Harry C. Kolacinski of Milwaukee, WI: WWII Identified Studio Portrait


eBay has been a consistent source of fantastic portraiture for PortraitsofWar for over five years.  The material that pops up on the web is easy to acquire and makes for a fun and interesting research project.  In this case, I was able to track down an identified photo of a US airman wearing a brim-up cap and sporting a light beard.   The photo is identified on the reverse as a Harry Kolacinski.

Harry Kolacinski in WWII

Harry Kolacinski in WWII

 

Harry was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI.   His major biographical information can be found below:

 

Army Record

Army Record

 

Harry’s 1936 Yearbook

HighSchoolYearBook

Harry in 1936

Harry in 1936

harry1936

Harry passed away in 1986

138890641_1416263456

WWI Panoramic Photo – The Most Decorated Company of the 29th Division: Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment


WARNING: LARGE FILE SIZE

WARNING: LARGE FILE SIZE

One of the most difficult aspects of WWI photography collecting is presenting it in a manner that allows for many people to view and appreciate the content. Each of my scanned panoramic photos takes at least an hour to scan in sections, and subsequently digitally splice together. This post is a particularly good example of a panoramic taken of  H Company of the 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. Note the Native American soldier as well as two soldiers wearing the ribbon for the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). Sorry about the large file size.

Click HERE for the H Company, 115th Roster

I actually was able to do some research on Company H of the 115th and found some info on a few members that I was able to identify in the photo.

 

2nd Lt. Patrick Regan

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Patrick J. Regan, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 8 October 1918, while serving with 115th Infantry, 29th Division, in action at Bois-de-Consenvoye, France. While leading his platoon against a strong enemy machinegun nest which had held up the advance of two companies, Second Lieutenant Regan divided his men into three groups, sending one group to either flank, and he himself attacking with an automatic rifle team from the front. Two of the team were killed outright, while Second Lieutenant Regan and the third man were seriously wounded, the latter unable to advance. Although severely wounded, Second Lieutenant Regan dashed with empty pistol into the machinegun nest, capturing 30 Austrian gunners and four machineguns. This gallant deed permitted the companies to advance, avoiding a terrific enemy fire. Despite his wounds, he continued to lead his platoon forward until ordered to the rear by his commanding officer.

Congressional Medal of Honor

Congressional Medal of Honor

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 50 (April 12, 1919)

Action Date: 8-Oct-18

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: 115th Infantry

Division: 29th Division

 

 

2nd Lt. Patrick Regan

2nd Lt. Patrick Regan

 

I was recently (11/2014) contacted by a grandson of Lt. Regan alerting me to his presence in the photo.  I had no idea he was present in the photo based on my prior research and the visual evidence in the photo.  His double wound stripe stood out but wasn’t enough to make a 100% identification.  Upon contact with Lt. Regan’s grandson, I was able to confirm that this is a previously unknown and non-digitized version of the Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.  I’m posting the publicly available photo here:

Lt. Regan

2nd Lt. Regan

 

 

BOLTON, ARTIE E.

Captain, U.S. Army
Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 16, 1918
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Artie E. Bolton, Captain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the Bois- de-la Grande, Montagne, France, October 16, 1918. Having been ordered to take up his position on the final objective, Captain Bolton made a personal reconnaissance of his company front line, during which time he was subjected to the artillery fire of both friendly and enemy guns and machine guns directed on his position. He again went out on the same mission and captured 20 prisoners who were carrying a machine gun.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

General Orders No. 44, W.D., 1919
Home Town: Wingina, VA

 

Captain Artie E. Bolton

 

Robert S. Landstreet

Place of Birth: Maryland, Baltimore
Home of record: Baltimore Maryland

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Robert S. Landstreet, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F., near Bois-de-Consenvoye and Bois-de-la Grande Montague, France, October 8 – 16, 1918. On October 8 First Lieutenant Landstreet led his platoon through machine-gun and rifle fire in an advance which resulted in the capture of 300 prisoners and 12 machine-guns. On the morning of October 16 lie volunteered, with one sergeant, and straightened out the line of an adjacent unit. His movements were under constant machine-gun fire, and so close to the enemy that he, with his sergeant, captured two prisoners while accomplishing their mission.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

