The Far Shore

Maj. Glenn Miller and actress-singer Irene Manning recording “Music For The Wehrmacht” voice introductions  at the ABSIE Studio, Wardour Street, London, December 6, 1944

Chapter 5 


SHAEF plans to expand AEFP to the continent and move Miller’s band from the UK to Paris. Miller is summoned to Versailles for a meeting with SHAEF Chief of Staff Gen. Walter B. Smith. Miller is hospitalized and there are management issues with his administrative officer. The British 21st Army Group and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery want a separate British forces radio service as does the American 6th Army Group and Gen. Jacob Devers. Niven stops them. Meanwhile, the important US Eighth Air Force Service Command (VIII AFSC) houses and feeds the AAF Band (Special) in Bedford. The VIII AFSC officials include Gen. Donald Goodrich, Col. William Hefley, Col. Philip Foote, Lt. Col. Norman Baessell and Baessell’s pilot, Flight Officer Stuart Morgan.  VIII AFSC operates daily courier and cargo flights to the Far Shore using Noorduyn C-64 “Norseman” aircraft. Baessell is assigned to USSTAF in Paris as Liaison Officer to coordinate construction of a new air depot to repair damaged B-17 and B-24 bombers.


The American Broadcasting Station in Europe (ABSIE)
Voice of America – Office of War Information
Musical parts recorded on November 27, 1944, EMI Abbey Road Studio
First broadcast on December 13, 1944 (ABSIE)


Maj. Glenn Miller and his administrative officer Lt. Donald Haynes at the First Base Air Depot (1st BAD), Burtonwood, August 15, 1944


“As the cable from AGWAR to SHAEF-Main arrived in the signals room at 13:00, November 8, a clerk typed out a copy on pink paper. One of the many daily messages from the Pentagon in Washington was inbound for General Smith, Eisenhower’s chief of staff, from Gen. George C. Marshall, Army chief of staff. The secure ETOUSA signals facility handled the secret message traffic to and from SHAEF-Main. Clerks printed the incoming messages on pink paper and outgoing messages on yellow paper. They copied internal messages to blue or white paper. The daily paper flow was incalculable.

“After Eisenhower became Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) commander in August 1942, Marshall sent his chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Smith, from Washington to be Eisenhower’s deputy. Indiana native “Beetle” Smith was representative of the American SHAEF general and administrative staff. A disproportionate number of the senior and junior officers at SHAEF of all ranks, regular and reserve, were natives of midwestern states.

“At a 1943 planning conference in Washington, during a discussion of priorities with the British chiefs, Marshall asked Smith for a report on the feasibility of sending the U.S. Army Band on a tour of the European theater. The officials in the meeting were silently amused as Marshall insisted on discussing this insignificant idea in the midst of more pressing business. Upset that the Army had fallen behind the AAF in what Marshall believed was the public perception of their musical units, he insisted on discussing this topic. Smith privately confided to Eisenhower that their boss came across as a bit off the wall.

“The cable arriving on his desk eighteen months later therefore did not come as a surprise to Smith. He read the message, scribbled a note, and moved on with his crowded business day. His adjutant later sent a message summoning Miller.”

Maj. Miller’s proposal to SHAEF regarding the facilities supporting the move of the Army Air Forces Band (Special) to Paris, dated November 17, 1944
Rehearsal, recording and concert schedule attached by Maj. Miller to his proposal dated November 17, 1944