MARAUDER PILOT'S STORY, T.V. HARWOOD
This is the story of a B26 Martin Marauder copilot/Pilot, and his crew, in W.W.II, as told through his letters home. Theodore V. Harwood, my father, was in the 456th Bombardment Squadron, 323rd Bombardment Group, 9th US Army Air Corps. A combat veteran with 45 missions in a plane nick named “the flying coffin”.
It all began for Ted Harwood when he was an aircraft electrician at Douglas Aircraft Company in Southern California. He was wiring up the cockpit of a Douglas “A-20” light bomber, he stopped for a moment, “I could fly one of these as well as anyone”, he thought to himself. At that point, the Army Air Corps was turning people away, Ted Volunteered anyway, thinking he wouldn’t be any worse off if they turned him away. Working at Douglas, Ted was already helping the war effort, he had a deferment but, he wanted to be part of the danger The following letter (A-351-P) dated December 9, 1942, was sent on Ted’s behalf from Mr.. S.O. Porter director of Personnel of the Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc. to the Selective Service System, Local Board #243, 726 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica California:
December 9, 1942: Gentlemen: on December 2, 1942, we notified your Board that we desired to appeal the I-A classification of Theodore Vincent Harwood, as he was considered an essential employee at our factory in Santa Monica. As Mr. Harwood applied for enlistment in the United States Army Reserve Corps as an Aviation Cadet prior to December 5, 1942, and is desirous of completing this enlistment within the specified ten day period, he has expressed a desire to withdraw his plea for appeal. This action has the approval of his immediate Supervisor, Mr. W.D. Saunders, and is taken in order that he might secure a release for such enlistment.
Therefore, we wish to withdraw our appeal in this particular case and interpose no objection to the enlistment of this employee in the United States Army. The above information is furnished for such considerations you deem appropriate.
It had been a few weeks and Ted assumed nothing had come of it. After work one afternoon Ted pulled up in front of his parents white wash Santa Monica home walked across the lawn up the gray cement front porch steps. The wood frame screen slapped shut behind him and there on a round table lamp sat a small packet. He excitedly took the parcel in hand, it was from uncle Sam. He carefully opened them to see in front of him a set of official orders to report to the Riverside, California, Fort McAurther Aurther Army Classification Center. Four friends from Santa Monica, California joined together; Ted Harwood, Bill McCurdy, Jack Emerson and Webster Haviland. Ted got a ride from his father down to the electric train depot in Santa Monica and took it to an induction center. Ted was off and took a locomotive into Riverside, California, Fort McAurther the following day. The process was intense, a full physical, a written test, and numerous injections. Then the worst news, when Ted was a youngster he had been hit in the eye with a rock and the scar was enough to get him a rejection, he kept on them and finally got a kind sole to push him through.
The training in Riverside was extremely vigorous. Physical training included marching in formation, push-ups, pull-ups, running, calisthenics. Then, more of the same out in the element both day and night. The mental training was equally draining and while the other cadets slept, Ted snuck behind the watchful eye of the drill instructor outside to the dim porch light of the barracks to study. The tests were hard with the sleep depravation but Ted came in close to the top of the class and soon the sites, sounds and faces of Riverside were a distant memory and it was off to Nashville for additional training.
From Nashville, the cadets went on to pre-flight training at Maxwell Field, Alabama. At Maxwell Field the duties were comprised of more “PT.” (physical Training), aircraft recognition, maps/charts, code, first aid, chemical warfare, a heavy dose of mathematics and an assortment of military courses.
Arms swinging, heads erect, shoulders back, feet pounding the pavement. Squad drill, platoon drill, squadron drill. Shin splints, blisters, sore muscles. Parades three times a week-white gloves, glistening sabers, clean khakis, straight lines, martial music. Shoes shined, brass flashing, uniform-perfection...inspection after inspection. After four weeks of confinement, little sleep and intensity, it was a dinner at the Cadet club.
Now for Ted and the boys came “Blue Monday”, that day that people whispered about under their breath in the chow haul or when getting the trunk locker at the base of the bed squared away. Blue Monday-senior class subjects now. Again they dug in and pushed ahead with new strength, but now, the goal in sight. Physics, Naval Forces, Maps and Charts, a new course in Aircraft Recognition, Ground Forces, and still more code. This time however there were “Rec.” privileges and relaxation. The final “preflight’ days were the graduation dance and that last parade.
Soon Alabama was also just a memory and it was off to Thompson Robins Field, Helena, Arkansas, for primary training. Ted’s first solo flight was on September 7th, 1943 in the afternoon following physical training. Ted’s instructor was an old crop duster by the name of Virgil McCoin.
The rigors of primary flight training at Thompson Robbins Field in Helena now concluded it was time to ship off to the Newport Army Airfield also in Arkansas for additional basic training, in October and November of 1943. Here they flew the “BT 13” single engine trainers. At Newport they drilled heavily on acrobatics and night landings.
From Newport, it was on to Stuttgart, Arkansas for advanced twin engine training. Here they mastered cross country navigational flight and radio range procedures. The Stuttgart Army Air Field was one of the largest advanced two-engine training bases of the far flung Southeast Training Center. Whose headquarters were at Maxwell Field, Ala. It was also an important unit of the Flying Training Command, being part of the 28th Flying Training Wing. Its specific job was to turn out the best combat pilots in the Army Air Forces.
Flying first started at this field in October of 1942, four months after the ground was broken in the center of what was known as the “Grand Prairie”, the only prairie section in Arkansas, where vast fields of rice had been cultivated the preceding decades.
The first six months of Stuttgart’s history was concerned with the development of the glider as a weapon of war, and many hundreds of the Commandos of the Air, the glider pilots, were trained and commissioned here in what was then the largest advanced glider school in the country. In addition to pilot training, first glider, then twin engine, the ground personnel also trained here.
Stuttgart Army Air Field had been, since its inception, under the command of Colonel Edgar R. Todd, one of the Air Forces’ pioneers in the development of the twin engine bomber.
From Barksdale Field , Louisiana, they continued on to Hunters Field Georgia. This was in June, 1944. At Hunter’s Field, they picked up a brand new silver B-26. They went from Hunter’s Field to Bangor, Maine. At Bangor they were issued their equipment: 45 automatic pistol, binoculars, rations, survival kit and more.
Upon graduation in February, 1944, Ted received his commission as a Second Lieutenant, Class of 1944-B, United States Army Air Corps. After a ten day leave, they reported for overseas training in the B-26 at there next destination.
From Stutsgaurd, it was onto Barksdale Field, Louisiana for the overseas training. This was March, April, May of 1944. This was Ted’s first experience flying the Martin B-26 with a crew, in the forefront of their minds - the deadly combat experience ahead.
The following are the actual letters home. (***) indicate a missing page. The actual mission data is also placed for reference as are a few post war letters regarding Ted Harwood. (BOOK NUMBER 2.):
11/04/2002: From W.B. Guerrant, (W.W.II b26 pilot in the 456th Bombardment Squadron, 323rd Bombardment Group, 9th US Army Air Corps.): Ted was one of the finest men I have ever known. Although we seldom saw each other -even more seldom did we write letters. I always thought of him as one of my closest friends . He was, in every sense of the word a true gentleman.
My recollection is our original crew was as follows: Theodore V. Harwood (CP. copilot) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav. navigator/bombardier) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P. pilot) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG. tail gunner) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E. engineer ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. waist gunner ) Sgt. T/Sgt.
None of us had met prior to our assignment at Barksdale Field in Shreveport, LA. Our crew came together at Barksdale Field in Shreveport, LA. Each of us had previously trained at different locations, so we did not know each other. After a number of weeks at Barksdale, we were sent to Savannah, GA. for assignment overseas. We were assigned to a plane, which flew to Europe via Labrador, Greenland & Iceland, N. Ireland and Finally England. As I recall, our first mission was at night over the Cherbourg Peninsula. Our group (9th Air Force) was a tactical group concentrating on bombing targets in support of troops rather than targets of strategic importance - i.e. long range targets (8th Air Force). As I recall, our crew flew approximate 40 to 45 missions together, Ted had his own crew. Johnny Kuzwara was lead navigator-bombardier for our group, and the were substitutions for the men. Due to the Army’s cast system, officer and men were separated. We formed friendships with primarily officers. Our lives depended on both the other officers and enlisted men. Ted & John Kuzwara became my closest friends. In many respects I felt closer to you father than I did to my own brother. I loved both, and even though they are not living, I still think of them almost every day. The war was an island in the sea of our lives in that it had no direct connection with any other part of our lives, but our complete dependence upon each other forged a bond one never forgets. He was a fine person, and even though we seldom corresponded, I always considered him one of my closest friends.
09/23/2002 from Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. Waist gunner ) Sgt. T/Sgt. (a B26 Martin Marauder waist gunner, in W.W.II, in the 456th Bombardment Squadron, 323rd Bombardment Group, 9th US Army Air Corps): I am glad to hear from the son of a very fine gentleman I used to know, Ted was a good man as anyone would like to know, we all loved Ted. We flew about 20 missions together, I was credited with 48 missions, the plane we flew most was named “Hades’ Lady”.
01/01/1944: Hello folks, Well another year has passed. 1 year in the US Army, & boy I hope it is the last one. I went to the movies tonight & saw a swell show “Cony Island” in Technicolor, & then came back to the barracks to catch up on the mail. It is raining cats & dogs out & it is making a lot of noise on the roof. I flew 2:00 today 1:00 as a copilot, & 1 as pilot on instruments. I tried to get those films today but they were not back yet, so it will be another week. The upper class graduate next week, & boy are they hyped up. So if the weather would only clear up a little we might get out in 6 weeks. But, if it does not we will probably be 2 months.
I was paid again yesterday & am enclosing another $50.00 money order. I received the card you sent, thanks a lot. Well tomorrow is Sunday, so I can sleep until 11:00 AM, once every 2 weeks, so I am going to appreciate it. Lots of love Ted.
01/04/1944: Dear Folks, There is not much new to tell but I thought I would drop you a line. We did not fly as the weather was bad today, I have not flown for quite a while, I have 14 hours now. I have another darn cold again so I am going to bed early tonight. The air here is so damp almost all the boys have colds, but not bad ones just a good case of the sniffles.
I received a letter from Bill McCurdy today, he is in Michigan in a radio school. He asked me if I would go on a trip to Oregon & Washington after the war fishing, boy I am going to do something after the war to relax. They keep you on the go so much your bed forgets what its like to have you sleep in it.
Faye told me Don sold his car, I was sorry to here it, but I guess he didn’t use it much. Did you get the second $50.00 I sent you? How much have I in the bank now? Well folks, thanks for all the swell letters & I will write again soon, love Ted.
01/07/1944: Well, we have finally been able to get in a little flying, now I have 19 hours, but I am afraid it was short lived as it is snowing again tonight, and the wind is blowing about for miles per hour, so we will get another rest. Ground school is nearly finished. I through code now & we only go to one period a day now, a class on bombing will finish it next Thursday.
The upper class graduated today, boy they were really happy. It did my heart good to see them smile with those gold bars on their shoulders. Boy its getting close, one month if the weather lets us get 70 hours. I am sending you a little book of pictures taken on the post, I got them at the P.X. for 35 cents, I sent one to Faye and S, & Don & Ruth, so if it gets lost in the mail you can look at theirs’, it shows the AT-10s we fly so you can get an idea of the type of ship I am now in. Today I had my first BEAM work in the ship. It is a little confusing but I will catch on O.K. (I hope). Well folks, I will say goodnight for now. All my love Ted.
01/09/1944: Sunday evening once again, I slept late this morning, it is the second day off we have had since we have been here, the other one was Christmas. The reason is the ground is covered with about a foot of ice and snow. It is all over and really white. We had a couple of snow fights today, had a lot of fun. I got the pictures from the drug store, they made bad prints so I am sending you the negatives. You can have some prints made. The ships were at basic, the B.T. 13 & 15A, we have 2 engine jobs now. Did you receive that little book on Stuttgart?
They have been taking pictures for an annual, or book of the class, it will probably be finished in about 3 weeks, I will send you one when they come out. Took some pictures of the snow yesterday, I will send them in about 2 weeks. We had a boy fly down from Helena, my old primary school. He got lost and landed here day before yesterday. I guess he got to far from home and lost his way. They have no navigation in primary. Well, I will say goodnight for now. All my love Ted.
01/14/1944: Dear folks, I received the second box of candy you sent, also, the times & your letters, thanks a million. We had a talk today on insurance, taxes, etc., and do not have to pay any 1943 or 1942 taxes. So, I would appreciate it if you would write the tax collector & ask for a refund on the quarterly you paid for me.
Today I took a 400 mile cross-country trip, we really saw Arkansas. It was a perfect day, all clear & snow all over the ground. We flew over some small mountains 2,800 feet high. The first hills I have seen since home. I have 27 hours now, so I only have 43 more, we will be off. Really graduated Feb. 8th, but we will have to keep on flying till we get in our time. Really enjoyed The Times, mid-winter, those pictures bring back good old California, also the comics. Boy, I didn’t think old Emerson would be a father, I guess he is really tied down now, his hunting days are about over. Thanks again for the candy folks & the letters, don’t forget the tax. Love Ted, did you get those negatives yet?
01/30/1944: Dear folks, Ah, today I passed my 50-3 instrument check, so most of the worries are over. Although, I still have 9 hours night flying & 10 hours day fling before I am able to finish. The weather is really bad, we could not fly much today, as it rained. We have tonight and all day tomorrow off, so I will get a good rest. I think I will go to the theater tonight , Alibaba And The 40 Thieves is on. Its supposed to be pretty good. I received a letter from Webster today, he is in Lincoln, Nebraska, now in a mechanics school, I think he will like it O.K. . Said he had 2 wisdom teeth pulled & his jaw was swollen. I don’t envy him in that predicament.
I have a total of 186:15 minutes flying time since I came into the Army. Boy it does not seem like a lot to look at the figures, but it’s a lot to sit out. I will have over 200 hours when I (***)
02-04-44: The weather is good once more, so I think I can finish my night flying tonight. I was copilot last night and we flew 6:20 and covered about 900 miles. I have 4:10 to get tonight & then I will have 10 hours left to get in day time. Received my new serial number today, but I forgot it, one of the boys saw the list & told me. I will have to go look & copy it down. We turned in all of our G1 clothes , & I kept 3 sun tan shirts, 2 sun tan pants, 1 OD shirt and OD pants. They will come in handy & save my good clothes . I was only able to buy 2 pair of pants & 2 shirts, but I have plenty of time to get more.
I bought a roll of color film for Don’s camera so we can take some pictures when I get home, they will be good to have. I hope I can make some good time on the train, but I am afraid those babies only move so fast. Well folks, that’s about all I have to say this afternoon. Lots of love Ted.
02-20-44: Well, I am one again writing those letters home, it was swell being there & I really had a swell time I hope I am able to make it again soon.
The train was pretty full all the way back but everyone had a seat OK. I stopped in Dallas & El Paso for about 2 hours each place, they are pretty nice places. The town of Shriveport is not bad, about the size of Santa Monica. The camp here is pretty nice. The buildings are stucco & the showers are built in so no long out of doors trips are necessary. I went to the flight line this morning & looked at the ships, they look pretty big, but that will wear off soon. I think I will go to bed and catch up on my sleep this afternoon. I took a shower & feel much better now. Had roast beef, sweet potatoes , peas, mashed potatoes and salad for dinner, we pay for each meal now the Gov. pays you at the end of each month. That system is OK but I am afraid I will over eat my budget. I have met some of the fellows from Stuttgart already, but not many of them are here as yet. It seemed good to talk to you this morning it was about 7:30 here when I called, I have good connections, it took only about 3 minutes to get the call through. Well, I will write you again soon when I find out what the deal is around here. All my love Ted.
02/20/44 (V-MAIL. Thursday evening): Hello folks, today I received two letters from you posted the 5th of July. I think you must have written them on the 3rd or 4th, but they were really welcome. We started school today and it is really interesting although by the end of the my rear was a little tired, I am a little out of practice at my sitting. Also my bike seat doesn’t help matters much, it is one of those little hard jobs
It was tough that old Haviland couldn’t get home. I know just how he feels about not getting to go. But he will still make it soon. I think they get 30 days furlough each year. As you can see by this sad letter , there isn’t much to talk about. Can you see this “V” Mail O.K.? or would you have me write on paper and send it in a regular envelope, tell me in you next letter.
I’m glad Ruthie bought a bike, the exercise will do her good, she wrote me and she was going to. I didn’t know she could ice skate, or maybe that’s why she’s so sore. Everything is swell here, so there is no need for worry. Tell Faye and Stan hello for me. Lots of love Ted.
02-21-44: Hello folks, well I feel much better this morning, I had a good sleep last night & a big breakfast this morning.
Well, I am to be copilot-pilot and don’t care to much, we don’t fly for at least three weeks, so you don’t have to worry for a while. We get our equipment here & our shots. Also, we are assigned to a crew, a pilot, a copilot-pilot, a bombardier, a navigator , radio man & gunners. We either get our training at this field or another in LA. So it will be 3 or 4 months before we are through.
This is a swell field & town, lots of good looking gals (PS don’t mention this to Ruth) We have open post every night, all night if we wish. Say mom, did you send for those pants yet? They will come in handy as hell as they get dirty fast. Remember to ask for pinks, a pair of greens is all I need as I don’t wear them much. We have a formation to meet in an hour or so, I think I will run and get some chow. Lots of love, Ted. PS use address on envelope. for return---
2nd LT. Theo. V. Harwood
Replacement Depot, Barksdale AAF.
02-22-44: Hello folks, well it is still raining here, along with a little thunder. I don’t think it will clear up here for quite a while. I went to town & saw a show last night & then came back to the post. This morning we stood in a lot more lines & filled out forms & allotments, & pay vouchers & etc.. Boy there is a lot of red tape to being an officer, one thing though, no one says you have to do it, but no one does it for you so you do it anyway.
I slept all afternoon, & am going to the show this afternoon tonight. We had a swell dinner; steak, yams, lettuce & tomato salad, mashed potatoes, & ice-cream and chocolate cake .85 cents. I will be here about 2 weeks, or if I am assigned here for Training, it will be about 41/4 months. We will not start flying for at least 2 or three weeks yet. We have to get all of our shots & equipment.
I bought a swell pair of shoes from the Quartermaster Depot for $3.40. They are officer low cut shoes. Also, I bought six pair of socks, 4 pair of shorts , two ties & another fad jacket. $6.00, so I will have a good one after the war.
Well I have not much news you tonight, no desks in the BKS, so sloppy script, am writing on my knee, good night for now. Lots of love Ted.
02-24-44: Hello Folks, Today is Thursday, & it is still raining, we really had a peach of a thunder storm last night. I have never seen so much lightning at one time. Another boy & I went in town & had dinner last night. We went to a little Chinese place & had some chop choppedsuey. It was really good. It was made of bean sprouts, celery, and some kind of meat, rice and a really salty sauce. It reminded me of the chopsuey pop made when we lived up on 12th St.
I am getting lazy here, as we don’t do a thing here but meet 3 formations a day, at 08:00 & 12:45 & 3:45, the rest of the time is our own, so we sleep and look over the field. My Barracks Bag I sent from home has not arrived yet so I can not use the stationary you sent me, this is almost gone so I will have to buy some more, I am using some regular ink in the “51” pen of mine & it seems to work better than that ink they make for it, try it and see how it works in yours.
I signed the Pay Voucher for my travel pay yesterday, I get $17.40, that’s much more than I expected, we get paid at the end of each month. I don’t think I will have to use that check book, but I will keep it just in case.
Did you get those pictures to a store yet that you took ? I would like to see them if they come out OK. Also tell me how that roll of film Don took came out. I hope they were good There is not much news at this end to tell of. Don’t worry as I am OK, lots of love Ted.
02/26/44: Hello folks, I received your letter today that you wrote to me at my old address. I enjoyed it as it is the first I have heard from home since I left it. Today I got the first of my series of “shots” 5 in all, boy my arms are sore as the devil. I received a typhoid, tetanus, yellow fever, typhus, and a cholera shot & next week we get a few more. They picked a hell of a day to stick us , as it is the first Saturday night in Shreveport. I think I will hit the sack tonight as I feel sort of tired, we went to 30,000 feet again today in the low pressure chamber, also were fitted for oxygen masks.
That darn bag of mine has not reached me yet. I don’t need anything in it but it gripes me, it will probably get in Monday. It has rained he also, steadily since I arrived. I guess it is raining in the whole US. I was talking to some of the boys who went home the same time as I , who lived in NY, they said they had 2 feet of snow. So California is still a good state, the rain will run off OK. (***).
02-29-44: Hi folks, well at last I had a little action, this morning we went to the pistol range. Fired 50 rounds in the .45 auto. It felt good to get a gin in my hands once more, also I got a little jack today. I bought a little bond & it is enclosed, you can give it to Faye to put in the bank with the rest of mine, I have plenty of money now so don’t worry. Have you taken over the debt on the house yet? You might go ahead with it if you haven’t done so yet. We didn’t get our flying pay this month as we haven’t flown, but we will get it next month & for this month also.
My arm has gone down & it is OK now, it was about twice its original size, it itches now. I have 2 more to take next week. I sure hate those shots. Well I guess I will have to say so long once again as nothing else to say. . Lots of love Ted.
03-01-44 (A.M.): Hello folks, I received your letters with the pictures in today, they come out pretty good, thanks a lot. That one on the rock was nice, the one took in the living room was too high, too much ceiling.
I went into town this morning & looked up the railway express agency, my bag had been there for 3 days. I don’t know why they didn’t bring it to the field, said they would bring it out tomorrow. I am enclosing a picture of the B-26, so you can see the type of ship I will be in. Also, a money order for $25.00, I hate to carry so darn much cash. I still have over $100.00 dollars on me. A lot of wallets have been taken during the past week. I think news boys & those little Negro shine boys have been taking them. A lot of boys stay out late and sleep in the day & leave their wallets in their pants. I always put mine in my pillow case when I go to bed.
I think I will be assigned to a crew soon. I am all finished with my pistil & high alt. chamber, & just 3 shots left & the dentist. I get one tooth filled at 5:30 tonight. Drop me a line when you receive the bond I sent & this money order. Next month I will be able to send home about $200.00, as I will get 2 months flying pay $150.00 plus $150.00 base pay, plus $21.00 for food. will sign off for now. Thanks again for the pictures. Love Ted.
03-01-44 (P.M.): Hello there Mrs. Haviland, I was glad to hear of Webster’s coming home. All of us seem to get home just a little apart, but it won’t be to long before we will all be there at once.
I will soon be assigned to a combat crew to start my operational training, as mom has probably told you. I am to be a copilot, so Jack & I are the stooges, but I don’t mind to much. We don’t fly until we get our entire crew, then we all train together & stay together in combat. We’ve got our over seas shots but not our flying equipment as yet. Just been lying around & sleeping. The town of Shreveport ain’t to bad but can’t compete to Santa Monica.
You will have to pardon this pen and paper as I am at the dental clinic waiting to have a tooth filled & found it in a desk. I don’t think I will make it tonight as it is 8:45 P.M. and there are 4 boys ahead of me.
Not much new here, I just did not want you to think I had forgotten you. Tell Web hello when you see him tell him to ask mom to get Don to take some color movies of him & I will try & get him some more film.. Also, have him show Web. the shots of the folks & I when I was home (I hope they look O.K.). Well, I will say so long for tonight. Lots of love, Ted.
03-02-44: Dear folks, today was a busy day here, I was assigned to a crew, 6 of us. Our pilot, 2nd Lt., copilot- that’s me, & a bombardier 2nd Lt. who also is our navigator, & we have a Cpl., who is engineer & a gunner, & a Sgt., who is a radio man & gunner, & another Cpl. who is tail gunner, all swell guys.
