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.
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.
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.
Loaned by Mrs. Douglas R. Woodworth
Processed by N. Fulghum, May 1977
Encoded by Apex Data Services
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