Donald Macrae mission March 23, 1943

March 23 - Yes indeed mission today.  Went to Messina.  Bombed from 24,000 ft and then showered pamphlets warning the people to leave town as there would be more and greater bombings.  We had breakfast early. Were briefed by 9:00 am and first ship took off at 9:30 am. Had a bit of difficulty in starting engines but were in the air OK. The runways were still wet on the edges and one ship was badly stuck in the mud.  Was a beautiful day.  Dick Hurd was the pilot and we flew in the left wing so I flew a good part of the way.  Was a clear day.  Flew thru a short front and hit some heavy rain then climbed up to altitude.  This time it was pretty clear over the boot of Italy and Sicily with a bit of low overcast.  In a way it seemed a shame to be going there for bombing.  It was a beautiful view.  You could see signs of cultivation of settlements and the coastline and contours of the land.  The target was clear although around it the country was obscured by overcast.  This time I could see the puffs of black smoke from the anti-aircraft.  It burst to our right and below us.  Someone reported enemy pursuit.  One attacked a struggling B-24 and was shot down.  The one sign I saw was the tail guns of our element leader spitting lead and I sure got into tight formation in a hurry.  The raid took place just a bit after noon and we were back in time for supper.  Was a pretty safe raid and none injured other than some of the men in the rear of the ship getting frost bitten.  Our radio man and tail gunner got his hands badly frost bitten.  It was 40 degrees c below.  Were briefed and had supper.  The boys talked over the raid quite a bit.  Was pretty glad to get to bed.