HOWARD C. HENRY|
World War II Memories
June 11, 1943 - Mission 1
Copilot for Lt. Sevens. Invasion coast. No excitement. No flak or fighters. Target: Montfort et al Possonniere, France. 6 hours.
June 12, 1943 - Mission 2
First mission as a crew. Target: Illiers, L'eveque, France. 52x20 frag. Enemy planes P. 7 hours. France, heavy flak but no hits. No fighters.
June 14, 1943 - Mission 3
Chateaudun. No excitement. Scheduled for another mission in afternoon but scrubbed, thank God! Five more letters from Pidge. 52 x 100 GP. Airfield A. 7 hours
June 13, 1943 - Mission 4
Scrubbed. Day of rest. Hurray!!. Picked up flight pay for May. Hurrah again. Received 11 letters. Ecstasy!
June 15, 1943 - Mission 4
Tours. France. Boy, what results. Fighter opposition for second squadron. No troubles. 12 x 500 GP. Bridge A 6.5 hours.
June 16, 1943
Visited Norwich. Bought bike for $38.00. Returned via train to Dereham and cycled rest of way to field. Seven miles. Whew!
June 17, 1943
Practice mission. No bombing. Low ceiling. Flat on bike. New tire. Haircut. Jones says I took off with controls locked. Al Winter landed on wrong runway.
June 18, 1943 - Mission 5
First trip over Germany. Lead ship had his head. VP - didn't drop bombs of all things. Flak Heligoland. Hit helmet on Winters' head. Supposed to be first mission to count on tour. Luneberg, Germany. 52 x 20 frag. Airfield P. 7 ¾ hours.
June 19, 1943
Briefed then scrubbed. Briefed again in afternoon and scrubbed. Some fun!
June 20, 1943 - Mission 6
2nd on tour. Politz, Germany. Pretty rough. Lots of flak holes but no injuries. Excellent bombing. Keller had to go to Sweden. 52 x 100 GP oil refinery E. 9 1/4 hours. ME-410s hit 492 BG bad. Made pass at us. Ed claimed one but didn't get credit.
June 21, 1943 - Mission 7
3rd on tour. Genshagen, Germany (Berlin). Rough, but not as bad as Politz. No damage. Fair bombing. Anderson lost two engines but got back okay and landed at another field. 10 x 500 GP. Daimler Benz Tank Factory - J. 8 ¾ hours.
June 23, 1943 - Mission 8
4th on tour. Laon, France (Athies). Flak heavy. No hits but too damn close. 52 x 100 GP. Airfield M. 6 ¼ hours.
June 24, 1943
Practice mission. Jones dropped ten practice bombs. Pat Knopf and crew came over to visit us. Quite a pleasant surprise. Learned my CO and operations officer, a major (Felber) and a captain respectively, graduated my class and me still a "first." Oh unhappy day!
June 25, 1943 - Mission 9
5th on tour. Doullens, France. Good results. Light flak. Not close. 12 x 500 GP. Power station M. 5 ¼ hours.
June 26, 1943
Happy Birthday Henry!!. Rough mission scheduled, but scrubbed, thank God. Went to Norwich for reunion with Dick Smith. Received first card or letter addressed to permanent APO. Birthday card from Fran Rendos. Assigned Q for queenie or "Myrtle, the Fertile Turtle," supposedly for the rest of our stay here.
June 29, 1943 - Mission 10
No. 6 on tour. Magdeburg, Germany. Flak very rough. Tillner injured. Will be grounded for some time. 52 x 100 Inc. Aircraft Fact. Q. 8 hours.
June 30, 1943
Stand down. Went to Norwich. Bought new bike. Saw some of the old gang from Blythe. Took in a show "Winter Carnival."
July 3, 1943
Stand down. Went to Norwich. Movie "Higher and Higher." Awarded air medal but not there for presentation.
July 4, 1943 - Mission 11
No. 7 on tour. Beaumont De Roger, France. Ten man crew. Bradford new nose gunner. Tillner out indefinitely. Had trouble with first ship and had to take spare. Never found our squadron on assembly so bombed with 68th through undercast. Several rockers only opposition. 52 x 100 GP. Airfield. T (scratch) N. 5 hours.
July 7, 1943 - Mission 12
No. 8 on tour. Burnberg, Germany. Heavy flak and heavy fighter opposition. 75 ME-410s attack our group in mass formation and got four ships in the low squadrons. Flew deputy lead high right squadron. 52 x 100 oil junkers fact. Q. 8 ¼ hours.
July 8, 1943
Scratched! Lead 67th high right squadron on practice mission.
