RETURN to 34 TCS

Rev. 04/17/03

The 34th Troop Carrier Squadron

History

The 34th Troop Carrier Squadron was created in 19xx as one of two squadrons in the 6th Air Transport Command (the 43rd TCS being the other). Originally based in Middletown, PA, at Olmstead Field, the squadron deployed to Florence, then to Aldermaston, England in 1942, via Greenland. The squadron's departure from Greenland was delayed for bad weather. Upon arrival in Aldermaston, Lord Ha-ha (British turn-coat radio announcer) welcomed its arrival over the air and even announced that the clock on the operations room wall was 15 minutes slow, which it was.

An echelon of the  34th deployed to Blida, Algiers, North Africa in fall of 1943.  During that time, the 34th and the 43rd moved from Aldemaston, England, to Spanhoe, England, where the North Africa echelon rejoined the squadron in the spring of 1944.  At that time, two new squadrons – the 309th TCS and 310th TCS – were created to join the 34th and 34rd in forming the 315th Troop Carrier Group at Spanhoe.  Many of the personnel from the two squadrons moved to the two new squadrons.

In March 1945, with the Continent well-secured, the Group, including the 34th, moved its entire operations to Amiens, France.  Operating in field conditions, they were instrumental in Operation Varsity, crossing the Rhine into Germany itself.

With the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, the squadron began to stand-down and returned to the States in the summer of 1943, spending some time in the Carribean as a support base for troops and materiel in transit from Europe.  The squadron was finally disbanded in August 1945.

 

Resume of Months Activity – 34th Troop Carrier Squadron – 1 June 1944 to 30 June 1944

 

Almost from the very first minute of June there was a newness, a strangeness in the air, an expectancy and, still, a restraint. Some personnel, perhaps with psychic sensitivities, suspected much, but their suspicious went unvoiced. Almost unnoticed were the tell-tale rust-colored rolls of barbed wire that had grown up among the weeds and effectually separated those who knew too much from those who knew nothing at all. Over everything was a superficial gloss of normalcy. Ground school consisted of lectures on escape and evasion, ditching demonstrations, first-aid, and summaries of the current war news; combat crews participated from time to time in athletics. The drone of motors was sporadic in the sky but just enough to seem usual and casual. On the first, one Squadron aircraft flew locally for 30 minutes; on the second, one aircraft made a Rebecca test flight while another flew cross-country; on the third, a Pathfinder crew accomplished a cross-country mission. More paratroopers had arrived—big, tough specimens of manhood—and were interned within the rust-colored barbed wire enclosures. It aroused little comment. For many weeks this had been “S.O.P.” in the disposal of paratroopers—the barbed wire seemed to be more for our own protection than for anything else.

 

On the 3rd of June, the communications arteries of Troop Carrier Command leading to subordinate units were suddenly glutted with secret instructions. With equal suddenness a heavy restriction descended upon the base. Officers appeared at the gates to augment the regular guard strength. Vehicles passed neither in nor out unless on official business of an urgent nature and properly convoyed by an “escort” officer. Passes for both enlisted men and officers were cancelled. The lights in Group Intelligence and Operations offices glowed all night. And yet, there was a phenomenal lack of rumor. Those discerning enough to see in this activity something of unusual importance were intelligent enough not to talk about it. The less discerning were awakened by cloud-filtered daylight on June 4th at the scheduled time; saw two Squadron Skytrains take the air on cross-country flights and return two and one-half hours later; or were silently thankful that the cancellation of ground school for that morning had added, incrementally, to “sack-time”. By noon, a field order had been disseminated to certain staff officers of Group Headquarters; normal business was in a state of strange suspense. Weather was, inconveniently, miserable.

