Straight from the dusty PortraitsofWar archives comes an incredibly unique 8×10 photo of a window display in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during World War Two. I typically shy away from purchasing and posting “press photos” taken during the war, but this shot has so much potential research that I felt it deserved to be digitized.
Lancaster, PA WWII Portrait Photo Display
I purchased this photo while visiting a friend in the Philadelphia area. The reverse side of the photo identifies the photo as the F.W. Woolworth building in Lancaster, PA. The store identity is confirmed in the image; the tiled entrance and gilded placard identify the establishment as such. The date of the photo wasn’t noted, but the presence of the 4th Liberty Loan Bond dates the image to 1944.
4th War Loan Drive Poster, ca. 1944
My guess is that the store asked for portrait photos of local veterans to post in the storefront. A rough estimate puts the number at 100 portraits visible in the window. The shots runt he gamut of WWII service branches, including the Marine leathernecks, Army Air Force pilots, female WAC and Waves, Navy Sailors as well as regular Army soldiers.
4th Loan Poster
I plan on contacting a number of Lancaster, PA historical societies, veteran groups and newspapers in hopes of identifying a few of the veterans posed in the Woolworth’s window.
This incredibly moving snapshot from my WWII collection captures a wide range of emotions. The only identification I have for the photo is that it was taken in a town/village/city named Poules during the tail end of the war. A US GI followed a joyous parade of French citizens and Free French (FFI) underground soldiers as they proudly walk down the streets of their newly liberated city. It’s a photo that speaks volumes.
German Collaborator Parade
After nearly four years of German occupation, a contingent of the French population were eager to fight back against the oppressive rule of their German visitors. In this post’s main photo we see a young, attractive female underground soldier causally smoking a cigarette, toting German “potato masher” stick grenades while holding a captured German rifle and briefcase. To her left we see a group of young French women who have been publicly shamed. Their shaved heads were shaped to show a swastika. A joyous moment for the FFI, yet a horrible moment for the women who were caught up in the frenzy of the German occupation. This photo has never been digitized for display on the web. You’re the first to see it!
FFI Female Underground Soldier
Similar Photos From the Web
Another hero of the French Resistance during World War II and decorated for saving the lives of U.S. soldiers shot down behind enemy lines was Micheline Blum-Picard. Only eighteen-years-old when she first became involved in the Resistance, Blum-Picard started by carrying messages taped to her back and then progressed to photographing inside factories damaged by bombing raids By D-Day, however, she was carrying a rifle, a pistol, and a hand grenade wherever she went. inyourfacewomen.blogspot.com
Female French Resistance
World War II resistant woman fighter – Paris,1940s photograph the New York Public Library Picture Collection
Member of the French resistance with German tunic and thompson machine gun by Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, via Flickr
Today I quietly celebrated my 200,000th blog view from my desk at work. I knew the number was coming, and with nearly 300 views a day I was able to predict that the 200k plateau would be reached this week. What should I write about on this momentous day? I thought back to all my favorite posts…….
Ambrose R. Canty ca. 1944
With all those topics in mind I kept coming back to the one man who “brought me into the fold” of researching WWII history. My grandfather. Ambrose R. Canty taught me from a young age that you should respect your elders, listen to their stories, as well as how to play poker, pitch, bridge, rummy and pocketknife baseball. He also told me stories of his experiences during the second world war. Stories that would be gradually elaborated on as I grew older. Having spent the majority of my youth with him, I was able to learn a lot about the 69th Infantry Regiment and specifically the 777th Tank Battalion.
Ambrose on Furlough, 1944
My interest in WWII history started with my grandfather, and I feel that on my 200,000th view that I should post a rememberance post to him. Although he passed away nearly five years ago, I still feel a connection with him. My early interaction with him live on through this website, and I hope I’m able to help pass on the passion Amby imbued in me at a young age.
Amby (second from right) Holds a Captured German Flag in Leipzig
Grampy, thanks for everything.
