WWII Aerial Recon Photo: Burning German Convoy During Battle of the Bulge


alvaalegre059In a follow up to the popularity of my last post (see here), I’ve decided to begin scanning my collection of large format 12×12 inch aerial photos taken during the Battle of the Bulge.  In this first post, we see a German motorized transport convoy in ruins following a strafing attack by P-47’s of the XAX Tactical Air Command (TAC) on January 23rd, 1945.  I acquired a large set of these original 12×12 inch prints (complete with pencil notes on the back) on eBay a few years ago directly from the estate of a 9th Air Force photo tech who apparently saved hundreds of original flyovers like this.  He saved duplicates as well!  This is one of those duplicates.

I’ve taken the time to crop the shot for close up views below.  With some luck, followers of this page may be able to track down the exact location of this image!  Good luck guys!

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January 23rd, 1945

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Winooski, VT WWI Veteran Photo Identification – eBay Photo Yields Vermont History Golden Research!


 

 

This story starts with a 23 year old Earl F. Lavalle scribbling his name on the back of a photo to pass along to a friend during WWI and ends with a full identification of Mr. Lavallee’s life experience.  The main goal of PortraitsofWar is to research and seek out every possible lead to identify an early 20th century photograph; recent digitization efforts have enhanced our ability to complete genealogical research from the confines of a remote desktop.

Earl in 1918

Earl in 1918

Our first accounts of Earl show him being born on November 29th 1894 to Fred Lavallee of Canada and Emma Pollinger of (my current hometown!) Colchester.  Earl worked his entire life as a laborer in the American Woolen Co.  in Winooski, VT, located along the Winooski/Onion River near Burlington,VT.  He lived at various locations during his tenure at the woolen mill including 36 Hood Street, Winooski, 102 Mallets Bay Ave, 22 Park Street and many more.

Earl Lavallee Reverse

Earl Lavallee Reverse

Earl enlisted on February 11th, 1918 at Camp Green, North Carolina.  He served with Company G, 58th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division until August 21st, 1918 when he was transferred to Supply Co, same regiment.  He was overseas from May 7th, 1918 to August 1st, 1919.

Earl was wounded in action on September 30th, 1918.  This photograph depicts Earl after his wounding evidenced by his right-hand wound stripe.  Earl was discharged on August 7th, 1919.

Earl Lavallee Draft Card WWI

Earl Lavallee Draft Card WWI

 

Earl Lavallee WWII Draft Card

Earl Lavallee WWII Draft Card

Lavallee Signature

Lavallee Signature

Lavallee Family Story

The 1900 US Census from Colchester, VT shows the Lavallee family as a solid unit with five family members comprised of Earl’s dad Fred Lavallee, his mother Emma, brother Charles,  sister Florence and himself (Earl).

1900 Census, Colchester, Vt

1900 Census, Colchester, Vt

 

 

The Wartime Memoirs of Earl Denzil Reese – 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Division during WWII


Earl Denzil Reese

Memoir Collection

I recently purchased a mystery grouping of WWII photos off my favorite internet auction site and stumbled across the wonderful story of Earl Reese and his wartime experiences while with the 99th “Checkerboard” Division during WWII.  The full story starts out on a sad note, but I hope to honor Earl and his life achievements by publishing his story here on PortraitsofWar.

Earl Reese ca.1980

After purchasing a grouping of 50+ images from an eBay dealer back in April, I became interested in the details pertaining to the man who took the photos.  He had a knack for writing blurbs on the back of photos, something not many soldiers did at the time.  The content was first rate; the unknown soldier seemed to be in a front line unit that saw a good amount of action.  I contacted the seller in hopes of finding some additional information to help me piece together the identity of the unknown GI.  I’ve done this in the past with varying amounts of success.  Most of the time the seller knows nothing about the photos, or maybe only a first name or general geographical area the fellow was from.  In this case, the seller had a small treasure trove of information about the soldier.

Earl in 1945

After attending an estate sale in Santa Barbara the friendly eBay seller was rummaging around through some paper bins outside and found the life memoirs and photos of Mr.Reese.  Some family member or estate executor threw away the entire life work and memories of Earl!  He generously sent me the complete memoir manuscript and photo collection as a gift.  I plan on digitizing the wartime section of the memoirs, which constitute three or four chapters of the 30+ volume.

Ridin’ Tanks

Crossing the DanubeCombat!

Earl Rides an M8 Greyhound

Germans Surrender on Motorcycles

Ruhr Pocket Battle Rest

In the Ruhr Pocket