Excerpt From That's All, Brother Update #17
The family of John N. Shallcross, the navigator of That's All, Brother on D-Day, found a letter written to his nephew in May 1945. It contains so much good information, we will reproduce it in full below. Thanks to Matt Scales for transcribing this precious piece of history.
May 15, 1945
Received your letter a few days ago and was glad to hear from you.
Now that the war is over we are allowed to tell of the engagements that we have been in and if you have been keeping up with the war news maybe some of the following places will sound familiar.
First of all was the big invasion of Sherbourg [sp] and on that invasion your Uncle Bud was in the first plane to drop paratroops. We escaped most of the flack because the Krauts were still sleeping when we came over but some of the planes behind us really got caught. After returning from dropping the paratroops we hauled Horsa gliders (English type) back to the drop zone to resupply the paratroops and after a few days when a few landing strips had been captured we hauled in supplies and evacuated the wounded to English hospitals (American hospitals in England).
Next we flew from England to bases in Italy where we took part in the invasion of Southern France but this time after dropping the paratroops we hauled CG4A gliders (American). Most of the gliders cracked up on landing and several of the glider pilots wound up in the hospital because the Germans had sunk a bunch of poles in the ground every five or six feet so that nothing could come in and land safely.
We flew back to our base in England and next took part in the Holland invasion. The flack on this mission was the worse that we ever ran into and we all wished that we could jump out with the paratroops instead of having to go back thru it. When the 101st Airborne Div. was cut off at Bastogne we resupplied them by food and ammunition by parachute and finally the last parachute drop at Wesel. In between these parachute drops we have been evacuating the wounded and hauling food and supplies up to the front lines. When General Patton made his big move on the front we kept him supplied with gasoline by air and very often landed at airports that had been captured just an hour or two before. Once we landed at one of these newly taken airports and the enemy landed a artillery barrage right on top of us and while a few of the lads got wounded none of the planes were hurt and we managed to get away all right.
A FW190 strafed two of our planes when they were coming in to land but they didn’t get any of the crew and luckily the gas they were carrying didn’t catch fire. Another time a couple of German fighters strafed a new field just as we were getting ready to take off and ruined two of our ships and put a few crews in the hospital but everyone lived.
Now that the war is over we have been flying from 9 to 12 hours a day carrying back released prisoners of war to Paris and Le Havre where they can be shipped home by boat. We hope to be finished with this job around the first of June and then after a few weeks expect to come back to the states before leaving for any place else so hope I will be able to see you in the not too distant future.
‘till then be good
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