Tag Archives: England

July 5, 1945: Up to Glasgow

July 5, 1945 Envelope

July 5, 1945

England

 

 

Dear Mom & Dad,

Another short one before I go to bed. Have to get up at 5:15 & that comes pretty early.

We were up to Glasgow today. Flew our liberty run up there. Had time to be in town for about three hrs. & look it over a little bit. Thats where I got this paper.July 5, 1945 Letter written by Dick Warren flying a b-17 during WWII

I looked all over that town Dad for a birthday card for you & I couldn’t find a darn one that seemed right. Happy Birthday anyway Dad! I sure hope we can spend your next one together. You know I’m slowly but surely catching up to you. Next year I’ll be just half your age.

Got three letters from you when I returned from my 48. 7 letters all together, the most mail I’ve seen in a long time.

I didn’t see a darn soul I know while I was in Iceland Dad. I still have the first one to see that I know from home.

I hadn’t forgotten that I had 1 year or that gold bar. Am saving up for a real celebration after I get two years on it.

I don’t know where either Anderson or Van are. Haven’t seen Van since Savannah. I heard he got over here o.k. but thats all.

I think Johnnie was a darned fool myself for not taking a discharge while he could.

Wade & I keep our stuff(clothes) on a long iron pole held up by a couple of straps at each end. Incidently it hangs directly over my bed. Only my head really has any clearance. Then I have two drawers, a trunk & millions other items scattered & hung up over the room. Have a hard time closing drawers & I can’t the trunk.

Still no ride with the Major. I’m getting ready to tell him to (stick it)sorry but thats what I mean.

Sure wish I could have been with you on that weiner roast Dad. Ummm We get hot dogs occasionally but you can just barely eat them. I’m afraid deer hunting is going to be out this year unless its done in Germany. They tell me theres quite a few where we’re going. I’ll have a try at it. You can bet on that.

Think I’d better close for tonite for we have another try at #3 tomorrow, but early.

Nite for now.

Lots of love,

Dick

What’s Happening

Excerpt From Richard Warren’s Autobiography

The Commanding General, over our Bomb Group, in his “inestimable” judgment, “volunteered” our Group for a Top Secret Mission (Project Casey Jones)–to photograph all of Europe–up to the “Iron Curtain”– all lands bordering on the Mediterranean Sea –and Africa, where it bordered the Atlantic, down to Liberia.  They stripped all the guns and gun turrets off of the planes and mounted an aerial camera in the belly of the ship.  At least, with the guns and turrets off, the plane flew faster—not the 150 mph that had been combat speed.  I believe we tried to maintain about 185mph while taking pictures and in some of the planes you could get 210/215 mph flying straight and level.  All aerial flights were at 25,000 ft or better–for example, I think that when photographing the Alps, we flew at 32,000 ft.  Each flight line was about 1 1/2 miles apart—up to 150 miles long—there couldn’t be over 10% cloud coverage.  In addition, when taking pictures, we couldn’t deviate over 50 ft in altitude, or make a heading correction of over 3 degrees at a time.  As can be seen, we were always on oxygen and for all practical purposes, were doing instrument flying most of the time.  We’d fly on the automatic pilot as much as we could, but often they wouldn’t hold to the tight tolerances that we had to maintain. (They weren’t made or maintained  quite as “good” in those days).  I know that very few of you that read this will ever fly using oxygen nor pilot a plane on instruments–but believe me, it takes intense concentration to hold within those limits and as a consequence, is very tiring.  I know, there were many times, when I’d get back from a flight–decide to take a nap and never wake up until the next morning! 