 

Landstreet

Lt. Landstreet

 

 Hugh P. McGainey

Place of Birth: Maryland, Baltimore
Home of record: Baltimore Maryland

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Sergeant Hugh P. McGainey (ASN: 1285511), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F., near Verdun, France, October 8 – 15, 1918. In the Bois-de-Consenvoye, east of the Meuse, Sergeant McGainey, in command of his platoon, led his men, under heavy machine-gun fire, and captured approximately 500 prisoners, three fieldpieces, and many machine-guns. On October 15 he voluntarily exposed himself to warn his men against gas, and was wounded by shrapnel. He refused to go to the hospital until ordered to do so by the medical officer.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 3 (1919)

Action Date: October 8 – 15, 1918

 

Sgt. Hugh P. McGainey

Sgt. Hugh P. McGainey

 

Pietro De Bernardinis

Company H, 115th Infantry.  For extraordinary heroism in action near Verdun, France, October 17th, 1918. In the Bose de Consenvoye, east of the Meuse, Pvt. De Berdaninis, acting in the capacity of a runner, carried three successive messages through heavy barrage of both own own and the enemy’s artillery, traversing a patch where two men had previously been killed by the same barrage.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

Home address: Louis Brino, 3921 Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD.

Pietro De Berardinis

Private Pietro De Berardinis

 

FERGUSON, JOHN E.
Corporal, U.S. Army
Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 8 – 29, 1918
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John E. Ferguson, Corporal, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Samogneux, France, October 8 – 29, 1918. Throughout the offensive east of the Meuse, near Samogneux, Corporal Ferguson displayed exceptional bravery and endurance as a battalion runner, repeatedly carrying important messages through intense artillery and machine-gun fire after other runners had been killed in traversing the same routes. On numerous occasions he alone was responsible for the maintenance of both forward and rear liaison.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross


General Orders No. 37, W.D., 1919
Home Town: New York, NY

Cpl. John E. Ferguson

Cpl. John E. Ferguson

 

 

Paul Reed Gilbert

Name: Paul Reed Gilbert
Race: white
Address: 510 N. Pulaski St., Baltimore
Birth Place: Baltimore, Md.
Birth Date: 22 Feb 1898
Comment: NG pvt; pvt 1c 4/20/17; corp 5/25/17; sgt 10/27/18, Co L 5 Md. Inf; Co H 115 Inf 10/1/17, Hon disch 6/5/19, Overseas 6/15/18 to 5/24/19, Center Sector; Meuse-Argonne
Maryland in the World War 1917-1919; Military and Naval Service Records, Volumes I & II
Serbian
Order of St. Sava

Paul’s grandson alerted us to his presence in this photo.  Thanks!

Sgt. Paul R. Gilbert

Sgt. Paul R. Gilbert

 

Thomas F. Streb

Place of Birth: Maryland, Baltimore
Home of record: Baltimore Maryland

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Private Thomas F. Streb (ASN: 1285690), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F., near Verdun, France, 17 October 1918. In the Bois-de-Consenvoye east of the Meuse, Private Streb operated his automatic rifle on a post enfiladed by direct machine-gun fire during a desperate counterattack by the enemy until the rifle was damaged by the enemy’s fire and he himself was wounded. He remained on post continuing to defend same with an ordinary rifle. He was later gassed and refused to go to the hospital until ordered by his company commander.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 27 (1919)

Action Date: 17-Oct-18

Rank: Private

streb
Thomas F. Streb

Thomas F. Streb

WWII Snapshot – Four Pilots of Blackburn’s Jolly Rogers, VF-17 Identified F4U Corsair Pilots


Windy Hill, Merl William Davenport, John Orrin Ellsworth and William Lee Landreth in Bougainville

Windy Hill, Merle William Davenport, John Orrin Ellsworth and William Lee Landreth in Bougainville

VF-17062VF-17063

 

Reverse

Reverse

 

 

Merle William Davenport

 “Butch” Merl is the only true fighter ace pictured in the snapshot.  He was credited with 6 confirmed aerial victories during his time in the PTO. Merl passed away in 1989.

