/Sgt. Harold Tisdell.

5 This hotel has yet to be identified.

6 Biak Island, off the north coast of New Guinea, was a staging base for operations to the west.

7 The air echelon of the 42nd Bombardment Group (M) relocated to Morotai on 23 February 1945.

“Lineage and Honors of the 42nd Air Base Wing”, Cradle of Airpower Education. (http://www.au.af.mil/au/images/AU_Maxwell_Heritage_Pamphlet.pdf : accessed 26 January 2015) pp. 21-22.

8 Argyrol is the trade name of an antiseptic in use sine 1901. “Argyrol,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Argyrol&oldid=637433671 : accessed 27 January 2015).

Dr. Albert Barnes collaborated in inventing Argyrol. It was an antiseptic (actually, silver nitrate solution) best known for preventing gonorrheal blindness in newborns. It made him a millionaire young, financed his astounding collection of Impressionist art, and eventually led him to create the Barnes Foundation. The Barnes Foundation. (http://www.barnesfoundation.org/about/history/albert : accessed 05 March 2015).

9 The 42nd Bombardment Group (M) relocated to Puerto Princessa on Palawan Island in March 1945.

“Lineage and Honors of the 42nd Air Base Wing”, Cradle of Airpower Education. (http://www.au.af.mil/au/images/AU_Maxwell_Heritage_Pamphlet.pdf : accessed 26 January 2015) pp. 21-22.

10 . . . the list — the list to go home.

11 The last V-1 attack against England was launched on March 29, 1945.

12 “Flak-happy” was British RAF slang for reckless, uncaring, blasé . . ..

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments