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The field at Chelvaston in 1978

Chapter 12 - The Final Push - Tour Completed

March 27 Chelvaston, England

They scrubbed another mission today, so after a breakfast snack I went back to sleep. Got up to shave and eat chow.

I have hopes of finishing up in a very short while so keep hoping and wishing for us.


March 28 Chelvaston, England

Well, I almost got to go on a mission today. Was just about ready to takeoff when "bang" went a tire. Somebody else took off in our place. Didn’t make us too mad as it was a pretty rough target. I’m really sweating out the last few missions.


March 29 Chelvaston, England

Another dreary day of just hanging around. We were stood down because of weather. Two or three weeks ago I would have given anything for this rest but now that I have so few to go I’d like to fly and get them over with. This hanging around isn’t doing me any good.


March 30 Chelvaston, England

Sweetheart I’m also not much of a hand at praying myself but I must admit that I will offer up a thankful prayer to whomever when I complete the 35th.


April 1 Chelvaston, England

No flying today because of weather so it meant another day of hanging around. Spent most of the afternoon cleaning our aircraft - she’s is in fine shape


April 2 Chelvaston, England

Another tense day waiting. Not much to do except duck out of ground school classes with occasional showers. The kind of day you like to spend indoors - cuddling.



April 3, 1945 Chelvaston, England

Hello Kid,

Eureka! Finally managed to get a mission in today. Wasn’t too bad as we were across the target before they had time to track us. The boys behind us were not as lucky. The crummiest part of the mission was bad weather along the route and a low light level landing at 9 P.M. We had delayed our takeoff waiting for the weather to clear. It was 10 P.M. before I got back to the barrack. Scheduled to fly again tomorrow. Doesn’t leave me much time to chew the fat tonight. No time to sit back relax and dream about seeing you soon. Hope my luck holds out a little longer.

The field is going to be inspected by a group of bigshots tomorrow so I’ll have to make my bed before leaving on the mission.

Good night fatty. Hopefully I’ll dream - of us. Keep hoping - and pleasant dreams. Love!

Your guy


4 April 1945 Chelvaston, England

Darling sweetheart of mine,

Struggling with my thoughts - trying to express them is frustrating. Whats in my heart just can’t be described. Its more than just loving you - its knowing that the reciprocity is there. What a soul satisfying feeling.

Just as I thought when I wrote you last night we got up three hours later for a mission, Well, I’m back that's what counts. How I sweat, and how I look forward to sending you that cablegram so near, yet so far.

So much more I’d like to say but I’ll save it. I keep drifting off as I lie here. Be good - and sleep well.

Your `feller’ Ray

P.S. : Mulvaney was turned down for his 2nd lieutenancy - the paper pushing SOB’s

PPS. Yes, Nazism is definitely on its way out. They are on the run - but its going to be a tough chase. They have taken our pounding so far.



5 April 1945 Chelvaston, England

Hello Doris,

Well, got another mission in today. Don’t forget to chalk it up. No-not quite ready for the cablegram - not quite yet. Because of the bad weather, we let down thru the clouds at the earliest opportunity to an extremely low altitude. We passed over parts of Germany our ground troops had just taken. What a sight, shell holes, bomb craters, blasted houses and wide spread destruction. What a hell it must have been.

In reply to your question. Yes, I have bombed the Ruhr valley, quite often - Cologne, Coblenz and Frankfurt. One of the worst flak areas in Germany. We cheered when it was encircled. Save us from going there .

Its darned thoughtful of you - not telling my folks everything. It will be a joy to surprise them.

Mulvaneys snoring too beat the band. Good night. See you soon - I hope.

Fingers crossed?


Doris letters continued to express her apprehension about the completion of my tour of duty. It was agonizing for her to wait for my letters only to hear about not flying. We were both under a strain hard to imagine. In other respects her letters reflected her daily activities, visits to my parents, family gossip, news about winding down of the war and waiting for the completion cablegram. Her reflections on the coming of spring and the possibility of us greeting it together was uplifting to me and stimulated my dreams. Incidently Doris ceased writing on 14th April.

6 April 1945 Chelvaston, England

My Darling Doris,

I had expected to write a long letter today, however, it was 12.30 P.M. before I got up to eat lunch, then dropped into see the flight surgeon about a running nose. Sulfa pills and bed rest was prescribed until supper. Felt better afterward.

Jackson just got in - a little pickled moaning about what his wife would say if she saw him this way. Shortly afterward he walked out and puked his guts up. He’s sobered up and is now asleep.

Flying tomorrow so to the sack I must go, its 11 P.M. Fingers crossed? Good night.

Your guy

On 7 April I finally reached the golden pinnacle, completion of my 35th mission and the sending of that long awaited cablegram to Doris shortly after it landed. The cablegram sent on the 7th was not received until the 14th. It is reproduced below and its somewhat coded message was "WILL SEE SPOTTY SOON." On the 8th I wrote to Doris in detail about the joyous event.

7-8 April 1945 Chelvaston, England


Yesterday was quite an occasion and because of it I missed writing. When I tell you why I'm sure you will understand. By the time you get this letter you will probably have received my cablegram and know what I’m referring to. You see yesterdays mission was the 35th. So here I sit, more dozed than I care to admit - everything coming true - our dreams will become a reality. There were several times when I had my doubts about getting there. But here I am a `happy warrior’ (thats what you are upon completion). Its a good feeling knowing that your going to get home - to your dreams. No more wondering about if this letter and this mission was to be your last. No more dreading the sound of the orderlys voice "your flying, sir." None of us here were afraid of getting it up there - if it did happen, it was too quick to worry about. The thing I feared most was what it would mean back home. Also missing so much of the life I look forward to living - with you. I think of the boys that haven’t been as lucky and wonder why it was them and not me. What quirk of fate determines these things. They were all looking forward to living every bit as much as I. But? Well enough said.

Wonderful ring in those words - `coming home’. Right now all I have to do is wait for my orders to come thru. When they do, probably in a week or two I will be sent to a depot where I will sweat out a ship or plane back to the States. This may take as long as three weeks. So all I can say, barring accidents I should be home some time in May.

What pictures are conjured up in my mind - spring, us. It overwhelms me.

Don’t forget to let me know how the folks reacted when you broke the news to them.

Today I brought the traditional battle of scotch out to the ground crew. Cost about $15 but they deserved it. They really took care of my hide.

I’ll keep writing and let you know how things go - Mulvaney still has one more to go.

Pleasant dreams, see you soon.


P.S. We were attacked by jets on this last mission. Gosh I sweat but strangely enough wasn’t scared; you see it was either yes or no - I’m glad it was yes. Think we shot one down.

In 1988 I wrote an account of my feelings during my last mission for a 305 Bomb Group Anthology which was then included in "The Experiences of American airmen in Europe" by Roger Freeman, 1991. I’ve included it as  Appendix B.

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