 

By the morning of the fifth 12 Squadron aircraft were on the line and ready for loading. Squadron intelligence and operations officers had been informed of the nature of the impending operation. They gathered the appropriate maps, charts, and photographs for briefing in the afternoon. At 1500 hours, pilots and navigators, arrayed in full field equipment—flak suits, helmets, pistols, gas masks, impregnated clothing—filed into the Squadron Intelligence office. There they received their escape purses, kits, and more cheerful items such as gum drops, chewing gum, soap, and cigarettes. Their faces were sober. In the space of a few yours, youths had changed into men. In the pilots’ lounge they were thoroughly briefed by Lt. Col. Robert J. GIBBONS, the Group Operations Officer. Among the ranking officers present was Major General RIDGEWAY of the 82nd Airborne Division. They proceeded, then, to their own “leper colony”, to be cut off from the outside world until the mission was accomplished. At 1700 hours the remaining members of the combat crews, already equipped, filed into a briefing room. Lt. Giles E. DAWSON and Lt. John R. KIRK, Squadron Intelligence officers, were present to conduct the briefing.

 

“This is where you are going this evening>” Lt. DAWSON’s voice was quiet, his phrasing studies. A hush fell on the room as he produced a specially-prepared map of the northern coast of France. His finger traced a path leading out over the English Channel, skirting the isles of Guernsey and Jersey, bending northeastward to cross the Cherbourg peninsula. “The paratroops will be dropped here, on the Cherbourg peninsula, at a cross-roads immediately southwest of the village, St. Mere Eglise.” He indicated a point on the map. “You will cross the peninsula, fly out a few miles over the Channel to the northeast, and then follow the reciprocal of the route in. If you should be so unfortunate as to find yourself on the ground, you can expect our soldiers to the northeast of where you land.”

 

Lt. DAWSON reminded the crews of certain basic principles of escape and evasion, and the briefing was over in a quarter of an hour. Lt. KIRK took the crews to the mess hall, escorted a few to latrines, and finally deposited them in the Base Chapel to await further instructions.

 

From 200 hours to 2100 hours a few trucks ran along the perimeter track, halted occasionally, and moved on. Their drivers had been instructed to carry certain equipment to certain hand-standings. It was the sort of thin that happens every day on any busy aerodrome. In the chapel the interned crews could hear motors revved up, a few at a time, sustained for several minutes, and then cut off. They realized it was a most important warm-up. To other base personnel, it was the normal noise of normal operations. A few minutes before 2100 hours, trucks drove to the chapel, stopped in the street. Crews piled aboard. The convoy rolled, trickled onto the field, scattered, made brief stops at specified areas, and resumed everyday duties. The crews lit cigarettes, talked in low tones, and became acquainted with their paratroop0er passengers. Pilots and co-pilots made a last-minute check of instruments and controls. Radio operators examined their transmitters and receivers, but they kept their hands off the master switch. There was no test transmission. All that had been done before. At 2115 hours the perimeter track was bare of trucks. C-47’s stood silently and broodingly on their dispersed hard-standings, apparently deserted. Few knew that within their cavernous interiors was the red glow of cautiously-smoked cigarettes and subdued conversation shot through with a thread of high seriousness. The blue of the long twilight deepened.

 

At 2300 hours engines again sputtered to life. Exhausts belched preliminary puffs of smoke. The roar of engines grew to an ear-splitting crescendo. Five minutes later C-47’s rolled down the runway with navigation lights ablaze and ascended with its precious cargo. For thirty minutes aircraft took the air. The Squadron contributed 12 aircraft to the Group formation of 47. Circling the field, their amber lights added a thousand stars to an already star-filled sky. At 2349 hours the Group set course.

 

One might have thought that by this time the well-kept secret would be “out-of-the-bag”.

True, this display of Troop Carrier might have aroused some wonderment. About midnight, an officer, with several men of the intelligence section, visited the mess hall for coffee. (There were still many caffeine-crammed hours of work to do that night.) The KP in charge of night coffee inquired, “Say, Lieutenant, what’s going on around here” Aren’t you fellows working a little late?”

