Ralph DeWeese was
killed in action (KIA) on the 23rd September 1944 in Holland.
He wrote a diary of
events before his death. This is part of his diary.
"We were alerted on
the 4th June 1944, and the weather closed in, so it was
postponed. The night of 5th June we loaded up and got ready to
I was surprised the
way the men reacted. They were very calm and most of them went to sleep
after the take off.
It was quite a
sight to see all of those planes in the air, the night was clear and you
could see the ground very easily.
We flew between 2
little islands, Guernsey and Jersey, which is where we encountered our
first flak attack. At that time I was standing in the door and it seemed
as if the flak was coming right up to us.
Very soon after, we
hit the French Mainland.
I mean to tell you,
they knew we were coming. It looked like we were going through one immense
4th of July celebration. At times I ducked away from the door
because it came so close.
Puffer was right
behind me and kept his hand over the red jump light to keep it from
Lt Quaid's plane
was in a hot-spot due to the fact the tabs had blown off the bundle lights
and they had come on. That left the plane a target in the sky and
everything was zeroed in on him. I thought for sure that they were going
to get it.
We circled over
Etiennville three times and I knew the planes were lost. You can imagine
how anxious we were to jump because I knew we couldn’t fly around much
longer without getting hit.
The flak and
machine gun fire was worse and it is hard to realise how those planes can
fly through it. I was watching Quaid's plane and saw some men jump.
At that time I drew
my head back in and saw the Green light was on. At that moment I hollered,
"LETS GO AND HIT THE SILK!"
The plane was going
a little too fast but I had a nice easy opening.
The flak and
machine gun fire was so heavy; I believe that you could have walked down
on it. It was too bad that some men got hit and never got a chance to get
out of their chutes.
Others had their
canopies on fire due to the firing of tracer bullets.