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A two-day bridge game

May 8, 1945, was an unusual day in my life. Having completed 32 combat missions with the 8th Air Force, flying from England to Nazi Germany, I and a large group of other officers were scheduled to return to the United States. We had boarded a Liberty ship in Southampton harbor ready to sail for home when we were directed to leave the ship and return to the Officers’ Club ashore.

We assembled in the club’s dining room and were notified that because one German U-boat had not been located, it was assumed that its commander did not know the war was ended. No Allied ship would be permitted to leave port until that German ship had been located and its commander so notified.



Ed Martin (no relation), a friend from California, and I decided to start a bridge game to pass the time. We found two other officers to join us for what we assumed would be a couple of hours. We played cards, ate, drank coffee, even nodded off to sleep between plays, and waited, only leaving the table for bathroom breaks.

Two days later we got our orders. The U-boat had been located and, finally, we were able to sail home.




Wiley R. Martin

Grass Valley


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