Attached note from R.
F. Hanson: This is a letter I received in August 1945 while
home on furlough. It is from Chester Hincewicz, our flight
engineer & top turret gunner. He evaded capture when we were
shot down. It is a very interesting description of his
I'm a little late in answering your letter, because
I just returned from Honolulu. We took a C-46 down there.
It was a very interesting letter and I guess you
have seen the one I sent to your mother telling what happened to
You must be having loads of fun on your furlough. Go
to it, boy! Remember the time we went pubbing and had such a
hard time getting back? I guess it was the "Queens Head" or the
"Hammer & Trowel."
Frankly, I would give anything to get stationed to
Europe again. These people in the states certainly burn me up.
But I suppose we will all be 30 year men, because there doesn't
seem to be any way to get out of this rotten life.
Dick, that wound of mine became infected after we
were "down" a week, and my scalp swelled like a balloon.
You know, I got a good look at you, as you opened
your chute. I don't know where I got the nerve to refrain from
pulling my rip-cord, but I didn't until I was really close to
the ground. Somewhere along our tour I had made up my mind not
to give up, come what may, but there were several times when I
nearly changed my mind.
You probably will find it hard to believe, but most
of the time during that five months, my food wasn't any better
What with the GI boys, and our planes bombing the
towns I was in, my nerves sure were shot.
Overnight I slept in the home of a Red Cross woman
in Namur, with a German flak gun blazing away all night. I
didn't hear any planes, so this poor German's nerves must have
been as bad as mine.
Another time in Namur, a German soldier tried to
strike up a friendly conversation with me, but naturally as a
good Belgian I had to cold shoulder the poor fellow.
The closest one was when somebody in a little
village, in the Ardennes, ratted on me. About 40 of the boys in
grey-green, came up after me. But they made the mistake of
giving me a fifty foot handicap. They used up a good deal of
ammunition for the first half mile, but once I got into the
woods they couldn?t locate me, even with a divining rod. I must
have been a sight with my red blanket streaming behind me, like
a bull fighters cape.
Then to top it all off, I had to lay in the midst of
an armored vehicle battle, a day & night. Right then I would
have given anything to be back in the air. Then after the
Germans retreated, I crawled through the lines and in my best
French requisitioned a breakfast of smoked ham, from an old
Frenchman. This old man & I became quite gay over some
pre-war stuff, and when I wouldn't let him accompany me, he
began to cry.
And when I returned to London, who did I meet but
Pete, in a Red Cross Club. Naturally, we pitched one, but we
weren't too gay, because you boys were still in prison.
When I saw Pete again in Atlantic City, why he
seemed & acted like a person of forty.
That shell did something to my jaw. That ligaments are
stretched, but the surgeon doesn't recommend an operation. At
least it doesn't pain me, so I can't complain.
You know Dick when that shell came in and exploded,
I thought the plane had blown up. And how about that fire that
flared up once in the bomb bay. That was a bitch.
You haven't told me much about the rest of the boys,
Dick. Did they return with you? How did Luce make out with his
wounds? I guess the "Doodle" [SSgt. Robert T. Hansen] is back in
New Jersey giving Sinatra merry hell by now.
My only regret as far as the whole deal is
concerned, is that I couldn't stay in there and give those
fighters hell. But I guess that fire was a little too much. I
think I got the last fighter that I gave such a long burst to.
But then as you probably know, my right gun jammed, and the next
instant, I thought we were down there pitching coal.
Well Dick, don't expect to make any money when your
get into the A.J.C.. The officers have the situation well in
hand. We don't get the same per diem as an officer. Ours barely
covers our expenses, and then we have to argue that it was
Please don't be baffled by this, but I'm trying to
get back into a B-29 outfit.
Puet etre, Je suis sot, mais, Je ne puis pas