B-26 Marauder 320th Bomb Group

 

The Story of My Military Service with the 320th B.G.
by Benton B. Banchor, 442nd Bomb Squadron

 

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Dijon, France and VE-day

 

   
 

Benton Banchor (left)Christmas in Dijon, France, 1944, opening christmas presents from home at his chauteau.

We arrived in Dijon, France on 22 November 1944 and were billeted in chateaus that the Army had requisitioned. Across the street was an insane asylum and we joked that we were crazy too, so it was a good place for us! The air field was named Dijon-Longvic Airdrome. It was the coldest winter there in years, which caused a great deal of trouble in maintaining the planes. A few mornings, I was the only one able to start my engines for pre-flight inspection.

In March 1945, the war in Europe seemed to be over, but more bombing of the Seigfried Line was needed. We took a "cooks" tour and flew over bombed out cities to see the results of our missions. Except for a church steeple here and there, it was almost total devastation. One time the pilot flew very low over a POW camp and they all fell to the ground in fear. We were in Dole, France on 12 April when we heard on the radio that President Roosevelt had died. While there, I met a French girl who wanted to marry me. Her two brothers had returned from a concentration camp and they were so thin you could see their bones under the skin. They had to sit on inner tubes to cushion their bones and be fed intravenously in the beginning.
(Continued)


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