January 17, 1945


In England, Verne wrote in his diary . . .

Flew a practice mission today for a couple or three hours.1 Flew over Ken’s base.2 Hope I get a chance to see him soon. No mail from home. The Major3 is still pretty eager but seems to be a good Joe. Hope he can do me some good on the Staff Sergeant’s ratings. Should start flying combat within the next five days. Still out of lights. No coke until tomorrow.4 Have been stealing wood tonight trying to keep our fire going. Goldie’s and Fisher’s birthdays today.5

Notes & Commentary

1 The aircrew were credited with 3:45 hours of flight according to the Individual Flight Record of Boyce L. Pruitt. Verne Gray and Boyce Pruitt were both members of Combat Crew 87.

Ronald J. Reid. “A Tribute to Sgt. Boyce Lester Pruitt”. (unpublished manuscript, 2007). Individual Flight Record. 8th Air Force, 13th Bombardment Wing, 390th Bombardment Group, 571st Bombardment Squadron, Station 153, England. Boyce L. Pruitt, January 1945.

2 Verne’s brother-in-law, Ken, was stationed at USAAF Station 118, located between the villages of Beeston and Wendling four miles northwest of East Dereham in Norfolk.

“Wendling Airfiled (Station 118)” Second Air Division Memorial Library. (http://www.2ndair.org.uk/consumption/groups/public/documents/article/ncc081391.pdf : accessed 15 January 2015).

3 Major Linn E. Wilde, Jr.

4 The electrical lighting of the living quarters is not working and they have no coke, i.e., fuel, for the stove. Lacking coke for their stove, they burned wood from bomb crates, etc., in an attempt to keep warm. It was unusually cold. The Meteorological Office reported that January was “ . . . notable for intense frost and considerable snow.” The Office also reported that “Mean temperatures were very low . . . . 6.3⁰F below average . . . but not so cold as the exceptionally cold January in 1940.”

“Monthly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office, January 1945.” Meteorological Office, Air Ministry. (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/k/h/Jan1945.pdf : accessed 15 January 2015).

In Europe, January and February 1945 were among the coldest winter months of the 20th century, with blizzards and temperatures as low as –25°C (–13°F).

“The March (1945),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_March_(1945)&oldid=633363182 : accessed 15 January 2015).

5 Alvin Goldberg was born in 1925 and Carlton D. Fisher in 1926. January 17 is their shared birthday. Goldberg, 20 years old, was Crew 87’s radio operator and Fisher, 19 years old, its tail gunner.

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3 Responses to January 17, 1945

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I learned something I didn’t know reading one of your link…



  2. I’m reading this with particular interest to the comments made by Verne in his diary in England. His brother-in-law Ken, stationed at Wendling is a place I visited recently. Much of the airfield has gone, some of the buildings do still exist but on private land, and there is the superb memorial mentioned. It is great to see personal stories put to these places. I would love to know if you have any further references or documentation referring to Wendling. My visit was covered in trial 10, here is the link if you would like to have a look.https://aviationtrails.wordpress.com/trail-10-swaffham-and-her-neighbours-part-3/.


    • a gray says:

      The 392nd Bomb Group Memorial Association’s website (http://www.b24.net/392nd/index.html) is an excellent source of information on the 392nd Bombardment Group’s activities at Wendling as is the Second Air Division Memorial Library (http://www.2ndair.org.uk/index.htm) at Norwich, Norfolk, England.

      Copies of microfilmed records of the 392nd Bombardment Group are available on CD from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. I don’t think the records are complete, and being copies of carbon copies, they are often difficult to read. They do, though, provide a look at the past.

      Thank you for following Wayne’s Journal and please let others who might be interested in the World War II air war know about it. Over the coming weeks, the most of its entries will be related to England.

      Liked by 1 person

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