January 27, 1945

Saturday

In England, Verne wrote, ”One fellow said Thank God, now I can live one more day at least.”

01-27-45

Another mission scrubbed, thank the Lord. It was to Hamburg. It scared us the minute it was briefed. One fellow said “Thank God, now I can live one more day at least.”1 I felt the same way. Slept most of the day.2 No mail as yet. Mail from Aileen has been darn poor since getting here. I expected better from her. Perhaps I’ve failed her also.3

Notes & Commentary

1 By January 27, the 390th Bombardment Group (H) had lost 12 combat crews and their B-17s: Two to flak and nine to enemy aircraft. Another aircraft disappeared over the North Sea. One pilot, one top turret gunner and one ball turret gunner had been killed in action and their bodies brought back in returning aircraft. One pilot, one ball turret gunner, one waist gunner and one togglier had returned with wounds requiring their hospitalization.

“Operations Historical Report for January 1945.” 390th Bombardment Group (H) History, January 1945, Headquarters 390th Bombardment Group (H), 24 February 1945, microfilm B0426, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 987. See also “Statistical Control Historical Report for January 1945.” 390th Bombardment Group (H) History, January 1945, Headquarters 390th Bombardment Group (H), 24 February 1945, microfilm B0426, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 992.

2 The mission was scrubbed after the mission briefing. Verne slept most of the day because he, as had the other members of combat crews, had risen a long time before dawn to prepare for the days mission.

3 Aileen had nothing to do with the lack of mail. Mail was critical for morale. Given the psychological stress the troops were under, a lack or delay of mail was always a problem. This was especially true for mobile units engaged in combat. Located at airbases, Wayne and Verne were more fortunate than others. Their lack of mail was primarily caused by movement to a new base. Wayne experienced this when he first arrived in the South Pacific and again in August 1944 when the 42nd Bombardment Group (M) relocated from the Russell Islands to Hollandia in New Guinea. Verne is experiencing it as his combat crew moved from the States to Station 153 in England. I have to wonder how those who rarely received mail coped.

It was a prodigious task to move all the mail going to the millions of American servicemen overseas. The volume was immense. For example, the Army Postal Unit at Station 153 in January 1945 . . . .

Received and dispatched 3,382 sacks and pouches of mail.
Received and dispatched 522 pieces of registered mail.
Envelope and stamp sales amounted to $6,287.60. [An Air Mail stamp cost 6¢ in 1945.]
Wrote 2,723 money orders amounting to $137,887.89.
Paid 573 money orders amounting to $14,493.62.
Number pieces of mail given directory service – 3,145.

“563rd Army Postal Unit Historical Report for January 1945.” 390th Bombardment Group (H) History, January 1945, Headquarters 390th Bombardment Group (H), 24 February 1945, microfilm B0426, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 1012.

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2 Responses to January 27, 1945

  1. Ron Reid says:

    One method heavily promoted in the later portion of the war was the use of V-mail. My mother was very pregnant with me when Uncle Boyce shipped over to England with Crew 87 and he told my mother that he wanted to hear about my birth as soon as possible. He suggested the use of V-mail because it was so much faster than regular letters because the microfilm went by plane and the regular letters went by boat. Also he told her to write the V-mail letter in such a way that it sounded as it she were his wife and I was his son. It appeared to most people that the “important” information seemed to get through faster than letters just talking about the weather or how the hens were laying. She told me that it seemed to work.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. James Lindley says:

    These last few posts have been interesting. For a pilot or copilot you run through the upcoming flight in your mind and have a mental map of how it is going to go and what to do or what you think you will do if a mishap occurs. As a crewman, Verne and the others on the crew cannot do that. All they can do is the job they are assigned and they are not in control. Nor can they see anything outside of their own area. This would be most frustrating and the fear of dying without any chance of control would be very hard. Some passengers on airplanes have a similar problem with the loss of control and also confinement in small spaces also becomes a problem. Passengers act up out of character sometimes because of this problem. It has to be the same for Verne.

    Liked by 2 people

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