Berlin, Richard E., 1894- / Diary of a flight to occupied Germany, July 20 to August 27, 1945.
Take-off for France, pp. 12-13 PDF (450.4 KB)
Here there are some 2,500 Army personnel. I counted on the ground 40 big transport planes, four-motor jobs such as we were in, with propellers spinning, arriving and departing to Europe and home. This airdrome is 51/2 hours flying time from Casa- blanca. Again we saw G.I.s going home all excited. They were all carrying German pistols, camera, binoculars and other loot-this war is exactly like the last war in that soldiers and sailors in- evitably are souvenir-collectors. Seated alongside us at breakfast were some Egyptian delegates -in flowing robes-returning from the San Francisco conference. There were also Chinese, Indians-a conglomeration of nation- alities-all being conveyed by this most efficient Army Transport Command to and from various ports. At each one of these ports the hotel was called Hotel de Gink, the name given to airport hotels. Take-off for France The temperature at Santa Maria is enjoyable-semi-tropical, never too warm and never cold. After staying on the ground about an hour, we then took off for an eight hours' over-water flight to France. We left at about 9 a.m. Sunday, our time. Incidentally, last night there was only about 31/2 hours of darkness. Again we flew over a calm, beautiful sea in gorgeous sunshine, flying at 7,000 feet, our engine functioning perfectly. A beautiful over-water hop, our first land call was Brest, France. It gave me a thrill because in 1917, as a young Naval Officer, I was making monthly troop-carrying trips to this port of debarkation. We flew over Brest at 3:45 p.m. I could easily discern the main street, Rue de Siam. Apparently there was not a great 12
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