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David E. Bail Jr. papers

 Collection — Box: 12.0025-Box 1
Identifier: 02-12.0025

Content Description

This collection relates to Lieutenant David E. Bail Jr. who serves as a bombardier with the 335th Bomb Squadron, 95th Bomb Group in England during World War II. He attended University of Florida and enlisted in Spring of 1942. He flew two missions over France before he was shot down over Hanover, Germany on July 26, 1943 and killed in action. This collection contains seven folders includes Bail’s personal letters to his family from December, 1941 up to his death, letters from the War Department to Bail’s family first declaring him MIA, then later confirming him KIA, two photographs of Bail and his crew, and a letter from his sister to Bail’s parents recounting her interview with Bail’s one-time tail-gunner.


  • 1938-1949


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast works from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience must be requested and granted in writing by the director of the Institute. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Institute on World War II as the owner of the physical items and the copyright holder. Possession of a copy of an item does not constitute permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast it. The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience reserves the right to refuse permission to individuals and publishers who have not complied with its policies. Permission fees must be paid before images are provided. Please contact the director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience for current publication and duplication rates.

Biographical / Historical

David E. Bail was born on July 19, 1921 in Jacksonville, Florida. He was nicknamed "Sonny." He attended University of Florida and enlisted in Spring of 1942. Bail completed bombardier school and basic training at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas and air crew training at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was assigned to crew 35C, 326th Bomb Squadron, 95th Bomb Group with the Eighth Air Force and was stationed in England. He flew two missions over France before he was shot down over Hannover, Germany and killed in action on July 26, 1943. The B-17F, 42-3264, crashed near Bremen, west of River Elbe; Missing Air Crew Report 193. His collection consists of correspondence from Sonny to his parents and his sister, Grace "Sissy" Bail, from 1941-1943. These letters contain Bail's reactions to Pearl Harbor and the War as a student at the University of Florida, Bail's description of Air Corps Bombadier training, the scenery in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and his trip to England via Bangor, Maine. Later letters came from the field in England and from Bail's permanent squadron assignment in England. His letters from England from May through July 1943 describe military censorship of letters, problems with receiving mail, boredom, traveling to London on days off, entertainment (such as a 4th of July celebration and baseball games), and flying training. The letters also contain inquiries of home, asking parents to send a camera and candy, and reminisces of home.

Other correspondence includes letters that Bail received from his parents, mostly discussing the homefront, vacation in the mountains of North Carolina, and how to send packages overseas. Also included is correspondence between Bail's sister Grace "Sissy" and their parents. One letter describes Sissy's and Dr. Campbell's (President of Florida State College for Women) reactions to Pearl Harbor, and another is a 1944 interview which Sissy completed with Vincent, a tail gunner from Bail's original B-17 crew who was shot down but escaped through the French Underground. Vincent recalls stories about Bail from before his death. Sissy then sent the interview in letter format to her parents.

A memorial is dedicated to Bail in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida. Bail is also memorialized in the Netherlands American Cemetery, and he was posthumously awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart.


1 boxes (1/4 box containing 7 folders)



David E. Bail Jr. papers
Daniel Arenas
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Institute on WWII and the Human Experience Repository

Florida State University
Room 401 BEL, 113 Collegiate Loop
Tallahassee FL 32306 US