Donald Macrae mission March 13, 1943

March 13 - Today was lovely and sunny.  Had breakfast by 8:00 am.  Were briefed - that is to tell us about the mission what we might expect and what we were expected to do.  Briefing over at 11:00 am and had lunch and got ready.  Our main target was Vittorio Emmanuel Mole in the Harbor of Naples.  Another was Messina and the third was for individual ships that couldn't follow the formation.  That was the Chemical works at Crotone.  The general was there at lunch and as the truck that was to take us to the line drove off so did the General in his car.  The old boy made no effort to go with us and show us how it was to be done.  He apparently believes in getting all the publicity he can and be as far from the fighting line as possible.  Equipment I took with me was helmet for protection from "ack-ack" side arms, hunting knife and flashlight and water canteen, heavy boots but no heavy clothing.  Took off 1:45 pm for Naples.  Was scattered overcast.  Went for quite a while over the Mediterranean Sea about 2,000 ft. then climbed up steadily in formation.  Was a pretty sight.  One ship broke the radio silence to say it had to return. Then another returned. Soon we were alone - the overcast and below us now was a sea of clouds.  Around about 6:00 pm we swung west into the sun which was big ball of fire and described a large inch.  We were now up 24,000 ft and on oxygen.  Our left outboard engine began to give us trouble but we were able to continue in formation.  The switching of a dish and ship kept me pretty busy and I was p1enty co1d at 20 be1ow free air temp.  About 7:00 pm some one in the formation reported fighters enemy craft to the rear - this was my first brush with "action" but I did not see the enemy and my fight was to keep the ship running for the pi1ot who was doing all he cou1d to follow formation.  I was shaking a bit but whether from cold or nervousness I couldn't say.  Because it was so overcast and we cou1d not see the target and it was getting dark we set home individually carrying back our bombs.  Medford the pilot put the ship on automatic pilot and we started to re1ax and warm up as we descended.  I smoked a couple of cigarettes and enjoyed them besides being cold!  Was hungry and it was way after supper around 9:00 pm.  We ran into a bit of bad weather so was still overcast.  Found the field OK and landed at 12:00 pm.  A truck brought us to the mess hall.  There we were briefed.  Had supper and to our tents and to bed 1:30 am.  I logged 10 hrs combat time.  During the whole mission I sighted no enemy nor saw any of Italy.