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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Herzogenaurach, Germany & Return to Home


Eventually we were sent to Herzogenaurach, Germany to guard prisoners of war and clean up debris. We were billeted in a former school building. Some German ladies who lived nearby asked "what have you done to our men?!" and I couldn't help but think "what have you Germans done to our men?!"

We were scheduled to go to fight in Japan, but the atomic bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered. As terrible as it was, many American soldiers' lives were saved. When the war finally ended, we were given orders to start our return home. On 20 June 1945, we went by train to Paris where we were issued new uniforms and other clothing. We were given passes to the city where I was lucky enough to meet a friendly Frenchman who showed me how to take the underground train to the Eiffel Tower. I went to the top and drank champagne; the Frenchman then invited me to his home for dinner. I took pictures of the nude statues that seemed to be everywhere in Paris because there was nothing like that back in Kansas!

Before this, I was given a pass to London, where I was able to find out where my sister Nancy's husband, Phil Carpenter, was stationed. I went by train north of London and he took me to the Officer's Club; we had a wonderful time there. They told jokes that made me laugh so hard I could barely breathe. Later, I sat on a park bench in London and a city policeman came by to charge me for sitting there!

From Paris we went by train to the Port of St. Have, Belgium where we boarded the victory ships for home. Several times during the journey, we saw whales spouting water. Sometimes the waves were so big the front of the boat would come completely out of the water, then slam back down causing some men to be thrown out of their bunks! When we got near Norfolk, we were happy to hear commercials on the radio because that meant we were getting close to the good old USA! When we arrived, we billeted in barracks and were given clothes, coats, hats, etc. When it was time to leave, we boarded two trains that traveled side by side for a while and when one went north and the other west, we waved goodbye to each other. At Ft. Logan, we were given physicals and issued our pay ($300) and released from Service.

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