Thomas C. Badger - POW

Aug. 11- Got up at 4:45 - walked thru cornfields trying to cross railroad - thirsty - went back in forest to find house or water; no luck - had to approach peasants for water - thought was being helped - went to village in manure cart - villagers friendly, fed well, people stare at you - had to tramp thru forest twice to look for chute (note 1) - couldn't find it - at night taken by horse cart to headquarters in small town - Slept on straw mattress in small room with Romanian Lt. - no ventilation, Lt. reeked of garlic and snored like a pig.

Aug. 12 Sat around next morning for several hours, people coming in to stare - Taken to Bucharest in Chrysler - well to do people - interrogated in police station, then brought to reception center - finally saw rest of crew - Slept on beds, no spring's just boards, which kept falling out of place.

Aug. 13 - Treat guards with utmost contempt - order them around as if they were our prisoners - soldiers stupid and dirty - Pay 60 lei per month= about 25 cents - officer about $25 per month - Sgt. our pay to be 19000 lei per month - Soldiers afraid of officers - many without shoes - One uniform to soldier so no washing - Interrogated by 2 Germans and 2 Romanians - also stupid attempt to scare you - no luck. Waited in guard house and ordered local soldiers around - Finally English navigator and myself taken by 2 guards to officer's prison camp - Walked thru town - Got tired couple of times so sat down - Soldiers wanted to keep going but we wouldn't move and they had to wait on us - Every German we saw we stared at and called every name we could think of none would look us in the eye - Also stared at everyone who stared at us - Felt more like the guards were prisoners than us - Finally arrived here - former university -15 of us in small classroom - no springs on bed just boards - 1 course [coarse] blanket - barbed wire and guard houses all around much as in pictures of concentration camps - food not too bad - main past time seems to be sitting in window watching civilians - many give V sign - Antonescu resigned today - rumors of peace movement with Russia.

Aug. 14 Not a very satisfying sleep - Took inventory of all my possessions, 1 pro o.d. pants, 1 khaki shirt, 1 pro long johns, 2 pro wool socks, 1 pro GI shoes, 2 handkerchief, 1 mech. Pencil, 1 box laundry soap, 1 roll toilet paper (1 month), 1 bar toilet soap, 5 razor blades, 2 tablets, 1 tooth brush, 1 box tooth powder - Layed around, read, helped make dominoes all day. Boys made chess, checkers, dominoes, 4 POW working on monopoly game - Oh yes still have watch, bracelet, and wings and dog tags - food not bad - attended Romanian class in afternoon.

Aug. 15 Food not bad today - Spent most of day making monopoly game - finished and played in evening - good for a change - Got mattresses - burlap bags filled with straw - better than nothing and about average peasant mattress - Stared at people from windows - 4 Germans passed and we really cat called them - they seemed rather mad about it all.

Aug. 16 - Cold morning and cold last night with only one blanket - Rumors of allied invasion of So. France yesterday.

People seem rather excited - food quite good all day - read and slept in afternoon - After dinner went to variety show - really good - take off on Bob Hope Program - pseudo sponsor was Nationale Tigarets - Nationale= NM PPT - everyone enjoyed it immensely. More new men came in - Woodruff O.K.

Aug. 17 Slept better last night - Air raid alarm this morning. Large formation to east of town - lots of flak - some people quite excited - others watch it all as a show - No one seems too antagonistic towards us - All clear finally came - Played monopoly rest of morning - Lunch - milk, vegetable soup, macaroni, gravy, tough meat, bread - News shop across the street - news boy holds up paper on sly so we can read headlines, has to wait till guard's backs are turned - New headline this afternoon - Conditions of Armistice learned - hope it means an armistice with Russia - Watched a little basketball this morning - sun very hot - People ride by in cars and stare at you - many give V sign - wonder if they really mean it - Been reading this afternoon - some playing monopoly - others looking out window - what a bunch of loafers we are - We call ourselves the 16th [15th] air force and we would almost form one - Afternoon read - Dinner vegetable salad, bread, water, and potato cake and stewed plums - After dinner sat around talking - About 10:20 air raid sirens blew - guards here very excited - Went down in mess hall in cellar - About 45 min. later could see search lights probing sky and flashes from flak - could hear planes, probably German night fighters and feel thud of ack - ack guns -In morning raid saw quite a bit of flak - Night all clear came about 11:40 and so we went to bed - slept in clothes with no blanket as 1 boy was sick and needed some extra blankets.

