461st plaque

461st Bombardment Group (H)

William D. Griffin

William Griffin

William Dallas Griffin was an American photographer, chemist, teacher, inventor, and World War II veteran.  He is most noted for more than 500 of his nature and scenic photographs which have been published in books, magazines, and calendars.  His work has appeared in Encyclopedia Britannica, Time-Life, National Geographic, Audubon, Reader’s Digest, PSA Journal, The Sunday Newark News, U.S. Camera, New Jersey Outdoors, and Ranger Rick.  William is represented by AnimalsAnimals Picture Agency in New York City.

William was born at 1:15 AM on January 1, 1925 in Plainfield New Jersey, the son of Ralph Eastman Griffin and Jessie Dallas Griffin.  As a boy he received his first camera at the age of eleven.  It was a Univex Model A camera that cost thirty nine cents.  In 1936, at the age of eleven, he snapped a photograph of the air ship Hindenburg as it flew over Manasquan New Jersey, along the Jersey Shore, with his Univex Model A camera.  While attending North Plainfield high school his talent in photography grew and he became photo editor for his high school year book.  He also earned a varsity letter in baseball in high school.  He graduated from North Plainfield High in 1942 as the recipient of the Calco scholarship in chemistry.

William entered Rutgers University in the fall of 1942 to study chemistry.  In 1943 he enlisted in the Air Cadet program of the United States Army.  He graduated from the Army Air Corp’s Ariel Navigation School in San Marcos, Texas.  In 1944 he transferred to Davis Monthan Air Base in Tucson, Arizona where he trained in a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber.  After graduation he ferried a new B-24 bomber to Italy.  He became a member of the 461st Bomb Group of the Fifteenth Air Force at Cerignola, Italy.  As a First Lieutenant in the Fifteenth Air Force he flew twenty-six missions over southern and central Europe as a navigator in a B-24 Liberator, for which he was awarded the Air Medal.

After World War II he returned home and, on Halloween in 1947, William married Margaret Ann Rutledge, whom he had known since he was fourteen years old, from North Plainfield, New Jersey.  He resumed is college education and in 1948 he graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemistry.  In that same year William and Margaret moved to Morristown, New Jersey, where he went to work for Allied Chemical.  William worked for Allied Chemical for twenty-three years.  William holds eleven patents in Organic Chemistry with the United States Patent Office.  William’s research resulted in commercial process for producing Phenol now used worldwide.

In 1953 William became a founding member of the Morris Photocolor Club.  He is also a past President of the Morris Photocolor Club.  William is also a past officer of the New Jersey Federation of Camera Clubs and a past member of the Photographic Society of America; honored with Fellowship (FPSA).

His first published photographs were in The Newark Sunday News.  They were photographs of winter song birds.  He has over 3500 Acceptances for exhibitions of color prints and slides of nature subjects in International Exhibitions, and has been awarded with over 400 ribbons and medals.

For thirty years (between the years 1965 and 1995) William taught photography at the Madison/Chatham adult school in Madison, New Jersey.

Since 1955 William had lectured throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware on photographic, nature, and travel topics to camera clubs, garden clubs, youth groups, and senior groups.  In 1977 William was the first person in the eastern United States to receive the Photographer Naturalist Citation from the Photographic Society of America.  This award recognizes prolific acceptance of nature photography in international exhibitions.

For twenty years William had a color dark room set up in his home where he created color prints which he made available for exhibitions, competitions and also for sale.
William retired in 1990 from the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey, where he had spent seventeen years teaching math and chemistry, and supervising the Chemistry Department Preparation Room.  After his retirement he continued at the County College of Morris another eleven years as an adjunct chemistry professor.  He also taught photography at the County College of Morris for twenty of his twenty-eight years of service.

William was listed in Who’s Who In the East (24th edition), Who’s Who In Science and Chemistry (2nd and 3rd editions), and in Who’s Who In American Education (4th edition).  He was also listed in American Men and Women of Science.

