John B. Davenport Papers, 1937-1945

Manuscript Collection #823

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: John B. Davenport Papers
    Creator: Davenport, John B.
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (ca. 1937-1945) of U. S. Naval officer, U. S. Naval Academy Class of 1941, consisting of a reminiscence (22 p.) of life at the U. S. Naval Academy and experiences from World War II.
    Extent: 0.007 Cubic feet, 1 item , consisting of a memoir
  • Description

    These papers contain the memoirs of John B. Davenport concerning his experiences at the U.S. Naval Academy, as well as his time spent on a naval base during World War II.

    He decided to attend the Naval Academy at a young age and was sworn in as a Midshipman on July 9, 1937. Davenport joined the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor in February, 1941. He and his fellow soldiers bought a truck from an old Japanese farmer in Honolulu, Hawaii, to drive around during that summer. The week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Oklahoma was moored to the port side of the USS Maryland at Ford Island. He tells his eyewitness account of what happened December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, including the explosion of the USS Arizona while the Oklahoma was capsized and their rescue done by a military motor launch. Davenport also describes his experience during the war aboard the USS San Juan and the USS Monterey.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    John B. Davenport was born September 11, 1919, in Watertown, New York. He graduated from high school in January 1937, before he qualified for the First Alternate position for entrance into the United States Naval Academy. Davenport was sworn in as a Midshipman on July 9, 1937, and later graduated February 7th, 1941. December 7, 1941, he was an eyewitness to the attack on Pearl Harbor, hiding in the bottom of the USS Oklahoma. Between March and April 1942 he was off the coast of Portland, Maine, on a shakedown cruise. July 1942 he was part of a task force made up of destroyers, cruisers, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, and the new battleship USS South Dakota. John B. Davenport married Barbara Wood January 1, 1946, and went on to teach Math at St. Cloud State College in Minnesota for two years before spending the next 20 years teaching at Dutchess Community College in Hyde Park, NY. He retired with his wife in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 1988 until his death on October 13, 2013.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    May 8, 2001, 1 item; Papers of U.S. Naval officer, USNA Class of 1941, consisting of a reminiscence (22 pp.) of life at the U.S. Naval Academy and experiences from World War II. Donor: Capt. John B. Davenport, USN (Ret).

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Capt. John B. Davenport

    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

    John B. Davenport Papers (#823), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

    Processed by Leah Turner on December 6, 2017

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