We moved to a much nicer barracks also, there are only 2 of us in a room with a table & sell steel lockers in which to hang our clothes. I am in the same room as our pilot & our navigator is in the next room, I think we will start flying about Monday, & also start ground school once more. Well, I finally got my barracks bag, it came in this morning, so I can dry myself now, I had all of my towels in it. I just finished taking a good hot shower & feel swell now. I had another tooth filled tonight & so did not go to town. All the boys are gone so it is quite as heck here now. The only noise is the gas stove crackling. I played my little flute for a while but ran out of wind so quit, I blew myself dizzy. Another thing that improved today is that we now have 2 sheets, & spare pillow case, I don’t know what it is for but we got it anyway. I think I will try them out soon so I will say goodnight, we have a formation at 7:30 tomorrow, will mail this then. All my love Ted.
03-03-44: Hello folks, Well today is almost gone & I am soon going to the hay. We got up a 6:00 A.M. this morning & washed, ate breakfast & met our crew at 07:30. We had another physical check up & I received 2 more shots & another vaccination, we finished at 11:00 but had to go back this afternoon to fill out forms. It seems like you can’t turn around without filling out a form of some type.
I went to the post theater tonight & saw a very good picture. I think I will stay on post nights after this, when I go into town I spend a lot of cash & also get all tired out, old Harves, the boy I roomed with in advanced is in my squadron & group, so I hope we may be together for some time, but you never can tell.
About those pants mom, I paid $12.50 per pair at Stuttgart, & did not intend to pay so much. 1 pair at that price is sufficient , if you can tell them soon enough, we will change to sun-tan uniforms shortly anyway, but if it is too late don’t worry with it. The little cash difference is not worth the worry.
I took another shower tonight, it feels good to be clean. I take a hot one & then a cold one & feel warm all evening. The bath rope you gave me comes in handy as the latrine is about 1/2 block from the barracks. I as I told you last night, I have all my teeth filled now & only have one more shot & I will be OK physically, boy it feels good to be through. The weather is sad again. It rained nearly all day today. If it continues we will not fly for another week. It has been nearly 2 weeks since I have been home & seems like a year. I was glad Web got home. Tell Don hello for me. Well the old sack is calling so I will go hit the hay. Good night, 11:30 PM now, lots of love Ted..
03-05-44: Hello folks, another Sunday has passed. I went into town this afternoon & saw a movie, then went to dinner, I had a swell steak $1.50, small but really tender. I slept this morning until 11:00, shaved, ate dinner and took off for town. It was a perfect day today & boy I sure wished I were home. It gripes me when I have time off and nothing to do, but I think we will start going to ground school tomorrow & that will take up my time. We have to get up at 06:00, I am in the room next mine now, with my navigator, I have been killing cock roaches, so far, we have accounted for 27 & 2 mosquitoes. They are thick as heck. Yesterday they dusted the barracks to kill them but it did no good. They crawl up the walls & over everything. I have a new address now so note it on the outer envelope Lt. T.V. Harwood 0-8224434, 335 Bomb Crew Section, Barksdale Field. Shreveport, LA . well one more cockroach just bit the dust, he just came across the floor & John got him, that makes 28 this evening.
Last night I had 5 drinks & 2 beers, the first pilot, navigator & went out together, our pilot is a pretty good egg. I got a hell of a head ache out of the hole deal, we went to some club & I had a couple of dances with a gal there but it was so crowded that you didn’t have a chance, this damn south is no good in my estimation, & also about 90% of the boys feel the same way. Well enough bitching, I am going to hit the sack & try to sleep, the way I feel right now, that won’t be hard. Lots of love Ted.
03-13-44: Hello folks, Monday morning once more, for once no ground school this morning, I went to our meeting that we have at 6:50 and then the flight line, but I was not scheduled for anything. This afternoon, Sunday, we had school in the morning from 7:30 to 12:00. I passed my 10 word per minute code check, we also have to pass 8 word blinker light & send 10 words. Last night I went to the post theater & saw “See Here Private Hargrove” . It was a good show, got to bed about 11:00. (***).
03-16-44: Dear folks, Thursday we would get up today, but the weather was bad, so it will be either Sat or Monday before I get up. Tomorrow I am scheduled for navitrainer, it is something like link but trains you to navigate.
Yes, Dick Carter is in Louisiana in fact he is in the same squadron as I. I came out of our ready room day before yesterday & saw him standing in the door, it sure surprise us both. I see him every day. Went to town with him night before last. We went to a movie & went to a dance for a little while . It seemed like I were home again seeing someone I knew. I will be with him for at least 2 months, he only lives 1/2 block from me.
Thanks for the stamp mom & the letters too. I received some cookies from Faye and Stan today, they were really good. Also, the pictures you sent me. I think I will send them home mom, as I can not keep them. Well, I don’t need to look at my picture when I see myself in the mirror 3 times a day.
I just took a shower, I am going to dress and go to dinner now. I think I will go to the post boxing matches tonight, are free and have some swell fights. I will go over to get Dick to go with me. I will say so-long for now, lots of love Ted.
03-19-44: Dear Folks, Sunday evening, 10:10 PM. I just got back from town, went to a movie this afternoon, ate in town & then came back out to camp. It rained this morning but is clear & cold now.
Yesterday I was on duty as officer of the day, so I don’t go to class. I still have not flown but, but I am sure we will start next week. I received your swell box of cookies & candy. Thanks a million, & I think I want to ask you, will you call up Mrs. Emerson & get Jacks address for me? That guy hardly ever writes. I don’t get much mail from any of the boys lately, don’t know what’s the matter. I have those pictures you sent me all wrapped, they are really swell, but I can not keep them. I do not want to look at myself anyway, so I will mail them soon.
Does pop still want a florescent lamp for his bed? They have some in town & I will send one & some spare bulbs if he still wants one. I think I told you I wrote that tailoring co. to send 1 pair of pants, that’s plenty anyway.
Well folks, I will say goodnight for another week end. By the way, why don’t you folks have your pictures taken, Faye & I will have them paid for, “thanks”. Don’t take any money from Faye for those glasses. I told her she could have them, I have another pair. Good night. All my love Ted.
03-21-44: Hi folks, well still no flying, it will be next week. All I do is go to ground school & sleep. I went to the skeet range yesterday & shot some. It felt good to get a shot gun in my hands again, it has been about 15 months since I have been hunting, I didn’t do so hot, 16 out of 25, but I am going back & try again & do a little better.
Tonight 4 of us went to the post theater & saw a double feature show, it was pretty good. It rained a little today but I think it will clear off soon. It’s been over 5 weeks since I have flown, it will seem good to get up again. I saw Dick Carter again today in the chow house, he is working nights this week, from 4 PM until 1 AM, at least he gets to sleep in the mornings. We don’t seem to have much to talk about, I suppose we each have our own friends & like to do different things, he seems very quite, but we do talk over home when we meet in the mess hall & sometimes down at the flight line. Well folks, oh yes, I want to thank you for sending my pants. I bought a bathing suit today $1.75, a $2.50 suit if at the PX, I got $.75 off anyway.
Did you see about the house yet mom? I want to pay off the bank right away, that money isn’t doing anyone any good where it is now, drop me a line & let me know what you have done. You forgot to write Don, it was his Birthday the 15th & I forgot to send him a line, well wont forget next year. Thanks again for the cookies and candy. Also, the swell letters. (E) All my love Ted.
03-24-44: Hello Folks, well for once the son is shinning & it is a little warmer today. The sky is deep blue, it reminds me of good old California sky. We got up at 6:00 this morning & ate breakfast. Then went to our 6:50 meeting which is not much more than a roll call & a little briefing on the weather, then to code class which has was from 7:30 to 09:00. I am now in my room & it’s 09:30, I cam back as my next class is at 10:30, on bombing. Our crew finally scheduled for flight this afternoon, from 2:00 until 6:30, so I will start learning my duties as copilot today. It is a beautiful day for flying so I am looking forward to it.
You asked how I liked the pictures mom, I thought they were O.K., that boy that makes them does a swell job. I hope you and pop get on the ball and have one made of you . Thanks for the post cards but it is just as fast to send a free letter as it is a post card. I do not mind writing after I sit down and get started , it is that initial effort that holds up the mail home, I will try to do better. Last night I went to bed early, that old stuff of going to town is getting old. I have worn my heels down trying to find something to do. I think I will get some tools and do a little metal work in my spare time , you can make some nice little gadgets from those shell cases & we have plenty of them here. Yesterday afternoon I went out and shop skeet again, it’s a lot of fun. Well, I will say so long again for today. Thanks for the letters. PS does pop still want those florescent lights for his bed? Love Ted
03-27-44 (AM): Hello folks, thanks for the fruit cake Faye, boy they are sure swell, the boys in here liked it to. There are 4 of us that practically live together in out section of the barracks, my pilot & me, in one room & our bombardier & his pal that live in the next. Tonight we all played cards , an old pass time, but tonight it was raining & hailing like any thing, I has rained all day today. A section of town flooded last night, I guess the sewer stopped up, all the “black boys” had to take to row boats. I guess it is really flooded by now.
I don’t know if I told you or not but I finally got to ride in a B26, or rather 2. I have 8:10 total time in her now, it lands at 150 MPH and takes off ate 170, she cruses at 190 or 200. It sure feels funny to ride in a ship with so much room in it. You can walk around all over the ship. I sat in the Plexiglas nose for two hours and looked out for ships while our pilot flew instruments. Boy the visibility is really good, but I don’t like it so hot, as you have no flight instruments and can’t tell what’s going on. By the way, I think I will cut out this Air Mail stuff, that will run up into cash, which reminds me, we get paid this week. I am sending this home, as I forgot to notice on you package your return address. It’s 11:05 PM no so I will say good night. Thanks again for the swell cake and letters. Love Ted.
03-27-44 (PM): Hello folks, well I have 8:10 in the B-26 now, it is a swell ship & really goes, although as yet, I haven’t done any piloting, not even from the copilot’s seat. An instructor pilot has been along to give our pilot different checks. Yesterday (Sunday) Dick Carter & I went into town & took in a show, & went to church last night. Had a pretty good time, they seem to have much nicer Baptist churches in the south, they have 2 in Shreveport & are really big nice once.
I received your letter with Jacks address in it today. It will be about 2 months and I will take the same trip Jack took. Boy that’s a long distance to cover in that length of time. These B-26 will cruse at 200 MPH so they really will step along if you press them any. I was glad to hear of Joe’s baby. I would like to see the little gal, old Joe to.
I don’t know much of the value of our house mom, but I think you & pop should think it over before you sell it, after all of your work on it & what would you do without a house? I don’t go for this rental stuff, but you know best. I don’t know.
I am enclosing a couple of snaps, the fellow next to me is our pilot, Bill Guerrant, he was just 22 this week, he came from Kentucky but his folks live in Texas now. Well, I will say goodnight for now folks. Lots of love Ted. PS I don’t think I will send anymore Air Mail letters after I use up the stamps I have! Think it’s a waste of cash. Love Ted.
03/28/44 (POST CARD): Hello folks, we had a bad storm today, so we did not fly, had classes this morning and sack time this afternoon. I slept from 12 o clock until 5 PM. This evening we played cards, I finely ended up loosing .75 cents, but had a lot of fun. It rained all day today and both the thunder and lightning are really having a good time playing the sky. I don’t think this 8 cent air mail is worth the trouble. I have six more stamps , I will use them up and then I think “fire” mail. Well I will say so long for now. Love Ted. PS thanks for Jacks address.
3/30/44: Hello folks, well, I have just finished dinner, I had broiled ham, shoe string potatoes, peas & carrots, and an ice cream Sunday. We few 3 1/2 hours this afternoon, I didn’t do much except run around the ship looking at different things. I turned on the power gun turret and played with it for about 1/2 an hour. I have 12:10 flying time now. Tomorrow night we start night flying, also, I get checked out as copilot-pilot. Yesterday I bought some more clothes; a set of suntans for $14.00, also another pair of Kacki pants. We don’t fly tomorrow morning as we are flying at night, so I can enjoy the old bed until late.
I went to town last night, saw an old show and had a soda. Boy I don’t care what town you go to, none can compare to old Santa Monica, and I will be plenty glad to get back. Had a letter from old Haviland today, but he didn’t have much to say, except the town was dead and (***).
04/01/44: Hello folks, we flew our first night “mission” last night, a short 300 mile cross country and then shot landing. Got to fly the ship about 2 hours last night. It flies very easily, especially at night, when the air is smooth.
When you get this bond I would appreciate it if you would let me know. I was paid this morning, $165.20, I did not get my flying pay as we have to get in your time before the 18th of the month to get it on your pay. But next month I will get 3 months and it will be about $35.00. We change into suntans the 15th of the month, so I can wear some good old kacki clothes now. I will send some cash in a money order later, love Ted.
04/02/44, (9:30 P.M.): Hello folks, another Sunday almost gone, the weeks really speed by. I t sure doesn’t seem like I have been gone from home over a month already. I slept until noon today. Dick called up and we played cards most of the afternoon, then ate and went to the post movies. Saw Buffalo Bill, it was a pretty good show, we got back about an hour ago. I have been sowing a patch on a shirt of mine, I think I will wear some good old Kacki clothes tomorrow, they are optional until the 15th and then it will be required. Starting tomorrow we have PT 6 days a week, and worse than that, from 07:00 until 08:00 in the morning, boy that will be hard on my moral, we eat in our PT clothes & then go to PT so we don’t start ground school until 09:00, it will be a change anyway.
Dick and I were going to take some photos today, but it rained & was dark & overcast all day. We will get some though when the sun is out full. We didn’t fly Saturday as there were no ships ready to go, & are not scheduled to fly tomorrow but I have Navitrainer with out navigator & radio man, it takes 2 hours, & boy is that thing sensitive, every time someone moves around it goes off course or losses altitude, well I will close now as (***).
04/04/44: Hello folks, I have been OK and feeling fine but have been double crossed. I was on shipping orders and all packed up to go. At the last minute they took five of us boys off and told us to wait until Monday for further instructions, so I don’t know what will happen.
I received a letter from Faye today, I was glad to get it as it was the only one I received for three days. It seems it is always that way, I get 8 or 9 in one day and then go for a long stretch without getting any. It is sort of hard for me to write long hand as I have not been writing this way for a long while, so you will have to excuse me.
I had another shot in the arm today, a tetanus, the second. I have one more and I will be all through. Last night I went to the show and saw “Wake Island” , it was at the Rollerdrome and lasted for about three hours, when I returned to the old barracks I was really fogged out, today is really hot , the sun is not very bright, but you sit and sweat. Will you please send me my watch, I am going to buy an elastic band like Webster had, I can get a swell one fore $6.00, I saw one in Nashville for $11.00 and in the Post Exchange, the same one is $6.00
All of the wash-outs have shipped out today, about 200 of them, they went to Saint Petersburg, Florida. There are only 5 navigators and four pilots left. I don’t know how long I will be here. Thanks for the letters, love always, Ted.
04/05/44: Hello folks, another day completed. We flew 4 hours today and made 2 landings, 2 hours of formation for the pilot and 2 hors of interments for me. Tomorrow night we fly into Texas for a little cross country trip. There is nothing much to do on a navigation mission, as the navigator keeps a log on your position, we either listen to the radio or I go back to the rear gunners compartment and talk to our gunner. He is a pretty good Joe, today he showed me how to use the upper Martin gun turret, it’s really a beauty, twin .50s and boy it really swings them around.
Tonight I went to the post theater with Harves, one of the boys I roomed with in advanced. I received a letter from Margaret, telling me of here going to Florida, from what all the boys tell me , California has got it all beat to hell. I met a boy here from Santa Barbara, a pilot in our class. He told me he knows a swell place to get wild pigs about 30 miles from there, it sounds OK. We ate going to bring home some of that pork after the war and venison to. He worked at Zuma Beech last summer a year ago, so we had a swell time talking about Point Dume and fishing along the coast.
I am scheduled for bomb trainer tomorrow morning at 07:30, so I will get out of PT , that doesn’t hurt my feelings. In case I don’t get another letters to you before Easter, I wish you all a very happy day, and I sure wish I could be there, maybe Don can show you those pictures we took when I was home, have you seen them yet? How did they come out?
The crew in the next room and my pilot went together and bought a 1937 Packard car, so we ride to the flight line now. That is when we get out to the car early enough to get a place to sit. We took some pictures of it today. Well folks, tell Faye and Stan hello for me and good night, all my love, Ted.
04/07/44: Hello folks, not much new to tell but I thought I would drop you a line. We flew 4 hours this afternoon, I didn’t do much as an instructor pilot us up with out pilot. I listened to the radio and after a while I went back and fooled with the two rear turrets. Tomorrow I get another hour at the pilot wheel, so far I have five in the pilot seat, two at night and three in the day. I have 40 hours in the B26 now, boy it really piles up. Well how’s everything at home? What did Joe name his little baby? And I forgot, was it a boy or a girl?
Say mom, now that you have decided to keep the house, take that cash out of our account and pay off the bank, that is if you want to. There is no use in paying that high rate of interest. I am glad Faye and Stan are living at home now. It is a lot nicer for you. I know by the way you talk, that camera of pop’s down to a camera shop & find out what number & size film it takes, I am sure I can obtain some for it. Don’t forget, then you can take some snaps & send to me. Did you get those 2 I sent you lately? Well folks, I will say goodnight for now, have a parade at 07:00 in the morning, I have to get up at about 5:00 as we have to clean up our rooms. All my love Ted.
04/08/44: Hello folks, well it is hot as all heck today, I have been sweating all day. It is about 2:30 P.M. now. I don’t have to go back to work until about 3:30. Last night I went into Nashville again, went swimming at the YMCA and had a swell time. It was the first time I have been swimming in over three months . After spending about an hour in the pool, I went down town and bought some cards and had dinner at a soda fountain. Then I took the bus to the west end of the city , they had a swell park there with an artificial lake with some Mallard ducks and geese, they also had a model of the old Greek Parthanon, it is an exact model and has all Greek collections inside. After this little walk I went to a very exciting picture. The weather is warmer now, but at night it gets pretty cold. Almost all the boys have moved from the barracks and there are only 11 of us left out of 50 of us in our flight, they are navigators and 4 of us are pilots. The other one they took off shipping orders lives down the road.
I felt kind of lonely last night but a couple of us started to sing songs from a church book one of the boys had and we had swell time. I think I will go to the show again this afternoon, “Hello Frisco, Hello” is on. It is a Technicolor film of old San Francisco. Don’t worry I am fine, since I have been working out every day in calisthenics, I feel much better, Love Ted.
04/10/44: Hello folks, Thanks for the swell box of candy. Boy I really appreciate a gift like that. Nearly all of the boys in the barracks had there fill today. I received it Saturday but did not open it until today, I still have one pound left.
Sunday Bill (pilot) and I were invited to dinner by some old friends of his folks who live in Shreveport, had chicken and boy was it good. They had a little 8 year old girl and we hid her Easter eggs for her. It really does you good to see a little kid have a good time like that. Last night we went to dinner again to a swell little place at Cross Lake, about 10 miles out of town. We are going to go out there sometime at day & do a little bass fishing. 4 of the boys bought a car so we get around a little now. Sunday morning we went tot church, which is the second time since I have been here, - which- is bad - but anyway the women really had on the bright frocks & hats, & all beaming with smiles, I tried to call but the lines were to busy. I Should have waited longer I guess, no much new here, no flying for three days. It is raining now and I don’t suppose we will fly tonight, we were scheduled to go on a cross country flight tonight. Thanks again for the candy folks. Lots of love, Ted.
04/12/44: Hello folks, the weather has finally cleared up and we are flying once more. Today our crew went up for the first time with no instructors along, it came out OK. We shot five landings and the antenna came loose and started banging on the side of the ship and we had to come in and land. Tomorrow we are scheduled to drop ten bombs from 10,000 feet. That is a lot of fun, as I don’t have much to do.
well, I suppose I might as well tell you, I had my hair cut to 1/2 all over, it really feels swell. four of us all had it done. I bought a brush in town and am going to keep brushing it against the grain until it sticks straight up, then it will really look good. I took some snaps of it and some of the boys. I will send them along when I finish taking the roll. I am including a couple of snaps taken with the car the boys bought, the barracks in the back ground are the ones we live in.
Thanks again for the candy you sent me, we are eating it again tonight. we went to the show tonight and then came back to the barracks. I think I will go to the boxing match tomorrow night, they are usually pretty good. The darn car has a flat and we don’t seem to get around to fixing it. I guess we’ll have to get a kit and patch it tomorrow. Well folks, as you see, there is not much new to write about.
We went to the skeet range yesterday morning and I shot 50 rounds, had a hell of a lot of fun. We fly 1/2 of each day and don’t have much to do but loaf the other half. We finished ground school about a week ago, so I usually get about three hours extra sleep in the morning or afternoon each day. Tell Faye and Stan hello for me, I’ll drop them a line soon, love Ted.
04/15/44: Hello folks, well, I have had quite a time since I wrote you last, which was some time ago. We went on a night cross-country flight from Barksdale to Roger’s Field in Oklahoma City. It was a two ship formation. The prop governor went out on the other ship and our fuel transfer pump also went out, so we landed there and spend the night. That is really a large city, but we didn’t have any clothes with us so we couldn’t go into town. All we had on was a flying suit. We fixed the ships up and came back the next afternoon.
I received the pants and paid for them OK.. Don’t worry about my financial status mom, as I still have $88.00 in the check book. By the way, I wonder if you could send me another pair of pants and a shirt. Those Kacki ones, I seem to get the dirty faster than the laundry I can keep them clean.
Dick Carter just phoned me and wants to go to the show this afternoon, so I think I will go. He said he is going to a school in Orlando, Florida for two weeks , boy I hope he gets to fly down as those trains are really sad things in which to travel.
Have you ever heard from Jack Emerson? I have written him twice and no answer. If you see his folks, I would like to know how he is doing. That’s about all the news I can think of now folks. I will try to send you some snaps of my short hair cut next week. Everything is OK here so don’t worry. Love Ted. PS hello Faye and Stan.
04/18/44 (PS note new address): Hello mom and pop, we had a buy day today folks. We flew down over the Golf of Mexico and did a little splash gunnery, that’s shoots at white caps, and different things on the water. We went down to 500 feet and proceeded to circle around while each crew member shot the different guns. I shot around 200 rounds of .50 caliber shells, some from the nose gun, some from the tail turret, some from the waist guns. We just arrived back at the field in time, as we are having a bad thunder storm now. It came in about 1/2 hour after we landed.
Dick Carter leaves for Florida tomorrow, he borrowed my camera and took some pictures, I am going to have them developed for him, he will be gone about 3 weeks. I received the little card from those book people in Texas, I sent it to Stuttgart to try to get those books Harves and I ordered. Thanks for sending it. Also, thanks for the stamps.
Tomorrow we rest all day, as we are schedules to fly tomorrow nigh, but I doubt it, as the weather will not permit it. I feel like a little sack time is going to come in handy. I am enclosing a money order for $25.00, please put it in the bank for me and tell me if you get it OK. I am going to send this Airmail as I have to use up the 7 stamps I have left. Also, tell me if you get the $50.00 bond I sent Saturday. I sent it free so it might get there after this letter.
Tell Faye and Stan hello for me. When they put this in the “safe box” to count up how much “majority value” I have in bonds and let me know, thanks. All my love, Ted
04/23/44: Hello folks, another Sunday is past and one more week. I slept until 11:30 this morning and then got up and ate. At 1:00 Harves and his pilot and I went to a little horse show and live stock. It was pretty good, roping and bull riding. Old Forester (Harves pilot) rode a bull for about 3 seconds, boy those babies sure can through you off fast. We went to have dinner afterward, a steak, but it wasn’t so hot.
I received the Outlook you sent me and also the funnies Capt. Rudyard Morley whose picture is on the front page is here at Barksdale now, I saw him and had a long talk with him. He flew B26s for a long time overseas. I received Fay’s letter with some 8 cent Airmail stamps in to. Thanks Faye but I still think they are a waste of cash. They opened the swimming pool here now and I have a good burn already. It sure feels good to get back into the water. It is only about one half block from the barracks. I usually run over after flying each day.
