GENERAL ARTICLES

I BOMBED BERLIN

"This is it. This is Berlin." -And this is one of the most thrilling bomber stories yet to come out of the war

F/O WALTER SCOTT SHERK,DFC,Bar As told to GORDON SINCLAIR October 1 1943
GENERAL ARTICLES

I BOMBED BERLIN

"This is it. This is Berlin." -And this is one of the most thrilling bomber stories yet to come out of the war

F/O WALTER SCOTT SHERK,DFC,Bar As told to GORDON SINCLAIR October 1 1943

IT WAS my 35th raid over enemy territory and our plane was one of the target finders—those planes that go in front on a raid and drop marker bombs to light up the objective. This requires expert navigation and split-second timing. Most pilots insist that their aircraft is navigated by the best man in the business. Our navigator was Flight-Lieutenant R. G. “Mouthpiece” Morrison, a former lawyer from Vancouver—hence the nickname Mouthpiece. No tribute I can pay Mouthpiece is adequate. His navigation was always wonderful and in this particular raid he put us at the very front of the target finders that night over Stettin.

One moment of danger on such a raid is the take-off. Both the bomb and fuel loads are at their maximum and there is not much lifting strength in reserve. However, I have never had—nor even seen—a take-off crash on an operational flight, and this time once we were air-borne we were seven confident men confident because we knew our jobs and knew each other.

We hummed through the night in routine flight until we neared the target area when I reported to the navigator, “Someone shooting at us, Mouthpiece.”

“So what?” came his reply over the intercom.

“Gunner here,” a voice came in. “Let’s go down and take a crack at them.”

“Some other time,” I told him. “We’re getting near target area.”

There was silence for a time while Morrison worked over his charts.

Then Flight-Sergeant Stan Keon, the bomb aimer, a chap from Saskatoon, Sask., spoke up, “Stan here . . . Flak bursting dead ahead. Better turn port a bit.”

“Pilot to navigator . . . Target ahead.”

“Pilot to bomb aimer . . . Get ready. Getting close. Aircraft on either side of us coned (trapped) in the searchlights. That gives us a clear run. Here we go through the middle.”

“Bomber to pilot . . . Thirty seconds. Steady as you go. Left a bit. Left. Right . . . Right . . . Steady. Bombs gone. Turn off.”

I started to swing off the target area and set the course for home but at that second there was a crash and a burst of blue-white flame which slowly turned to orange. We spun downward.

The chance of a bomber being struck by explosives from other aircraft in its own attack group is about a million to one. But we had suffered that millionth chance. A plane, 2,000 feet above, dropped its bombs without seeing us below.

I assumed we’d suffered a direct anti-aircraft hit and so did the other boys. The roof had been blown off. One bomb had crashed through my compartment. ’The back of my flying suit was on fire and the cockpit ablaze. I struggled with the jammed controls. The idea of a prison camp kept flashing through my mind. “A prisoner . . . I’ll be a prisoner . . . ”

We lost 5,000 feet in a minute or so and we were still diving with the flames growing hotter when I gave the order to bail out. All the controls, so far as I could feel, were useless but I had figured without Sergeant Doug. Bebensee, Bothwell, Ont., the engineer, who could do more with a screw driver and loop of wire than many a man with a tool kit. With the pilot compartment filled with smoke, the plane still diving and lit up like a Christmas tree, he worked quietly over the controls.

As the captain gives the order to bail out the crew is supposed to report back over the intercom as they take to their chutes. The pilot jumps last. I was still pulling on the stick, and the back of my suit was still on fire, when word came over the intercom, “Bomb aimer bailing out,” and away went Stan Keon. Then came “Rear gunner bailing out,” and Harry Woonton (Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta) dropped toward the fires below.

Had No Parachute

I TURNED toward the right in my seat, swung my legs out and was standing up getting ready to leap through the emergency exit when “Scrammy” McGladery (Flying Officer G. C. McGladery, Chemainus, B.C., wireless officer) came twisting his way through the flames to shout, “Wait . . .wait! I can’t bail out. I haven’t got a chute.”

“What have you done with it?” I shouted.

“I’ve been beating those flames out with the chute. Look! I’ve got this fire licked.”

The fire did seem to have diminished. Most of it was confined to the rear of the plane although there were occasional spurts of flame toward the cockpit and some still blazing under my seat. I gave another pull at the controls and when they failed to respond I ordered McGladery to hook onto the navigator’s parachute. “Link up with Mouthpiece. You men are light. Those chutes will carry two of you down safely. You’re next to go. Good luck.”