Aug. 18 - Up early at 6:15 - Keeping this diary is the only way I can keep track of passing time as every day is the same - today or rather yesterday began my second week as a P.O.W. Romanian Colonel came in room to tell us we had to move to make room for more new prisoners - What a poor specimen - big bay window, sloppy, dirty uniform, fly unbuttoned - No American officer in field would be as sloppy - Had flap jacks for breakfast - 4 officers began cooking them at midnight - multe bono - Another air raid - people scurry to air shelters, trucks carry children away - sirens wail- Saw great force of bombers West and North - very little flak today - talked with Romanian 2nd Lt. about various things - he couldn't believe American cigarettes were so cheap - $1.00 worth 250 lei at bank or 800- 1200 on black market - cheapest Rom. cigarettes cost 80 lei per pack - American Luckies bring 1000 -1500 lei - Pay in Romanian army
Cpl.     90 lei
Pvt.     60 lei per month
Sgt.     12000
Sgt. Major 18000

2nd Lt.     30000
1st Lt.     34000
Capt.     37000
Maj.     45000
Lt. Col.     52000
Col.     65000
Gen.     110000
Out of their pay they must buy uniform, lodging, and food - Wife of e.m. gets 1000 lei and 1000 for each child - e.m. provided with smokes.

Lunch - milk, bean soup, bread, jelly, corn on the cob, and 2 hardboiled eggs - read and slept then went up to hear some Romanian Princess talk but she didn't show up - At 5:00 everyone had to fallout for roll check as 3 had escaped night before but captured - Had an awful time checking us - While waiting truck driven by German drove in with 2 new boysl ooked very mild and about 30-40 - We all looked truck over and crossed wires on plugs - of course it wouldn't start, but it didn't take him long to figure it out - also they let a lot of air out of his tires - One poor fellow very much afraid saluted Col. and acted very military - Col. called him back and shook his hand - but why was he nervous(?) - Process very slow and it was getting late so they speeded it up thus screwing it up-I don't believe they yet know any more than at the beginning. After dinner played monopoly till 11:15 - had to move into this other room - gymnasium - tomorrow we may get a room of our own again - Monopoly seems to fascinate these guards and officers to no end altho they don't know what's going on -I find others who came over on same boat came down much sooner than we did.

Aug. 19, Saturday - Got up at 6:30, washed and shaved - 2nd shave since Aug. 8 - breakfast - omelet, bread, marmalade, water - after breakfast again they started to count us as 2 men seem to be missing - made us all stay in the room then called us individually to check dog tags and let us out of room - everyone hid tags and generally tried to confuse them. Finally air raid siren blew so everyone left room presumably for shelter - Been talking to guards and kidding them - there seem to be 2 or 3 times as many guards here today - For punishment Romanian soldiers are whipped with leather belt and brass studs 25 times - also are put in sweat box for 3 days - can't sit down or stand up comfortably - read and slept till lunch -lunch was potato and vegetable soup, bread, water, potatoes, meat, and a green apple - you can see food isn't bad at all. This afternoon being Sat. there was hot water from 3 to 5 and I took a shower drying myself with a handkerchief - This morning I washed a shirt and pair of socks - At noon I got my 4000 lei for the $5.00 bill. With that I can get a little extra sweets if they ever get any - Each month we have 3800 lei left to spend - This afternoon we moved into the new room only to be chased out by the Col. who was mad because he wasn't consulted - He thinks our bunch is a clique with plans for escape - He's all hot and bothered over the escapes as they are too frequent - The guards have been told they will be shot if a prisoner escapes. The Col. is without a doubt one of the most repulsive creatures I've ever seen. He can't talk without screaming and waving his arms - read and drew this afternoon - dinner consisted of vegetable salad, water, tomato, cheese, string beans, bread and watermelon -looked in PX and saw some cakes the boys had ordered - little pastries for 80 lei and did they ever look wonderful- Supposed to have another roll call tonight - No roll call- ate bread and jam in evening.

