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David E. Daniel Papers

Identifier: H004-19

Scope and Content

This collection contains photographs, clippings, and a pilot log book that were created and/or collected by David E. Daniel during his military career and his involvement in the Allied invasion of Normandy also known as D-Day. The David E. Daniel Papers are housed in two boxes, totaling 2.2 linear ft.

The collection arrived in fair condition. The archivist identified three series with the first series being the Photographs Series depicting Lt. Col. Daniel and his flag ship crew shortly before and after their mission flight in front of their airplane. Left to right are shown: 1. Chalfant [sic], Harry, Sgt. Crew Chief; 2. Wil, 3. Barney [sic] Blakenship; 4. Col. John M. Donaldsons; 5. Lt. Col. David E. Daniel holding his Scottish terrier puppy in his arms; 6. Groswind [sic]; and 7. Shaldeross [sic].

The second series is the The Birmingham Post and The Birmingham Age-Herald Series containing articles about Daniel's life and him piloting the first plane to lead the Normandy Invasion.

The third series is the Steele's Senior Pilot Log Book Series covering Daniel's flight training at Hicks Field, Texas as well as all his flight missions during World War II. Of particular interest are his entries from June 5, 1944 through June 4, 1945 starting from "Led Invasion of France," through "Sightseeing the invasion coast." The log books contains numerous entries in the "Remarks" section commenting on current events and personal impressions.


  • 1940 - 1945
  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 1944

Language of Materials

Collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection are open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish material from this collection in any form, current or future, must be obtained from the Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Biographical Sketch

David Edwin Daniel was born in 1917 to Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Daniel from Birmingham, Alabama. The couple had two sons, one of which, Dr. David E. Daniel, Jr., later served as the fourth President of The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) from 2005 through 2015. Daniel, Sr. graduated from Ramsay High School and received a degree from Birmingham-Southern College. After college, he worked as a sales representative for the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company.

In 1940, Daniel started his pilot training at Hicks Field at Fort Worth, Texas flying Fairchild PT-19 airplanes. After completing the course in February 1941, he moved on to Randolph Field, Texas training on North American BT-9 Yale airplanes. From May through July, he participated in the Advance Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, piloting North American AT-6 Texan airplanes. On July 11, 1941, he received his rating as a U.S. Army Pilot. His first flight after flying school was on an AT-6 at Selfridge Field, Michigan. From 1941 through 1944, Daniel was stationed at various US and overseas stations to complete his training mainly on a Douglas DC-3/C-47 Skytrain. On January 24, 1944, he took his “first hop in my new plane- Belle of Birmingham” at Fort Wayne, Florida.

Daniel was the commander of a troop carrier command squadron, which he also trained for the invasion. After a test run on June 5, 1944, the next day, D-Day, he piloted the first flight of the invasion to Normandy, France dropping members of the 502nd Regiment of the 101st Division at Sainte-Mère-Église, France, towing gliders. His plane was hit by enemy fire forty-seven times. In the days following the invasion, Daniel flew resupply and medical evacuation flights. In July 1944, he was reassigned to Italy and Southern France dropping troops and resupplies.

On December 23, 1944, Daniel supported the 101st Division during the Battle of Bastogne with equipment. During the winter of 1944/1945, Daniel flew numerous missions throughout the European Theater and in Africa. On March 24, 1945, he dropped paratroopers across the Rhine and resupplied the American troops in Germany. Almost to the day after the invasion in Normandy, Daniel wrote in his logbook on June 4, 1945 “Sightseeing the invasion coast.”


“David E. Daniel Papers,” “Birmingham Flier Pilots First Invasion Plane,” “The Birmingham Post,” 1944, page 6, Folder 1, Box 1, Series II, History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
“David E. Daniel Papers“, “Allied Invasion Forces Land on French Coast,” “The Birmingham Age-Harald,” vol. 74, no. 73, June 6, 1944, page 1, Folder 1, Box 2, Series II, History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
“David E. Daniel Papers,” Pilot log book, Folder 3, Box 1, Series III, History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
“Dr. David Daniel Named President Emeritus of UT Dallas,” “UTD News Center,” November 16, 2018, , accessed June 27, 2019.


2.2 Linear Feet (One half-size manuscript box and one non-standard box (25x20x2).)


David Edwin Daniel was a fixed wing pilot leading with his airplane the Invasion of Normandy during D-Day on June 6, 1945. His papers reflect his flight training and his missions during World War II.

Series Description

The David E. Daniel Papers are arranged in three series:

Series I. Photographs 0.01 linear ft. (one folder), 1944-06-06.

Arranged by topic.

Series II. “The Birmingham Post“ and “The Birmingham Age-Herald” 2.1 linear ft. (one folder and one non-standard box), 1944-06.

Arranged by topic.

Series III. Steele’s Senior Pilot Log Book 0.04 linear ft. (one folder), 1940 -1945.

Arranged by topic.

Provenance Statement

The David E. Daniel Papers were donated to the History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas, by Dr. David E. Daniel, Jr., on 2019-03-21.

Existence and Location of Copies

The entire collection was scanned at 600dpi, TIFF and is preserved in clould storage.

Additional Sources

Additional information can be found in the History of Aviation Archives in the following collections:

History of Aviation Collection.

Image ID

It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission from copyright holders of materials to which this institution does not own copyright.

Images in this collection are identified by a unique number that provides information about the format, record group, collection, series, box, folder, and image numbers. Please use this number when ordering reproductions of images from this collection.

Record Group Code

1 = CAT/Air American Archives

2 = Doolittle Archives

3 = Lighter than Air Archives

4 = George H. Williams, Jr., World War I Aviation Library

5 = History of Aviation Archives

6 = University Archives

7 = HAC Stacks

8 = WPRL Stacks

9 = Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Collection

10 = Belsterling Collection

11 = Closed Stacks

12 = Unidentified

13 = Chance Vought Archives

14 = Twirly Birds Archives

Image Format Code

P = Photograph/Postcard

S = Slide

N = Negative

T = Positive Transparency

B = Black and White

C = Color

Example: 5DED-1-1-PB1

5 = History of Aviation Archives

DED= David E. Daniel Papers

= Series Number

1 = Box Number

1 = Folder Number

P = Photograph/Postcard

B = Black and White

1 = Image Number

Images archived in plastic image holders may also have a location code in the format: 1/TL. In this example, the number is the sheet number and the letters indicate the top left position on the sheet. Position indicators are T = top, L = left, R = right, M = middle, and B = bottom. Position indicators may be combined to describe the position on the sheet, as shown in this example.

Note to the Researcher

The images are housed in polypropylene sleeves or interleafed with acid-free papers.
Guide to the David E. Daniel Papers, 1917-
Patrizia Nava, CA
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
English (eng)

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Division, History of Aviation Archives. Repository

3020 Waterview Pkwy
Suite 11.206
Richardson Texas 75080 US
972-883-4590 (Fax)