 

The check-points on the flight plan contained many a name dear to an American’s heart—Gallup, Flatbush, Atlanta, Paducah, Spokane, etc. The Wing rendezvous point, Elko, was reached at 0056 hours. The aircraft left the coast of England (Flatbush) at 0109 hours and pushed on across the Channel. Pilots had expected a heavy barrage of flak at landfall on the French coast (Peoria), so they were considerably cheered when, at 0154 hours, they found this coast slumbering and peaceful. As they eased their heavy aircraft down through scattered clouds at 1700 feet, they remained alert. They wondered when the 19 formations of C-47’s ahead of them would awaken the French countryside. They had not long to wait. At 0156 hours flak, tracer and small arms fire burst loose from ground positions to the north and northeast. Seconds later the pilots and crews caught sight of chains of fires burning on the terrain directly ahead. At 0201 hours they sighted the lighted tee which marked the Drop Zone. Altering course and lowering to 800 feet, the aircraft swept over the DZ from 0202 to 0204 hours. All but two paratroopers jumped. Those who did, members of the 505th Engineers, landed within the specified area. The pilots set course immediately to avoid the village of St. Mere Eglise.

 

Crossing the Cherbourg peninsula on the return journey was a hazardous affair. The French countryside was thoroughly awakened now and flak and tracer fire reached out from the north. Flak hit the left engines of aircraft piloted by 1st. Lt. Paul J. MELUCAS, 2ND. Lt. Richard L. ADAMS, and the aircraft co-piloted by 2nd Lt. Samuel A. PEEK. There were no injuries to personnel.

 

Crews found the English Channel littered with destroyers, cruisers, landing craft, and a sprinkling of battleships—an inspiring sight in the early dawn. The odd, astronomical title of the night’s mission, “NEPTUNE”, took on a larger meaning. It was clearly less referring to Planet No. 8 than to the God of the Sea in ancient Greek mythology.

 

Approaching the home field, Spanhoe, one pilot, 1st. Lt. Richard L. KLOTZ, discovered that flak had so damaged the hydraulic system of his aircraft that one wheel hung half way down and the other had remained in a retracted position. Gasoline gauges were not functioning. Brakes and flaps were not responding to controls. At the last minute, 2nd Lt. Dale GAFFNEY, the co-pilot, suggested pouring the water of four canteens into the hydraulic system to bring down the wheels and to operate the brakes and flaps. It worked! The aircraft sighted the home field, Spanhoe, at 0408 hours, and they circled down to a landing by 0420 hours.

 

Interrogation was conducted by Squadron Intelligence personnel from 0430 hours to 0500 hours. A special ration of bourbon was given to combat crews following interrogation.

 

Reaction to their participation in the mission, NEPTUNE, was varied among the members of the combat crews. Several of the pilots had interesting comments. Lt. Col. Donald G. DEKIN, Squadron Commander, said, “It was the biggest thrill of my life to have a ringside seat at the world’s greatest show.” 1st. Lt. Ernest S. HENNER and 1st. Lt. Paul J. MELUCAS agreed, “The closest thing to a traffic jam in the sky we’ve ever seen.” When asked what he recalled most vividly in his D-day excursion, 2nd. Lt. Richard L. ADAMS replied, “I vividly remember the shells hitting the left engine of my plane.” 2nd. Lt. Howard J. BEAGLE was impressed by British and American naval strength. “There were so many boats, you couldn’t see the water.” “Biggest thrill of my life,” said 2nd. Lt. Shaw D. RAY.