July 11, 1943
July 12, 1943 - Mission 12A
Munich, Germany. Deputy lead, high right squadron. 44th lead 2nd division. Light flak and no fighters on us but rest of the boys had it. 6 x 500 GP and 4 inc. clust. Airfield scheduled. But hit city PFF. Q. 9 ¼ hrs.
August 24, 1943 - Mission 14
Hanover, Germany (Langenhagen AF.) (a-la-Brunswick!) Rough as hell!!! Flew first mission as PFF crew with 66th squadron. Deputy lead for group. In turn leading wing. Tillner back to 67th okay. Capt. Hammer flew with us as command pilot. Had to leave Bradford behind. Lead ship lost @1 Eng. At target. We brought group back. 8 x 500 GP. 2 smoke. Subassembly plant and airfield. R+. 8 hours.
August 25, 1943
Scratched. Up late (as usual). Picked up air medal at headquarters and mailed it home. Played bridge for short while in evening.
August 26, 1943 - Mission 15
Salzbergen, Germany. Deputy lead for group. No flak. No fighters. One of best missions we've had. First time this target has been hit in war. 8 x 250 GP. 2 flare. 2 smoke oil refinery. 1+. 5 ½ hours.
August 27, 1943
Scratched. Up at noon. Went to Norwich on 18:00 bus. Saw movie "Who Done It," with Abbott and Costello. Back to base on 22:30 bus and to bed.
August 30, 1943 - Mission 16
Haute-Maisnil, Pas de Calais, France. GH Mission. Lead 392nd bomb GP. Capt. J. B. Stauder. Flew as copilot and command pilot. Lee had trouble with G-box and we were unable to drop bombs. Whole squadron had to jettison bombs over North Sea. Mission perfect otherwise. Our first mission as lead. Too bad it had to fail. 18 x 250 GP. 2 smoke. V-1 site. Q+. 6 hours.
August 31, 1943
Scratched! Pay day! Hurrah! Went to Norwich on 13:00 bus. Saw movie "Follow the Boys." Went to Hippodrome in evening. Back to Shipdham on 22:30 bus.
September 9, 1943 - Mission 17
Mainz, Germany. Lead high element, low left squadron (no wingmen). Flak intense but no hits. 12 x 500 GP. Supply depot. Q+ "Glory B" 6 ¾ hours.
September 10, 1943
Scratched. Up at noon. Printed pictures in afternoon. Played bridge in evening.
February 25, 1944 - Mission 32
Another one for "V-3" today. Aschaffenburg, Germany. Flew No. 6 position. Hit marshaling yards. Visual by squadrons. Three excellents. Good mission but very long. 9 ¾ hours. 12 x 250 GP. 4XM17 0+-548. Once again, we finished. Let's hope it's for good this time!
February 26, 1944
Up at 0800 for breakfast. Turned in flying clothes to A.C. Supply. Checked with S-2 about missions and DFC. Definitely no dice on latter. Checked form 5 in DPS. 234.25 combat. 32 missions. 1558.45 total pilot time. 1180.40 total 1st pilot time. Visited "Greek" and Joe-Tests at 231st Hospital in afternoon. Into Norwich on 1600 truck. Shower, etc. Played bridge until midnight. 2 airmail from Pidge!
September 13, 1944 - Mission 18
Schwaibish, Hall, Germany. Lead. Low element high right squadron. Fair mission. Light flak. No fighters (thank God!). Bombing results excellent. 10 x 500 GP airfield and subassembly plant for "jet" planes. JO+. 8 ¾ hours.
September 14, 1944
Scratched. Up for breakfast!! Surprised? Printed pictures in a.m. Practice bombing in afternoon. Jones had 113.5 C.E. for ten bombs. Played bridge in evening.
September 17, 1944
Practice mission. Up early for practice formation flight. Just had time for lunch.
Received your note and you were correct. We flew deputy lead on the Eindhoven mission. It was my 23rd. Thanks to Doolittle, I now had seven to go instead of two.
I, too, kept a diary of all my flights including the practice mission the day before. I imagine that cows must have given sour milk that evening. In addition, I made notes of the briefing, which told the pilots they would now be "hot shots" but the farmers would hate them.
Keep well. Louise joins me in sending our love to you and Mary. Bud.
September 18, 1944 - Mission 19
Best, Holland. Carrying supplies for airborne troops who landed there yesterday. Most wonderful mission and none of us would have missed it for the world. Went into target on top of trees. Dutch civilians waving like mad as we went past. Waving Dutch flags, British flags and anything they could find. Cattle running wild all over the place. Whole western end of Holland for 50 miles inland flooded by Nazi's. Pulled up to 500' over target area and parachuted supplies (ammo, food, medics) to troops then back down to deck again. We saw no opposition, but discovered .30 cal. Whole in leading edge of left wing on return to field. It cut electric line to #1 and #2 manifold pressures and put hole in gas tank. Later leaking very badly in bomb bays after landing. Some others had it worse, engines, hydraulics, etc. shot out. One ditched in North Sea only saw three men getting out of it. Flew as deputy lead of 3rd squadron K+ 279. 5 ¼ hours.