Aug. 20 Sunday - Up at 6:30 read a while and then went to Catholic mass at 8:00 - Priest very old -long white beard and long hair that was almost long enough to braid in back. Breakfast was water, bread, jam, and hot cakes - very good - Went outside to watch people - nothing much doing -Ice men starting out with their horse carts and load of ice exposed to sun - Went to protestant services conducted by 2 Lt's. here - we have no chaplain - We sang Faith of our Fathers, Onward Christian Soldiers, and Rock of ages accompanied by a pump organ - All in all it was very nice - one gave a short sermon on Jonah - Lunch bean soup, cantaloupe, bread, creamed carrots, omelet, and water - After lunch read, slept, wrote a letter and later sat outside watching the people - Some of the girls are very pretty and most of the people look like what you might expect to see at home - Speaking of home, we're all conjecturing on how long we'll be here - Most of us feel it won't be too long - Dinner was white bread, water, potato, onion, cheese sauce dish, and stewed fruit - played monopoly till 10:00 and was first put out - about 12:00 heard a shot in courtyard and then a lot of commotion - Guards are getting trigger happy since Col. told them they would be shot if any more Americans escaped - Night before they shot at some civilians they thought were escaping P.O.W.S. - Bed 10:00.

Aug. 21, Monday. Got up at 6:20. Breakfast was bread and jam and 2 hardboiled eggs. Spent the morning reading, sitting outside watching the people, and sleeping. Ordered a bottle of jam and loaf of bread for 310 lei - Lunch was bread, water, soup, and green pepper. Rumors spreading about Russian breakthrough at Jassy. Of course we all hope they'll really move and get here quick - Spent the afternoon writing a sort of diary of event from time I left states until I began this diary. There was a little excitement in the courtyard due to a rat they've been laying for. Guess they missed him. Got my bread and jam - quite a nice bottle of prune jam - about a half a pint. Dinner consisted of tea, bread, and vegetable salad with a potato and eggplant loaf. For lunch we also had a tomato and at dinner 2 small pears - After dinner went out on porch to watch people until we had to come in - Bugs are eating me up again - another shot in the night - These guards are really getting trigger happy.

Aug. 22, Tuesday. Didn't get up till 7:15 as we start late mess today. Breakfast was bread, jam, water, and cereal and milk. The cereal was burnt but you ate it. And to think I used to fuss at mom for burning the cereal. It's peculiar how much you just have to get used to and do. At least I'm sure this experience will make me far easier to please. I can say I've known real poverty - having only the clothes on my back. This morning I really dug into my cash by buying a towel for 1600 lei. That's an awful lot, but I've just got to have it - imagine a towel being such a precious possession. I sat outside watching people for a while. A new pretty blonde has moved in upstairs. Georghie Popescu, the importer is fat as ever. Later I played monopoly and as usual wasn't the winner by far. Lunch was vegetable soup, very good, water, bread, mashed potatoes and gravy and a piece of meat about 3 sq. inches. The meat was so tough you couldn't swallow it but had to just chew it and get what juice from it as you could. At home you wouldn't think of bothering with such stuff but here it's quite a treat - Strange but I'm glad to have had such an experience as this as it serves even more strongly to emphasize true values.

