A Gunner’s Tale


19-year-old N.K. Dewey in B-17 flight gear

I found a little brown notebook and across the cover in hand print it read, “Daily Scedual.” I flipped it open and read the following scribbled notes in my father’s hand (spelling and grammar have not been altered):

29th Oct. 44

Arrived at P.O.E. [Point of Embarkation]

Camp Kilmer

New Brunswick, New Jersey

didn’t get any passes while there.



Did K.P. at mess hall but gooffed off most all day

31st Got ready to pull out for the boat and Left camp 1530 and was on boat at 2200 and went to bed.

1st Nov 44

Woke to find we were still on boat and it was the Queen Mary and really a big boat. Slept most all day had a daily detail of 1hr mopping mess hall at 1900.

Nov. 2nd 44

Still in port slept most all day

Nov 3rd – 44

Left port today at 1200 and watched the statue of liberty come into sight thru port hole and disapear again as we passed. Say [saw] many freight ships in harbor forming convoys. Two F4U Fighters flew around us for a while and went back. Headed east

4th Nov.

Headed South Southeast and sea pretty rough slept most all the time.

5th Nov.

Zig Zagging all the time and I am about half sea sick – bad headache – food is terrible and two meals a day at 0915 and 1715 each day

6th Nov.

Still not feeling to hot – Hersheys chocolate bars is all the PX has and I’m sick of them cause thats about all were eating do to the limeys lovely food.

7th Nov.

We havent seen a ship or soul since leaving port and am getting a little use to this rolling sea.

Nov. 8

Two destroyers are convoying us today and the sea is getting rougher were going mostley north now – also can see some birds and Ireland and does one good to see some land again.

Nov. 9

In harbor on the Clyde River. Several Air Craft Carriers in port and a submarine just went by. Were starting to unload troops but we arent leaving till tomorrow.

Nov. 10th

Cold last night and there mts are all capped with snow. We left ship and borded ferry and left ferry at Grenock Scotland borded train for England was greeted at train by American Red Cross with coffee and doughnuts

All thru Scotland all the peaple looked healthy and red faced and would all cheer the train with the finger V for Victory sign and we all felt pretty good.

Nov. 11th

Are now at a sort of reception center and boy is the food good and its rainy and England looks o.k.

Nov. 12

Still here getting lectures and getting ready to go [get] a bomb group.

Nov. 13

Left today at noon for Bury St Edmunds near the coast and were attached to the 94th Bomb Group. Arrived here this after noon and moved into our hut and our room mates seem to be O.K.

Nov. 14

Good food here even better than at stone [?] and with china to eat from.

Nov.15 Went to school all day Recieved my first letter since leaving Lincoln

Nov 16. Went to school all day bought half interest in bicycle with McClure. Get lost about every time I step out the door

  1. Didn’t get woken This morning and missed Breakfast all mornings school and dinner  Just made it to class this afternoon in time and got hell from pilot for first time since Ive known him and recieved 2nd letter from Jeanie

18th to 23  Still going to classes and lying around – My Baggage finally came from the states. Havent gotten any mail.

24th Flew today on a practice mission and was good to get into the air again.

25th  Flew First mission today and it was to some oil fields at. Merseburg Germany and was intense Flack for 13 minutes on run and over target hundreds of ships participated in raid – Missed target pretty cloudy. Flack got several ships – The flack scared me quite a bit. 43 degrees below – 26,000 [ft]

26.th  layed around all day our practice mission for today was scrubbed.

27th.  2nd mission today Colone Germany    colder today 50 or more below    vapor trails were so thick could hardly see out of tail – Marshing Yards was target. Light and inaccurate flack over bombing run   bombing was pretty poor.  45 minutes over enemy territory the first raid was longer and more dangerous.  To be continued . . .

I will post more of the diary within a week.

(Reprinted with permission by N.K. Dewey)



About Dana J. Dewey

I was a slow learner as a child and to overcome my fear of school, as an adult I attended many of them. I ended up with a master of science degree in counseling psychology and I'm a licensed mental health counselor who is passionate about mental health. This blog is about life, joy, and the pursuit of good mental health, and the eclectic way in which it's achieved. I'm blogging a memoir, The Tail Gunner's Daughter, and later, Parent-Able: Seven Strategies for Raising a Physically Disabled Child Without Going Insane.
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