Stand down. Up for breakfast. Practice mission in a.m. Printed pictures in afternoon. Played bridge in evening.
September 26, 1944 - Mission 20
Hamm, Germany. Lead 66 squadron. High right. No fighters. Light flak. Results horrid! Missed target by 3 ½ miles on second run. 10 x 500 GP. 2 smoke marshaling yards. K+ 279. 6 ¼ hours.
October 3, 1944 - Mission 21
(Gaggenau) Offenburgen, Germany. No flak. No fighters. Briefed for Gagenau, Germany. Group lead (Major Hunn, command pilot) aborted. Honmyhle took over lead but his bombardier could not synchronize on target. Consequently Offenburgh, lead 66 squadron low left. 10 x 500 GP. 25 smoke briefed for marshaling yards at Gaggenau. K+ 279. L 8 ½ hours.
October 4, 1944
Scratched. Up for breakfast! Out to "Henry" with "Red" hand and "Greek" to finish painting ship. Into Norwich on 1300 bus and on to London on 1420 train. Supper at Grouner House and movie "American Romance," then to bed.
November 8, 1944
Holdout. Up for breakfast. Practice mission was scrubbed and so was pass. Went to Norwich on 1300 bus. Movie in afternoon with Jones, B. Goodman in "Sweet and Low Down," also "Bermuda" mystery. Movie in evening with Lee "Pride and Prejudice," with Greer Garson. Back to Shipdham on 2300 bus.
November 9, 1944 - Mission 22!!!
Metz (Gr. Fortifie L'yser), France. Lead 66 squadron. Low left. Very light flak. No fighters. Expect results to be good. Dropped through clouds via GP carrier. 4 x 2000 GP bombs. Dedicated one to Wm. Klein. Another to Gene Eisens' kid brother killed at St. Lo. Taped kids picture on bomb before we dropped it. Also dedicated one to "Boss and the girls." 4 x 2000 GP. 2 smoke fortified K+. 279 6 ½ hours.
December 4, 1944 - Mission 23
(Kolschausen) Geissen, Germany. Lead 66 squadron. High right. Boy, what a farce and General _ _ _! No flak and no fighters but we flew around Germany for an hour like a bunch of damned fools. Received about eight letters. One from Pidge at last! 2 x 500 incend. 8 x 500 GP. Marshaling yards at Bebrahit Geissen PFF instead. K+ 279. 8 ¼ hours. Saw Maj. Sather, former squadron comm. At interrogation. He rode with McDonnell as command pilot for 392.
December 5, 1944
Holdout. Up early. Into town on 0900 truck (Fancy that!!) Shower, etc. and breakfast at ARC. Shopped a bit. Movie in afternoon "Fanny by Gaslight," banned in U.S. Quite good. Back to Shipdham on 1700 truck. Wrote letters in evening and developed a couple of pictures. Received another letter from Pidge today. Two days in a row - What's up?
December 10, 1944
Scratched. Practice GH mission. Futile. Into Norwich on 1300 truck. Shower, etc. Back on 1500 truck. Printed 50 Christmas cards in evening. No mail!
December 11, 1944 - Mission 24
Karlsruhe, Germany. PFF GH deputy lead "B" group. 66 Sqdn. High right. One burst of flak in target area. No fighters. Weather P-poor. Variety show in Officer's Club at 2000 complete with finale of blonde doing strip tease. Dedicated bomb load to Harold Kloff and Peter Beet. No mail. 2 x 1000 GP. 2 smoke. RR bridge. C+ 823. 7:40 hours.
December 22, 1944
Scrubbed. Up at 0515 for mission but it was scrubbed just after briefing due to weather. Back to bed until Noon. Printed pictures in afternoon and helped Lee chop wood in evening. Wrote letters. Received five or six letters. 2 airmail from Pidge.
December 23, 1944 - Mission 25
Ahrweiler, Germany. GH lead second squadron. 392nd BG (low left). No fighters but 27 minutes of flak, eight minutes before we expected it. Germans much further into Belgium than we believed. 6 x 500 GP, 2 smoke. Communications (troop support). E+594. 6 hours. Results excellent. Jones and Lee dropped GH VIS. Citation from Johnson!!!
