Mon, June 5, 1944

I was at the show in Walton tonite when Capt. Bart sent for Kinyack & I. We knew something was up for we had been working on the photo planes for several days now & when we found out the invasion was going to take place we were speechless. I stayed with the Capt. & we had a pt. of scotch & I never had a wink of sleep all night. It’s scheduled to start at 5:00 AM in the morning.


Thu, June 8, 1944

Ebbet Lynch was killed today in a crash at Hy Wycombe. He was thrown clear of the plane & the pilot was burned & decapitated. They ran out of gas & crashed


Sat, June 10, 1944

They buried Lynch today. They had a mass burial 40 others were buried along with him.


Sun, June 11, 1944

Went to Wiseman’s for dinner & a visit. Saw Eva & had a fun time. Was backin camp at 8:30


Mon, June 12, 1944

Leaving for Pinetree & then France. Am going to put the diary in the safe.

Tue, June 13, 1944

Was given a 36 hour pass to go to London & France & I left about 10:00 in the morning. We ran right into buzz bomb & what a night we spent. They came over 3 or 4 at a time & about 3/4 hour apart. They sure are tearing hell out of London.


Wed, June 14, 1944

Was riding up Oxford street in a taxi & a buzz bomb hit two blocks away. I heard it coming & laid down in the bottom of the cab & it’s a good thing I did for all the windows were blown out of it & lots of people were lying about cut up by glass. I helped & so did the taxi driver getting those that were not dead fixed up & sending the rest to first aid posts. Boy it was cernable the bomb hit on top of two busses parked & it tore out a half a block each way & killed almost a hundred people. I was sick all day & had my uniform ruined. I left for camp to hell with London


Thu, June 15, 1944

Spent today checking the equipment we are taking to France. We are taking two Jeeps & two trailers and food & 4 cameras & 2 C3 cameras & film.


Fri, June 16, 1944

Checked our cameras & ran test thru them & packed all of them. We are to leave early in the morning so Frank & I went into High Wycombe & had a few drinks & then to bed.

Sat, June 17, 1944

Left Pinetree (High Wycombe) a 7:00 & arrived Graves Air Field loaded our trailers & Jeeps in a C-64 & took off at 10:40 for France. We landed there at 11:45 at the air strip just built at St. Pierre unloaded our equipment & ate dinner of K-rations and then proceeded to HQ of the 9th AF at La Grandc Chaloupe(?). We were given billets in a French home that had formerly been the German HQ there. We had to clean up the rooms & while doing that  ran across several souvenirs. I got a pair of wings off a uniform and a German Iron cross 2 on class with swords & a few other things. The first thing I had to get from the French was a broom & what a time I had making them understand. When I returned  it I was given two glasses of wine. I gave the lady a bar of chocolate in return. The old gent next door gave us a big bunch of flowers after we had given him a cigarette. Flew over two targets & photo them & in the evening went up town & got several glasses of wine. Was in bed early. The ack ack kept us awake all night for Jerry was over trying to bomb the harbor & beach. 


Sun, June 18, 1944

Was up at 7:00 this morning & was stiff, tired, and hungry. The officers left Augro & me there to finish cleaning up the place. We finished at 9:30 & at 10:30 went to the Village Catholic Church to mass. The church had been hit in several places. The people  were all rather nicely dressed even the children were all dolled up for the event. What a difference it must have been to them to see soldiers armed going to mass instead of keeping them from going. Church was out at 11:45 and we had chow & good at that. Steak, french fries, beans, onions, radishes, lettuce & french bread & coffee. I was sent up town by the Col. to try and get him two bottles of cognac. Had no luck but done alright for myself for I had quite a visit with a friendly family & had two bottles of hard cider & a 2 franc piece the French man gave me. Ate chow at 6:00 & the gang got back at 8:30. Helped build a fire for coffee & then hit the sack. No sleep until early in the morning. Guns going all the time.


Mon, June 19, 1944

Was up at 7:30 & as it was too late to make the chow hall had to eat cold field rations. While we were eating a P-38 dived low & crashed across the road from us in a vacant field. The flame and smoke leaped at least 200 ft. The pilot was thrown clear of the plane & was burned. Is raining and very dark out today so it looks like no work. The Col. got ants in his pants so we loaded our cameras and started out in the rain. We went thru Maisy & it was not hit so bad by bombs.  Alney the road were old boats & whatever else that could be found and used for tank traps. Fields on both sides of the road were filled with bomb craters. Cardonville was our next stop & it had its share of the bombs. The big sight was Ibigny where the whole center of the town was leveled. The ground troops  had the Germans holed up there & then retreated  & had the 8thAAF come over & bomb it & after attacked took the town. The Yanks & the French are now cleaning away the streets & everyone seems to be doing there bit. We were greeted on every side & after touring the ruins back to Grandcampe at 12:05. More cold rations and some hot coffee. After lunch I hit the sack & didn’t stir until 4:00. Ate, then Augre & I took a walk & took in some gun emplacements & ammo dumps. The Jerry sure left in a hurry for they left all arms & ammo intact.  Went to bed at 10:00 but same old story ack ack kept us awake most of the night.


