WWII Photo Grouping – A PTO Mystery! Who Are These Guys?
Greetings to my dedicated readers of PortraitsofWar. I recently purchased a large grouping of 1000+ photos that was comprised of may different smaller collections. I was able to weasel out an interesting group of Pacific Theater of Operation (PTO) tactical recon group photos and do a bit of basic research. After some time on the web I’ve concluded that the following shots were taken by a unit photographer for the 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. Many of the photos are signed by the pilots who flew the planes depicted in the photographs. My guess is that the fellow who originally owned these photos was a plane mechanic who knew the pilots whose planes flew for the unit.
But who are these men?
Reader Responses (Thanks guys!)
“We Three” was a P-51K 44-12833 flown by the Maj George Noland, CO of the 110th TRS/71st TRG. Maj Noland might have scored the last P-51 kills of the war on 14 August 1945. More details are available in: “Mustang and Thunderbolt Aces of the Pacific and CBI” by John Stanaway. (Stanaway has this as a P-51K-10 while Joe Baugher’s list has it as a P-51K-15-NT).
The photo of Major Archuleta (and presumably his crew chief S/Sgt Raver) show Rubel Archuleta, of New Mexico, who was C/O of the 110th TRS from the fall of 1944 into the spring of 1945. He was a schoolteacher before the war (New Mexico State grad, I believe) and under him the 110th seems to have taken on a new personality. They had been a longtime Air National Guard outfit from St. Louis, whose insignia had featured a Missouri mule with telescopes or machine-guns; they were now called The Flying Musketeers.
Fuller information about Archuleta, Wells, and other officers can be found by scrolling through two Facebook Pages that I run, on the 71st TRG and “Rocky Boyer’s War,” a book that I wrote around my father’s wartime diary and that the Naval Institute Press published this year.
A WWII Dunkirk Veteran’s Review of Christopher Nolan’s 2017 Dunkirk Film
An incredibly touching interview with a Calgary veteran following his viewing of the premier of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster.
Mystery WWII Concentration Camp Liberation – Research Help Needed!
Hey PortraitofWar followers! I recently acquired an incredible grouping of photographs taken by a US soldier during the liberation of a concentration camp/labor camp during the tail end of WWII. There’s not much to go by in terms of identifiable visuals, but there are images of German military officers marching in line to view the bodies, as well as a liberated person in front of a T28E1 US tracked anti-aircraft gun. Additional photographs show an American officer speaking to a line of US soldiers passing before a group of bodies.
Any thoughts or ideas? I hope to pass these on to an organization that can present and appreciate them, but I want to identify the material before doing so.
WWII Canine Commando – Sgt. Hangover Delivers Well Deserved Kisses to Pvt. Carl Harris – WWII Mascot Dog in Action!
PortraitsofWar followers will know that this site focuses on photographs and vignettes of WWI and WWI soldiers whose stories have never been told. In tonight’s post, we will focus on the story of a young puppy and an equally young soldier who had their photo taken by a U.S. Signal Corps photographer in 1943 somewhere near Fort Eustis, VA. Often times the photos taken by Signal Corps photographers only circulate within very specific regional circles if at all. For example: a photograph of a Burlington, VT soldier is snapped in France while posing with a German tank; if the photo was otherwise unspectacular, prints of the photo may only be sent along to HQ and possibly to a local Vermont newspaper. Also, the photographer, after printing, had the option of requesting a copy of the photo for personal uses. A large percentage of WWII photographs were never printed due to lack of local interest, quality and context.
In this case, we have an incredible endearing photo of Private Carl Harris, a Battery Cook from New York City receiving a well deserved kiss from the unit mascot, Sergeant Hangover, a puppy that was adopted by his unit. Photos like these are what PortraitsofWar is all about!
A Scottish Terrier Goes to War: 744th Light Tank Battalion’s Mascot Dog BLACKOUT
Followers of PortraitofWar will likely remember that I have a penchant for stories related to unit and individual mascots during wartime. I have a soft spot for small dogs and particularly enjoy tracking down photos of dogs acting as needed companions during the boredom and contrasting hellish days of war. Cats are cool too……. I guess….
