BNC Text H5J

Suffolk Sound Archive: recording a message. Sample containing about 2961 words speech recorded in leisure context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C316

PS22R X m (No name, age unknown) unspecified
H5JPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
H5JPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 093701 recorded on unknown date. LocationUnknown () Activity: recording a message recording

Undivided text

(PS22R) [1] you do not mind my taking this method of answering your letter ... and I hope that you, I did not put you to too much trouble to locate a recorder to listen to the tape, I am just too lazy to write it all down and think that what I have to say I can put it better in words than what I can on paper, I'll let you do that part.
[2] The first questions that you brought up [cough] was, if possible I would be very grateful to you for a brief description of the two raids to Gdynia Pole ninth of October in Colesfield tenth of October nineteen forty three.
[3] To go back to the Gdynia one on the ninth of October nineteen forty three, I have to state that when our crew arrived in England we went to er through school at Bovingdon for a couple of weeks then we were assigned to the Ninety Second Bomb Group and they wanna be sure we fit in.
[4] At that time the navigator and bombardier starting going on missions because evidently they were short so by the time the Gdynia mission came around the bombardier and the, and the er navigator had [...] missions under their belt so this was to be my first mission.
[5] I flew as co-pilot, we had a veteran pilot who would be Aeroplane Commander, the rest of the crew was green or also on their first mission.
[6] So that on er if you look at the crew picture this is the crew that flew the first mission to Gdynia, Poland except kneeling the second man from the left is , he did not go, I flew the co-pilot position.
Unknown speaker (H5JPSUNK) [...]
(PS22R) [7] The trip to Gdynia, Poland to me was a remarkable one by the Eighth Airforce because of the distance involved and the location of the target that was hit in the daytime.
[8] I feel sure that the German Luftwaffe must have looked at it especially the leaders, and saw where the Eighth Airforce hit and seeing what we did and gave them some thought and consideration, actually with our Bomb Group going in we had no fighter attacks on the way in over the target, we had flack but we did not have air opposition, then on the way back we crossed the Danish peninsula and I think of course by this time the Luftwaffe knew we were coming back that way, and they had the fighters up there and this was our first time being on this mission that we saw air to air combat with the fighters against the flying fortress and in our ammunition, in our guns there, every fifth bullet was a tracer and it was amazing to me that as the German fighters came in it looked like just a hail of tracers going out but they were able to get in there knock down a B Seventeen and leave, it seemed, unscathed untouched it almost seemed impossible to me that a fighter could go through that many bullets and escape unharmed.
[9] Evidently I did not see fighters go down that day but I know they did but this was a first realization as if there was somebody up there to kill me and I guess this is the point at which you realize that you are going to kill them before they kill you and all of a sudden we are in combat all our lives and we take a complete change in outlook from everything because up to now everything had been practise and training just for this except we did not have that realization that they are there to kill us, who's gonna be killed first?
[10] I sent you the articles that I had in my scrapbook from Colesfield on October tenth, I am looking now at the ones from Gdynia, Poland, on October ninth and its headlines [reading] Port Libs hit Poland and Prussia with vast damage caused by wrecker raid on four targets deep in the East, Gdynia, Danzig, German plane plants are blasting great weekend blitz, Bremen and Hanover get it again [] .
[11] Underneath that I have another article to which was kicked out sometime later but I have it in here, it says, raid on Gdynia would surprise to Nazis to say refugees in Sweden tell how the non Germans cheered in the streets but the two refugees eye witnesses to the American Bombing Attack on Gdynia, October ninth, reported here that the raid caught the Germans by surprise and that non German workers stood in the streets and cheered amid terrific destruction.
[12] The refugees provided this picture of the attack which occurred with deepest thrust yet made into Europe by Britain based American bombers.
[13] The Germans thought Danzig might be bombed but not Gdynia, since the latter is a Polish City.
Unknown speaker (H5JPSUNK) [...]
(PS22R) [14] Germans were confidently walking in the streets when the alarm sounded but they didn't take it seriously and failed to go to air raid shelters.
[15] They came as a lightning surprise to them when two hundred American planes came over the city clearly visible in the cloudless sky, the Italians kept separating in two camps because of fascist and non- fascist fleet ran around frantically trying to get fog machines working, trying to obscure the target but the fog prevented warships in the harbour for putting up an effective anti-aircraft barrage.
[16] The bombers came in from two different sides of the harbour and from the direction and [...] .