December 30, 1944 - Mission 26
Ahrweiller (Altenahr), Germany. PFF lead 66 squadron (low left). No flak. No fighters. Nice mission! Returned to find "skull" is not going to release McDonnell or William's at 30 missions. Lovely...what? 2 x 1000 GP. 2 smoke. Road intersection (troop support). B+ 907 7 ½ hours.
December 31, 1944 - Mission 27
Neuwied, Germany. GH lead 491st BG. No fighters. Light, inaccurate flak. Buzzed 491st runway after peel offs. This is No. 5 this month. Most we've flown and two days in a row since June! Lee, Joens, and I went to Norwich on 1800 run for shower, etc. Returned on 2300 run. Capt. W. A. Noble flew as command pilot. 2 x 1000 GP. 2 smoke RR and road bridge (troop support). GH-NG dropped on 44th smoke markers. They dropped four minutes early. E+594. 6 ½ hours.
January 5, 1945 - Mission 28
(Oberstein) Nuenkirchen, Germany. G.H. lead. 44 BG. Few bursts of flak. No fighters. Capt. D. F. (know-it-all) Benadom flew as command pilot. Boy! Did we have trouble with him. 6 x 500 GP. 2 smoke. RR & road intersection at Obetrstein (troop support) snafued. Hit marshaling yards and steel factory at Neunkirchen. C+ 823. 8 hours. Two letters from Pidge! Ditto from Mom!
January 6, 1945
Scratched. Up at Noon. Into Norwich on 1300 bus. Shower, shave, etc. and hair cut. Back to Shipdham on 1700 bus. Played bridge in evening. More mail. None from Pidge!
January 15, 1945
Scrubbed! Up at 0300 a.m. for mission but it was scrubbed just before taxi time. (Target 40 miles north of Munich). More U-mail. One from Pidge. Two from (Mom?)
January 17, 1945
Paris! Up at 0800 for breakfast. Bought quite a bit of perfume (approximately $40.00) to take home. Left same in fling clothing in charge of some guy form 44th while we searched for champagne. Convoy to Orly left without us and this guy forgot to watch our clothing. We eventually got clothing back but all perfume escape kits, sunglasses, etc. had been stolen. Back at Orly. Decided to stall around another day so we came back to Paris overnight on 1600 convoy. Stayed at same ARC and made reservations for Follies Bergere. Best stage show I've ever seen. OO LA LA, LES Mademoiselles. Went to "Jeeps," a nightclub after show and proceeded to get good and stinkin on Cognac. To be shortly after midnight.
January 18, 1945
Paris! Up at 0800 for breakfast! Went shopping for more perfume with Bail and Jones and then out again with Natasha Laiming (born in Germany of Russian parents, and lived most of her life in France) to buy some lingerie. Back to Orly on 1300 ATC bus which Winter missed. He followed on 1400 bus. But field would not clear us after 1500 due to weather in England. Back to Paris on 1600 convoy. Spent evening talking to Natasha. Hot bath and to bed at 11:30.
January 19, 1945
Paris! Up at 0630 for convoy to Orly. Same was late. So we had breakfast at 0800 and took 0900 ATC bus to Orly. Was already to return to UK but EM did not get there until 1100. Saw Lt. R. D. Ketchum, old instructor from BAAF. When arrived at Orly in a.m. beat our gums for half-hour and finally took off for UK at 1145. 2 ¼ hours to Shipdham. Interrogated. Lots of mail. One from Pidge. To bed 1130.
February 13, 1945
Scrubbed. Up at 0330 for Mission 30. But it was scrubbed just before taxi time. Breakfast a second time. Played snooker until 0900. Stood in line for rations for half-hour and discovered didn't have ration card with me. Back to sack until 1500. Played bridge and wrote letters in evening. Two airmail from Mom!
February 14, 1945 - Mission 30
Magdeburg, Germany. Lead low element, low squadron. Briefed for oil refinery but bombed marshaling yards PFF. 6 x 500 GP. 6xM-17s T+480. 8 hours. Red hand, A.F. Farris, Jones, Ward, Winter, Schonfeld finished. Hope I did also.
February 23, 1945 - Mission 31
Started flying 'em for our "Dear" colonel today! Weimar, Germany lead high element, high squadron. Briefed for marshaling yards. Hit same PFF. No E/A but weather P-Poor. 10 x 500 GP. T+480. 8 ½ hours (Carnaby). Landed in Yorkshire. (Carnaby) due to weather. Stayed overnight.
February 24, 1945
Scratched. Up at 0900 after 12 hours sleep. Took off and flew back to Shipdham. 1 hour. Interrogated. Into Norwich on 1300 truck. Bath, etc. Played bridge in afternoon. Play at Royal in evening. "Acacia Avenoe." Good. Back to Shipdham on 1300 truck! Mail at last! Two airmail from Pidge!