McGladery went over and stood beside Morrison. It was difficult for them to remain erect because of the pitch of the plane. Then Bebensee, who was still working to free the controls, looked up and said, “Try her again, Skipper. Try her gently.”

We were down to about 9,000 feet now. I pulled back gently and could feel the aircraft take hold, then stall. She did not right herself all of a sudden but there was an encouraging tug of air. I shouted, “Stand by. Stand by.”

The crew stood watching me. I pulled again and as she answered I kept repeating, “Stand by. Don’t bail out. Stand by.” Now the plane swung on an even keel and another attempt was made to put out the fire. I remember McGladery trying to squirt liquid from an extinguisher on the blaze but nothing happened so he took a flashlight from his tunic and with flame dancing around him read the instructions. It was bright enough to take photographs but McGladery used his torch. When the extinguisher still failed to work he tossed it out of the open roof.

As the flames died I found we were not losing further altitude but I couldn’t steer and I didn’t know if we were travelling in circles or not. However, after we’d beaten out the flames from my seat and tunic I found that by throttling back on the two port motors I could steer a straight course.

The others in the crew were standing beside me by now so I turned to Morrison and said, “Okay, Mouthpiece, the rest is up to you. Where do we go from here?”

All the navigation equipment, maps, charts and instruments had gone, but Morrison had already been examining the stars through the shattered roof and said, ‘‘Sweden. ” He estimated we were somewhere north of Stettin, with the Baltic on our right, and it was worth a trial to reach Sweden, although in addition to the lost charts we learned now that the wireless was dead. It was navigate by the stars, or not at all.

On we flew toward Sweden. After 15 minutes McGladery had put the fires entirely out while Bebensee had the controls free. We had gasoline to spare and I began to feel hopeful about reaching or almost reaching England if night fighters didn’t find us. I had never been chased by a night fighter, so on past performances we had a good chance.

The intercom was not working reliably so I shouted to the crew that everything was okay and told them that we were now flying evenly and suggested we might try for England. “England it is. Keep her flying,” they said.

We Steer For Denmark

MOUTHPIECE Morrison gave me a course for Denmark, which was on our way. We’d been led to believe the citizens there were helpful and friendly, in case we were forced down. Along the German Baltic coast flak came up toward us but no searchlights picked us out and we weren’t pursued. It began to look more and more like a routine home-coming except for the wind whistling where the roof had been and the absence of two crew members.

We got over Denmark, crossed the North Sea and landed at base in England an hour late.

None of us knew until grounded at base that two incendiary four-pounders from one of our own aircraft in the raid had hit us. One tore out the roof and exploded in Sergeant Bebensee’s compartment below me, but fortunately he was standing beside me at the time. The other landed in the largest petrol tank, broke the main spar holding the wing, but failed to explode. It is easy to imagine what would have happened if that four-pound bomb hadn’t been a dud.

Out of that assault I got a bar to the DFC, Mouthpiece Morrison and Scrammy McGladery each got the DFC while Bebensee got the DFM.

A week later, after we picked up Sergeants Anthony and Friar to replace Woonton and Keon who had hit the silk, we made what turned out to be my last flight to date. That was a routine attack on Duisburg where we got trapped and held in searchlights after we’d dropped our bombs.

There was flak all around us and we stood out like a blazing barn on a prairie but curiously enough no shells came close. I think we were held in that cone of searchlights as a target for night fighters but I opened the throttles full-out and we escaped without an attack.

Searchlights are not such a serious menace as the uninitiated might expect because they will often find your wing then pass harmlessly on. But if they cone you properly with, say, three lights you can be sure to attract a dozen more within a few seconds and it takes the most violent evasive action to throw them off.

During my 36 trips, my aircraft, either a Wellington or a Halifax, dropped 1,860.000 pounds of explosives. I lost two crews, limped home with a dead motor five times, saw 12 aircraft shot down, all of them in flames.

Of my 36 raids, five really stand out in my mind. Most others were like delivering the milk. But these five that stand out were my first raid, a tense occasion with any bomber pilot no matter how experienced or blasé he might later become; the raid on Cologne when I picked up the DFC; the raid on Berlin when we really accomplished what all of us had come into the Air Force to try; my first raid on Italy, and the Stettin attack when we were struck by bombs from the plane above us.