Tonight’s post was submitted by a WWII buff I tracked down online who was generous enough to share the incredibly endearing story of his father’s WWII mascot who eventually made it stateside to live an additional thirteen years as the family pet until passing away in 1958. The incredible story of Blackout takes us from a small town in England, to the shores of Normandy and across continental Europe as the German war machine is beaten into submission. The following post was submitted by Rick Hunter:
My father, Bill Hunter volunteered for the U.S. Army in 1940. After training which included participation in the Louisiana maneuvers, he was assigned to the 744th Light Tank Battalion as initial cadre when it was formed at Camp Bowie, TX. By January, 1944 he was a Master Sergeant in the service company of the 744th Light Tank Battalion, and the unit was in England training in preparation for D-Day. Dad’s job was to supervise the maintenance of the Battalion’s vehicles and the recovery and repair of battle-damaged vehicles. Light tank battalions were “separate battalions” that were typically attached to infantry units on an “as-needed” basis and as such they moved around a lot. The service company was usually located somewhat to the rear of the front lines and Dad’s position gave him a bit of flexibility and was not as dangerous as those of many soldiers. Perhaps for these reasons and his love of dogs, Dad bought a young female Scottie from a lady in nearby Manchester. He named the dog Blackout.
Although against regulations, Blackout was apparently a hit within the unit and the leadership turned a blind-eye towards her. She even received a coat crafted from an army blanket complete with sergeant’s stripes and the unit patch. Blackout and my Dad went ashore with the Battalion at Utah Beach about 3 weeks after D-Day and the unit fought through France and Belgium and into the Netherlands. They were camped near Geleen in the Netherlands for several weeks in October, 1944.
The Dutch had been starved by the Germans and were in a desperate plight. Attracted to Blackout, a 13 year-old boy and his 5 year-old sister from the town would make daily visits to see the dog. My Dad began to give the children food and candy and made them some small wooden toys. In 2008, my brother vacationed in the Netherlands and met those two children. The girl, then in her 70’s, showed my brother those toys which she still treasured.
The tank battalion crossed into Germany in January, 1945. They fought into Germany and participated in the post-war occupation of the town of Olpe before catching a crowded troop ship back to the U.S. Dad was not about to leave Blackout behind and he smuggled her onto the troop ship. Because there were many different units on the ship, it is difficult to imagine how he could have avoided detection, and in fact he did not. Upon arrival in the U.S., the soldiers were subjected to a muster to verify all were present. The officer in charge (not from my Dad’s unit) announced to the formation “Will the individual with the dog step forward?” My Dad did not move. The officer then said “Will the master sergeant with the dog step forward?” My Dad did not move. Finally the officer said “Do we have to call you by name?” My Dad stepped forward. The officer then announced “We just wanted you to know that we were aware of it all the time.” Nothing more was said or done and over the next few weeks Dad and Blackout processed out of the Army and returned to civilian life in Tulsa.
My Dad had 4 brothers and all 5 boys served during World War II and returned safely. Their mother was proud of her sons and displayed a Blue Star Mother banner with 5 stars in her front window. The Tulsa World published an article about the family in late 1945 that included the attached picture of the boys with their mother and Blackout shortly after their return.
In the picture and starting from the right, the boy in civilian clothing served on a ship in the Pacific and refused to wear his Navy uniform after discharge. Next is my Dad and the boy next to him was a navigator. I believe he stayed in the States as an instructor. Left of him is the youngest boy who had completed a pilot training program but I have little additional information. The boy on the far left was in Iran and is wearing a Persian Gulf Command shoulder patch.
As has become the norm here at PortraitsofWar, a family member of a WWII veteran has reached out with an additional photo related to the above post. Special thanks to Gail Becnel Boyd for contacting me to share this shot of Blackout that she found in her father’s WWII photo album. Thanks Gail!
