Edwin H. Royle
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 05/19/1944 - 09/24/1945
Navigator, B-17, 490th Bomb Group

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Edwin was reared in Oklahoma City, as the son of a salesman for American Chewing Gum. He graduated from Central High School in 1936 and remained in Oklahoma City when his parents divorced and his mother moved away. He worked as a billing clerk for American Iron and Machine Works Company and rented a room at the YMCA for $2.50 a week. In April of 1943 he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces, aiming for flight training. Applicants had to weigh a minimum 140 pounds. Edwin fell just below the required weight at 138 1/2. "So I ate eight bananas and drank a whole quart of water before I went down to weigh. And I weighed 140 pounds when I went in," Edwin recalls. As a navigator on a B-17, he was assigned to a crew at MacDill Field near Tampa, Florida, and flew overseas. There he was stationed at Eye, England, about eighty miles north of London, and attached to the 850th Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force. Edwin flew his first of thirty-five missions on October 22, 1944. Most missions ranged between six to ten hours. No crewmember was ever wounded on his B-17, although, he says, "We'd lose seven or eight planes on every mission." In bombing Berlin, he recalls as many as 2,000 planes in the air at one time. "It would take all day to cross," he says. "When we came back they'd still be crossing the English Channel going to Berlin." During the Battle of the Bulge, he flew four missions in five days, including two on Christmas Eve and two the day after Christmas. In April of 1945 he returned home on the Queen Mary. He left the service at Randolph Field in San Antonio as a first lieutenant in September of 1945. When he returned to American Iron and Machine Works he told his boss he wanted a sales job, and was sent to Shreveport in 1952. He soon began buying used oil field equipment around the world, and traveled to fifteen countries while working for his company, Globe Supply.