458th Bombardment Group (H)

  Honoring those who served with the 458th BG during World War II

Larson Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - May 9, 1944

Standing: Charles Wall - N, E.G. Walker - B, Lincoln Larson – P, Ralph McGuire - CP.

If you have a crew photo, or photos of the enlisted men, please contact me.

(Photo: Tom Staub)

Shot down in Emden Harbor - July 7, 1944 (MACR #7227)

LarsonCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
2Lt Lincoln A Larson 0805847 Pilot 07-Jul-44 KIA Schwenkville, PA
2Lt Ralph G McGuire 0764406 Co-pilot 07-Jul-44 POW Stalag Luft I
2Lt Charles D Wall 0713030 Navigator 07-Jul-44 KIA Tablets of Missing - Margraten
2Lt Everett G Walker 0704250 Bombardier 07-Jul-44 POW Stalag Luft III
S/Sgt Cecil A Gibert 18123941 Radio Operator 07-Jul-44 KIA Grandview, TX
S/Sgt Walter R Rolfe 37470898 Flight Engineer 07-Jul-44 POW Stalag Luft 4
Sgt James A Butsch 17079921 Top Turret Gunner 07-Jul-44 KIA Netherlands American Cemetery 
Sgt John D Dedrickson 19072076 Ball Turret Gunner  07-Jul-44 POW Stalag Luft 4
Sgt Austin R Hall 39202414 Waist Gunner 07-Jul-44 POW Stalag Luft 4
Sgt Lawrence D Hamilton  35633468 Tail Turret Gunner 07-Jul-44 POW Stalag Luft 4

On July 7th, Larson's crew was chosen to fly in the Deputy Lead slot of the second section.  They took no command pilot, but were assigned an extra navigator.  Lt Fred Staub was the bombardier on Wayne Nelson's crew.  He had also received navigation training and was assigned to fly this mission with Larson's crew in the nose turret as pilotage navigator.


Before the formation reached the target, the No. 1 prop ran away, and they were forced to leave the formation and turn back.  Things got worse as the drag on the windmilling propeller was causing them to steadily lose altitude, and their flight path took them directly over Emden where several flak batteries were located.  At their low altitude they were an easy target, and their craft was set on fire.  The men started bailing out just as the aircraft crossed above the harbor, but before all of them could get out the plane came down in the water.


Lt Larson was thrown clear of the flight deck when the plane hit the water and disintegrated.  Lt McGuire, also thrown from the flight deck, said it appeared that Larson's arms were broken and that he could not inflate his life vest. McGuire, who suffered a broken pelvis when he was thrown through the cockpit, said that Larson drowned before he could reach him.


Sgt James Butsch sustained head wounds from 20mm cannon shells to his top turret.  He died in the plane. 


From a statement made by Lt McGuire, Sgt Cecil Gilbert's: "parachute harness leg straps were caught between the [upper escape] hatch door and hinges.  It is certain that he went down with the wreckage of the ship.  Whether he was killed in the crash or drowned, it is unknown.  He was not seen in the water after crash." Austin Hall believes that Gilbert was in this position, attempting to bail out when the plane hit the water.


All of the men who bailed out landed in the water.  They were eventually picked up entered captivity.  McGuire was the only survivor of the five men who were in the plane when it crashed.


The bodies of three of the crew washed ashore in the vicinity of the crash.  German documents state, “The body of American S/Sgt, Gilbert, Cecil A. serial number: 10123941, was washed ashore and recovered at the east Pier of the outer harbour of Emden on July 14, 1944.  According to papers of the dead, Gilbert was a crew member of the Liberator which was downed by A.A. at the Ems river chanel 2.4 km northwest of Knock on July 7, 1944 at 10.55.”

 

Lincoln Larson’s body washed ashore on July 11th on the beach just west of the German town of Rysum, and the body of Sgt James A. Butsch washed ashore near Bierum (Netherlands) on August 6th.  The bodies of Charles Wall and Fred Staub were never recovered.


MACR 7227

Larson left formation at 5140-0957 saying that he had 2 engines out, and asking for fighter support, at 0915 at 23000 feet.  He was later heard over the RUHR VALLEY at 1013 calling Lincoln Leader saying he was losing altitude and expected to abandon ship.


Larson Crew Missions

LarsonMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
27-May-44 NEUNKIRCHEN 48 1 42-95106 L Z5 1 MISS PAT  
28-May-44 ZEITZ 49 2 42-95106 L Z5 2 MISS PAT  
29-May-44 TUTOW A/F 50 3 42-95106 L Z5 3 MISS PAT  
31-May-44 BERTRIX 52 4 42-95106 L Z5 4 MISS PAT  
02-Jun-44 STELLA/PLAGE 53 5 42-95106 L Z5 5 MISS PAT  
04-Jun-44 BOURGES A/F 54 6 42-95163 K Z5 13 DIXIE BELLE  
06-Jun-44 COASTAL AREAS 56 7 42-95106 L Z5 7 MISS PAT MSN #1
06-Jun-44 PONTAUBAULT 58 8 42-95106 L Z5 8 MISS PAT MSN #3
08-Jun-44 PONTAUBAULT 60 9 42-95106 L Z5 9 MISS PAT  
10-Jun-44 CHATEAUDUN 61 10 42-95106 L Z5 10 MISS PAT  
11-Jun-44 BEAUVAIS 63 11 42-95106 L Z5 11 MISS PAT  
12-Jun-44 EVREUX/FAUVILLE  64 ABT 41-28682 I Z5 -- UNKNOWN 003 #3 ENG CYL HEAD
18-Jun-44 WATTEN 70 12 42-95018 J Z5 19 OLD DOC'S YACHT MSN#2
23-Jun-44 3 NO BALLS 76 13 42-95018 J Z5 21 OLD DOC'S YACHT TGT # 6 COUBRONNE
24-Jun-44 CONCHES A/F 77 14 42-95018 J Z5 22 OLD DOC'S YACHT MSN #1
25-Jun-44 ST. OMER 80 15 42-95108 M Z5 17 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
28-Jun-44 SAARBRUCKEN 81 16 42-100362 A Z5 11 SWEET LORRAINE/BOOMERANG  
07-Jul-44 LUTZKENDORF 86 17 42-100362 A Z5 13 SWEET LORRAINE/BOOMERANG  DEP LEAD - SHOT DOWN EMDEN 


B-24J-95-CO 42-100362  Z5 A  Sweet Lorraine / Boomerang

On a Horsham hardstand - March 1944
 
Showing seven missions completed (left) and after nine missions in late April. 
Note part of "Lorraine" can be seen under the new name "Boomerang".  The reason for the name change is not known.

Co-pilot Ralph McGuire's letter to Fred Staub's parents

"We were to bomb a target near Leipzig.  Fred was our pilot[age] navigator, assigned to our crew because we were to be deputy lead that day.  About 30 minutes before we reached our target one of our engines quit.  Due to our loss we left the formation to return to England.  The drag of the engine forced us to a low altitude, making us a perfect target.  We flew at 6,000 feet for an hour or so.  Passing over the Rhine Valley we were fired upon by the enemy.  This caused little damage, but scared us a lot.  After an hour we thought we sighted Amsterdam, Holland, and prepared to sneak out of enemy territory.  We had flown back on three engines before and there seemed to be no danger this time.  But instead of Amsterdam, we had sighted Emden Harbor, Germany, unknowingly.  We had dropped down to 2,000 feet for safety and started across the harbor.  About mid-harbor the enemy started shooting at us.  Our controls were shot away and the whole plane was a flaming inferno.


