Ray Dorman – 3rd SAD – from Weymouth, MassachusettsNotes from Ray’s son Jim
Ray Dorman was a private in the USAAF. He learned how to work on the B24 bomber at the Technical Training Command Center at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois before steaming over to England on the Orion – a converted English ocean liner. I think that was sometime in the latter part of 1943.
As best as I can tell, he was immediately assigned to RAF Watton and spent about two years there – basically until the end of the war. At some point he and others went over to Germany on some type of clean up mission. I do remember him talking about the grim task of recovering the remains of deceased soldiers.
Maybe that is why they were there. He returned home in in either December 1945 or January 1946, got engaged to my mother Florence (whom he had met only a short time before entering the service) in February. They married in June 46′ and my oldest brother arrived a little over a year later in July 47′.
While he was at Watton, my Dad and his buddies, who referred to each other as “Joe” sometimes no matter what their names were, seemed to make the most of their down time when they had some. Included in the pictures he left are many with his good buddy Sam Weiner of New York City, and they always seem to have big smiles on their faces.
There are various pictures of them dressed in some nifty leather and lambswool bomber jackets, probably for pictures to send home to their sweethearts. Sam’s nickname was Blackie, and my older brother’s remember visiting him and his family once in Brooklyn sometime in the 1950s. By all accounts their warm wartime friendship did not translate well into the real world and the visit was awkward.
My Dad and some of the guys liked to fish in “Wroxham Hylands”. They rode bicycles to get there. There is a fun picture of three service friends enjoying themselves there. A note on the back of the picture reads “My buddy, a Red Cross girl and an unknown officer.
There were trips to London and Piccadilly Circus. I see references to hitchhiking and a picture of two military ladies who gave them a ride. The note on the back of the picture says, “Our allies. I don’t even know their names – met them bumming a ride.”
I think they had fun doing what young people do in London. Although, my Dad and Mom got engaged shortly after his return, there are a few pictures of some pretty young English ladies he might have met on these excursions.
He also got to know some of the locals very well. There are pictures of him with two little girls who are identified as “the land lady’s kids.” And, another of him with a man and a boy that says, “Goin’ fishin’ with Mr. Franklin and his son.” It looks like he stayed with a family for at least part of his time there.
In addition to the famous goat pictures, there is one of my Dad hugging a big bomb – most likely from a B24 while they were working. There are no pictures of planes; I’m guessing that was restricted.
So that’s about it. I think he and his buddies made the most of their time at RAF Watton, but they missed home and were glad when it was all over and they could return to start the rest of their lives.