WWII Color Photo Post: An Unopened Box of Developed WWII Kodak Color Slides!


Many of my followers know that I actively collect WWII color slides, predominantly those developed by the Eastman Kodak Company.  These Kodachrome slides are typically regarded in the field of vintage color photo collecting as the crème de la crème of vintage color.  Taken at a time of incredible social and political upheaval, these images capture an era that will never be seen in the same light or colors again. With the small percentage of the world populace that used color photography, an even smaller percentage of the slides have been passed down or purchased by people with the ability to scan and post them to the internet.

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In this rare case, I was able to purchase a large set of Kodachrome slides taken by a US serviceman before he shipped off to war.  One box of the Kodak-developed slides were unopened.  I took a photo of the seal, opened the box and immediately scanned them!  Please enjoy the following 12 slides that are only seeing the light of day 70+ years later….

Taken in Fort Benning, GA, these slides were shipped home in January of 1945 to only be opened in 2016! Enjoy.

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WWII in Color – Rare Marine USMC DUKW Boat in Color! Saipan Quack Corps 35mm Color Slides


I always try to pick up groupings of WWII color slides whenever possible, but they are incredibly expensive.  I don’t want to say what I paid for these slides, but they weren’t cheap!  This small selection of slides comes from the WWII 35mm slide collection of a fighter pilot who spent some time on Saipan and shot some incredible images of the things he witnessed while on the island.  In this set we wee a DUKW of the 2nd Marine Division complete with painted duck logo, serial codes, and prisoners/laborers in the back. A rare color glimpse into the paint schemes and battle-wear of a wartime DUKW.  I would love to find more info on the unit, but don’t know where to start!

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WWII Kodachrome Color Slide – USS Canfield DE-262 Escort Destroyer at Eniwetok 1944 in Vibrant Color


For all you Navy buffs out there…………. this photo has been hidden away in a slide carousel since it was taken in 1944.  Never before digitized.  Enjoy!

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USS Canfield (DE-262) was an Evarts-class destroyer escort constructed for the United States Navy during World War II. She was sent off into the Pacific Ocean to protect convoys and other ships from Japanese submarines and fighter aircraft. She performed escort and antisubmarine operations in dangerous battle areas and returned home with four battle stars.

She was launched on 6 April 1943 by Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. L. W. Canfield; and commissioned on 22 July 1943, Commander J. B. Cleland, Jr., USNR, in command.

WWII in Color: U.S. Navy Seabee in the Pacific Theater of Operations in 1945


 

The lush greens and vibrant reds of the jungles of the Philippines are represented in typical WWII photography as dull grays, whites and blacks.  In this case, a WWII U.S. Navy seabee shot 35mm Kodachrome in an attempt to document his surrounding environment for posterity.  Although the non-martial content of the slides may be boring to some, it is an incredibly rare glimpse into the everyday life of the seabee during WWII.

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Francis D. Tyler Jr. – WWII Navy PBM Pilot 35mm Color Slide Collection


Mr. Francis Tyler in 1944

Sometimes a small bit of information can open up lead to a bonanza of research potential.  In this case, I was able to find a name associated with a recently acquired set of WWII 35mm color slides I won on eBay.  I was able to deduce from the collection that the original owner was a pilot with the VP-209, a patrol squadron that went on search and rescue and sub-finding missions in the Panama Zone.  Google led me to a website where old members of the unit have been posting reunion information with little snippits of their service history included.  With this in hand, I contacted the seller and discovered that a name on some of the other personal material from the estate is F. Tyler.  Low and behold, Mr. Tyler posted to the site back in 2003.
Here’s what Mr. Tyler had to say:

TYLER, Francis D. Jr. http://world.std.com/~shermie/vets/vets009.html “…Francis D. Tyler, Jr. PE, PBM, Patrol Bomber Mariner (PBM) US Navy Pilot. First, I think I should tell you how I got in the Navy. Some of you also registered for that first draft, back in October of 1940. I have a brother, two years younger; his number was in the first 100, while mine was 8809. He was called up in February of 1941. Then by the time I was classified 1A, I had seen a friend home on leave in a sparkling white uniform with beautiful Gold Wings on his chest. I decided that was the part of the service that I wanted to serve in, so I enlisted. I finally got sworn in, on December 30, 1941, twenty-three days after Pearl Harbor. In March of 1942, I received orders to report to the Naval Air Station at Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, Louisiana. I had become a Naval Aviation Cadet. In June I was transferred to the NAS Pensacola, Florida. Six months later I was designated an Ensign and Naval Aviator. I was then assigned to the Transitional Training Facility at NAS Banana River, Florida. Here we were introduced to the plane we would fly, the PBM, Patrol Bomber Mariner, as designated by the Navy. The Squadron in which I flew was VPB-209 was commissioned on January 1, 1943 and a full compliment of 15 planes was reached in June of the same year….

With this in hand, I was able to track down an obituary for Mr. Tyler:

FRANCIS D. TYLER JR.
Monday, December 31, 2007

FRANCIS D. TYLER JR., 90, of Lancaster, Mass., formerly of the RED BANK area, a professional engineer and World War II veteran, died Monday, Dec. 31, at the Jewish Healthcare Center in Worcester, Mass. Francis was born in Bellevue, Pa., to the late Dr. Francis D. Tyler and Marie Trimble Tyler.

