Special Military Training?

Enjoy today two photos that show us that sometimes military training and camp isn’t all marching and push ups. I don’t know who the subjects are, but they were in the same pile as these pictures of Earl “E. B.” Scott and his buddy. Location and date are unknown but I’m guessing in the 1940s to 50s.

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Merry Christmas Happy New Year

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Military dad

A simple, deckled edge card with a small square photo of a family. The father is in his military uniform but I can’t tell what branch he is in. Two boys are in between Dad and Mom. The printed text reads Merry Christmas / Happy New Year and looks like a letter in a mailbox. The card is signed “with much love, Antoinette & Allen & the boys.”

Veterans

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Four Great War soldiers

Today is Veterans Day, November 11. You may have heard that Veterans Day originated with the Great War, the war to end all wars, World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, it was a moment of silence observed at 11:00 a.m. on November 11th, because that was the time designated in the Armistice Agreement for an end to hostilities on the Western Front. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. In the days before internet communications, explicit and defined times and dates were important so that everyone got the message loud and clear. The armistice was a success and World War I came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, and ultimately the fall of Berlin.

The Great War sadly was not the war to end all wars.

One hopes that these four soldiers returned home from battle, healthy and able to pick up their lives, but we can never know. The photo carries no identification on the reverse. World War I also gave rise to the term “shell shock” which today we would call post traumatic stress disorder. 100 years ago, there was no treatment for this syndrome. Men were expected to deal with it and get on with their lives. I can only imagine how terrible it must have been.

Thank your local veteran today, for their sacrifices and service to your country. It is not an easy job to perform, and in America, can be woefully under paid, under supported and unsung. While we find it easy to wear yellow ribbons, the colors of our flag, or put up signs saying “we support our troops,” our Veterans Administration is underfunded and our Veterans hospitals are understaffed. Not only do our active duty military suffer daily, but their families make deep sacrifices – deployments separating parents, family deployments to foreign countries and frequent moves, children changing schools annually – and sometimes, they make the greatest sacrifice of all in the death of their military family member. Veterans are frequently affected with long term consequences of their deployment and the action they have seen, both physically through illness/injury, but mentally through PTSD and the deep scars left by the missions they conducted. It cannot be an easy life to live, and we must appreciate every man and woman who choose to live it.

Read more about Veterans Day and the history of this holiday

History of Veterans Day – via Office of Public Affairs, US Dept of Veterans Affairs

Why do we wear a poppy? – via The Telegraph UK

In Flanders Fields – poem written about WWI

The Remembrance Poppy – via Wikipedia

Sailors

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Item #1 – E. B. Scott

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Item #2 – A sailor from Tennessee

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Item #3 – E. B. Scott & another sailor

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Item #4 – a deck shot

I found these photos in what I call “the great Tennessee vacation photo haul.” A couple months back I teased you about these, a large collection of photos I gathered at “the world’s longest yard sale” in Tennessee. I have a massive collection of photos and holiday cards to share with you, and these four seemed like a good place to start!

The photos have inscriptions, as follows:

Item #1 – Front labeled E. B. Scott

Item #2 – no inscription

Item #3 – The background is the Bay. The guy with me is Earl Scott from Johnson City, Tenn.

Item #4 – This was taken on the Starboard side of the Quarter Deck looking aft

Anyone who knows vintage military uniforms is welcome to comment on what you think may be the era of these photos/uniforms. As it is, I can’t really make a guess because the photos themselves follow a style that was popular for 20+ years.

Verdun 1944

Momentous events in history are the topic of the week, and Sepia Saturday gives us the prompt of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, just a few moments before his assassination, which started World War I. One of the major battlefields during World War I was outside the city of Verdun, about 200 miles (250 km) from Paris. The town is ancient, having been an occupied fortress before the Romans came rolling through, and takes its name from the Latin Verodunum, meaning strong fort. The town is surrounded by several forts which were targets for German forces in an effort to break France, and therefore break Britain.

Carroll at Verdun, France / Paris 200 miles west

Carroll at Verdun, France / Paris 200 miles west

While part of the town fell to German forces, not all of it did, and eventually Allied forces attacked the German flank at the Somme, bringing a conclusion to most of the fighting at Verdun. Over eleven months, hundreds of thousands of men died on the verdant land in and round the town. Verdun hosts several monuments and cemeteries consecrating the numerous remains. French General Philippe Pétain helped to keep open the Bar-le-Duc road – the only road available to bring in supplies to the beleaguered town. It became known as The Sacred Way.

