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Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

Article about: Hi all... I work at a non-profit thrift shop in my hometown and about 6 months ago someone donated a metal box full of photo negatives. I'm big into genealogy and WWII history in my spare ti

  1. #1
    sjkramer
    ?

    Default Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    Hi all...

    I work at a non-profit thrift shop in my hometown and about 6 months ago someone donated a metal box full of photo negatives. I'm big into genealogy and WWII history in my spare time so obviously, I was stoked. There were only four real pictures in the bunch and from those I was able to identify the serviceman as a Aviation Ordnanceman, 3rd Class. I had initially hoped to track down his name and family and return the 300+ negatives but have had no luck so we've resulted to selling them piece by piece, while i research each one.

    Anyway, I thought this board might be able to answer a few questions about the pictures. Any help would be appreciated.

    First, there is a grouping of about 10 pictures that show what looks to be a propaganda film being shot. Notice the plane with the shoddy swastika drawn on the wing? Any thoughts on what might be going on here?






    This is our soldier -- he's responsible for all the photos in this box. Any thoughts on his medals?




    And what of these boys? Why would they be wearing patriarchial crosses? I initially thought the one with France written on his uniform might have been with the FFF but that really doesn't compute...

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    The sailor seems to be the odd man out here - not related to
    the other photos - although he is a Petty Officer 1st Class
    and Aircrew Gunner who served in the Asian or Pacific theater.

    The photo of the German Me109 plane has a 'roundel' on the fuselage
    which means it's an allied marked captured aircraft. It looks also to
    have been probably photographed stateside, as I can see nobody
    but US soldiers on the field.

    But ! If this is a 'staged' photo then it could be anywhere, anytime !
    If it was post war they would not be armed unless it was for
    some kind of theatrical performance.
    The 'P39' shown was not a great aircraft. They were used as
    trainers in the US. This one has a pre war/stateside type
    US roundel on it. The AAF used a 'star-and-bar' motif on
    combat planes. It may be a museum aircraft because
    the thing is so clean !

    Finally, in the background is a commercial C-47 with 'NC'
    markings on the wing, so it leads me to think these are
    post war 1940's era shots.

    There were however, theatrical 'shorts' made to keep the
    public informed of the wars progress, and this may be
    the setting of such a production, featuring the
    captured German Me109.......Just a thought.






    Regards, Steve.

  3. #3
    sjkramer
    ?

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    Wow, thanks Steve!

    I had assumed there was a great deal of staging going on in the photos showing aircraft. I thought I had pinned down our soldier as an Aviation Ordnanceman but granted, I know little about uniforms and whatnot so I'm going with your assessment.

    In this collection are literally hundreds of aircraft. Also odd, there are just as many pictures of naval vessels.

    As I said these came through my work as a donation and if I can't identify the soldier I've got no reason to keep them so I gotta sell 'em...but I just hate to.

    Any thoughts on the other three boys? I assume they are Free French Forces but I can't say for sure as it looks like they're in US uniforms. Another mystery...

    Again, thanks for your help!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    The Sailor is that too - Aviation Ordnance Man - that is the specialty showing on
    the Petty Officer patch. The Gunner patch is on his right sleeve........
    ( the photo is flopped ! ) He could have been serving from an Aircraft Carrier.
    I don't see a 'Ruptured Duck' discharge emblem, so this was probably taken
    during the war or just after. Funny though, are those dragons on his cuffs !

    I believe the emblem is called the 'Cross of Lorraine'.
    Usually for their army, a US style embroidered shield shaped patch was worn.
    The FFF were supplied with US uniforms and weapons. These guys are
    aircrew from the looks the cloth 'wing' badges.

    It's too bad you can't buy them all for yourself.

    There's a ton of history in each neg !




