August 1945 – Fort Sil Field Artillery Journal

Wednesday – 1st August 19451

          The Battalion arrived Antwerp Belgium.

Wednesday – 1st August 1945 HQ & Hq Battery Morning Report2

                              Antwerp, Belgium vJ6896
          No Change

Dear Mother and Dad,
     I hope that you and Dad are feeling better and that things have kind of settled down around home.  We won’t receive any incoming mail for some time – we have moved around so much that I’m sure it will be almost a week.  We went into town last night and looked all around.  This is a nice Country neat and clean as a whistle.  The people are well groomed and real clean.  The shops have things to sell although the stuff is very expensive.  The largest and nicest hotel – is very much like any one in Chicago or New York.  If we stay here long enough we plan on going up to Rotterdam, Holland which is supposed to be much more modern than Brussels or Antwerp.  I have four rolls of film to be developed – will send them home soon.
                                       My love to you both.

Thursday – 2nd August 1945 HQ & Hq Battery Morning Report3

                              Antwerp, Belgium vJ6896
          Alerted for departure 3 Aug 45 for Har-
          fleur (Camp Philip Morris) France enroute
          to Southampton, UK Base for permanent
          change of Sta per Ltr Order AG 370.5 Hq
          Chanor Base Section dtd 1 Aug 45

Friday – 3rd August 1945 HQ & Hq Battery Morning Report4

                              Harfleur (Cp Philip Morris) Nord dr Guerre France vL5628
                    Clark, Carey A. 0 249 134                     Mjr.
                    Coyne, John F. 20 140 446                    M.Sgt.
                              Above 1 O and 1 EM dy to temporary dy Hq
                              UK Base for an indefinite period.
                    Davis, Harold A. 0 422 038                    Mjr.
                              Assumed comd 1193 in addition to other
          Departed Antwerp, Belgium vJ6896 via Mo-
          tor Convoy 0600. Arrived present Sta 1930.
          Distance marched approximately 275 miles.

Sunday – 5th August 19455

          The Battalion departed Antwerp Belgium.

Sunday – 5th August 19456

          The Battalion arrived La Havre France.

          Lt.-Hightower – His-Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann which was left at the docks in Antwerp Belgium.  He wanted it shipped to England, then to the US so badly.

        Lt. Bernard T. Kaylor – flew right seat with Lt. Hightower who was trying to ship this Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann to the US. The plain was left on the dock at Antwerp

Tuesday – 7th August 19457

          The Battalion departed Le Havre France.

        Waiting next to the Bailey bridge dockside, ready to board the ship in background on the way to England.

          The Bailey bridge out to the transport ships to England, Le Harve.

          In line to the gangway, Le Harve.

          Leaving the ETO, Le Harve.

        Enlargement of Leaving the ETO, Le Harve above

          Almost all a board the transport ships to England, Le Harve.

          On board and departing Le Havre France.

Tuesday – 7th August 19458

          The Battalion arrived Southampton England.

Tuesday – 7th August 19459

          The Battalion departed Southampton England and arrived general location 50 miles North East of London.  The Battalion took over an AAF airfield.

Dear Mom and Dad,
     A day or so after my last letter we were on the move again.  We pack our junk and moved to Le Harve, France, a distance of 264 miles.  We drove all day and got there at about 1915.
     We unpacked our bags again – this time in Camp Phillip Morris.  This center is still under
construction and isn’t too nice.  There were two General Hospital nearby so we had a couple of parties.  We turned in the rest of our equipment and two days later got on the “Exchequer”.  And sailed for South Hampton.  An hour’s train ride brought us to this staging area.  No one knows what we’re here for or for how long.  Le Harve was quite a town.  It was destroyed in about 20 minutes by bombers.  The whole center of town (10 sq. blocks) is level – that is nothing stands but neatly piled stacks of bricks.  The whole port area is big pill box.  They are everywhere.  Big ones and little ones.  The German PW’s are busy tarring them up.
     We went to Holland before we left Belgium.  We just had to be able to say we’d been there.  Tried to go to Rotterdam but it was a little too far.  As I told you before Antwerp was lovely – a real nice place.  It was “Buzz” bombed at the end of the war, but there is little evidence of destruction.
     Just heard the first news of the “Atomic Bomb”.  My God. One thing – it will save GI lives, cut down war cost to us and shorten the war.

