Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search

130 Airfield
Royal Air Force
Army Post Office


My Darling !

Enclosed is the letter of Moms that I told you about on the telephone.  Yesterday Wed. I received your letter of Friday.  Takes quite a while now – have received no later ones  than this.  However – there’s a war on & as long as my mail gets to you in fairly  good time  - well that’s something – eh ?

 Darling ! – I’m sorry I went out last nite when I knew you were calling.  I was all dressed up to go before I remembered it &  I hadn’t  been  off  the camp since last Saturday evening. I just hadda get some change that’s all!

Most  of  the time  now  we are  on  24  hour  call  for anything.   I was up this morning at 4 again. Had a couple of hours sleep to-day.

Darling please when you call me don’t ask me if I’ve been on a trip or anything about the war – ‘cause I just have to lie to you & I don’t want to do that like I did last nite when you asked me.  All telephone calls are being  listened to  by someone on the station – both incoming & out going personal calls & before we can telephone off the camp, I mean to an address off the camp, we have to get the Commanding Officer’s permission.

 I’m sorry  about  all  this Blue Eyes  but honest I’ve gotta watch my step and anyway “orders is orders” as the sayin’ goes! We should be able to find  lots else  to talk about don’t you think.

 I met Russel the other day.  He told me that Bob Kehrer  is  a P.O.W. now.

I didn’t see the little picture in your letter that I was supposed to return.

For gosh sakes honey!  Take it easy on that walkin’ huh?

 I think the days off & 48’’s - we have had.  However perhaps they’ll start leave again in a few weeks when things get rollin’.  I’m so glad the allowance came through O.K. – so I guess you’re happy now huh?

 I’m O.K. for shorts – I have a lovely dirty pair  which I wear all the time !!

 Butch had a letter from Dot too, She told him too – she was thinkin’  of takin’ the plunge.  I’m not so sure she oughta – she may be plunging in the wrong pool.

 She seems so indefinite about it.

 I’m quite sure that she can go to Canada with that guy O.K.  And anyway there’s always a way of getting out of the service isn’t there? – Darling ?

 I suppose you are wondering what I saw the morning of the invasion.  Well I can’t tell you what I was doing there but I think you can guess that.  But I can tell that on the success  of our efforts  depended the lives of thousands of those boys down there in the landing craft.  And I think we succeeded O.K. too.

It’s a good job you didn’t know what was  happening  to  your  hubby  that morning  or  you  would   have   died   in your bed.   Never ! – if I  live  to be 300 will I ever forget that 5 hours on Tuesday morning !  Never have I seen ! and never again  will I see !  such a magnificent achievement – such a show !- such a  hell on earth !  as I saw  between   5 o’clock & 10 o’clock that morning.  Never again will I be so scared !!

 We knew nothing about it until the evening before – when we were told the whole plan & our part in the actual landing operations.  We were briefed that evening. I went to bed about 12 but I never slept a wink – I  just  lay  there & thought & prayed & shook.  I think everyone did.  We were called at 3 a.m. Had breakfast & we were in the air at 5am.

It was dark as pitch when we took off & low cloud about 1000 feet & raining like a son-of-a-gun.  I was leading green section.  We climbed up through the  first  layer of muck &  set  course for  the  E. Coast  where  we  had  to  set course for our target areas. The moon was shining here & there  through  huge mountains of cloud.  I couldn’t see the ground at all.  I steered my course  as  best  I could  to  a  degree &  to a few seconds  of  time.   I left England & headed South for France.

 It was still raining – we lit down to 2000 & came out into a clearer area & we could see the sea below.  You’ve never   seen ships  until  you’ve  seen  an invasion !  I saw a thousand in 2 minutes ! – hundred & hundreds ! like little  toys  in  a  vast  sea  of  dirty   grey – all heading  one way.  The sky was filled with aircraft – literally thousands.  We kept on – in a few minutes I could discern   the gun  flashes  50  miles ahead.  Like little  fireflies  flickering in the twilight.

