Half the fun of winning a new group of WWII photos on eBay lies in the research and presentation of the material. After recently having placed the winning bid on a set of 50
or so WWII photos of what appeared to be some sort of beach landing, I quickly realized that I had something more important in my possession.
After asking the gracious seller a little bit of info about the provenience of the lot, I soon found out that the photos came from the estate of a deceased WWII veteran from Santa Rosa, CA. Al Pellegrini was the skipper of the LCT-535 during the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, and either snapped, or was given these photos as a memento of his time aboard the 535.
According to a 1994 article by Gaye LeBaron of the Press Democrat,
“Ensign Albert J. Pellegrini of Santa Rosa, California, came early to the invasion of Normandy. He landed his LCT 535 about 10 minutes ahead of H-Hour on the sands of Omaha Beach, earning the distinction of being the skipper of the first American vessel to land on the French coast on June 6th, 1944.”
Wow! What did I stumble across with this innocuous looking eBay listing? I hope to present these photos to show the world the faces of the first men to land on Omaha Beach on that fateful day nearly 70 years ago.
Many more photos to come!