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Douglas R. Woodworth Diary, 1944-1945

Manuscript Collection #333

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Douglas R. Woodworth Diary
Creator: Woodworth, Douglas R.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Collection consists of a diary (1944-1945) kept by Sgt. Douglas R. Woodworth, a radio operator serving with a B-24 bomber crew attached to the 1st Division of the 8th United States Army Air Force, while stationed in England during World War II.
Extent: 0.073 Cubic feet, Diary, photocopy, 67 pages.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

February 18, 1977, 1 volume; World War II diary (1944-1945). Loaned for copying by Mrs. Douglas R. Woodworth, Ayden, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Douglas R. Woodworth Diary (#333), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Loaned by Mrs. Douglas R. Woodworth

Processing Information

  • Processed by N. Fulghum, May 1977

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Attached to the 1st Division of the 8th United States Army Air Force, Sgt. Douglas R. Woodworth served with a B-24 bomber crew stationed in England during World War II. Woodworth, who was the radio operator, participated in thirteen bombing missions during May and June of 1944. Grounded for a nervous condition, he was then reassigned to a "base ground station" thirty miles west-northwest of London. There he spent the remainder of the war involved in communications at the headquarters of the 406th Squadron.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The diary, which dates from April 11, 1944 to May 20, 1945, begins with Sgt. Woodworth's departure from Morrison Field in West Palm Beach, Florida and follows his flight to England by way of South America and Africa. During this transatlantic flight, Woodworth describes (4/16/44) attempts by a German submarine using bogus signals to misdirect American bombers and strand them hopelessly in mid-ocean. In stopovers in Dakar, Senegal (4/18/44) and Marrakech, Morocco (4/20/44), he describes the natives as well as the "filthy and ribald environment" in which these African people live. While in Marrakech, Woodworth also make note of having learned about one bomber which during the flight from South America had been caught in a storm, blown off course, and had crashed in the Upper Amazon region. The crew had apparently survived the crash but not native headhunters, for the rescue crews had "brought back ten bodies and no heads."

Of particular interest are Woodworth's entries on his participation in bombing missions over France and Germany. Recounting each of his thirteen missions, he notes destinations and targets and gives timetables for misgivings about his participation in the destruction and killing, also provides insight into the mental as well as the physical strain of being on a bomber crew. Perhaps Sgt. Woodworth's most notable mission, his eighth, was that of June 6, 1944-" D-Day." Flying over the Normandy coast, he describes the enormity of the invasion force and tells how even though his plane was three miles up, the concussions from the salvos "kept our plane rocking and pitching continuously."

After being grounded, Woodworth was reassigned to the 406th Squadron, a squadron attached to the Psychological Warfare Department. Of interest here is a copy (p. 57) of a clipping from Stars and Stripes which briefly describes the operation of dropping propaganda leaflets behind enemy lines.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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