"The bail out order was given.  Lt. Walker was in the nose with Fred and Lt. Wall.  They were prepared to jump.  Lt. Walker was the first one out, Fred and Wall to follow.  For some reason Fred and Wall did not jump.  They crashed with Lt. Larson, [Sgt's] Gilbert, Butsch, and I.  The others had been able to jump.  They were Sgt's Dedrickson, Hamilton, Hall, Rolfe, and Lt. Walker.  The plane tore to pieces when it crashed.  Lt. Larson and I were the only ones to get out of the plane.  Lt. Larson was drowned a few seconds after surfacing because his injuries prevented him form inflating his life vest.  I was unable to get to him due to a fractured pelvis and other injuries I received.  By some miracle I was the only one saved in the crash.  The others were killed in the crash by impact or drowned.  I lost very good friends.  I shall never forget them.  I'm proud to have known Fred and to have flown in combat with him.  He was a true soldier, Mr. and Mrs. Staub, he will always be remembered." 


2Lt E.G. Walker - Bombardier

"I was the Bombardier on Larson’s crew and we were scheduled to fly the position of Deputy Lead on our 18th
mission. When flying deputy lead the crew Bombardier is required to operate the bomb sight, acquire the target, and synchronize as if he would drop the bombs. Then if the Leader was hit or had to leave the formation the deputy lead could take over and actually drop the bombs. An additional crew member was required to man the nose turret and assist the navigator in reaching the IP (Initial Point was a prominent object or feature on the ground where the Bomb Run actually began). This person was referred to as a pilotage navigator. Fred Staub had been selected to fly the nose turret and I met him at the briefing early that morning. The target was the Bergins Synthetic Oil Works.  We discussed what would transpire and nothing unusual came up except that the target was deep in Germany.

"The take off and join up was uneventful. About an hour after take off the Group had joined on the leader at 23,000 feet and wheeled into position behind another Group. All of the Groups were in a line for mutual protection against enemy fighters.

"The flight was uneventful until shortly before the IP (Initial Point) for starting the bomb run. Some light flak was seen but it didn’t appear to cause damage to any planes. A few minutes later our #1 engine propeller ran away. Because of the drag on the left side the pilot was unable to maintain position and moved out to the side of the formation. All efforts to control the prop or feather it were to no avail and the pilot told me to salvo the bombs (8,000 Pounds) to reduce the load.  I noticed that the bombs fell in a field causing no damage. Lt. Larson radioed Lincoln leader that it was not possible to continue the mission and requested fighter escort on the return flight to England. This resulted in two P-47 fighters assigned to escort us home.

"The prop continued to turn at several thousand RPM in a flat position which caused extreme drag on the left side. Shortly the engine housing behind the prop turned red hot and the prop fused to the housing.  This had happened to other aircraft and the prop had spun off and sliced through the fuselage.  At that point the pilot lowered the landing wheels hoping the wheels would deflect the prop away. Next the prop began to wobble, slicing the front of the engine cowling to a depth of 8 inches and then it fell down underneath the wing and disappeared.

"Since leaving formation the pilot had been descending to maintain air speed and positive control of the aircraft. I learned later that the buffeting caused by the damaged engine cowling resulted in the engine drooping down at an angle from the wing which further increased drag. Later during the descent we crossed near the Ruhr Valley and came within range of the very accurate 88 MM flak guns. The Germans let go with a barrage that came close, knocking out our oxygen supply and disabling the inter-phone in the nose. We continued down to a very low altitude over the Low Countries. Accurate navigation at low altitude was nearly impossible and the wind at low altitude was more from the left than we thought. We knew we would not miss England but we weren’t sure exactly where we would hit the coast of Holland. It was found that we needed to transfer fuel from the left wing to provide more fuel to the two engines still running on the right wing. This would also reduce weight on the left wing. Walter Rolfe our engineer had been manning one of the waist guns but moved to the flight deck. He reported that the # 1 engine had vibrated loose and was hanging down at an angle. This created more drag on the left side and made control marginal. He told me later that the windshield was shattered and Larson was hit in the face with pieces of glass. The top turret gunner had received a direct hit in the head and had fallen down to the flight deck below the turret.

"I knew we should be approaching the coast soon and shortly I picked up water at 1 o’clock. As we got closer to the water I began to hear explosions and felt shells striking the air craft. I didn’t understand why none were penetrating the nose but shortly I saw raw fuel trickling into the nose section. I
immediately opened the nose turret door and pulled Fred out backwards (you have to fall out backwards to get out). Our parachutes were handy and we helped each other snap the chest packs on. By now the fuel had ignited and I pulled the levers to retract the nose wheel doors (our escape hatch). When I opened the doors I could see one crew members parachute open. I later learned that was the engineer.  Fred and Lt Wall, the navigator, were right behind me and I looked down to see if we had enough altitude. It didn’t look like very high but there was no alternative so I dove out head first. As I looked up I saw the aircraft with a red glow and it appeared that something fell from the aircraft. I thought it might be Fred or Wall. As it turned out it might have been a piece of the aircraft falling off.
Position of crew members in Emden Harbor
Click for larger image
"I did not feel my parachute open and I hit the water hard, feet first, and went very deep in the water. I was struggling to get to the surface and finally remembered to inflate one side of my Mae West (Floatation vest). That brought me to the surface in a hurry. I had become entangled in the shroud lines as I fought to rise and it took me several minutes to free myself. Then I released the parachute harness and inflated the other side of the vest. I was a little worn out by this time but I wanted to look around and see where I was. I could see that I was in a large body of water and eventually I could see the tops of high buildings when I rose on a swell. I had swallowed some salt water and had to tread to keep my head up. After several minutes I saw a buoy that apparently marked a channel. I started swimming towards the buoy in hopes that I would have something to cling to. I tired very quick and found that a current was pushing me down stream away from the buoy so I gave up that effort. Eventually I felt that I could not last much longer and began to have thoughts of giving up. Suddenly I saw a small fishing boat crossing about 200 yards down stream from me. A man was looking away from me and I tried to call out but could not make enough sound. Then I remembered the whistle that was tied to my collar button hole. I stuck it in my mouth and blew as hard as I could and I saw the man turn in my direction. I splashed water up in the air and the boat turned toward me. In a few minutes they hauled me in. I pointed to the direction the plane went but they shook their heads and finally took me to a pier where a German soldier was waiting. In a few hours I was taken to a jail in Emden, Germany. I sat with my head in my hands not knowing if anyone else had survived. Within the next hour one by one five other survivors came in.

"Ralph McGuire, the co-pilot told us that the top turret gunner had been shot in the head and was lying on the flight deck. After the aircraft ditched and began to sink, Ralph was trying to exit from the top hatch and the radio operator seemed to be hung up on something. Ralph had injured his hip during the crash and barely escaped. When he came to the surface he saw Larry Larson, the pilot, floundering several yards away. Ralph tried to get to him but could not reach him before he sank and did not resurface. We hoped to see Fred and Wall and maybe some of the others come in but we learned later that we were the only survivors."

From a Butte, Montana Newspaper - 1945

Butte Sergeant Survives Infamous ‘Death March’ Across Germany

If, after he had joined up, S/Sgt John D. Dedrickson, 25, of Butte had known what was going to happen to him and had gone “over the hill”, no one certainly would have blamed him.


