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Friday, September 24, 1943 - 386th Group Mission Number 28:

AAF Station 150: Boxted, Essex, England.

During debriefing of todays mission to Evreux-Fauville, France, Interrogation

Officers confirmed the rumor going around the base—today was moving day!  We would be leaving Boxted and take up residence at a place called Great Dunmow, which was situated twenty-six miles slightly southwest of our present location.

The official designation was:  AAF Station 164 Easton Lodge, Great Dunmow, Essex, England.   This was great news for Staff Sergeants James Wilkie, Sephire Peterson, Leo Gruss, and the author.  We were the only flight crewmembers who were still living in a pyramid tent and sleeping on folding cots, which dated back to mid July when we joined the outfit.

The rumor was:  all personnel would be housed in Nissen Huts, and there would be a combat mess for flight crews, welcome news indeed!  A combat crewman can pack up in a hurry, two barracks bags, a B-4 bag and the clothes he was wearing - climb into an airplane and fly away.  For others it was a truck convoy route that began rolling out at 1600 hours, they arrived at our new base at 1800 hours.

AAF Station 164 Easton Lodge-Great Dunmow, Essex, England.

Saturday, September 25, 1943:  No flying today, a mission had been scheduled for the afternoon but was cancelled before briefing time could be set.  Group Operations was established in temporary quarters.  Major Hankey and Captain Rogers would have to wait a bit longer for their operations office to be completed.  This was a new base and still under construction, roughly fifty percent completed.

All runways and the taxi tracks were in - however accommodations still had a long way to go before reaching a state of readiness.  Both of our previous bases had been built by the British.  This particular airdrome was being built by American Army Engineers with very little outside assistance other than some English labor.

Group Headquarters personnel would be living in the Easton Lodge, a structure that resembled a castle—complete with a clock tower and beautiful gardens all around the grounds.  Nissen Huts were being rushed to completion for the Officers Club and a Red Cross Aero-Club for the enlisted men.  Some “Sad Sack” cartoon murals were painted on the walls of the Aero-Club under the direction of Mister Dick Moncure, along with the Red Cross Girls.  A few more artistic members from the Group also lent a hand to the project.

Chester P. Klier
386th BG Historian

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