WWII Original Combat Snapshot – 99th Division Soldiers Fight in Neustadt, Germany


 

Snapshots taken during combat situations are the Holy Grail for WWII photo collectors.  In this case, a soldier in the 395th Infantry Regiment of the 99th Division snapped a photo during a firefight with Germans near a dike in Neustadt, Germany.  A great action shot! To make this shot even more amazing, I found an original film shot shortly after the same episode in the exact same postion.  This time the dike has been fortified with sandbags and pontoon boats.  Look for the 0:39 second mark.

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675049536_United-States-99th-Infantry-Division_crossing-Danube_soldiers-rest_behind-dikes

 

Source: CriticalPast.com

Rare WWI 2nd Cavalry Photo RPPC Taken in France – 2nd Dragoons Training Station


A particularly special photo acquisition comes in the form of a 2nd Cavalry RPPC (real photo postcard) taken somewhere near Tours, France during the war.  The 2nd Cav. trained only ten miles from my house in Vermont, at Fort Ethan Allen before their departure to Hoboken for transfer overseas to France.  Considered by many to be the only  true U.S. mounted cavalry units to serve during WWI, the 2nd Cav. was a unique unit that tends to be glossed over by WWI histories.  I’m proud to add this photo to my collection!

Interesting details of the photo include a mascot puppy, the use of spurs, and a raggedy pigeon perched on a shoulder.

For those interested in reading more on the history of the 2nd Cavalry, check out this website:  http://history.dragoons.org/category/world-war-i/

2nd Cav. Puppy Dog Mascot

Veterans Days 1921 – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Ceremony Service Attendant


As of the fall of 1920, the US Quartermaster Graves Registration Service had successfully identified over 90% of the bodies of US servicemen who died overseas during WWI.  The nation was still in mourning from the losses of the war, and the government looked to other countries for a suitable ceremony to honor those whose bodies were never identified.  In the fall of 1920, the caskets of four unidentified U.S. soldiers were chosen for reburial in Washington D.C.  One pallbearer, SGT Edward Younger, chose one body to be the Unknown Soldier of WWI.

The remains were transported aboard the USS Olympia, the flagship of Vermont’s Own Admiral Dewey, and arrived home on November 9th, 1921.  The body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda for two days, where over 90,000 people quietly filtered through.  This Unknown Soldier was buried with full services on November 11th, 1921.

As I pawed through my large collection of WWI and WWII photography looking for a suitable candidate for a Veteran’s Day post, I came across one photo that stood out as a perfect blogpost.

This veteran is wearing an Indian Wars medal on his chest, and looks distinguished in his black cap and jacket.  This photo was taken only moments after he was a member of the first Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ceremony on November 11th, 1921.  He inscribed a quick note to a loved one on the reverse.  I can’t find a list of the members of that first delegation anywhere, but I’m sure he is one of the visible veterans standing around the casket in this photo:

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Although his identity is a mystery to me, maybe his name will come to the surface after this post hits the web.  What a fitting photo post for Veterans Day!

Special thanks to David R. Berry for the following message:

May I submit to you that the identity of the distinguished gentleman is Mr. Isaac B. Millner. US Navy, Civil War veteran –a seaman aboard the USS HARTFORD, flagship of Adm Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay 5 Aug 1864. Millner had a life-long interest in Adm Farragut, attending several commemorations of Farraguts life and career.

He was affiliated with the Dept. of Anthropology at the National Museum; holder of several patents; a specialist in Native American and Micronisian Indian cultures; a modeler for the Smithsonian working in the medium of paper’ machete and a member of the US Geological Survey. Author of the book: The Last Cruise (1917)

You will find many notations for him in Google under his full name as well as his initials I B Millner. He is mistakenly noted in the 1920 Census as Isaac B Mi-(one L) ner. What his relationship with Mrs. Clara A Wright Of Wincasset, Maine, might be is unclear, but one might note that the description and the address texts on the back of the portrait were written in two distinctly different hands. It could be that Mrs. Wright was a friend of his wife Mrs. Mary Millner.

A 1929 photo of IB Millner appears here:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c31287/

WWI 2nd Army Engineer – Immaculate Portrait Photo


2nd Army Engineer

The crisp details of this photo make it the best 2nd Army portrait in my collection.  Although we can’t know which Engineering unit he served with (there were many in the 2nd Army), we can deduce a few things from the elements present in the photo.  The crisp focus on his collar discs allow us to see that he was in Company E of an engineering unit of the 2nd Army.  Note that the disc on his cap lacks the E designation.  His 2nd Army SSI patch is well stitched and placed perfectly below the shoulder line.  His WWI victory ribbon has one campaign star.  A super example of a 2nd Army photo!

2nd Army Patch

WWI 107th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division NY KIA Portrait Photo – Harold E. Manners – Meuse-Argonne Offensive


I picked up this little gem in a Palmer Massachusetts antique store a few months back and never took the time to look at the photo closely until this past week.  The frame was intricately created; something not often seen in run of the mill WWI photos.  The gold stars on the corners and bottom of the image should have been a dead giveaway.  Once I  decided to look at the photo a little closer, I took the frame apart from the back and began to uncover the identity of the soldier depicted in the image.  I knew he was a member of the 7th Infantry Regiment; this was evidenced in the collar disc.  The 7th New York eventually became the 107th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Division.  Harold was in Company H.

The reverse of the photo was beautifully inscribed with everything I needed to know to track this fellow down.

Harold Edward Manners

Killed in France in the

Great War, Sept. 29th 1918

aged 23 years

After extensive research I’ve learned that Harold was killed during the operations before the Hindeburg Line east of Ronssoy, September 29th, 2918.  His citation for the day reads:

“This soldier, with great gallantry and determination, advanced against unusually difficult enemy positions composed of strongly fortified machine gun nests until killed.”

I found an auction result online that showed his medals which were sold in 2008 at an auction in NY. A beautifully inscribed NY veterans medal for a KIA was included.  I wish I had that grouping!

Harold E. Manners – KIA Meuse-Argonne 1918

WWI 78th Division Portrait Photo – Wounded


Today’s post comes from my growing collection of 78th Division portrait photos.  Although we don’t know his specific unit designation, we do have his name and company.  Taken in a French studio, Alex Lindell was posed in a manner which allows the viewer to see his maimed hand.  The fact that he was wounded is evidenced by a visible wound chevron on his right hand sleeve.  The stitching is barely visible. 

Alex Lindell of the 78th Division

WWI 79th Division Veteran w/ Purple Heart and Uniform in the 1940s


A wonderful set of negatives from a family in Pennsylvania shows the lighthearted side of aging WWI veterans.  An elderly member of the 316th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Division pals around with friends and family while showing off his war medals.  A Purple Heart medal was awarded to our subject for wounds received in battle, and was likely delivered to him in the early 1930s when the current medal was officially created.  Enjoy the images!

Legs Wraps and All!