Just before he was fished out of the Zuider Zee, he didn’t think he would see his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ole Dedrickson, 1320 Maryland, again.  When he was prodded off a prison train by a German bayonet, he didn’t know for sure that he would ever be back switch trains in the Butte yards of the Northern Pacific again.


And, when he shuffled across Germany, beaten, ragged, hungry and cold, on the infamous “Black Death” march, he didn’t even dream that a few months away he would be wonderfully happy and proudly erect, walking down an aisle to the strains of a wedding march to marry Mary Ellen Layton of Chester, Mont.  And, when he huddled shivering in hay mow in Germany, an escaped prisoner facing severe punishment or even death if captured and feeling low and forsaken, he didn’t know that one day his story would be written and his picture would be in the paper.


Sgt. Dedrickson was returning to England from his 17th flight over Germany.  He was an armorer-gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber, Eighth Air force.  His ship had been shot up on some of the flights, but the skipper always managed to get her home.  This time it was different.


“We were supposed to bomb a target near Leipzig, but we had engine trouble and headed back,” Dedrickson said.  “We got it from flak right on the Dutch coast.  The plane was a flaming inferno in no time.  I bailed out.  I was the first to jump.”


He was alone in the water and after about two and a half hours was picked up by a Holland small fishing vessel, which turned him over to German marines in a patrol boat.  Then began a grim existence for Dedrickson.  The sergeant was take to Emden on the Holland border, and thrown into a jail.  There he met five others from the Liberator.  Four of them had parachuted and the fifth had “ditched” with the plane and got out of it.  Five others of the crew died.  Two were killed by flak and the others drowned.


From Emden the Americans were taken east across Germany to Frankfurt-on-the-Main, and to Dulag-Luft, and interrogation center.  The men were locked in solitary confinement for three days.  Since his last bite aboard the plane, Dedrickson had had nothing to eat but one piece of black bread.  Then the group was shipped by rail to a transient camp at Wetler, where each received half of a Red Cross parcel and some clothing.


It was while they were leaving the train at the next stop, Stalag Luft No. 4, which was 30 miles west of the Polish corridor, that the Butte gunner was prodded off the train with a bayonet.  Although he was only slightly injured, others were severely wounded by the bayonet in the hands of a captain of the guards.


The Americans were in that Stalag until Feb. 6 [1945] when “we started marching,” as Dedrickson puts it.  The men marched west across Northern Germany to a point 30 miles west of the Elbe.  It was the “Black Death” march.

“We figured we marched 1,015 miles in 87 days.  Sometimes we would start out at 4 o’clock in the morning and march until 12 o’clock at night.  There were thousands of us.  We had very little to eat.”  The march ended at Falanbastel [sic], south or Hamburg.  When the men were 45 days out on the torture trek, seven of them, including Dedrickson, escaped.  It was in March.

“We were sleeping in a barn.  I just stayed there with the six others when the march continued at dawn.  I crawled into the hay mow and covered myself as best I could.  That night we made 10 miles across country.  We were headed west toward our lines.  During the day we stayed in a barn of a German farm.  SS Troops were in the vicinity.  We couldn’t get out.  We noticed some Norwegian and Polish forced-laborers in the fields.

We contacted them and they brought us food at night.  Then one day a Frenchman saw us and turned us in.”The men had been free five days.  They had noticed the big “P” pained on the shirt of the Polish worker.  They had planned to work toward the British lines for they were somewhere north of Berlin.  What really surprised the prisoners was that they were not punished for their attempted escape.  They were taken back to the line of the “death” march.

The prisoners were at Falanbastel [sic] for five days and then moved back across the Elbe.  The British were advancing.  They left the camp on April 6 and by May 2 were liberated.  The sergeant went to Fort George Wright, Wash. Hospital on Aug. 28 and returned to Butte, discharge from the air corps, on Nov. 10.  Sgt. Dedrickson enlisted in the air forces in June 1942, and was called to duty the following December.  He went overseas in April 1944.  He is a graduate of Plains high School and attended Montana State college at Bozeman for three years.  He was working as a switch-man for the Northern Pacific railroad in the Butte yards when he went into the service.  He plans to return to college next fall.

The ex-serviceman wears the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the European Theater ribbon with four stars, the Presidential unit citation, and the Victory Ribbon.

Courtesy: Duane Dedrickson

Lincoln Larson and Fred Staub


Prisoner of War Diary - Stalag Luft III

This is a copy of my diary written on various and sundry pieces of paper. Most of the diary is written on blank areas of letters and cards from Jane and others. These letters were used because they had been stamped CENSORED by the Germans and I felt that if they were discovered the writing inside would be overlooked.  -- E.G. Walker


1944

Nov. 1st - Weather is and has been P.P.  I’ve been down almost 4 months. The first 3 months weren’t bad as I
needed a rest and the weather was excellent. Also we thought the war would be over in 2 or 3 months. Now
winter is here and the Germans may hold out ‘til Easter. By my calculations it should be over in Feb. but
I’m hoping the German people or the army will cause the end to come sooner. Received my first mail Monday
(9 letters) and one letter today. Have enough food to last ‘til Christmas.

Nov. 2nd - Two new men today. B-17 Co-pilot, left States in Sept. and P-51 Pilot, Capt. Played football today and lost 7 to 19. Went to a good band show put on by the Sergeants.


Nov. 3rd - Washed all my clothes today, which wasn’t much. Saw a good card trick and a new card game called “Uka”. Nix mail.


Nov. 4th - Der K.P. Period.


Nov. 5th - Well what do you know? Today I am 21. Had a big supper with dessert.


Nov. 6th - Beat #55 in football 7 to 6. I’ll be sore as hell tomorrow. Weather P.P.


Nov. 7th - K.P.


Nov. 8th - Rain. Two boys went around the bend today. That makes 3 in 3 weeks. Bread pudding today.


Nov. 10th - Weather terrible.


Nov. 11th - No inspection, no morning appel (head count). The General and Slick (Col. Spivey) made a speech this morning. Didn’t even bother to hear them. They say it will end any day now-the old windbags.

Nov. 12th - Nothing unusual except that Slick came around shooting the bull. Last night it was below freezing. Sun was out for a few hours. Morale low. No more mail yet.


Nov. 13th - K.P. again. New purge of 27 men. Came over in July. Snowed a little last nite. A fellow who was with me in Primary, Nashville and Tyndall field, name Downey from Chattanooga, Tenn, came in 2 days ago. Love my wife!!!


Nov. 14th - Heard “Higgy” in 26’s was shot down. Briggs was his co-pilot. Weather is fair but cold as hell. Morale very low.


Nov. 15th - Today I have been married 8 months and I got Jane’s 10th letter dated Oct. 4th. Everyone is pessimistic about the war. We are living on false hopes now. This place is bad in the summer but a hellhole in the winter. I love my darling wife more than ever and only live for the day when she will be in my arms again.


Nov. 16th - Snowed about an inch last nite and sleeted all day. Spent most of the day in the sack to keep warm.


Nov. 17th - Nothing unusual. Yes there was. Had a show “The Spoilers”. It was almost like living again to see a show.

Nov. 18th - K.P. for a D-bar and I owe it. Snowed last nite and this morning turned to rain for the rest of the day. Sloppy as hell. Feel very good cause I got a picture from Jane today. Made a frame for it.

