Mary Bason Broadfoot Papers, 1941-1945

Manuscript Collection #358

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Mary Bason Broadfoot Papers
    Creator: Broadfoot, Mary Bason
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (1941-1945) consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters and miscellaneous.
    Extent: 0.43 Cubic feet, 171 items , consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous items.
  • Description

    This collection contains letters written by several men serving in the armed forces during World War II.

    The greatest number of letters were written in 1944 and 1945 by Lieutenant Richard S. White of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. While at Camp Lejeune in January, 1944, he commented on the techniques of teaching weapons class. In March, 1944, Lt. White was stationed in Hawaii and he described camp life and the Americanization of the islands as a consequence of the war. Other descriptions of camp life on unnamed islands in the Pacific Ocean in later 1944 and early 1945 were included as were discussions of men's opinions of women in the Red Cross, the decay of the men's minds due to lack of use and boredom and what the men did to prevent it, General MacArthur's exaggeration of facts in his communiques, the American public's forgetful attitude toward the fighting men, and the effect of the war on the relationship of armed forces personnel and their wives. Correspondence dated March 7 and 10, 1945, described Lt. White's part in the capture of Suribachi Mountain in the battle on Iwo Jima.

    Lieutenant Cliff R. Schrom of the U.S. Army Air Corps was a bombardier stationed in England in 1943 and 1944. His letters give detailed description of the camp facilities and camp life (December, 1943, March, 1944), visits to Red Cross Clubs and extra-legal Bottle Clubs in London, tourist attractions in London, the difference in pay between British and American officers, black market prices, the problem of civilian girls staying overnight at the barracks, and the British infatuation with tradition and ceremony as seen in the induction of the Mayor of London. Also included are newspaper clippings concerning Allied bomber attacks on Germany. Lt. Schrom's letters discuss the number of combat missions required in a tour of duty in the Pacific or in the ETO (European Theater of Operation), the protection given by "buzz boys" to the bombers on their missions, the low opinion held by air crews concerning replacement crews, and Captain Walker Mahurin who was a heroic escort pilot for American bombers in the ETO. Lt. Schrom was listed as missing in action over Germany in April, 1944, and there are included letters written by Mary Bason that were returned. These letters mention the waste of paper by the Army while civilians are warned of a paper shortage and the moral disintegration of soldiers in war time.

    Correspondence from Jeremy Blanchet of the U.S. Naval Reserve discussed flying maneuvers in training at Glenville, Illionois; Pensacola, Florida; and Jacksonville, Florida; in 1944 and 1945. He also mentioned certain books that were determined to be political propaganda by the Armed Services censors and that if sent unsolicited to servicemen could cause the senders to be fined or jailed.

    Second Lieutenant George Sadler of the U.S. Army Air Corps wrote from Northern Ireland, England, and Germany in 1944. He described camp life in N. Ireland, the censorship problem while stationed in England, the Piccadilly Circus area in London, and the necessity of bombardiers taking navigation courses. In September, 1944, Lt. Sadler was listed as missing in action. Letters from Mary Bason that were returned mention the anger of the American public over news media censorship of battlefront information, Liberator losses in September, 1944, and Governor Dewey's campaign tactics against President F. D. Roosevelt in the presidential campaign. From October thru December, 1944, Mary Bason received three cards from Lt. Sadler from a prison camp in Germany which indicated that he received food from the Red Cross and that he spent a lot of time reading. By June of 1945 Lt. Sadler had been liberated and while visiting Paris, France, he wrote to Mary Bason mentioning the French women's attitude towards the ex-POW's and the effect of the war on Paris.

    The remaining correspondence is from several men who wrote a few letters each. Marne Snyder of South Orange, New Jersey, wrote of trouble he had getting deferred for educational reasons in 1941. Frank L. Turner discussed moves made in 1941 by the U.S. government to make U.S. short-wave radio broadcasts competitive with German broadcasts. Correspondence from Lt. David Early on the USS READY and the USS MONROVIA in 1942 revealed problems with the crew because so few days were spent in port, and discussed his job as communication officer and "N" Division officer. Lt. Robert A. Day of the U.S. Army wrote letters from Akureyri in N. Iceland where he was stationed in 1943 and 1944. He described the people and the countryside of Iceland, the Icelandic-American relationship, the ban on soldiers and Icelandic girls marrying, the subsequent lifting of the ban and its consequences, the celebration of Iceland's independence from Denmark, restrictions on enlisted men, soldiers' opinions of the American public's labor-management grievances, and the method for soldiers to vote.

    Bill Aycock wrote in September, 1945, the loss in business beginning to be suffered by companies such as Allison Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, that made engines for U.S. Army aircraft and the possibility of making engines for commercial aircraft. Lt. Winston Broadfoot described Colon, Panama, in 1945. Lt. William A. Bason in 1945 wrote about the Red Cross Club in London and the U.S. Army Air Force putting navigators and bombardiers "on ice" pending developments in the Pacific Ocean. Captain Steve V. Morris of the U.S. Army Air Force stationed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, wrote in March, 1945 concerning the setting up of the Headquarters of the Continental Air Forces in Washington, DC, at Bolling Air Force field.

    Also revealed in the correspondence were the books and entertainment available to soldiers in World War II.

    Miscellaneous items included are newspaper articles, an article from The Yank, and articles from The Stars and Stripes about American air assaults on German airfields and about Captain Walker M. Mahurin in 1944. Also included are a 1944 issue of Wingspread put out by Peterson Field in Colorado Springs, Colorado; postcards of Reykjavik, Iceland; and pictures of Lt. Cliff R. Schrom and his bomber crew.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    The letters were written to Mary Bason, a young woman from Chapel Hill, NC, who worked as a civilian on an Army base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, during 1944. Near the end of the war in 1945 she married Major William G. Broadfoot, Jr.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    March 27, 1978, 150 items; Correspondence (1941-1945). Gift of Mrs. W. G. Broadfoot, Jr., Wilmington, NC.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. W. G. Broadfoot, Jr.

    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

    Mary Bason Broadfoot Papers (#358), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by M. Elmore, February 1979

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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Container List

Correspondence, miscellaneous

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