Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 011, folder 24: Thomas T. Crowley

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1st Div CROWLEY , Thomas T. Pa 49

Box 11, #24

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Pittsburgh PA. PA 49 LL BLACK - see his letter

For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-day

THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name? Thomas T. Crowley

What was your unit and division? First Engineer Battalion, First Infantry Div.

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Omaha Beach, H + 40 min.

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Major

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 25

Were you married at that time? No

What is your wife's name?

Did you have any children at that time?

What do you do now?

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? Late December, 1943 , or early January, 1944

What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? Crossing the Channel was uneventful. I do recall a long conversation with Col. George Taylor (later Brig. Gen.) and the late Bob Capra, photographer for Time, Life, re the winter fighting in Italy and speculation on the progress of the Germans in installing underwater mined obstacles.

What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in).

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name Thomas T. Crowley

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? Contrary to Army regulations

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day? Yes

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties?

Were you wounded? No

Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were so surprised that you felt nothing?

Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time?

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else?

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~ for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Thomas T. Crowley

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance, others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either from D-day?

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? enroute to Normandy

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? In an orchard near St. Laurent sur mer

Do you know of anybody else who landed within the 24 hours of D-day, June 6, as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to?

PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE THEY ARE NOW;" YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.

Cornelius Ryan

Frances Ward Research, The Reader's Digest

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July 18, 1958

Major Thomas Crowley, Gen. Mgr. Crucible Steel Spring Division Crucible Steel Corporation Pittsburgh 1, Pennsylvania

Dear Major Crowley:

A history of D-Day, June 6, 1944, to coincide with the 15th anniver- sary of the Normandy invasion next year is being prepared by Cornelius Ryan for publication in the Reader's Digest and in book form. It is being written with the complete cooperation and assistance of the De- partment of the Army and the Department of Defense. This will not be another strategic history of invasion day, but a story of the twenty- four hours of D-Day as people lived them and remembered them. For this, we can only go to the men who were there and, if they are willing, invade their memories. Having learned of the part which you played in the in- vasion, we hope very much that you will be interested in the project and agree to help us.

During the next few months, both in this country and in Europe, Mr. Ryan will be interviewing many of the D-Day participants who agree to contri- bute to the book. Very probably, he will wish to talk with you during that period. In the meantime, since we are dealing with literally hundreds of people, we have found it necessary to develop an individual file on each person who agrees to help us. Therefore, we hope that if you are interested in the project, you will complete the enclosed record and re- turn it to me at your earliest convenience. We truly believe that these questions will serve you, as well as us, if they can help to crystallize some hazy memories and to indicate the sort of information which we are seeking.

I should be most grateful to know as soon as possible when and if you will be available for interview during the next few months. We want very much to tell the story of your unit, and in order to do that we need your personal account. We look forward eagerly to your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Frances Ward Research Department

FW:LL Enclosure

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