1941 - 1942 EXCEPTIONAL RELIC OF WORLD WAR TWO FLIGHT AND PILOT TRAINING BEING AN ORIGINAL DIARY OF A YOUNG CADET AS HE MAKES HIS WAY WITH TREMENDOUS DETERMINATION TO BECOME AN INSTRUCTOR HIMSELF, ONLY NINE MONTHS AFTER HIS OWN INSTRUCTION

By: HUGH OTTO WILLIAMS

Price: $2,255.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Very Good


On offer are two detailed and fascinating diaries of the early years of World War II, told from the perspective of flight cadet, and later Lieutenant and instructor, Hugh Otto Williams. The books aren’t diaries exactly, but books in which Williams wrote down the letters he sent to his brother Toby Williams of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The first diary depicts the daily life of Williams as a U.S. Air Corps flying cadet in training at the Mississippi Institute of Aeronautics in Jackson, Mississippi. This diary goes from January to August 1941. The second diary follows Williams as a flight instructor at the Air Corps Basic Flying School at Gunter Field (later Shaw Field) in Montgomery, Alabama. It goes from September 1941 to July 1942. In the beginning of the first diary, Williams is a brand new cadet, having just arrived in Jackson, Mississippi. He describes in excellent detail what it was like to learn how to fly, the difficulties, the instructors, written and physical exams, the routines and drills that would make him a pilot. Along with the flying comes the rules, regulations, exercises, inspections, and all the other realities of learning to be a soldier and pilot. Only 25 days after he first arrives at the base, after passing tests and exams and drills, he ‘solos’ (supervised) for the first time. “I soloed - yes, all by myself - it did make me feel good. It is an almost indescribable feeling to be up there by yourself. Funny it didn’t scare me one bit. In fact I kinda had a feeling of peace, as soon as I got off the ground...” Williams talks about almost every single time he flies up in the hour, what it was like, what he did, what he learned, etc. In February, he is flying all by himself in the plane and continuing to learn more and more. He comments that a large number of cadets have failed tests and “washed out” meaning they were not good enough to continue. By February, there are only 40 or so cadets left out of an initial 92. He graduates in March and moves to Gunter Field in Montgomery, Alabama as part of class 41-F. His instructor here is a Lt. McIntyre, “A southerner, and seemed to be awfully nice” and later a “Lt. Salisbury.” The planes at Gunter Field are different as well: “There ships sure are lots different from what we have been flying. More instruments that you can shake a stick at. Sure will be lots of things to remember to do. They have two-way radio sets - wireless and all that. We take off and land only with permission of the Field Tower. The ships are lots larger than the others. I am really interested in getting started.” The ships he is flying at Gunter are called BT-13s. At Gunter Field, Williams is still a cadet, and more training is done, both flying and learning on the ground. In one instance, he takes off on a routine training flight that turns into a difficult and almost harrowing experience as there are problems as gale force winds make flying tremendously difficult for Williams and Williams has to be given detailed instructions on how to land the plane. A small newspaper clipping is pasted in on the next page: “Gunter Drama: Radio Saves 105 Cadets”. In April, a newspaper clipping about Williams in pasted in: “Local Boy Soon To Graduate In Air Corps.” He does just that and moves to Maxwell Field in Montgomery. Still part of Class 41-F, Squadron H. At Maxwell Field, Williams is at the Advanced Flying school. The diary ends in August as Williams finishes his Advanced Flying course with a day-night long distance trip of hundreds of miles. The second diary in begins with Williams now a Lieutenant and instructing at Gunter Field at the Air Corps Basic Flying School, where he had started flying only 9 months beforehand. The letters focus on the students that Williams is in charge of, 4 in total and the progress that they make (or don’t). In January 1942, Williams moves to Shaw Field in Gunter, South Carolina and is in charge of six students from six different states. Again, he speaks often and candidly of his student’s progress and difficulties. In July, he is made Assistant Commanding Officer for a new flying class coming into the Basic Flying School. Finally, in July, the last entry is written. “Maxwell Field. Central Instructors School. Montgomery, Alabama.” Williams is at the school to learn more about Flight instruction. The diary ends with 21 black-and-white photographs of Williams, a woman who seems to be his girlfriend