In the afternoon finished Genesis and slept. Later went out to watch people then came in to hear some Romanian princess talk about Romanians part in the last war and in this one. I think she is [King] Carol's sister. She is very charming about 40-50 and gave an interesting talk - much of it propaganda of course. She says the Russians will probably be here in a few weeks -I hope so. The Romanians don't trust them though. She is doing a lot of good work among the prisoners especially the enlisted men - mainly in the way of books etc. She does seem rather friendly to the U.S. and England where she was brought up. But of course she too is somewhat of a politician. The old Col.
escorted her in and looked very docile. He had tried to clean up but still looked like an old farmer which they say he is. His pants were all dirty. He seems to only have 2 pro - both filthy. For dinner we had bread and jam and water, vegetable salad, and wonderful apple turnovers and a pear. Those turnovers were wonderful! After dinner I went to the bible class where they're studying Revelation on Tues. nights and Acts on Thurs. It's surprising how many turn out for that and for church on Sunday. I guess it makes a lot of us realize how little a hand any of us had in our destiny. Only with his help could we have hoped to get out alive from the experiences we've all been
thru. Bought another loaf bread to eat with my jam and did it taste good.

Aug. 23,Wednesday - Up at 6:30. washed and for the first time was able to dry thanks to my new towel. What a grand feeling! For breakfast we had bread, jam, and 2 fried eggs and of course water - there's usually coffee but I don't like it - After breakfast went out on porch to watch people and read. Also washed my long johns. So now I'm fairly clean. Took a hot shower. What a feeling to have a towel to dry yourself and not have to stand around dripping till you're dry so you can get into your clothes - Red Cross packages have come and each man will get among other things 5 packages of American cigarettes. Those of us who don't smoke can sell ours to the Romanians who will pay 3000-4000 lei. In other words for 5 packages of Am. cigarettes I should get at least 15000 lei which is half a month's pay for a Romanian 2nd Lt. This double standard of money values is very confusing. With that much money I'll have all the bread and jam and candy that I can eat. For lunch we had bread, bean soup, half a tomato, and potatoes creamed with cheese sauce, very good. The Russians are now 40 miles south of Jassy - on their way here I hope! Much of this is from our news source. Watched people awhile then read bible and talked. Still waiting for Red Cross packets. While sitting in hall I ran across a fellow I knew in Wichita, Paul Chajka. He was in 44c, a co-pilot. He's been down a little longer than I have and has spent 120 hrs. in the sweat box for trying to escape. He was in for 60 hrs. straight 2 times. The box was so small you had to stand. If you stooped or squatted your legs would go to sleep. During the time he was fed on bread and water. It is rumored that Paris fell. Also the Russians seem to be moving faster towards us. All we hope is they don't shell the city. For dinner we had vegetable salad, bread, butter, cheese, water, and boiled apples. Bought a candy bar this afternoon -I really liked this Romanian candy which is
a sort of marshmallow filled with nuts and bits of fruit - 55 lei apiece - Received Red Cross packages containing 5 packs of cigarettes, cheese, ration biscuits, 2 bars ration chocolate, box prunes, can of jam, bar of soap. You can't imagine the happiness they caused - just simple foods, but what a treat. Of course it will have to be rationed. 11:15 P.M. PEACE! After being asleep or dozing nearly an hour I woke up hearing yelling and screaming and seeing everyone leaving the room for the auditorium. So I followed. The Col. then announced that Romania had made peace with Russia and was now an allied nation. We were told to keep quiet so as not to attract attention. But you could tell everyone wanted to yell and scream. Everyone was your friend. Handshaking and back slapping were all in order. Before the official announcement we had all heard the rumor. Everyone was yelling and screaming, like mad. Imagine the thrill of those who have been here for month's hoping and waiting. Of course there are still German's around and our position is still uncertain. We are to stay here for the night. Meanwhile the Romanians are placing machine guns all around to protect us in case the German's want to take us. We're ready to leave on a moment's notice in case we have to make a break. We're divided in groups of 6.

