Monday, February 07, 2011

Journaling. . .revisited

Among the many many impressive items I noted in the display cases at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans were the journals and diaries.  Just think that it was important enough for them to write about their experiences that they made space for the books, notebooks, or pads in the heavy backpacks or sea bags they carried on their backs!  They often wrote in adverse conditions, maybe sitting in a foxhole, in the jungle, or even in a Higgins boat.

Here, surgeon Major Karlin recorded information about those he cared for.  He recorded the name and rank of the patient, date and time and the procedures he performed.



In 1942 P-40 Fighter pilot Randall Keator wrote in a little spiral notebook. “…  picked up a flight of bombers approaching from the north so all present squadrons took off to try and intercept them.”


In this Jan 28th entry in a pre-dated diary the writer notes “13th Day”, and writes “During the past couple days I have been busy on the flight deck…”


Very fine handwriting in this tabbed journal. Interesting knife handle isn’t it?


April 1944:  “The landing itself was slightly opposed. Our Buffalo and combat boat lead by some over anxious officers & NCO’s…”  I wonder if this beautiful leather-bound journal was a gift from a loved one?  Note the printed motivational quotes on the bottom of each page.  One reads “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” Oliver H. Perry and on the opposite page is “A sound mind in a manly body.” Homer


The nurse who kept her journal in this three-ringer binder had access to a typewriter.


PFC James Aloysius kept a diary that eventually filled 12 of these little flip pads. After the war he refused to talk about his service and destroyed 11 of the 12 diaries.  (One of his aunts snuck this one out before he could destroy it.)  His grandson said that the mere mention of the subject was enough to drive him from the house. On this page PFC Aloysius writes “Gosh, it is hard to describe the way it felt. It was a sensation I’ll never forget.”


A member of the British Airborne kept his diary in his New Testament.


I’m guessing that this is just a sampling of little wartime diaries and journals.


  1. My husband would love this. sandie

  2. This is really neat. And it does make me realize the value of keeping a journal ... even if it is electronic.

  3. I found this page by googling my grandfather, Randall Keator. I'm so glad to know that other people enjoy seeing his exhibit! My favorite line from that entry is, "It was a pretty big day for a boy from Campti, Louisiana."