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Rest and relaxation, May 1944

Duxford’s ‘Theatre Hangar’, named ‘Ye Old Barn’ by the men of the 78th Fighter Group.

The men of the 78th Fighter Group relaxed on and off base in the usual fashion in the weeks leading up to D-Day, although security tighthened around the airfield as D-Day drew closer. As 1st Lieutenant Clarence L. Shaddock, Air Corps Special Service Officer, reported in May 1944, a full programme of films, shows and other activities helped them wind down:

Special Service Activities for May

Moving pictures…47…Attendance…15,556. Each showing includes a full Feature, Shorts, News and at times, the “March Of Time”.

Orchestra Activities…Thunderbolt Orchestra played for an Officer’s Club dance, B-24 Bomber Station, Saturday, May 6th, Sgts Club this Station, Saturday, May 13th, Red Cross Aero Club Dance Saturday, 20th May for all enlisted personnel of this Station, Sunday, May 28th for Red Cross Officer’s Dance, Cambridge, Monday May 29th for Dinner and farewell Party for Colonel Stone at Officer’s Club this Station.

U.S.O. Shows…Friday, May 5th the U.S.O. Show, “ON WITH THE SHOW” played to audiences of 1000 at 18.30 and again at 2030 hours. Friday, May 19th “OFFLIMITS” played also to audiences of 1000, same hours. Both shows were held in the Post Theatre.

Memorial Day Service….This Office assisted the Chaplain in the above Service by combining a record player with the public address system to play martial music and then the Star Spangled Banner. The P.A. system was used for the talks, also. Money was furnished from the A. and R. Fund to buy the appropriate wreath in memory of deceased personnel of this Station. The brass section of the orchestra furnished a brass quartet to play Taps at the conclusion of the Ceremony.

Education…Courses in Military Correspondence, Bookkeeping and Accounting, Typing, and Shorthand were held in off-duty hours. Numerous applications were sent in to the U.S. Armed Forces Institute for various courses.

Orientation…Lt. Shaddock, Special Service Officer, attended Orientation Officer’s School in London. The orientation Program was set up on this Station with each organization holding weekly discussions, using Army Talks as material.

Stars & Stripes and Yanks…24,700 Stars and Stripes and 2,800 Yank magazines were sold during the month by Special Service on this Station.

Brainstrust…A Brainstrust Forum was held on Thursday, May 11th in the Snack Bar of the Aero Club. Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond, master of Downing College, was discussion leader. Mr Kipson Clark, Doctor Thoulness, and Doctor Callow, all very prominent College Professors of Cambridge, were members of the Trust. This was attended by 200 men of the Station and was a very interesting event.

Hobby Shops…The new Photo Hobby Shop was opened with a Camera Club of about 60 members participating. Special Service is furnishing the necessary materials and equipment the men of the station to print their own film which is censored by the Station S-2. The Carpentry Hobby Shop was used by 350 men during the month. Footlockers and other useful articles were made by the men in their spare time.

Leave and pass reservations…This Office secured Red Cross and hotel reservations, travel information, etc. for personnel of this Station.


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