World War II Diary of Thomas F. Jeffers
Thomas F. Jeffers
2nd Lt. A.C in England
Started June 4, 1944
Left the United States on April 27th, 1944 flying as bombardier on crew in B-24 H airplane.
Pilot- Henry H. Northrop
Co-pilot – Dee J. Butler
Navigator – Frank Deimel
Engineer Harold J. Flaugher
Radio Operator – Lawrence E. Dean
Armorer Gunner - Joseph Risko
Nose Turret Gunner – Alexander Caidenas
Corpus Christi, TX
Ball Turret Gunner – Jack Gonzoles
Tail Turret Gunner
Charles E. Clifford
Los Angeles, CA
We left Topeka, Kansas the morning of April 27th arriving in Manchester, New Hampshire at Grenier Field that night. Visited Brockton next night and then flew out of Grenier the morning of the twenty-ninth arriving at Goose Bay, Labrador that afternoon. Stayed overnight at Goose Bay and left next night for Meeks Field, Iceland. Had a nice trip flying over an overcast almost all the way. Had to stay in Iceland for two and one half days due to weather but managed to leave finally & again flew over an overcast most of the way landing in Nutts Corner on Lough Neagh in Northern Iceland on May 3, 1944.
It was on this leg of our trip that a crew went down and I lost one of friends from Big Spring. Bill Carpenter of Marshall, Texas. He went down just short of our goal & within sight of Scotland.
It seemed strange in Iceland to have daylight up until about one o’clock in the morning and darkness for only a few hours. One loses all semblance of time in such a place.
We stayed overnight in Nutts Corner and were robbed blind losing even our airplane among many other things. Went to Lorne above Belfast & the next day spent the night in a British camp & took the ferry across the Irish Sea to Strausoer, Scotland and then took a train to Stowe, England just North of Birmingham & Coventry.
We stayed about a week in Stowe in which time I managed to go flat broke shooting crap & playing Black Jack. I have now given up gambling.
After getting a shot of tetanus at Stove we made the same trip back through Strauroer & Lorne back to Northern Ireland. Seemed pretty damn silly to us.
We went to a combat crew replacement center on the other side of Lough Neagh only a few miles from Nutts Corner. Tried to visit Tom’s sister in Londonderry while I was there but could get no farther than Cookstown, so I had to give up & call her from there. We had quite a pleasant conversation on the phone & I promised to write to her.
After taking a training course in Northern Ireland we were flown back to England & are now assigned to the 754th Bomb Squadron of the 458th Group 96th wing and second Division of the A.A.F in the European Theatre of Operations.
We are now stationed at Horsham-St. Faith, a former R.A.F. base just outside of Norwich England.
We haven’t been assigned to an operational mission for some reason or other as yet. We have been here nine days now. I hope I can soon get started so I may be home before my baby is born.
I received fourteen letters today mostly from Phil which made me very happy. She claims she is feeling fine for which I am very glad.
Also had several letter5s from mom, Lorraine, Bob Glaudino & Gene also one from Donald which amused me very much. We had a practice mission scheduled this afternoon, but it was scrubbed due to an operational coming up. That made me very happy as I don’t have a lot to do on these practice missions but go along for the ride. Wrote several letters tonight. Wrote up my log * played checkers with Dee for awhile & am now going to hit the sack. Hope my wife is feeling okay tonight. I sure miss her.
Not much doing today. W weren’t even scheduled for a practice mission. Went to ground school for awhile & had the enlisted men a little sore because I didn’t show up to take them out to shoot skeet. I’m not the only officer on the crew, and I needed a haircut badly. First one since Iceland. Went to a movie tonight and there are all kinds of rumors that tomorrow will be D Day. May be, who knows. Had to wash some long handles last night (by hand) and they aren’t dry yet. It’s a rough life. Wrote my honey, Lorraine & Don & so to bed.
June 6, 1944
It looks like the rumors were true. Today was D Day after all and for some unexplained reason our crew and a couple of the other crews in our squadron, Red Morley’s and Hank Newell’s spent the day on the ground. In the years to come, we can tell our children that we spent D Day sitting on our butts getting fat while other men were out fighting and dying. The weather has set in now and if it doesn’t clear up over night, the boys in France are going to have a rough time tomorrow without any heavy bomber air support. Jerry has been sending over all kinds of propaganda all day and it is really good. I guess it is designed to get on our nerves. They have beyond a doubt the best program over here. Hank spent the day on his hands & knees begging for a ship, without results. We have lots of rumors today, chiefly that the 30 mission tour is canceled & we are all indefinitely restricted. It is hard to believe but is okay with us if we can attain some results that way. J.P., L.R. Dee & I went to the movies tonight. Spring Fever. Very Good.