 In a  matter  of  minutes  we were right  in  the   thick of  it.   It was soul shaking.   The battle was just beginning .  Hundreds of ship were shelling the  shore  batteries  with  all  they’d got! – and more!  Their gun flashes lit up the sky over the sea ! -  their shells  rocked  the  coast  like   a  tree in a hurricane.   P ill boxes, shore guns,  block houses  went  up in the air in dust  like  shovel fulls of sand.

 In 30  minutes  all  hell  broke loose  on  the  coast.   Thousands of bombers poured down a devastating rain of bombs in patterns – carpeting whole towns – roads – bridges –german emplacements!  Villages & towns went up to 500 feet in dust – the bomb  flashes rose to 1000  feet –  a vivid  yellowish – red  flame  of death !  Everything was on fire !

- Towns, woods !  - the whole coast  line in 20 minutes was covered in the smoke  of  battle  to 4000  feet !  Petrol & ammo dumps blew sky high – sporting  geysers of  flame  &  billows   of  smoke  like  huge  thunder clouds !  The thousands of men came up in the landing barges their machine  guns  blazing  low crimson arcs towards the shore -! shells fell in the water all around – the german gunners on shore were trying desperately to stem the terrific overwhelming flood that was  overtaking them !  The sky was absolutely filled with flack.   Five minutes after I was in it – I felt sure that before another 5 minutes went by I’d be dead.  I was sure of it!  For the first few minutes I was absolutely overcome .  I was stiff in the cockpit – I couldn’t speak a word over the radio!  To me there was only one place where there wasn’t any flack & that’s where my aircraft was.  But somehow when we’d  finished our task for that trip we were all still intact.  I don’t know how on earth Roy  ever  stayed  with  me!   I could hardly see my  targets at times !  The whole area was covered  in  a   pall  of  yellow - black  smoke.   The sky was aglow with fire & death.  We got  out  &  we  flew  back to our advanced base –  refueled  &  45 minutes  later  we  were  off  again and  again we were in  that  awful hail of lead.  But if it was  bad  for us –  it  must   have  been  terrific  for the Jerries  &  for  the  boys down there  in the barges.   And now my little gal – during the next 30 minutes is where you almost “had” your husband !

At 6000 feet among all the confusion my engine stopped – of all places!  I called  up  my #2  &  told  him  to take over & finish  the  job – that I    was  going  to   have   to   crash - land in France.  I picked a  field    &  prepared myself for the bang!  Why the Jerries never shot me to smithereens I dunno – I was a sitting target!   By a stroke of luck or by the hand of God  or something; on  my last  approach to  the  field  at  500  feet  I  got  the engine running – roughly – but running!  Somehow! – I can’t remember-   I got back to England!!  Never have I seen such a wonderful sight as the coast looked then !

I got back to home base about noon & I wrote a short note to you & I went to bed.  I was dead – tired  – my eyes ached like fire – I was played right out !

I have seen a bit of  fightin’ – but never have I seen such a sight as Tuesday morning! – such an achievement – such a success ! – against such odds !  It was absolutely magnificent.  Someday – the people of  the world will find out what has taken place really in that invasion  &  what will  be  taking place during  the  next few weeks.  It is absolutely astounding! – I doubt if even when they know – if they’ll believe it!

It was a wonderful show – I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.  I am proud I was able to do my little wee bit to help it start on it’s way.  If you wanta know the future honey – just put me  to  sleep & I’ll  tell yuh  -  huh ?!

They  tell me this  evening  that they  are  making  arrangements     for 2 of  us  to  have  a  day off  per day – so  that’ll  give me  a chance one  of  these nights to get me some sleep – perhaps.  It’s a very wet night out to-nite – I forget whether you said you’d be calling or not to-nite.

Anyway I’ll be in if you do.

Gotta  sign  off now  - my  Darling – I love you – always     & always  -   don’t  ever  forget   that !

Always  --  Your Gibby


P.S. My love to Mum

Original Scans

Original Scans