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Excerpts From V-Mail Letters Home
November 20, 1944 - March 21, 1945
1Lt Richard M. Newell
Co-pilot and Pilot, 360th Bomb Squadron
(all written from Molesworth)

NOV. 20, 1944
If it weren't for the fact that we are going on a 48 hour pass tomorrow I'm afraid I wouldn't have the will power to keep my eyes open long enough to write you.  Expect to go to London for the first time and see what the place is like.

NOV. 24, 1944
We have been busy all day.  In London  we stayed at the Red Cross Officer's Club.  Saw quite a few spots of interest and was made quite aware of all that London is notoriously written about in the news. 

NOV. 27, 1944
We had a busy day today much to their discomfort.  You are well aware that we are keeping busy.  May have a day of rest tomorrow but that is a guess and depends on a lot of things.

DEC. 3, 1944
Speaking of my clothes, the boys turned a fire extinguisher loose here and it ruined about $50 worth f my clothes.  It was an accident but clothes are hard to find.

DEC. 6, 1944
We are progressing slowly.  It will be a long, rough, dangerous haul.  Those that has gone before didn't have it any rougher than we have it now.  Accidents happen every day, bad accidents.  It is all a matter of preparation, knowledge, skill and a level head plus a little luck.  We 'sweat out' every raid.  We're scared.  We all feel that we'll finish our tour and return to those we love.

DEC. 11, 1944
Tonight we are all sitting around the fire  writing letters.  We have just shared a few moments of showing each other photos of those at home.  Occasionally we pause as Bing Crosby sings some particularly beautiful piece.

DEC. 14, 1944
Due to necessary care required in shaving without rendering irreparable harm to the said mustache, it was removed with due solemnity about a week ago.  Members of the crew to a man was amazed and aghast the ease with which it was destroyed a valuable asset to an otherwise ordinary puss.  Honestly, they were disappointed because it wasn't bad.

DEC. 17, 1944
Another of those episodes occurred that happened before and have spent a day and night with the RCAF.  They are a swell bunch, just like the Americans and much more friendly than RAF.  We couldn't spend  and we drank beer in our flying clothes in their club and sang all night long.  They tried to get me drunk on English beer but being weaned on U.S. stuff it proved a dismal failure.  The good comradeship between us kinda warmed my heart, if you know what I mean.  There were gay songs, dirty songs and sentimental songs and since I'm a sentimental fool anyway I was lonesomely happy.  At times the way "we airmen" get together on common grounds with mutual understanding bears out the truthfulness of the supreme fraternity of them all, the Air Corps. 

DEC. 26, 1944
The last few days of silence from this end of the line has again  been unavoidable.  After several days absence from base returned about 1:00 A.M. this morning.  We even missed our Christmas dinner and all the festivities that go with it.  Wasn't fair to complain though when one considers the boys in the front lines.  It certainly hasn't been pleasant for them. 

JAN. 25, 1945
Things look pretty good on the Russian Front.  In fact I have seen cartoons of gunnery sgts. on the Western Front warning their men not to shoot too far for fear of hitting the Russians.  That's just a little far-fetched, of course.... Went to London a short time ago, was bothered considerably by an infected wisdom tooth, and slept for hours in the Red Cross.

JAN. 29, 1945
My cold doesn't affect my flying any.  Our barracks are extremely cold and generally without a fire.  Occasionally I found it necessary to sleep in a heavy flying jacket.

FEB. 15, 1945
Tonight is the first night of my seven day pass.  Was fortunate in obtaining a single room, very comfortable at a Red Cross Club.

FEB. 18, 1945
This is the fourth day of my seven day pass and so far have done little of interest....I had searched the streets of the West End of London day and night till I knew it like the back of my hand yet things to do and decent people to do them with are few and far between.  What I really need is a rip-roaring, drunken brawl, a lot of bar-room quartets, back slapping, loud laughter and a good old fashioned hangman to get rid of this pent-up energy of mine.  My few acquaintances in England can't offer me this type of release that my Auburn friends could.

FEB. 21, 1945
It is now 8:55 and my last evening in town of my 7 day leave....You cannot appreciate the luxury  of lying in a warm bath for an hour at a time or the comfort one derives from staying in bed til 10:00 or 11:00 in a warm room.  For six mornings in a row have missed breakfast for staying in bed until 10:00.  Have seen five movies, read countless magazines and newspapers at the Red Cross, gone crazy over enormously difficult jig-saw puzzles, had eight drinks, smoked countless cigarettes and eaten and slept the time away.

MAR. 2, 1945
...thank God for permitting me to finish my missions in the ETO as I did yesterday.  Yes, no more combat flying in the European Theatre got mr.  I'm done, finished and very thankful, although since the tension has left there is a definite feeling of letdown.

MAR. 4, 1945
Last night two other fellows and I went to a nurses' home and sat around a fireplace drinking scotch and batting the breeze for a couple hours with the Army nurses.  Stayed comparatively sober and had a nice quiet evening.   

MAR. 9, 1945
Am sitting around here doing nothing, and am completely bored with everything.  Sure hope we can get out of here soon.

MAR. 21, 1945
Am sitting around waiting for transportation.  Some of my friends are already on orders but I am not.  It's a slow process, I guess but maybe they'll get around to me soon.  Have lost my ambition since leaving the base at 303rd.  We have nothing to do here but eat lousy food and sleep.

[courtesy of Leslie Jean Newell]