Ambrose Washing in His Helmet, Germany 1945
777th Reproduction WWII Patch
August 25th, 1944,
Glenn Miller poses with some members of the 388th Bomb Group. Only a few months later Miller went missing during a flight over the English Channel, launching a 70 year search for his wreckage. His death is still an unknown, although many suggest that he was in fact a German spy or was possibly shot down by friendly fire. Check here for some possible leads:
Glenn Miller Poses with 388th Bomb Group Officials in Knettishall, Sussex, England
Some of Glenn’s best known hits are Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo, A String of Pearls, Little Brown Jug and Tuxedo Junction. Many of these songs are likely lost on my generation, but will be familiar to many of the readers of this blog. Please check out the links listed below for some vintage Glenn Miller footage!
Another 388th Big Wig (unnamed)
Alva Snaps a Photo of the Glenn Miller Band Crowd
Remember the badass dude posted below? My first post on him can be found here. 2nd Lt. Robert Duffy has an incredible WWII story, nearly seven years before these phtoto were taken……..
On July 27th 1944, an American fighter plane crashed in flames in a field belonging to the Laurent family in the hamlet of the Scellerie… The battle was raging and the inhabitants of Le Mesnilbus had several days past received the order to evacuate. Returning from the exodus, they found the wreckage of the war strewn across the countryside, but they had to pick up their lives, to repair the damage as best they could…they had many worries! A half century has quickly passed…and now Michael Rainfroy, impassioned by the history of lost aircraft, has brought back from oblivion and the earth the American aircraft…a Thunderbolt P-47. Thanks to the records of the American Army, they found that it was a plane from the 404th Fighter Group. Then they discovered the name of the pilot and with the help of the “Poop Sheet” of former American pilots, they found our pilot alive and well and living in Colorado! That was Robert Lee Duffy who had successfully parachuted near the village of Cambernon. This memorial, erected in his honor, will keep alive the memories of the sacrifices of all the fighters and of this page of local history.
Robert Duffy in the Korean War
Check out the squint in those eyes……… he’s seen some combat and is more than likely glad to be in a maintenance squadron during the Korean War. The funny thing is that he didn’t resist the urge to fly and test out the recently rehabbed fighters. In the shot below, never before seen, we can see Lt. Duffy testing out the recently installed rudder of a Korean War P-51. Shot with 35mm color Kodachrome film by his wing man, this photo is an incredible snapshot for the family and friends of the Duffy’s.
Testing Out a P-51 Rudder
More to come…………………………
The elusive artist and photographer, Alva V. Alegre, is still making waves here at PortraitsofWar. Two recent visitors to the site have been able to shed some light on his work. I’m posting the first here for followers of Alva’s work to see before I set into the newly acquired info regarding his background.
The following shot was sent to me by an art collector on the East Coast who luckily had the painting conserved and removed from a foam core backing after finding the work in a Virginia antique shop. The style is quintessential Alegre and incorporates the scantily clad and thin wasted figure so often depicted in his WWII work.
Newly Discovered Alegre Artwork
Alva Alegre at Work in England, 1944
Alegre’s work has fascinated me for nearly six years, and I’ve spend countless hours searching for other examples of his work, as well as for tidbits that may lead to information related to his life. For those of you who haven’t seen my posts on Alva, please check out the links below:
If you have an Alegre painting in your collection, please come forward with a photograph. His work has been coming out of the woodwork in the past six years, and the story of his life is quickly unraveling. A special thanks to Scott for his generous photograph of his prized Alegre work of art.
Private WWII color footage is one of the hardest avenues of militaria collecting to break into. Reels of film are often tossed away after estates sales, never viewed for their content. It’s a rare occasion to find a small piece of WWII history tucked away in a film collection, undigitized and likely unviewed for decades.
In this case, I was able to acquire a quick 1:28 film shot by a group of buddies on the beaches of a training camp somewhere on the Pacific during WWII. This educated guess is based on the early field gear pictured in the film which includes the shortly-used M1917A helmet. The hand cranked radio generator, the pith helmet as well as the offshore battleships point towards an early film. Sadly, the color of the footage wasn’t really picked up during the digitization. Each frame is scannable with my Epson V700, but the color was lost during the professional digitization. Enjoy!
The Hawaiian music was added by the digitization company.
Film After Processing
Opening Clip Cells
Scanned Cells Showing Color
Crank Radio Cells