John Orrin Ellsworth

John's Stateside Grave Marker

John’s Stateside Grave Marker

William Lee Landreth- The last Living Original Pilot from VF-17

processed by IntelliTune 4.5 on 14062012   111029 with script EDIT RGB to Gray

processed by IntelliTune 4.5 on 14062012   111148 with script EDIT RGB to Gray

 

From Country’s 2012 obituary:

“He grew up to pilot the powerful F4U Corsair with fighter squadron VF-17, the Jolly Rogers, and was eventually its last surviving original pilot. “Country”, as his squadron mates dubbed him, was credited with 3 kills and 1 assist while his squadron destroyed 154 planes in 76 days of combat in the South Pacific. No bomber escorted by VF-17 was lost to enemy aircraft, no ship ever hit by a bomb or aerial torpedo. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/venturacountystar/obituary.aspx?pid=158047970#sthash.OJ6tGm6u.dpuf
Mr. Landreth eventually passed away due to complication from a WWII injury sustained during his stint with the VF-17.  My heart goes out to his family. I hope they find this page and this snapshot of him with his comrades.

WWII Portrait Photo Identification: PFC John M. Holland, 11th Airborne, 675th GFA


A recent eBay photo grouping purchase has landed me with a fantastic identified and easily researchable photo of an 11th Airborne paratrooper.  An often looked-over paratrooper group, the 11th served in the PTO and has been sadly back-burnerned due to the popularity of the 101st and 82nd Divisions who fought in the ETO and who have inspired such works as Band of Brothers and other films, books and video games.

PFC. John M. Holland in Japan

PFC. John M. Holland in Japan

This portrait photo was taken by M. Kimura in Yonezawa, Japan in late 1945.  The sitter is John M. Holland, a Dallas, Texas WWII veteran who served with the 675th Glider Field Artillery in the Pacific Theater of Operation(PTO) during WWII.  He was born on June 2nd, 1924 at 821 East Dallas Street in Dallas, TX.   After the war he went on to play professional baseball for two years in the Texas Leagues until he injured his throwing arm in 1947.  He next went to work in the Cotton Exchange Building in the cotton and textile industry.

formal_military_cmp

And I was able to find an incredible account of his wartime experiences here: http://www.johnmorganholland.com/Military_John_M_Holland.html

 

I’m copying it here:

John writes of his Army record:

“Feb. 18, 1943 – Assigned and shipped by train to Camp MacCall, Hoffman, North Carolina. Arrived February 22nd. The US Army started their first Airborne Division to be trained as Airborne Troops. This was the 11th Airborne Division, which included glider and paratroops together. This Division of about 8 to 10 thousand, included artillery, infantry, engineering, anti-aircraft and tank, and support units.

“I was assigned to the 675th Field Artillery, Battery A Unit. This was a unit of 105 Howitzers, short barrel with split trails, to fit in the gliders for transport to battle areas. I was assigned to the Communication Section, which had to set up telephones and switch boards to all positions: Headquarters, guns and forward positions by wire (laying lines), and also radio.”

John served throughout the Philippines during World War II where he supported the infantry in capturing Los Banos prison camp and liberating its prisoners, and later was ordered into Japan with the occupation forces. Among the medals he received were the Asiatic-Pacific medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, Philippine Liberation Ribbon as well as Parachute/Glider Wings.

Of the invasion of Leyte, Philippines John writes “Further action did not occur until just before dark when three Japanese planes came in from the East over the high area inland and dropped two bombs; one was a dud and the other exploded just east of our area. The planes circled and started back to us, then turned away as seven of our planes intercepted and shot down one Zeke. “

“Then about dark, we heard incoming shells and we all hit the fox holes. All shells hit either on the beach or short of our position. At about 2000 hours, a group of Japanese soldiers started hollering and running to our position. We killed all but one and he fell into a large hole before he got to us.”

“The next day there was a lot of movement off shore, just to the North of our position, and several LST’s landed with cameramen and reporters….standing in front of the last LST was “the man with the pipe,” General Douglas Mac Arthur, with cameras firing off as fast as possible. He was about 100 yards from our position and that is where he made his famous “I have Returned!” statement.”

