Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Post #653 - May 19, 1945 I've Warned Everyone That If You Do Come Home That I Want You All to Myself the First Night and Luckily, the Bomb Had Malfunctioned


May 19, 1945

Dearest One,

It is now 11:15 P.M. and you, in all probability, are turning over over on your other side, as the expression goes. I, on the other hand, am very weary and about ready to "hit the sack", if'n you don't mind my quoting you. I worked for three employers today - Mr. Bellet, Miss Hahn and Mr. First. I worked for Mr. B. from 8:30 till one, at which time I had lunch with Anne at H. & H. I arrived at Miss Hahn's at 2:15 (I hadn't seen her for several months and she called late last night, asking me if I could possibly come in today as her regular helper was ill) and stayed until 6. Once arrived home I had dinner, read your letter of May 9th, with receipt for $55 enclosed, and put Adele to bed. When I finished washing and cleaning Adele'a shoes I went into Mr. First's and typed a Will and some bills, for which he paid me $3.

There is no need to tell you how happy I was that "a" letter had finally come through! Naturally, I'm looking forward to a letter giving more definite information about your status as a serviceman in the weeks to come, but I'll just have to be patient. Your letter was very sweet, honey, and if’n you don't mind, I think it would be a good idea to save what you can at the present time in the soldier's deposits so that you can come home with some spare cash. We're going to need a lot of it then and I think you'd feel a lot better if you had some to start off with. If you prefer to send what you can to me you may do so, but I would prefer to see what you could save in the time left before you do come home. Whatever the case, you may rest assured that the final decision is in your hands. I do feel that it is no longer sensible for us to invest what little we may be able to save In bonds, so I shall put any reserve I may have in the bank. Satisfied?

I have some good news - Harry Weinman is home! Syd Brown wrote to the folks not to write to him any more, as he is on his way home. Mom went over to see Harry this afternoon and Goldle and Harry went this evening. Thls is the first time I have ever been left with the two kids. Goldle didn't want to go but I insisted. Harry is coming over tomorrow, so I'll see him then. I may be selfish in this respect, but I've warned everyone that if you do come home that I want you all to myself the first night. When I get through with you, they can have what's left. I'm hoping you'll agree with me.

Harry, Goldie and Mom are most anxious to know your reactions to my decision to give up the house. It wasn't really my idea, but since I did speak up everyone has climbed off his high horse and decided it might be a good idea to stick together until such time as apartments and the like are obtainable. I don't get as many complaints as in the past and if we do stick together there will be but one change - the rent goes up because I'm tired of sponging. Don't for one minute, get the idea that we don't get along. We do get along nicely, considering the relationship, but it is difficult for all of us. All I know is that I'm going to be a happy girl when you come home and we get settled for once and for all. I Love You so much, baby.

Your Eve

19 May 1945

Darling Eve,

We are enjoying lovely May weather here. It was one of those Saturday afternoons that are meant for picnicking, or a long drive in the country, or a day at the races. Speaking of races, I am reminded to tell you that Klein and I went to the movies, whence we just returned to see "National Velvet” the picture you said was regarded so highly there at home. It was a beautiful, heart-warming picture with the same quality of good feeling that distinguished “My Friend Flicka". In addition, there were the exciting racing sequences (I must try to get to see the Grand National), and the superb acting of the beautiful little English girl, her mother, and the entire cast. It's unlike me to forget to note the names of the principals, but I only think the girl's name is Angela Lansbury (and a sweeter kid I never saw), while the name of the actress who so competently played the part of her mother escaped me entirely. Donald Crisp and Mickey Rooney, of course, it's impossible to miss.

Otherwise, it was a rather ordinary sort of day. Oh yes, almost forgot to mention that I received three of your V-mails today and one yesterday. They were those of 3, 5, 7, 9-10 May. The last mentioned rubbed me the wrong way, Chippie. Not because of anything you said, or failed to say, but because you split it up to cover two days. I've never reproached you for interrupting a long “regular" letter to continue on it next day, but I wish you wouldn't, if you don't mind, do so with anything as skimpy as a V-mail. Let's both be a little more generous in future in the amount we write, since we're not writing daily as we used to do shall we, honey?

Your letters call for no comment, since they are crammed full of your daily comings and goings, some news of our neighbors and friends and the family, Gloria's most recent visit (I must write to her soon), your most recent acquisitions in clothes and lingerie (I sure would love to see those “pernts”, you tease, and I guess you know I wouldn't be content with just 
seeing them), and your erroneous computation of my “pernts" - I mean the Adjusted Service Rating kind. You should have known that inactive service would not be counted, but I guess you indulged in a little wishful thinking, huh?

Forgot to tell you that I managed to get off a V-mail to Dot, but I'm still waiting the opportunity to write some real letters to everyone l have been neglecting. Tomorrow (Sunday) would ordinarily be a day off and I could get a lot of writing done, but Lt. King has told me that I’m to work in the afternoon, so I'll probably have only time enough to finish this, which I am interrupting because it is time for lights out and our date. G’night, honey,—you know I love you very much—

20 May 1945 

Hello again, baby~

Guess I shouldn't have mentioned the nice weather we've been having, cause it clouded up and rained like hell this afternoon. I took advantage of my morning off by doing what most G.I.'s have been dreaming of doing for a long time now, namely staying abed as long as one pleased. Well, I pleased to sleep ’til 11 A.M., when I got up, dressed, worked and went to lunch with Klein. We have chicken on Sundays, which I don't eat, but which Klein dearly loves, so he always makes it a point to accompany me to lunch on that day, when he treats himself to two portions—mine and his.

