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205 Group Italy

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9 years 8 months ago #1497 by Gary
Gary created the topic: 205 Group Italy

On the third of September 1944 I arrived in Naples in Italy, as a passenger on a United States Air Force Dakota. Yet another transit camp, but for the first time in a country that had been conquered. For the people this was a degradation coupled with poverty. The administration was carried out by the occupying forces so even the familiar was lost. The currency was changed and basic services limited, they had to survive and make do. Here begins the seeds of hate which we know can last for centuries. A good example is the celebrations or remembrances, depending on which side, of events that only the history book recalls. On these grounds I rest my case for the federation of Europe. It is not the uselessness of war itself but also the aftermath In my opinion this applies to all violent actions

I joined 37 Squadron 205 Group based in Tortorella, Foggia on the eighth of September. I was still on Wellingtons, now all mark tens with the Hercules engines. At Tortorella we shared with 70 Squadron R.A.F. and also Squadrons of U.S.A.F who flew Fortresses. The USAF ran the airfield and mostly operated their aeroplanes during the day and the RAF at night. We didn't socialise much because of our hours of work but we did complement in many fields which I'm sure were not approved by the Pentagon or the Air Ministry. In the RAF we had a ration of spirits, and I seem to remember a couple of bottles of scotch were worth a daily delivery of freshly baked jam filled doughnuts to all messes for a month. A jeep to go on leave had a price in bottles, with extra for a paint job to RAF roundels. Many years later my favourite television programme of Sgt, Bilko brought back memories.

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'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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