Aug. 24, Thursday - Got up 5:30 A.M. after about an hour and a half sleep. Many couldn't sleep as were so excited. Believe me it's quite a thrill to be in the midst of history being made and additionally so when you're a member of one of the most important or controversial groups in the place.
About 12:00 last night a Col. from the Gen. Staff came to talk to us. He said, I salute you as allies - Romania is on the right side - Romania is the first Balkan nation to have the courage to evict the Nazis - we are allies. Then he went on to tell us that we were being well protected by extra guards and machine gun placements and that our higher officers would be given their pistols. Of course all of this was accompanied by wild shouting, and yelling. Then the Russian's started singing their stirring song which echoed thru the night and other songs. While they were singing there was a lot of shooting but I guess it was just celebration and no trouble.

All the soldiers seem happy - everyone but the fat Col. If possible the Russians would kill him and I think if he expects to live he'd better get out.
The Romanian soldiers who were our guards yesterday are handshaking, slapping our backs and laughing with us and smoking American cigarettes. In fact everyone around seems to be smoking Am. cigs. For breakfast today were supposed to be getting spam and eggs. Before breakfast we were all outside standing at the gates. People came up to shake your hand give you cigarettes (& beg for Am. ones too) and pastries and wine. They seem to feel very friendly and genuinely so. The soldiers and officers all salute you. We learned that all the Russian prisoners here who live like dogs and clean our rooms and latrines are officers. When captured they deny all rank unlike us. Some are Lt's., Capt.'s, and even a Maj.

For breakfast we had spam and eggs, bread, jelly, coffee (American) and cream - thanks to the Red Cross. After breakfast we had as impromptu thanksgiving service - quite well attended. It began by singing the Doxology, then Onward Christian Soldiers. Following were prayers by Protestants and Catholics then a short sermon by the acting chaplain (an ordained Baptist minister who is a pilot). He gave a fine talk. Then we sang America the beautiful, America, Nearer my God to thee (as a prayer) and The Star Spangle Banner. Came back to the bunk and the Major announced things not going too well in town. We had been asked by Romanians to remove our Am. flag so as not to lay ourselves open as a strafing target. Soon flak was heard and quite heavy and we went into the basement for air raid shelter. We were sitting at a table when planes began to sound close. All of a sudden there was a lot of machine gun fire and we all hit the floor under the tables. As soon as it let up a little we beat it into the halls which gave better protection and lay there thru the next bursts. Someone said it looked like a 20mm shell had burst just in front of the building. Believe me we were all scared and praying. We still don't know the truth of the situation, but they say the Germans were bombing the airfields and the shooting around here was a few stray Germans they are rounding up. In other words there's a little street fighting. Funny part is that thru it all the civilians are walking around and the buses running. One civilian was brought in who had a slight wound on his hand. At present 10:10 A.M. things have quieted down and we are back on our bunks just waiting for news. Occasionally a shot is heard. This at least proves the Romanians are sincere as they haven't hesitated to fight the Germans back instead of just passively stepping out of the war. They say there are 6000 Rom. troops in Bucharest. These people are very proud of the fact that they were the first satellite to get out of the war. And so I sit and wait for news or action. Action wasn't long in coming. About 10 min. after the above the air raid siren blew and we all hurried down to the halls in the basement. Very soon you could hear the flak and then the bombs themselves. It was my first real raid and such terror I'll never forget. There we sat huddled in the hall just waiting, waiting. They came closer and closer and shook the building violently. A door across the aisle was rattling so violently we thought someone was in the room. It was absolutely indiscriminate terror bombing. The bombers just dropped their loads anywhere in the center of town. The water system has been poisoned so we can't drink. You can see smoke all around the city. After the raid the head men met and decided to let us go if we wished. But as there are snipers all around no one dared leave. We were in the courtyard discussing our next move when German dive bombers were spied and we all scurried back down. They dive bombed fairly close but nothing like before. Finally the all clear blew. Then there were large explosions close by - maybe hand grenades. Now things are fairly quiet, but you can still hear explosions in the distance - maybe bombs, maybe artillery. Every little noise scares everyone. You can't imagine the change in a man after he's gone thru a raid and the expression of terror and jumpy nerves. And hearing the whistle of the bombs or dive bombers is an unforgettable experience. This is written in the dimly lit shelter as there's hardly room to move. Rumor has it that British or Am. forces have landed in Constanta and are now about 40 miles away. I pray its true as Bucharest is now supposedly surrounded by Germans. After going thru an air raid you can never wish but revenge on every German. After all they did start the horror of it all. And we haven't gone out as yet for indiscriminate bombings and terror raids. May they reap even as they have sown. PEACE - what a mockery here. At 2:30 PM again the alert sounded and it started all over. Again you could hear that terrible whistle of bombs landing not too far away. Again the building shook and the doors rattled. Several times they seemed to come right overhead as the noise of bursting flak was terrific. All I could do was plug my ears so I couldn't hear the noise. By doing that you can save yourself some of the misery and jangled nerves. About 5:30 it let up and a truck came in with water - dirty looking and tasting stuff, but not poisoned. Then we ate and had fried potatoes with chopped meat, a pear, half a cup of watery milk and a can of bully beef, which I'm saving for future possibilities. About the time we were eating the flak began to burst again but didn't last long. Rumors were circulating like wild - Russian tanks were within 30 miles of Bucharest. American air borne troops had landed at Ploesti - and so we wait. We spent the night in the hall shelter - 4 of us with our head and trunk on 1 mattress and our legs and feet sticking into the aisle - not very comfortable but we were all so tired we slept part of the night at least. In the afternoon they hit an ammo factory which was blowing up till evening. In late afternoon the people again came out into the streets - bewildered and hating the Germans. Last night about 9:00 came the first bombs - just a few planes at a time. This continued all night at intervals some shaking the building and the doors, but you were so tired you got back to sleep.

