UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

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World War II Oral History recordings

 Collection — Box: 1 [F09.039.06.05]
Identifier: MS0595

Content Description

The collection consists of 19 CDs of oral history recordings of Ben Cole, a World War II veteran, discussing his experiences during the war. The first hour sets up the 1930s in Charlotte during the Depression and the global forces that pulled the United States into the war. His destroyer was in Leyte Gulf, the Solomon Islands, and many other locations around the Pacific. There is also a 30 minute interview with Robert Benton, who was a fighter pilot and served during D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, among many other engagements. He flew in 65 combat missions and was awarded the Purple Heart.


  • 1930-1972

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

The World War II Oral History recordings are the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Ben Nooe Cole was born at 901 North Pine Street in the Fourth Ward of Charlotte, North Carolina on May 1, 1919. He joined the Naval Reserve in 1940 and was commissioned Ensign in the Naval Reserve in 1941, when he received orders to a destroyer at sea and was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked in December of 1941. He served the entire length of the war and for many years afterward. Cole was on the same destroyer (USS Hovey) for the duration of the war and was commanding officer when a kamikaze pilot sunk his ship in January 1945, which resulted in the loss of the majority of his men. After the war, he returned to Wake Forest and finished his undergraduate degree and continued on to Law School. After being admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1948, he re-entered the Navy to practice law and was a JAGS Corp officer until he retired in 1972 as a Captain. Cole passed away on February 4, 2009 at his home in Henrietta, North Carolina.


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Contains 19 CDs of recordings of Ben Cole discussing his experiences in the Navy during World War II. He also discusses Charlotte in the years leading up to the war and the difficulties of integration back into civilian life after the war's conclusion. Also contains an interview with Robert Benton discussing his wartime experiences.
World War II Oral History recordings
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 USA