His most notable photo subjects include birds, nature subjects, covered bridges, lighthouses, steam engines, and scenery.  He has captured many photos of his published song birds’ right from his own dining room by photographing birds on the bird feeder outside his dining room window.  Many of his famous shore bird photographs were captured along the Jersey shore in locations such as in Brigantine New Jersey, Cape May, New Jersey, and Stone Harbor, New Jersey, as well locations in Florida such as the J.N “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida, and the Florida Everglades.  His favorite spots for covered bridges and scenery were Vermont, Maine, and Pennsylvania (Bucks County and Lancaster County).  The New England coastline was his favorite place for lighthouse photography.

In 2001 William was awarded medals for Distinguished Service in World War II by the State of New Jersey and also by the County of Morris in New Jersey.

William was almost always smoking a pipe and also enjoyed smoking cigars.  He loved gardening and growing house plants and always found joy in his tropical fish tanks.  His favorite pastimes included listening to classical music and watching football and baseball games.  Known for his sweet tooth, it was rare for a day to go by that William did not have a bowl of ice cream.  William and Margaret are the parents of six sons: William Jr., Richard, Larry, Robert, John, and Jeffrey.

On Thursday March 18, 2010 at 6:55 PM, William died in the Intensive Care Unit of Morristown Memorial Hospital in Morristown, New Jersey after suffering from a massive stroke.

Mission Diary

21 February 1945

A/c #55

Mission to bomb the South M/Y at Vienna, Austria. 

1 March 1945

A/c #48

Mission to Moosbierbaum, Austria to bomb an oil refinery.  Good results.  7 hours, 13 minutes.  Moderate, but accurate flak over target.  Also over Zagreb on the way up.  Dropped 7 500 lb bombs.  Got two flak holes in plane - one large one in upper turret.  Undercast near target, but clear over Italy.  No planes lost in our squadron.  Landed at an emergency field in Yugoslavia near Zara because of low fuel.  Stayed overnight in pyramid tent.  Bombed from 24,000'.

8 March 1945

Mission to bomb M/Y at Hegyeshalom Northwest of Gyor on railroad to Vienna.  Dropped 7 500 lb bombs with good results.  No flak.  Bombed at 23,000' - temperature -37°C.  Made two bomb runs.  4/10th cloud covering.  6 hours, 21 minutes.

19 March 1945

Mission to bomb the M/Y at Muhldorf, Germany from 16,000' with 36 100 lb bombs.  Very good results - caused huge clouds of smole at target.  Several bombs exploded right after release jarring the plane, but not damaging it.  No flak.  Clear over target.  7 hours, 34 minutes.  Flew in deputy lead plane in "C" box.  Destroyed 6 FW-190s parked on the airfield.

25 March 1945

Mission to bomb an airdrome in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  Made two bomb runs, but bombardier couldn't pick it up so we bombed an airdrome at Wels, Austria from 22,000' with 36 clusters and three 36 lb fragmentation bombs each.  Very good results.  Sighted flak at Prague, but none came near us.  8 hours, 30 minutes. 

16 April 1945

A/c #46

Mission to bomb troop concentrations near Bologna, Italy.  Group did not bomb, but got credit for the mission.

26 April 1945

Briefed to bomb ammo dump in northern Italy, but because of bad weather, hit M/Y in Lienz, Austria instead.  20 250 lb bombs, 14,000', 7 hours, 5 minutes.  Bombed low to fly in under clouds.  Flew nose turret lead in "B" box.  We were the first ones to bomb the target.  Good results.  Target hard to pick up, but bombed on first run.  Extreme cloudiness in northern Italy, Yugoslavia and at target, but clear over Adriatic.  No flak.  Made the bomb run down a curving valley and rallied up another valley.  Nearby mountains up to 11,000'.  Bomb hits 100% within 1,000' circle.  Highest score in Squadron lately.  This was the last mission flown by the Squadron in this theatre.