This photograph is a true mystery for me. I can’t identify the sitter of this photograph even though there is so much information to work with:
- He’s identified on the print as Pvt. John Illiano of the 102nd Ambulance Company
- He’s sporting a 26th Division uniform with at least 1 1/2 years overseas service
- He was one of the first 100,000 US soldiers to enlist (conjecture based on star)
- He’s most likely from New England at the time of enlistment
- Probably Italian-American
I found a digital scan of this photo on War Relics Forum, a site dedicated to WWII artifact research. The OP of this photo, MD Helmets, doesn’t have any additional information but did claim he/she purchased it from Bay State Militaria back in 2013.
What do you guys think? Any leads?
102nd Ambulance Company “Mystery Sitter”
I’m trying something new with this post…… I recently purchased a large lot of headshots of unnamed members of the 739th Field Artillery Battalion. All the photos were taken in a single sitting in a German studio by a photographer named Lothar Schilling. I’m currently in the process of identifying each of the men using a unit history with group shots of each particular battery….. more to come on that…….
The image below was created by taking a cropped view of each photo and adding them together in quick succession. Each face is rendered as an individual frame to create a soundless film of the entirety of the group. I thought it was interesting to see the vast differences in each facial expression of the 90+ man group. Complete photo lots like this are hard to come by, especially with such high image quality.
Laurel L. Hanan of the 339th Machine Gun Battalion of the 88th Division succumbed to the Spanish Flu during the Meuse Argonne Offensive during the tail end of WWI. Over 120,000 US servicemen were afflicted with Spanish Flu during the war, actually making the Flu more deadly than German machine gun bullets! I was able to stumble across this photo on eBay and was happy to add it to my collection. I’ve added Laurel’s photo to his findagrave.com page, and have requested an update to his page. Laurel was reburied in his hometown after the war.
Born: 13 NOV 1895
Died: 7 OCT 1918 – Spanish Influenza, France
Cemetery: ROSE HILL
County: CHICKASAW CO. – IOWA
Record Notes: WORLD WAR