 

The co-pilots were enthusiastic, too. Major James S. SMITH, Squadron Operations Officer, commented, “The carefully-laid plans and perfect timing were instrumental in making the mission such a huge success.” 2nd. Lt. Donfred A. DOLL admitted that the fastest ride of his life was on the return journey from Cherbourg peninsula. 2nd. Lt. William D. McGRIFF noted aesthetic aspects. “Flak sounded like hailstones hitting the plane, but I was impressed most by the beautiful, moonlit countryside, the flares floating down, and the great activities.” 2nd. Lt. Jack B. OLDS said he would never forget the huge fires blazing all along the coast of France. Asked whether he was at all frightened in the midst of enemy fire, 2nd. Lt. Lawrence ST. JOHN explained his reactions as follows, “Although we could see projectiles and tracer fire all about us, we much too busy flying in formation through thick clouds to think of danger.”

 

“It was a wonder feeling to realize that I had been in on the greatest military operation of all time,” said Capt. Joseph E. KRYSAKOWSKI, a navigator, when he returned to his home base. Another navigator, 1st Lt. Romeo S. FARESE, dreaming of his hometown, Watertown, Massachusetts, had this to say, “The air was so full of planes, it would have been much easier to find a parking space near Victory Field on Turkey Day than it was to find flying space near Cherbourg peninsula on D-Day.” 1st. Lt. F. C. MELTON, Jr.’s time sense was effected, “It seemed that we had no more than started before we were back.” The experience had the opposite effect on another navigator, 1st. Lt. Stan W. WOODALL, “On the return trip I had some of the longest moments of my life.”

 

Crew chiefs and radio operators had less to say. T/Sgt. Harold J. BOYLAND explained that to him it was just a smooth and well-timed as a practice mission. S/Sgt. Aloysium F. CHIRHART, a radio operator, remarked, “It wasn’t easy, but it was better organized and planned than even a practice mission.” S/Sgt. John J. CIOULOUKOWSKI, another radio operator, described his first combat mission as the biggest thrill of his life--particularly when an enemy gun position that had been firing at him was blown up.

 

A complete roster of Squadron flying personnel participating in mission NEPTUNE is appended.)

 

Combat crews left the pilots lounge after interrogation, and with all our blessing, crawled into their “sacks” for well-earned sleep. The rest of the world still had to wait six hours before they would hear the news and could rejoice too, that it had all really happened.

 

During the days that followed D-Day, the Squadron was frequently alerted for various types of combat missions. Weather usually cancelled such operations. But on June 22nd, two five-aircraft formations departed Spanhoe for Ramsbury for the purpose of carrying ammunition to the beachhead area. Each aircraft was loaded with 5000 lbs. of ammunition, and the first five-aircraft formation departed Ramsbury at 0828 hours on June 23 for St. Alban’s head, the rendezvous point for three other formations and fighter cover. The first formation landed at the Normandy strip at 0945 hours and was unloaded. Flights were scheduled at two-hour intervals. The second formation took off at Ramsbury at 1020 hours, arriving at the beachhead at 1240 hours. Capt. Edward F. CONNELLY, a pilot in the first formation to land, was delayed a few hours in his return by a puncture caused by the newly laid net runway on landing. The aircraft had returned to home base, Spanhoe, by 1855 hours on the 23rd.

 

The training schedule during the month of June was very nearly like that for May. Lt. John R. KIRK inaugurated Sunday lectures for enlisted men. These lectures were held in the Base Chapel and were of one hour in duration. During the first 20 minutes, the current news of the world’s war fronts was covered. The remaining 40 minutes were devoted to topics of allied interest and, preferably, of somewhat controversial nature, inasmuch as group discussion was encouraged. Using Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Rauschnig’s Hitler Speaks, Lt. KIRK pointed out certain characteristics of the present-day Nazi psychology and propaganda. Other topics concerned the potentialities of rocket and jet propulsion, the fallacies of isolationism, and the structure of a permanent peace.

 

On June 24th the Squadron personnel saw the handwriting on the wall. They were given instructions to paint all baggage for proper identification in anticipation of overseas movement.

 

34th TCS aircraft (NM) at Spanhoe.