I got into the RCAF after two tries at enlistment and two rejects. I was accepted as an AC2 at Hamilton on May 5, 1941. At first they said I was too old at 28 and that I lacked sufficient education for a pilot. But after training at Toronto and Goderich I got my wings at Number Five Service Flying Training School at Brantford and landed in England, Jan. 20, 1942, hopeful of getting into action quickly. I used to be a hoistman in a northern Quebec mine so they tagged me “Rocky” when, as a sergeant, I went to Number 25 Operational Training Unit in England to learn how to handle a Wimpie (Wellington). This is the heaviest two-engined bomber in the RAF and a magnificent aircraft to fly. Of the 60 men in my class at OTU some have since taken administrative jobs on the ground, some have been killed, some are missing and some are prisoners. None are flying today although I expect to be back on operations shortly.

Had English Crew

I MADE my first operational flight in a Wellington June 1, 1942, and I will never forget it as long as I live although nothing spectacular happened. This was one of the first imposing raids of the war—1,000 aircraft in a raid on the Krupp armament works in central Essen. I was first pilot with a four-man English crew in a new plane. It was “first ops” for all of us and we were excited as schoolboys.

We were air-borne with precision but when we got 30 to 40 miles from the target the flak started coming up and I thought we must be there. I had never seen anti-aircraft fire before and neither had the others so I called all the men up to the cockpit, one by one, for a look. Anti-aircraft fire seems to drift upward ever so slowly. You see it blossoms out, then curves in an arc or twists like a hog’s tail. The noticeable feature is its drifting tempo until all of a sudden it comes at you at what seems like a mile-a-minute and sweeps past like a comet.

I was a little frightened and quite convinced that we had already come over the target so I kept demanding on the intercom, “Hello navigator . . . Are we there yet?”

“Not on target yet. We’ve got a long way to go.”

“Are you sure? Check again. This looks like it.”

“Twenty minutes to go. We’re on course and on time.”

As we neared the target area the navigator gave me a play-by-play account of our location. The first planes had already fired the target area when we got over and I could see flak coming up, bombs going down and aircraft all around. When we came to make our run over the target area—a dangerous time because of the need to hold true to course—I missed our aiming point and had to go back.

I made the second run over the target area and now it was brighter than day but the flak was widely dispersed and 1 felt the aircraft leap forward and upward as the word came through the intercom “Bombs gone.” I let out a shout of delight. We had at last done the thing training and costly equipment had been leading us toward. We had bombed Germany! I was jolted out of these reflections by the voice of the aimer repeating, “Bombs gone. Turn off target.”

Our instructions now were to come home low. But how low is low? I should have remembered that it meant 7,000 feet in this case but I went down to 5,000 and set a fast course for home. Soon the gunner reported, “Searchlights feeling for us.” A moment later we were trapped by two, then by four, and soon by a dozen searchlights.

“Stand by for dive,” I said.

I cut down to 1,000 feet but still the lights held us. 1 checked speed, then throttled full out, made 90-degree evasive turns and steep climbs but could not throw the lights off. The flak was getting close.

“Keep close lookout. Going lower.”

I cut down to rooftop level and flew wide open at 75 feet. Occasionally someone would drone out, “Lights below.” In most cases this was someone in Holland giving us the V for Victory signal.

We crossed the sea at 1,000 feet and then—my fault—we got lost.

We were briefed to approach England over the Humber River then set course to base from there; so when we crossed a river I breathed a premature sigh of satisfaction and declared, “Navigator . . . Humber below. Give me a course, please.”

He set me a course but we got lost as thoroughly as any babes in the wood. What I’d seen was the Wash, not the Humber. When we got straightened away, we were last home and had already been posted missing. We didn’t care. We were happy as any five larks but base probably decided I needed more schooling, because on the next three operations I went as second pilot. We attacked Lorient, Wilhelmshaven and Duisburg and I made life weary for the pilot by pestering him with questions. You never know it all and don’t learn unless you ask. One thing I understood was that when they give you your wings you may be a pilot, but you’re not yet a flier. That only comes from experience.

Leaflet Raid

We first learned that flak stings as much but looks less pretty by daylight when we did a leaflet raid between Dunkirk and Ostend. The leaflets were quotes from five Nazi leaders whereby they showed themselves unskilled liars. Flak put a few holes in us. We returned soon afterward with instructions to bomb the docks at Le Havre, but only if we could see the target area clearly. When we got over the target area thick cloud engulfed us. We circled but finding no opening streaked for home intending, to drop our three 1,000-pounders into the sea.