With the restriction on cloud coverage, you never knew, from day to day where you might be sent next in Europe to photograph–one day it might be Norway or Denmark and the next day–Switzerland or southern France.  The weather men did their best to  send us to an area that they thought should be clear—it didn’t always work, and even though you might have an alternate area–it too, sometimes ,would be too cloudy to photograph!  Of course, there were many days that the weather, all over, was just too messed up to fly–period!   There was one other problem, besides weather that we had–that was the “Iron Curtain”.   I never experienced  this myself, but I heard that others, that flew beyond the “Iron Curtain” were fired at by Russian fighter planes or tried to be forced down in Russian territory.  As a consequence, if our flight line, took us up to the “Curtain”, we were under orders not to cross it but instead make a 180 degree turn–fly to the west end of the next line and fly that one.  As you can see, normally, when we had finished a flight line, we would continue on for another few minutes, make a 180, of a mile and a half, and take pictures on the way back on the next one!   I didn’t always obey those orders, but instead, would fly into Russian territory at the end of the first flight line and take pictures on the adjacent one on the way back—my reasoning??–first of all, we were at 25,000 ft or higher and the old piston (propellor) planes couldn’t climb like the jets of today–so I figured I could get in and out before they could get to my altitude.  The third flight line, I would turn back at the “curtain”, for having been in and out of the territory, an hour or less before, I thought they might be waiting for me that time. Anyhow, it worked, and I never had a problem!

 

April 5, 1945: Operational Any Day

 

April 5, 1945 EnvelopeApril 5, 1945

 

 

 

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well another day, another dollar. Didn’t do much except sleep & do a little washing of clothes & straightening things up around the room here.April 5, 1945 Page 1

You’ll have to excuse this paper but it’s about the only kind we can get around here. I’m kinda behind on my letter writing again as per usual. Do you know I darn near forgot Sis’s birthday! Didn’t get a chance to get her a card but I did wish her a happy one in a letter. Got her birthday card to me yesterday. Also got your letter of the 24th. The one with the clipping in it about “Sharks U.S.O. Camp.”

Your guess on my letter of the 17th was a little incorrect I think. Use the same one for the one a day or two later.

This being paid by the English # note is a pain in the neck. Having about $400 now or 100#. They’re bigger than our bills & you just can’t get it all in your pocket book. May send 2 or 3 hundred of it home. I’ll let you know in a few days. First want to find out how things are going to cost around here. Do wish you would get me at your earliest possible convenience an officers battle jacket & send it to me. They’re dark green like my blouse only more jacket style. Either those that are form fitting or just plain jacket style will do. I think a size 36 will do. Nothing else I need right now I guess.

Things look mighty good over here. Am positive I won’t get my tour of duty in. If we advance much more, there won’t be room for the heavies. All of the bombing will be left up to the mediums & fighters.

We’ll start operational any day now. Darn near went today. Whatever you do, don’t worry. Everything is really on the up & up now.

If I don’t get all of my missions in don’t expect me home. I think you know where I’ll likely go,

Must close for tonite.

Lots of love,

Dick

What’s Happening

Excerpt from Richard Warren’s Autobiography

Practicing Escape 

In Northampton, there was a fully enclosed pool.   The Air Force had taken  the cockpit and front end of a B-17 and  put it at one end of the pool, in a floating position.  This is where they would take a few pilots, at a time, and practice abandoning (getting out of) a plane that had landed (ditched) in the water.  One would think that landing on water would be softer than landing on land!  Not true!!  Water tends to “pile-up” in front of a plane landing on it–thus bringing it to a quick halt and usually causing extensive damage to the front end, with a resultant float time of a few seconds to usually a few minutes at best.

On land–the plane will keep skidding along–un -less of course something real solid like trees, buildings & etc. get in its way.   With only a very short time to get out of the plane–it pays to know how to do it quickly–thus the reason for the practice.  

We wore our regular flight suit and parachute harness.  If I remember right, they wanted us(the pilots) out of the plane and into a raft in 15 seconds!  There is only one way out of the B-17 for the Pilots–and that is out thru the side window.  Those side windows were made with real thick–“supposedly”– bullet proof glass and could be opened about 12 inches–thus giving you an opening about 12 x 18 inches to get out of!  Not in the shape of a rectangle, but more like an angled  parallelogram.  When you first try it, you know it’s impossible!!  It probably was, for men quite a bit larger than I was–anyhow, with a little practice–despite it seeming that every bit of clothing you had on, seemed to hang up on something, with a few  tries, you found you could twist yourself around and get out in the required time.

