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
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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