I had my hair cut off a little shorter this week. I will send you some snaps in the next letter of some of the boys and myself with our G I jobs, they look like “H” but are no trouble and are cool. Boy it’s getting hot here again. I hope we leave before it gets as hot as it was last year, when I was in Alabama, that’s just to hot. If you see or hear from Don ask him if he wants any more film for his 16 mm camera. I can pick up some if he wants it (***).
04/26/44: Hello folks, I received the swell box of cookies and candy today mom, along with my clothes, thanks. They really taste good just before you hit the sack at night, especially when you have a Coke with them.
Last night we flew from 8:00 to 12:00 and dropped 20 100# practice bombs. Today we did not fly as the weather is bad again, but we had ground school. I have link tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 and it is 4:15 now, so I have a little more than an hour yet. I went for a dip in the pool for about 1/2 an hour and it felt swell, but it rained on us as we were walking back, I took a shower so I don’t think I will catch cold.
Say mom, you can get swell cotton socks here for 15 cents a pair. The ones I had lasted me over a year and if pop wants some, or Stan, let me know. Also, white wool ones for 33 cents a pair. If so tell me what size to get, they are really good socks. I bought a dozen pair today. I also got a shoe ration stamp to buy some shoes. I finally wore those out that I bought in Nashville, Tennessee last year.
I promised to send some snaps in this letter, but I will have to delay them, as they are not ready, but I will send them as soon as possible.
Thanks for the stamps, I still think it is foolish, although I still had to draw $18.00 out of the bank today, as I went flat again. Boy the money just seems to slip through my fingers like water.
I received a card from Haviland and he said he was going back into X-ray work, seems happy, but says it’s hot there to. I’m glad I’m leaving this place on that account anyway. Well folks, goodbye for now, tell Faye and Stan hello, but I guess they will read this anyway. Hi Faye and Stan, lots of love, Ted.
04/26/44: Dear Mom, I received your letters of the 24th and 5th today, and also the papers you sent me to sogn. Well every thing is OK except one thing, the 6% interest does not go. I don’t want any interest as that is why I wanted to take it over so you would not have to worry about it. After all I lived off your kindness for 20 years and also I will have to pay income tax on that interest and the government will get it in the end anyway. If you can have those papers made out to the payment of no interest it will please me greatly. I don’t want to take it mom and don’t try and pay it. If I take it over and put it away, we can just forget all about the bank and payments of anything on any dates. I am making plenty of cash now and I don’t think it’s fair to take it from my folks, so please mom make them for 0% interest and send them to me again. Thanks.
I signed these mom, but if you read the (above) letter, you will see my view point on this 6% interest deal. I think you should make it due in about 10 years instead of 3, we can do out own business in the meantime, if we need to do so. All my Love Ted.
We didn’t fly today, as the fog was really thick this afternoon. We went to ground school from 1:30 until 4:30, then went in swimming tonight we went into town and had a big dinner, 6 of us. One of the boys in crew #9 is going to be taken out and sent to North Carolina for B-25s, boy he was a swell guy and we all hate to see him go. So we went out and gave him a big dinner, 6 of us. One of the boys in crew #9 is going to be taken out and sent to North Carolina for B-25s, boy he was a swell guy and we all hate to see him go. So we went out and gave him a big dinner and all the beer he could drink tonight. We came back early as we all had trainers tonight. I have link from 9:30 until 11:30 tonight, it’s 8:45 now and boy am I full.
I sent Don a 50 foot roll of film and will try to get him some more. We go over the Golf of Mexico tomorrow to shoot at a tow target with our .50 caliber machine guns, so I guess it will be a lot of fun as well as good training.
I don’t know how I could get home mom, it’s so darn far and I have no time off, but don’t worry I’ll be back. I am going to get a power of attorney made out tomorrow and send it to you so you won’t have to send me papers to sign. But please mom forget that 6% stuff, if you have to pay some int. put 1%, thanks. Good night now. All my love Ted. Hi pop, everything OK here, lots of gals, but none as good as Santa Monica can offer. Take good care of them for me, also that one honey we both love. Ted
04/31/44: Hello folks, Sunday eve once again. I really had a swell time today, Dotty, Emberton and I took 3 local girls and went to Caddo Lake on a picnic, we rented a couple of row boats and fished. We caught a turtle and a couple of perch, but had a lot of fun. Saw some water snakes but could not catch them. It started raining about 4:30 so we went back to town. We had a swell lunch, all the girls had a fried chicken so we had all we could eat. Also; lemon pie, pickles, olives, potato salad, cheese, potato chip, but no beer. It’s hard as heck to get hold of.
All of our crew wen on a trip to Kentucky and then to Tennessee over the week end but I didn’t have to go as a Captain here wanted to go along. I might get to go to Illinois to see Bill next week if the weather holds out. I had a chance this week but the weather was to bad there so it was put off until next week.
I am sending some photos along. Don’t loose the one with the names on the back, one of the boys is from California and I want to look him up after the war.
Well, I’m going to hit the hay now. Pay day tomorrow so my financial worries are over, I’ve really been skimping the last 3 days. By the way, I sent Don 2 more rolls of film, so he owes me $12.00 if you see him tell him not to send a check but a money order is OK, thanks, Lots of love Ted.
05/01/44: Hi Faye and Stan, thanks for the swell letters and I am sorry I took so long in answering them., but I don’t seem to get it done. The weather has been so poor that we have not done much fling. Tomorrow we are scheduled to drop 10 practice bombs and then fly formation to Hope Arkansas and back, that’s about 100 miles from here, but the way the sky looks tonight, I don’t think we will make it.
Tonight some of the boys and I went to the post theater and saw “Pin Up Girl” with Betty Grable”, it was OK , but not what I thought it would be, but it was something to do anyway. Today was payday, but as usual I got the green banana, my pay voucher was held up and it won’t be ready until Wendy, so I borrowed $10.00 from my pilot. it’s strange because he had always tapped me before.
We are scheduled to leave here the 13th but I don’t know if we will or not, we are so far behind on flying they may hold us back another two weeks. We go to Georgia from here and get our new ship and take a 1000 mile cross country trip to break it in. Don’t know yet what we will name it, the ship I mean. Well I think I’ll hit the hat now and hope it is raining in the morning as we get out of PT then, lots of love, Ted .
05/02/44: Hi folks, ah finely I was paid, $379.50, I am going to send $200.00 home tomorrow and you can sink it in the bank. For now on I will receive $239.00 a month, a will try to send a bond and $100.00 home per month. But here the food is so darned expensive, it costs like hell to live.
It rained all day today, so we got out of PT and only had 2 classes this afternoon, but they scheduled me for link from 9:30 until 11:30 tonight, so I am S.O.L. tonight. They give you a break in one way only to stab you in another.
This month I am going to keep an account of every cent I spend and try to find out where it all goes. Boy it really hurts me to think of all of the cash I spend each month. In April I spent about $120.00 and boy, that’s to much, I guess I must have some Jew blood in me somewhere. By the way mom, if anything should happen to me, cash in the bonds and get some more in 2 names, as if we should both go before they mature, they will be no good, so cash them in. You probably knew this already but I just thought I would remind you. There are two $25.00 bonds enclosed in this letter, have them put with the others please. Thanks.
Well, you don’t get much news in this letter, but there is not much new here. Tell Don to drop me a line if he received his three 50 foot rolls of film O.K.. I will try to get him some more. I am going to send some more cash on , chow now, so I will say so long for tonight. Lots of love Ted.
05/04/44: Hello folks, boy it has really been raining here for the past week. Yesterday we flew and went over Arkansas, all of the farm land from 1/4 to 1/2 mile on either side of the rivers are flooded. We had a real thunder storm last night. I was going to town tonight, but I think I will stay home and keep dry.
I had a power of attorney made out but have to have it notarized yet, I will send it soon. I am enclosing two $100.00 money orders in this letter, please put them in the bank. Thanks.
We have from between three to five hours of ground school day now; aircraft recognition, combat reports, etc.., mostly in the form of motion pictures that reminds me, I saw a damn good show last night called :Up In Mabel’s Room” . If you get to see it will be worth your while, there is a lot of laughs in it.
You asked if Dick Carter was going to combat! NO--he is taking a course on personnel equipment so he can instruct in it here at Barksdale Field. So you don’t have to worry about him. He is supposed to be back here in about a week.
Did Don ever receive that film? I guess it is a little slow in travel. I haven’t been able to find anymore, but will keep trying. Well, I will say goodnight folks, not much new, but I did finish my link schedule today, 16 hours, so I won’t have any more late at night--ah--sack time--. Thanks for the new of the Emerson’s, I have never heard from Jack since he left. Lots of love, Ted. PS be sure and write when you receive these two money orders.
05/10/44: Hello folks, well, I had a lazy day today. Some Captain wanted to go to North Carolina so our crew took him, he acted as copilot so I had the day off. I went swimming this morning and slept all afternoon. They think I need a little more link so I have it from 9:30 until 11:30 tonight.
I don’t think we will leave on time as our flying is to far behind, so I don’t know when it will be now. It was to be the 13th but not now. I am going to send home my bath rope and some other articles, I don’t want to chance loosing it as it is summer and I don’t use it too much.
Also in this letter I will give I am sending you a map with numbers and letters and you can tell approximately where I am. I will try to write and tell you first and if that doesn’t work I will give you the letters and numbers.
The weather has been swell for the last two days, but the sky is clouding up tonight, it will no doubt rain tomorrow. By the way Dick Carter is back and said he had a hell of a good time. He took some snaps but looks to sober (like I do) in all of them.
I didn’t get to go see Bill this week end as I had to fly Saturday night and I don’t know if they will have a flight going there again next week. I will keep trying, I would sure like to see the old boy. Tell Haviland thanks for the news on Jack. Is his address still the same? I will drop him a line tonight. That’s about all I have to write tonight folks and thank you for the stamps. Lots of love, Ted
05/12/44: Hello folks, Friday night once again, today we flew only two hours, in a new model B26, it’s really a honey, each crew has two hours in it to get the feel of it. I don’t know what model we will get for our ship.
Tonight we were supposed to go on a cross country hop to Dallas, Texas but the good old rain came so we ended up going to the show, saw a ‘thriller”, “The Yellow Canary”. I also saw a lot more film in the P.X. so I dropped Don a line and asked him if we needed some more, if he does have him let me know as they might sell it, but there isn’t much call for it here.
I wrote Jack Emerson a letter last night, but I doubt if I am here long enough to get a reply. We get processed Monday, I think it will be the issuing of articles we need for our trip. Tomorrow I have no classes until 9:30 so I can get some good sack time.
I think I will say a few words to Faye and Stan as I have received so many letters from them and haven’t answered any of them:
Hi Faye, not much new here, except two pair of shoes, I bought a swell pair of half high shoes and had them half soled over the new sole so I don’t have to worry about them wearing out. Also, I got a pair of low quarter shoes from the quartermaster, $3.30 and not a bad shoe. I received your $2.00 thanks, I had three pair of # 10 socks already bought tot send, they are OD in color, I will buy three pair of white and send them all. If you want any more let me know, they will not shrink, at least none of mine have yet. Shame on you, speaking of Dorothy’s “nacelles” especially to a hard up guy in the Army. You’ll have me wanting to come home if you keep up such talk.
I went swimming this afternoon for about an hour, I am managing to acquire a small tan, but I wish I could pick it up on those good old sand of Santa Monica. I’m going fishing with my gunner (tail) and his instructor Sunday, I’ll let you know how I come out. Cat fish are our objective. If we catch any I will send you a snap of them. Well the old sack is calling so I will give in and go to it. Lots of love Ted. PS excuse this duel letter but my kosher instinct wont let me waste two stamps.
05/17/55 (Wednesday night): Hello folks, boy we really had a long tough day today, & I’m all in, this morning we had ground school, which is nothing out of the order, but flying this afternoon really pulled the cork. We were up for 5 hours & completed 4 missions, the loaded 10 bombs, & then installed the 5 fixed 50 cal. guns & the ammunition we then took off & flew the “skip bomb” range & proceeded to drop our bombs, it’s done by coming over the target at 200 to 250 miles per hour & sighting with an optic sight in front of the pilot, the bomb is released about 50 to 100 feet in the air, so the old ground is really flying by. we made 10 runs, one for each bomb, then we flew to the strafing target, a line of 10 targets, about’ 50’ apart, we came over them at approx.. the same alt. & air speed & gave them the works. Also I got up in the nose & fired 200 rounds through the flexible nose gun, which I must say is a lot of fun. After we were rid of our bombs & ammo, we climbed to 13,000’ & had an oxygen drill. That’s to see if all our equipment works O.K. & to get a little used to it. When then went on a little cross country to Oklahoma City & back, that’s not to bad, but every time we go on a gunnery mission those darn machine guns have to be cleaned & oiled, & each one takes about half an hour , so bedraggled. Thanks for the stamps folks & the letter pop.
05/18/44 Thursday): Hello folks, Sorry for the delay in my letters but we have been pretty busy, in the last 3 days we flew 3 periods as day, morning, afternoon and night. This morning we are off. We dropped 90 practice bombs & took a low altitude cross country trip in the three days, each bomb was dropped separately on a bombing run, so it was darn tiresome. All we have left to do now is drop 5 demolition bombs 100# & 1 500 # + 2 fragmentation bombs, then if we don’t ship out the 29th we will lay around for a week & get some sack time. We don’t get our own ship until we leave here & go to Georgia, which will be our next stop.
Thanks for the box of candy, it is really good & tastes swell when we come in at night after flying. I received a magazine pop send me yesterday , & it was very interesting , thanks. I was sorry to here about Jack’s plight & sure hope he’s O.K. If you here anything from of him, be sure and let me know. I had a letter from Joe & he told me all he knew, which was not much. If I end up in England I will look up his Squadron & find out all I can, but they will probably know what has happened by then.
The darn sky is clouded up again today, so I don’t suppose we will fly, there has to be a 4,000 foot ceiling before the live bombs can be dropped here, so that is off unless it lifts, but I don’t mind a bit as I can use a little rest. Tell Don the PX has sold out of film but I will send him those 2 little rolls as soon as they get back in stock, thanks. Tell Faye and Stan hello. Not much else to say, but thanks once again for the candy & magazine. Lots of love, Ted.
05/21/44: Hello folks, Sunday evening once again and as usual it is raining cats and dogs. I have spend the day very lazily, I slept until 12:00 and then ate dinner, at 1:30 Harves, Forester and I went to the post theater to the shoe. Ate 4:30 we walked home and ate super, I took a shower and went back to bed. It’s about 8:00 now and I feel very restless, I guess I had to much sleep. I just finished a letter to old Haviland, I don’t hear from him so often. I suppose he is just as lax about writing as I am.
Tomorrow we are supposed to fly three periods, or about ten hours, but I don’t think we will fly at all as the weather is to bad. We have 90 bombs to drop and a low level cross country flight to finish before we leave, at least three days of flying with good weather.
I am sending a fur lined leather jacket home, keep the moths out of it until I come home, thanks. We are getting quilted duck down jackets instead (***)
05/26/44: Hello folks, boy it’s raining like anything again today. I slept until 9:00 this morning so I feel pretty good. Also, I don’t think we will leave here for at least two more weeks. They found that we have another navigation mission and seven more practice bombs to drop.
The bunch that is leaving the 29th are all processed and ready to go. They haven’t bothered with us as yet, so I don’t think there is much chance of us leaving yet.
I received your letters and stamps, thanks, also a box of cookies and a letter from Mr. Cunningham. It is 4:30 in the afternoon now. I went to sleep and slept nearly all day. Harves and I are going down to get the mail now. His pilot, Tom Forester, who lives in Santa Barbara, just left for home last night, he said he was going to drop in and see you folks, his set dad died and he got an emergency furlough, 10 days. You might give him a call, his phone number is Santa Barbara 21208. He is a really swell guy.
I received your letters pop and thanks for writing, boy those old beaches at Santa Monica were really crowded, I’d sure like to be one of them. I got a little swimming in here at the pool but it’s nothing like the old Pacific. I just thought I would drop you a note and let you know I would be here a couple of weeks longer so you wouldn’t have to worry. I think we will fly tonight and finish up our flying altogether, at least I hope so.
Hello Faye and Stan, everything is OK here, except a little rain and the laundry service I’ve been gypped out of two sheets already and it is slow as “H”. Lots of love, Ted.
05/29/44: Hi mom, it sounded good to hear from you folks tonight, boy it gripes me to not be able to come home. If you come down bring Ruth’s bathing suit, also an extra pair of my Kaki pants.
All of our gunners got a twelve day pass, but our poor navigator and I had leaves in February, so we were lost. Were are only allowed 18 days per year, Guerrant had ten days in December, so got the other 8. We have to have six months in between leaves, so I can not get the other six I am do this year.
I have nothing to do at all except hang around and keep the sack warm and swim. We won’t leave until the 17th or later. Well it’s 3 A.M. now, so I am going to hit the sack. Lots of love, Ted.
06/03/44: Hello folks, I received your letter this morning mom, I guess it is best that you don’t come, travels is so bad now that it is pitiful, the trains are as crowded as heck. The situation here is also bad. Not many rooms are to be had. I will get this time at home anyway when I return next time and it will be in Santa Monica and I won’t have to waste it all in traveling time. It seemed good to talk to you again and it brought me closed to home. I will call more often now, you take the bill out of the bank account. Also, send me the figures on how much I have in my savings account. I lost the book that had all of that stuff in it.. That card that you forwarded me was from Frank Hellenthal, he was married to some gal in Texas. I will send it home and you can put it in my drawer for me.
I am enclosing another money order for $100.00 , one hundred bucks in this letter, please put it in the bank for me, thanks.
I took a little hop with Dotty again yesterday, 4 hours, we have to get at least 4 hours in each month if we expect to receive our flying pay, $75.00 so I took it with him as our crew is all gone, I will not fly anymore this month, so you don’t have to worry.
I went down to the POX. and bought some T-shirts this morning $.50 a piece and not to bad. They don’t have them in town so I was glad to get a hold of them. Also, I bought six pair of socks, I was in town yesterday and bought a pair of pants and two shirts so you won’t have to send any from home, I can use them after the war, thanks anyway.
I am going to send my watch home as I broke it and it will take two months to get to it here. The government issues us a watch before we go over, so let pop use it, he will enjoy it and I don’t need it. It will be packed I with some clothes, so don’t loose it when you open the package. I am OK and have lots of sack time, finally, to much in fact, lots of love, Ted.
06/06/44: Hello folks, I’m finally getting a pretty good tan in spite of not being near the good old Pacific. Yesterday Harves and I went fishing on Cross Lake. We took a bus within a mile of the lake and walked on out. We rented a boat and took off. We cough seven fish in all, two blue gill and five catfish, one good sized one about three pounds. It was a swell day, and since we had our shirts off, we got a good burn
Bill Guerrant, our pilot, returned from home. He didn’t seem to have such a hot time and was all tired out, said the trains were so darn full it was pitiful and he only lives near Dallas, so maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t come mom.
Harves and I went swimming at the pool today. This morning I listened to the radio about the invasion, not to much news, just hashing it over, but it’s really started now anyway.
I received a letter from Faye tonight and she said pop’s car was not doing so hot, tell him to check the coil and distributor and see if it’s getting a good spark. He can do this by taking the lead from the distributor cap and holding it near the block and breaking the points, either by pulling them apart with his finger or by turning over the engine, if he can call Joe Emerson over some Sunday, he can get it going for him.
I am mailing a box home tomorrow with my watch and some other junk. You can get it fixed and pop can wear it. I will get a GI watch soon and I don’t want to take mine along. If pop likes those socks tell me and I will send him some more. Everything is swell here. Thanks for the letters folks, love Ted.
06/11/44: Hello folks, one more week gone and boy what a week, all I have done is swim, fish, eat and sleep and I still have next week with nothing to do.
We are on the next shipping list to go to Georgia , it is supposed to leave here the 16th of the month, I think we will have at least two or three weeks there as there are no ships. Some of the boys that left two or three weeks ago were back here on three day passes. I think I will try to see Bill, he told me he was going to Florida if I get this address soon enough I might get to see him.
I sent a box of junk home with my watch in it, please tell me if you received it OK. I am enclosing a copy of an allotment I took out, you will receives $100.00 every month and you can put it in the bank. This will save me trouble of getting money orders every pay day.
You won’t receive any checks until the middle of August, so don’t worry if the don’t arrive until then. You can drop me a line when you receive the first one, thanks.
It has been hot as anything here lately and it will soon be as hot as it was when I was at Maxwell field in Alabama last year. At night I sleep nearly naked on top of all my covers and still sweat like a drunkard. I hope it’s a little cooler when I get to Georgia. We will be at Savannah, which is on the east coast, so I will see the Atlantic for the first time.
Tell Faye and Stan Hello and I will call you folks before I leave here. Lots of love, Ted. PS Keep this allotment authorization.
06/16/44: Hello folks, Just a line so say hello, we are leaving for Georgia this afternoon. I am having Dick send a lot of stuff home, keep the clothing and put some moth ball in my heavy jacket I am sending. Give the phones and mike to Don and put the ammunition in one of the drawers in my room.
I am sending you some instructions, these will be needed in case anything happens. Lots of love. I will write you as soon as I get to Hunter Field, Ted.
06/18/44: Hello folks, well, made it here OK from Shreveport. We had an hour layover last night in Macon, Georgia. We had a good time and had a hell of a hang over this morning. The soil here is a white fine sand, it comes in all over the floor and makes living so pleasant. There are four of us in a room about 12x12 with all of our bags piled all over. I don’t think I will be here so long, so don’t write me as I have no address. When I leave here the Government will send you a card with my A.P.O. address on it.
I met an old room mate from basic today, he’s on a B17 crew, copilot too. I haven’t seen him for six months. He and I had the same instructors, we had a good old bull session. I don’t think I will be able to get to see Bill M. as I won’t have time to get away that long, I thought I might be able to make it OK but not now.
Boy it’s hot as “”H” here today, all of our clothes are soaking wet. If you want to write, you can send it to Barksdale and they will forward it with my other mail, but it will get there no sooner than if you wait for the card.
Don’t worry everything is OK. Lots of love, Ted. PS Sorry pop, father’s day slipped by, hope you had a good time, I will make it up next year, Ted.
06/21/44: Hello folks, another day of sack time. Today Reynolds, out tail gunner had a heat collapse, after the big night we had in Macon, Georgia. So he just got out of the hospital last night. Today Bill took him and had him processed.
I slept until 12:45 this afternoon, ate and went back to bed and woke up at 5:30 tonight it’s 12:30 A.M. now. I met another boy from advanced tonight, he is a B17 copilot. Last night I met a boy I met when I was at Fort McAurther and camp Haan with, Dave Connor, he lives in Oregon. We had a long talk and a few drinks for old time sake. I still don’t know when we ship out, six crews have left already and two more leave tomorrow. So, there are only four more in our B26 group, two of them are on leave for different reasons.
Our new ships are really sweet jobs, a much saver ship to land and take off as they changed the wing design on this model. We were issued a .45 pistol as well as a hell of a lot of other stuff, along with winter underwear. Also, heavy gloves and socks, so we aren’t going to any desert, we are probably going to end up near Jacks old base.
Tonight was really a swell night, there are a lot of long leave pine trees amongst the barracks and the smell is really swell, it reminds me of the good old hunting trips. The evenings are long and the twilight really lingers. Bill, John and I sat outside and talked a long while tonight and an old Tom cat came along and we petted him and listened to him purr.
Not anything to do until we leave. Don’t worry everything is OK. I have plenty of money and warm clothes. Give Faye and Stan my love, Ted.
06/22/44: Hello folks, boy, I’ve never been so tires of doing nothing in my life. Since our tail gunner was sick and we were put at the end of the list for a ship, all we do is sit in the barracks waiting for a phone call to go to the flight line and check out our new ship. It shouldn’t be long now, as we are the last crew, two others left this morning. This place is a lot hotter than Louisiana and the says seem a lot longer. One thing that’s OK by be is that when we leave here, we go north and it will be cooler.
