James Springer's log records the crew's travel after training
docked in Naples, Italy, with Mt. Vesuvius in the background and transferred
to a rickety British tramp steamer which ultimately delivered mail to North
Africa. Dropping anchor off Taranta, on the instep of Italy's boot, I was sick
as a dog. The British had fed us a meal of potato, dried peas and mystery meat.
The Italians sent out a 25' launch which was virtually loaded to the gunwales
with us and our baggage. "
(We) walked to the railroad station with baggage in hand. We reluctantly marched to the box cattle car for the trip to Bari. I could not find space to lie down in the railroad car and had to sit up against my bags for the overnight trip. We wound our way up hills and straight grades, faster down hill, and many times in reverse because of inadequate brakes. This trip...would have been eye bulging and hair raising during daylight" - Charlie Laynor
|Toretta Field, Italy|
|Click on an image to enlarge it.|
|"We arrived at the 765th Bomb Squadron, 461st Bomb Group, 15th U. S. Army Air Force in Italy after dark on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944. Since it was late in the day, they allowed us to sleep on the floor of the orderly room that night. The next morning the Sergeant pointed to a bank of snow and said: 'That's where the tents are piled. You can dig one out and pitch it over there where you see the other tents.' It sounds simple, but you can not believe the confusion that existed with six men trying to pitch a center pole five-man frozen tent. We finally got it up after dark, unfolded our canvas cots and slept in our sleeping bags. This was home for the next 5 months." - Tom Moran|
the crew got their tent set up in the snow and spent a night or two, Tom decided
the cot was too cold and uncomfortable and set out with a large meal sac to
find some hay. Toretta Field Was located on Baron Pavoncelli's land, so Tom
went to a barn started stuffing some of the Baron's feed hay in the sac. One
of the farm hands came in and caught him. The farm hand was holding a pitch
fork, which made dad nervous, so dad unholstered his service 45. There was a
tense standoff as Tom tried to explain through gestures what he was trying to
do. Finally the farmer understood and used his pitch fork to help Tom fill the
sack. He took the hay back to his tent, very satisified with himself. But that
night his body temperature awakened all manner of biting bugs living in the
hay, which proceeded to give Tom a good going over. The next morning the sac
and the hay were tossed out into the snow.
- Jon Moran (I remember dad telling me this story when I was a child)
Visit the 461st BG Web site for more information on Toretta Field.
|Postcards Tom sent home from Italy. The name Cerignola was cut out for security reasons.|
James Springer in Korea
-Via Elaine Francisco
Tom & Barbara with daughter Judy, together again after war. Dad is back in "civies."-
-Via Barbara Moran