Daily War Diary    34th Troop Carrier Squadron   1 June 1944 to 30 June 1944

 

June 1. Squadron training was continued with a 1½ hour’s lecture on escape and evasion presented by Lt. John H. MacKENZIE (310th T.C. Squadron). This was preceded by a 45 minute warm-up of athletics in which combat crews participated. In the afternoon all combat crews attended a lecture on ditching and a lecture on emergency procedure with wounded aboard aircraft. One C-53C was assigned to the squadron.

 

June 2. At the morning ground school session, Lt. MacKENZIE, gave the second in a series of lectures on escape and evasion. Group and Squadron intelligence officers reviewed the current situation on the world’s battlefronts. Pilots took paratroopers to their aircraft and briefed them on emergency ditching procedures. One aircraft flew for two hours on a Rebecca test flight. Another flew cross-country for two hours, fifteen minutes. Two radio operators accompanied these flights and communicated with air-ground training stations. Twenty-two radio operators practiced W/T for an hour and 18 radio operators practiced 1/2 hour on Blinker Code and practiced one hour on “Q” signals.

 

 

June 3. The Base was placed under heavy restriction. A pathfinder crew made a cross-country flight. Four radio operators attended a lecture on Radio Navigational Aids in the United Kingdom. Twenty-four radio operators practiced R/T for one hour.

 

June 4. Two Squadron aircraft flew cross-country for 2½ hours.

 

June 5. In the afternoon, combat crews of 12 Squadron aircraft attended a briefing for a paratroop drop over Cherbourg Peninsula. The crews were then segregated for dinner, briefed with the jump masters at 2000 hours in the pilots lounge. The Squadron took off at 2320 hours, arrived at target at

 

June 6. 0202 hours. All but two paratroopers were dropped. All crews reported dropping on the tee. Aircraft returned between 0400 and 0420 hours. Crews were debriefed by Squadron Intelligence personnel from 0430 to 0515 hours. There were no injuries to personnel, with minor damage to aircraft from flak and small arms fire.

 

June 7. Squadron Engineering personnel were engaged in checking aircraft for damage and making necessary repairs. Seventeen radio operators practiced W/T. Six radio operators attended a lecture on Navigational Aids in the United Kingdom and Radio Procedure. Lt Giles E. DAWSON acquainted the new radio operators with escape and evasion procedure and discussed certain unorthodox tricks of German interrogators.

 

June 8. Fifteen radio operators practiced W/T for 1½ hours and attended “Q” code class. Eighteen radio operators attended a lecture on navigational aids and chart reading.

 

June 9. Combat crews attended a morning ground school session on aircraft recognition. Eighteen radio operators practiced one hour on W/T and 19 attended a “Q” signal class.

 

June 10. Twenty radio operators practiced W/T for 1½ hours and attended “Q” signal class for one-half hour.

 

June 11. Lt. John R. KIRK gave the second of a series of orientation lectures to the enlisted men of the Squadron. Current situation on the war fronts were covered; he then led a discussion on the subject of propaganda.

 

June 12. All combat crews participated in one hour of athletics. Squadron personnel saw the cinema, “Battle of Britain”. One aircraft flew locally for six hours. Seventeen crews were alerted on three-hour notice for any prospective mission. Twenty radio operators practiced W/T for one hour. Six Flight Officers were promoted to 2nd. Lt. this date.

Messhall at Spanhoe (indicated by the arrow)

 

 

 

HEADQUARTERS 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION

Office of the Division Commander

In the Field

 

                                           8 June 1944

 

SUBJECT:      Operations

 

TO: Commanding General, IX Troop Carrier Command

 

     1. I am today dispatching to you, under command of Capt. WILLIS T.

EVANS, all of the glider pilots now available within the Division area.

 

     2. Under most difficult conditions, including landing under fire in enemy occupied terrain these glider pilots did a splendid Job. On the ground they rendered most willing and effective service, providing local protection for the Division Command Post during the most critical period when the Division was under heavy attack from three sides.