I was reading the new Post and saw an article concerning Bob Emerson, it also had a picture of him in it. I thought you might want to look it over. I won’t get to see old Bill McCurdy this trip, as no leave or passes are available. We are on alert from 7:00 AM to 5 PM. The new ships come in and have to be altered and packed with equipment, as soon as this is done a crew is assigned to it. After a 3 hour test hop they take off for the P.O.E. . There we drop off our tail gunner and bombardier and pick up an A.T.C. navigator for the trip over, and boy will I be glad to get out of this damn south. Boy if I ever come here again I won’t know of it. There are many cool places that I know of.
This camp is very temporary as far as its barracks go, they are set right in the sand and the forest comes right to the edge of them. I took a hike yesterday but could not go far, the underbrush is so thick you can’t make any progress. I haven’t seen any game down here, a few doves and ducks and a lot of snakes, I never seen so many in such a short time.
I saw a boy I went to high school with, his last name was Johnson, but I forgot his first name. He was a copilot on a B17, we had a lot of fun talking over old times and finding out where all of the boys were.
Well not to much else to tell you now, so I think I’ll go take another shower and try to cool off. I think we will leave this camp in one or two days. When I leave here my address will be sent to you.
06/24/44: Hello folks, well tomorrow’s the day we take a nice long hop to P.O.E. Branson, Maine, 1,200 miles non-stop(we hope). Today we received our new ship, and boy it’s a honey, we packed her up and weighed in, all ready to pull out. We fly over Washington, Boston, New York and all those big eastern cities I have always wanted to see. I don’t know how long we will stay in Maine, our tail gunner and bombardier will leave us there and go by boat, that will lighten out load considerably. We weighed in tonight at nearly 38,000 lb.. when they leave us that will be 700 lb.. less with their baggage.
I had a letter from old Haviland today and it seems good to hear from the old boy. I will put a return address on this envelope, you can use it until you receive a little card with my new address on it.
I am going to try and call you folks early in the morning, but if I don’t wake up in time, just remember the last talk we had, I really enjoyed it. We have a hard day ahead of us tomorrow so I will hit the sack. I have clean sheets tonight so I shouldn’t have any trouble sleeping. I will write you again tomorrow night and it should be 1,200 miles north of here. Tell Faye and Stan Hello and give them my love. All my love Ted.
06/25/44: Hello folks, after I called you this morning we got dressed, ate, the met the rest of the crew and after a lot of paper work, finally got off the ground. The old ship really had a load, but came off OK. We took a course directly from Savannah, Georgia to Richmond, Virginia, from there on we flew the air ways, over Washington and Philadelphia. The weather started getting a little rough and stormy so we set down here at Fort Dix in New Jersey. The country is very beautiful, nice and green and lots of nice trees. It reminds me of northern California.
I am in the ship now as it has to be guarded at all times. We landed here at 11:30 this morning, Bill stayed with it until 4:00 and I stay until 9:00 and then the tail gunner is going to sleep I it tonight.
There are a lot of boys grounded here that were going along the same route as us. It seemed good to talk to you folks last night and I missed talking to Faye and Stan who are usually there. I didn’t get to call Ruth as I had to leave the phone to go on our little trip. We flew over the field Haviland is stationed at, Maxton, North Carolina. We were 10,000 feet over it and that’s as close as I have been to old Haviland for well over a year. We saw the capital and city, but Philadelphia is twice the size of Washington.
I will enclose my new address, you can use it until I send you another: A.P.O. 16170 - AE-33 C/O Postmaster New York, NY. Of course you will still put my name and serial number 0-8224434. I don’t know when we will leave this field, but it’s only about a three hour hop until we hit P.O.E.. Don’t worry folks and give Faye and Stan my love when they return from their trip. All my love, Ted.
07/02/44: Hello folks, still (CENSORED) waiting to continue (CENSORED) another boy and I took off on a long hike and saw some of the country. Lots of pine trees and some Birch. We found a swell fresh water stream with lots of trout in it, tomorrow we are going to try our luck. It is hard to go to bed here as it stays light so long and then only dark for three or four hours a night.
I went swimming in a river a few days ago, the first good swim I have had since I was home. It was cold as “H”, but after a while I became accustom to the chill. We tried to catch fish in it, but it’s to swift.
I do not receive your mail here so I will probably get a large bundle of it once I get over seas. I don’t know how long we will stay here, but I don’t mind as it is a swell post. Clean pine air and lots of room to roam around. The food is swell and cheap, and lots of it. I will drop you a line tomorrow and let you know how our fishing trip comes out. Tell the folks and kids hello as I am pretty tired and will write them later in the week. Lots of love, Ted.
07/05/44 (Iceland): Hello folks, everything is OK and I am feeling fine. We have done a lot of flying in the last few days, and haven’t to far to got to our final destination. We went fishing again yesterday and caught two fish that resemble those spiny sculpin that we used to catch in Santa Monica. Two days ago I saw a boy I went all through High school with, Dick Christianson. He is the navigator in a B17. We had a talk of good old Santa Monica. I don’t think we will be here long, at least I hope not, the base isn’t built for comfort, it is dusty and rocky. I will drop you a line when we reach the end tell you a little more. Say hello to Faye and Stan for me and tell them I am still no trout fisherman, but do O.K. in the ocean. Lots of love Ted. PS: I found out it’s OK to tell you we are in Iceland so I added it. Thought you would like to know.
07/08/44 (Tuesday P.M. England): Dear folks, sorry for not writing you for a spell, but don’t worry if you fail to hear from me every now and then. We moved back to England and everything is in a hell of a mess, including the misplacing of a lot of my stuff. I am going to try and send home some stuff. Did you every receive the $100. check from England and the $100.00 money order I sent from Ireland? Try to drop me a line and let me know . I have a hell of a lot of trouble receiving mail from home. I haven’t had a letter from you saying that you heard I was in England as yet. No doubt you have been writing but still no mail. Will you send me old Haviland’s address . I have lost all my addresses and wish to drop him a line. I loose more stuff moving, two full barracks bags full so already. I would appreciate it if you told me if the stuff Dick Carter sent is home yet? Also, are you receiving those allotments I am sending home each month? $100.00 and a $37.00 bond. I would appreciate this information as I know nothing about what you are receiving, thanks.
Not much new to tell here, food is swell, we have damn good beds although no sheets, pillow s or pillows cases. I have three pair of pajamas I wear and have become very fond of them as I don’t care for these English Army blankets next to me. What ever you do, don’t send me anything to wear, or that I will have to carry around with me. I have to much carry already and can handle no more. If you send anything, make it candy. Be darn sure it’s wrapped very well as it gets rough treatment. When you receive anything let me know, thanks.
We get a little skeet practice in the morning, and I always enjoy this as it reminds me of dove and rabbit hunting. Well folks, I will say so long for tonight, tell Faye and Stan hello for me, also Mr. and Mrs. Haviland. All my love Ted.
07/10/44: Hello folks, I have finally arrived in old England and have been here in old England and have been here a little while. I have seen quite a bit of the country side and a few countries from the ground and a lot from the air, all of the towns are old as heck and are nearly all brick. We saw some of the bombed buildings in London. They are having trouble with those “buzz” bombs now, they really knock “H” out of the buildings.
The boys and I are having quite a time with this English money. The pennies are about the size of a four bit piece and really fill your pockets. The paper currency is in pound notes, which is worth about $4.03 and in ten shilling note which is worth $2.00. In coins they have a crown $1.00, 1/2 crown $.50, 2 shilling $.40, 1 shilling $.20, sixpence $.10, three pence-$.05. We played poker today on the train and learned all about it. I came out about $6.00 ahead. By the way mom, did you ever receive the two $50.00 checks I sent you about two weeks ago?
I have not received any mail since I left Barksdale, so I expect to get quite a bunch of it in a little while. Also, did you receive the two boxes I had Dick Carter send from Barksdale, my jacket in a lug box, a bag in a big cardboard box. Please tell me in your next letter if received the cash and the boxes, thanks.
Well I am going to hit the sack and will drop you a line again soon. Don’t worry as everything is OK here, old Harves and Forester are here too. They left a week later than us and finally caught up with us. I’m looking forward to the mail, I think I will get it this week. Lots of Love Ted..
7/14/44: Hi Faye and Stan and folks, I am sorry I have no “V” mail stamps or air mail stamps, but we are moving again and had them all packed. They are probably on another plane or boat as they left a day before we did.
I haven’t been doing much except shooting dice and playing “Black Jack” , I won $40.00 last night and sent a $100.00 finance check home, that’s $200.00 in the last month. Two checks in route from that base in route, tell me if you receive them, OK mom.
Boy these poor gals over here sure do suffer as far as looks go, they have very few socks, what they do have are very dark and course. It sure looks strange to see them in shoes with no socks. Even those bobby socks are rationed heavily and only one dress every six months. They also ration our P.X. needs ; 2 blades per week, 3 candy, 1 gum, 1 soap, -etc.. so it not so free with us either but among us we do OK, especially since we have 3 cases of “K” rations from our ship.
I don’t know how long until I am assigned to an operational base, but it will be a little time at least. I am going into town tonight so I can’t loose at gambling. If mom sees Mrs. Emerson let me know what she hears of Jack. I will send you my permanent A.P.O. as soon as I am assigned.
07/13/44: Dear folks, I have not written for a while do to a little more travel. We are now in Ireland and it’s a very pretty country. I spend a night in Belfast and it is a very nice place. We slept on some clean sheets and soft beds, also some darn good food. It is not nearly as hard to get good food here as in England.
Bill Guerant and I bought a couple of English bikes today so we will not have to walk our poor feet to death. Now, did you ever receive my two $50.00 checks I sent from one of my stops on the way over? Also, $100.00 I sent from England? Please tell me when you do, thanks. I have quite a few bills for my short snorter note now, but from now on they will come slow. I got some Southern Ireland currency today.
Yesterday I received the first mail from home since Barksdale. Boy it felt good to hear from home. I had three from you and one from Faye, one from Mrs. “H” and one from Bill McCurdy. I think it will keep up with me from now on. I dropped Arnold K. a line today and will drop Dick Carted a line soon. Oh yes, I also received a letter from Ruthie.
Everything is OK here so don’t worry to much. I am going to school again and I don’t know how long it will last. Don’t work to hard on the apricots. Well folks, I have to dress for chow, so I will sign off for now. All my love, your son Ted.
07/16/44 (V-MAIL, Sunday): Dear folks, Sunday has rolled around once more and I missed church again, I didn’t wake until 11:45 and then went to chow, I came back to the barracks and took a bath, the first since I was home on leave. These Barracks have tubs instead of showers and it really felt good. We have not finished our trip as yet and are waiting for transportation. I will be darn glad to settle down and open my B-4 bag and air out my clothes. We have been living out of them for quite a while now. Also, to let a few letters catch up with us, still no mail since we left Barksdale.
Last night we went to a little fair that came to town , had a good time and got in about 1:00. It doesn’t get dark until late here so the evening goes very fast. I will write you again soon. Not much to say, as we are not doing much, you can’t say you much anyway. All my love, Ted.
07/22/44 (V-MAIL Saturday P.M.): Hello again folks, tomorrow is Sunday so we can keep that old sack occupied. Tonight Harves and I took a long bike ride through the country. The countryside is really beautiful around here. We came to a little town and bought some soda pop, the first I have had since I left the states. It was foul tasting stuff but better than nothing. Sweets and stuff are really hard to get a hold of over here. If you can ever get a hold of a box of candy I would really appreciate it, but don’t go to any special trouble.
Last night I ran out of news and conversation, so I will continue this morning, Sunday. It is 11:00 A.M. and I have just piles out of bed and dressed. I am going to go take a shower as soon as I finish this line. The only running water is down at the shower building and Moss Hall, which is about 1 and 1/2 miles from here. The latrines have buckets to use, one open and one with a little wooden seat. Water is very scarce all over the islands, I am yet to see my first drinking fountain over here, they drink tea and beer and don’t bother with water. I have my canteen full all the while, so I don’t care much. Did Dick send that stuff from Barksdale Field yet? I hope this finds you all well at home. All my love, Ted.
07/24/44 (V-MAIL): Hello folks, the mail situation is bad once again, no mail in four days, but I suppose the boat or plane doesn’t get in every day. I have received six letters from you since I have been here in Ireland. Today we had school again, my seat is really getting worn. This evening I worked on my bicycle so long I missed chow and boy they don’t call you or wait on you either, it’s only from 5:30 to 6:30 so you haven’t much time. I blew out my front tire and had to put on a new one. Also I had trouble with my brakes and had to fix them. For dinner I had some crackers and broth from some “K” rations and two bars of chocolate, so I am full. If you want to send me some candy, it’s OK with me, we can only buy two bars per week but it might be best to wait until I send you my permanent A.P.O. number as I don’t think the mail is doing so hot on this one. I hope everything is going OK at home. If you see Ruthie say hello and wish her a happy birthday for me, it’s the 3rd of august. Hi Faye and Stan - lots of love Ted.
07/25/44 (V-MAIL): Dear folks, I spent this evening in the officers club and I am still here. I was able to get a little wine tonight and it was really good. We have been playing snooker and pool as well as plying cards. There is a British motion picture playing at one end of the club now but it appeared very dull to me so I am dropping you this line. It’s damp outside, as yet I haven’t had to use my raincoat. I will peddle home directly and hit the old sack. I lost my address book and it really gripes me as I had a lot of Army boys address in it that I wanted to keep in touch with after the war. Not much space here but everything is fine, so no need to fret. Give Faye and Stan all my love and folks, Ted
07/26/44 (Wednesday P.M.): Dear folks, tonight I am alone in out little hut, most of the boys are at the recreation hall or in town, but right now I am glad I am here as it is raining cats and dogs. One of those heavy storms that you think the large drops of rain are coming through the roof. We live in those little round tin houses that look like a barrel turned on its side, and the rain really pounds on the roof.
I am in my P.J.s I bought about a week ago. We have no sheets here so I broke down and bought a pair. I can’t stand these British wool blankets on bare skin. I sewed three buttons on tonight, after so long the thread seems to give way all at once and a shirt needs periodic attention (as you probably know mom). I bought two new shirts today, one pound two shilling for both of them ($4.40), which isn’t so bad for kacki shirts. When all of my baggage catches up to me I will really have a job. When I left Hunter Field I put all of my dirty clothes in a barracks bag and sent it over by boat. Then in England I put all of my clothes that had become dirty on the way over in my A-3 bag with my flying clothes and are still in England, I will recover them when we return to England. So my clothes are about all used up. I had to buy a new lot, I hope this doesn’t keep up.
I saw a piece in the paper about Christmas parcels, it seems if you mail them a couple of months early you need no requests. So, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. I need nothing, but candy is always welcome. I don’t think cookies will do so hot as the mail is plenty slow.
I reread, reviewed all of the mail I have received all of the mail I have received here tonight , it is good to go over them once in a while, this mail comes in spurts, I received six letters two days ago and two five days ago and none for the last five days. I will no doubt get a big package soon. I have been doing quite a bit of writing lately as I know how it feels with an empty mail box.
I have the radio on and have a nice musical show on, Bob Hope will be on at 9:30, so I am going to sit here on the sack and wait for the old boy. This English comedy is really corny. Thanks for the lovely letters folks, and all my love, Ted. Hi Faye and Stan, I will get eager and drop you a line.
07/28/44 (V-MAIL Noon-Friday): Hello folks. I did not get around to writing yesterday as I took a long bike ride after dinner and hit the sack as soon as I returned home. We rode about 20 miles and had a swell time, we stopped at a little tavern and had a steak dinner, they serve fried eggs with their meat instead of spuds, also they had five kinds of breads which were all fresh and good. We have just finished lunch and I am writing before we return to class. I hope you are receiving my mail OK, tell me the intervals at which they have been arriving. It has been seven days now since I have received mail from the US . I think it will be much faster when I receive my permanent A.P.O. number. Give my love to Faye and Stan. Everything is OK here, Ted.
07/29/44 (Saturday evening): Hello folks, another Saturday night and time to crawl into the old bed. A lot of boys came in today and old Dotty was among them. He is the boy that hit a tree with his wing while taxiing up north. He was a couple of weeks getting it fixed.
We had a good dinner tonight, creamed cabbage, potatoes & gravy, beans and for desert we had butterscotch pudding. They gave free beer to everyone who wanted it but this Irish beer does not appeal to me. After dinner I got into a little crap game and after an hour I was only $1.00 ahead , some days are tough. Tonight I went to the GI movie and saw “Gaslight” and it was a darn good picture, than came I home and looked over my old stuff, pictures etc.. I received three letters today, the first in eight days and boy it felt good to read of you folks at home. (E). Well folks, I am going to hit the bed as I am so sleepy I can’t think. I will finish this letter tomorrow, Sunday, all my love tonight folks.
07/30/44? (Sunday)?: Thanks for the letter Faye and Stan, they really come in very welcome. Mail is so irregular here that the boys will give odds of 5 to 1 or sometimes greater that they won’t receive mail that day. I usually pay the one . I think we will go to England indirectly. This whole UK is about the same, small towns with red brick buildings and the population is very much different than the US, especially out in the country, their accent is very heavy. You asked about weather or not we were permitted off base up north, yes we saw the towns of our stop where I wrote you folks. The people were of a very rosé complexion and have blond hair and their teeth all seemed shot, the G.Is at that camp explained that they all ate fish and not much of a vegetable diet. In the stop before that there were only two villages on the whole place and they were some fifty miles from camp, over ice and snow so we didn’t see their little villages from the ground, but did so from the air. Lots of love folks and so long for now, Ted.
07/31/44: Hello folks, I am enclosing $100.00 money order so you can place it in the old account. You should start receiving a check for $100.00 from the government now each month, let me know when they arrive. Also, a $50.00 War Bond each month. I also send $100.00 home at a finance office in England, so I would appreciate it if you let me know when you receive them, that’s $100.00 and $50.00 War Bond each month and an extra $100.00 I sent from England. I sold my bicycle today for about $6.00 profit so I will do all my traveling on foot for a while. I think I will buy another blouse as the dry cleaning takes so darn long here and most have a blouse to eat dinner in, also to into town, they aren’t to expensive, only about $25.00.
I received another letter from Faye and Stan yesterday, dated the 8th of July and the day before yesterday I received one dated the 14th of July, so you can see how our mail is jumbled up. Not much else to say. Don’t forget to let me know if and when you receive that cash. Thanks a million , everything’s O.K. here so no need to worry. All my love, Ted.
08/03/44 (V-MAIL): Hello folks, not much to tell tonight, took a bike ride this afternoon, we were supposed to fly but didn’t & we had some time off. I bought a blouse yesterday, so I won’t have to sweat out the cleaners now. I have 2 wool shirts, 4 pants + 2 blouses, plus a lot of other junk that takes up all the room in my poor B-4 bag. Today I received a letter from old Bill McCurdy, he said he received my address from his mom who received it from you. I haven’t heard from Haviland since I have been in E.T.O.. He is really off the ball on writing.
If you get a chance to buy some of the fuller tooth brushes send me 2 or three, those small ones, thanks. Day before yesterday I sent home a money order for $100.00, please tell me when you receive it, thanks. Lots of love, Ted.
08/06/44 (V-MAIL): Hello folks, I am back in England once more, & finally assigned. We are living in a tent for now, but will be in a barracks soon. If you can find any chocolate candy I would appreciate it greatly, any sort of candy bars. If you see or write Don you can give him my new address, also please give it to Trinity Church. All my love, Ted.
08/09/44: Hello folks, Wednesday night and ready for the old bed once again. After dinner tonight bill John and I went to the show, it was a sad picture, I left and came back to our little tent. It is nearly dark so I won’t write to long a letter. I washed some clothes this afternoon and they are dry tonight . They smelled nice and clean anyway, even if they did not look so white. Speaking of clothes I sent a box of clothes home today. (E)
I got this weeks P.X. rations today so I am eating a candy bar tonight, we receive four a week at this base also cookies, gum, razor blades and a bar of soap etc.. I insured the back of clothes I sent, so I don’t think it will be lost (at least I hope not). I have as yet not received any mail at this base, nor any from you stating you had heard I was in England, I hope to soon.
I met a boy I knew in basic today, he is a copilot also, he has four missions already. I have not flown any missions as yet and don’t know when I will start. We have had some local flying here so far. The light is pretty sad now, so I will say good night for now. I think Fay’s birthday was the 21st of August, but not sure. Id so Faye happy birthday and all my love. Good night folks, love Ted.
08/09/44 (08/10/44): Hello folks, I received your letter of the 17th of July today and was really glad to get it. Also a letter from Mrs. McCurdy. I was under the impression the two checks you received were two government checks for $50.00 each. You should receive another from the government for $100.00 along with one each month that I am sending home, being allotted from my pay and a $37.50 bond. Please be specific as to the checks you receive, thanks. As I told you in a letter I wrote yesterday, I sent home a box of clothes, I am going to send another with a rain coat liner, sunglasses, white scarf, etc.. Please tell me when you receive these boxes and the contents.
This Army is one continual packing and unpacking game, you never know what you will need or when. You don’t have to send stamps mom, as I can buy stamped envelopes from the post office and it saves buying the envelope separately. Did Dick Carter ever send that stuff of mine from Barksadale Field. I would appreciate it if you told me in your next letter. It seems funny that you have not heard from me since I left, same as the 18th letter. As I have been writing every day you should have heard by this time, not much news, and I couldn’t tell you if there was. We have had lots of rest here and chow is OK . Tell Faye and Stan hello and please tell me if the money from the government is getting there. Thanks, all my love Ted.
08/11/44: Hello folks, not much new here but I thought I would drop you a line anyway. I mailed a package home this morning with several items in it, my trench coat , the wool liner I picked up in Ireland and also that scarf Mrs. Emerson made for me.
I nearly went on my first mission today but it was scrubbed, so no soap. Just a lot of sweating for no good reason. Our flying clothes and a lot of other stuff is still some where else, we sent it on ahead and we arrived before it did. I bought some OD clothes and am wearing them, that’s why I sent some of my good clothes home, I don’t want to ruin them. My pen works a little better now, I just took it apart and cleaned it out. The darn thing acts up on me all the time.
No mail came for any of the boys in our tent today, so I’m not the only one in a sad state of mind, on top of that we all get our shots reviewed today and I have yet to take mine. All of the boys are bitching about their sore arms and trying to scare me as they always do, with those deep painful groans. I guess I will go over and get it over with, but I will sign off first as I will be in no condition to do so after I finish, but really everything’s OK here. Thanks care of yourselves, lots of love, Ted. Theodore V. Harwood (CP./ P.) 2nd/1st Lt flew in a Martin B26
Marauder, first night mission:
Mission 1, official 456th target/mission designation #235, was flown
from England on the night
of 08-13-1944, Harwood flew in Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31708 WT-B
(Gremlin II) . 28 100
lb.. bombs were released onto the Flers fuel dump in France from an
altitude of 7,500 feet, it was
a 3 hour mission with 3 pathfinders and 34 other ships of the 323rd -
456th. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.)
2nd/1st Lt. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST Lt. William B. Guerrant
Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt.
Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt.
Velton J. O'Neal Jr. (WG. )
Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Beaulieu, England.
The following are several a detailed post war accounts of
Mission #1 from Theodore V.
Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st Lt., one from the Pima Air Museum in Arizona,
interviewed by Major
General John O. Meonch (1986) and one from an interview with Ray
Harwood in 1989:
"Our first mission was extremely adventuresome. I will
remember this the rest of my life. I
walked out to the flight line and looked at all the different
aircraft parked in the darkness. There
were no heavy bombers, but I remember other bombers; Night fighter
P70, all black with radar
and Douglas A20's for night bombing raids. Just prior to the first
mission, a French lady gave us a
lesson in the French language, basic phrases. The first phrase that
we learned and memorized was
"I am an American" ("Je suis Americain") and the second phrase "I am
wounded" ("Je suis
Blesse"). We placed all of our ID materials, all of our personal
items, including rings, momentos,
jewelry and such items in secure bags which were left with the
section, the same place we picked
up the chutes and survival bags, which had franks, a map, butt hole
compass (named for where
you hide it) etc.. The idea was if we went down not to let the enemy
know much about us. The
survival bags were about twice the size of a wallet. These "escape
kits" were not large, they fit
inside the zipper pocket of a flight suit. Before every mission the
entire craft had to be inspected
thoroughly for any possible mechanical problem. This pre-flight
inspection was done
systematically and by the book, so as to protect the lives of each
member of the crew. Before the
engines were started you could hear the putt putts going, and smell
their exhaust. The list was
huge, from hydraulics to tire pressure. On the balloon cables: The
British would lower the barrage
balloons to let our planes fly out. After our entire group was out,
the balloons were allowed to
float up again. When we took off, we took off at 20 second intervals.
Everyone had a place to be
and things to do of importance, often it was within five minutes
from leaving the cold hard
wooden briefing bench to firing up the two Pratt and Whitney R-2800,
18 cylinder, 2,000 hp each,
engines, taxiing out for take-off. The anticipation to be the plane
thundering down the darkened
runway was an exciting experience. After the "Green Go" flare all the
planes insert themselves into
their assigned slot in line and head for the main runway. Mentally
and physically checking details
pertaining to the mission. A somber and introverted attitude prevails
as the Marauder takes flight, which
is quite opposite from the return flight homeward, listening to the
radio and chatting after safely
completing the mission. We flew at 20 second intervals at a
designated fixed air speed toward the
target. The first mission was flown at night so the usual evasive
type flying patterns were
unnecessary. The pathfinder ship would locate the target and drop a
flare at the "IP" (Initial Point)
and a flare on the target. At the "IP" the bombardier took over the
controls and flies the plane
with the bomb site until over the target area. When over the target
area, every third plane flies at
an altitude variation of 1000 feet, no formation or flight leader.
The altitude variation was to
prevent mid air collision during flight. So it was 1000 feet altitude
variations and 20 second
intervals. We were flying in the dark, and with radio silence. We
were flying with our instruments
with only small ultraviolet lamps over the instruments. It was so
dark you could not see the other
planes, even inside your own plane. The only visible light was
the "IP" flare, target flare, and the
distant, mute flash of our bombs exploding on the ground far below.
After the bombardier yells,
"Bombs away", the pilot regains control of the plane from the
bombardier. The pilot returns the
plane to the base. While on the return flight back to base we passed
over the Island of Guernsey.
The island was still heavily fortified and as we crossed over, an
aerial flare exploded with massive
flash. The entire sky lit up and the Marauders were like huge
silhouettes in the sky. The aerial
flare was so bright it nearly blinded us. Almost simultaneously, the
German artillery opened fire
on our position with 88 millimeter anti-aircraft guns. Each deadly
shell exploded when reaching a
preset altitude. The German Flak firepower was strengthened by
increasing the size of the 88 mm
light batteries from 4 guns to 8. To guard the more important
targets "Gross Batteries"
comprising 2 or 3 of the enlarged single batteries were created (up
to 40 heavy flak guns) firing
rectangular patterns of shells known as box barrages that often
proved deadly. Each battery,
large or small, was controlled by a single "predictor" (a device used
to estimate where the
aircraft would be by the time the shell reached it and thus provide
information as to where to
aim) which meant that up to 18 guns might engage one bomber a time.
When the flak batteries
pinpointed an aircraft the guns were fired in salvoes designed to
burst in a sphere of 60 yards in
diameter in which it was hoped to entrap the target and send it
plunging to its death. Each gun,
usually of 88mm caliber, could project a shell to amazing 20,000 feet
and could knock out an
aircraft within 30 yards of the shell burst. However, the shrapnel
from the explosion was still
capable of inflicting serious damage, tearing through metal and flesh
up to 200 yards away .
They sky was still lit up, aerial flare, flak blast, and search
lights from the frantic Germans below,
it was to bright to see the flash of the immense cannons below and to
loud to hear their air raid
sirens. As the flare faded, you could see the heavy contrast of the
brightly exploding flak
projectiles against the pitch darkness of the night. After a time,
the incoming artillery fell away
behind our aircraft and we came in and all landed safely with no
injuries or battle damage
reported. I slept well that night."
Harwood speaking with Maj. Gen. John O. Moench "I don't
think I was frightened, it
was just a new experience to us, we went in on a Pathfinder, ah, our
biggest problem was on take
off there was a white line like we have here at the end of the
runway, only it was it was in the
British stripe in the center. The white line came up and we pulled
off, almost at stalling speed and
we had quite a problem maintaining flight speed, finally we got our
flaps up and went out over the
harbor and we just barely cleared the barrage balloon. which were all
over the place. It was
uneventful on course, ah we picked up the ah initial point flare,
dropped our bombs, turned off
and ah at that point we hit prop wash very severely which ah raised
the hackles on our backs
because we knew just a second before there was another 26 there. On
our return flight we drifted
off course and got over - ah I don't recall either the Gernsey or
Jersey Island, the Germans
promptly through up a very high intensity para flare that lit up the
whole scene and then they
proceeded to shoot at us, fortunately they missed and that is about
all I can recount on that
According to a post war account by Maj. Gen. John O.
Moench; returning aircrews
reported their bombs set off violent explosions and ignited major
fires. It wasn't the kind of
mission that aircrews would have liked to have flown but the job was
done and done well. One
aircraft was damaged by flak in the target area but it was minor.
Mission 2, official 456th target/mission designation #237, was flown on 08-16-44 in the A.M. and lasted 2:00 hours. 36 ships embarked, Harwood flew Martin B26 Marauder, 42-96212 WT-Q (Patty’s Pig), and from 11,800 feet 4 1000 lb.. bombs fell from her Bombay doors to the rail road bridge at Neuvy Surloire, France. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st Lt. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST Lt. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( RG ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Beaulieu, England.
Mission 3, official 456th target/mission designation #238, was flown on the afternoon of 08-17-44. and lasted 3:10 hours. 34 ships and one pathfinder went out at 11,900 feet and Harwood flew Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31708 WT-B (Gremlin II), dumped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on the Beaumont Leroger highway bridge in France. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st Lt. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST Lt. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Beaulieu, England.
08/20?/44 (Sunday AM): Good morning folks, We have a public address system hooked up in each hut for taps etc. & some one left it one last night, so at 8:00 this morning the news came pouring into the room , & the volume was full up, so I was awake and got out of bed. I dressed, peddled my bike 2 miles (well not quite that far, about 3/4 of a mile) to the latrine, & washed and shaved . Then I peddled back, everyone is still asleep. & it’s very quite around this portion of camp. I am going to church this morning for the first time since I have been in the United Kingdom, it’s held here on the post at 10:00 & Catholic Mass at 9:00 & 11:00, chow is at 11:30 & then we have until 1:00 until classes start. We have 4 hours of school on Sunday.
I would appreciate it if you could send a box of a assorted choc candy bars if you can find any. The quality doesn’t have to be so hot , food is impossible to get between meals & we all have a strong desire for choc. & it’s tough as we can only get 2 bars per week. I have plenty of everything else . I think I told you I received your letter & Fay’s dated the 12th & 14th, thanks a million, are you receiving from this side O.K., I am trying to drop you a note nearly every day -over-.
Thanks for the letter Faye & Stan, they really come in very welcome, the mail here is so irregular here that the boys will give odds of 5 to 1 or sometimes greater that they won’t receive mail that day, & usually pay the 1. I think we will go to England indirectly, this whole UK is about the same small towns with red brick buildings, & the population is very much different from the US especially out in the country, their accent is very heavy. You asked about weather or not we’re permitted off base, up north yes we saw our stop where I wrote you folks. The people were of a very rosé complexion & had blond hair & their teeth seemed all shot. The GIs at that camp explained that they all ate fish & not too much of a vegetable diet. In the stop before that one there were only 2 villages on the whole place & they were some 50 miles from camp over ice & snow, so we didn’t see their villages from the ground, but did so from the air. Lots of love folks & so long for now, Ted.
08-24-44: Hello folks, Thursday A.M. & just back from breakfast, had pork patties & eggs & Cream of Wheat mush. It is about a mile to the mess hall so we get our exercise before breakfast every morning, now that we have a bike it’s not so bad. I think I will go back to bed now as camp is pretty dead & no flying until this afternoon, if we fly then. This English weather is really sad. Either fog or overcast, or if it’s clear here, the weather is bad over the continent. So I still have 3 missions.
I have to wash my clothes this afternoon, so I will have to conserve my energy. I would like to have a washing machine, but no soap, rather no machine, plenty of soap.
I suppose you heard of the liberation of Paris, boy that’s good news here. Also, of Rumania’s piece terms, things are looking darn good. I hope everything is OK at home, no mail here for 10 days now, not just in my case, but most all of the boys. Well folks, don’t worry, as everything’s OK here. All my love Ted- Hi Faye and Stan-
Mission Aborted, official 456th target/mission designation #239, this mission was on 08-27-44. Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31787 WT-K (The City of Sherman), According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990) “This mission on the 27th appears to have been aborted due to very poor visibility at the target, a railroad bridge across the Seine at Rouen. This target was in the area of the terrific battle of Armor and infantry which was raging. The smoke from the battle was so dense and covered such a wide area that it prevented any sighting of the target”. The ships were up over 3 hours and were unable to deliver a payload. According to Harwood (1969) the smoke was dense that one could hardly decern the ground and the sky and crews, much like flying in the dark crew members became disoriented. Of what could be seen of the carnage below, it seemed to go from horizon to horizon. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st Lt. John W. Kuczwara (Nav) 2nd/1ST Lt. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Lessay, France.
08-30-44: Hello folks, your wandering boy has gone a little farther from ole Santa Monica & is now in France. I received your last letter in England, but have not had much time or the needed energy to write. I have only 3 missions to date and none of them were very rough.
France has really taken the blunt of the battle & is in bad shape, her towns are not mush more than a pile of brick, but some of the people are coming back to (***). Mail is slow over here, I haven’t received any for nearly a month now, so I have hopes for quite a bit when it catches up to me. Tell Cina and Mr. Haviland hello for me, that German machine gun ammunition he had reminds me of this war, it’s laying all over. When you answer please give me Webster’s address & LT along with it, thanks, All my love Ted.
1st Lt. T.V. Harwood
456 Bomb SQ.
323 Bomb GP.
C/O P.M. NY, NY
09/03/44: Hello folks, well, I had a little luck today, the SQ. was issued some scotch liquor & they gave each flight 4 bottles, each flight drew lots for each officer in the flight & I for once had a little luck. Our bombardier also received a bottle so our crew is pretty well fixed for the liquor situation for a little while.
I have made out another money order for $95.00 & it is enclosed in this letter, as well as I can figure with this & all other money I have sent home, including 2 $100.00 allotments, I should have about $2,000 in the bank, including checking account. Is that about right?
No mail for so long I wonder how things are at home, I hope swell. Tell Faye and Stan hello & Don and Aybun to, I wrote them a line a couple of days ago. Yesterday I made a little lamp for the tent which works pretty well. I took a condensed milk tin & cut a little hole in the center of it & soldered up the other punched holes, took a 30.06 cartridge case & cut off the bottom & soldered it over the hole, ran a piece of cotton in for a wick, filled the can full of gas & lit her up, really works fine. For a reflector I have a 1 gallon can cut in half length wise, it makes the tent a much more cheerful place at night to have light in it. It smokes a little but then the tent has enough air anyway, it doesn’t make to much difference.
Our tail gunner is in the hospital with stomach trouble again. This is the third time it has gone bad on him. He is OK for a long time , the it goes bad all at once. I don’t know what’s the trouble , but hope he’s OK soon. I took my first shower today since I have been in France & boy was it cold. Open & cold. I have gone to the beach & sponge bathed before, & I think I will continue to do the later, although the weather has been sad for the beach. Boy I will be glad to lay on old Santa Monica’s beach once again. Well, I will say so long for now, everything’s OK over here, so no need to worry, take care of yourselves. All my love Ted (Sunday, Sept 3, “44”)
Mission 4, official 456th target/mission designation # 241, was flown 09-01-1944 in the A.M. and lasted 2:40 hours. 36 ships and 3 window ships went out at 12,500 feet and Harwood flew Martin B26 Marauder; 41-31787 WT-K (The City of Sherman), and dropped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on the gun emplacement at Brest, France. The strong points, gun emplacements and forts at Brest occupied the attention of the group for eight days This mission’s target was briefed seven times and bombed three. The missions above Brest were all well coordinated with the heavy allied ground advancements below. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Lessay, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990) The group now flew these missions off steel mat runways, at Lessay, and less than 24 hours after the planes arrived, thus being a part of the first American bomber effort from French soil.” -
The following is a detailed post war account of this mission and this base of operation by Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st Lt. “We eventually got orders to move from Beaulieu, England to an airfield in France. The French airfield was "A-20", the “Hedge Rows” on the Sherberd Peninsula. Just before we crossed over to France we left a lot of excess stuff behind. I scrounged up a short coat to sleep in. The ground crews went across the channel in boats. The ground people got around on bicycle and they were not allowed to take their bikes on the boats so they begged us to fly their bikes over the channel for them, so we put them in the bomb bay and flew them across. When we landed, it was on a newly made landing field. The landing field was made of those large perforated steel plates attached to the ground with huge, long staples. The ground crew had problems because the staple edges worked loose and were really chewing up our tires.
We arrived at "A-20" (The hedge rows) a couple months after the invasion of June 6th. The troops had gone through but there were still dead bloated cows and horses all over the place. The hedge rows were boulders, from the fields, stacked with bushes on them. Two guys went out m the hedge rows scrounging and blew their hands off with grenades that had been left behind from the battle. One morning I heard a huge explosion. I looked to see a tire and wheel 60 feet up in the air. A truck hit a mine, it also blew the guys' leg off.
From "A-20" we bombed the giant Nazi submarine base at Brest. We bombed Brest four times and on the return home from one of the missions, we could see one of the Nazi subs that had broken away and was trailing water. We would have probably attacked the sub but we could not break formation.
Between missions we went out scrounging around. We found some dead GIs. The dead guys were bloated up like huge balloons. They still had morphine syringes stuck in their lifeless arms, left there as they died in pain. We reported the dead to grave registration units. There was also dead German guys lying about. It was quite macabre.
Most of the fear, nervous anxiety really, was experienced in the briefings just before the missions. I never seemed to be bothered by these type of things enough to lose any sleep. Do to the long, harsh days, I never had difficulties falling asleep. Some guys would have nightmares or get restless, but I didn't. Some nightmares I came to me after the war had been over for some time.
The living and sleeping arrangements were simple but effective. There were four people to the average tent and the tents were about 12 feet square. The tents were small but ample. We slept on army cots, no pillow and no frills. Our gear was stowed neatly in our "B 4" bag. The uniforms folded neatly into the middle section of the B4 and the other miscellaneous gear was stowed in the side pockets of the bag. We also had the standard government issue duffel bag that had many uses, including storage, hauling, or dirty clothes bag. Some guys, including myself, made makeshift cupboard, or shelves, for various functions m the tent. The tents were constructed like most conventional tents. Canvas covers, wooden pole in the center for support and to give height. The comers were tied off to tent stakes. In the summer this was the standard living facility. In the winter the tents were modified. During the frigid winter months the flaps on the tents were tied down and weights added. This kept them from blowing in the wind. Wood planks were often scrounged up and used to stiffen the tent door flaps. tools were scarce, one person may have a couple nails, another person may have a hammer, and everybody borrowed or traded for what few tools we could get our hands on. In the winter it was also necessary to reinforce the lower sides of the tents and to put in wooden Page 15 floors. The tent sides were reinforced with 3 feet of pine like board. Due to the lack of carpentry tools we pushed our cots against the sides of the tent in order to support the reinforcement boards. The winter was wet, snowy, cold and muddy. We had to put old wood planks to makeshift a floor. The army supplied duck boards to cross the many bomb craters. We put them in for use as a sidewalk between the tents and mess-tent so we wouldn't sink in the mud.
We scrounged fuel equipment from an old Messerschmidt from a nearby bombed out hanger, left over from German occupation and we found an old 50 gallon drum. The drum was lifted with ropes into a nearby, large, bare tree. We then took the Messerschmidt’s metal hydraulic tubing and attached into the lower orifice of the "treed" fuel drum. Then we put a control valve on at the end of the pipe. Now we had a state of the art water tower. We removed the auxiliary fuel pump (wobble) from the Messerschmidt and used it to pump water into the old fuel drum. We didn't forget to flush out the drum and so the water in the drum was potable. Next, we routed the metal hydraulic tubes into the tent and the tubes were coiled around the old pot bellied stove. The water than came out of the tube into a makeshift sink made form an old light reflector. Simply turn off the faucet and out came hot water. Yankee engineering at its finest.
Water is something that we used every day. We got our water out of a military water storage trailer that had been brought in by the Red Ball. We also had what was called "lister bags" which were large canvas water bags with four valves on the lower perimeter to release the fluid.
Being that there was no hot and cold running water, no electrical outlets, no gas lines or other such modem amenities, good old fashion "Yankee engineering" rose up to the occasion. We used to take our outer steel combat helmets, fill them Page 16 with water and set them in the hole on top of our old wood stove This was one way of getting hot water. We usually used this method of heating the water to clean up, a GI sponge bath.
The firewood that we used for the wood stove was procured with a two man buck saw. The wood was then gathered up and brought from the bombed out forest back to the base where the green, wet, wood was stacked close to the wood stove. The heat and dryness radiating form the stove would dry out and cure the firewood for use as fuel for the next days needs. This had to become a daily ritual, for the wet green wood was unsuitable as a fuel source We also set our shoes near the fire each night to dry. We had no goulashes, so one pair of shoes dried and one pair was worn. That was you knew you had dry shoes for the next day. It was very cold and dry shoes were very important.
The stove was an extremely important aspect of our daily existence What little comfort we had m this harsh environment was given to us from the stove. The actual stove was a sheet metal, pot belly type. The stove was housed | within our living quarters, a square four man tent about 12’ x 12' in size The stove was a place of warmth for personnel, a cooking tool, water heater, shoes, clothes dryer, and more. We were given soap rations for both laundry and personal hygiene. The ration was one bar of "Lifeboy" health soap and one bar of G.I. lye soap. We usually washed up m the P.M., because that was when we had the wood fire going and we could stay warm after getting cleaned up. It was very cold. We didn't have time to clean up, or do anything in the morning. We were up and out by 4 A.M. We had such little time in the morning we had to sleep in our combat mission clothing. We just had to slip on our G.I shoes.
The rations we received were trucked m by a special military convoy. This was a high priority caravan designated by a red ball painted on The vehicles' outer panels. Nothing, and no one, was stopping them once on a mission. These were the trucks that brought us our rations on a monthly basis. Later, after the war, some of the men from this unit started a very successful freight company called "Red Ball"
As far as facilities for when nature called, it was very basic; for a urinal, a 5 gallon steel bucked was buried up to the rim m the ground. The bucket was filled with cobble sized stones. Personnel urinated m the rocks. Due to the spacing of the rocks in the bucket, the urine would quickly evaporate.
For the more serious toilet needs (i.e., number 2) we dug a 6 hole pit latrine. When it got full an old man from a nearby farm would come and pump out the contents of the pit toilet and spread it on his field as fertilizer. Needless to say, we did not partake in the fruit of his fields.
There were no latrine facilities on the planes, so even the longest missions you had to hold your own until you returned to base. Even if there was a place to go on the planes, which there was not, the nature of our gear would have made it extremely difficult to relieve yourself.
Our tent did not have a radio. I suppose some guys had radios, we didn't. We had some opportunities to listen to the BBC or Axis Sally, during non-critical flight time on the ships' radio. "Axis Sally" was a sexy sounding German radio broadcaster that would give Allied GIs anti-American propaganda.
We had the combat flight log and mission journals that I logged in the daily mission statistics, but I did not keep a diary, most of us didn't. We were just kids at the time. I did write home to my folks a couple times a week and those letters have a lot of information on the daily life back there, as well.
Cigarettes were a part of every day life during the war. On brakes or to calm your nerves, American cigarettes have a pleasant flavor. In the rations we received, there was always a mini pack of GI Cigarettes. You could buy extra smokes for about 4 cents a package.
We didn’t just smoke the cigarettes, we often used them as trade goods. You could usually get a really good trade m on goose or chicken eggs. Cigarettes could also be used to barter for services and we were often able to get village ladies to do our laundry. Cigarettes were so scarce that the local kids used to come onto the base and collect the butts. They would bring them back to their village and sell them to this one old man who would remove the left over tobacco from the old butts and re-roll it into new reconditioned cigarettes. One day I gave the old guy an entire new pack of American cigarettes. He thought that was the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. He was very pleased and thankful.
Some of the guys drank a lot of alcoholic beverage while they were overseas. Once a month the officers would get a quite sizable liquor ration. The ration consisted of: cognac, gin, scotch, Benedictine, champagne, bourbon, and armanyak. After each mission the Doc had rye whiskey for "medicinal purposes". You were allowed to drink all the rye whiskey you could handle. Some guys drank more. Sometimes the singing went on deep into the night.
One holiday day we cleaned out an old, bombed out German aircraft hanger. The hanger had a cement floor and we made tables out of the old debris that was lying about. We were going to set up a lavish 4th of July party. The party seemed to have been going well. We were having quite a celebration. In the process of celebrating, some guys shot up a bunch of colored signal flares. The flares were supposed to be used to signal us, to tell us of our mission status; green flares signified "the mission is on" and the red flare signified that the mission was scrubbed. In any case, that 4th of July night, as every night around bedtime, an old reconnaissance plane flew down to check out the base. He did it with such consistency he earned the name "Bed Check Charlie". This particular night the flares drew "Bed Check Charlie" in a little closer than usual curiosity more than anything. At the party was a newly arrived, anti-aircraft artillery unit. The artillery guys saw "Bed Check Charlie" coming in to investigate. They made a bee-line to their weapons. When the blasting was over, the ordinance officer* s home, which was 50 feet up in an old German flak tower, had been riddled with holes. His stuff was also tom up and "Bed Check Charlie s" aircraft lay crushed and smoldering in a nearby field. We ran over to check things out and found the poor bastard was dead.
We would go out and find old carbines and old ammo that was lying around the old battlefields. We could target shoot all day and never run out of ammo. Ray Embert and I excavated an old bombed out Nazi aircraft hanger. Inside the hanger was an old Messerschmidt-109. Inside the Messerschmidt were 37mm cannons. We took a 37mm cannon and mounted it on a hill. We took turns blowing apart slag chunks with the 27mm. The slag pile was from an old abandoned coal mine nearby.
Some of us would go out rabbit hunting for extra meat. One afternoon hunting I caught a wild ferret. We could put the ferret down the rabbit holds and the ferret would bring out the game or chase it out so we could shoot it. On a hunting trip someone killed a giant wild boar. They brought the boar back to the base. We were going to cook up the pig and have a pork feast, but Doc came out and told us not to eat it. it seems the pigs in the area were feeding on the many human casualties that hadn't been retrieved yet. We took the pig out and buried it.
Scrounging was the act of going out into the vacant building, bombed out structures, or into the countryside, to scavenger up goods or materials. Guns were scrounged up from old battlefields, some left over from World War I. Mechanical devises were scrounged up. One was a leather factory and we got tons of tanned hides. One factory was full of kerosene lamps, so we all got lamps. These areas were completely vacant. Entire villages with no allies, no enemy, no one there at all. There was one old church that the Germans had used as a store house for equipment. The whole back room of the church was a cash of goods. Inside a large crate was a brand new, unused, Messerschmidt 109 aircraft. The Germans used churches to store things in because they knew we wouldn't attack the churches. They would even put heavy guns in the steeples as a flak tower to shoot low flying allied planes.
Tom Forrester and I once scrounged up some old motorcycles and road around the European countryside. Around that time, Tom Forrester and I lived m an old deserted guard house. It was in a structure that had once been a POW camp where French kept Italian captives. It was the only base we weren’t living out of tents, so less scrounging was required.rom deserted German planes and old factories or industrial complexes. We raided a lot of German factories.
