December 12, 1944

Tuesday

There is no entry for December 12 in Wayne’s journal. According to Squadron records, he flew on one of the eight B-25Js from the 100th Bombardment Squadron, which bombed the Kairatoe Airdrome runway from medium altitude during the morning of December 12. Kairatoe Airdrome was located on the southwest of Ceram Island.

The eight B-25s took off from Mar Air Field between 0815 and 0820. Their course took them to Cape Dore, to Cape Fassandoten, then to initial point of Cape Bolet then direct to the target on a heading of 278°. Each plane was armed with four 500 lb general purpose bombs. After dropping their bombs, the mission aircraft turned to the left and returned directly to Mar Air Field where they recovered between 1215 and 1220.

The mission received slight, inaccurate medium caliber antiaircraft fire from known gun positions northwest of the Kairatoe runway. The antiaircraft fire was noted to burst 3,000’ below the attack altitude of 9,500’. Before the attack, the runway appeared to be in serviceable condition with one serviceable aircraft, type not noted, on a taxiway. Photographs of the target were taken using Fairchild K-15, K-17, K-20 and K-22 cameras.1

Wayne flew on B-25 #105 during this mission. Piloting the aircraft was 1st Lt. Orlan G. Emery. The other crewmembers were 1st Lt. Jack B. Blankenship, 1st Lt James E Schaade, S/Sgt Stanley L. Seehorn and T/Sgt Stanely T. Schriebman.2

In England on December 12 . . .

Wayne’s brother, Verne, purchased a Letts Quikref Diary3 for 1945. The diary cost 3 shillings 6 pence, approximately 70¢. On its “Addresses” page, he wrote:

In case I turn up missing in action or am declared dead I trust, pray and demand that you the reader shall mail or deliver this book to Mrs. Verne R. Gray. I thank you deeply.

Verne R. Gray

His first entry in the diary was:

12-12-44

Finished our seventh day of training. One more day to go. Received first letters since arriving in England. 4 Based at Framlingham.5 Saw two V-1 Buzz bombs go over tonight. Understand now why they call this buzz bomb alley.6 My lovely wife’s letters make me feel 100% better — not as lonesome.

Notes & Commentary

1 Final Mission Report, Mission No. 200, 12 December 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 12 December 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1833-1834.

2 Operations Order No. 125, 12 December 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Operations Officer, 12 December 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1836- 1837.

3 Letts Quikref Diary 1945, No. 47. Aylesbury, Bucks: Letts Quikref Diaries Ltd., [1944]

4 The oldest of which was mailed to him on November 18, nearly a month earlier.

5 Framlingham, which is located in Suffolk, is about three miles southeast of the airfield at which Verne was stationed with the 390th Bombardment Group (H). The airfield was also known as Parham and USAAF Station 153. “RAF Framlingham,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=RAF_Framlingham&oldid=633873414 : accessed 10 December 2014). See also “Framlingham,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. (http://www.framlingham.co.uk/index.htm : accessed 11 December 2014) and “Framlingham, Airfields of the 8th Air Force.” Eighth Air Force Historical Society. (http://www.8thafhs.com/old/airfields.php : accessed 10 December 2014)

6 The last of the V-1 launch sites within range of England were overrun by Allied forces in October 1944. The V-1s Verne reports having seen, in mid-December 1944, were among the 1,176 V-1s launched by Heinkel He-111 bombers operating over the North Sea. All told, 9,521 V-1s were launched against England. “V-1 flying bomb,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=V-1_flying_bomb&oldid=636581820 : accessed 10 December 2014).

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2 Responses to December 12, 1944

  1. I’m glad Verne bought a diary. It’s crazy, isn’t it? The other day I panicked because my cell phone was out of commission–how would I communicate to family? Verne could only hope his voice would be heard through the grace of a benevolent finder. Nice post, Allen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sammy D. says:

    Those letters from loved ones were a lifeline, I’m sure. Their early years of marriage were filled with separation, anxiety and hardship in battle and at home. It’s no wonder so many couples (my parents included) were/are in such strong, committed marriages after that kind of beginning.

    I love Verne’s “trust, pray, demand” phrase – a tinge of humor in a solemn moment.

    Like

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