 

     3. Please express to all elements of your command who brought this

Division in by glider or parachute, or who performed resupply missions for

Us, our admiration for their coolness under fire, for their determination to

Overcome all obstacles, and for their magnificent spirit of cooperation.

         

      4. I know it will interest the Troop Carrier Command to learn that within

the first few hours the Division secured and held its initial objectives, inflicting heavy losses on enemy ground troops while under heavy attack.

 

      5. I particularly commend Captain EVANS.

                                                                                          

                                                                                                /s/ M. B. Ridgway

 

                                                                                                /t/ M. B. RIDGWAY

                                                                                          Major General, U. S. Army

                                                                                                     Commanding

           

 

 

34th TCS aircraft (NM) at Spanhoe.

 

AG 373.2

X 201.22  (3 June 44)   1st. Ind. G-B-6

 

HDQTRS., IX TROOP CARRIER COMMAND, APO 133, U. S. ARMY 15 June 1944

 

TO: Distribution “B,” less stations and staff sections

 

     Receipt of the foregoing communication is highly gratifying, and is ample testimony of the appreciation of the 82nd Division for the magnificent efforts of the units transporting the Division. The fact that General RIDGWAY, under stress of battle, felt it necessary to forward basic letter is particularly pleasing, and will serve as additional evidence of his appreciation of a task well performed. To all, combat crews and ground personnel, you have made an individual contribution to the outstanding success of this Command. The basic letter needs no expanding, and, accordingly, I may only add my sincere appreciation for your loyalty, zeal, and devotion to duty.

 

                                  /s/ PAUL L. WILLIAMS

                                   /t/ PAUL L. WILLIAMS

                                          Brigadier General, USA

                                      Commanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEADQUARTERS

52ND TROOP CARRIER WING, AAF

APO 133,US ARMY CN-3

 

                                                30 June 1944

 

SUBJECT: COMMENDATION

 

TO: All Personnel, 52nd Troop Carrier Wing

 

     1. The success of the 52nd Troop Carrier Wing in the execution of its mission in the invasion of France is known to us all. The training, flying skill, and devotion to duty of the air crews were essential to this accomplishment; however I am cognizant of the part that the ground personnel played in that and subsequent missions. The ground crews and engineers worked long hours with meticulous care for weeks to assure that the aircraft would be operational on D-Day. These same individuals again worked day and night to prepare the aircraft for the succeeding missions. The administrative and medical personnel, likewise, through untiring

attention to duty over an extended period, made possible that coordination so essential to a successful operation.

 

     2. It is my desire that my sincere appreciation of their endeavor be conveyed to all ground personnel who have contributed to the operation of this Wing prior to and since D-Day.

 

     3. It is desired that this be brought to the attention of all personnel concerned.

 

                                      /s/ H. L. CLARK

                                              /t/ H. L. CLARK,

                                        Brig. Gen. USA

                                        Commanding

 

 

 

34th TCS aircraft (NM) on left with 43rd TCS aircraft (UA) on right at Spanhoe just prior to D-Day.

Resume of Months Activity  34th Troop Carrier Squadron - 1 Sept. to 30 September 1945

 

The month began with the Squadron poised and ready for a contemplated thrust of the newly organized First Allied Airborne Army. On the first day opf the month, intelligence personnel were restricted and the paratroopers arrived. The next day, complete post was sealed. The briefing for the mission was completed on the 3rd, but the mission was postponed at the last minute until further notice. The next day it was cancelled completely. Our paratroop guests returned to their more comfortable billets and the ingress and egress of both soldiers and civilians was again permitted.

 

On the afternoon of the 12th, 24 Squadron aircraft rushed 119,212 pounds of gasoline from an airfield in England to Rheims, France for U.S. 3rd Army. The crews returned to their home base late that evening only to be roused from their “sacks” early the next morning to crew 20 of the Squadron’s aircraft and haul supplies for the British. The load, 102,000 pounds of ammunition was picked up at Kemble Airdrome, England and taken to Brussels, Belgium for the use of the British 2nd Army.