Aug. 25, Friday - Up about 5:45 - bombs falling in distance. Went outside to barrel to get drink, as I was drinking I heard planes so I started to run back in. By the time I reached the building you could see the flak bursting a little way over. So I hurried back to my place. It didn't last long. All in all flak going off is about as terrifying as bombs since when the guns are close and the bursts low they make a noise hard to distinguish from a bomb and even shake the building to an extent. I don't imagine a person could ever get used to this noise. Even the sound of an airplane engine is terrifying now. It's funny though when it has quieted down how quickly your main fear passes. Praying is your only consolation. It is now 6:20 and only bombs in the distance are heard - from dive bombers of which there have been plenty.

At 7:30 they came again - the building shook and doors rattled and we sat huddled. It's sort of an ostrich philosophy. When they sound close you hug the ground or bury your head in your hands - Silly but somehow it helps. After they left you still could hear big explosions. They say the ammo dump was hit again and was exploding. Now and then a dive bomber drops some across town. They're even bombing with biplanes. The four of us together opened a can of beef and fried some potatoes and onions with it. That was our meal- maybe all for today or we may eat again. A few Romanian (troop) tanks have gone by. They're old but look good. And to think of all the stuff we have in just one state at home. Nerves are in evidence everywhere - every so often there's a race for the door down here as someone gets scared. Someone heard the wind thru the trees a few minutes ago and started a rush. Some are getting civilian clothes and trying to leave. So far everyone has come back. Yesterday 4 fellows were trying to get away down a street when a plane dove at them and strafed them and let his bomb go which went over their heads and lit about half a block away. Now 10:40. Single planes come over and you come into the shelter -little flak. Rumors still spreading. For sure Maj. has contacted Fogia and Cairo so fighter protection is expected. Recon car is scouting possibility of getting us out of town. Now 1:00 P.M.-l:05 alert and a little flak. Every half hour or so alerts - 2:40 was sitting in window looking out and flak started so I hurried down here - and none too soon. Another raid that shook the building and rattled the doors like mad. After hitting around here they seemed to leave. So started this account but had to plug my ears as they came close and shook us up again. For some reason this raid didn't scare me near as much altho it was almost as bad as any yet. 3:20 Some more pretty close ones - didn't last long. 3:30 Another few fairly close, but lasted only a minute or less. A few minutes ago a large piece of flak fell in the courtyard. Those who have inspected Rom. defenses say they look quite good. Germans are quite a ways south of town. 4:35 - nothing has happened for a while and here's hoping it doesn't. 5:30 - Another raid - bombs or flak fairly far away. This afternoon the hospital where our enlisted men stay was bombed and caught fire. They are being moved now away from there - no one killed and few injured. 6:00 P.M. For dinner we had omelet and a tomato and half a glass of water. Boy was that omelet good! While we were in the mess hall the flak started again - single ship I think. Guess we're moving in the morning at 7:00 A.M. out of town.