John’s unit stayed on that beach for two more days and nights under fire from enemy planes and troops on the ground. On the fourth day, they began to move inland. It took them two weeks to push through the center of Leyte Island to the east coast. When they finally got there they helped the people of the villages put their houses back together.

“Many of our soldiers were stricken by yellow jaundice and malaria. We received replacements and started moving to several other small islands, securing them and cleaning Japanese pockets of soldiers from them.”

“At about 06:45 A.M., we hit the shore of Luzon, (Manila) at Nasugbu.” John received the Presidential Unit Citation for his part in the Battle of Manila. “This operation covered almost one month…Then we rested for one week by scouting villages in and around our area. After the Manila operation, this area was always free of any Japanese aircraft.”

Not long after that, John’s unit was told they were going to be dropped into Japan to take and secure Atsugi Air Field just outside of Tokyo. On the flight over the senior officer on the plane told them “do your jobs again like we did in Manila and Nichols Field and we again would be the victors as We are the Airborne!” The men all yelled with him, then settled down, got some rest, and prayed.

“About four hours later, we were awakened and told that the atomic bombs had been dropped and that Japan was willing to surrender….. We all hollered and, after many handshakes and hugs, the officer told us we were headed back to Okinawa…..we all got on our knees and gave thanks. Many of us shed tears of joy!”

Now that the war was ending, there was a race to get to Tokyo. MacArthur wanted his favorites, the 1st Cavalry, to be there first.

John was chosen as part of the honor guard to go to meet MacArthur. When “Mac” and the 1st Cavalry arrived at Atsugi Air Field, John and the 11th Airborne were there to welcome them!

After the Surrender of Japan on the USS Missouri, John got his orders to go home. He arrived in Seattle December 24th, 1945 and about four days later got to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. He was discharged February 1946.

To see footage of the Los Banos POW camp on the day of it’s liberation please click the photo below:

 

And to hear an incredible interview with  released POW’s from the camp click the photo below (they reference the paratroopers dropping in):

 

All of the information in this post has been acquired through the biographical website of John M. Holland:http://www.johnmorganholland.com/Military_John_M_Holland.html

 

 

Digitized 10th Mountain Division Unit History: Mountaineers


I’m starting a new thread here on PortraitsofWar in which I plan to post scanned versions of popular divisional, regimental, and company histories.  I have access to 98% of all published WWI and WWII unit histories and can field most requests given adequate time.  I’m starting with one of my favorite WWII units, the 10th Mountain Division.  I personally own a copy of this history, but I’m posting a link to the Bangor (Maine) Digital Commons page with a PDF download of the book available.  Enjoy!

 

Here’s the details on the book (from the Bangor Library website listed below):

 

Description

It was Washington, D.C., July 15, 1943. At the War Department it was noted that a new division was being ac­tivated as of that date – the 10th Light Division. Out in Colorado the usual afternoon cloudburst broke loose as the journal clerk recorded the fact that the division had been officially activated. A month later there was a formal oc­casion; Pando, Colorado witnessed the parade and cere­monies honoring the birth of the Tenth. Major General Lloyd E. Jones reviewed the troops.

 The cover art was done by Jacques Parker, a MG squad leader and artist in C Co., 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment.  To hear an audio recording of Mr. Parker recorded in Telluride, CO in 2009 check out this site: http://www.tellurideinside.com/2009/07/10th-mountain-veteran-jaques-parker-in-telluride.html
Jacques Parker Photo By: Clint Viebrock

Jacques Parker
Photo By: Clint Viebrock

Mountaineers Cover Art

Mountaineers Cover Art

To download a PDF copy of this unit history, please click here

Publication Date

1950

Keywords

United States Army Mountain Division 10th World War 1939-1945 Regimental histories United States 10th Division World War, 1939-1945 Campaigns Italy

Disciplines

Military History

WWII Photo – Lancaster, PA WWII Veteran Portrait Photos on Display, 1944


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

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.

vehicle047abcdef

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

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.

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vehicle047abcdefgh

vehicle047abc

vehicle047ab

vehicle047a

Moving WWII Candid Snapshot – The FFI Free French and Captured Female German Collaborators


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

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!