 

On the 13th, 22 Squadron aircraft returned to a familiar field, A22C, Normandy. On this occasion, loads consisting mostly of gasoline and heavy ammunition, one plane load of grease, and three of small arms ammunition were hauled. A total load of 111,931 pounds was delivered to Etain, France for the 3rd Army. These aircraft encountered bad weather. Three aircraft could not get through to deliver their loads for two days, and most of the rest returned to their home base in flights of threes and fours over a period of three days.

 

Combat crews were given a short lecture on “Escape and Evasion in Holland”, and Escape Purses and Kits were issued, September 16th. They received the final briefing for the air invasion of Holland the following morning. By 1039 hours the 504th Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division was airborne and headed for Drop Zone “O”, northeast across the river from Graves, Holland. The formation encountered light flak and small arms fire upon reaching the Dutch Coast. The flak was moderate in intensity and sporadic due to the presence of our excellent fighter protection. For the most part, the enemy’s flak effort was inaccurate; but the flight leader of the third element was hit while over the Dutch Islands and was seen to go down in flames and crash in a flooded area. The pilot, Capt. Richard E. BOHANNAN of Mount Vernon, N.Y. and the co-pilot Lt. Douglas H. FELBER of Chicago, Illinois were reported to have held the plane up by superhuman effort until 13 parachutes were counted. Other members of the crew which haven’t been heard from are Lt. Bernard P. MARTINSON, navigator, of St. Paul, Minn.; the radio operator, S/Sgt. Arnold B. EPPERSON, Omaha, Nebraska; and Sgt. Thomas N. CARTER, crew chief, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Fifteen paratroopers and three para-racks were on the plane shot down and two wounded paratroopers were brought back on one of the three aircraft which had suffered minor damages. Two other paratroopers returned for unknown reasons. The 21 aircraft which got through dropped 295 paratroopers and 105 para-racks on the exact spot picked for them. The planes arrived back between 1520 and 1545 hours. Six crews were immediately alerted for a resupply mission which was cancelled at 1800 hours.

 

The next day 15 Squadron aircraft departed Spanhoe with 254 paratroopers and 46 para-racks of the British 10th Para-Battalion, First Airborne Division. The opposition was about the same as the first day. One aircraft (Lt. Tommy T. TUCKER, pilot, of Fairmont, West Virginia; co-pilot Lt. Dave O. SNOWDEN of Vermont, Illinois; T/Sgt. Woodrow W. DURBIN, CREW CHIEF, OF Birmingham, Alabama; S/Sgt. Walter E. HEWETT, radio operator, of Wilmington, North Carolina, with 18 paratroopers and three racks) started burning as a result of enemy ground fire and paratroopers and crew bailed out safely behind the enemy’s lines. There were still 16 miles from the Drop Zone. Thirteen aircraft dropped their troops and equipment on the Drop Zone. The 14th aircraft flew with another serial and dropped its troops and equipment ¾ mile north of the Drop Zone. Two other aircraft suffered damage and one para-rack would not release.

 

On the 19th, the crews were alerted and briefed for another para-drop mission, but it was postponed because of the weather. The next day they got the paratroopers to the planes and had a few engines started when it was again cancelled because of the weather. The third time seemed to be the “Charm” for 13 aircraft got off with their load of Polish paratroopers and equipment. The mission was then postponed for an hour and the planes circled the field. They finally started en route at 1437 hours. They were forced down to the “deck” by weather and then hit a solid cloud. Upon dispersing and climbing above the clouds on instruments, they found it too hazy to form again so returned to the home field.

 

The 22nd continued to be bad but was brightened somewhat by the return of Lt. TUCKER’s crew. They had evaded capture successfully and made it through to friendly lines. T/Sgt. DURBIN was left in a hospital at Brussels with a sprained ankle, the most serious result of their experience.

