European Theater of Operations

Horsham St. Faith, England, May 1944

In late April, we received our orders to head overseas and wrote out our last wills and testments. On May 4, 1944 we (the ten Azon aircraft) left the United States from West Palm Beach, Florida and headed for the CBI theater (China Burma India). We flew south through a tropical storm in Atkinson, British Guiana and onward towards Brazil. On our way down we went on a search mission for a missing plane which was eventually discovered in 1995 by military investigators.

In Brazil, we received top secret orders directing us to proceed instead to the United Kingdom and the ETO (European Theater of Operations) for bridge and dock missions as D-day pre-invasion operations. After 5 days of ETO orientation in Ireland, on 5/22/44 we flew to our permanent base in England. We had A-1 priority all along our trip.

The Route to England: Orlando; Savannah; West Palm Beach (Port of Embarkation); Puerto Rico; Atkinson, British Guyana; Belem, Fortaleza, and Natal, Brazil; Dakar, Africa; Marrakech; Blackpool, England; Belfast, Ireland; Rackheath; Horsham St. Faith

We were assigned to the 8th Air Force, 2nd Air Division, 96th Bomb Wing, 458th Bomb Group, 753rd Squadron APO 558 (Army Post Office) stationed at Horsham St. Faith Airfield near the city of Norwich in East Anglia.