These bombs cost the price of a house, and much time, and it seemed a pity to lose them but that was the order. But we all forgot about it. Arriving at base I set her down, gently enough, but the aircraft rolled and pitched and was difficult to control. I was puzzled until one of the boys shouted, “The bombs, the bombs! We’ve still got ’em.” Nothing happened, however.

The raid on Cologne when I got the DFC was my third raid on Cologne. Going in for the third time is neither easier nor more difficult than the first. The pilot is in the hands of his navigator and Canadian planes have the best navigators in the skies. About 70 miles from the target area a motor cut out. I didn’t think we’d been hit although some flak had been buzzing about. The motor just grunted and died so I said on the intercom, “Pilot to crew. . . One motor dead. Approximate position 70 miles from aiming point How do you fellows feel about going in anyhow?”

They all spoke at once. “Go in by all means,” they said. “All right, chaps,” I said. “But remember we’re carrying 8,000 pounds of bombs and can’t hold height with that load and one motor is gone.”

“Take her in,” they said. “Keep flying.”

That decision brought me the DFC and the citation said it was for “pressing on with great determination to his target” but I didn’t make the decision. The crew made it.

As we neared Cologne, Morrison cut in on the intercom to tell me, “Four minutes off target. How are we for height?”

“We’re low. But check that timing, Mouthpiece. Four minutes makes us nearly over the target and how can we have got here early with a motor gone?”

“Can’t tell about motors. I do the navigation. We’re zero minus three fifteen right now.”

That meant I had to fly in circles waiting for the correct timing because in these saturation raids precision timing is vital. In flying around I lost 3,000 feet which put us down to 6,000. Lights caught us several times but bounced off.

The searchlight crews were not looking for anyone as low as 6,000 feet that night. The flak was intense and by now its beauty had become old stuff and flak was just a menace. If those searchlights had coned us I think we’d have been shot down. When zero hour came I had a fear we might get hit by bombs from our own planes because we were well down from our proper position but I was too busy trying to control the aircraft to worry seriously.

We got directly over our target with some of the most accurate bombing we have done. Reading about it afterward I remembered the Germans admitted their cathedral had not been hurt hut rail yards next door were flattened. I could tell there would be a good deal of flattening as my kite leaped 200 feet when a block buster dropped. Had we wanted we could have wiped that cathedral off the earth but we only sought military objectives.

Back at base after that raid there were dozens of holes, big and small, in the aircraft but nobody aboard had been hit. I have never had a man hit.

Berlin Is Pounded

On our raid on Berlin we let go a shout of delight when we got our orders. This was what we’d been looking forward to since the first hour of our training. I had developed a healthy hatred for Berlin and what it stood for and what trouble it has cost us all. The flight to the capital was what we’d call a piece of cake—an easy flight. Either we took them by surprise that night or the outer defenses of Berlin are a lot weaker than Hitler will admit. We approached from the north and as we neared the target area I went on the intercom, “All right, chaps. This is it. This is Berlin. This is where they run their war from. We’ve got a 4,000-pound bomb. Everybody steady now and we’ll put that 4,000 pounds right where Churchill wants it.”

But Berlin’s inner defense ring was powerful. As we were making our target run, aircraft on either side of me suffered direct hits and went down in flames. I could see the crew bail out of one ship. Our target was the centre of the city and in the brightness of the fires started by the pathfinders we could pick it out easily. I remember the many domes on the bigger buildings and my determination that we’d get directly over our target even if I had to make the run 10 times. We dropped the big bomb on the first run, then swung sharply to watch it hit.

People have asked me how it is that anti-aircraft fire doesn’t detonate those enormous bombs. We did a little unwilling research on that subject during a raid on the Ruhr. Flak in that industrialized area starts 30 miles from any target and the valley is studded with searchlights sweeping beams over the skies. The flak and the lights both seemed to have us bracketed that night.

As we made the target run they trapped me in lights, and the bomb aimer said I was off course and he couldn’t drop his explosive. We circled to come down from the other side. Flak hit us, tearing holes in the kite in several places. The concussion of the flak bounced us this way and that like a cork. I had trouble controlling the aircraft and my back was sore for a week afterward from the pounding I took.

The flak tossed us far off course a second time and McGladery from his wireless compartment came on the intercom with, “I’m afraid this bomb might explode.” He was sitting right over the big 4,000-pound bomb.