Nov. 19th - Had a big discussion on evolution. I must read Darwin’s Theory.

Nov. 20th - Unusually good day. Fairly warm and clear. Had a run in with the Colonel. He’s really getting chicken. I love my picture more every time I look at it.

Nov. 21st - Nothing unusual. Weather fair. Morale going up.

Nov. 22nd - Goons searched our block this morning. Nothing confiscated. Morale is good. Nix mail.

Nov. 23rd - K.P. Played poker for cigarettes and lost as usual. Morale is fair.

Nov. 24th - Stayed in the sack and read most of the day. Played my first game of chess. Played poker tonite and won for a change. Morale same.

Nov. 25th - K.P. again for a D-bar. Gave Hartje 5 to 1 odds that the allies will not establish a bridgehead across the Rhine by Sun. nite Dec. 3rd. One square of D-bar to 5 squares is the bet. I don’t know whether I want to win or not. Morale going up.

Nov. 26th - No appel this morning. Sun out for awhile. No mail in over a week. Morale going down.

Nov. 27th - It was clear last nite and the moon was almost full. Sun out all day and clear again tonite. They are bombing Berlin. Sounds like they’re really giving ‘em hell. Two letters from Jane this morn. No news. Morale same.

Nov. 28th - Beautiful day. Cold as hell at nite tho’. The moon is almost full.  Will be tomorrow. Won some cigarettes tonite. Miss my wife. Morale same.

Nov. 29th - K.P. and all my debts are cleared up unless I lose the bet I made. We didn’t have appel this morning and since tomorrow is Thanksgiving we aren’t going to have appel 3 pm. Saw the play “Night Must Fall” tonite. Very good acting. Very much like the show. Morale none too good. It is snowing and consequently we won’t see the full moon tonite.

Nov. 30th - Today is Thanksgiving. We had the biggest dinner I’ve ever eaten. A pudding and pie for dessert. Only wish it could happen more often. A good football game today. Block 40 beat 41- 3 to 0. Played poker tonite and lost. Miss Jane terribly. Morale still low.


Dec. 1st - My Darling wife: I’m very lonely tonight. Gosh sweet, I miss you so- I’m listening to all the records which were popular when we were at Boise- Poincianna, Holiday for Strings, etc.Yes, darling I remember the times we had at Boise and will always remember. You once said that sometimes I looked at you and you knew that I loved you- It goes beyond that sweet, I worship you. Why else, during the 6 years, should I always come back to you after a quarrel. I knew that you and only you meant every thing to me. Darling I believe in you like no other person has believed. Thank God, dearest, I wasn’t killed cause I know how I would feel if you were to die. I’ve often thought of what would happen to me if you did. Jane, I couldn’t live without you. It has taken me quite some time to realize it, but it has been there all the time. Weather has been fairly good. No change in morale.

Dec. 2nd - “Rocky” cut my hair yesterday and I can’t keep my neck warm any more. No mail-nothing new- morale same.

Dec. 3rd - Fairly nice day but I was der K.P.

Dec. 4th - Read all day except for about  2 hours of poker. Morale same.

Dec. 5th - Ditto. Almost forgot. I got a letter from Jane today.

Dec. 6th - Beautiful day and fairly warm. Played Monopoly with a German/French set. Got a new blanket (RX) today. Morale same.

Dec. 7th - Still good weather. Nothing new. A letter from Dad. Miss Jane. One year ago tonite 3 cadets and a pilot were killed at Midland, Texas.

Dec.8th - Nix.

Dec. 9th - God what a day. Many more like it and I’ll go nuts. I’ve been wandering around like a chicken with its head cut off. I had a good book but couldn’t read.

Dec. 10th - A beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky. Read most of the day. We may get some beer for Christmas. Thank God for something.  

Dec. 11th - Found some good stuff at the Ref. Lib. Stock Markets etc. Played some checkers for a change.

Dec. 12th- Read up on the stock market today. Also reading Thorne Smith’s "The Bishops Jaegers" (very good). Miss Jane an awful lot.

Dec. 13th - K.P. today. Good band show tonite.  Ditto!

Dec. 14th - Snowed last nite and didn’t melt. No appel this morning. We had an air raid alert tonite. Played checkers with Harry most of the afternoon. Wrote Jane, Mom and Dad tonite. Wish this damn war would end, but quick. Morale awful. D-bars are worth $10. Elgin watches cost 30 D-bars. A pair of good boots costs a watch + 12 D-bars.

Dec. 15th - Another month another anniversary. Colder than I’ve seen it on the ground. Had another air raid alert tonite and a couple of guys tried to get out. They didn’t make it. 7000 Christmas parcels came in today. They haven’t decided what we will get besides those. I’d like to get out of this damned hole. Probably freeze to death after I got out. It would almost be worth it just to be out for awhile. Miss Jane like hell tonite. Morale P.P!!

Dec. 16th -  Fairly good day. Not quite as cold. Played checkers, chess and read “The Bounty Trilogy”. Should get a parcel from home soon. No mail since the 7th. Food for Christmas indefinite, however I’m sure we’ll get the shaft. News isn’t worth a damn.

Dec. 17th - Yes we did get the shaft. One Christmas parcel all Christmas week which means no milk and no sugar. We have decided to put salt and pepper on the cribbage boards, pipes and pictures. Maybe it will improve the flavor. Very nice day. Don’t sleep very well lately. Added 4 months to my calendar tonite. Sure hope this damn war doesn’t last that long. Already I’m in doubt about my Feb. date. The news stinks. This damned propaganda they’re handing us.

Dec. 18th - Nice day. Still below freezing as the snow hasn’t melted, however there isn’t much wind so it‘s not so bad. Had a picture parade this morning. Then I took my weekly shower. Feet almost froze off. We have stopped using milk in coffee so as to have extra milk for Christmas. Also we will be using D-bars for chocolate pies. Harry and I are saving sugar and D-bars to make fudge. Probably won’t have enough until next year. Busch came back from the hospital today. He lost a lot of weight. (Had an appendectomy). Sure hope I get a parcel soon. I’m about due for some mail too. News will probably be awful as usual.

Dec. 19th - The coldest day we have had yet. I imagine it was down around zero all day. There were about 15 Goon officers (Naval and army) here today, probably on leave. There are rumors that we will get our regular rations plus a Christmas parcel next week. How about that? The Goons have started an offensive on the west front. Hell we’ll probably see another Christmas here. Still looking for some mail and a parcel. Morale P.P.

Dec. 20th - Stayed in the sack all day to keep warm. Got 2 pair of socks. News terrible. May get a new pair of shoes. I sure need them.

Dec. 21st - I started the day off with a letter from Jane written on my birthday. Then everyone got a half bar of chocolate. Then the first Christmas RX parcels came in. We get 7 more in the next two days. It contains; 1 pipe, 1 wash cloth, 1 Chinese checker game, 1 pk. smoking tobacco, 1 deck of cards, 3 pk. Cigarettes, 1 photo, 1 lithograph, 4 pk. Gum, 1 lb. plum pudding, 4 oz. Vienna sausage, 1 box of grapes, 6 oz. jam, 4 oz. processed cheese, 3 oz. deviled ham, 12 oz. Boned turkey, 3 ¾ oz. Butter, 8 oz. Honey spread, 1 ½ oz. Tea, 12 bouillon cubes, 12 oz. hard mixed candy. Also we have some crepe paper which we are hanging around the room and using to make wreaths. We are going to use up most of the “kitty” plus what we
have saved for the last two weeks and for about 3 days we’re going to burst our guts and then starve again for the rest of the time. We’re going to get up at 7 o’clock Christmas morning to start cooking.         

