A story about Tondelayo!

Tom Thoburn forwarded, this letter home to his mother, from his father Captain Thoburn who was the Captain in charge of the 69th Service Squadron.  That squadron made repairs on damaged airplane among other tasks.  The pictures of Tondelayo were taken at Kiriwina, the letter explaining what happened to the plane.

No 62 None recd
Oct 21 1943

* Tondelayo

A busy day - a busy day. But most of it is over and I guess I will have time to write you a bit. Got a letter from Mother today but none from you. They have been coming in about one a day recently so I guess there wont be any delay - ah hope.... Tonight our good colored friend brought over a bagfull of cookies which their boys had baked and boy they were delicious. Not bad to have for neighbors I would say.... Here is an example of what is going on over here. I cant give you the facts or figures but I think the story will pass the censor otherwise. A certain:*plane was in a raid and for a certain reason was deprived of its fighter support. There were three of these planes together and they were attacked by 16 Zeros. They (this one plane) shot down 9 of the zeros and were making their way out, having already accomplished their bombing mission, when one of their engines was shot out. The other two planes, seeing that it was crippled, lagged behind to protect it. One was shot down into the sea and the other when last seen was headed for an island with one engine in flames. The co-pilot was then shot and about the same time the gas line to the one remaining engine was severed. The crew took turns holding their hands over the leak in the line to keep the plane going and passed ammunition up with the other hand. The wounded co-pilot was firing out of the window with his pistol, the Zeros were so close. They finally got away and as they were limping home the co-pilot wanted to jump out because he said he would die anyway and if he jumped out the plane would have that much more chance of getting home. Naturally they wouldnt let him and all arrived safely. He, is, now recovering in a hospital. The plane was full of holes and almost out of gas when it landed.

Those are the boys we are proud to be helping....... Forgot to mention that two of the crew passed out and had to be revived on the way back from the fumes of the leaking gas ........

The dainty picture which I am' enclosing tonight represents a scene in our previous post showing Mosey and I diligently scrubbing our clothes on handy dandy big rocks. The falls behind run into a pool so deep you couldnt touch or find bottom, so it was possible to dive off the big rocks on either side from where you can see a few figures crouching. This was a beautiful spot and well worth the hour trek through the jungle to get to it. It was on the way home from it that I picked the flower which I enclosed in a letter. Did you ever get it'..... Now that we are more or less routine in our work I have lengthened the lunch hour to an hour and three quarters. It is foolish to try to work at the same speed or for the same length of time here in the tropics as it would be at home. Those Who have been here for a year or so advise having a good rest period in the middle of the day, and it certainly is true that if you take care of yourself you can get more work done than if you try to drive yourself. So once again - I am trying to take the best of care of all of us. I feel swell tonight as I got plenty of sleep last night and have just had a nice cool shower 'We did a good stroke of work today and I feel quite satisfied with results. Hope it continues to turn out as well as it has started..... We have had a little trouble in connection with our movies. We have our own projector but dear old Special Services doesnt want. to let us have any films unless we will agree to show four nights a. week at other theaters as well as two nights at our own. Having only one man who can really operate the thing properly we cant very well ask him to work six nights a week, and also the projector would be ruined very shortly of we tried to move it over these roads. So we have reached an impasse which I am at the present time trying to break down, as movies are a helluva a lot of help in keeping, everybody happy, myself included ....... The assistant adjutant of the ground forces here just telephoned to ask if we could mend his shirt. Ordinarily we have a sewing machine in our parachute department but unfortunately it hasnt arrived yet so we couldnt oblige. That gives you an idea of what some people think a service squadron is for. At our last station we had a LT. Col call me into his office, which I approached with the usual thought in mind: what the hell have we done now? He want to know if we could move the sidepieces of his eyeglasses from the middle of the rim to the top. Funny thing is that we could do both jobs. There just aint much we cant do as a matter of fact - except come home to see our gals.

Note where the Right Wing has been removed!

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