Collaborator Parade

Collaborator Parade

FFI Female Underground Soldier

FFI Female Underground Fighter

US Signal Corps Footage of Collaborator Hair Cuts

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.

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

Female French Resistance

World War II resistant woman fighter - Paris,1940s photograph the New York Public Library Picture Collection

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

Member of the French resistance with German tunic and thompson machine gun by Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, via Flickr

A French woman has her head shaved by civilians as a penalty for having consorted with German troops, 1944 2

A French woman has her head shaved by civilians as a penalty for having consorted with German troops, 1944 4

A French woman has her head shaved by civilians as a penalty for having consorted with German troops, 1944 5

A French woman has her head shaved by civilians as a penalty for having consorted with German troops, 1944 6

A French woman has her head shaved by civilians as a penalty for having consorted with German troops, 1944

My 200,000th Viewer Post! – Remembering My Grandfather, Ambrose R. Canty, 777th Tank Battalion, 69th Division


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

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

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

Amby (second from right) Holds a Captured German Flag in Leipzig

Grampy, thanks for everything.

 

Ambrose Washing in His Helmet, Germany 1945

Ambrose Washing his Mess Kit, Germany 1945

777th Reproduction WWII Patch

777th Reproduction WWII Patch

 

And his 2009 Obituary:

telegram.com

Ambrose “Amby” Richard Canty

Published Tuesday September 1, 2009 at 12:01 am

Ambrose �Amby� Richard Canty of 26 Roosevelt Dr. in Southbridge, died Sunday, August 30th, 2009, at home in the company of his family.

He leaves his wife of 55 years, Mary J. (Damian) Canty; 7 children: Ambrose �Amby� R. Canty Jr. and his wife Sandra of Davenport, IA, Anne P. Canty of Port Orange, FL, Jane E. Gauthier and her husband Richard of Southbridge, Joan R. Murphy and her husband Donald of Worcester, MaryLynne Deshaies and her husband Gerald of Sturbridge, John D. Canty and his wife Kimberly of Webster, and Kathryn M. Canty of Redondo Beach, CA; 12 grandchildren: Adam, Matthew, David, and Tom Canty of Davenport IA, Christhanha Canty of Port Orange FL, Brennan and Connor Gauthier of Southbridge, Maria and Anna Murphy of Worcester, Cailyn, Ryan and Kelsey Canty of Webster, MA; and many nieces, nephews and great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his 6 brothers and 7 sisters.

He was born in Webster, one of fourteen children of Patrick and Anne (McCauley) Canty. He lived in Webster and Southbridge all his life. He graduated from Saint Louis High School in Webster, was a graduate of Holy Cross College in Worcester, and received a Masters Degree in Social Work Administration from Boston College. He was an accomplished athlete lettering in 3 varsity sports at St. Louis High School: Basketball, Baseball and Track. He also played semi-pro football for the Webster Colonials, and refereed and coached basketball teams at various levels for many years, including a championship basketball team with 5 of his daughters and several nieces.

He proudly served in World War II as a member of the United States Army�s 69th Infantry Division from 1944 to 1946. The division rescued a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Leipzig, Germany and is recognized as a �Liberating Unit� by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was a member of the Webster-Dudley American Legion Post # 184.

Ambrose served as the Webster Public Welfare Director for 16 years and the Massachusetts Director of Public Welfare in Worcester for 20 years before retiring. He was a member of St. Mary�s Parish in Southbridge and a member of the Webster-Dudley Knights of Columbus. He also served on the Massachusetts Mental Retardation Board, and as a member of the Tri-Area Fresh Air Program.

