By Don C. Brunell
Business analyst 

America's roughnecks fueled Allied D-Day


August 26, 2021

When thinking of England’s fabled Sherwood Forest, the medieval images of Robin Hood hiding in the woods giving the Sheriff of Nottingham a hard time comes to mind.

Who would envision a crew of young American oil workers concealed among the giant oaks drilling oil wells? However, the crude production from those wells was essential in helping fuel the D-Day invasion launched from English shores in 1944.

Until Guy Woodward and Grace Steele Woodward published “The Secret of Sherwood Forest – Oil production in England during World War II” in 1973, the story was just a glossed over historical footnote.

As America prepares to celebrate Labor Day this year, it is important to remember the dedicated men and women who continue to work long hours to supply our armed forces with the equipment and supplies. They make our nation great and they are often forgotten.

The Sherwood Forest oil patch story is not a fable. During WWII, it was a closely held secret. Those 42 “roughnecks” secretly traveled by ship across the Atlantic dodging German subs.

They erected camouflaged derricks, known as “nodding donkeys” and extracted oil. That oil patch became known as the “unsinkable tanker.”

The time period was devoid of modern surveillance satellites, high-tech drones, and high-flying spy planes – and there was no internet. Who’d think of an oil field among groves of oak? Thankfully, not the Germans.

The British needed American “know how.” Its oil companies and workers were equipped to drill deep wells and needed shallow well expertise from Oklahoma.

England had one oil field and it was in Sherwood Forest. Its meager output of 300 barrels a day was increased to more than 1.2 million barrels by March 1944.

“They worked 12 hour tours, 7 days a week and within a year,” Gil Knight wrote in the Oklahoma Minerals newsletter.

To commemorate their accomplishment, the British erected a 7-foot bronze statue (The Oil Patch Warrior) of a roughneck holding a 4-foot pipe wrench. It stands near Nottingham, to honor the American oil men’s assistance and sacrifice in the war. A replica was placed in Ardmore, Oklahoma, in 2001.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021

Rendered 11/07/2022 05:27