UC-64C Norseman Drawing by Merle Olmsted


First Christmas in England

This story begins at Raydon Wood Air Base, which was located about 15 miles west of Coelchester, England, where our enemy was tons of mud. The 357th Fighter Group arrived on November 1943, and a Christmas party was underway on Christmas Eve.

Plenty of local maidens joined us in dancing, eating, drinking, etc. and celebrating the festive occasion. The 363rd Fighter Squadron had a new Commanding Officer named Joe Giltner. I told Joe this was too good a party to shut down, just because it was time to close the Officerís Club, and I had a jug of Hooch in my quarters, so we should transfer the party to the pilotís shack on the flight line. Joe being a fine Christian, thought this was a splendid idea, agreeing to meet at the flight line, but said "DONíT TAKE MY JEEP". So I went right out the door, got the first jeep that would start, and with some blond set course for my quarters Didnít make the first turn - scattered jeep and blond all over the place. Got the babe to the trucks going to Coelchester and thanked her for a pleasant evening. About then I scrubbed the late party and went to the sack in my quarters. The next morning I felt kinda achy and someone said "Do you know what happened to Joe Giltnerís jeep, because they found the jeep with Ed Simpson beside it." I didnít respond and waited till I talked to Simpson. Ed said he was walking home from the Officerís Club party and found the jeep with no one in it. As near as I can tell, Simpson decided to take a nap, which he did. That is how he got tangled into the jeep accident. When I got to feeling a bit better, decided that Iíd better tell Joe Giltner the truth. I did. Joe let Simpson off the hook for the jeep wreck and restricted me to the base. He, Joe Giltner then managed to get himself shot down over Germany.......so Simpson and I both got off free....you see honesty pays!