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2Lt Arthur S.C. Shanafelt
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Excerpts From V-Mail Letters Home
28 February 1945 - 14 May 1945

2Lt Arthur S.C. Shanafelt
Co-Pilot 360th Bomb Squadron

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - February 28, 1945
. . . England is O.K. and I like it as good as possible. Itís tough but I like it O.K. and so far Iíve done fine getting myself back. Hope I get home soon but at the rate Iím going it will take me over a year to finish. I have a pass coming up soon and am anxious to see London. As a whole England is beautiful considering what she has gone through. Thereís nothing to say. I canít tell you about my raids or where I went.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 4, 1945
Excuse this paper and stuff but you see I am flying and itís all my radio operator has. The Navigator is getting some stick time in case he ever has to help me he can. I am down here in his compartment writing on his table. We went to London on pass. I saw Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and many wonderful things but Iíll just go back to dear old Texas and love it. . . .there seems to little I can say. . . Certainly is getting lonesome however I really donít have time to get homesick. I think of you real often but just havenít time to write often as yet. If you knew or I could tell you what Iím doing you would understand and Iím dead tired at night. I have written Mother most every night but I know sheís worrying terribly about me and I donít want her to. Iíve got so damn much to write about I donít know where to start. I would like to tell you all about what Iím doing, how many missions, where Iíve been, etc. but I canít. If I could you would realize just how busy I am and have been.

Letter to future In-Laws - March 4, 1945
I am fairly adjusted to this life now but it was hard at first. Believe me, I was scared my first mission but now itís different. Iíll certainly be glad when itís all over and all the fellows get home to a normal life again. This week my crew went on pass to London. I saw many interesting things and enjoyed my visit very much. Texas is the place though and Iím very anxious to get back. However, I do admire these people and they are very nice to us.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 6, 1945
. . . Of course I may come back to you without a scratch but itís no secret that there is a possibility I may not come back. Please go and see my Mother when you can. . . Donít worry your sweet little head over me.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 9, 1945
Iím wondering if you will like me when and if I get home. I know Iím getting a little different each day but Iíll do my best not to. Tomorrow is going to be a big day and I must close. Guess you think I never write much but there is nothing to tell.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 10, 1945
Iím wondering if youíve been receiving any of my mail. I havenít heard from anyone since I got all those letters (16 of them) about two weeks ago and my moral is very low about the mail situation. Otherwise, I am very happy and feel good. Guess youíve been reading about what weíve been doing. Wish this thing would end and I could see you but thereís a very meager chance of that now. I will probably wind up in the pacific somewhere. Thatís what I mean about plans. Things are so indefinite. . .

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 16, 1945
Iíll do my best to come back . . . There is no doubt but what the Lord is on my side. . . . Iím usually tired after fighting the Ďole B-17 Girlí all day but Iíll manage to write more often some how. . . . . The fellows here are fussing at me saying I write you too much...

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 18, 1945
. . . Itís getting cold again. . . Iíve bought me a swell battle jacket. . .