[17] Five small war ... warships and one larger vessels were wrecked by the bomb hits on a dry dock.
[18] Three coal boats and three tugboats were sunk.
[19] The biggest coal crane and unloading machinery as well as six [...] were damaged.
[20] The terrific bomb blast shattered every window in Gdynia.
[21] Headquarters for the Gestapo and police were wrecked.
[22] The Germans announced only one hundred and eighty casualties but there were at least twelve hundred German military personnel and six hundred civilians including one hundred and twenty Poles.
[23] So this was quite a mission which I believe has not been adequately covered in the history and was a forerunner of things to come and like I say we got through that mission without any damage, our gunners got to shoot at the first German fighters and we were an experienced crew with one mission under our belt.
[24] The next day we went to Colesfield.
[25] Now the mission to Colesfield was with the crew that you have pictures, have the picture of, as you look at the picture from left to right standing in the back is or I should say ,,, and his home town was [...] Louisiana, he was a waste gunner.
[26] The second man from the left to the right is his home was [...] , the third man was a gunner and [...] his name is his home town was Stirling Nebraska and he was the oldest man on the crew.
[27] The fourth man in is from New York City, he was the [...] gunner and engineer of the crew, he is now deceased.
[28] The fifth man is , he was a gunner and armourer and flew in the [...] and the man furthest on the right standing is from Chualar [spelling] C H U A L A R [] California, he was a waste gunner for two waste gunners on the each end of the standing group.
[29] Kneeling, left to right, of course there's myself and I was from New Orleans, Louisiana at that time.
[30] Second man in is and he was from Sanco Texas er he only flew a few missions with me, in training I'd had another co-pilot and er I had checked the co-pilot I had when the crew was organized out, so he could go back through and come as er as a Plane Commander with a crew.
Unknown speaker (H5JPSUNK) [...]
(PS22R) [31] joined us just as we were ready to go overseas, he had just come out of er Flight School and of course his heart was set on being a fighter pilot and here he became a co-pilot so he was a very disappointed man and he did not stand up well in combat so there weren't too many missions, about five and I bounced him off the crew and wouldn't fly with him any more and got then other co-pilots to fly with me from our Squadron.
[32] And the third man kneeling , the navigator who was from Milford [spelling] M I L F O R D [] , Utah, and the last man is and he was from Dekalb, [spelling] D E K A L B [] , Illinois.
[33] Now the thing about this crew and the crews that you were talking about from the Hundredth Bomb Group, the, I guess the most famous crew from the Hundred Bomb Group is with the Roses Rivetus Now our crews were [...] at the same time.
[34] and myself or as he was better known, came through B Seventeen Transition School at [...] in Florida together and [...] where the crews were formed so that the names in the Army of course are worked alphabetically, so everybody on my crew is trained with everybody on crew and their last name is just ahead erm in the alphabetic in the class that they were in, so that my navigator came from the same school, the same navigation class as .
[35] The same way with the bombardier waste gunner, radio operators, engineers and all the gunners, so that our crews were all buddy-buddy. crew and my crew were buddy-buddy from the minute we were formed, right on through, I guess you might say the rest of our lives here, even though we have not gotten together since the war but I have talked to on the phone one time when I was in New York City.
[36] The er other thing about our crew was that er one time there, I guess after was the only one that got back and they, they had to get him back on flying service.
[37] He flew to our base, the reason there all of his crew members to visit with all of my crew members.
[38] Then one time after we've had a rough mission and trying to get back on flying status an'all, we flew over to your Hundredth Bomb Group field and this did the there with crew.
[39] Once again each man visited with his own buddies that they'd gone through training with here in the States, so we feel very much attached to the Hundredth Bomb Group and .
[40] Of course this picture was taken at Tennessee, right before we went overseas to start our bombing missions so that the aeroplane behind us course doesn't have a name, [...] was one that was used for training.
[41] So when we got overseas course we flew with the Ninety Second Bomb Group the Three Two Six Squadron and er all we were pretty well into our missions, I would say about six, seven, eight.
[42] When a new plane came in and they assigned it to our crew, it being the principle crew and we got to name it and we named our plane Skyscraper, I do have some later pictures but er [...] it taken in front of the plane of the crew that I was flying with at that time and the ground crew in front of Skyscraper.
Unknown speaker (H5JPSUNK) [...]
