In England, Kenneth E. Cline wrote his wife:
I also had a V-mail from Mom today telling of their receiving the wire from W. Dept. about Verne on April 3rd. I’m sorry it all happened just as you got there — I thought my letter would reach them first.1 I believe his Group also went off operations about April 1–5 or so — Just 2 weeks later2.
Ken’s wife lived with her parents and sisters in Nebraska while he was in England. At the end of March, she went to Colorado to visit friends and her husband’s family. Ken’s wife arrived just as Verne’s wife learned that he was missing in action.
In the United States on April 12, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a stroke.
Notes & Commentary
1Ken tried to call Verne on Easter, April 1, but he couldn’t reach him. He was planning on going down to Station 153 to visit Verne. He learned shortly thereafter that Verne was missing in action.
Years later, Ken would relate that he went down to Verne’s station with the hope of retrieving his personal belongings — his wristwatch, the camera Aileen had sent him, the fountain pen he had received for his birthday, etc. All had disappeared, stolen. No one knew anything. Luckily, Verne’s diary survived.
2The 390th Bombardment Group (H) continued to fly combat missions through April 20, 1945. On April 3 & 4, the 390th Bombardment Group (H) attacked the submarine pens at Kiel. The marshaling yards at Nurnberg, Leipzig, Neumunster and Eger were attacked on April 5, 6, 7 & 8, respectively. On April 9 & 10, airfields at Munich and Burg were attacked. Except for area bombing in the vicinity of Royan, France on April 14 & 15, all of the 390th Bombardment Group’s remaining combat missions were flown against marshaling yards: Landshut on April 11, followed by Aussig, Straubing and Oranienburg on April 17, 18 & 20, respectively. Only one other B-17 of the 390th Bombardment Group was lost after the loss of two B-17s on March 14. That aircraft was lost on April 9 during an attack on an airfield near Munich.
In May, 1945, the 390th Bombardment Group flew five Chow Hound missions. During these missions, food was dropped to the starving Dutch. The German forces in the Netherlands denied them food. The missions were flown on May 1–Volkenburg; May 2–Amsterdam; May 3–Vogelenzang; May 5–Utrecht; and Utrecht again on May 6.
Then it was over.
United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. pp. 29 & 131.