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Through my Father's Lens Images of World War II

In July my wife Tami and I were having lunch at the beach with three of my sisters. Our family is spread from Florida to California, so we don't see much of each other. As frequently happens at these ad-hoc reunions, talk drifted to memories of growing up in the midwest, and to Mom and Dad.

We were talking about my father's career as a commerical photographer, and that my passion for photography has been rekindled. I remarked that I regret that we don't have any of Dad's work, nothing to examine, admire or learn from. After more than forty years, there is nothing to show of his life behind a camera.

My youngest sister Mary Pat mentioned that she had prints of photographs that Dad took while he was serving in the U.S. Army in 1943 through 1945. I was stunned and excited when she said there were doezens of images, perhaps more. She promised to send them to me, and a week later she delivered on her promise. The box contained over 220 photos.

He caught images of the Greatest Generation that brings them alive again.

Other than notes that Dad wrote on the borders, I don't know who the Soldiers are, or when and where the images were taken. I don't know how many of them made it back.

The Battalion Medic, Doc Davis, is shown in a rare moment of relaxation.

My Dad at the end of the war.

My father had a very good eye. He was not an Army photographer; he served with an Engineer Battalion building bridges and railroads from France through Belgium and into Germany, serving until the end of the European campaigns.

Whaterver camera equipment he had was simple, because it had to fit into his rucksack. He had no flash, and I doubt he had detachable lenses or meters. He had his eye and his instinct, and he was very good. Scanning old prints has degraded the original sharpness somewhat, but that couldn't be helped. I think Dad would understand.

The images have a couple of hand printed words on the border, sometimes just the name of a city, a town or a name made famous by a battle. There are no dates or times on them, and I could only guess at the approximate order. I was seeing each of them for the first time. It was as if I was meeting Dad again, but as a man who is much younger in the pictures than I am now. It is a strange feeling knowing that the boys and young men in these pictures hae left us. I hope they lived long and happy lives.

Berthing on the Victory Ship that brought them home.

I uploaded the scanned images and am sharing them through the following link. They are too good to be left in a box in a closet.

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