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Leonard D. Ellingwood collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 19.0010

Scope and Contents

This collection pertains to Commander Leonard D. Ellingwood who had served as an Acting Pay Clerk with the U.S. Navy during World War II. Ellingwood was stationed on the USS Shaw during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Shortly after surviving the attack, Ellingwood was transferred to the Naval Supply Corps, where he had remained until his honorable discharge in 1966. This collection includes Ellingwood’s official Naval personnel documents from 1936 to 1966, newspapers in which Ellingwood recounts his experiences during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and various photographs of Ellingwood in Naval uniforms. In addition, the collection includes information about Leonard’s death and subsequent burial-at-sea as well as numerous artifacts, including his Continuous Service Certificate, Naval ID Cards, and Navy Commander’s uniform.


  • 1930 - 2008
  • Other: Date accessioned: 2019-05-28


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical/Historical Note

Leonard Donald Ellingwood was born on April 8, 1918 in Danbury, Connecticut. Ellingwood began his military service in 1936 and underwent recruit training in Connecticut and Rhode Island throughout the year. Throughout 1937, Ellingwood served as a Seaman Second Class on the USS :Cummings and after 1938, Ellingwood performed disbursing work on the USS Tucker as a storekeeper. In 1940, Ellingwood was transferred as a storekeeper to the USS Shaw shortly before it was bombed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. According to Ellingwood: “I heard someone shout, "We’re being attacked." We all ran to our battle stations. Mine was on the bridge.” On top of the Shaw, he viewed the Japanese attacking Battleship Row, where he stated that “one of the most sickening things I watched was the USS Oklahoma capsize. To see this big ship roll over and see it go belly up, knowing hundreds of soldiers could be trapped inside, made me feel ill… made me feel useless.” While Ellingwood ended up in the water after two bombs had struck the Shaw, he spent hours after the attack helping wounded soldiers swim to shore and removing the bodies of his former shipmates.

After surviving the attack on the USS Shaw, Ellingwood served as the Acting Pay Clerk on the USS Dixieand the USSFomalhaut until he attended flight training from 1942 to 1945. Yet in September 1946, Ellingwood joined the Supply Corps -- a career path which remained with him for the rest of his time in the Navy. By the time of his compulsory retirement in 1966, Ellingwood had attained the rank of Commander and his final duty in the service was as a Contracting Officer with the Office of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, USN. He retired on August 31, 1966. After leaving the service, Ellingwood worked at the Newport News Shipyard for an additional 17 years before officially retiring in 1984. Ellingwood passed away at the age of 90 at his home on June 19, 2008, and his ashes were buried at sea off the coast of Virginia at the request of his second wife, Gavin Ellingwood.


1 Linear Feet (2 half boxes)

1 folders

2 items (Swagger stick and uniform)

Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Leonard D. Ellingwood collection
Andrew Darlington
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US