    Regards, Steve.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    Hi sjkramer,

    To put a pretty close date to at least some of these photo's, this is Bf 109E-3 WerkNr. 1304, 'White 1' of 1./JG76. On November 22nd, 1939 while being flown by Fw Karl Hier, the aircraft was captured after coming down near Woerth, Bas-Rhin, roughly 12 miles inside of French territory. I've not done much research on this incident or this aircraft, and so am not sure if it was a forced landing or what...

    Anyhow, the aircraft was tested by the French at Orleans-Bricy before being handed over to the British on May 2nd, 1940. Given the RAF serial AE479, the aircraft was tested extensively by the British until they shipped it to the USA in April of 1942, where it was tested at Wright Field. Unfortunately the aircraft was damaged beyond repair during a forced-landing in November of that year at Chanute field Illinois.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    I would have guessed even without the above information on the 109's short history here in the states, that it was from 1942. If you look closely at the national insignia on the P-39 you can see that the red center has been painted over but is still visible. The wing of the aircraft to the right of the 109 appears to be a P-40.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    Ned, If this is indeed 'RAF - AE479' I think you nailed it !





    Regards, Steve.

  8. #8
    sjkramer
    ?

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    You guys are spot on. I just re-photographed a couple of the negatives and the Me109 is marked AE479 so it all lines up. Now, if this was used as a test aircraft, would they have let it out on loan for something like the filming of a propaganda film? Or is it possible that they photographed and filmed this plane as it was brought in? I know that it was escorted by a few planes...

    I am becoming more and more amazed at what these negatives hold. This guy must have been quite the man -- if only I could find his family...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    Quote by sjkramer View Post
    You guys are spot on. I just re-photographed a couple of the negatives and the Me109 is marked AE479 so it all lines up. Now, if this was used as a test aircraft, would they have let it out on loan for something like the filming of a propaganda film? Or is it possible that they photographed and filmed this plane as it was brought in? I know that it was escorted by a few planes...

    I am becoming more and more amazed at what these negatives hold. This guy must have been quite the man -- if only I could find his family...
    When it was brought over it more than likely would have been
    escorted by fighter plane(s), or a type that was of a similar
    speed to the Me. Perhaps this was it's actual debut
    in the USA and big news at the time !

    If this is merely a staged 'propaganda' film they are making,
    it may not have been actually flown for the filming at all,
    but just had the engine run up for effect.





    Regards, Steve.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Photo Memoir of WWII AOM3C -- HELP!

    The 35MM Movie camera in the left foreground is pre WW2 camera that was developed for shooting African expedition work. Notice it is a conversion with an external DC Electric motor connected to the hand crank socket. (note the battery box on the ground), very desireable for Aerial Photography as it had an internal magazine that could be changed in 15 seconds. The design included a matched pair of lenses (one for viewing and one for shooting) It was designed by Carl Akeley in 1917 and was very popular being used on Wings and Hell's Angels and by Robert Flaherty on Nanook of the North (though he used a Newman Sinclair on Man of Aran).. Quite rare today, the last one I saw was at the CBS Network Technical Department on West 57th Street back in 1997, the first one made is in the Smithsonian Museum and was built specificly for use in the tropics.
    CINEMATOGRAPHERS - CLASSIC MOTION PICTURE CAMERAS

    If this was in England it would be a square Newman Sinclair.
    If it was American base it would be a Mitchell NC (std box with Mickey Mouse Ears type of magazine on top).

    The French and Brits had some P-39's (they called them P-400's) but they were the first generation with the 20mm Hispano Suiza cannon and .303 or .30 cal MG's and were grossly underpowered. Later versions given to Russia had .50 cal MG's and 37MM Cannon made by GM/Olds. Still underpowered due to the supercharger being deleted and the location of the motor and radiator caused massive overheating problems (using flammable Prestone coolant). My Dad flew one several times and said it would go into a flat spin and if you didn't catch it right away you were dead meat. He flew the F5 Lightning and P47 Jug doing Photo recon in the 7th Phito group/8th Air force.

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