Mission 5, official 456th target/mission designation # 243, was flown on the morning of 9-6-1944 and lasted 2:20 hours. 36 ships and 3 window planes went out at 9,500 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder; 41-34033 WT-A (Ole 33, Gal), dumped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on a road block and submarine base at Brest, France. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Lessay, France.
09/06/44: Hello folks, not much to say this letter, but I just thought I would drop you a line. I went to a town yesterday & picked up some fresh grapes, apples & pears, boy they really tasted good. We have been doing quite a bit of traveling to different towns & looking them over. I get quite a kick out of some of the sights I see.
I have just finished shaving so I feel pretty good. Our little stove really comes in handy for heating water as well as “K” Rations. I chalked up one more mission, so I can add it to the rest. Not at all a rough one.
Yesterday I did a little washing, a little rough on 2 gallons of water but I made it. The darn water truck left as I started washing & I didn’t want to wait for it to return. Well folks, just a line to let you know everything is OK. Say hello to the folks, all my love Ted.
09/09/44: Dear folks, still no mail from home, but I know it is the post office fault, Bill finally received 2 letters today so I have hopes. Ray Emberton & Ralph Dotty, 2 of the boys we knew at Barksdale arrived in the group, so we have all the old boys back. We can pitch some good drunks now if we can get enough liquor.
Ray and I were on our 2 seated bike today & had a flat about 4 miles from the field & had to walk the bike back which griped me as well as make us miss chow, so we had “C” Rations, beans & also some canned fish he had, darn good.
I bought some real French bread over here, it’s darker in color & is much heavier than US French Bread & not nearly so good. I hope to go to the beach again soon if the weather permits, but you never know, it changes pretty fast over here.
I have one more mission to add to my growing list so tack it on.
By the way mom, I sent a letter a little while ago with a $95.00 money order in it, please tell me if you are receiving all of this cash, and be sure to keep a record of all you receive and when it was sent so I can check when I get home to see if it all arrived OK, thanks. This is my correct address, so use it & my mail is supposed to catch up to me:
LT. Theo. V. Harwood
323 Bomb Group
456 Bomb Squadron
C/O P.M. NY NY.
These flashlight batteries I am using are getting pretty low, so I will close tonight. I hope everyone is OK at home & you are receiving my mail OK, goodnight folks. All my love Ted.
Mission 6, official 456th target/mission designation # 245, was flown on the morning of 09-09-1944 and lasted 4:30 hours. 36 ships and went up at 12,000 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31861 WTN (Weary Willie Jr.), dumped 28 100 lb.. bombs on a strong point at Nancy Foret Du Haye. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Lessay, France.
09/10/44: Dear folks, Sunday was really nice today. The sky was clear and the air warm. Chow was good tonight, we had chicken dumplings, spinach, apple sauce & peaches. I am full now & am going to lie down & do a little reading soon.
I received my first mail today in 6 weeks, a letter from Ruth that I rather expected, as you probably know , she is to be married to some fellow, a defense worker from Alabama, I’m sort of glad & was very mush relieved to hear it. I hope she makes out OK.
We didn’t fly today, so all day in the sack. I dug a slit trench today, so I had a little exercise. I started to make some little trinkets, but my ammunition ran out, there are so few things to work with. I will be darn glad to be back home where I can find what I want to work with, you can not carry many tools etc.. with you as they are to heavy & take up to much room. I hope you folks are O.K. at home, give my love to Faye and Stan & don’t worry about this end of the line, all my love Ted. (Sunday, 10 September, 44- France).
Mission 7, official 456th target/mission designation #247, was flown on the morning of 09-12-1944 and lasted 4:20 hours. 36 ships went up at 11,800 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder , 41-34969 WT-S (Crew 13), dumped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on the Sigfried Line in Echternacht, Germany. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990) “ With the American onslaught breaking so fast through France and Belgium it became necessary to shift the emphasis of the groups’ bombing to support of our ground forces in Northern France and to the bombing of objectives along and behind the Siegfried Line in Germany.” 50 tons of ordinance were dumped on the Siegfield Line for the specific directive of supporting Patton’s armies below. Many missions to this target were briefed but never materialized due to bad winter weather conditions. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Lessay, France.
09/12/44: Thanks for the letter Faye, I was glad to hear of you being able to buy some film, it is impossible to buy it here. But I still have about 4 rolls of black & white & 2 rolls of color film. I think I will save until we got to Paris some time, that is if we can get away from the base that long.
One of our camps’ dogs had a litter about 10 days ago & today their eyes are open so the boys are going to chop their tails off. I have never seen it done, so I think I will go down & pick up some pointers. You can never tell I might want to do some chopping myself some day. Another piece of good luck today, the squadron got in some darn good bed rolls & I was one of the more fortunate ones & boy what an improvement over the bedding roll, my feet had the habit of sticking out the bottom.
As for the candy folks, I would like very much to have what you can pick up. We are rationed here & get from to 4 bars per week & as you know, when you have three meals prompt with no snacks a little candy comes in very handy. Thanks a lot, I have not, as yet, received any packages from home, but they are quite a bit slower than mail. Thanks for your letters & thoughts folks. Everything fine here- all my love Ted.
09/12/44 (Tuesday-France): Hi Faye & Stan, Boy you don’t know how glad I was to receive your letters with all of the home town gossip, this place is so far from anything at home that anything is news. I look forward to missions as I listen to the radio on the return trip. On the last one we heard command performance & really enjoyed it. I have seven to my credit now. I saw Paris from the air & it’s quite a city, I can hardly wait until I get a chance to look it over, the Eiffel Tower is really a big job.
Boy the local gals must be marriage happy, I guess those Douglas zombies want to pick up their wives before they return to their native haunts. I hope they don’t all settle in our little Santa Monica. Speaking of selling bikes, the Frenchies are going mad trying to buy them from some of our boys, I guess the Huns stole all of theirs’, the Colonel god mad and chased them all out of camp though. Guys were selling them everything from shoes to underclothes. I can jive their lingo a little now & do a little kosher bargaining with them. Reynolds, our tail gunner, sold a lot of stuff to them but will probably loose all his jack soon, as he never seems to win. He doesn’t have such good luck with the dice.
I took a lot of good pictures but have no place to have them printed, so I will have some record of my travels in France. I had my head up and cocked coming over & didn’t take any of course my camera was sealed, but a lot of the fellows took some darn nice pictures. Not much news other than what I have just said. I had a little rough time last flight though. It’s getting cold as “H” now at altitude so I dug out a pair of long underwear I had bought in Maine, I put them on in the early morning when it was still dark so I didn’t know it when I put them on backwards & with all the bottoms in the rear. After about three hours in the air I couldn’t stand the pressure any longer so I tore off my chute and ran for the relief tube in the forward bombay, but to no avail, I was blocked by my long johns. Boy I nearly died before I took off all my junk to get to those johns (***).
Mission 8, official 456th target/mission designation #249, was flown on the morning of 09-20-1944 and lasted 4:25 hours. 36 ships went up at 12,500 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31861 WT-N (Weary Willie), dumped 8 500 lb.. bombs on the Sigfried Line in Aachen, Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Lessay, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990) “ With targets along the Siegfried Line getting further out of range each date, it became necessary to move to a closer base. The group moved between the 14th and 21st of September to a large airfield, once the pride of the French civil airlines, located at the cathedral city of Chartes. The movement was made by the 323rd Groups motor transportation and supplemented by borrowed c-47s ”.
09/24/44: Dear folks, You will have to put up with a little worse hand in this letter as last night I was cooking some shoe string potatoes & burned the heck out of my 2 middle fingers but they feel a lot better this morning.
I have not written for about 4 days as we have moved again & have been busy getting the tents in order. Also looking over the new base, there is a lot of German equipment around & is very interesting to look at. I have a letter here I received from you yesterday dated the 10th, so that’s 13 days in route. I do not know why you have not gotten mail in so long as I am trying to keep up. Maybe the post office, no evidence of (E) four packages I sent but still hoping it will get here O.K., just takes a little time. Did you get that letter where I put down all cash I had sent home? By the way, I figure that $100.00 I sent by Army finance has arrived already as you told me you received 3 $100.00 checks & I took out the allotment & I took out the allotment in July so you should have July & August & that’s only 2 as this is September & that check is not on it’s way as yet, but don’t worry if that’s not it as I can very easily straiten it up when I return home. Eight missions now, slow as “H” . Well, I will say so long for now as my darn hand is a little tired. PS send me Haviland’s address, thanks. All my love, Ted.
09/28/44 (France): Dear folks, I haven’t written in the last 3 days as my fingers on my right hand have been bandaged but are coming along fine & are nearly OK now, I burnt them with some hot grease while French frying some potatoes.
I received your letter of the 6th today with Jack’s card & Bills letter in it. Thanks a million I am glad to know everything is OK at home, everything’s swell here except that I have a slight case of the hives, I drank to much lemon aide, made with imitation lemon powder, but they are nearly gone now. I was lucky and able to obtain some instruments from a German fighter ship an ME 109, there quite a few a little distance from town & also some F.W.-190 fighter ships, but they are pretty well battered up by now. I got an altimeter & a flight indicator, plus a turn & bank indicator, & they are in fairly good condition.
Not much to do here in camp, just cook and read. We had some cabbage last night , also shoe string spuds & onions. There is a garden near here which comes in darn handy. Just went outside the tent & watched an A-20 come in, had a little landing gear trouble, but made it OK. A little time ago I saw a B-26 come in & its gear collapsed & it slid on down the runway, flak had severed its hydraulic lines to the main gear, all the boys came out OK though.
I hope the mail is coming through to you folks OK, it’s reaching me but takes about 11 to 20 days, which isn’t bad. I will say goodnight now folks & all my love Ted (9-28-44 -France).
Mission 9, official 456th target/mission designation #251, was flown on the morning of 09-29-1944 and lasted 3:30 minutes. 36 ships, and 3 window planes, went up at 11,500 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31787 WT-K (City Of Sherman) dropped 16 250 lb.. bombs on troop barracks and convoy at Bitburg, Germany. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Chatres, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): At this new home (Base of operations Chatres, France) the successful raids of allied bombers ( from missions past)had left a dismal picture of destruction. Booby traps and mines were plentiful, and the” graveyards” of wrecked enemy aircraft were a constant peril to curiosity seekers”
09/29/44: Hello folks, I received your letter of the 11th today, just 18 days & was glad to hear that old Haviland was home. He sent me his address so I can write him now, that is if I can get up enough energy. I also received one from him and one from Faye and Stan, thanks.
Tonight Bill & I went to the GI show in one of our many bombed out buildings. It was an old picture but any are welcome here. It’s way up on the far end of the field, so had a nice walk home. It’s getting a little chilly here now but not to bad.
On our last mission I saw our first flak, little black puffs & not very welcome ones at that, they only hit our ship with one piece in a gun housing, so no damage. That stuff isn’t so accurate. Buy the way mom, have you, as yet, received a money order for $95.00, I sent it from the last base. Also, tell me how many $100.00 checks you have received from the government, the $100.00 + $20.00 in question should come in the same form as the ones that arrive each month -- clear -? I am enclosing a copy of our little newspaper we get here in France, it might be of interest to you folks.
Hi Faye & Stan, Pardon this combined letter but it saves time & space. I have nine missions now & still not to tough, now that we are in France we don’t have to sweat out crossing that old English Channel twice a mission & have to carry less equipment, for water crash landings etc.. so it makes it much nicer. Thanks for the letters & if you can scrape up any candy etc.. I would surely appreciate it. Thanks, all my love folks, Ted.
09/30/44 (Sat. Night-): Dear folks, today I received your letter of the 20th giving me the figures on the cash & am glad to know it is OK, but it doesn’t make to much difference anyway. I got a kick from my “V” mail letter, thanks for sending it.
I received a swell picture of Bill McCurdy today, he is still in Florida. Boy I will be glad to see the boys once again It’s been nearly 2 years now since I last saw any of them. I saw Jack last in Nashville & old Haviland last at Fort McArthur. I am sure we will have some good old times to talk over. I received that Douglas Airview Magazine about a week ago & forgot to mention it, thanks a lot. The last letter you sent only took 10 days to arrive, that’s plenty fast. I have not, as yet, received any of your packages, nor the Outlook paper you sent, but it will arrive here. They sometimes are a little beaten up but they always make the grade OK.
I was glad to hear that you received one of boxes, I sent 4 in all so I would appreciate it if you will tell me as they pull in. Tonight we have some steaks on the old fire & some shoe string spuds. My fingers are a lot better now, the center one on my right hand got worst of the burn. I think they will be OK in another 3 or 4 days. (***).
Mission 10, official 456th target/mission designation #253, was flown on the morning of 10-02-44 and lasted 3:30 hours. 36 ships went up at 12,000 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31861 WT-N (Weary Willie Jr.) dropped 16 250 lb.. bombs on the Sigfried Line in Ubach, Germany. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. .John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Chatres, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “The Chatres Headquarters was located in an ancient chateau on the edge of the field. All the squadrons were housed in tents and lived under field conditions as at Lessay. German prisoners of war, from the huge stockade west of Chatres, were used for the first time in helping to set up this new base. They were employed at such tasks as digging trenches, garbage pits and latrines”.
10/03/44: Dear folks, today I had a very pleasant surprise, I had a letter from Barbara Gillbers, and she enclosed a very attractive picture of herself. She has been a cadet nurse for 3 years now, I was thinking of her not a week ago.
I received your Outlook paper yesterday, thanks a lot. I was paid a couple of days ago and will try to get a money order of $100.00 to you soon. Have the bonds been coming through OK? I hope so.
Not much new here, 10 missions now, 1/6 finished. Well, nearly anyway, at 65 missions we get a 30 day furlough in the States, but that’s to far off to worry about. I got a letter from Bill McCurdy today also, he didn’t have much to say. He thinks he will be going over seas but he doesn’t know when.
We finally got a stove in our tent and right now it’s red hot all the way to the smoke stack. The heat really feels good. It’s been cold as heck the last few mornings and we really needed it.
Yesterday I received 2 letters, one from Faye and Stan and one from you. Thanks loads, not much to tell you tonight, so I will say goodnight and write you again soon. Thanks for the letters as they are very welcome. Goodnight for now, love Ted.
10/05/44: Dear folks, not much new here at the base, I had my hair cut in town yesterday & now look like a human once more, it was really getting long. Also, I have been out trading with the local population. Yesterday I got 9 eggs for a package of cigarettes & a sugar & a package of gum. They were the first fresh eggs I have had since I left the states. I could only round up 2 tonight, it has been raining and I guess the chickens had a rough day.
I had a letter from Bill Jones yesterday, said he spend most of his time in Seattle, Washington & in San Diego. Boy that little runt is sure lucky. I took my 4th shower since I have been in France today. It really refreshed me, so much I went back to the tent & chopped some wood for our stove, which is very difficult for me to lower myself to with all the beaters I have to live with. Everyone is always telling someone else to do something he is to lazy to do himself.
I took a trip across the field today & bought a money order for $100.00, which I am enclosing in this letter. I will keep the stub & when you receive it send the # of the order back & I can tear up the receipt, thanks # 4429.
If you can find any more candy laying around in the stores at home I would really appreciate you sending it. I have never as yet received any. nor Fay’s fruit cake, but I still have hopes. It will probably arrive about Christmas time. I hate to waste all of this paper that I have left but I have about run out of thoughts to send. I hope you folks are all fine & I want to thank you all for the letters your write.
I have found a lot of stuff we could use at home pop, on these wrecked German planes; pumps, tubing, magnets, etc.. But it is to bulky & heavy to worry about. I have a perfect 20mm German aircraft cannon but I don’t think I can do much with it as it weighs about 80 lb... It sure hurts me to see good guns & ammo laying around going to waste, but the more German stuff the better. I will say good night for now folks, all my love Ted-hello Faye & Stan.
10/07/44: Dear folks, it’s Sunday evening & we have just finished chow, we had chicken & rice with corn and carrots, & I am really full. Yesterday was my day off & Bill and I took a little hitch hiking trip around France & saw some big cities , bought some perfume which I will send on later. I don’t know to much about the stuff, so if you can send me the names of brands you would like, I can get it very cheap. They have every brand, also ask Faye. As to the boxes you received, I sent 4 of them from England, all with clothes, so you should receive 2 more. Also, I sent a money order a couple of days ago for $100.00, so you should be receiving it soon, if not by the time you receive this letter.
That picture that was in that box was of a girl that T.P. Forrester had taken out in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was horsing around & when I had the package all done up he shoved it in it & I was to lazy to open it up & take it out, through it out.
I haven’t flown any missions for the past few days now so still have 10. Bill & John (pilot & Bombardier) both got their 1st LT. today, they were commissioned 2 months before me so I have a chance in a couple months, but it’s nothing to count on.
Last night a little one horse U.S.O. show came to camp. It wasn’t to bad, a good singer with a classy shape & 3 boys; a tap dancer, and accordionist & the joker. It lasted about 3 hours & was a change from the routine evening. It was the first U.S.O show I have seen since being overseas, they don’t seem to find our group very often. Be sure & tell me what kind of perfume you like - Faye to. Thanks.
That’s about all I have to write this evening mom & pop, so I will say goodnight & keep yourselves well. All my love-Ted. PS I am enclosing Ruth’s old letter, I thought you might want to read it. Through it away when you are finished. PS #2. Have that short coat cleaned as it’s very dirty, Thanks---
10/15/44 (still France): Hello folks, boy oh boy we really have had a rough past week, which explains the lack of mail you should have received but didn’t. We have moved again, & boy it has been rough in this weather. It has been raining hard & heavy for the last two days, & we have been plodding through the mud to erect our tent. Then today we gathered wood to put down a floor in an effort to keep out the water, we have it nearly set now & if we don’t fly tomorrow we will finish it. Wood is plentiful for the stove as we live in the woods.
At the sides of the tents we have poles , at each rope going to the ground & it makes it much bigger & keeps the wind from blowing the sides around. The rain is really pounding on the roof now & I’m darn glad I’m no out in it tonight. This light we have is sad, an old lantern & the glass is all broken out of it. Thanks for all of your swell letters, & Faye & Stan to. I will try to write them tomorrow. Frank Hellenthal is in France to. a C-47 copilot, I had a letter from his wife & another from his mother, I am going to look hi up soon. We are to get 48 hour passes soon & I will get a hop to his base, when I find where he is. That is if this weather clears up. It sounds like the roof is going to break in any minute.
I visited Paris again & purchased two bottles of perfume, & sold one to Bill (pilot), but will go back & get some more. I bought some (“Chanel No. 5”) about an ounce for $4.00, so I will send it home soon. A also have a bottle of Pacquin, 9X9, which a W.A.C. told me was good stuff. I received your letter with Don’s letter enclosed & will write him soon. I am going to write Frank tonight and then hit the sack. Pardon this letter but light & pen are off the ball tonight. All my love Ted.
10/17/44: Dear folks, we have finally fixed our tent up in fair shape for the winter ahead. Today Bill made a table & now all we have left is to build a door. I went out hunting rabbits today & came across a German anti aircraft units’ underground camp from which I took several pieces of glass & some good wood for our door. We finally have an electric light in our tent, the first since I have been overseas & it really seems good not to have to write by candle or gas light at night. By the way, we saw no rabbits today, but three pheasants, but with a little carbine you might as well have a slingshot, those birds are really fast.
I was very glad tonight, as I received two of your packages. The only two as yet, one was Mary Sees Candy wrapped in wax paper & the other was hard candy, gum, tooth brushes. Thanks a million folks, you don’t know how good those packages looked. I am going to send you some perfume home in the same paper when it dries out. They were a little wet on the outside, paper and string are very hard to get over here, at least where we are now.
Bill, John & David Knight, another pilot that lives with us, have gone to the show across the field tonight but it’s still raining & I felt I had to drop a line home tonight & then I think I will wash up & hit the old sack. Have you as yet receive my last money order for $100.00? and the other 2 packages of the 4 I sent from England? When you do please drop me a line in your next & tell me, thanks.
It has been raining for the last 4 day snow so we put up a shelter half & catch water in it. Yesterday we caught over 3 gallons in less than 4 hours. It saves a lot of work as the water truck is parked a half a mile from out tent.
I want to thank you again for the swell gifts folks, everything’s OK here, just a little dirty at times & a little muddy at others, but it all washes off. All my love-Ted.
10/18/44: Dear folks, another day has passed, & not to much accomplished. Up at 8:30 - it was raining, so sat around & talked for a while, after lunch, Spam, spuds, boiled spinach, cocoa, & peas.
We had a dry run mission, weather was to bad. I met some of the boys we flew across with & shot the bull with them for a while. It later cleared off & I took my carbine & went for a walk in the woods, but no luck, game is very scarce around here, a few cows but those babies are pretty wise.
We had evening chow after which John & I chopped wood for an hour. Then we took the truck across the field for the show. So that’s about the news of the day, oh yes, I received the Air Metal today & will mail it home when I have enough eagerness to wrap it up.
I am still enjoying your gifts of candy. That hard candy is really delicious during the day & Sees just before going to bed.
We have some water on the stove heating now, so it will soon be time for our evening wash up & shave. I am going to wash my hair tonight, it’s growing back to a long cut now & I will have to give it a cleaning every so often. It’s getting to cool for a butch cut here now.
I forgot to mail your last letter, so you will probably receive them both at once. Give my love to Faye and Stan and keep yourselves well, all my love Ted.
10/20/44: Hello folks, still raining here in France, we collected 5 gallon of rain water in three hours on a little tarpaulin 4’ X 8’ this afternoon, so you know how muddy this ground is.
David Knight, one of our flight leaders who lives in our tent, has some developer & tomorrow we are going to make a little box to print the pictures with. So I hope to send you some shots of our camp life etc.. soon. I don’t think I told you, but I received your shorts OK & thanks a million. I noticed they have painted a white line down the center of Palisades Ave., that might prevent the old Plymouth from another smash in the rear.
Today I was quite eager and built a door in our tent. I built the sill from 4 2 x 4s & the door from some side boards from an old German barracks, with a good window in the center & 6 panes of glass so plenty of light can come through. We also changed out beds around so we have more. A big inspection is supposed to come off tomorrow so we will have to clean up outside in the morning. Also, today we received our rations for the past two weeks which we missed because of our move, so plenty of soap, candy, etc. for a while at least. I am still enjoying your 2 boxes I received 3 days ago & want to thank you again for them. We also receive a package of gum & a bar of candy at each briefing & lately we have had quite a few as the weather has been bad & we have lots of briefings & not many flights.
Our fire is really going well tonight, as the door keeps in the heat. Also, John and David Knight cut a log of big logs up this afternoon & they burn much longer than that little stuff does. There is wood all around our tent so it is no problem to getting it to burn. I will take some photos of it & send as soon as the sun comes out bright enough.
My last time in Paris I bought some OD pants “32x35”, so I had a job taking up the legs & did a good job of it, if I do say so myself. No threads show through on the outside of course, I don’t know how long they will stay up. Everything is OK here, so no need for that old worry folks. Just all my love Ted.
10/22/44: Hello folks, today was a full day as I was up for breakfast at 7:00 and it is now 10:30 & I am still putting around. The weather was poor again today, so we had the day to ourselves. I found a 100 gallon belly tank from a F.W. 190 German fighter & put it up about 20 feet in a big tree next to out tent & ran a line down for water in the tent. I took the lines from an old J.V.88 that was here on the field when we came, also a hand wabble pump to pump the water up to the tank. I think tomorrow I will get some more tubing & wind a coil to put in the stove so we can have running hot & cold water. We have an electric light in the tent now & have switches in all convenient spots, one right by bed so the last man in won’t have to charge across the dark room. I put up a door in out tent with a large 6 window sill in it & today Bill succeeded in breaking one of the glasses out, so now we will have to hunt another piece up. One thing, we always have plenty to keep us on the go. Digging seepage pits, slit trenches, etc..
