Dive Bombers and Other Birds

Four Years
of an
Ornithological Naval Dive Bomber Pilot
During World War II

Tudor Richards, USNR

The memoir’s manuscript was hand-written in a bound notebook containing lined pages numbered 1 through 288. Pages 69–74 are missing, having been excised (the text is continuous across the gap, indicating that the excision occurred during the composition). Pages 186, 198–200, 208, 214, 215, 218, 220, 222, 224, 226, and 230–288 are blank.

 

pages
dates
PDF scan
html transcription  
contents
1941–45 “Pages … of most interest re flying (confined to flying & related activity).”
contents
1941–45 “Pages … mentioning birds, other natural history subjects, countryside, scenery, etc.”
1–5
July–Sept 1941 The draft, signing up. Katahdin, Gondoliers, Groton.
6–8
October 1941 Reporting for duty. Squantum, first flying.
8–13
November 1941 Flying, first solo.
13–16
December 1941 Spins, solos over Boston Harbor. Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
17–20
December 1941 Atlanta, radio code, drill. Lt. Comdr. Schieffelin.
20–22
December 1941 Christmas dinner parties. Leaving Atlanta.
23–26
January 1942 Florida, N.A.S. Jacksonville.
27–30
Feb–Mar 1942
Ponte Vedra, Phil Field, ground school, flying again, spot landings
30–34
Mar–April 1942
“fun” that wasn’t: stunts
34–37
April 1942 Nearly “washed out"; night flying
37–40
April 1942 First formation flying, in first monoplane; more ground school
40–43
April 1942 Second class cadets; bird migration; new birds; more birds
43–47
April–May 1942 Winter resident birds, migrant warblers; intermediate squadron; a “real aeroplane”—SNJ
47–51
May–June 1942 Solo; 9–plane formations; first class cadet; authors read; instrument flying
51–56
June 1942 Radio beams; N3N seaplanes
56–60
June 1942 Kingfisher seaplanes; formation & navigation flights; gunnery
60–64
June 1942 Dive bombing; catapult shots; night flying; social life; Harvard classmates (both lost later)
64–68
July-August 1942 Bicycle; birds 6/22/42; new species; 4/19/42 Okeefenokee (out of order); birds; ensigns with wings! Aug. 21, ’42; Naval Aviator No. 15,001
68–77
September 1942 Swimming pool; days off; another bird lover; new bird; canoe trip.
77–82
October–December 1942 Night catapult shots; first leave Nov’42 home; Squam, Groton, Gardiner; unexpected change of duty; to Miami December ’42.
82–86
December 1942
Various planes; Bahamas; J.R.C. (Joseph Randolph Coolidge IV, a cousin); Boca Raton; Christmas 1942; Royal Palm State Park (eventually part of Everglades National Park); Frank Chapman 12/27/42.
86–90
December 1942 Water turkeys, Florida ducks; TR almost reported missing; Lee Field; instructing in biplane dive bombers; SBC–4 a fun plane.
90–93
December 1942–March 1943 Chasing navigation flights, hole in overcast; tactics (Lufbery Circles); comfortable quarters by the St. John’s River.
93–96
December 1942–March 1943 Otters, bicycle trips, birds.
96–100
December 1942–March 1943 More bicycle trips, "ferry," teal, skimmers,social events, butterflies. Assigned to Daytona for operational training in SBD scout bombers Douglas “Dauntless”).
100–104
March-April 1943 Collecting shells. Field carrier landings.
104–107
Spring 1943 N.A.S. Glenview, landings aboard USS Wolverine, carrier qualification. Promotion to Lt.j.g. Good food at BOQ Cape May warbler, sora rail. Ann Arbor.
108–111
May 1943 Leave in Groton, 132 warbler songs, other birds; wedding, Squam. Assistant instructor; girls.
111–115
Summer 1943 Instructing in instrument flying, dive bombing.
115–120
Fall 1943 Night flying, ferry flights, solo ferry flight; short visit home, days off, combined train and bicycle trips.
120–125
Fall 1943 Birds, longer train and bicycle trip (Cocoa, Melbourne), west coast of Florida, shells, rowboat trip, Clearwater, Sanibel.