 

On the 23rd, 17 aircraft were successful in carrying 243 Polish paratroopers and 97 para-racks which had been returned on the 21st. Ten racks were lost enroute because of mechanical failures. All the paratroopers and the rest of the para-racks were dropped near some waiting transportation about a mile from the briefed Drop Zone. There was no enemy reaction encountered and all planes returned safely.

 

All reports received indicate the success of each drop made. The crews enjoyed two days of comparative quiet, after the recent feverish activity, confident that the “worst was over”.

 

On the 26th, 18 Squadron aircraft made an airborne landing at a field near Graves, in the narrow “Holland Corridor”. The field had been strafed by enemy planes a half hour before. The aircraft carrying 93 British airborne troops and 55,160 pounds of equipment, including ten jeeps, 24 trailers, three motorcycles, gun and ammunition, were landed on the grass field and unloaded. All planes returned safely and crews spoke in glowing terms of the excellent air cover provided by Allied fighters.

 

On the 27th, eight Squadron aircraft carried 86,400 pounds of heavy ammunition to Brussels, Belgium for the use of the British 2nd Army and arrived back at the home base late the same day.

 

On the 28th, 18 aircraft left early on a freight haul-evacuation mission. They were held up for six hours at Greenham Commons because of insufficient transportation for loading. One of the planes was damaged by a glider tow rope and retuned to base after making minor repairs. Three of the remaining aircraft carried 14,227 pounds of miscellaneous equipment, of which the majority was clothing, to Toul, France and the U.S. Third Army sector. They were forces to stay on the Continent overnight because of bad weather.

 

On the 29th, four Squadron aircraft started with 29,064 pounds of gasoline from Lynchham Airdrome, England to Brussels, Belgium, but were turned back because of weather and landed at Spanhoe. The aircraft which had stayed overnight in France took nine litter and five walking patients to Paris and brought 50 litter and 48 walking patients back to England. The four aircraft which returned to Spanhoe with their loads got through to Brussels on the 30th and returned to the home base the same day.

 

Twelve aircraft picked up 61,g00 pounds of gasoline at Burtonwood, England and took it to Rheims, France where they remained overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Right, L to R) Glen Davis, Robert 'Doc' Cloer and Merylyn Krueger

 

(Above) Goldberg, 34th TCS, at Aldemaston

(Above)  34th TCS personnel in front of 34th Engineering Office, Spanhoe

 

 

 

(Right)  34th TCS support personnel.  (Head of top center person was inadvertently scratched out when the photo album was opened)

 

 

 

(Left)  34th TCS crews at Spanhoe

 

 

 

(Right)  34th crews at Spanhoe

(Left)  34th TCS crews at Spanhoe.

(Right)  Russ Lane, 34th electrician, on leave in Scotland.  Russ had the presence of mind to take so many of these photos during the war.

 

 

(Left) Unidentified and H.A. Moore on leave in Hydepark.

 

 

(Right)  H.A. Moore at his Victory Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Left)  34th TCS cook Stam Bruch

 

(Right) 34th TCS cooks at Amiens

 

 

(Left)  34th Personnel at Aldemaston

 

(Left and right)  John (?) and (?) at Spanhoe.

 

 

(Left) 34th personnel at Amiens

 

 

(Right)  Unidentified and Agrussa at Spanhoe

 

 

 

 

(Right)  34th personnel

 

(Left)  Ororke and others

 

 

 

 

(Right)  Ororke and others in Amiens

 

(Left)   Outside the 34th ‘Quackshack’ at Amiens

 

 

(Right) Grainger and others at Amiens

 

 

(Left)  Kluzwatrz(?) in Amiens

 

 

(Right)  Softly and others

 

 

(Left) Unidentified persons outside the 34th TCS V.I.P. tent at Amiens