Carroll, taken at Verdun, France 1944

Carroll, taken at Verdun, France 1944

During World War II, France fell to the Germans thanks in part to the actions of the very same General Pétain, and Verdun and all of northwestern France became occupied by German troops. After the Normandy Beach landings by Allied forces in 1944, the Germans were pushed out of the region. By September of that year, Verdun was liberated, but then heavily bombed by the retreating German army. This interesting article from the Sydney Morning Herald describes troop movements as of September 2, 1944. The Allied troops moved north toward Belgium and Luxembourg virtually unopposed.

Carroll at Verdun, 1944

Carroll at Verdun, 1944

These photographs found in the local antique stall are badly scratched from time and mishandling, but show a soldier – Carroll – while he was in Verdun in 1944. We can see the snow in some of these, and so we know they must have been after the September offensive by the Allied forces that freed Verdun from German occupation. The first photograph might have been taken in the autumn of that year, and shows the signpost for both Paris and Bar-le-Duc.

Carroll & Munan at Verdun, France 1944

Carroll & Munar at Verdun, France 1944

Carroll is the fellow on the left in this picture. I’m guessing at the spelling of Munar. The handwriting is small and cramped. Maybe it is Monroe. Although they were certainly in the area in connection to the Allied victory over Germany and subsequent stabilization efforts, that is all we know. The photos became lost somehow, separated from their subjects and forever a curiosity for us to muse upon.

For other major events and significant moments in history, great and small, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Moments frozen in time

Army R.O.T.C.

Delaware ROTC

Delaware ROTC Headquarters

I have neglected you all, dear photo loving friends, and for that I apologize. I just didn’t seem to have enough time to do anything the past couple weeks and I didn’t realize that so much time had passed!

Hopefully you are a forgiving lot, heh. For this week’s Sepia Saturday we have a prompt showing a doorway. The doorway on this photo of the Delaware Army R.O.T.C. leads to a Headquarters building flanked with wooden barracks un an unpaved/ungroomed plot of land. The young men pictured supposedly include my grandfather Horace A. Nunn, but I can’t discern his face among them. My mother or sister might have better luck.

Horace was born in 1902. If he was in college during his stint in the R.O.T.C. we can guess he was about 18 years of age, and so this photo is from approximately 1920-1921. Any military historians who can better date this, please comment! I am only guessing he was college aged because that is my experience – R.O.T.C. was open to college boys. But, military uniforms are often a good way to date photos, and I know nothing about them.

UPDATE: A site visitor schooled me that R.O.T.C. may not be understood outside of the USA, my apologies! R.O.T.C. stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps, and was designed to train future military leaders. Established in 1862, it was a requirement for men attending a land-grant college to participate in R.O.T.C. A land-grant college is a federally funded college or university, and to retain federal funding the college must offer agriculture, science, military science and engineering. Up until 1862 apparently, most colleges offered a liberal-arts curriculum. While a man who joins the military after college can become an office without R.O.T.C. it is preferred that he have completed the training during school. The practice of compulsory R.O.T.C. spread to many private universities, until the 1960s, and now it is voluntary for men to join. Many of my male friends in college were in R.O.T.C. We called their weekends away “doing the green thing.” 

Hopefully I won’t neglect you again, thank you for sticking with me! For more photos of doorways from around the world, please click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Come on in!

Rudolf Fletcher, US Navy Sailor

Sailor

This is a great find – a black sailor named Rudolf Fletcher, posed by a column and looking confident. I am guessing this photo dates to the World War II era. Working on that theory, I did a little research and found a few Rudolf Fletchers.

  • Rudolf Fletcher, born October 10, 1928, died June 10, 1981. Entered the service April 9, 1946, left February 7, 1948
  • Rudolf Fletcher, born January 5, 1926, died September 15, 1986. Entered the service January 3, 1944, left January 12, 1946
  • Rudolf Fletcher, born April 13, 1934, died December 10, 1992. Entered the service February 19, 1952, left May 3, 1955

There is also a laundry list of Rudolf Fletchers who served in the Navy throughout the 1935-1950 era.

UPDATE: Iggy found that the Rudolph Fletcher I crossed out up there was a white man, so that eliminates him from the running for this photo. He also discovered Rudolph Valentino Fletcher Sr (1924-2002), who was buried near Oakland, CA. At least there is a connection here, as I bought the photo in California. Hopefully one day Mr Fletcher’s family will stumble upon this picture and be able to tell us if it is he. Thanks, Iggy!!

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