a man of letters (9) – bombs away…and away…and away


February, 1945 brought new targets for the twenty-year-old Richards, Texas homeboy 2nd. Lieutenant Glenn Morris, navigator for a B-17 bomber called The Fortress in the  365th. bomber squadron of the Eighth Air Force stationed in England during WWII.

Ludwigshafen, a city on the Rhine opposite Mannheim, on February 1st…tons of bombs dropped on two chemical plants supplying vital chemicals to the German military efforts…two days later (February 03) The Fortress finally made it to Berlin, the capitol of Hitler’s Third Reich…six days later on the 9th. the mission was a smaller town called Lutzendorf…

Flying at altitudes of 20,000 feet for most bombing runs meant long hours of very cold temperatures in confined cramped spaces where the oxygen was “scarce,” to quote Glenn’s description of the experience during training exercises. Smoke from the fires below and the gunfire surrounding The Fortress during its missions made his eyes burn and breathing even more difficult. The sounds of machine guns reverberated in his sleep at night. The sights of cities burning beneath him seared into his memory forever. Death and destruction. The call of bombs away and away and away couldn’t be tuned out at night when he waited for sleep to come.

After the Lutzendorf mission, the crew had a break for several days. On February 12th, Lt. Morris wrote the following letter to his parents – it’s the only correspondence preserved from that month. He was so happy getting his letters from home – even his daddy wrote to his son. I would love to have that letter.

“Dear Folks,

Just a line to let you know I’m O.K. I’m doing better about the writing, am I not? I will write when I have time. You know I will, cause I’m supposed to.

I got my haircut today. I’m looking very sharp in my leather jacket. You didn’t know I had one, did you?

Yesterday I went to church. It was the first time I’ve been in England. It was the first time I’ve had a chance. I can remember when I seldom missed a Sunday. Do you remember, too?

I got 3 letters from you, Mama, and one from you, Daddy. The latest one was the 23rd. of January. I get your letters very quickly. Keep writing direct mail. I like them better. Well, kids, you’ve had it. I love you,

Glenn”

George Morris with his son Glenn in Richards, Texas

Lt. Glenn Morris the navigator

 list of missions flown by Lt. Morris

in his own handwriting on personal stationery

An even dozen bombing runs were made in February, 1945…Dresden, Bdadnnitz, Nuremberg (twice), Wittenberg, Hamburg (the second largest city in Germany where the new U-boats were under construction, but the mission failed due to cloud cover), Munich (the third largest city in Germany, located in Bavaria at the northern edge of the Alps near Austria, near Hitler’s infamous Eagle’s Nest where Nazi leaders gathered for strategic planning), Berlin again and Saist, a much smaller town.

Tail Gunner Pfc. Klepps killed in action

during mission in February, 1945

Twenty-three bombing runs completed by the end of February, and one member of the crew of The Fortress had gone home without his buddies.

(image from Wikipedia)

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published four nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and a group of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never too far from her thoughts.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to a man of letters (9) – bombs away…and away…and away

  1. Luanne says:

    Wow, where did you get all this hardcore info?! Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so very much, Luanne…here’s the really sad thing. I think I told you I started preparing this collection probably 10 years ago, and I had luckily saved what I wrote on my computer; but…I can’t find my original materials so I don’t know where I got the information about the cities in Germany – I’m thinking off a Wiki site or maybe a WWII site. I remember doing the research when I first started this project, but now I can’t find my notes. All of the letters and pictures are originals I thankfully kept from my mom, my grandmothers, and my aunt. I have saved them in scrapbooks and other storage containers that you would thoroughly disapprove of. 🙂
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying these posts…I consider that a huge compliment!!

      Like

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    My father’s youngest sister, Lillian, married her husband, Frank Bruno, before he went off to war. My father was already a commissioned officer and off on a desert adventure in various parts of the Middle East. Uncle Frank was part of D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and freeing Jews in the concentration camp Bergen Belsen.
    He was as miserable man for all the years I knew him. But he gave me a gift of sorts, insight into who he was. People say I’m easy to talk to, and talk he did about all the horrible sights and sounds of war and the battle death of his closest buddy.
    I wish these wars would end. The toll on young minds and bodies is unimaginable.

    Like

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