“How about it, bomb aimer?” I asked. “Are we over the target?”

Stan Keon, the bomb aimer, was one of the coolest men I ever knew and his voice was as calm as a radio announcer’s. He spoke now in that flat voice. “Better make another run.”

I turned onto the target and he let the bomb go this time.

On the way home we got coned. There were 30 or 40 guns on us with more swinging our way each minute. We felt like a rabbit in the middle of a pack of hounds. I pushed forward on the stick at 14,000 feet and gunned downward at 340 miles an hour. The vibration was so severe I couldn’t read the instruments. The plan was to level off at 7,000 feet but the weight of the aircraft dropped us another 2,000. If the lights could still find us we’d catch it sure. They were sweeping inquisitively high above us. Our chances looked good for getting clear. In a minute or two we did and we headed for home.

Thirteenth Flight

There are numerous superstitions among fliers, as everyone has heard, and when I came to flight 13 I wrote it down as that but many pilots decide to call it 12a. In our crew nobody else was on their 13th flight except myself so I decided not to give it a thought. We were briefed for Kiel that night and it turned out to be the only occasion that Mouthpiece Morrison ever let us down with his navigation.

About 100 miles south of the target area Morrison came on the intercom to say, “Sorry to tell you we’re off course. Far off. My fault.”

“Well, what do we do now besides beat your brains out when we get down?”

“We can pull back on course and reach target area well after the rest of the raid if you’ve got fuel.”

Morrison gave me a course. It was a hard flight. We discovered our course took us up the Kiel Canal, which is heavily guarded with flak and searchlights. They have some scientific novelties for downing planes up there. They did not seem too effective but I had to change speed, height and course constantly to throw their predictors off. It was a regular forest of lights and guns but no burst came closer than 100 yards.

We ran into a comparatively dull period after that raid hut even the dull spots have their moments. On one raid, for example, I had Sergeant Bill Gray along as second pilot for an instruction flight when I suddenly noticed his face go chalk white and his mouth sag open. He couldn’t speak or move. Then roaring by us, so close I could have touched her with my hand, went a four-engined aircraft. We had missed a mid-air crash by three feet.

We did some gardening (mine laying) which calls for accuracy of a high order and on one trip flew low over a flak ship we hadn’t known about. The flak crew were crafty and waited until they could see the whites of our eyes before firing but even at such range they didn’t hit us.

Then we undertook a daylight raid over Crefeld in Germany. There were only 15 of us that day and our instructions were to bomb from height through clouds—that is, we were not to expose ourselves to fighter or flak attack. When we got near the enemy coast the skies cleared and there were no clouds so we headed for base, dropping our bombs in the sea. This was the only time I failed to complete a mission.

The longest distance we ever travelled on a raid was the nine-hour, 35-minute assault to bomb the Italian navy at Spezia, near Genoa. It was my first raid on Italy. Intelligence had learned that the Italian Fleet, previously widely dispersed, was concentrating in the Gulf of Genoa. The Italians may have expected an attack from North Africa but squadrons based in England went after them and it must have given them quite a shock.

Soon after we were air-borne with extra petrol and a heavy bomb load, the navigation equipment went dead. We decided to push on anyway and we got over the target wit h the rest of the attackers, met weak opposition and attacked almost at will. Photographic confirmation of results was good. On the way home we ran into strong headwinds with some icing and it looked as if it might be impossible for us to get back to base. This unpleasant impression struck me as we were flying over Switzerland.

Escaped Attack

Soon we’d be flying over France with the chance of night fighters trying to ambush us. Then the gunner tried his guns and found they wouldn’t work. He went at, them busily, got them firing, but later one failed us again. No attack was made on us, but wondering about the guns stopped us from worrying about our fuel supply.

When we were over the sea, near home, all petrol tanks showed empty so I said over the intercom, “Pilot to crew All tanks show empty. Looks like a crash landing on the sea. Stand by.”

Just, then the first grey glimpses of dawn showed us the English coast. I thought now we’d get there, but not to base, and I told the crew.

We had no wireless to ask permission for a landing at a strange field but I flashed my recognition lights and was preparing to set her down when the landing gear stuck. I told the men it would be a pancake landing after all, but before I screwed up enough courage to really drop her without wheels we had overshot the runway and were again over the sea. I kept wondering when those motors would cough out but we were circling around, still under full power, when Bebensee spoke up, “Landing gear cleared. All set to land, and I could do with a cup of coffee.” That Bebensee could almost build a bomber with a piece of wire and pliers.