The funeral, with full military honors, will be held on Friday, September 4th with a Mass at 12:00 PM at St. Mary�s Church, 263 Hamilton St., Southbridge. The burial will be at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Southbridge. The Webster-Dudley Veterans Council will perform military honors. There will be no calling hours. Following the burial, the family will receive friends and relatives at the �12 Crane St.� banquet facility in Southbridge. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Daniel T. Morrill Funeral Home in Southbridge.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the St. Mary�s Parish Ministry Center Completion Campaign, 263 Hamilton St. Southbridge, MA 01550.

morrillfuneralhome.com

http://www.telegram.com/article/20090901/OBIT/909010312

WWII Digitized 8mm Color Footage – Early War Marines Horse Around on Beach 1941


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

Film After Processing

Opening Clip Cells

Opening Clip Cells

Scanned Cells Showing Color

Scanned Cells Showing Color

 

Crank Radio Cells

Crank Radio Cells

WWII Identified Portrait Photo – Roxbury, MA and Rockland, TX Veteran Ernest Chekoulias 295th Engineer Battalion


 

Ernest "Chick" Chekoulias

Ernest “Chick” Chekoulias

A recent eBay purchase has landed me with a fantastic group of WWII portrait photos all identified to members of Company A of the 295th Engineer Battalion, a unit that landed on the Normandy beaches only two weeks after the infamous June 6th, 1944 D-Day landings.  Here’s an excerpt from the unit history that described that fateful day:

The Big Moment did come at last; actually there were lots of big moments.  The battalion was divided up into three serials, and each serial was on two or more boats.  The first wave started from Hindon a little after midnight on 13 June.  There was battalion headquarters, parts of each line company, and the medical detachment. They all reached the marshaling area in Winchester at 0830 that morning.  Before dawn two days later, half of them were awakened a few hours later and they too reached another set of docks at that port.  They all sweated out a day and a night, sleeping on the quayside, before they got on the boats.  The first half, after burstmoving into the Channel, had to return to port because their ship’s anti-mine apparatus was not working.  The second half joined their convoy, stayed the night off the Isle of Wight, and then started off for France.  They saw the coast at about noon on 18 June.  They surveyed the coast defenses, and the wreckage, and the boats sunk near the shore.  It all looked very grim.  That night the skyline glowed with glare  of fires and bursting shells, and they were still on the boats in the Channel………”

 

 

The photo I’ve selected for this post was initially partially identified as an Ernest Chek…… of 9 Mt. Pleasant Ave, Roxbury, Massachusetts.  I eventually tracked down a unit roster for the 295th Engineers that lists a Sgt. Ernest Chekoulias, serial number 31301800 from Roxbury, MA.  It’s clearly a hit and a cross reference with his obituary confirms that this is indeed the same soldier.  Sgt. Chekoulias is listed in the unit history as having been awarded the Bronze Star for Heroic Achievement.  His obituary page confirms this.

 

Unit History Bronze Star Info

Unit History Bronze Star Info

 

chekbronzestar

 

Ernest Chekoulias was born in Boston, MA on  January 21st, 1923 and passed away in Rockland, TX on December 17th, 2008 at the age of 85.   His obituary reads:

Amphib084 copy

Mr. Ernest Chekoulias 85, of Rockland, died Wednesday, December 17, 2008 in his home, after an illness of several months. He was born in Boston on January 21, 1923, the son of the late Theodore and Pauline Zerolis Chekoulias. He was raised and educated in Boston Schools, and has lived in Rockland for 55 years. He was the Founder and President of Star Litho, Inc. in Weymouth. Mr. Chekoulias served in the Army during WWII, and saw service in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. He was the recipient of the Bronze Star. Husband of the late Dorothy T. McEnrue Chekoulias, he is survived by 1 son, E. Scott Chekoulias of Hanover, 4 daughters, Judith Chekoulias of Rockland, Jane S. Leonard of Hubbardston, Cynthia M. Chekoulias of Pembroke and Anita L. Drapeau of Kingston, 5 grandchildren, Daniel Leonard, David Leonard, Alissa Leonard, Kathryn Drapeau and Michael Drapeau, 2 sisters, Vera Marziarz of Southington, CT and Katherine Atherton of Bernardston, and sister-in-law, Mary M. Manley of Rockland. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 9 AM in Holy Family Church, 403 Union Street, in Rockland. Interment will be in Holy Family Cemetery in Rockland. Visiting hours in the Sullivan Funeral Home, 45 East Water Street in ROCKLAND on Monday from 4-7 PM.

 

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the late Ernest “Chick” Chekoulis for his service with the 295th Engineers during WWII.  This post is for you!