Dec. 22nd - Letter from Mr. Larson today (pilots father) very nice. I hope to meet him when I get back. The sky has been clear and still is, but it is colder than I’ve ever seen it. We have baked two chocolate pies and some cookies for Christmas. Four Christmas parcels came in today instead of 7. Probably get the rest tomorrow. More personal parcels came in. Nix for me. Last and LaRochelle received first mail day before yesterday. Mine is coming in slow. News the same.

Dec. 23rd - Beautiful weather, but cold as hell. K.P. today. Made 2 butterscotch pies and a cheese pie. Both turned out beautiful. Split up the Christmas parcels today. I got a pipe, wash cloth, hard candy, nuts, 21 dates, ½ plum pudding, 4 cigarettes, 3-pkg. gum, fruit bar, and also a D-bar. I can’t wait to get into it. It’s a beautiful nite, a little over half moon and clear but cold. They’re trying to make a skating rink but I don’t think it will pan out. Haven’t heard the news yet. Probably awful as usual. I’m kinda worried about my Feb. date for the war to end.

Dec. 24th - One year ago today I received my wings. Almost half of that time I have been a Kriegie. Sky still clear but cold as hell. Had a chocolate pie for dinner and making another now. In about an hour we’ll have the butterscotch and since lockup isn’t until 1 A.M. we’re going to have cheese and crackers and coffee about midnite. I think about home and imagine all the food and luxuries they have access to and the happiness of still having their freedom. Little do they know how well off they are. Yet I wonder how many of them give a honest to goodness thought of the boys over here and in the S.W.P (Southwest Pacific) who are at this very moment giving up their lives so they may have that freedom. Even the workers who are continually striking get a holiday today and tomorrow, but do the boys at the front get a holiday? —Hell no--. Well it hasn’t been a very exciting or spirited Christmas Eve. For the 3rd time since I’ve been here I’m not hungry. The first time when I was sick, the 2nd –Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving 1945 will probably be the next. I miss my wife an awful, awful lot.

Dec. 25th - What a day and what a feast. Breakfast-6 hot cakes (real pancake flour) 2 sausages and 1 piece of cinnamon toast, coffee. Lunch- 1 deviled ham sandwich and cheese pie. Dinner- carrots, potatoes, turkey, choc pie, fruit cake (homemade), and am I about to burst? I won’t even be able to eat any brew tonite. We washed a sheet and used it for a tablecloth and trimmed the table with red and green crepe paper. Everyone had a knife, fork and spoon. Just before dinner we set off 2 bombs that showered everyone with whistles et cetra. Everyone is lying in his sack rubbing his stomach. I didn’t get the Christmas spirit until today. Yesterday I was too homesick. We didn’t have any appels today and it was wonderful. We start on the old grind tomorrow, plus starvation rations and no mail ‘til Wed. I’m still eating my fruitcake and even though I’m full it tastes too good to stop. The best I’ve ever tasted. Of course you know we do our own cooking. They say the news is good tonite. We need something to cheer us up. God how I miss Jane xx. The news wasn’t so good. I’ve stopped trying to figure this war out.

Dec. 26th - Christmas is over and the only thing that remains to remind me of it is a sore stomach. Played cribbage and read all day. The map has moved backwards for the first time and threatens to keep on moving. To hell with all politicians especially F.D.R. and the “Cigar”. Morale way down.

Dec. 27th - They started skating on the ice rink today. Some of the boys are pretty good. Still cold as hell but also clear. Carlin told the Col. off again and was taken to Spivey. Charlie got the better of them. Maybe it’s better that we keep Jr. as block CO. If he weren’t here we wouldn’t have any thing to bitch about. The allies are still handing out a lot of cheap propaganda. They should know now that this war won’t be won with words, especially when they tell the Goons what they’re going to do with them after the war. Now we are hoping to be out of here by July. Morale same. By the way, I dreamed of home and Jane last nite. I was most unhappy when I woke up.

Dec. 28th - Snowed a little today. Went to our yearly show tonite - “The Male Animal”. I enjoyed it very much and also the Three Stooges comedy. Haven’t heard the news yet but I probably haven’t missed anything. Darling, I get like this ever once in a while. The show was the cause of it this time. This is one of those times that I have to tell someone how much I love you and miss you, but since there is no one to confide in I’ll just write it down. That’s almost the same thing. Sweetheart, this place would be unbearable if I didn’t have you to think about. I had a dream about you the other nite. Don’t remember much about it except that I met you on the corner at the Peoples Bank and gave you a walloping big kiss. Of course I awoke and then I felt like crying. Sometimes I want to cry but I haven’t been able to in years. Darling I think I love you too much because it hurts awfully bad to be away from you. And Jane if I ever sleep with my back to you I want you to get awfully mad at me. Right now I think I would crush you if I could get my hands on you. Don’t worry Darling, you’re safe (too damned safe-I hope). God I wish I could put down what’s in my heart. However, I imagine that is something to be felt when two people are together rather than to be on every ones tongue. Goodnite darling you are always in my heart. Auf Wiedersehen, I love you more every day, more than any earthly being. “Jiggs”.

Dec. 29th - Watered the ice rink this afternoon and studied a little French. Today was the warmest day this winter. Sky was clear and the sun warm. The moon is full tonite. Makes me homesick as hell. News same. No mail. No nothing. Saw the evening star this afternoon. First time I ever saw one in the daytime. Miss Jane awfully bad.

Dec. 30th - No mail today. Reading Jane Eyre. News still same- P.P.

Dec. 31st - It’s really New Years day- just after 12 midnite, but I can’t skip a day. Snowed last nite and all day and still snowing. Lock-up isn’t ‘til 2 am –same as Christmas. You’ll never guess what I’ve done today. Wrong again. I made a Klim can ice cream freezer. It really is a novelty. Now for something to make ice cream with. News was a little better tonite. Hope they don’t stall out again. A year ago Jane and I were at the midnite show. (Rocky Mount) – die dieeee di diee. I’ve had it!

1945

Jan. 1st - Happy New Year (I hope). Last year they said peace in the New Year, this year we say Peace in the New Year and probably will be saying the same thing next year this time. Tried the freezer out today but no salt so no luck. Made snow cream. News about same as last nite.

Jan. 2nd - Nothing new today. Had a hot shower this morning. No mail since Dec. 22nd and only one letter since Dec. 7th. News stinks.

Jan. 3rd - K.P. today. Harry helped me out and I will help him when his turn comes. Ditto on the news. Reading a very good book by Martha Ostenso. Written or rather published in 1943. Takes place 1940-1941. Miss Jane an awful lot as usual. Morale P.P.

Jan. 4th - Two letters from Jane and a birthday card from Annie. That makes 19 from Jane. Harry and I made some choc. fudge. Turned out very good. Been saving sugar and D-bars for 2 months to make it. Goons gave us each a bottle of soda water today, probably in place of the beer we were supposed to get Christmas. 39 men received certificates of awards from the States. Ditto on the news. Miss Jane very much.