We soon did a second raid on Italy, met even weaker opposition than before, but ran into bad icing conditions over the Alps when coming home. The gunners kept telling me on the intercom how bad the ice was around them. We dropped from 14,000 to 5,000 feet, which was dangerous in those areas because of the mountain peaks. Two motors cut out from time to time. An overenthusiastic newspaper reporter, describing that homecoming, said we crossed the Alps on one motor. That’s impossible. No Halifax could get home on one engine. Two motors were out for brief periods but all four were ticking when we reached base.

Thirty operational flights are a “tour” for a bomber crew and are followed by six months instructing, but when I passed my 30th—a raid on the Ruhr—I decided to sign on for another tour and so did the others of my crew. We were a good crew. We worked well together and understood each other’s abilities.

In all my flights I was never shot down or forced down, never seriously hit by flak, never chased—let alone attacked—by night fighters, intruders or any other type of aircraft. I never had a member of my crew wounded or killed while I was pilot. The pair who bailed out over Stettin are safe in prison camps. Yet I’m now at home in Canada on convalescent leave. I broke my neck when the steering gear of a car I was riding in cracked up in Cambridge in England.

Mv only injury came midst the cloisters of a University city. While I was learning how it feels to live inside a plaster cast with my broken neck the good chaps who made up my crew kept flying—but their luck ran out. I’m the last, survivor of two crews. I think my luck will hold. Soon I’ll be flying again to test it.

+ + + + +

First for the First

NEWS about our aerial fighter units overseas reaches Canada in “bits and pieces” and is often without either personal or intimate detail. Coming in this way it sometimes fails to give an adequate picture of the gallantry and enterprise of individual squadrons. This small part of the story of No. 1 Canadian Fighter Squadron will help Canadians to see and know more about the men who are in the thick of the fight.

No. 1 Canadian Fighter Squadron is composed of men from every province in the Dominion. It reached England in June, 1940. To its credit are the following “Firsts”:

1st—RCAF Squadron in action in this war—Battle of Britain, 1940.

1st—RCAF Squadron equipped with most advanced type of fighters, July, 1942.

1st—RCAF Squadron to escort Flying Fortresses over Europe.

1st—RCAF Squadron to engage the F.W.190.

1st—RCAF Squadron to provide cover over Rotterdam.

Several other “firsts” are to the credit of this Squadron, but for security reasons they are omitted here.

Squadron Victories

The Squadron has a total credit of 56 enemy aircraft destroyed, and over 100 others probably destroyed or damaged.

Decorations

S/Ldr. E. A. McNab, Regina.

(Now Group Captain.)

F/Lt. G. R. McGregor, Montreal.

(Now Group Captain.)

S/Ldr. Dal Russel, Montreal.

S/Ldr. Dean Nesbitt, Montreal.

(Now Wing Commander.) F/Lt. Dink Morrison, Toronto.

F/Lt. E. L. Neal, Quebec City.

(Now Squadron Leader.)

F/Lt. I. C. Ormston, Montreal.

S/Ldr. A. G. Douglas, RAF, Surrey, England.

P/O Don Blakeslee, Fairport, Ohio.

(Now Major in USAAC.) F/Lt. J. Whitham, Edmonton.

P/O G. B. “Scotty” Murray, Halifax.

(Now Flight-Lieutenant.) S/Ldr. Keith Hudson, London, Ont.

(Now Wing Commander.)

P/O S. C. Cosgurn, Calgary, Alta.

P/O Ed. Gimble, Chicago, 111.

Soldiers Need Candy

Candy is a “must” in the diet of our fighting men. One Army alone already has bought 25,000,000 pounds of it. The idea is not to pamper our warriors but to make them more effective in combat.

Chocolate bars and fruit candy bars are essential parts of the “three-square meals” in Ration K, designed for parachute troops, mountain troops and the crews of planes and submarines. Chocolate goes with the flying men into the upper air, where the lack of oxygen makes most other foods indigestible. Chocolate bars again appear in the emergency Ration D. Three of them will keep a soldier, a sailor or a coast guard going for 24 hours when roast beef and pork and beans can’t be had. The theobromine of the chocolate is a nerve stimulant, like caffeine, and the sugar of the candy, circulating in the blood stream, maintains fighting energy and wards off the jitters.— New York Times Magazine.