Aug. 26, Saturday - Slept most of the night though not very comfortably. Even with these thin mattresses it's just like being on the floor. Last night we had a little prayer meeting down here conducted by our acting chaplain. Don't believe there was any bombing last night. 6:50 A.M. the siren sounded again. There's a single fighter very high up and they're throwing flak up at him. 10:20 - So far so good, today our fighters are reported due here today. After breakfast we went into church across the street - Orthodox. It was very beautiful with its icons and gold and silver all around. Riley and I lit a candle for the 4 of us. Then we came back here and got G.I. blouses which were being issued. Makes you feel like you did when you were first in the army - blouse too big in some places and too small in others. But it's nice to have them. Also made a silk scarf from old parachute silk. 10:45 about 100 bombers came over quite a ways north of us. They just pasted things whatever they were aiming at. Everyone says they were 24's and I guess that's right. Nevertheless for some reason it makes me feel uneasy even if they are ours. Undoubtedly they are ours. They were really a beautiful sight. 11:10 - More of our bombers - about 225-250 in all and some fighters. They really pasted Germans, installations and airfields. I'll bet this is the first time the Romanians have really been glad to see us. Bombers in such force are really impressive. And as I said even though those bombers were way north you sure could feel the impact of those bombs. 3:30 Alert - no action just few planes around - fighters. 4:45 Another alarm - as usual many stand in yard till action starts then run like fools for shelter making everyone more nervous. 5:00 12 bombers came over and dropped some really close ones which shook the building rattled windows and doors like mad and generally terrified you. Flak noise is getting more terrific as Romanians seem to have control of more guns. Worst last less than 2 minutes I believe. All day we've been waiting to move and have moved all our food and bedding already. We're moving to a barracks a couple miles out of town. During the raid a couple minutes ago a piece of flak fell in the courtyard. 6:35 another raid alarm and so here I sit waiting and waiting. It seems every time the trucks load and we start to leave there's another alarm. I can hear a plane or planes in the distance but no flak yet. The last raid started fires a few blocks away. They say some fell 5 blocks from here - maybe that's the fire. Just as this alarm started the trucks which were filled took off. I wasn't ready to leave yet and don't know as I'd have cared to anyhow. Sure wish our fighters would stick around altho they say the Roms. have about 60 fighters. Every time the siren blows your heart really comes up in your mouth. I wonder how a thunderstorm and a firetruck will affect me after the war. I doubt if I'll ever completely forget this experience when I hear them. There goes the all clear and I jumped - 6:53 now at all clear -It's funny what new sensations hitherto harmless sounds now cause to well up within you. 7:30 P.M. The trucks came back during the all clear and we piled in headed for the new camp - formally an officers training school on the out skirts of town. Part of town around palace is just a shambles. Every building seems to be wrecked - trolley cars are stranded, the streets have bomb craters, electric wires are laying everywhere - the top of the truck kept hitting them. Many of the buildings in this part of town were homes or apartments. Arrived at camp after dark and had to find a spot in an empty barracks where we laid out our 1 blanket and slept on half and under half. 10:00 P.M. Air raid alert so we all hurried out to slit trenches in field several hundred yards away. Had to have guard take us so sentries wouldn't shoot on sight. They don't play around here. Lay in trench and could see them pasting some target about 30 miles north. Huge fire and explosions raging there. You could hear and feel explosions. Also a huge fire in Buch. itself. Some say fire in north was German fortothers say oil depots. As you lay in the trenches you can hear rifle and machine gun fire which is Romanian patrols cleaning up bands of Germans - that's how close we are. Also you could see flares go up from front lines. About 30 or 40 minutes and the all clear came. Got back to bed (?) and in about 20 minutes a couple planes flew low right over us - we got up but no siren so we went back to sleep. Slept pretty well.

