I’ve been lucky enough to acquire another 1944 color slide to add to my growing collection of slides from Walter Huff, a WWII Marine pilot. This one is especially interesting as it shows his name on his yellow inflatable life vest. Slick hair too!
These two blurry but historically significant photos recently arrived from a friend in Pennsylvania. I instantly recognized the USSR red star on the fuselage along with the bundled up WASP standing proudly beside the plane. The fighter is a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, a variant of the P-39 Airacobra. The serial number on the tail appears to be 42-704XX. Although the last two numbers are obscured by the tilt of the rudder, a quick google search turned up a hit for one plane with the 42-704XX serial. 42-70468 was ferried from Nome, Alaska to the USSR by a female WASP pilot. I even found a hand colored shot of the same plane! Enjoy.
UPDATE: I just found the POSSIBLE name of the WASP pilot in the photo. I found an aircraft accident report for this plane on November 12th, 1944. Gayle Ewing (Now Ewing-Reed) had a small accident in Niagra, NY. Sadly, she rolled her ankle and wasn’t able to fly again during the war. I even found an interview with her talking about THIS P-63 rolling over and breaking her ankle after she parked it in NY. Maybe another WASP took over after she broke her ankle?
Picked this little gem off eBay for a great price and couldn’t help but do some research on the plane. It appears to have been taken while it was with the New Mexico Air National Guard. Likely in 1945 or 1946. I missed out on another listing from the same seller showing the plane with it’s full insignia painted on the side, which was the New Mexico state symbol. I believe this photo may be considered rare, as I can’t find another shot of the 44-74976 on the web, and certainly not in color. I hope the current owner finds my site!
From what I can gather, as pictured, this aircraft was used by the New Mexico Air National Guard in WWII and in the 1940s and then was sold to Indonesia in 1958 or 1959. It was then recovered in 1978 from Indonesia and purchased by a Ralph W. Johnson of Oakland, CA and registered as N98582. It’s first flight after being recovered from Indonesia was in 1983. It was then purchased by it’s current owner, Jeff R. Michael and restored to airworthy and redesignated as “Obsession” with it’s original tail code of 44-74976. Phew!
I purchased a large WWI photo album last month that was compiled by a young girl following her brother’s exploits in France. Apparently Franklin M. Martin (Jack) of East Orange, NJ was fluent in French and was assigned as an interpreter on Pershing’s staff. He became interested in flying and joined the 803rd Aero Squadron where he was in charge of map making from the air. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre after he was shot down and landed in the Marne River. After swimming across he was able to deliver his maps! A great series of interior studio shots capture Franklin wearing his newly awarded CDG. His friend is wearing a Distinguished Service Cross and is sporting a wound chevron. Note the leather arm brace and private purchase lace up boots.
A new addition to my collection comes in the form of an autographed French RPPC of the 59th Pioneer Infantry Regiment commander. J. Warner Reed was a colonel with the Delaware National Guard during the Mexican Border War and later went on to form the 59th Pioneer Infantry of the 2nd Army. Units from this regiment were engaged in road building, bridge building, and front line construction and improvement projects.
For more info on the 59th Pioneers – check out this website from the Delaware National Guard: http://delawarenationalguard.com/aboutus/history/firstworldwar/
Who knew that the US captured a series of German U-Boats during the tail end of WWII? I had no idea until I picked up a rare collection of 24 photos that belonged to a member of the original prize crew for one of the U-Boats. The photos are incredibly detailed with crisp focus and in a large 8X10 format. They show the capturing of U-234 and the subsequent arrival in port in Portsmouth, NH. Also pictured in the grouping (not all posted here) are Captain Fritz Steinhoff and Luftwaffe General Ulrich Kessler. Steinhoff actually ended up committing suicide in a Boston jail with the aide of a broken glasses lens. A wartime news article about the suicide can be found here. Ulrich Kessler was delivering a load of Uranium and a set of German jet planes to an undisclosed South American country when the captain decided to surrender. An amazing collection for sure.
Finding nice portraits of doughboys posing in studio is becoming harder and harder given the scarcity and high prices on eBay. This is one of the better examples in my collection, and although it doesn’t have a unit designation associated with it, I felt that it would go well with my current theme of WWI RPPCs postings on PortraitsofWar. Enjoy!