June 7, 1944
No mail from my honey today, but then no one on the crew got any. I read in the paper that Major Clark Gable as completed his military mission and is to return to civilian life. Wonder how that was arranged. Dee & I went into Norwich tonight & went to a British Vaudeville Theatre. Boy, it was strictly corn. The chorus is the original beef trust, also went to a dance at the Lido & stayed maybe fifteen minutes. Didn’t even bother to dance, & left fast. Probably this was our first & last visit to town.
June 8, 1944
No mission again today but Hank is scheduled for one tomorrow so maybe we’ll get something soon. Heard on the news that the Luftwaffe is getting a little more active over France, so may be we’ll begin to get some rough opposition soon. Seems like they are getting mad about the invasion now. Have to hit the sack soon as I‘m keeping everyone awake with the light on. I sure miss my honey tonight. Love, I guess. G’nite honey.
June 9, 1944
Not a damn thing today & nothing scheduled for tomorrow either. I’m getting pretty tired of sitting on the ground. I guess it would make Phil happy if she knew. Hank Hier bought a bike yesterday. It was stolen today. Nice fellas here.
Not a damn thing today. Didn’t even go to a movie. Saturday night too. I can’t see these English towns, no entertainment possibilities at all. Just dry as hell.
Scheduled for a mission today but were scrubbed. I expect we’ll get off tomorrow okay though and it’s about time J.P. and Les went yesterday & passed the outskirts of Paris on the way back. They could have landed on the Flak. Going down to the Pub with Frank tonight & throw darts. Oh joy, what fun. No movie again today.
June 12, 1944
Went on our first mission today to Eureux-Fauville, France, just west of Paris. We were unable to find our group at assembly point so went over with the 466th. After hitting the target, our own group went over just below us so we peeled off & joined them for the trip back. We dropped 24 250 lb. Demolition bombs and the three groups really plastered that field. Flak was pretty rough & had us jumping around a little on the way back. The lads that aim those guns are pretty sharp. We were low on gas coming back & I sweated out the landing more than the mission.
Scheduled for a mission today but it was scrubbed.
Just as well too because it was a hell of a long one. Scheduled tomorrow too so am hitting the old bed a little early. Did my laundry, took a bath & talked about Ohio with Red Morley the rest of the evening. Rumor has us flying close to Berlin tomorrow.
Didn’t go to Berlin today but hit the Rocket coast. Dropped 500 lb (?) on a supply dump for the New Rockets at the Village of Damleger near Abbeville. The flak was terrific on the bomb run & it seemed Jerry didn’t want us to pound that dump. The Germans fired one rocket last night across the channel, and as a result the whole second division hit them today. I’ll bet they are sorry. Colonel said the projectile fired weighed 12,000 pounds. That’s as big as one of our railway tank cars. & it is claimed it left a crater 200 feet across where it hit. We were scheduled for another mission this afternoon but it was scrubbed while we were being briefed. I was very happy about that too, as it was to a Paris airfield and the Flak would have been terrific. Also Jerry is known to have 350 fighters in that area. We got a little dent in the nose from Flak today, but it was Newell’s first mission & he got seven holes. Risko got frostbitten today when he lost his right glove. I fixed him up as best I could with Sulfa-diozene ointment & it did pretty good I guess , because he’ll only be in the hospital for a couple of days. We went over to see him & he calls me ”Mr Hero.” Gee. Dee to go on a big one tomorrow. France again I guess.
Went to see Risko today & his hand is okay. He’ll be out tomorrow. Had another mission scheduled but it was scrubbed again. Not much today.
Scheduled and scrubbed again today. Sure having a rough job getting some missions in. Risko is out of the hospital today and will be ready to fly tomorrow. Red’s plane got a hole in the wing over Paris yesterday & did he scream. All we’ve had so far is a dent in the nose turret and that’s enough for me. Flak is pretty accurate in France. Luckily there isn’t much of it. Got a mission scheduled tomorrow hope it’s not scrubbed.
Supposed to go to airfield at Bourges with some 500 (?) but as usual it was scrubbed. This time just as we started to taxi. Going to try again tomorrow. Red & the rest of the boys went somewhere this afternoon & aren’t back yet. We weren’t scheduled for that one. All we get are those that are to be scrubbed I guess. Maybe we’ll get off tomorrow. Oh yes, we can now wear a bronze star on our ETO ribbon.
22 June, 2001
We did fly a mission the next day, June 18, 1944 & unfortunately got shot down over the Kiel Navy yard in Germany. All bailed out and spent the rest of the war in a German prison camp.
Harold Flaugher was killed on this last mission. I visited his family in Ohio upon my return.