Jan. 5th - Some boys hit the wire last nite. Two of them got away. The Goons counted us at 12 midnite and then had a picture parade at 12:30. We gave them a rough time. I hope the boys get back home. Helped Harry on K.P. today. Snow hasn’t melted yet. Hope it doesn’t. Sky is clear tonite. Ate the last of my fudge tonight. Hope to make some more soon. Repats (repatriated men) left today-5 of them. News P.P. Morale P.P.

Jan. 6th - Went to the Band Show tonite. It lasted 3 hours and was very good. News same. What a hole!!!

Jan. 7th - What a miserable day. Aren’t all of them miserable? The Gen. popped off again and said around the 21st of this month morale would be better than it has ever been. My morale won’t be worth a damn until the U.S. crosses the Rhine or Joe reaches Vienna. Brubaker went to the cooler today for confusing the Goons during the picture appel the other nite. He got 7 days.  

Jan. 8th - Whew!! Many more days like the last few are going to send me around the bend. The U.S. is getting beat and so are the Russians. The 2 boys who escaped were caught at Breslau. Six letters came in the compound today. It snowed a little this morning. News is worse than awful and morale is below nil.

Jan. 9th - Snowed almost all day. No appel this morning. Harry and I made fudge tonite. Best yet. No change in news or morale.

Jan. 10th - Boy was it cold today? Gee, I’ve never seen it this cold before. News still no good. I’m still hoping for Feb.

Jan. 11th - Miserable day. Snowed about 4 inches last nite and drizzled part of today. Played poker tonite and won about 30 pkgs. of cigarettes. News and morale the same.

Jan. 12th - It was warmer last nite than it has been this winter. The snow started thawing. K.P. today. News was a shade better today. Remember what happened 6 years ago or was it 7 years ago. (I met Jane 6 years ago-1938). Had a picture parade today.

Jan. 13th - K.P. period.

Jan. 14th - Beautiful day, but cold. North/South hockey game today. South won 6-4. Very good game. News was fairly good tonite.

Jan. 15th - Married 10 months today and over 6 months in the jug. The Russki’s are on the move-here’s hoping. News a lot of talk. Morale moving up. I’m inclined to be cynical.

Jan. 16th - A Christmas card from Neil and Gloria today. She inferred that I’m getting some long Johns in a parcel. News pretty good.

Jan. 17th - Gee whiz it’s cold. The snow is like ice and the wind is cold as hell. News good. Russki’s are going great guns. Allies stink. Also we’re going on full rations for 2 weeks starting the 22nd. That’s wonderful.

Jan. 18th - This is Christmas all over again-almost. The English Christmas parcels came in and we got 4 gash parcels today. News is damned good. Warsaw fell and they haven’t stopped yet. Morale very good. Miss Jane an awful lot.

Jan. 19th - A letter and birthday card from Jane, a letter from Mother and a Christmas card from Nancy Dozier. Washed clothes today. The Russ didn’t do so many today. Hope they haven’t bogged down. The “cigar” opened his bazoo again. A lot of bunk.

Jan. 20th - Snowed this morning then turned out to be a beautiful day – not very cold either. K.P. today. Two letters today – Mr. And Mrs. G. S. (Jane’s Mom and Dad) and Mother. Russians really went to town today - 6th day of offensive and 40 miles from Breslau. Started at Warsaw. Americans are doing P.P. 2000 POWs from Breslau. Rumors of moving us. I hope not.

Jan. 21st - Hockey game today. 42 beat 46 – 5 to 2. Russ didn’t do so many today. Had a show down on moving equipment. I sure do hope we don’t move. It’ll really be rough moving 10,000 men on foot in the snow. Wrote Jane and Mom and Dad. Miss Jane too much.

Jan. 22nd - K.P. with Harry today. He is slightly sick – probably flu. Col. checked our packs for a move today. They really must think we’re going to move. No how we will be ready if we have to move. Russ started again today. Hope they don’t stop. It looks like the Goons are evacuating east of here – judging from the tremendous number of transports coming from the east. Gee, I hope this is the last offensive of the war.

Jan. 23rd - Snowed this morning. FW’s and ME”s with rockets going toward the east. Joe (Stalin) hasn’t stopped yet. Card from Annie and Uncle Gil. Refugees in Sagan using our bread. Still skeptical.

Jan. 24th - Snowed again today and was cold as hell. By the way we lost the hockey game to South 2 to 1 at the South camp. The big ice rink is almost ready for skating. Tenth day of offensive and they’re (Russ) still going strong. They are on the Oder (River) on a 40 mile front and Sagan is on the Oder. If we’re going to move it will be soon. Americans are slowly but surely taking back what they lost in Dec. Morale is very high. Love Jane very much.

Jan. 25th - Snowed again today. Russ are about 50 miles from here. We can hear the guns. Luftwaffe is up in all weather. Still hope they don’t move us before the Russ get here.

Jan. 26th - Russ slowed down today. Still some distance away. No appel this morning. Snowing now. Come on Joe!!!
 
Jan. 27th - This day was just like any other Saturday. We had inspection and drew our rations as usual. Russ still coming. That nite about 9:00 they told us to be ready to move in 2 hours. We were ready but didn’t leave until before dawn Sunday Morning. We had a sled made out of a bench turned upside down. I carried 2 bags and oh my back! These words were written when I had time on the march and after we reached our destination. During all of the bustle about on Sat. nite I did not have a chance to write at bed time as was usual. I’ll try to bring this up to date.

Jan. 28th - Snowing as usual and very cold. Each man got a Red Cross parcel. We walked until about 1:00 p.m. and stood outside until 5:30. Feet almost froze. 1700 of us stayed in a church at Hablau, which was the name of the town. The church capacity was 300 and we slept sitting up. We had walked 17 Kilometers (KM).

Jan. 29th - Early in the morning we put every thing on the sled and walked 16 KM. Stayed in a barn.  Still snowing. Got my watch.

Jan. 30th - Rested at the barn all day and that nite. Had hot water. Snowing.

Jan. 31st - Left before dawn and walked 28 KM to Muskau. Arrived 3:30 p.m. Stayed in a pottery factory. Snow turned to rain and we can get hot water.

Feb. 1st and 2nd - Remained at pottery factory.
Comment: It snowed the entire trip until we reached Muskau. The guards didn’t fair very well on the march because they were older than we were and not in good condition. Also they were not carrying any thing except their rifles. The civilians along the way were very friendly. We were able to trade cigarettes for coffee and bread. The guards were spread out and weren’t paying much attention to what was going on. Once we took a left fork in the road and 4 Kriegies walked away down the right fork. None of the guards saw them leave and we assumed they escaped. Actually, all of us thought it best to stay with the group because we were still deep in Germany and the front was not far behind us. We saw many refugees and foreign workers along the way. The West camp had a bad time. They marched to Muskau in one day by a shorter route and quite a few were in bad shape.

Feb. 3rd - Left factory before dawn. Snow was gone and the sleds were left behind. We walked 11 KM and stayed in a small barn. Had hot water.

Feb. 4th - Walked 7 KM to Spremburg. Had a can of hot, burned barley. Col. Spivey, the Gen. and Pop George went to Berlin. Walked down to the boxcars just before dark. Heard bombs dropping on Berlin. Only had sitting space in the cars-50 men to a car.

Feb. 5th and 6th - En route.

Feb. 7th - Reached Mooseburg. 500 men to a building. Dirt floor with straw. Hot water.