WWII USMC Marine Portrait Photo – Dominick Salvetti, 12th Anti-Aircraft Battalion, 1st Marine Division
1942-1944, I MEF/1st Marine Division
I MEF/1st Marine Division Details
Combat – Ground Unit
Freshly Liberated 17th Airborne Paratrooper POW – Battle of the Bulge Portrait Photo
Many incredible WWII US Signal Corps photos were taken during the war, printed, examined and never widely published or circulated. In tonight’s post, I’m bringing one of these “lost” Signal Corps shots to the world wide web. Jack was a paratrooper assigned as a light machine gunner to Company G of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division. Jack was captured on his 20th birthday during the Battle of the Bulge on January 7th, 1945 in a small village twelve miles outside Bastogne; known as Dead Man’s Ridge, the battle was the first for the green 17th Division. Suffering catastrophic casualties, the 17th was eventually successful in countering the German troops it encountered. Spending nearly a month in captivity (being wounded during this time) Jack escaped and was picked up by elements of the 4th Division. The photo below perfectly captures how Jack must’ve felt during the hell of the Bulge and his time imprisoned with the Germans. Note the dirt and grime on his face and clothes, the stubble and long hair associated with being constantly on the move without access to a razor or washcloth. He’s also sporting a captured German officers cap with the eagle removed. I’m hoping Jack took that hat home as a momento of his time in captivity!
Jack’s National Archives and Records Administration file:
(courtesy of the 17th Airborne tribute site)
Jack was born in January 7, 1925 and spent his youth in Lucerne, PA. He was volunteer for the Army in January 7, 1943 and was inducted on February 20, 1943 at Altoona, PA. He received ASN 33573517 and was sent to the 44th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, WA. He was volunteer for the Airborne troops and was transferred to Parachute School at Fort Benning in March 1944 where he was finally assigned to Company G / 513th PIR as light machine gunner after having successfully completed his paratrooper course.
On January 7, 1945, on his 20th birthday, he was captured at Flamierge during the terrible battle of “Dead Man’s Ridge”. He was sent to Clervaux, then to Prüm. He was wounded at Garolstein, Germany and escaped the Germans on February 7 with Ed SUMMERS. They reached Prüm on February 9 and went into hiding until the town was taken by the men of the 4th Infantry Division on February 13.
He spent two weeks in hospital to recovering from malnutrition and was unable to return in his unit because of Prisoner of War status. He was finally shipped back to States in March 1945 and completed military as automatic weapons instructor at Fort Benning. He was discharged in November 1945 as S/Sgt.
A WWII German Soldier’s Wartime Pocket Contents -A German Troop Transport Driver ‘s Life Unveiled
Have you ever wondered what the pocket contents of a WWII German soldier would look like? In this case, I picked up a small grouping of photographs, documents and a dog tag from a WWII German soldier who survived WWII. I can’t quite make out his name, but we do know that he was a vehicle operator, as evidenced by his green oil-cloth Kraftfahrzeugschein (vehicle registration) document. All of the photographs and his dog tag point to the fact that Alfred was a driver of a modified troop transport vehicle during the last three years of the war.
Until I discover more about Alfred, I will leave the following material to you, the viewer to help decipher!
WWII Amateur Photo Discovery – Concentration Camp Family Photo Captured by US Soldier
From time to time new information comes along to help identify photographs from my collection. In this case, I stumbled across an image during research into the liberation of Nordhausen (Mittelbau-Dora) concentration camp. The image in my collection (seen below) was originally misidentified as having been taken at Dachau, but I just recently learned that it was actually taken at Nordhausen (Mittelbau-Dora) and captures a moment that US Signal Corps photographs also snapped at different angles. According to information I’ve picked up in the past few days, the young boy was named Michael Kallaur and the father is Walter; both men buried the boy’s grandmother (Walter’s mother) after finding her body in the unfortunate lineup at Nordhausen. Elizabeth Kallaur was killed at the camp only a few days before the liberation.
