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René’s journal entry for June 26, 1943…

            On the 26th, we loafed around and I turned in the extra rations we had and the quartermaster equipment. I got to see some more of the town that way and found it all the same – a total wreck.

           That afternoon we went swimming at a beautiful beach that was about seven miles or so from Bizerte, but to get there it took about 40 minutes because it was over a terrible road, through a couple of creeks, etc. But, boy, it was worth it. The sand was like Carmel, clean and white, and the water was a beautiful greenish-blue — calm, clear and no waves at all. It was really warm water — in fact almost too warm. Golly, it was really nice. We had brought two trucks down to the beach, one with men and the other, officers, and all were reluctant to leave the beach.

            That night we were assigned an air-raid shelter that was about a block and a half from our hanger. And, during the night, sure enough, came the air raid alarm. We dashed for the shelter and somewhere along the line the “all-clear” came but as we weren’t used to it, and in fact, hardly knew what to expect, we missed it, and waited around in the shelter until Roy was able to get more information. Then a few hours later, the second alarm came and we hi-tailed it to the shelter, which was built underground and which smelled rather poorly. We all vowed that if another alert came we were going to remain in our beds, and to heck with the shelter.

            We were eating at a Navy mess on shore and though it was certainly a relief after the meals we had had en route, it was far from good, being strictly altered C-ration.


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