Roughnecks of Sherwood Forest

Top Secret WWII project sent Oklahoma drillers into British oilfield. They added more than one million barrels of oil production by 1944.

 

As the United Kingdom fought for its survival during World War II, a team of American oil drillers, derrickhands, roustabouts, and motormen secretly boarded the converted troopship HMS Queen Elizabeth in March 1943. Once their story was revealed years later, they would become known as the Roughnecks of Sherwood Forest.

Photograph of the 42 volunteers from Noble Drilling and Fain-Porter Drilling companies who drilled in Sherwood Forest during WWII.

A photograph of the 42 volunteers from Noble Drilling and Fain-Porter Drilling companies taken before they secretly embarked for the United Kingdom on March 12, 1943, aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, which had been converted into a troop transport ship. Photo courtesy of the Guy Woodward Collection, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

By the summer of 1942, the situation was desperate. The future of Great Britain – and the outcome of World War II – depended on petroleum supplies. At the end of that year, demand for 100-octane fuel would grow to more than 150,000 barrels of oil every day — and German U-boats ruled the Atlantic.

In August 1942, British Secretary of Petroleum, Geoffrey Lloyd called an emergency meeting of the Oil Control Board to assess the “impending crisis in oil.” (more…)

Pin It on Pinterest