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Richard Bruce Watkins papers

 Collection — Container: Single Folder Collections - 2000 Box 6 (00.0140-00.0177), Folder: 00.0155
Identifier: 00.0155

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to Richard Bruce Watkins who served two years in the Pacific Theater of Operations as a U.S. Marine platoon leader, then as a commander of the E Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa. Immediately after the war in August 1945, Watkins also served in China. The collection contains a manuscript entitled "Brothers in Battle--One Marine's Account of War in the Pacific" written by Watkins that concerns his time in the Pacific Theater.


  • Created: 1941-1946
  • Other: Date acquired: 05/15/2000


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 or Historical Information

Richard Bruce Watkins was born on September 3, 1921, to C. Elmore and Iva J. (Smith) Watkins in Manchester, CT, where he was raised with his two sisters. He graduated from Manchester High School in 1939 and from Tufts University in 1943, where he was on the football and track teams. His family spent summers at Camp Bethel in Haddam, CT, where he met his future wife, Iva June Whitney of Melrose, FL. They married on July 18, 1943, and five weeks later he left to serve in the U.S. Marines. He served in the South Pacific as a Platoon Leader on Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, Okinawa, and China, earning a Silver Star, a Gold Star in lieu of a second Silver Star, and a Purple Heart. He retired with the rank of Captain. After the war, the Watkins' settled in Manchester, CT where they raised their four children. Bruce wrote his memoir, "Brothers in Battle," about his war experience, and returned to Peleliu for the 55th Anniversary of the Battle. Bruce was owner and manager of Watkins Brothers Furniture and Watkins Funeral Home in Manchester from 1946 to 1981 and then worked at Manchester Hardware where he was an assistant manager and furniture repairer. He later ran his own business repairing antique furniture.

In Manchester, he helped to organize the early Manchester Road Races (1946-1990) and was a timer for 18 years. He was a member of Kiwanis for 32 years, President of Manchester Chamber of Commerce in 1955, and Chamber Board Member 1954-1965. He received the “M” award from the Manchester Chamber of Commerce in 1983. He served on the Red Cross Board, Town Development Committee, Recreation Department Committee, and as Secretary of the Parking Authority. Bruce attended South United Methodist Church for many years, where he served on the Board of Directors, Trustees, Pastor Relations, and also as Chairman of Fund Raising. Bruce served as President of the Camp Bethel Association in Haddam, CT from 1964-1970 and 1984-1985. The Watkins' later lived in Amston, CT for over 20 years and attended the Gilead Congregational Church, then moved back to Manchester in 2003. Upon June’s passing in 2010, Bruce made his home in Manchester with his daughter and son-in-law for his remaining years and became a member of the Manchester Church of the Nazarene. Watkins passed away on August 4, 2013, in Manchester, CT.


1 folders (1 folder)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

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

Source of Acquisition

Richard Bruce Watkins

Method of Acquisition


Richard Bruce Watkins papers
Huaqing Shi
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

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