August 9, 1945
     Rumor here is king.  Everyone has one – none true but never the less refreshing.  We think we’ll be here for about four days before we move.  We are going to guard air field.  People say people don’t stay here long.  Sure hope I can come home soon. got loads of mail from you a few days ago.  It had collected at Le Mans and we sent a truck for it.  I have some pictures I’ll send in a few days. also I have about six rolls waiting to be developed, but am holding off till we settle down.
          All of us are feeling fine.
          My love to you both –


Length, overall __ 473′ 1″      Gross tons _________ 6,683          Propulsion _______ Turbine
Beam ___________ 66′ 0″      Speed (knots) _______ 16.5          Passengers ———- 1,613
Draft ___________ 27′ 9″      Radius (miles) _____ 15,720          Cargo (cu. ft.) ____ 154,000

            Built in 1943 by Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc., Sparrows Point, Md.
                      Operated during W arid War II by American Export Lines, Inc.

     Immediately following completion as a C-3 freighter, the Exchequer left Baltimore and went to New York for conversion to a troopship by Arthur G. Blair, Inc., between early October and the last day of December 1943.
     In January 1944 the ship went to Boston from where she crossed to Liverpool.  The remainder of 1944 was replete with voyages from either New York or Boston to the Clyde, Cardiff, the Mersey, Swansea, Plymouth, Cherbourg or Liverpool.
     From Norfolk on 6 January 1945, the Exchequer made a voyage which consumed two months.  Ports visited on this particular voyage in order were: Gibraltar, Port Said, Suez, Aden, Khorramshahr, Basra (Iraq), Abadan (Iran), Suez, Port Said, Algiers, Marseilles, Oran, Gibraltar,
Casablanca and New York, arriving at the latter in early March.
     In late March 1945 the vessel proceeded to Le Havre, France and for the ensuing seven months shuttled between that port and Southampton, England.  She returned to Boston in October and from there made two voyages to Marseilles before returning to Boston on Christmas Day 1945.
     After a voyage to Le Havre in January, the Exchequer returned to New York and was there released from troop service on 26 January 1946.

Wednesday – 8th August 194511

          The Battalion arrived general location 50 miles North East of London.  The Battalion took over AAF airfield.

          In 1944 USAAF Sudbury Station 174 was opened.  Sudbury was built to the standard Class A heavy bomber and was home to the 486th Bombardment Group.  The 244th took charge of the base in order to preparing it to be turned over to the RAF.

          USAAF Sudbury Station 174 as it looks today.  The image clearly shows the footprint of the airbase.

          Tec/5 John Outlaw’s Memoirs12

          “Well, folks, the war is over.  And all of us boys are dreaming about returning to civilian life.  It is a long process, about 4 or 5 months of stops here and stops there.  Many little odd jobs had to be done on our way to being discharged.”
     “One of my stops was at a camp where my cousin, Neville Outlaw, had been for a week, on his way to civilian life.  I missed him just 12 hours.  He had moved out before we moved in.  Our next night was in France.  I don’t remember the name of the community.  But the outfit that was there, I knew my cousin, Bill Outlaw, was stationed there.  When we settled in for the night, got our bedrolls lined out, I went out to locate him.  I found his tent, but he was gone to town.  When he came in, the boys, his buddies, told him John had been there.  The next morning, before daylight, he was standing by my bed.  So, we had a good visit, caught up on a bunch of back news and then it was time for us to go our separate ways again.  From that camp, we caught a boat across the [English] Channel to England.  While in England, we were stationed at an abandoned airport for six weeks.”
  “After I left Bill, some time later, he married a French girl in Paris and she was a very sweet girl.”

