FREEDOM

Extract from a paper prepard by P/O Gordon Grange Wright

Orders where to remain within the confines of the camp; however,”boys will be boys” and we did wander beyond the pale, usually making along the river which runs through Halle and on both sides of which is a large park. General Eisenhower had orbidden fratrenization with German girls, but I think all of us
transgressed that edict in some measure; language seemed to be about the only distinguishing mark between these girls and Canadian or English girls.
On May 11th three hundred of us were taken to a nearby drome, from which a fleet of DC 3’s were to take us to Rheims in France. We were divided into groups of twenty-five and assigned to an aircraft. After a magnificent lack of red tape we took off. Later that evening we landed at a field to the north of Rheims; trucks were on hand to take us through the town to an American army camp twenty miles or so to the south.
Next day we returned to Rheims, being taken however to another drome west Rheims. The field was covered with men and aircraft, so we had to await our turn; however, as we were about to enter our aircraft, flying was washed out owing to a change in the wind. The field had only two runways, neither of which was suitable.
Somewhat dejectedly we returned - but to a different camp south of the city. The following day we traipsed back to the same field, again having to await our turn. This time, as we were about take off, a kite piled up on the runway, so flying had to be cancelled again.
On the third day we at length succeeded in taking off, following another long wait; these hold-ups resulted solely from the bungling methods of three fussy, last-war British lieutenant-colonels, attired in shorts, who busied themselves running about the field - the acme of ineffectiveness.
When we took off there wasn’t a cloud in the sky; as we approached England, however it began to close in and became very bumpy. We were supposed to land at Wing, my old OTU, north west of London, but visibilty was so bad we had to follow the coast south and then west, flying as low as we possibly could. Finally we managed to turn in at Ford, not far from Bournemouth. Time 4 p.m.; Date May 14, 1945.