(Diary, 1917-19)


Consists of a copy of a typescript diary that covers the period of Leonard's service during World War I. When the typescript was made or the disposition of the original diary is not known. The diary begins in Chicago, June 21, 1917, and ends in New York City, January 23, 1919. Leonard received training in Illinois and New York before sailing for France on the S.S. Manchuria in October, 1917. He had further training and service at such places in France as Issoudon, Gondrecourt, Tours, Clermont-Ferrand, Orly and other locations. The events that the diary documents include military routine, the primitive training methods and conditions under which airmen operated and, of course, what men did to pass the time. There is much detail of military life of which the following is a typical excerpt:

Delouze, Mond., Sept. 2. Sid Howard and "Poll' Parrott went up to 5000 meters this afternoon and dropped or tried to drop a couple of 112 pound bombs into an old stone quarry but we never did find where they landed, although they made a great noise coming down. They tried a second time from 2000 meters, with the flying field for a target. Three of us stood in the middle of the field so they would not aim at the wrong field. When the bomb came down we went in three different directions for it made a tremendous whistling, very terrifying. The bomb lit in the edge of the woods only about a hundred yard from a group of planes and burst but did not explode as part of the explosive had been removed.

Leonard's flying time took place in 1918 from April to September 26 when he, an observer-gunner, and his pilot were shot down during a raid on Dun-sur-muse. Leonard spent the rest of the war as a prisoner, most of the time at Landshut, Bavaria. Conditions of life here are also detailed. He returned to the United States on the S.S. Lapland in January, 1919.



The typescript from which this copy was made is the property of Catherine C. Totzke, 240 Elm Street, Oberlin. It was found by her in 1940 at 218 Forest Street among possessions of Leroy Grumbine.


Filed in the Oberlin File (RG 21), Series X. Diaries, Scrapbooks, and Albums, B. Diaries. Box 2


Note: Entry taken from William E. Bigglestone's unpublished "[preliminary] Guide to the Oberlin College Archives," which was prepared as individual entry sheets in a three-ring binder during the early 1980s.



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