Sunday – 12th August 1945
          Special Order 88 – Fort Sheridan, Illinois

Dearest Mon and Dad,
     Things have settled down again.  I think we have quit moving for a while, at least all of us hope so – gets kind of tiresome just to sit and ride day after day.
     If you look on a map you’ll find us located North-East of London about 60 miles and about 50 or 60 miles from the coast.  Sudbury is a quiet little town, but wasn’t a few months ago because about 3,000 men from the Airbase were living right outside.  The base is “Standard” English made.  The long runway is 6400 feet X 150 feet.  There were 72 B-17’s located here.  It was an 8th AF base and they lived like Kings.
     Fall is here and it’s real nasty out most of the time.  A cold wind cloudy skies and a slight drizzle almost every day.  We live in large Nissen Huts, which are quite comfortable.  Our beds have sheets and pillow cases, so you can see – it’s OK.
     The AAF people treat us very nice.  They kind of have a strange respect for the Ground Troops and listen when we shout the bull.  They wonder how we or I got the Air Medal and Cluster -.
     I’ve caught on to the money system over here and I can go around without being rooked.  I have in my pocket, now, £ 9-13-1 or $38.61 of which I owe Major Clack $30.00.  Sure hope I can make this month through.

August 12, 1945
     Some of us have been to London yet.  I sure hope we all get the chance.  So near – yet so far.
     The Bn is all split up.  We have seven Air Drones in our care.  Two per firing Btry. and one for Hq.  In a few days I must inventory the base and sign for all of the property.  It should run into several million!!  How much have I in the bank?  If any of its missing I guess I’ll be a career – soldier.
     We sure are on edge because of the Jap situation.  The latest here is that no more high pointers will go home.  All will have to wait for our Bn’s. return.  Makes me feel kind of sick – I’m just “sittin on ready”.
     I know you and Dad are feeling better now.  Please thank all of our friends again for me for being so considerate.  They are all real and true friends because when you needed them – they were there.
                      Will write again soon.
                        My love to you both –

          British RWAF (Royal Women’s Air Force) the Sudbury Station Secretary for returning airfields back to the RAF

Dearest Mon and Dad,
     I can’t understand why you haven’t received any of my letters.  Your latest one, Aug 10 came yesterday and it was quite fast in getting here.  I hope that by this time you have some of my letters.  As you know we have moved around quite a bit in the last month and our mail has been all tied up.
     I have checked over the base and am all set to sign on the dotted line.  I’m holding out for the first of the month – perhaps the R.A.F will take over before I have to.
     As yet we have no orders as to when we are to go home.  The C.O. of the U.K. Base has said that this place will be closed by the end of September.  We know for a fact that we will not go back to Europe for our boat. Hope we come home on one of the Queens. That would be a fitting climax for our time in this theater.
     I have done a little thinking as to what I’m going to do when I get home.  I think I want to loaf for a couple of weeks, get a job (if possible) and perhaps go to night school to learn something you both tried to get me to learn five years ago.  You know – I’m quite a dope – for when it comes to brains – you two have got me beat all hollow.  Perhaps someday I’ll learn.

August 21, 1945
     The G.E. news is kind of messed up.  Since when have I been promoted to Lt. Col. and a Bn. CO?  All the guys got a laugh out of that.  It was nice of them to print that stuff.  When I re-read that item – I kind of wonder “Did I do that?  Must have been crazy!”
     Hightower is leaving here for home in four days.  He has 116 points – Hendry is going back to Germany – so that makes me fourth high pointer in the Bn.  Harry Greer is now “top man”.
     You two keep things rolling and I’ll be home as soon as were ready to leave here.
     I sure hope Dad and you are feeling better now.  The worst thing that you can let happen to you is to let it drag you down and stop you.  It’s a terrible thing but it’s His will, and who can buck that?
     Take my civvies out of the mothballs.
                        Love to you two