126–129
Spring 1944 TR meets Russ Keller and Oakes Ames; girls.  Leave in Groton en route to San Diego, visits with sister Anne (“Nance”) and brother Hamilton (“Ham”). Joins VB–17 in Alameda, California, transitions to SB2C–3 Helldiver.
129–132
Summer-Fall 1944 SB2C Helldiver compared with SBD Dauntless. Operational training at Alameda: dive-bombing, gunnery, navigation, radar. The countryside flown over; sighting of Mt. Shasta from 200 miles, ascent of Black Butte.
132–136
September 1944 Ascent of Mt. Shasta, two nights at Horse Camp. Forests. Around San Francisco, hills east of  Oakland.
136–139
Fall 1944 First salt-water cruise, albatrosses. Move to Hilo, Hawai‘i; Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea..
139–142
Fall 1944 Coastal scenery. Volcano House, Kilauea crater, forests, Hawai‘ian honey creepers.
142–145
Winter 1944 USS Saratoga, air show for Congressmen; more carrier landings. Sighted Southern Cross. Guam, F6F flight, Guam’s birds. Ulithi, USS Hornet.
145–148
February 1945 Fifth Fleet, Task Force 58. Mog Mog. Shakedown cruise, accident. Attack on Hachijō-jima.
148–152
February-March 1945 TR’s first attack, on Hamamatsu, Honshu. Sightings of Mt. Fuji. Attacks on Toyohashi, Iwo Jima, and Miyake Jima.
152–155
March 1945 Rest at Ulithi; kamikaze attack on USS Randolph. Attackes on Kyuhu, Kerama Retto, Okinawa, and Amami o Shima. Accurate anti-aircraft fire.
155–159
March–April 1945 Attack on Okinawa coastal defense guns. Spectacular sinking of patrol frigate off Kyushu, followed by night landing. Hit an LST off Amami O Shima.
159–161
April 1945 Three tragedies: loss of three downed fighter pilots and two would-be rescuers.
161–163
7 April 1945 Attack on Japanese super-battleship Yamato.
163–166
April 1945 Kamikaze menace, strikes on Okinawa and Kikai. Return to Ulithi anchorage; swimming, observing coral reef fish and collecting shells.
166–169
April–May 1945 Practice attacks (bombing and kamikaze) on the way back to Kyushu. Strikes on Izumi, Kanoya, and Kumamoto, hitting locomotive and oil tank. More Air Group losses. Notes on Kyushu’s rugged scenery.
169–172
May–June 1945 Strikes on Okinawa, Tokuna, Kikai, Okino Daito. Hornet damaged in typhoon. Anchorage in Leyte Gulf, Philippines. Samar, shells, birds.
172–174
June 1945 Exploring Leyte: Tacloban, Tolosa. Birds: Sunbirds, Old World Orioles, Wood Swallows, Bulbuls, and Old World Warblers; kite, hawk, eagle. Observations of countryside.
174–177
July–Sept. 1945 Heading home. Pearl Harbor, SBD to Hilo and back. Return to the US; Groton and Squam, mountains. War’s end, San Diego, brief assignment to Squadron 82.
177–179
Sept. 1945 TR buys a car, visits California National Parks and climbs Mt. Whitney.
179–181
Sept.-Oct. 1945 TR loses his wallet; visits Yosemite, redwoods (including world’s tallest tree), Crater Lake, and Portland, enjoying views of Mts. Jefferson and Hood.
181–184
October 1945 TR visits Olympic National Park and Seattle, and then proceeds through Idaho to Galcier National Park, eventually reaching the Twin Cities.
184–185
October 1945 TR stops in Ann Arbor MI, Dayton OH, and Morgantown WV. He visits his sister Nancy, a Major in the Army, and finally arrives home.
187–189
1941–45 Naval Air Stations etc. where TR was based.
190
 
Carrier landings.
191–192
 
List of islands attacked or visited.
192–197
 
Recollections as of March 31, 1991 and November 29, 1994.
201–207
 
List of “life birds” added between December 4, 1941 and June 18, 1945.
209–213
 
Lists of books read 1942–1945.
216–229
 
Maps, certificates, photos, DFC Gold Star citation, clippings
back cover
 
map
note
 
undated note tucked into memoir manuscript
note
 
undated note tucked into memoir manuscript