Feb. 8th and Feb. 9th -

Feb. 10th - This afternoon we went over to the delouser and had a 30-minute shower. Moved into the main camp just after dark. Staying in a barracks with triple-decker bunks-12 to a tier-really crowded. Hot water once each day- hot soup at noon and warm boiled potatoes in the evening. We do our own cooking over a klim can. Sometimes we can cook on the big stove. About 8 boys have escaped since we have been here. Therefore the Goons have been making it pretty rough for us.

Feb. 11th thru Feb. 21st - Same old stuff.

Feb. 22nd - Packed our belongings and moved out to the tents for 4 hours. Allies raided the hell out of the area while we were in the tents. Lasted for 3 hours. Then we went back to the “snake pit”. Stayed there that nite.

Feb. 23rd - Had lots of hot water but we couldn’t do any cooking. Very nice day.

Feb. 24th - Went back thru the delouser and had another wonderful shower and a hair cut. Meanwhile they had deloused our barracks.

Feb. 25th - And here we are. It’s a fairly nice day. Still cold but the sun is shinning. There is an air raid on and the bombs are shaking the building. We can see the bombers and the fighters are on the deck.

Feb. 26th - Bad weather. So hungry I have to stay in the sack all the time. Rx parcels won’t last much longer. They are giving out Christmas parcels now. Morale is very low. Don’t know if I can last if it gets worse. Maybe we will exist.

Feb. 27th - Enough Parcels to last ‘til Sat. March 3rd. Have no energy at all. Stay in the sack most of the time. News fairly good.

Feb. 28th - Sun is out. Supposed to get 1/4th parcel today. Dream of home and lots of food every nite.

Mar. 1st - Nothing out of the ordinary today. News very good.

Mar. 2nd - Harry and I get 1/3rd of a parcel today. No more for 3 weeks at least. This war has got to end quickly. Hope news is good tonite.  It was fairly good.

Mar. 3rd - Had an SMI this morning. Not much preparation. We have had a mild blizzard all day; not even stopping when the sun comes out. One of the boys got a letter today. I would like to get one. Rumor has it that we have parcels for 2 more days (that’s a rumor). Expecting some big news. Wonder if it will ever come. Tried “rolling my own” today. I need a little practice.

Mar. 4th - Snowing again today. No news last nite. Hope its good when it gets here. There have been all kinds of rumors yesterday and today. One today says that 15 cars of parcels were unloaded at Mooseburg yesterday. The soup today was damned good and for dinner we had almost a K can full of potatoes and corned beef. Lots of the fellows are optimistic, but I don’t know what to think.

Mar. 5th - Still snowing. All of the boys from 40 are moving out today. The news was pretty good last nite, but it won’t be good enough until they cross the Rhine. Sure would like to be optimistic but it would be another disappointment-maybe. Hope the news is good tonite.

Mar. 6th - No news last nite. Tonite it was damn good. The food and coal situation is really getting bad. I’m really getting optimistic now. Here’s hoping.

Mar. 7th - Weather still miserable. News still good. No hot water this morning on account of no coal. Hope the Allies cross the Rhine soon.

Mar. 8th - Rx parcels came in today – supposed to get them tomorrow. Weather still very bad and cold. Ric has pneumonia. Hope he makes out ok. Allies still going but haven’t crossed the Rhine yet. Sure would like to get out of here this month.

Mar. 9th - No parcels today. Allies crossed the Rhine at Bonn. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. Weather still P.P.

Mar. 10th - Harry and I get half a parcel today and a full one Monday. Weather same. News same. No change. Hope that bridgehead goes places.

Mar. 11th - We ate better today than ever before here. The news was no better tonite. They can’t stop now. Weather awful. Blacker than the ace of spades tonight.

Mar. 12th - Rx trucks have started running between here and Geneva. The weather is awful. News was fair but not as good as usual.

Mar. 13th - The weather finally cleared up just before noon. At 1:00 o’clock the only clouds were those made by the bombers and fighters that came over at that time. The sky is clear tonite. I have been growing a mustache ever since the Friday before we left Sagan. It’s going to stay there until I get out of here. The news is still fair. There’s a chance that the war will end this month. Would give a lot to see it do so.

Mar. 14th - Worked all day making a pan. Fairly nice weather today-foggy all morning, but the sun was out all afternoon. News is no better.

Mar.15th - I didn’t forget. Today is my wedding anniversary. The best day we have had too. Sun was nice and warm. A rumor came true today for a change. We go on full parcels Monday. Goon rations are being cut. News just average. Morale fairly good on account of the weather.

Mar. 16th - Still good weather. Saw some P-51s today. Heard the RAF tonite. Same old news-nothing big.

Mar. 17th - SMI this morning. We were all confined to the post for the weekend. Ha Ha. We made some fudge today. Rained this afternoon. Hope it’s nice out tomorrow. No news tonite. P.S. We are drinking the fudge.

Mar. 18th - Finished up all our food today. Ready for those full parcels this week. Cloudy most of the day. News about the same. Patton is doing ok.

Mar. 19th - Big air raid today. Lasted about 2 hours. Could see the bombers. Nice weather. We got only half a parcel today. Somebody screwed up the works. News fair tonite.

Mar. 20th - Beautiful day today. Warm tonite with a half moon. ME’s have been buzzing hell out of us for the past 3 days. No ball bearings or gasoline???? Full parcels start tomorrow. News in a rut again.

Mar. 21st - Long air raid today. Saw the bombers and fighters. Weather is still wonderful. News was about the same tonite.

Mar. 22nd - Washed a change of clothes last nite. Now I’ll have to wash my body for the first time in about a month. Watch is on the blink. Weather is swell. News was pretty good tonite. Patton is going like a house afire. Dreamed I was home with Jane last nite. Whatta hole. Hope we’re home by August at the latest.

Mar. 23rd - Not a cloud in the sky all day. Goons pulled a search. I took an ice cold bath tonite and put on clean clothes. Feel wonderful. News pretty good.

Mar. 24th - Another cloudless day. Kriegie tag inspection and picture parade took all morning. No SMI. Bombers and fighters came over again today. News very good. Patton crossed the Rhine. Boy I’m ready to go home. I miss Jane a helluva lot. Can’t wait for that 2nd honeymoon.

Mar. 25th - Good weather. Ate fairly good today. News was red hot tonite. We have 6 bridgeheads across the Rhine. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Mar. 26th - Started off cloudy but cleared about 1:00. Started a book today. First one since Sagan. Got an American Rx parcel today. News even better tonite. Gee I hope this is it.

Mar. 27th - Rained a little last nite. About 9/10 coverage all day. Won half a parcel, a D-bar, 3 pkgs. of cigs and 2 cans of eggs on a bet today. News still better tonite. Seven bridgeheads across Rhine 50 miles NE and SE of Frankfurt on Maine.

Mar. 28th - Two months ago this morning we left Sagan. A lot has happened since then, but not enough. Rained all day. New parcels came in today. No D-bars or cheese and very little butter. News was ok. Patton is blacked out. Like to see him pull in here one of these first days.

Mar. 29th - Cloudy and rainy all day. We got a parcel today. Harry and Charlie are 3300 up in the bridge match-60th rubber. News still good. Not much resistance. Rumors of peace conference. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if------------?

Mar. 30th - Rained today (as usual). News still better. Don’t see how it can last much longer. I said that last year. Well here’s hoping.

