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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 experiences.


Dear Dick,

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 me.

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 than yours.

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 legitimate.

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 content.

Bon jour,

Monsuer Hansen