I wanted to ask if you were receiving the war bonds OK, along with the $100. check each month? Tell me in your next letter, thanks. Yesterday I received your letter with the wick in it, thanks a lot. It just fits out lateen. Tell Faye & Stan I will try to write them soon. But I usually write at night & I am so shot, I put it off all the time, but tell them hello for me anyway. The lights are due off any minute so I will seal this up. Everything’s fine here, all my love-Ted.
10/25/44: Hello folks, today I finally got a little griped at the tool situation around this camp & went into town & bought some tools; a buck saw, key hole saw, 2 hammers, oil stone, file & a wine bottle cork screw, we have broken to darn many corks in the bottles.
This afternoon and tonight we finished our water system & boy it is a honey, hot and cold running water inout tent. We took a big light shade & turned it upside down & made a basin out of it. We have a coil made from an old German tubing out of a J.U.88 around the wood stove & running into an old hydraulic tank, for pressure we have a belly tank up in a tall tree outside the tent, with a wabble pump to get the water up to the tank. I am going to take some photos of it & I will send you some. We are going to get the photo lab in operation soon & then all of our worries will be over.
I received your letter of all 4 boxes arriving home, thanks a lot. I still have the boxes I am going to mail home but have them all wrapped and ready to go. All I lack is the spark to carry them to the post office. I was glad to hear old Jack and Dick’s return to old Santa Monica. Everything is fine here so don’t worry, still the same number of missions, so you can see that we are not flying much. Give Don & Ayburn & Faye & Stan my love, Ted.
10/27/44: Dear folks, we have had 2 or 3 days of good weather, but today the old fog and rain are back as ever. Today the squadron was out clearing the taxi strips, there was so much mud & so many rocks that yesterday 2 ships had blow outs on take off, but none of the fellows were hurt. We built a fence along both sides of the taxi strip for a mile so the trucks would not go off of it & then drive back on bring mud and rocks back on.
Tonight I took one coil off the stove, as it gathered to much heat & all of our water boiled out of our tank back to our storage tank up in the tree & started it vibrating & shook it loose from its mounting. It works swell now & we have boiling hot water at all times as well as cold. After dinner tonight we raked up all of the twigs & branches around our tent & it looks a lot better. The next thing to do is build a clothes rack & some little shelves for our nick nacks.
Bill has just gone down for some drinking water in our canteens, so I think I will make a little hot lemon aide of our lemon powered & add a spot of gin to take the chill off the cold night outside. Everything’s fine folks, lots of love -Ted.
Mission 11, official 456th target/mission designation #257, was flown on the afternoon of 10-28-44 and lasted 3:30 hours. 30 ships went up at 12,500 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31787 WT-K (City of Sherman),dropped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on the rail road bridge at Sinzig, Germany. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “The attack on the Sinzig Bridge, excellent results were obtained. During these missions the stiffening of German resistance was evident from the increasing intensity and accuracy of the flak encountered.” Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France
10/30/44: Dear folks, here it is Monday once again. The time really flies by, we arose a little early this morning by no liking of my own, so slept nearly all this afternoon. After dinner John & I took our saw & ax & set off into the woods to obtain a little fire wood. We saw a lot of logs on the ground but they didn’t seem good enough, so we had to chop one down. That’s about the only work we have to do now (chop wood for our little stove), except do little odd jobs around the tent.
Last night it was a little cold & our water pipes I put in froze up, so this morning when we built a fire & the steam pressure built up it couldn’t push the water back up the pipe as it usually does. It was just lucky I turned on the hot valve before we went out of the tent , as it relieved the pressure & steam but no water came poring out the pipe. Tonight we are going to drain the pipes so it will not happen again.
I received a letter for Faye Harwood in Los Angeles yesterday, said she was going to send a little package. I will write them soon and thank them for it.
Today I finished wiring the tent, I removed a lot of wiring and switches from an old J.V.88 & have one light over our basin & one over the table, but we are only allowed to have one light per tent, so I hooked up 2 switches, one to turn on the light over the table & the other to change over from the top light to the basin. It saves a lot of trouble when you want to shave, of course we still have only one light bulb, but we have hopes.
I received your letter pop, & I really enjoyed it, thanks a lot. I will keep tab on the missions & tell you all of our trips when I return home, have 11 now. Everything’s OK here, so don’t worry, all my love-Ted.
Mission 12, official 456th target/mission designation # 259, was flown on the morning of 11-04-44 and lasted 3:00 hours. 54 ships went up at 12,300 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-35022 YU-V (455.BS Airplane), dropped 28 100 lb.. bombs on 3 gun batteries at Eschenweiler, Germany. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. The move to Laon/ Atchies in Northern France was necessary to coordinate with advances of the bombardment and the rest of the allied war machine. Again the move to a new base of operations was made the groups trucks and borrowed c-47s. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “ This time the move was made to Leon-Athies Airdrome in Northern France, or to what was left of it after our B-17s had blasted it no less than five times. The move began on the 13th of October and ended on the 5th.
11/04/44: Dear folks, I had a swell pass to Paris & it seems good to be back to the old tent after a little stay away. Our crew all went & we met two boys in Paris who are stationed there along with one of their friends who is French, a LT. in the F.F.I., he could speak English very well so he really took us around. I bough a lot of perfume but have not decided weather to send it home by mail or to bring it when I am lucky enough to come home.
Last night I received two of the packages from home, that swell fruit cake and box of candy bars. They were the ones addressed to the old A.P.O. 16170-AE-33, so they finally reached me, making a total of 4 packages since I have been overseas. I am going to save the fruit cake until Christmas, although I had a good sample last night, & it is delicious.
I am not going to send my usual $100. by money order this month as a bought quite a few things in Paris. I am not as flush with cash as I am normally. As you see, I at last found some good stationary, a nice box for $1.30. I think I will purchase some more on my next visit. Also, I had a hair cut, shampoo, shave etc. in town, which made me feel like a new man. Along with other things, I bought printing pans, printing paper, film, printing frames etc.. for developing photos. The night before we went into town we printed a few but they turned out a little brown. I guess we are not fully checked out on this business of developing as yet.
Not to change the subject but the little cards in the candy you folks sent were very cute. I was able to pick up a few little Christmas cards in Paris, but nothing to elaborate, but that doesn’t matter any how.
These letters are a little larger than the letters I usually write, so I hope they don’t seem dry, maybe I will have to cut them in half. Thanks again for the lovely boxes & all your letters. Everything is fine, all my love-Ted. Hello Faye and Stan, will drop you a line soon, Ted PS am enclosing a couple of snaps we printed.
11/07/44: Hello folks, all of last night & today we have had heavy rain & it’s one of those days where you sit indoors and peer out through the window at the wet dark world. To add to our trouble our water valve got to hot and froze on us, in our efforts to turn it off it broke all to pieces. Now the quest for a new valve is on.
For the first time since Nashville I have a darn cold. It hit me this morning. I think that Paris trio was to much for a quite little local boy, to late to bed and to early out of the sack. I have taken Bromo pills all day and am going to bed as soon as I finish this letter, as it is 5:00 PM now. I think I can shake it in a couple of days if I keep in bed most of the time. Ah, the lights just came on, so I can do a little reading in bed
Today the officers’ liquor rations came in & all the boys are starting to hit the old bottle. W erecieve a quart of scotch, & a pint of gin each month, which, with no mixer, don’t taste to hot, but it seems to go pretty fast at any rate.
I will be glad to receive Fay’s letter with instructions on buying perfume, as there are so darn many kinds so cheap, that I hate to pass up the bargains, but don’t want to get a lot of stuff that you folks can’t use.
I suppose our missions will slow up even more now that this bad weather is in, but you can never tell how long it will stay.
There is not much to say folks but I wanted to write as I feel you worry when no mail comes. I know how much good a letter does & must be more so in your case.
It’s nearly time for chow so I will say goodnight now. Say hello to Faye and Stan for me, lots of love Ted.
PS enclosing 3 prints I developed & they aren’t to hot, please tell me if they make it home OK. Thanks.
Mission 13 (“12-B”), official 456th target/mission designation #260, was flown on the morning of 11-09-1944 and lasted 3:00 hours. 55 ships went up at 11,700 feet. Harwood’s plane, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31964 WT-L (Hades’ Lady), dropped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on the Nazi barracks at Dieuze, Germany. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “At Laon/Athies most of the buildings on the field had been destroyed by terrific bombing of the heavies, so it was again necessary for all four squadrons and many Group offices to be housed in tents. Group Headquarters was able to get a building for its activities, and two of the squadrons had old, half torn down, hangers that could be used as mess halls. With winter fast approaching it was necessary for all the men to go to work immediately upon arrival to winterize their living quarters as best they could.”
11/10/44: Hello folks, I have had a little cold but it is well on its way now, those things really grip me as there is not to much you can for them. I have been in bed as much as I could get away with, it did a lot to loose my cold.
Today we didn’t have rain at the base, but it was all around, so our little paths are drier today. When we have had rain for a period of 24 hours or longer our buck boards start to float off by themselves.
Yesterday I received the Outlook Service Section you sent, & notices one of the boys I went through school with was down & missing in action. I don’t know if I mentioned it to you but I saw him in England & also on the way over, at out first stop outside the US. Dick Christianson was his name, boy he lasted about as long as Jack, he was in a B-17.
I am sure glad I am in a B-26 instead of those heavies. I finely broke through #13, & have clear sailing now. The boys always call the 13th mission 12-B, so no ill fate will ride with them, the only thing I did was skin my finger on the visor of the ship.
Well enough of this dry dribble, I still have a package to send home but just can’t seem to make it to the post office. Champagne is rather cheap over here so all the boys are getting checked out on drinking the stuff. About a week ago we bought 4 bottles & that evening we proceeded to drink a bottle each, a very warm glow proceeded me & David Knight, one of the boys in our tent couldn’t hold his dinner. So, in the morning he had a little job cleaning the walk outside the tent.
I hope everything’s OK at home, but I know it is. Thanks for the letters and packages, give Faye & Stan my love & you folks, Love Ted.
11/14/44: Dear folks, Tuesday, and nothing much new. We brought in some new used lumber today & started making side walls for our tent. We didn’t get to much done as chow time rolled around, we eat at 5:00 PM & it cuts the afternoon off short & gives us very long evenings.
Last night Bill, T.P. Forester & I went to the show. Instead of the regular movie, they had a GI showoff the Special Service & it was really swell. It included a puppet show, comic skits, singing and a swell band & dancing. All of the boys laughed so hard their sides hurt. It’s the first good show I have seen in a long while.
Along with the constant improvements of the tent, yesterday I visited and old wrecked J.U.88 & brought back the parts for a soda bottle. Straight scotch, which we received each month, 1 bottle doesn’t taste to hot. well, to get back to my invention, I took a 2 quart oxygen bottle & a little valve & put the valve on the bottle & then took the C02 charging unit from my Mae West life vest & hooked it up to the bottle. So with one C02 unit we can make 2 quarts of soda water & boy it works swell.
The last letter I received from you folks was the one in which you told me you had just received a letter from me about 2 months late, the one from England. It took 12 days to reach me so that’s not bad.
Say mom, are those war bond coming through each month? They probably are but I haven’t heard you mention it to often. Put a note in your next letter will you? Thanks
The weather is still bad here in France, I think we have had only 3 or 4 sunny days since I have been here. It won’t be to long until the snow will be falling here, we had a trace of it the other night, but it melted as fast as it hit the ground.
It seems that my letters are short, but I can’t think of to much to say, so will say goodnight for now folks, all my love Ted.
Hey Faye & Stan, thanks for the swell fruit cake & all of your very welcome letters. Give my hello to Fatso the cat , I would like to see the old boy, I imagine he is rather large and sleek now. Keep everything OK at home, & I will try to do the same over here. Love Ted
how about some H LA ARGE
11/16/44: Dear folks, well, I have finally ambition enough to write tonight. I received your letter today with the list of perfumes in it, I will try to pick some of them up in Paris the next trip. I have a hell of a lot of it now, only none of it has the same tittle as any on your list. But, as it only averages 2 or 3 bucks a bottle, I don’t think I can go to far wrong.
Today all of us in out tent spent the day building sides for it & are now about half through. Yesterday we took a truck and succeeded in getting some lumber out of an old German building. It makes the tent a lot warmer & much easier to keep clean.
Tonight the squadron gave out Christmas cards so I have spent all evening addressing cards. It was a hard job as I have lost my little black book & I had to rack my brain to remember all of the addresses. But I didn’t do to bad (I hope). Flying is slow as the weather is sad all of the time, still 13 missions. Quite a lot of the old black flak on the last one, in fact the last four, but no ship losses, just little holes here and there.
Thanks for all of the letters Faye and Stan, you don’t know how much they mean. The mail comes nearly anytime during the day, and when it does, all activity stops. Also, thanks a million for that swell big fruit cake. We ate half of it and are keeping half for Christmas. We plan on having a tree in the tent, so I know we will have a big time. We have 2 quarts of brandy and all of the champagne we want to pay $2.60 a quart for, so the day won’t be sad. Give the folks my love & you and Stan to-Ted.
Mission 14, official 456th target/mission designation #262, was flown on the morning of 11-19-44 and lasted 3:00 hours. 54 ships, and 2 window planes, flew out on a low flying mission of only 5,600 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31964 (Hades’ Lady), dropped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on a Nazi strong point at Merzig, Germany. This raid was facilitated in the defense of the village of Merzig, in support of an allied ground advance. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “ On the Merzic raid. led by Lt. Colonel Blomberg and caption Louis S. Rehr, a total of 141,000 pounds of bombs were dropped by the 54 ships”. second raid was flown over Landau that afternoon but was forced to abort do to serve weather conditions. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. According to a another post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “After arrival at Laon a system of passes to Paris was started. Combat crews were allowed 3 day passes and ground crews 18 hour passes. This afforded the men some rest from the work and dreariness and enabled them to see more of France. Liberty runs were made to Reims also.”
Mission 15, official 456th target/mission designation #263, was flown in the afternoon of 11-19-44 and lasted 3:00 hours. 36 ships, and 2 window planes, went up at 11,500 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder , 41-31964 (Hades’ Lady) dropped 16 250 lb.. bombs on the Nazi ordinance depot in Landau, Germany. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “The winter at Laon was a tough and dreary one, to be always remembered for its snow, rain, mud and cold North Winds. These, combined with growing homesickness after many months in the European Theater of Operations, poor housing, and inadequate rations at times, caused morale of the men to reach a new all time low.”
11/20/44: Dear folks, yesterday we did quite a lot of flying and I didn’t get to write, as last night I was so darn tired I didn’t even wash before I went to bed.
I found your package for my birthday waiting for me last night & it really felt good to open it, & you couldn’t have sent something I needed worse than the address book & dictionary. I have some stationary now but will soon be out & will be able to use that you sent, the candy too, was swell, thanks a million. Then today, I received your tin Christmas box, saw the “do not open until Christmas “ on the box, I put it down. Then temptation over powered me & I opened it, & my, those two luscious fruit cakes. I took out the candy & replaced the two fruit cakes to have Christmas.
I still have a package here I am going to send home, & I am going to wrap another one and send it off this morning, I don’t know why I keep putting it off. Yesterday was a swell day, one of those Sunday mornings that everything is shining and beautiful, that is after the sun comes up. But, in the afternoon some heavy clouds came along & made flying a little tough. We were in the air for 6 hours yesterday, and that’s a lot of formation time.
Today the clouds are black & thick & every now and then it rains like all heck, so about all we are doing is sitting around and doing little odd jobs on the tent. We have side walls up now so it is much nicer. They reach up about four feet from the floor and then the tent forms the roof from there up. We all have little shelves built on the wall by our bunks & it is a lot warmer than the old canvas sides.
Bill just left for a movie on the automatic pilot, so I guess he will be gone for some time. John is fixing his floor below his bed, his corner was a little rough and his bed didn’t sit straight. There is always something to do around here, either chop wood, carry water or work on the tent.
Thanks once again for the swell gifts folks, you don’t know how much they mean over here. Say hello to Faye and Stan & take car of yourselves. All my love Ted.
11/21/44: Hello folks, tonight I feel pretty good. I received your letter of November 6th + from Faye & Stan. & a package you sent from Don. That’s 6 packages in the last month. I wrapped six bottles of perfume today in the same box that Don’s package came in. I must not have any willpower as I can’t wait to open those packages, that food really hits the spot. Thanks a lot for the Yo-yo, we had a lot of fun playing with it this afternoon. Getting back to the perfume, I don’t know if it’s what you like, but if it’s not don’t worry, the most expensive bottle only cost $6.00, and the most of them, only 2 or 3 bucks. I have the list Faye gave me now & can do much better. Please do me a favor and gibe Aybun a bottle of what she likes, and that Faye and you don’t like to well. If you do like any of the brands drop the name of it to me and I will send some more. As far as the china wear you mentioned , they have lots of it, I will try to send a few pieces home, but there again I don’t know anything about it.
Everything is O.K. here, today we built a clothes rack and painted the sides of the tent. We found 2 gallons of German white paint and it really makes the tent look much better. As to flying, I have 15 missions now, they are building up slow but sure. Thanks again for the swell gifts folks, you don’t know how much they mean. Give Faye and Stan my love, thanks for the letters all of you, as always-Ted. Clippings enclosed 14th.
11/23/44 (Thanksgiving): Dear folks, today is thanksgiving and we have done nothing all day but loaf. This morning we were supposed to fly but it was called off. The weather was so bad that I don’t think the birds were even off the ground.
I received a letter today and she asked about Paris, it is a darn big place and with plenty to see. I have not started to see it as yet, but I have plenty of time yet, there are so many little sections of it that you could never see it all in less than a month. Bill and I took a sight seeing tour around the city and saw all of the highlights, but even then you don’t have enough time to see what you started out to see. I will look around the next time I am in and try to find some china ware for you.
I finally sent those packages home I wrapped up for you for so long, one of them had my air medals, plus a bottle of perfume and another little one. In another is another bottle . I don’t know if you can us it or not, but I hope you can.
We have a big turkey dinner coming up soon so I will say so long for now. We are going to the show tonight, so we will have a good time tonight. The boys are breaking open the bottles and some of them are pretty high already. Thanks for all of the letters and packages. Say hello to Faye and Stan for me, thanks. All my love Ted.
11/28/44: Hi Fay & Stan, I received your letter of Oct. 28, last night and you told me that the folks had received no mail from me for 10 days, I sure don’t know what the deal is as I write every other night, they must be piling up someplace along the like.
I returned from Paris last night and it sure felt good to be back to the old tend. We had a swell time and for once I didn’t spend to much cash. I met a Frenchman who seemed to like Americans very well, He took Bill and myself to his cafe & then down into his liquor cellar and oh boy. 1914 cognac, cherry brandy, in fact every kind of liquor that I have so far seen in France & also England. We proceeded to have a little fun. He was already drunk as heck & started playing a piece of pipe as if it were a trombone, singing etc.. We had not eaten as yet so we told him we had to leave to eat dinner and then we would return. He blew his top & said in 5 minutes we could eat there. When we went up stairs again, there was a large table all fixed up with 2 bottles of champagne. By this time my head was a little warm and I didn’t feel like doing much more drinking, but we drank it anyway. Then , to top it off the waiter brought out the most beautiful steaks I have seen since 1940, about an inch thick covering the whole darn plate, with shoe string spuds and catsup. Boy oh boy after we finished he was going to take us out to see the city but the poor boy drank too much & was a little sick.
We then went to the Follies & boy they really put on a beautiful show. It lasted about 3 hours and had many contrasting acts; musical numbers, dramas, tumbling acts, comic skits, etc.. But oh boy, pop would really go for the little Paris gals, every one of them in the show was cute as heck. There are usually one or two sad ones that sneak in show some how, but not in this one. We pulled a fast one on our seats, the place is so popular that you have to reserve seats a week in advance to see it from a good seat, but Bill and I went at the last minute . We bought 2 tickets to the top balcony and after we had gone up so many flights of stairs that we were about ready to fall, we came out and the stage looked like the puppet stages you have seen , so darn far away. We turned and retraced out steps and had words with the box office and for a slight additional fee we won up with seats on the second row on the main floor.
I did not get to do any shopping this time, as the stores were all closed on Sundays and Mondays, so I will have to do that next time.
I don’t know if I told you before or not, but I sent two packages to mom last week, one had my air medal in it + bottle of perfumed another box that had six bottles of perfume in it. When the come, I hope before Christmas, but doubt it. Do me a favor and wrap a bottle of the stuff and give it to her, thanks, say Faye, I wanted to ask if those bonds of mine are still coming through. 37.50, one each month.
Thanks for the swell letters folks & you asked about packages, I have received 6 so far, two with that swell fruit cake, lots of love- Ted.
11/30/44: Dear folks, the last day of November is about past, and still not much new here. We flew a little local this afternoon and gave John a little practice on the bomb site. The weather is much better now but our crew has not been on a loading list for quite a while, still only 15 missions.
I received a package of nuts from Faye yesterday and today a swell package of candied fruits. The packages were stamped, ‘do not open until Christmas”, but I am afraid those signs only serve to increase your desire to know what’s in the package, so they get opened, but I am saving the fruit cakes and candied fruit until Christmas to eat.
I have been taking some more pictures and will send you some in this letter. Did you ever receive the ones I sent you before ? The ones of our enlisted men of our crew and the other ones? These are not so hot as the fluid we use has been used so long it turns the prints brown and they are a little blurred, but not bad for a job done with no tools.
I received a letter today from you folks and also one from Faye and Stan. I was so glad to hear everything’s going OK at home. The latest thing I have done to out tent was to put a little window in by the head of my bed. It lets in a lot more light, it also lets me look out to see what the weather is like without getting out of the sack.
Tonight we went over to the theater to see the movie, but as it is half of the time, it was a dry run. The projector wouldn’t project. I think they said the photo electric cell was shot. So I just arrived from the truck and I thought I would drop you a line before I went to bed. Thanks for the swell letters, Love Ted.
Mission 16, official 456th target/mission designation #268, was flown in the morning of 12-01-44 and lasted 2:30. 33 ships, 3 window planes and 1 pathfinder went up at 12,800 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31964 (Hades’ Lady), dumped 16 250 lb.. bombs on a Nazi troop convoy in Saarlautera, Germany. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( RG ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “Thanksgiving passed unnoticed except for the usual turkey and trimmings at the evening meal. December, month usually characterized by Christmas festivities was composed mostly of hard work due to the great German counter attack which was such a rude blow to the complacency built up in the American army after the great success of the previous summer and fall. Fuel for heating became more of a problem as winter wore on and since the coal supplied was not sufficient, the French forest surrounding the north side of the base became rapidly depleted, this despite warning of dire punishments .
12/02/44: Hello folks, I was going to write last night, but as it was I ended up in a little poker game. It is nearly noon now and time to go to chow it is the first time in a good while I have slept this late, as I missed breakfast and am really hungry. I hope they have a good lunch today.
Yesterday I bought a money order for $80.00 (#6260) and am sending it along with this letter. Let me know when you receive it, thanks. I am going to chow now and will finish this evening.
4:30 PM back again, we had beets, pork, spuds, bread and coffee for lunch and about an hour ago John and I cooked snack on our wood stove. Each member of a crew receives a ration of two eggs each week, so it gives you a little to cook with, along with the bread the bread that we bring back from chow to make toast with.
We sawed wood after lunch until it started raining, I have been reading and finally got tired of it, so I thought I would finish this letter. I received a letter from you and one from Faye this afternoon, a little old but always welcome, dated the 25th of October. I received your letter with the phonograph needles OK, thanks.
I finally got another mission and have 16 to date, still a long, long way to go before I complete my tour, but over here the time goes by so fast. It seems like we only arrived a month ago. Not much news so I will close for now. Thanks again for your letters. Say hello to Faye and Stan- love Ted. PS are bonds coming through OK?
12/03/44: Dear folks, I feel a little shot tonight as last night we stayed up until 1:30 printing pictures, we bought some paper in town that gave us much better results, we made over 200 prints last night and they were pasted over everything drying, I had about 60 negatives & we made 3 copies of each, one for Bill, John and myself, I will enclose a couple to show you the results.
