Homer William Bigart

Civilian

Object Number - UPL 6934 - War Correspondent Homer Bigart of the New York Herald Tribune in the Pacific Theatre of Operations in 1945. Bigart was part of the Writing 69th and...

Journalist for the New York Herald Tribune, who in 1942 was invited to become a war correspondent, one of eight journalists known as The Writing 69th, sent to the UK to fly with the US Army Air Force on bombing missions over Europe. Bigart was attached to the 303rd Bomb Group, 360th Bomb Squadron, flying out of Molesworth.

On 26 February 1943, after completing a week's training Bigart and five other members of The Writing 69th participated in their first and last mission, flying over Wilhemshaven. Robert Post another journalist was killed and Bigart's formation of B-17 Flying Fortresses also suffered heavy losses, as a result, journalists were prevented from participating in further missions with the 8th Air Force.

Desipite Post's death Bigart wrote of the mission: 'A mission to Germany is a nasty experience. Apart from the very real danger to life and limb, there is the acute discomfort of enduring sub-zero temperatures for hours at a stretch and taking air through an oxygen mask. The altitude can affect your sinews, your kidneys, even the fillings of your teeth. You are very tired when you return. If you are a delayed-reaction type, you are likely to feel slightly under par for a couple of days. I must be crazy, but I should like to go again.'

Bigart transferred to the Mediterranean Theatre, reporting on campaigns in North Africa, Italy and the South of France. Following VE Day in 1945, Bigart travelled to the Pacific where he was one of the first journalists to enter Hiroshima following the atomic bombing. He was awarded his first Pulitzer prize for International reporting for his reporting in the Pacific in 1945.

Bigart continued his career as a war correspondent, reporting on the Korean War with the New York Herald Tribune (where he won his second Pulitzer prize in 1951). He joined the New York Times in 1955, covering the course of the Civil Rights movement in 1957 and reporting on the Nazi War Crimes Trial of Adolph Eichman in 1961. In 1962 he travelled to Vietnam for 6 months where he earned criticism for writing negatively on the conflict, to the extent that he was expelled from the county by the South Vietnamese President. He returned to the US and continued to write on the Civil Rights movement, covering the demonstrations in St Augustine Florida. He retired in 1973.

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

Official emblem of the 303rd Bomb Group approved 7 November 1942.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent United Press
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent
Captain Bernard Thompson of the 387th Bomb Group and War Correspondent Gladwin Hill of the Associated Press, in the cockpit of a B-26 Marauder. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for publication 8 May 1944.' [stamp] and '319310.' [censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'AP War Correspondent Pays A Visit To A Marauder Base "Somewhere In England". Associated Press Photo Shows:- Left, Gladwyn Hill, A.P. War Correspondent sits in the cockpit of a Marauder, right pilot Capt. Bernar
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Ooold Soljer
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron

Missions

Places

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Hawley, PA , USA 1907-10-25

Died

Portsmouth, NH, USA 1991-04-16

Other

Based

Mediterranean Theatre of Operations

Other

Based

Pacific Theatre of Operations

Other

Reported on Korean War

Korea

Other

Reported on Vietnam War

Vietnam

Other

Retired

Other

Only WWII Mission in Europe

Wilhelmshaven, Germany 1943-02-26 Rode as a passenger in B-17F 41-24559, "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the naval facilites and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. RTB OK.

Revisions

Date29 Aug 2019 16:38:05
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added connections to the Members of the "Writing 69th" group.

Date8 Mar 2016 21:05:13
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Mar-2016. Made connection to aircraft and aadded ONLY WWII mission per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 26-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/017.pdf

Date1 Dec 2014 10:08:55
ContributorEmily
Sources

Obituary, 'Homer Bigart, Acclaimed Reporter Dies' New York Times, 17 April 1991.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:13:05
ContributorAAM
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roster

Homer William Bigart: Gallery (2 items)