Bungay Comforts and Get-Aways

Like so many in Dad’s (Richard Scott) outfit, their crew was formed in Tucson AZ and, in June of 1944 embarked for Europe in their B-24 Liberator to join the 446th in Bungay, England. Upon arrival in the pastoral setting of Bungay, Dad remarked time and again on the austere living conditions facing them, especially his cot and the likes of London.
His crew was further galvanized after about five missions into a working team that carried each other through the end of the war. In fact, one year later, in June of 1945, they all flew a B-24 Liberator back to New England where they all separated and went their own ways.
Back to their accommodations at Flixton Airfield, Dad’s bed was a mattress stuffed with down that was actually three cushions sewn together into what they called biscuits. The British blankets they were initially issued were the worst he’d ever known, rough like straw and very uncomfortable. In fact, the GI blankets from the U.S. were the most preferred but it took a few months before Dad accumulated the three he needed for the comfort desired. In fact, his GI blankets came from other aircrews that didn’t make it -- initial issue items redistributed among the living aircrews. Anyway, it took three GI blankets, two to cover the rough mattress and British blanket, and the third for warmth.
Dad’s crew became a lead crew after five missions, which meant they led a nine-ship formation, but also rated a 48-hour pass every month. His first pass to London was via train from Lowestock station near Bungay. He’d never dreamed he’d ever see the likes of the magnificent city of London, but his primary focus was finding and purchasing real cotton bedding for his mattress and pillow in his barracks. Those cotton things turned his mattress into the most comfortable thing to finally look forward to every night. His other luxury was a used bicycle which disappeared three weeks or so before he left the continent for home.
Finally, the 446th Bomb Group had a commander who suggested a more comfortable heating arrangement in their barracks. As coal and coke were in short supply, their commander suggested converting an old oxygen carry-bottle into an oil tank. This was a tremendous idea when rigged properly to deposit used engine oil into the pot-bellied stoves of the barracks. The oxygen bottle would be suspended above the stove and its hose positioned to drip oil into the combustion bin. Unfortunately, this innovation was quickly nixed when Air Division Headquarters put out a cease and desist order to stop their use. The idea became too popular, to the point that used engine oil dried up the recycling pipeline, thereby shorting needed lubricants for more important war operations. So much for efficient, dependable heating in the barracks, but at least Dad had his comfortable cot and bicycle. By the way, he made several more trips into London and, as he became for acquainted with its offerings, stayed in love with it well after the war.

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