Tue, June 20, 1944

Up at 6:00 and Augre & I walked to chow . After chow loaded our cameras & was off to Longues at 8:30. There was six 6in coastal Gen emplacements there that the 8th had bombed & we had to photograph the damage. One gun had the barrel broken in three pieces. Around one of the emplacements there were about 10 bicycles all broken & twisted from the concussion. We worked until noon shooting there then ate our field rations and left for Arromanches. Here the bombs did not damage the emplacements so much they were 6ft back. Leaving here we drove Moni Flgan. This was where the British landed & they sure took a beating for all kinds of equipment was knocked out. Landing barges and all. Passed a British grave along side of road & someone had put an iron fence around it & a crucifix on the cross & his helmet. A court yard had several American graves & they were decorated with flowers by the French. The town itself was almost laid flat. The French were salvaging what little they could & had a wave & smile for us as we passed & it was hard knowing you had done the damage. We drove thru Bayeux and here the war had passed by & not a building was hit. People were out in there holiday dress. We dove around town awhile & then back home thru Port En Bessin along the sea & was back in Grandcampe at 6:00. Had chow & after unloading & reloading the magazines hit the sack was all tuckered out.


Mon, June 21, 1944

Left after breakfast & drove to La Mare Angot & photographed some field installations where the Rangers had a bloody battle. Then to Isigny & photographed it for it was too dark when we were there before. Then on to Carentan. This town was such a shambles. Then on to Ste Mere Eglise & Montebourg. These towns were taken & retaken so many times & some parts of them were pulverized. After leaving Montebourg we hit roads then that hadn’t been cleared of mines & had to take it easy. All along the way we passed trucks, tanks, field pieces that had been put out of the action & were still smoldering. We arrived at Valognes just before lunch & took several reels of pictures here. The center of town had an underground telephone exchange & the  Air Force laid it flat. The roof & walls of the exchange were 6 ft. reinforced concrete & some parts of it had been blown up & out into a park. After lunch  we photographed the engineers blowing down a building that was unsafe. We left then and headed for the front & went as far as  d’Isagri(?). You could here the machine guns & the artillery shells going over our heads into the enemy. We photographed the 315 Infantry of the 79th division going up to the front. Had quite a talk with Chaplain Capt. C. F. Frith about the battles his outfit had been in. The lines were on both sides of the road for miles & trucks, tanks and etc coming down the center. On our way back, we stopped at Volgnes & while the Col. was scouting around I looked into several places & got 4 qt. of Champaign. We were back in Grandecampe at 6:00 ate & drank our Champaign & then after loading our magazines hit the sack & I was sure tired out. Slept in fits & jerks for Jerry was over several times in the night.


Tue, June 22, 1944

Was up at 6 ate & then packed our cameras & left again to photograph some targets up near Cherbourg. We turned off the main highway & drove down toward the ocean. It was a road that was little used & I didn’t like the looks of it for I was scared stiff of mines. About a mile from the main road was a cluster of about six houses & on the other side of the road a bombed out farm house. The houses had had a couple of direct hits too. We had to go slow as a large pile of rubble was piled up in the center of the roadway. Right on top of the rubble a shot rang out from the upper floor of the house at the far end of the cluster. We had only automatics with us but I had picked up 3 American hand grenades & they were in the jeep. The shot just missed the Col. the second broke the windshield. We all jumped at the first shot & as I did I grabbed a couple of grenades. The Col. had killed the motor on jumping out & Capt. Isear started shooting at the window & the Col. joined in. I took cover behind the pile of debris & crawled around behind the house close to the road then behind the next house & as luck would have it a window was blown out of the upper floor of the house where the sniper was at. He was still trying to hit the two officers & I said a prayer


Continued from June 22

as I let go of the grenade. It went into the window & man oh man what a blast. I didn’t wait to see if I had got him but heaved the other in behind it. We waited & no more firing. The Capt. came from behind the Jeep. It was foolish to do but nothing happened. He led the way & the sniper was there OK but was splattered all over the room. He was about 22 & had blond hair but the blast had singed it about off. I was sick at my stomach & walked out. The Col. reported it when we arrived back that night at 9th AAF HQ. I hope I never have to see another thing like that as long as I live. We move out tomorrow & I’m sure glad of it. I don’t mind the air but I’d never make a good infantryman.

Fri, June 23, 1944

Was up at 7 and ate and started packing. We gave our excess rations to our French friends across the street and I bid the guys Erett & Yooron goodbye and made our way back to the air strip. We ate while waiting for a plane & it arrived & we loaded our Jeeps and trailers in & said goodbye to France at 1:00. We took a British Gen with us to the Hendon Airfield outside of London & after getting some doughnuts & coffee at the RC left for Graves. We arrived at Graves at 3:30 & unloaded & was on our way back to High Wycombe at 7:00 ate & then took our long overdue shower & hit the sack & enjoyed our first nights sleep in over a week.

Sat, June 24, 1944

Unpacked and sent our film into the lab in London. Frank & I was given a 48 hour pass & we went into London at noon. Took in an afternoon show then celebrated at the pubs that evening got stinko & then got us a nice bed in a good hotel & slept & what a slumber. The buzz bombs did not matter today.


Sun, June 25, 1944

London had 10 buzz bomb alerts today & quite a few got thru as luck would have it. We were not near any hits altho several went over our heads & very low. Boy what an experience those damned things are.


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