(PS22R) [43] But this is the crew and the picture that flew to Colesfield on the tenth of October of forty three and we had nothing out of the ordinary to report about that mission and that was the Gdynia Mission the day before, it certainly stands out on our minds because of the length of it and then of course the next one on the fourteenth of October to Schweinfurt which changed our lives.
[44] I don't know if you have the book by is the history of the Ninety Second Group and in case you don't have it I would just bring in about these two missions.
[45] On October ninth, the Ninety Second Group participated in the Eighth Airforce's longest mission to assault the harbour area at Gdynia, Poland on the western side of the [...] Danzig, twenty one aircraft led by took off at eight hundred hours and twenty returned ten and a half hours later.
[46] The aircraft [...] by Second Lieutenant failed to return, victim of savage enemy fighter attacks.
[47] The following mission to Colesfield on October tenth but Ninety Two Ninety Second planes leading the Division.
[48] excuse me failure to combat when Commanding Officer directed the attack flying .
[49] Twenty aircraft was despatched and sixteen attacked.
[50] [...] covered the town in returning crews claimed it wiped out.
[51] Photographs made after the attack on the German Naval Base at Gdynia showed the five hundred and fifty foot liner Stuttgart burning fiercely, three other ships in the harbour were left burning and dock railway yards and workshops hit.
[52] That was directly [...] .
[53] I was just checking here in from the book by and I was looking at the chapter here on Roses Rivetus and er ... and it was on the mission to Munster here that er ... Third Combat Mission once a day for three days' running was to Munster it was this ill-fated mission that made the reputation as the bloody Hundredth and of course this is the one that he only came back from.
[54] They also see that on page hundred and ninety nine, they have a picture here of crew of Rivetus and I was just getting about these names to mind, his radio operator's name was , mine was .
[55] Nobody must have been his bombardier, mine was and my navigator was and I see his would have been .
[56] His flight engineer must have been mine was .
[57] That was very interesting and I thought a good write up of and the things that he did, there to survive the World War Two and of course I go back to when the crews were formed and we flew together training at Pyo Texas and at er Dallasburgh, Tennessee and then from there went overseas, we went to er Scotville, Illinois and picked up new planes in Petermover and it was, we went to Stagen area.
Unknown speaker (H5JPSUNK) [...]
(PS22R) [58] Now it was there that we became separated, I developed a very bad [...] throat and could not fly, just before we were ready to leave for overseas as in his crew and the other crews that were there went on whereas I got held back and of course the way I feel about it is that that week that I got held back, saved my life.
[59] I hope this little titbit of news about the crews that were formed and especially the ones of Rivetus because that is what you're writing about, since he was the only one back from the Hundredth Bomb Group but how well we knew him in training since the two crews trained together and of course the flying part of it and myself have coordinated our flying with our co-pilots, we used to, just the two of us go up, and we would actually fly a circle around one plane over another, so one plane was [...] and the other plane would fly circles around it and keeping up with it and this calls for close teamwork between the pilot and the co-pilot because as you're keen and went into view and ... and then of course we switched roles and I would become the leader and he'd fly circles around me, training with his co-pilot.
[60] Then of course the there were area combat missions, area missions but these had nothing to do er with the work training I think that and I did and in developing of our crews so that we were able to survive and of course er our mission that we thought that would probably be the same as was on the fourteenth when we went to Schweinfurt and we made it back and not only that but we got back to England, we'd manage on about the third pass to get in to this one field and there was another plane trying to get in and they went up and bailed out and after we were eating our supper here they brought the men in the fields er where they, on the bombers' field where they had landed the [...] never got in so they went up and set the plane on automatic pilot and bailed out because they couldn't land the plane but we managed to take them out and I think there was the ... extra good flying training and I did together that made us able to survive the savage attacks that we had, he had it on the Munster mission, I had it on the Schweinfurt mission.
[61] So now that's about all I have on these two missions for you and I hope this will be of some help and er be only too glad to hear from you.
[62] You can continue on with this tape.
[63] Go on I tell you what why don't you flip it over and start on the other side, even though it says this side done, this is an old tape from a seismograph and er we were afraid to use it in our work but I think the sound's alright on it, you flip it over and where it says this side down, put that side up and use the other half of the tape and let me hear your comments back.
[64] Because if you will have a had to get a recorder to listen to this side so you might as well put something on the other side and send it to me but of course there is no rush and in return you'd be showing you take off anything or any part that you care to use.