Mar. 31st - Gee I don’t see how this damned war can last a week longer. The Allies are going hell for leather and so are the Russkies. I’ll be suffering from nervous prostration if it lasts much longer. I dream of being home every nite. Maybe that’s a good sign. Clear most of the day. Oh how these do bite.

Apr. 1st - Easter Sun. and April Fools Day. Fairly nice day and a beautiful nite. News ok. It’s got to end soon.

Apr. 2nd - Monday. Nice day but windy as hell. News was damned good tonite. It can’t last thru May. (I hope).

Apr. 3rd - Tuesday. Windy and cloudy today. Ate practically all our food. If the war doesn’t end soon we won’t have any food. News still good but it isn’t over yet.

Apr. 4th - Turned a little cold today. Still windy. News was good. Patton is 25 miles from Czech border. Beautiful nite.

Apr. 5th - Thursday. Cloudy and windy. We got an Indian (India) parcel today. Had a can full of rice pudding this evening. Raining tonite. News about the same.

Apr. 6th - Fri. Picture parade today. Miserable weather. 2000 sick men are at the “Snake Pit” and 4000 of the men from Sagan are on their way here from Nurnburg. I dreamed about Jane and home last nite. Makes me homesick as hell. Raining tonight. Gee, I wish this war would end.

Apr. 7th - Sat. Another miserable day. They’re putting up tents in the other compound. I guess the boys from Nurnburg will be here soon. News a little bit better tonite.

Apr. 8th - Sun. Clear today but wind was a little cool. Beautiful nite with all the stars out. News was pretty good. Bremen and Hanover are about to get it. Spent $10 today. Took a chance on a parcel. Hope Jane isn’t too rough on me for doing it.

Apr. 9th - Mon. Beautiful day. Got a gash issue of Argentina bulk today. 2000 men from South Camp moved in today. Saw Norbut-Navigator today. He went down June 8th. Bombers hit Munich today-some show. No news but Goon news is damned good.

Apr. 10th - Tues. Wonderful day. They don’t run us inside during air raids any more. We saw our fighters today. Went on half parcels today. These guys don’t know what the hell is going on. The news was good in the north. Nothing on the south. The 7th Army is about 80 miles from here. Wonder what happens next. Dreamed I was in Florida drinking milk shakes and filling up in general-Oh well—.

Apr. 11th - Wed. Beautiful day. Had a nice sunbath. Good air show they bombed all around us. News is terrific in the north. Dammit it’s got to end soon. The Russkies are heading for Munich. Don’t care which one gets here first but make it quick. By the way we’re on full parcels again. Maybe I’m not the only crazy one. Tallyho----!!/??-----.

Apr. 12th - Thursday. Rained most of today. There is a lot of confusion around here lately. Don’t know what’s up. News still good in the north. They are past Brunswick and Hanover. Big mail call—none for me.

Apr. 13th - Heard Roosevelt died last nite. Cloudy most of the day with showers. German Jet buzzed us today. They’re terrific. News was red-hot today-60 miles from Berlin, 25 KM from Leipzig, 123 miles east of Bremen. Come on boys don’t stop now. National rationing in Germany ended today. The Colonel gave me a pair of wooden shoes today. What a tool.

Apr. 14th - Sat. Refused to go to appel. Tyrell said he’s going to bust me down. Let him try it. Got a new pair of shoes. News good. It’s all over except the shouting.

Apr. 15th - Sun. Bought half a pig today for 200 cigarettes. The boys knocked down most of the fence between the compounds until a Goon took a shot at them. Something mighty fishy is going on around here. It should come out soon. I think the guards have left. We heard something that could have been guns. News same as yesterday.

Apr. 16th - Big raid today NE of here. Rumors are flying thick and fast. Sgts. came in from Nurnburg today. Ate the pig today and it was delicious. Really short on cigs. I think they are holding out on the news. Time will tell.

Apr. 17th - Tues. Cloudless today. No big air raid. Took a bath. Rumors still running wild. Wish just one of them would come true except the rumor of a move.

Apr. 18th - Wed. Ran into Joe Schonamelio today. People one does meet in a Kriegie Camp. News still good but nothing good down this way. Miss Jane an awful lot lately-can’t see her too soon. Big raid today. Smoked one cig up until tonite.

Apr. 19th - Thur. The South Camp moved out today. (across the street). Thousands of POWs are coming here from all over Germany. That’s a fairly good indication that we won’t move. However you can’t tell what these Goons will do. Allies are south and SE of Nurnburg. Hope they don’t stop.

Apr. 20th - Fri.Played some barnyard golf today. Harry and I took on all comers. Here we are in the tents. Knew we would end up here sooner or later. Our planes all over the sky all day.

Apr. 21st - Sat. Lots of air activity all nite. Scored a shack on something about 5 miles from here. All kinds of planes over today-B-26, P-51, P-47, B-24, and B-17. Saw Norbut last nite too. News was damned good today. Russ 16 miles from center of Berlin, English and Canadians are still going good up north at Bremen and Hamburg. The 7th and the French are almost to the Danube 50 miles from here. Sure hope they don’t move us.

Apr. 22nd - Sun.What miserable weather. Thought we were going to lose the tent last nite. The Russ are in Berlin and the 7th is 1/3rd of the way from Nurnburg to Munich. Strong rumors that we are going to move, Men still coming in from Nurnburg. Gee I hope this thing is over before May.

Apr. 23rd - Mon. Still cold, windy and rainy. Russ have taken part of Berlin. Russ and Allies 35 KM apart at Dresden. 7th crossed Danube 40 KM north of Regensburg. French are SW of Munich at Lake Constance.

Apr. 24th - Last nite they said to be prepared to move in 48 hours. I was ready when they made the announcement. Now rumor has it that the Goons and Allies reached an agreement not to move POWs anymore. Guns sound very close. Patton is headed this way and is at Regensburg with the 7th. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Apr. 25th - Wed. Whatta nite last nite. Every time I heard a sound I knew it was a tank. Consequently I didn’t get much sleep. The fleas didn’t help either. The Goons pulled out today and left only a skeleton guard. Red Cross is taking care of us now. Expect to be liberated very soon. Hundreds of Medium bombers pulverized something south of here today. I almost stalled out on the celebration dinner tonite. Hope to be home in June.

Apr. 26th - Thurs. Fine day. Patton is 75 miles east of Regensburg and the 7th is 50 KM north of Munich When in the hell are they going to liberate us?

Apr. 27th - Fri. Almost hot today. The news is still good. We were supposed to take over the camp today at 3 o’clock. The Goons are still here though. Miss Jane very much. Sure hope to see her soon.

Apr. 28th - Miserable day. The guns sound a lot closer and the rumors are flying fast. Sure hope they get here soon. I hear all sorts of noises at nite. Maybe I’m around the bend.

Apr. 29th - Sun. This is it. The boys are just outside the gate and the shells are whistling all around. Everyone is very happy. Most of them (Kriegies) are very calm because this isn’t anything new to them. They say they will fly us out in 48 hours after the allies take over. It reminds me of a gunnery range outside. No shells have landed in the camp as yet. Those 50 Calibers really sound wonderful. I hate to think that our boys are dying out there while we take it easy. I still jump when those big boys go off. Reminds of when I got shot down. Boy it won’t be long!!!!!!!-------------. The flag went up in Mooseburg at 12:30. The boys were cheering and as happy as anyone I’ve ever seen, including myself. Some of them had tears in their eyes. The battle has moved off to the south and we are FREE!!!!!!!!!