Dearest Mon and Dad,
     In the morning I’m on my way back to Camp so I thought I’d tell you about what I’ve seen and done while it’s still fresh in my mind.
     Yesterday noon I arrived at Liverpool Station and came here to the Red Cross Officers Club to stay.  It’s very nice here.  We have large rooms shared by others and the food is good.
     They will arrange anything here.  Dates, show tickets tours etc.  I got here too late for the regular tour so this afternoon I went out on foot and by cab to see what was what.  Trafalgar Square dedicated to Lord Nelson is quite impressive.  It’s a tall Column with his statue on top and around the base are four huge bronze lions.  Right nearby is the House of Parliament and big Ben.  The buildings are very ornate and the design is very unique.  Big Ben is tremendous and its bells are perfect.  Canterbury Cathedral is only two blocks away.  Gosh – what a place.  The place is full of statues of famous people.  Many of whom I’ve read lots about.  The architecture is breathtaking.  So graceful and clean cut.  I just haven’t the words to describe it to you.  I went over to St. Paul’s, where an old gent offered to take me through.  It was
better because he knew all about the place.  Christopher Wren designed and directed the whole thing – He is very, very famous for his work.  There was a Blitz job done in ’40 – ’41 on part of the Church – but it is slowly being repaired.  I’ll try and tell you more about this when we are together.  The Albert memorial is lovely and the Serpentine in Hyde Park is very nice.  I didn’t get to Buckingham Palace but plan on doing the rest when I come again.
     Ok – at St. Paul’s was the most beautiful painting I have ever ever seen.  “The light of the world”.  It is a painting of Christ in a darkened garden, carrying a lantern and knocking on the garden gate.  There
is an inscription on the paining – but I can’t remember it – I am going to find out though.  It expresses everything in the world.  If you ever have the chance to find out – do so.
     Because of the rain I wasn’t able to take many pictures – I got a few.  I’ll have 6 rolls developed in  a few days.  I also have mailed a box with some odds and ends of pictures and things I’ve seen.
     I had to borrow money to get here.  I had planned on drawing my full months’ pay ($185) but the clerk forgot to put in the notice and now I’m in debt.  I hate to dip into my fund but could you send me $150.00.  I won’t be able to use it all but I may need it.  You will receive my Gov’t check for $165.00 on the 1st or 2nd of September but on the 1st of October you will receive no check.  And in November – if I’m here you’ll again get my check for $165.00.  In other words I’m cutting out 1 months’ pay – you will receive the rest.
     You may be able to figure out the best way to get the money here – as it is I don’t know.
                               My love to you both.

Sunday – 26th August 1945
         Army Exchange Ration Card
               Front and Back

Dearest Mon and Dad,
     Another five points came in last night bringing my total up to 105.  Because of the way things are being done I might as well have 85.  I guess I won’t be home any sooner than the 85’ers, so guess there wasn’t so much use in doing a good job.
     Has my mail been coming in any better?  I hope it has been because I have been writing more regularly than before.
     In two days I must sing for the field so consequently I have been working now and then getting things squared away.  It’s quite a big job checking all of this stuff, but I have some darn good men helping me out.  I have to rely on them to do a good job – or I’ll get hooked and have to “sweat out” the day the R.A.F. takes over.
     Did you get my letter telling about the $150.00 money order I would like you to send as soon as you can?  I sure hope so and that you have been able to send it off to me.  I really am in mud!! Also – did you get my little box of pictures?  Did you like them?  Some were pretty good.  I still have five rolls yet to be developed, and was about to send them home to be developed, but remembered they x-ray all packages and was afraid that would spoil the film.
     Do something for me – if you can remember.  What did Jane say?  How did she sound?  How did the conversation strike you?Give me the hot oil – it’s very important.  As you may know things are a bit strained on the home front.
     Did I tell you that I had received your clippings?  As yet I’m not a Bn. Comdr. and I don’t intend on staying in the Army till I am.
     All of us here are as well as can be expected.  I’ve written to Wink and Torres, but I haven’t heard from them yet.  I’ll give you there news when I get it.
     I still have my fingers crossed for the end of September.  Maybe I’ll be discharged by then, at least I hope I’m at home.  That sure will be a great day, won’t it?
     Give my love to one and all.
     Best love to you and Dad,

  1. W. U. (Doc) Savage Letter, December 15, 1949
  2. 244th F.A. Battalion Battery HQ & Hq Morning Report
  3. 244th F.A. Battalion Battery HQ & Hq Morning Report
  4. 244th F.A. Battalion Battery HQ & Hq Morning Report
  5. W. U. (Doc) Savage Letter, December 15, 1949
  6. W. U. (Doc) Savage Letter, December 15, 1949
  7. W. U. (Doc) Savage Letter, December 15, 1949
  8. W. U. (Doc) Savage Letter, December 15, 1949
  9. W. U. (Doc) Savage Letter, December 15, 1949
  10. Troop Ships Of WW II, Ronald W. Charles, The Army Transportation Association Washington, D.C., First Addition April 1947
  11. W. U. (Doc) Savage Letter, December 15, 1949
  12. John  W. Outlaw, telling his daughter, Mary Outlaw, about seeing his cousin, Bill Outlaw, after the end of WWII (1945), when they were preparing to return to the U.S.