For information about the Veterans Park contact:

Nederland Parks & Recreation Department
2301 Avenue H
Nederland, TX 77627 
Phone: 409-724-0773


For information about the Database contact:

Marion & Ed Hughes
Public Library
2712 Nederland Avenue
Nederland, TX 77627 
Phone: 409-722-1255

Buy A Bomber Campaign

During World War II, multiple nationwide drives were conducted to sell war bonds. War bonds were one way the average American could invest in the war effort and see that investment increase over time. For instance, a bond could be purchased for $18.75. After ten years the bond would mature, at which time the United States government paid the bondholder $25.

The government also promoted special bond campaigns that encouraged members of an organization or community to pool their bond purchases and leverage them into a major purchase to support the war effort. Program were aimed at purchasing guns, ships and other critical resources. Local newspapers showed that residents of Nederland participated in a "Buy-a-Bomber" compaign.

Articles on the Buy-A-Bomber campaign which specifically mention Nederland:

Port Arthur News, May 22, 1942, pg. 3
Port Arthur News, May 24, 1942, pg. 12
Chronicle, May 29, 1942, pg. 1
Port Arthur News, May 29, 1942, pg. 7

Port Arthur News, May 31, 1942, pg. 9
Chronicle, June 5, 1942, pg. 1
Chronicle, August 14, 1942, pg. 3


Earlier this year, we contacted several resources to see if there was any information on the B-17, City of Nederland. Tab Lewis a researcer at the Textual Reference Archives II Branch, National Archives and Records Administration responded to the query. He stated there were "several series relating to various war loan and bond programs during and after World War II. A series of records entitled "Historical and Promotional Records, 1941-1960" include files from state drives to "Buy a Bomber" for the war. ... several documents that mention Nederland in the file entitled "Texas-Sponsored War Equipment." He provided scans of the documents, which are included below.

To summarize the letters:
Sometime before June 18, 1942, A. E. Waver, Chairman of the Jefferson County War Bond Committee, sent a letter to Frank Scofield, State Administrator , War Savings Staff, stating that the City of Nederland had sold enough War Savings Bonds to purchase a bomber. That correspondence was documented in a letter date dated June 18, 1942 from Frank Scofield to R. W. Sparks, War Savings Staff in Washington D.C. On July 8, 1942, Robert Harper, Chief, Special Events sent letter to Messrs. Scofield and Weaver stating that a bomber named "City of Nederland, Texas" would be christened in the next few days. A letter was also sent to Captain Stanford Chester of the Army Air Forces Public Relations Division requesting that he arrange for pictures be tane of the "Christening" and at least one be sent to Mr. Scofield. The Final letter dated September 16, 1942 indicated that Mr. Harper had sent the requested photographs to Mr. Scofield.

Below are links to the letters:

Frank Scofield to R. W. Sparks -- June 18, 1942
Robert Harper to A. E. Weaver -- July 8, 1942
Robert Harper to Frank Scofield -- July 8, 1942
Robert Harper to Captain Stanford Chester -- July 8, 1942
Robert Harper to Frank Scofield -- September 16, 1942

If you notice the word "Christening" is in quotations. In Kansas City B-25 Factory page 8, the authors state:
“Another tools was for communities and other groups to raise funds to ‘buy a bomber.’ … At the start of the program, airplanes were adorned with the name of the contributing group painted onto the nose. The exigencies of war caused deception to creep into the program. At North American of Kansas, the ruse was carried out in the photographic. A master photograph of a B-25 was prepared. Often, there was no serial number or other identifying marks. A calligrapher then inked the name of the contributing group onto paper. The image was photographed so the group name was then overlaid onto the generic negative. The resulting 8-by-10 inch photograph implied that there was an actual B-25 with white paint decorating the nose in celebration of the monetary contribution. Every group received a photograph of one of a few airplanes, and nobody at the factory bothered to dab a brush into a can of paint. Many people have attempted to research the combat fate of “their” bomber, only to be frustrated when told that no such airplane ever existed."
Source: Frederickson, John and John Roper. "Kansas City B-25 Factory." Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2014.

Take a look at the photograph of Nederland's B-17 bomber. Notice the area around the name that looks scrubbed out? Perhaps that area was caused the result of the ruse described above and is the reason for the word "Christening" to be place in quotation marks in the letter.

Nederland's bomber

City of Nederland's B-17 Bomber.
Photograph courtesy of the Nederland Historical Society.

 

In 1943, Townsend Dairy sponsored an add for the campaign. The ad appeared in the Port Arthur News on August 17th.

Buy A Bomber ad

 

Information on the "Buy a Bomber" campaign was printed in the AAF: The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces A Directory, Almanac and Chronicle of Achievement, on pages 128 and 129.

AAF Guide