Recorded memoir of Joseph Whittaker (MC 371/882/60)
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Recorded memoir of Joseph Whittaker


MC 371/882/60

1 audio cassette (Intermagnetics 60)

Jan 1983

392nd Bomb Group

Joseph Whittaker

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[00:00-05:00] Describes his career in the mining industry, 1970s, early life in Pennsylvania, education and work. Mentions his father, William Whittaker, from Lancashire, England, depression years in the United States (hereafter US), floods in Eastern US, 17 March 1936, and his interest in flying. Comments on entering aviation cadet programme, Florida; service in medical and intelligence corps; transfer to Air Force as bombardier, following the attack on Pearl Harbour; formation of 392nd Bomb Group and his role as Group bombardier. [05:00-10:00] Describes his training, opinion of the [B-24] Liberator aeroplane and journey to Wendling, Norfolk, from late April to August 1943. Comments on Wendling base and training for first mission, Abbeville, France, 9 September [1943]. Describes his duties as Group bombardier and transfer to Headquarters, Ketteringham, as Division bombardier, April 1944-May 1945. Comments on statistics about the 392nd Bomb Group: bombing records and casualties. [10:00-15:00] Statistics continued. Comments on state of Europe when US entered the war and the 8th Air Force's remit and strategy to destroy German infrastructure and industry. Describes structure of the 8th Air Force and 2nd Air Division. Comments on role of B-24 aeroplane. Summarizes 2nd Air Division's missions, giving key statistics. [15:00-20:00] Summary continued. Relates memories of England: 'liberty runs' to King's Lynn and Norwich; hospitality of Norfolk people; sharing sweets with children; places of worship including Beeston Church, chapel at Ketteringham and cathedrals. Remarks including danger of travel during black-out, poor English weather, food, including fish and chips, and rationing. Mentions lack of fresh eggs and supplies from local farmers and visits to Ireland. Comments on seeing women's land army working in sugar beet fields and Irish workers at aerodrome. [20:00-25:00] Comments on Royal Air Force, staff at Headquarters, the first V-2 strike and his memories of 'Jimmy' [James] Stewart. Mentions visiting family in Lancashire and other events on visits, including 'buzz bomb' attack on London. Comments on Women's Army Corps (WACs), stationed at Headquarters, post-war visits to England and Jordan Uttal (Division photographic officer and President of 2nd Air Division Association). Reads speech he prepared for a memorial tree planting [at The National Museum of the United States Air Force, formerly the United States Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio]. [25:00-30:00] Speech continued. Recorded on side A only.