Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont Public Library System

Finding Aid for the Royce E. Whitman Papers, 1935-1969

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Whitman, Royce E., 1919 - 1969
Title: Royce E. Whitman Papers
Dates: 1935-1969
Creator Abstract: The Royce E. Whitman Papers contain photographs and papers primarily related to Mr. Whitman’s military service during World War II.
Content Abstract: This collection includes military records, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and artifacts collected by Royce E. Whitman primarily during his military service from 1943 – 1946.
Identification: AC-590
Extent: 3 cubic feet in six boxes
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont Public Libraries,  695 Pearl St,  Beaumont, TX 77701

Biographical Note

Born on September 26, 1919, Whitman was raised in Beaumont, Texas, graduating from Beaumont High School in 1936. He attended Lamar College for two years, then worked as a salesman for Standard Brands, Inc., and later as a bank teller for First National Bank. Whitman joined the Army Air Force (AAF) in 1942, and became a bombardier. After completing training at Pueblo, Colorado, his crew was processed at Herrington, Kansas, before transferring to West Palm Beach, Florida, for further orders. His crew was assigned to the China Burma India Theater of operations, so he and his crew flew to Karachi, India (today part of Pakistan), where they were assigned to the 492nd Squadron of the 7th Bombardment Group of the 10th Air Force. They arrived in India on January 27, 1944.

Their first bombing missions were against Japanese airfields and supply dumps in Central and Southern Burma. Whitman flew in a wing ship as a Deputy Squadron leader for about 100 hours on these missions, and then was promoted to Flight Leader. Objectives for his next 300 combat hours included Japanese supplies and communications in Burma, Thailand, and the Andaman Islands. Specific targets included airfields, railroad centers, marshalling yards, rail bridges, shipping docks, troop concentrations, and supply dumps, with their focus being Rangoon, Bangkok, and Port Blair. Whitman achieved good results on these missions and was later advanced to Squadron Bombardier, then was detached to Group Headquarters as a Group Bombardier.

He helped build a low-level bombing range and developed a method for low-level glide-bombing, which proved especially effective against rail bridges. In all, he flew 55 combat missions for a total of 440 combat hours. One 18-hour mission against railway bridges in Jumbhorn, Thailand, earned the 7th Bombardment Group a Presidential Unit Citation. Whitman himself was promoted from a 2nd Lieutenant to a Captain by the time he left the service.

In July 1945, Whitman returned to the United States and took on the role of assistant AAF Liaison Officer of the Personnel Distribution Command at Fort Douglas, Utah. He coordinated the screening, processing, and orientation of all Air Corps officers returning to the United States, and gave advice on problems related to their return. He earned accolades from his superiors for his tact and compassion in working with these officers.

Whitman was honorably discharged from the AAF on May 3, 1946. He married Mavis Keenan (July 31, 1924 - June 26, 1986) circa 1950. They had three sons: Jerry, R. Randolph, and Robert. He worked as an underwriter for the American General Life Insurance Company for many years, and was a member of the Irish Village Kiwanis Club and the Evening Optimist Little League.

He died on October 15, 1969, and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Beaumont, Texas.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of newspaper articles, photographs, magazines, programs, yearbooks, certificates, awards, correspondence, and books.


Organization of Collection

This collection is contained in six boxes and organized by type of material.


Access Restrictions

Some restrictions may apply.


The Tyrrell Historical Library does not hold copyright for most of its collections. The researcher must secure permission to publish. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the Tyrrell Historical Library. The researcher assumes full responsibility for complying with copyright, literary property rights, and libel laws.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Whitman, Royce E., 1919 - 1969
United States, Air Force
World War, 1939-1945
Military life
Military personnel
Military bases
Military aeronautics
Air bases
China (Asia, World : subcontinent)
India (Asia, World : subcontinent)
Burma (Asia, World : subcontinent)
Letters (correspondence)
Military records
Newspaper clippings

Related Material


Separated Material


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Description of item], Folder Number, Box Number, Royce E. Whitman Papers, AC-590, Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Initial donation by Scott Whitman in April 2014. Later additions were made in February 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Tyrrell Historical Library staff, 2014 May.

Finding aid revised and encoded by Tyrrell Historical Library staff, 2015 April.


Further accruals are expected.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Royce E. Whitman Papers, 1902 - 1969

Box Folder
1 1 Army Training Papers
2 Commendations
3 Army Photographs
4 High School Papers
5 201 File
6 Insurance Documents
7 Correspondence
8 Army Orders and Other Documents
9 Army Discharge Papers
10 Indorsement Orders
11 Personnel Orders
12 Travel Tickets
13 Aerial Photographs
14 Aerial Photographs
15 Aerial Photographs
16 Letters from various women to Royce
17 Letter from Royce to Onis and Rosalie Whitman, 1943 - 1945
18 Royce to Onis and Rosalie Whitman, 1941
19 Royce to Onis and Rosalie Whitman, 1942
20 Royce to Onis and Rosalie Whitman, 1943
21 Royce to Rosalie Whitman, 1945
22 Tommy (?) to Royce, May 23, 1945
Box Folder
2 1 Collection of Life Magazines, 1944
Box Folder
3 1 Artifacts: Pilot’s Navigation Kit and Insignia
Box Folder
4 1 Artifact: Leather Flight Jacket
Box Folder
5 1 Letters 1942
2 Letters January – June 1943
3 Letters August – November 1943
4 Letters January – June 1944
5 Letters August – December 1944
6 Letters January – September 1945
7 Letters October – December 1945
8 Letters 1946
9 Beaumont Servicemen World War II Clipping
10 Miscellaneous Military Memorabilia
Box Folder
6 1 Beaumont High School Yearbook, 1935
2 Beaumont High School Yearbook, 1936
3 Artifact