or wife and a few of the faces of friends or family. Most of the photographs are labelled with the date they were taken and the location. The diaries also contain bits of ephemera as well. These include: Grade school report cards for Williams in 1932 and 1933, Army cards signifying the completion of various courses in Flight School, a membership card to The Officer’s Club and Mess at Maxwell Field, Alabama, a pamphlet for the “Air Corps Training Detachment Mississippi Institute of Aeronautics Graduation Dinner Dance of the Class of 41-E,” and various photographs of Williams from the time period. The two diaries are in good condition. Both covers are free of any major wear. The pages within are almost all still in good condition, without much discoloration or rips/tears. The handwriting throughout is easily legible and readable, in black ink. All photographs, loose or pasted in, are still in very good condition. The first diary is approximately 200 pages and the second diary is approximately 150. The books measure about: 4 1/2” x 6 1/4” inches. OVERALL: VG. Text: “January 1, 1941. This place is completely out in the country, not even a country store! NOthing but the post. Every building is brand new, and it is really nice. The first day we were issued flying equipment, which is really ‘the stuff’ - they issue to each man about $200.00 worth of equipment, namely: A fur-lined jacket, fur lined pants and shoes all leather on the outside. Helmet and goggles. Three pairs of coveralls, jeans, gloves, and a mechanic's cap. So much in fact that a person don’t need, except underwear, and toilet articles. They vaccinated us for smallpox and typhoid in the same arm...We have a nameplate, that we have to wear on our coveralls. It starts off one color and you have to polish it until it turns to another color. It took me all morning...”; “January 11, 1941. The flying would be swell if it wasn’t for the Instructor. He told me yesterday that it would be a miracle if I ever learned to fly. But just between you and me, I think I am pretty good. He has three of us. He takes us up one at a time. After all of us have been up we have a sort of conference going over our mistakes for the day. I don’t catch near as much on the ground as the other two do. I like to fly! I have four hours to my credit now. Am supposed to be able to solo in four more - that is if I ever solo!...We started off learning to do 90° turns. Climbing turns. 180° turns. 360° turns, etc. Then we had to learn to follow a rectangle on the ground. That is you pick out a rectangular figure on the ground such as roads, fences or something. Use a tree or something for a corner. Sounds easy. Would be if it wasn’t for the wind. You have to figure that, on it will blow you off course..All kind of stuff like that.”; July 24, 1941. I have completed my last flight in Advanced flying. Now I am supposed to be ready for bigger, better, and faster ships. It sure is a great relief to know I have actually finished - and I can brag a little with the few, that all during my Cadet-training of over 200 hours, I have even put a scratch on a plane. Our Squadron took our day-night cross-country yesterday. We flew from Maxwell to Nashville, to Chattanooga. A distance of 390 miles, where we landed, ate supper, and waited for it to get dark. Then after dark we flew from Chattanooga to Atlanta, to Maxwell. It was a real nice trip. Beautiful weather. The mountains sure did look good from the air...I was Officer of the Day, yesterday and today until 11:30 AM, got out of a lot of the work, due to the Cross-Country.”; “September 23, 1941. I started instructing today. Two British and two Americans. It is a funny thing. Both the Americans primaryed at M.I.A. One even had Mr. Firpprecht as an instructor. So far, I haven’t ridden with my students, because today they had a cross-country trip, and since they fly these in loose formation, My students went with another flight. I was assigned to squadron 4, which at the present is the under class or class 42-A. They have about 35 hours. Sure am glad they let me start with an experienced class. They at least know what it is all about, and maybe won’t scare me too bad right at first.”

Title: 1941 - 1942 EXCEPTIONAL RELIC OF WORLD WAR TWO FLIGHT AND PILOT TRAINING BEING AN ORIGINAL DIARY OF A YOUNG CADET AS HE MAKES HIS WAY WITH TREMENDOUS DETERMINATION TO BECOME AN INSTRUCTOR HIMSELF, ONLY NINE MONTHS AFTER HIS OWN INSTRUCTION

Author Name: HUGH OTTO WILLIAMS

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Diary, 20th Century Manuscript,

Publisher: AIR CORPS BASIC FLYING SCHOOL, GUNTER FIELD, 1941

Book Condition: Very Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall

Seller ID: 0009131

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