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 21, 1945
† . . . We have a big fight on our hands here. Better hit the sack and get some sleep.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 23, 1945
. . . Every day is rough but still itís that much more done and that much closer to getting home. Iíll be so darn old and worn out when I get home you may not want me.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - March 24, 1945
Didnít hear from you today but received two letters from Mother which pepped me up. If things keep going like they have (and I hardly see how they can get rougher) and my luck holds out, Iíll be or should be home sometime in June. Of course I donít want to count my chickens before they hatch and Iíll have lots of rough times ahead but Iím praying I get home in June.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - April 11, 1945†
Sorry I havenít written lately but if youíve been reading the papers you know where Iíve been and how tired I am when I sit down at night. They are working me to death but as long as I get back, I love it and shall continue. Just getting back in one piece and breathing air is the main thing. Havenít the time to say more. I must hit the sack because itís rest I really need and must get. May get home soon if I keep going like I have. Hope I do get home quick as Iím tired of this life.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - April 15, 1945
Gosh Iíve been terribly busy and when I got down today I went to sleep and missed chow so you can imagine how hungry I am. No dinner or lunch; gee Iím hungry. Iíve had several good missions but some (most) have been nothing but rough.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - April 16, 1945
Is it the 16th or 15th? [It was Easter Sunday]† I didnít know it was Sunday until I got down this evening. Isnít that awful? All I do is fly, eat and sleep it seems but I can rest when I finish. . . Iím thankful as long as I always come back. Iím wearing a raunchy hat three fellows have worn through combat now so it is definitely lucky. I have to take a new crew up tomorrow and Iím sweating it out to be truthful. Iím sure weíll get along O. K.. At least I certainly hope so. Water is scarce over here but you can manage a shower every three or four days if you are lucky. In spite of all I can do it will take me at least four months to get clean again. To top it all off I have contacted athleteís foot somewhere here and that isnít good. Iím really a nervous wreck... I have an unlucky number to go. I have as many raids now as my age plus one so if Iím lucky Iíll get home probably sooner than expected. I must close as I have to fly the big one tomorrow.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - April 18, 1945
Iíve been so dead tired, scared or whatever you want to call it, at nights I would write you and not remember what I wrote.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - April 20, 1945
I am lying on my bed with shorts on. Believe it or not I got a real nice hot shower this evening and feel 100% better. I might be able to live with myself now until they turn the water off again.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - April 26, 1945
This morning I got up at nine, took a shower and went to classification. Came home, ate and had a notice to report to the dispensary. Gosh was I ever sweating. Iím O.K. so donít worry. I came home, wrote you, then Sam (Pilot Samuel W. Smith) and I went to a matinee show. We came home, showered, bitched and went to the club and we each ate half a chicken . We drove to town and mailed our letters and came back and saw another movie.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - April 28, 1945
I really have had plenty of time here lately but just didnít write because I played hearts, gin rummy and casino with the fellows down at the club. Iíve been saving a fifth of scotch for our last mission but decided I might go down and it would be wasted so we fellows drank it about a month ago.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - May 1, 1945
Itís very cold and damp...I have only a few blankets. . . . Sorry I canít give you all the poop on my work.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - † May 5, 1945
Have you seen the movie ĎCasanova Browní? Guess itís old, everyone seems to have seen it but me. I thought it was wonderful. One of my best buddies Ďgot ití a while back over here and Iím going to California to see his wife and some friends when I get home. They have two of the sweetest little children. I feel so sorry for her and only wish there were something I could do. Wish I could get back to Texas and stay for good but that seems rather impossible at the present. Donít think I was ever so tired of one place in my life.

Letter to fiancť, Beverly - May 14, 1945
You know Iíve always wanted to get fighters. Although you donít want me to ...and you will most likely win out because I needed two more raids before my request would go through. I am positive I could have done much more over here and any other place in them [a fighter]. Iím built for fighters or something like that. I love speed. Sure I flew the big one and always got my crew back but Iíll tell you this, I was terribly lucky and very grateful I did. Iíve seen them and turn my head just a little and look back and all you could see was smoke and little pieces. Of course I saw fighters go down but it was different. Thereís been times and still are that I would like to quit the whole thing and go home and let someone do my fighting but 80% of the time I want to be in the thick of it. Iíve lost an awful lot of friends over here and if the good Lord spared me I can go on fighting and trying to do my part. Itís true Iíve done an awful lot more than lots and lots of fellows but on the other hand I could not hold a light to some. I canít quit now thatís all and if I must fly the big one by gosh Iíll do my best and be as happy as possible although my heart isnít in it. Havenít been doing much but flying our ground personal over the cities weíve bombed. It was very interesting to them and they deserved to see what we had been bombing. Paris is a beautiful city..if fact, the most beautiful city Iíve seen. Now I can tell you about the V2 bombs. In London on my first pass one hit and knocked me out of bed and all the windows out. They certainly do make a large explosion and your ears ring quite a while afterward.

[courtesy of Shari Shanafelt]