While we were practicing there was a bunch of people and kids, swimming the opposite end of the large pool.  We went over to the side of the pool to discuss the pros and cons of what we were doing, when we noticed a couple of kids (about 13 to 15) crawling into our floating raft.  Our instructor, as well as a couple of us, hollered at them to get out of there!  One of them did, but the other one just thumbed his nose at us!—as I was still in the water, while the others continued to holler at him, I started to swim to the raft.  Just as I reached  the raft, he (the “kid”) hauled off and kicked me in the face!!! 

 I don’t believe I have ever been angrier—I grabbed him by the ankle, hauling him off of the raft and then grabbed him by the nap of the neck, shoving him under water and put my legs around his head and sat on him!!  I don’t know how long I held him that way–but long enough for some of the other guys to holler at me, “Hey Dick–let him up”!!  I don’t know that I would have drowned him, but he sure would have drank even more water than he already had!! I let him up, shoving him towards the edge of the pool with a “Get outa here”!   I don’t recall, losing my temper that much, either before or since!

Bombing Practice

I believe it was shortly after we arrived, that we took a flight over to a bombing range and dropped a few practice bombs.  I’m not sure, what the purpose of the flight was–it may have been for the Sqdn. lead Bombardier to check out how good Don was as a Bombardier.

Anyhow, I was standing in the opening to the bomb bay, when the bombs were dropped.  I don’t remember what our altitude was, but it was at least 10,000 ft.  As soon as the bombs were released, I stepped onto the narrow catwalk between where the bombs were carried, so that I could see them fall better–the bomb bay doors were kept open, so I could see the falling bombs real good.  For a long time, the only movement of the bombs, that one could detect, was that they were falling vertically and getting smaller and smaller–suddenly–I’m not sure what altitude the bombs were at –you could see them speeding across the terrain, immediately below and going at the same speed as we were and finally hit the ground!! 

It was strange to see them falling just like a rock for thousands of feet and then miraculously putting on a “burst” of horizontal speed.  Of course, they were going horizontally as well as vertically all of the time–there just wasn’t anything close enough to them, for most of their drop, for the eye to detect that change in position!

April 3, 1945: Non-Operational

April 3, 1945 Envelope

April 3, 1945

ARMY AIR FORCES

 

 

Dear Mom & Dad,

Here I go, neglecting my writing again. Haven’t written a letter for four or 5 days now. Thats something I shouldn’t do, & I’ll try my darndest from now on to keep from doing it to you folks anyway. If its at all possible will try to write at least every 3rd day.April 3, 1945 page 1

As you can see by my new apo I’ve moved again. This will likely be my permanent base & apo while I’m over here. It’s an old bomb group, one of the oldest & from all reports a good one. We’ve been going to classes 8 hrs. a day for the last three. We’re non-operational as yet & likely will be for a while. Things in general seem to look pretty good here. If we have time to get our tour over with, I guess we hit this spot at the best time of anybody. Flax & fighters are a heck of a lot less headache than they used to be.

Have only received 4 letters from you since I started out. There must be a whole slew of them somewhere. I think I told you that the last one I had you still didn’t have me out of the hospital yet.

If you ever, for any reason, think you should send me a cable gram. First put my Rank, name and serial no. on it & the letters AMORBI. It’ll get here. No other address is needed. Between you & I, a v-mail letter would likely get here quicker.

Don’t worry the only time I enjoy dancing is when somebody drags me out on the floor. That 19042-CJ54 was a mistake Savannah seemed to make on all of our boys. It’ll probably catch up to me in six months.

The crew would have gone on without me back there in N.H., had I had my appendix pulled. I could of, but preferred to go on instead & stick with the crew.

I forgot, got your letter of the 21st I think. The one telling about the biography of Sis’s & Johnnies delayed honeymoon. Got that from them also.

I wish I could write you about my trip over here but even though we’re here now, still can’t say anything. There was an article in “Times” magazine a while back telling all. Must close.

