H. M. Plowman diaries and journals

The diaries and journals in this collection were composed and compiled by H. M. Plowman, a photographer and American soldier who served abroad in Europe during World War II between 1944 and 1945. The diaries and journals document, in part, the major events of the Second World War leading to the Amer... Full description

Record Source: Archival Materials
Collection Information: H. M. Plowman Diaries and Journals (#3653)
Main Author: Plowman, H. M. b. 1920
Format: Manuscript
Language: English
Subjects and Genres: More/Less
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Physical Description: 0.4 Linear feet ; 10 volumes
Summary: The diaries and journals in this collection were composed and compiled by H. M. Plowman, a photographer and American soldier who served abroad in Europe during World War II between 1944 and 1945. The diaries and journals document, in part, the major events of the Second World War leading to the American participation in the war in 1941. The diaries also cover Plowman's experiences as a cook, photographer, and tourist in Italy, Britain, and France.
This collection consists of ten volumes of Plowman’s daily notations of his experiences in Reading, Pennsylvania and abroad while serving in World War II. The diaries begin in 1940 discussing mostly his visits with family members and friends. Plowman sometimes added the major headlines about the war abroad from local newspapers. Once the Americans were directly involved (Volume II), the war headlines increased. He was drafted in 1944 (Volume VIII), after which the volumes give a play-by-play account of the war from a soldier’s point of view, as Volume VIII was appropriately titled, “My Life in the Service.” Since Plowman did not see combat, his version of the war is mostly a behind-the-scenes look at soldiers’ lives in the barracks and while off duty. There are two instances in which he describes missions escorting prisoners. Most of the entries concern food in the mess hall and touring the cities in which he was based. There are also references to the fact that he was a photographer. The final pages of the last volume (1945) indicate that Plowman was more and more restless with being in England, as he complained, “This place is sure getting on my nerves.” He boarded the USS Woolsey on Thursday, October 25, 1945, but it did not “pull away from the docks” until October 27. The volume ends with a day-by-day account of their two-week voyage back to the United States; the ship arrived in the New York Harbor Friday, November 9, 1945.