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About this collection

The Leroy M. Sullivan World War II Diaries and Correspondence digital collection features three diaries and sixteen letters authored by Leroy M. Sullivan, a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Force, during World War II from 1940 to 1943, when Sullivan was killed in action. The diaries document Lieutenant Sullivan's participation in campaigns in England, South Africa, Sudan, and Egypt, and the letters to Sullivan's friend, Grady Long, detail daily life in the military, especially the ways in which he and his fellow soldiers spent their time between operations.

Leroy M. Sullivan was a University of Chattanooga student who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and was killed in action in 1943. He quickly rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant and was a commanding officer of his squadron during a portion of his time in Africa. He was the only American member of the British Royal Air Force, No. 56, Punjab Squadron, created under Article XV of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which allowed the air forces of Australia, Canada and New Zealand to form squadrons for service under Royal Air Force operational control.

In case something does happen, Grady, the diary is being mailed to you. Would mail it to mother, but she musn't know the hardships [and] disgust ... that I have experienced by being here in the Air Force.

Leroy M. Sullivan diary, 1941

Sullivan was killed after his plane malfunctioned at takeoff on the runway of the Martlesham Heath Airdrome near Ipswich, Suffolk, England on November 7, 1943 and was laid to rest in the Brookwood cemetery near London in the Canadian section, just a month shy of his 22nd birthday. The diaries were sent to Grady Long, instead of Sullivan's mother, after the war.

 
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