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