He was raised in Jamestown, N.Y., and Jesuit-educated. Mr. Tyler graduated from Campion in Praire du Chein, Wis., and Marquette University. He served in the U.S. Navy as a PBM pilot during World War II, after which he returned to graduate school at Carolina State University, earning a degree in civil engineering.

He retired from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1984. He was a member of the National, New Jersey and Monmouth Societies of Professional Engineers. Francis believed in public service and served each community in which he lived. Some of his community activities were as a board member of Monmouth Day Care Center, Brookdale Community College Foundation, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra League, member of the English Speaking Union, member of the Newcomon Society, district governor of Division Six of Kiwanis International, president of the Lions Club of Clinton, Mass., board member of Fruitlands Museums, and adjunct member of the Conservation Commission of Lancaster, Mass. Francis was an avid gardener, photographer, stamp and coin collector, and a world traveler. His outgoing interest in other people will be missed by many.

He was predeceased by his wife Johanna Beker Tyler. He is survived by his wife Ara Nugent Tyler of Lancaster, Mass.; three daughters, Joan Stewart Wood and her husband Gorton of Little Silver, Paula Paiewonsky of Los Angeles, and Martha Tyler Hoagland and her husband Jim of Kenmore, Wash.; and their mother, Barbara Wright Tyler of Stamford, Conn. He leaves a brother, Samuel Tyler and his wife Janice; and a sister, Marianne Panebianco, all of Jamestown, N.Y.; two step-daughters, Pamela Czekanski and her husband Robert of Bolton, Mass., and Elizabeth Plattenburg and her husband George of Atlanta; several nieces; nephews; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday at Immaculate Conception Church, Main Street, Lancaster, Mass. A celebration of life reception is to follow services immediately at the First Church of Christ Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 725 Main St., Lancaster. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Philbin-Comeau Funeral Home, 176 Water St., Clinton, Mass. Contributions may be made in Francis’s memory to either the Xavier Jesuit Community, P.O. Box 7300 Kanpala, Uganda, or to the First Church of Christ Unitarian, c/o Heritage Fund, P.O. Box 66 Lancaster, MA 01523.

All of this info jives with what I found in the slide collection!  Now for some of the slide collection……….

Francis in the Galapagos

The Future Mrs.Tyler

1990s 209th Reunion

WWII Marine SBD Dive Bomber Pilot Color Photo Identified – Lt. Francis. A Watrous


I recently started researching my collection of 100+ images from a Marine SBD Dive Bomber unit and came across an awesome database that helped clear up a  lot of questions regarding identification of some of the pilots who posed for the camera.  Luckily, the men were wearing leather name tags which allowed for a partial identification.  Recently I discovered the Marine Corps Muster Role section of ancestry.com.  This allowed for a full identification of all the men that served with Lt. Walter Huff, the original owner of the collection.  With this in hand I was able to track down the names of a few pilots who served with Walter.

Lt. Francis Allen Watrous

I always knew that the last name of the man in the slide was Watrous, but had nothing else to work from.  Having discovered the muster role of the 332nd, I easily scrolled to the last section of the Lieutenants and found Mr. Francis A. Watrous listed.

Marine Muster Role – National Archives

From there I did a quick google search and found an obituary with a reference to Mr. Watrous.  The obituary was for his wife, who passed away in 2010, but referred to her first husband:

“……….. was predeceased by two husbands, Francis Allen Watrous, who was a U.S. Marine dive bomber pilot in World War II and was killed in a plane crash in 1947″

After a search through 1947 newspapers I was able to come up with an article explaining the sad death of Mr. Watrous.

Francis and his brother Arthur worked for Fleetwing Air Cargo Co. as deliverymen of baby chicks.  The brothers crashed on an overcast morning in July of 1947 while delivering 7,000 baby chicks from Wallingford, CT to Newmarket, VA.

And a recent addition to the post from the relative of Mr. Watrous (Thanks to Chris S.):

Francis Poses for the Camera

Francis Poses for the Camera

Fran and Lareine Pose in a Photobooth

Fran and Lareine Pose in a Photobooth

Francis and his Dive Bomber

Francis and his Dive Bomber

VMSB 332 on Midway

VMSB 332 on Midway

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WWII in Color – Color Kodachrome Slides – 1944 SBD Dauntless Marine Dive Bombers VMSB-332 w/ Aircraft


The color of WWII is something lost on our generation; WWII has been a war fought in black and white for everyone but actual WWII veterans who witnessed it firsthand.  One of my goals here at PortraitsofWar is to collect color slides from WWII and make them accessible to those who don’t know it exists.  Yes, color film was shot in 35mm(and sometimes larger format) and was used on a somewhat regular basis by shutterbug soldiers during WWII. My collection is roughly 500:1, black and white : color.    To find a complete collection of color slides is like hitting the WWII photography jackpot.  In this case, I was able to pick up a small selection of color slides from a Marine dive bomber.  Although I was only able to snag 7 from a grouping of nearly 200, I am still happy to pass along the images to interested parties.

 

 

From the collection of Walter Huff.

Please enjoy the colors of WWII as they were meant to be seen!