To top our staying up late last night, we were roused out at 4:30 this morning for “you know what”. But sad weather, so I feel the need of sack soon.
I received a package from Mrs. Haviland today, very nice; cheese, crackers, nuts, etc.. I will drop here a line tomorrow and try to pick her and Cina a little gift next time I am in town, the last time all the stores were closed, Sunday and Monday. These French close up at the first of the week and are open the later part.
As for the snaps enclosed:
#1 is a picture of Bill Guerrant (pilot) and John Kuczwara (bomb-navigator) on our crew. It was taken just outside our tent, and as you can see it’s a little rugged. We took the snap just as a big rain cloud passed and Bill is still wet, that’s him on the left of the picture with jacket on.
As for picture #2 that was taken some time ago when I was in school over on this side of the pond. Those little huts were darn nice and that’s my old bike I had.
#3 is again outside our tent. My hair is getting longer once again, quite a difference from #2 shot. I don’t know why I don’t cut it off as it is always waiving around like a wild man’s. Since I had it short it sticks strait up. I will send you a few shots each letter until you have them all. I think they will put a little life in these dull letters.
Also I am putting a clipping from the Stars and Stripes in, that is if I still have it. Well, I am very sleepy tonight, so I will say goodnight. Everything is fine over here, so don’t worry folks, all my love Ted. Hi Faye and Stan, give Fatso my love too!
12/05/44: Dear folks, I just finished taking a swell shower & really feel good. Clean under wear and everything, when we were last in Paris I took a bath in a good old tub, or rather three bathes, the first one I have had since I left home in February and did it feel good.
You spoke of Mr. Hedge’s boy being over here, and his location. You are off about 120 miles w-n.w. of his location, we have flown over it though.
I am enclosing some more snaps of life over here and at the old hang out, Balksdale field. I will put 3 pictures in each letter until they run out. I sent 3 day before yesterday.
#4 as you might or might not notice , we printed this pictures backwards and as a result my wings are on my right side in place of where they should be on the left but I will correct that the next pictures we print. As you see we were in the big city so had to have a picture to remember it by. It was cloudy so it didn’t come out to well. That white halo you see around me was caused by putting my finger over my figure during printing so the tower would come out in the background.
#5 A street shot taken not long after we hit France, and by the way is how I am usually dressed with the exception of the helmet, around camp we go bare headed. Note the priest on the bike, everyone rides them here.
#6 back at Barksdale, when we had nothing better to do. In the good old hot summer days, the figures are Bill and myself. The bra is stuffed with socks & fit Bill perfectly, although not very sexy looking.
Well everything is fine over here so don’t worry. Thanks for the swell letters & packages. Once again, if you could send me some more of that cheese & fish in cans or glasses I would appreciate it a lot, thanks. + also you mentioned that the church was going to build a new front, & the cost is $8.00 a member, so draw 8 bucks out & drop it in the box for me will you. Thanks again, all my love, your son Ted.
12/07/44: Dear folks, today we spent most of the day cutting wood. Yesterday we fell two big trees & carried them to out tent. I think we have enough to last 4 or 5 days . It takes quite a bit to keep a tent warm and dry on these wet days.
This evening I received two letters, one from Faye & Stan dated the 7th of November, so you see our mail is detained along the route also. Thanks for the clipping pop.
The old hound really put out a litter, we have a lot of dogs in camp and every 4 or 5 months one has a litter of about 6, so we have a hell of a lot of dogs.
I was glad to hear of Dick Christianson’s being OK. That’s two of the boys of Santa Monica as POWs now. I hope I won’t be forced to join the party.
Last night we had a little party over in Tom Forester’s tent to remember their gridiron from flying school. They, Bill and T.P. Forecaster, were in class 43-k, the same one Kack Emerson was in. 1 year an officer, boy it doesn’t seem one year since I was home last. Time really flies by. The 23rd of this month it will be 2 years that I have spent in the Army, with 6 days at home, boy that’s not such a hot average.
I am spending along three snap shots tonight & I will have some more recent ones soon, as yesterday I finished taking another roll. That little camera is worth its wait in gold. I only wish I had taken Don’s movie camera when I was home.
#7. made on our trip to Paris & like some others I developed the print with the negative in reverse, so my wings are on the right side instead of the left. The boy with me is a fellow I met at Barksdale & came overseas with. I saw him in Paris for the first time in 4 months.
#8. a sad pictures taken at Barksdale, the day we were packing to leave for Georgia. It was very hot and we were running around in our shorts.
#9. Another shot of the woods outside our tent. John, on my left as you look at the picture (sun was to bright) + Dave Night, on the right side of the picture, he is the fourth person in our tent, with the leather jacket on. That barrel you see in the tree in the back ground is the water storage tank for the boys who live in the next tent. The only trouble is that we have to carry our water from a truck about 300 yards from here.
We were issued some new Christmas cards today and I thought you folks would like to see them, so I will enclose one along with the three snaps, all my love Ted.
12/09/44 - France-: Dear folks, it is about 10:00 A.M. and I am still in doubt as what to do. Bill is in bed yet and Jon is out some Place. I got up for breakfast at 7:00 and it was still little dark. After breakfast I continued reading a story I had started last night and just finished a little while ago. Since then I have been going over my pictures that you have sent from home and enjoy them very much. I do hope these I have been sending you, reach there OK.
I have sent nine home already, three in each of three letters and three in this will make a total of 12. They aren’t so good, as the stuff we make them from is sad, as well as the water we mix it with, but they will do until we return to the states and have them printed at the drug store.
#10. is a shot from the door of our tent looking into the rear. John is setting on his bed, just got out of it by the way, Our clothes closet is in the rear with a shelter half hung across opening to keep dust and ashes from settling on the clothes. The table in the center was made by Bill and is not bad. You can see the two coils around the stove and cocked of at a slight angle is our tank for hot water in back of the stove our lines run under the floor from the storage tank outside.
# 11. Is a shot of my corner of the tent, all of my clean clothes stacked in my little shelves, stationary piled up on top of the cabinet and all the little odd and ends on the shelf next to my lamp. That’s the funny looking little thing with the smoke stack and my newest piece of work, that window by my bed, at which I am now writing this letter.
#12 At last a picture of our crew, I have always wanted you folks to see us but have never gotten around to a photo. This is not out ship and it is in for repairs, ours is the ship “Hades Lady” . To look from left to right, top row, looking down with his eyes closed in Jack Reynolds, our tail gunner, next Velton O’neal, Radio gunner, then myself. Bottom row; John Kucawara, our navigator -bombardier, the Bill Guerrant, our pilot and John Knight our engineer gunner and all swell fellows.
I hope you are receiving these OK folks, as I know this letter is not much without them, let me know if you receive them, OK thanks. By the way, you mentioned that you had a package of food there that took a request, well here it is, thanks, for reminding me, and for sending it. Everything is OK here, so don’t worry, weather a little wet but not to bad. Give my love to Faye, Stan, Don & Aybun. Till I write again, all my love Ted.
12/10/44: Dear folks, well the old weather is bad once again, wind and rain and plenty of wind. The old tent is doing a dance tonight. Bill and I have just returned from the movie and what a sad show; “In the Mean Time Darling”, if you ever get the chance, pass it up, because it’s not worth a tinkers damn.
Today I received your letter of the 29th of November and you asked for Bills address, or rather his mother’s; Dr. and Mrs. Guerrant 615 N. Lee Ave. Sherman, Texas. I have nothing to tell you folks tonight but just thought I would drop a line. I am going to brush me teeth and hit the sack and might even do a little reading, I do quite a little now as it rains so darn often.
I enclose three more snaps of the local days events here.
#13. John and myself on our old saw horse. I look very dejected. Probably as Bill was fooling around with the camera and not taking the picture. Our tent is just off to the left of the photo, note my hair is getting long again and I am in need of a hair cut.
#14. Another shot of the crew. Left to right - top to bottom, looking at the snap; Reynolds, Knight, O’neal, Kuczwara, myself, and Guerrant.
#15. Bill and John on the same log.
I will ask for another package if its not to much trouble on your part. Little snacks really taste good and are appreciated by all. Whenever a package arrives it’s not long until we are all licking our lips. Don’t bring crackers or bread, as we can bring that back from the mess hall after each meal. Usually we have toast each night before bed. Thanks for the mail folks, say hello to Faye and Stan. Lots of love Ted.
Mission 17, official 456th target/mission designation #272, Group photo taken 12-11-1944, in front of Little Mike, Appears to be after bombing St. Wendel supply depot in Germany, which was in the A.M. and lasted 2:45 hours. 16 250 lb.. bombs fell from Martin B26 Marauder, Little Mike that morning (42-43281 WT-D). 32 other ships were on that mission and 3 window planes and a pathfinder, at an altitude of 14,300. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France
12/??/44: Dear folks, It’s only 8:00 AM but all the boys are back in bed, we all arose at for breakfast at 6:30, as we have a class at 9:30 so we thought we might as well have a breakfast, which they quit serving at 7:15. I guess it was to much for them and they went back to the sack.
I was going to write last night bur we sent to the movie, then shot the bull when I returned. So in order to keep up my letter every two days, I thought I would write this morning. There is not much new here, except it is getting colder all the time, did get a little flying time in a snow storm the other day. The first time I have every flown in a storm of that sort. They are not half as bad to fly in as cold rain, as it forms ice on your wings while snow blows by and does you no harm. I wanted to ask you, have all my bonds been coming in OK? You should have one for each month starting in July. I am sending a couple of snaps, not to good, but they may be interesting:
#18. I don’t think Bill would appreciate me sending this shot, but I thought it was pretty good. It was taken about a week after week hit France and those cold conditions still prevail.
#19 I thought that you would be interested to view the foxholes of Normandy. This is a portion of them dug in on both sides of the hedge rows for miles and the darn rows are all spaced about this far apart.
#17. A snap of T.P. Forester and Bill, taken at our first base in France. That belt of machine gun shells I brought from the fox holes. They are German 9mm and Willie has one of the many German helmets the boys dragged back with them.
I hope you receive these shots OK, I have sent 19 so far, but missed #16 so I will send it next time.
Thanks for all of the letters and gifts, everything is swell here so don’t worry. I have 17 missions now. Give my love to Faye and Stan, my love always, Ted.
12/15/44: Hello folks, still not much to tell that’s new from this side of the pond. I have been reading, sawing wood etc.. to pass the time away. This afternoon I wound up in a little crap game. After many doubtful hours came out 500 franks ahead ($10.00).
It is getting colder by the day over here. Our water system froze last night and didn’t thaw out all day today. So I guess out tent has no longer the title of the only tent with hot and cold running water. But, if the clouds come back it might warm up.
I received a big box from Don and Aybun today, for Christmas and also a box of soap bars from Don. I am going to wait for Christmas to open it as it’s ten days off. It sure seems longer than a year since last Christmas. I was in Newport, Arkansas then and thought I was in a sad place. Boy any state in the US would be heaven now.
My photos I have been sending are about all used up, as I have a lot of shots I cannot send through the mail, but I will enclose a couple.
#16. A shot of John Kuczwara, taken in front of our tent. The woods are much thinner now as the boys have been cutting down trees to burn.
#20. A shot of some alto stratus clouds taken from our old B26. That old engine is always there and looks mighty good spinning there.
#21. A picture of John Knight, our engineer gunner. Taken on a trip home on one of our raids, a good boy, though the oldest on our crew.
Well enough for tonight, I can’t think of a thing to tell you folks except everything is fine here. I am going over to the Red Cross and pick up some donuts soon, that is after 7, when it opens. So good night folks, love Ted, hello Faye and Stan.
12/17/44: I received two letters from you today, one from August 21 and the other from November 10. I am send sending envelope hope to show you how they look after they have traveled around a little bit.
We have our Christmas tree up on our table and it really looks nice. The last time I was in town O bought a nice one about 4 feet high. Bill bought some balls to put on it in Paris. We have tinsel made of “window”, that’s the name for it. It brightens up our tent very much. Today was Sunday and a week off. I know you folks usually put it up about a week ahead of Christmas. Boy I would like to be there decorating the one in the front room, but I will no doubt next Christmas.
If you see grease on this paper it is from the butter on the toast I am eating. We bring our bread and butter from chow each day and make toast at night, tastes very well before we hit the sack.
I am sending three more snaps in this letter:
#22. A picture I took quite a while ago at an old base, or rather in the little town in the vicinity.
#23. Bill and John outside of the tent looking up at our water tank, John has his hand on the pump on the back of the tree.
#24. Our tent, this is John’s corner, left rear as you come in the tent with the table showing up in the right hand corner of the picture.
I also have some others I will send with the next letter. Todays’ mail also brought the Evening Outlooks paper, thanks, I really enjoy the paper and look forward to each copy.
You asked about my feelings as we started across the ocean. It’s funny, but I didn’t think to much about the crossing of water, but about how the weather was on the other end and what the place would look like. It’s hard to describe on paper, but I can tell you about it when I get home.
I saw in the paper that Gregg D’Nelly was starting out in the Navy, I don’t see why he didn’t get into the Army, as he always was a bug on flying. Well folks, I will say goodnight tonight and wish you folks once more a very happy new years. Love Ted. Hi Faye and Stan, How is Fatso? Love Ted.
12/20/44: Hello folks, 10:00 A.M. and I feel tired already. Last night T.P. Forester and I went to the base show, which was OK. The first picture in a long time that I had not already seen. Talked and read until late last night, then had to roll out of the sack early this morning, we had pancakes, orange jam, pork and tea. I don’t know why tea, it’s the first time that has happened.
The fog is pretty thick here now, I washed my sleeping bag sheet day before yesterday and hung it out to dry, but it kept getting wetter, so last night I had to bring it in and put it by the fire. It takes so darn long for the laundry to get back when you send it through supply that it’s pitiful, about 16 days. So the boys usually where something until it’s thoroughly dirty.
We are supposed to have an inspection of our tents this afternoon, so we had to sweep it out this morning, which to Bill’s disgust raised to much dust for him to sleep through. H is one of those guys who is the last one out of bed each morning and the last one in at night.
Well, it’s only 5 more days until Christmas and there doesn’t seem to be too much Yule spirit in the air. Since this new German break through our targets are getting rough as hell and the boys know it’s that much longer they have to stay over here, but I guess that’s all in the game.
Not to much news, as you see. By the way it will be some little time before we get into Paris again, they have cut out our pass program and I do not know when it will start again. So I will have to wait for that perfume a little longer. I sent a box with six bottles and another with one bottle and that air medal I received, tell me when you receive them. Well, it’s nearly time to go fight the war, so I will say goodbye until the next letter. Everything’s O.K. so don’t worry. All my love Ted, hi Faye and Stan.
12/22/44: Dear folks, 3 days until Christmas, the boys are starting to get drunk already. It is 10 A.M. now and you can hear singing from every other tent.
Sawed a huge tree down and cut a couple of slices off it, about 2 feet through and I was all tired out. Went over to the 454th SQ. and visited Ray Embertan and Dotty, some of the boys we were at Barksdale with. Tonight we went to the movie but they had the reels mixed and they had two reels from one movie and one real from another picture, but it wasn’t too bad.
Yesterday I received two packages from home; one a tall tin box of swell cookies and the other, the box with the Pismo claims and pops recipe (which I am going to make as soon as I already have the onions and a can of milk) and cranberry sauce. I have the other gifts under the tree and I will open the Christmas morning. Thanks a million folks.
The French stationary I bought in Paris has finally ran out and now I can use the air mail stationary that I received in one of you former packages. Some of the envelopes are stuck tight, but most of them are OK.
The weather has been bad for quite a while, but it looks like we may have a break soon, no flights for quite a while, still 17 missions. I hope and know all is O.K. at home. Have a happy new year and lots of love, your son, Ted . PS Did those snaps O sent reach you OK? Tell Faye and Stan hello.
Mission 18, official 456th target/mission designation #274, was flown in the morning on 12-23-44 and lasted 3:45 hours. 30 ships went up at 12,500 feet, accompanied by 3 window planes and a pathfinder. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31964 (Hades’ Lady) dumped 4 x 1,000 bombs on the Eller rail road bridge in Brem, Germany. This was a haroing mission nearly every group of Marauders lost planes the 397th lost 10, the 323rd lost 2. The sky was saturated with the black huge plumes of deadly flak. The smell of the flak burn filled the air and the clinking and exploding chunks played a grim and terrifying tune. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “ When Christmas was just around the corner the great offensive of the Germans came in all its fury. Enemy air activity became prevalent, nearby airdromes were strafed and paratroopers and enemy agents were dropped in many nearby areas. Acts of sabotage and violence against American troops were reported daily. Double airplane guards stood alert in defense of the Marauders.” The Groups was put on a high alert status in so much as an enemy insurgence the base was ready to move within a six hour notice and all supplies and equipment that could not readily be moved was ready to be put to the torch.
12/24/44 (Christmas Eve): Dear folks, I received your swell gifts yesterday and last night we all played pop’s ring toss game, I opened the other presents tonight before chow. and all were very nice. I don’t know how to thank you as it means so much to receive things from home. I have had no mail from home for seven days, but I know it’s just the mail tie up.
I have 18 missions now and the last one was a little rough, in fact the roughest one we have had. I saw enough to make those old pictures, like “Hells’ Angles” look sick. But, the Germans took the worst of the beating.
It has been really cold here the last few days. All of the water pools are frozen over and the ground stays frozen all day. Our water system is nonoperational now to, all frozen up. No snow as yet, but heavy frost every morning and the ground is all while until about 11:00 every morning.
I would very much like to be home with you folks tonight, but know you will have a good time. It is 7:00 PM here and only 11:00 A.M. there. I suppose there’s not to much activity going on in the house as yet. Nor is there much here. Most of the boys are pretty tired and are doing a lot of thinking.
I want to thank you once again for all of the lovely gifts I received and I hope that we can all be together for our next Christmas. All my love Ted.
12/25/44 (Christmas Day): Dear folks, we had a very full day today, and tonight a very swell dinner; turkey, peas, dressing, potatoes and gravy, candy and a big Washington State apple. After dinner Bill and I went to the movie and for once they had a darn good show. Also, a short on Stan Kenton and his band. We have just returned and it’s 9 P.M. now. All of the boys in the tent are either reading or writing letters. The old pot bellied stove is going full blast and the tent is nice and warm, although outside it is cold as hell. The frost has been on the ground for 5 days now, all of the water puddles are frozen, the ground was white all day even if it wasn’t snow.
I opened most of the things I received from you folks and Faye & Stan last night, but today I finished them off. They were all swell, thanks a million. I enjoyed looking at the cards you placed in the gifts as they really brought back that Christmas feeling, especially the one with the big red Santa boots. The boys and I had a good time already with the games you sent. That’s the thing that is lacking over here, what to do with all your spare time in the evenings and on those cloudy days. It seems we have played all of the card games that were ever invented.
Also, I had a great time looking through the book Stan sent, the one of the cartoons at the plant. All of the boys had a great time looking it over. The old Douglas Air View was also a welcome sight.
I hope you at home had a very happy Christmas and I feel sure that we will be together for the one next year. I missed out on the church services today as we had a job to do, but I am sure I can make it up here in the tent and save that pleasure for good old Trinity. Good night folks and thanks a lot folks for the lovely gifts, Ted.
Mission 19, official 456th target/mission designation #278, was flown on the morning of 12-26-44 and lasted 2:15 hours. 53 ships went up at 12,500 feet. Harwood’s ship, Martin B26 Marauder, 42-96090 WT-M (Blitz Wagon), dropped 16 250 lb.. bombs on the Nazi ammo dump at Houflize, Belgium. This mission led by Major McNally. Excellent results ere obtained though one plane was lost and 13 damaged. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt.
Mission 20, official 456th target/mission designation #279, was flown on the afternoon of 12-26-02, the second mission of the day for the crew (double header), and lasted 2:30 hours. 42 ships and 3 window planes, went up at 10,500 feet. Harwood’s plane, Martin B26 Marauder, 42-96090 (Blitz Wagon) dropped 16 250 lb.. bombs on the Nazi supply point at Pronsfeld, Germany.. This mission was led by Lt. Colonel Blomberg. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France.
Mission 21, official 456th target/mission designation #280, was flown on the morning of 12-27-44 and lasted 3:00 hours. 50 ships went up at 11,300 feet. Harwood’s Plane, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-31964 WT-L, dropped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on the rail road bridge at Nonnweiler, Germany. This mission was led by Captain Rehr and excellent results were achieved.. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st Lt. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST Lt. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “Without a doubt the work of the 323rd played a vital role in breaking the back of the German counter-offensive since it contributed so effectively during Christmas week to disrupting the enemy’s transportation and supply facilities.”
12/28/44: Dear folks, we have had quite a bit of action in the last few days. First, on Christmas Eve, our engineer gunner, Knight, proceeded to get quite drunk and go to the mess hall, then he pulled out his .45 and blasted away. today he had a court martial and got off with being busted to a PVT. and 3 months restriction and a fine of $25.00 per month for 3 months. But very lucky he didn’t hit what he was shooting at, or maybe he didn’t know what he was doing?
The weather is bad once more after a good bit of nice clear cold weather. It was so darn cold that the water in our tent froze each night. But it served its purpose in helping us get off some much needed missions to K.O the Germans. I now have a total of 21 missions 1/3 of the total of what we are required to have before that good old trip home.
This afternoon I took a shower I hooked up in the back of the tent. 3 shelter halves and a wabble pump going up the shower head. We have ice all over the ground and those shower clacks really come in handy. By the way I received a letter from Faye today and she reamed me out about not asking for packages. I will do so but don’t take me to literally, but thanks anyway Faye.
The old Germans are trying to give us a thrill at nights by coming over and strafing us now, all of the boys instead of diving for the slit trenches, go out and gaze into the sky to try to find out what he is going to do next. Went to the show last night and the power went off at the end of the first reel, so I think I will go back and try tonight. Thanks for the mail folks and please send some more of that swell food , thanks all love Ted.
Mission 22, official 456th target/mission designation #282, was flown on the morning of 01-01-45 and lasted 2:55 hours. 30 ships and 1 pathfinder went up at 12,500 feet. Harwood’s plane, Martin B26 Marauder, 41-43281 WT-D (Little Mike), dropped 4 1000 lb.. bombs on a Nazi communication center and railroad yard at St. Vith, Belgium. Vith, was at this time, recaptured by the Germans and was a center for counter attack capability. There was intense flak reported on this mission. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (CP.) 2nd/1st LT. John W. Kuczwara (Nav.) 2nd/1ST LT. William B. Guerrant Jr. (P) 2nd Lt./1st Lt. Jack A. Reynolds (TG) Cpl./S/Sgt. John H. Knight ( E ) Cpl./Sgt. Velton J. O’Neal Jr. ( WG. ) Sgt. T/Sgt. Base of operations Laon/ Athies, France. According to a post war account by Lt. Colonel Ross E. Harlan (February, 1990): “The new year was literally brought in with a bang. The usual midnight festivities had scarcely died away when an FW 190 came screaming across the field with its guns blazing. Antiaircraft batteries opened up on the nuisance raider and were given credit for having destroyed him when he crashed a few miles west of the base. At this time there was a shift in executive officers and Captain Rehr became the 456ths’ Operations officer ”
General Moench, John O., 1989 Marauder Men. Malia Enterprises. Longwood Florida.
General Moench, John O., 1989 Recordings of T.V. Harwood. Pima Air Museum. Arizona.
Harwood, Ray. 1994 1st LT T.V. Harwood’s B26 Martin Marauder. WFS.CA.
1st LT. Harwood, T.V. 1969- 1995 Personal interviews (Conducted by Ray Harwood )
1st LT. Harwood, T.V, 1996 (Compiled by Ray Harwood) 1943 Letters Home, WWII Pilot Training. WFS. CA.
LT. Colonel Harlan, Ross E., 1990, Strikes, 323 Bomb Group (M) AAF . Oklahoma City, OK.