According to information at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Kallaur family was sent to Nordhausen as punishment for helping Jews in the Pinsk region. The coat seen covering Mrs. Kallaur was given to Michael by John Florea, the Signal Corps photographer. Walter and Michael would not allow German citizens to touch the body of Elizabeth, and she was the first to be buried (at a deeper level) in the first burial trench.
After hours of internet research, I came across the following Signal Corps photo and instantly recognized the boy….
This is the info attached to the image: (Click link for source)
Figure 1.–Here a Polish boy weeps over his grandfather’s body at Nordhausen after it was liberated by the Americans. It was dated April 21, 1945. That may have been when the photographed was released rather than taken. The press caption read, “Weep for the dead: A Polish boy weeps bitterly after he and a man at left buried (the) youngster’s grandmother who had died while a political prisoner of the Nazis in concentration camp at Nordhausen. Germans in the town were ordered to dig graves and bury the 2,500 dead, unburied prisoners found there by occupying American forces. The Polish boy refused to let the Germans touch his grandmother and insisted he bury her himself. Yanks look on in quiet sympathy.” We doubt if his grandmother was a political prisoner, but like the boy a slave laborer at Dora. He probably searched for her after the camps were liberated. Notice the German civilians at the right.
And another series of Signal Corps photos showing the burial:
The boy, Michael, traveled to the United States after the war ended. Using the information in the image as a jumping off point, I was able to find some immigration travel information:
The information on the card all matches up. As seen in the previous images, he had a visibly wounded left hand; the card confirms this and the fact that his place of birth was Pinsk, Poland. At the time of his arrival in the US at Niagara Falls, he was 18, putting his birth year at 1931. The Signal Corps photographer noted his age in 1945 at 14, which matches up with the immigration card. A website dedicated to the Kallaur family tree referenced a Walter Kallaur arriving in the Niagara region after the war; this jives with both the Signal Corps caption and the fact that Walter is referenced in the above 1949 border crossing documents. He arrived in Quebec in April of 1948 on board the MV Beaverbrae (listed as the SS Beaven Bren in the document, a ship that eventually transported over 30,000 European refugees to Canada between 1947 and 1954.
Sadly, it appears that Michael passed away in Decemeber of 2000, so my hopes of reuniting this photo with him has been dashed. His SSN confirms that he lived in Pennsylvania and was issued his card in 1955, six years after his entry into the US.
Living Family Identified
My internet sleuthing tends to be obsessive at times, and I’m fairly certain with the following deduction. I will leave out the details of the research in respect for the Kallaur family; some things are best left unsaid.
From what I can deduce, Michael married Eileen Gallagher at some point in the 1960s. Eileen was born in 1944, and was only five years old when Michael came to the US in 1949. Ancestry.com doesn’t provide marriage records for the couple, but I’m basing my marriage dates in accordance with the birth of their forthcoming children.
My hopes are that a family member will google themselves, or possibly have a Google Alert set…….. All are originally from the Philadelphia, PA area.
Michael Kaullaur – 1931-2000
Eileen C. Kallaur – 1944 – LIVING
Image Details: Nordhausen Outdoor Generator
The major defining landscape feature of my eBay image is the presence of an outdoor generator. This can be seen here:
HOT ON THE TRAIL OF THE FAMILY
APRIL 27th, 2013 POST BELOW
Casual followers of this blog will know that I never post photos of death or destruction. My main goal is to present historic photography in a way to help educate internet followers about the world of war. In this case I will post a photo that may be hard for some viewers to see. I have hundreds of photos of concentration camps in my collection, yet have never been moved to post any of the photos to the web.
This image called to me. The composition, the subject, the setting. It’s all there. A soldier snaps a shot at Dachau of a man holding the feet of his dead wife while his injured son watches on. A procession of 3rd Armor Division soldiers file by as this tragic event unfolds; the event captured through the lens of an unknown soldier of an unknown family. This scene was likely replicated tens of thousands of times at the tail end of the war.