This afternoon I cleaned up some work in the Orderly Room while it rained pitch-forks outside. After work, I looked up Karl Schwoerer, who had agreed to loan me his “620” camera.

Tomorrow afternoon, Chippie, I am leaving the station for the first time in seven weeks. I'm going on a three-day pass to London, where I have long wanted to go, but didn't because of that promise I made to you when the buzz-bombs were falling. It'll be good to get to the Turkish Baths, Albert Hall, etc. once again, and I'm looking for
ward to it with the keenest anticipation.—Which reminds me that we are now free to reveal in our letters home, just about everything that has happened to us, or that we have seen since we left the States.—So if there is anything you would like to know about, honey, or anything that has been puzzling you—just fire away, and I’ll tell you. I know you have been wondering of the meaning of the asterisks I put into my letters from time to time—I can now reveal that they meant the sirens had sounded to warn, in the early days, of approaching enemy aircraft, and latterly, of approaching buzz bombs. Of the former, I haven't seen any, because they always came over at night—but they certainly caused us a lot of inconvenience during the winter of 1943 and spring of ’44. Being the Ordnance Company, we had to man the AA defenses of the station whenever there was an alert. When the sirens sounded, we piled out of our sacks, scrambled into our clothes in a chilly barracks, and stumbled around in the dark (if it happened to be a moonless night) to the vehicle, which drove us down to the various gun sites around the field. Then we usually shivered away in the cold night air for an hour or so until the all-clear sounded when the truck came round to pick us up again. We often heard the jerry planes overhead, but we were under orders not to fire unless the planes dropped bombs or strafed installations on the field. This they did on only two occasions, when they dropped a few anti-personnel “butterfly” bombs and an HE shell, which dropped on a runway, putting a hole in it (which was repaired next day) and slightly damaging a few nearby planes. I wasn't on the gun crew on either of those nights, but a few of the fellows who were, got a good scare out of it (to say nothing of getting all muddy when they hit the dirt). Luckily, there wasn't any real harm done. Best of all, there were no casualties. But, believe me, Sweet, it was no fun at all getting out of a nice warm sack in the dead of night to go dashing out to the guns in freezing weather. Sometimes we “sweated out" the all clear as long as two hours and more. Some day, if you ever want to hear about it (which I doubt) I'll tell you more about it. There is much more to tell about the buzz-bombs, which came over from July ’44 ’til about March ’45. It just so happened that our base is situated in what was known as "buzz bomb alley,” which means that we were in the line of flight of the bombs aimed for London. When I say “came over" I mean just that! For a period of a coupla months we were alerted from one to four and five times each night. Within fifteen or twenty minutes we heard the tell-tale throb of the motor of the robot bomb and soon after, the ball of fire that was the burning exhaust gases of the jet-motors. Some of the bombs were plainly seen as they passed directly over our heads at a height of only a few hundred feet. At first, when the alert sounded, we all used to pile out of our sacks to “watch the bombs go by", and yes, to hop into the nearby trenches when we heard one of them "cut out", which presaged their dive to earth. Occasionally, but not often, a bomb would drop a few miles from the base. The blast was terrific even from that distance. Often, we counted two and three bombs going over at the same time. Toward the end, however, when the novelty had worn off, I, and a few others in our barrack, didn't bother to get out from under the covers when the alert sounded. I had one anxious moment on this account—The alert had sounded. A few of the men got up at once to sweat out the doodle-bugs. I didn't see any sense to getting out of bed to see something that gains nothing by repetition. I dozed off again, only to be wakened by the sound of the robot’s motor sounding apparently directly overhead. Abruptly, the motor cut out. I knew what that meant—that the bomb was starting its dive to earth. A hundred thoughts ran thru my mind in that moment. My first instinct was to hop out of bed and make a dash for the trench just outside the door. But I wasn’t so panicky that I didn't realize before I had a chance to move a muscle, that if the bomb was indeed on it's way down that I’d never make it to the trench before it hit—so I just lay where I was for a few frozen instants. Luckily, the bomb had malfunctioned, and instead of going into a nose dive (as it was supposed to do) it glided off at an angle and landed a few miles from the station, exploding with a roar that shook all the surrounding country. The fellows who had gone outdoors got the worst of it, ’cause when the motors cut out what seemed to them immediately overhead, they with one accord jumped into the trench which in itself wouldn't have been so bad, were it not for the fact that it had rained steadily the few days preceding, and the trenches were knee-deep in water! You can imagine how the guys felt about all this—They were browned off plenty, believe me!

Well, darling, there will be no more doodlebugs, thank God, and the trenches have all been filled in and we're just marking time and wondering what comes next—and hoping, to a man, that it will be home. 

Any thoughts I might have about home just now would only bore you to tears—you've heard them from me so many times, so I'll conclude this with a few words that I pray will never bore you coming from me—I adore you, my Evie—A kiss for Adele. My love to all.

Your Phil

P.S. I'll try to write while on pass—honest!