Aug. 27, Sunday 7:00 A.M. was awakened by an air raid siren so beat it out to trenches. Nothing happened so we came back at all clear about half hr. later. For breakfast had hunk of bread equivalent to about 3 slices with a little jam and a cup of coffee -I don't like coffee but it's wet. This was first food since yesterday noon which was salmon, cheese, and 4 graham crackers. After eating got straw mattress for floor and water to wash with. As I started to wash -10:00 A.M. - siren blew so I raced out to trench. At 10:20 the planes came. There was quite a bit of flak near overhead and it sounded like bombing somewhere. Before flak we saw 3 unidentified fighters skimming low southwest about a mile. All clear finally blew. About 12:00 started back to barracks for this when fighter circles low over our field and I got in a trench. Theses fighters probably Rom. Went back to barracks and as I was returning at 10:10 a plane approached low. It proved to be an old Rom. biplane. 10:20 Another fighter about 1500 ft. and about a mile west. Must have been Rom. ME 109 as no flak was fired. But you don't know so it's best to play it safe. Saw all my enlisted men who are all O.K. Woody got a sore back from the jump which still bothers him some. Haven't had my clothes off since 10:00 P.M. Aug. 23 - 89 hrs. All clear is still on but you can hear occasional explosions or artillery in distance and rifle fire from mopping up. Beautiful summer day like it used to be back home so long ago. Things fairly quiet till about 3:30 and another alarm so we went out in trenches. Some fighters came over pretty
low but I guess they were Romanians. We came back and went to mess much later - about 6:00. We had a hunk of bread and a big bowl of thick bean soup. Later I had a second bowl. About 7:00 there was another alert. But we didn't go to the fields. A couple of fighters buzzed over very low but that was about all except for a little flak way in the distance. When it got dark you could see 2 of the fires of the previous night still burning really huge fires. Went to bed early and didn't even hear the siren which blew. Don't know if they dropped any bombs or not. Yesterday afternoon I got a helmet wool liner which they're giving out as hats and which are really needed.

[ Transcriber note: The typed version generally follows the original hand written diary, using original language, grammar, punctuation and abbreviations, except that "&" in the original was usually changed to "and" in the transcript. Other added words are in [brackets]. ]

note 1 - In recent conversations Tom said that when he was captured, it was the peasants who took him back to the forest twice to find his parachute. They wanted it for the material.


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At the 2017 reunion, the board approved the donation of our archives to the Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas - Austin campus.

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My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


NOTE change in month !!!

DATES: Oct 12-15, 2023

CITY:Fairfax Co, VA

HOTEL: Westin Dulles hotel

2520 Wasser Terrace, Herndon, VA 20171


Click here to read about the reunion details.

previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid

The Broken Wings of Zlatibor

The Liberandos

Three Crawford Brothers

Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior

376th Bomb Group Mission History

The Last Liberator

Full Circle

Shadows of Wings

Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War

I Survived Ploesti

A Measure of Life

Shot Down In Yugoslavia

Stories of My Life


Born in Battle

Bombardier's Diary

Lost Airmen

Langdon Liberando