More "Little-Known" Heroes of WWII...Another great history lesson not taught in school.
THE OIL PATCH WARRIORS OF WORLD WAR II
Seventy-five years ago this
month, a Band of Roughnecks went abroad on a top-secret mission into Robin
Hood's stomping grounds to punch oil wells to help fuel England's war machines.
It's a story that should make any oilman or woman proud.
England had but one oil
field, in Sherwood Forest of all places. Its meager output of 300 barrels a day
was literally a drop in the bucket of their requirement of 150,000 barrels a day
to fuel their war machines.
Then a top-secret plan was
devised: to send some Americans and their expertise to assist in developing the
field. Oklahoma based Noble Drilling Company, along with Fain-Porter signed a
one-year contract to drill 100 wells for England, merely for costs and expenses.
42 drillers and roughnecks from Texas and Oklahoma, most in their teens and
early twenties volunteered for the mission to go abroad. The hands embarked for
England in March 1943 aboard the
The contract fulfilled; the
American oil men departed England in late March 1944. But only 41 hands were on
board the return voyage. Herman Douthit, a Texan derrick-hand was killed during
the operation. He was laid to rest with full military honors and remains the
only "civilian" to be buried at The American Military Cemetery in
Cambridge. "The Oil Patch Warrior," a seven-foot bronze statue of a
roughneck holding a four-foot pipe wrench stands near Nottingham England to
honor the American oil men's assistance and sacrifice in the war. A replica was
placed in Ardmore Oklahoma in 2001.
It is by no means a stretch
to state that without this American mission, we might all be speaking German