Mary Bason Broadfoot Papers

Manuscript Collection #358
Broadfoot, Mary Bason
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 171 items , consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous items.
Preferred Citation
Mary Bason Broadfoot Papers (#358), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1941-1945) consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

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.

Scope and arrangement

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.

Administrative information
Custodial History

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

Source of acquisition

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

Processing information

Processed by M. Elmore, February 1979

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

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

Key terms
Personal Names
Broadfoot, Mary Bason
Mahurin, Walker M.
Corporate Names
United States. Armed Forces--Military life
United States. Armed Forces--Officers
United States. Army--Civilian employees
Iwo Jima, Battle of, Japan, 1945
World War, 1939-1945--Censorship
World War, 1939-1945--England
World War, 1939-1945--France--Paris
World War, 1939-1945--Iceland
World War, 1939-1945--Northern Ireland
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, German
World War, 1939-1945--United States--Hawaii
Colón (Panama)--Description and travel
England--Description and travel

Container list
Box 1 White, Townsend, and Schrom correspondence
Box 2 Correspondence, miscellaneous