Lots of love,

Dick

What’s Happening

Excerpt from Richard Warren’s Autobiography

The first thing I remember about Chelveston was our barracks!  A low Quonset type hut–cold and damp–4 to 6 to a room and a coal stove to heat it!  The 305th consisted of 4 Squadron’s–the 364th–365th–366th and the 422nd.  We were located near the four-corner, little village of Chelveston, which was close to Wellingborough–which was near Northampton–which was about 50 miles North of London and 40 miles W. of The Wash–a part of the North Sea.  Most of the B-17 Airfields of the 8th Airforce, were located in this area–within a 30 mile radius–a busy busy place!!   It was hard to take a plane up without flying over another Airfield!

We had several briefings on how and when we would be notified of a bombing mission–most of them we were wakened about 4 am to go down to breakfast–and all the expected procedures we were to follow.  Before we were assigned to a mission, the base got a visit from General Doolittle and the King and Queen!  The Group had flown a mission to Berlin a day or two before and had lost several planes, including one that had gotten under another at “Bombs away” and had lost its Plexiglas nose–killing the Bombardier–and other assorted “dents and bangs”.  None of the bombs exploded–because they weren’t fully armed yet.  One of the last things done– before the Bomb Run–is to pull the pin in each bomb, that keeps the arming vanes from spinning.  The vanes spin, on falling and after- X- number of revolutions–Voila!  The bomb is armed!    Anyhow, that must have been a colllllddd! ride back, for those that survived!!   It was the usual Ceremony–parade–the whole bit!

I was only at Chelveston a few days, when who should show up??  That’s right Ed Mauch!  His crew was also assigned to the 365th Squadron.  I guess I forgot to say, that when Ed had graduated, he was made a Flight Officer, not a 2nd Lt.  A Flight Officer was the Air Forces equivalent of the Army’s Warrant Officer.  The Army did have Senior and Junior Warrant Officers—the Air Force didn’t make that distinction with Flight Officers.   A Flight or Warrant Officer, had most of the rights and privileges of a commissioned officer, but was in the gray area between enlisted personnel and an officer.   He ranked above all enlisted personnel, including 1st or Master sergeants but was below a 2nd Lt.  Why they established the rank of Flight Officer–I’m sure I don’t know.  I’d guess there must have been people who felt that just because you can fly a plane, doesn’t mean you have the qualities of an “Officer”.  Whatever they are!   I’d guess, that about 10% of each class, was made Flight Officers.

Mar. 27, 1945: Here in England

 

Marr. 27, 1945 EnvelopeMar. 27, 1945

 

 

 

Dear Mom & Dad,

I sent out a letter free last nite, but according to all available information I can get, this will reach you a week or so sooner. I sent that letter out a couple of days ago rather.Mar. 27, 1945 page 1

Anyway I’m now somewhere in England. Everything so far seems to be going along smoothly. Right now we’re just laying around waiting to be sent to a permanent base. Frankly, I’ll be glad to get settled down a little bit again. Think Lyle & I will go into town tomorrow nite & see just what goes on in one of these English cities.

Did you ever get those pictures I sent you? Those that were taken in Georgia? Also those that Mrs. Wade was to send to you?

We’re pretty well tied down with restrictions at this place but as usual, guess I‘ll survive o.k.

Will try to drop a line as often as possible.

Worlds of love,

Dick

War News

March 27, 1945: Germans launch the last V-2 missile.

What’s Happening

BIG DEAL!!!!   We finally made “landfall” and landed in Prestwick, Scotland–March 23, 1945 thru March 30) our intended destination!

I wasn’t too impressed with the Plane we had–most B-17’s–after you reached the altitude you wanted, if you pushed the nose down and picked up a little speed–the plane would hold that attitude, i.e. tail high, and fly pretty “smartly!”  Not this one–it wouldn’t fly tail high–but instead waddled like a duck–sorta “mushed” thru the air!  Thank goodness, we left it at Prestwick!  I don’t remember much about Prestwick at all, other than we were only there a few days.  As it was just another Processing Center–it was likely–Same-O:  Same-O and easily forgotten.

Mar. 25, 1945: Had a Dream

March 25, 1945 Envelope

Mar. 25, 1945

ARMY AIR FORCES

 

 

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well here I am, finally in England. Got in yesterday after pretty much of an uneventful trip. I failed to write you from only one place. That was the place before this one. We weren’t there too long & I had neither the paper nor any place worth a darn to write. Continue reading