Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering our Veterans on Memorial Day

If you click on the title above, you will be taken to a website I set up for my Dad so he can share the photos he took of B24 nose art during World War II. Here's the story:

These photos of the famed B24 "Liberator" were taken by Mr. James V. Walsh while he served as ground crew with the 13th airborne division, 307th bomb group while stationed in the Pacific theatre during World War II. He set up a "darkroom" in a tent where he developed photographs taken of the planes, pilots and their crews with an Ansco Shur Shot standard "box" camera. The darkroom equipment consisted of a handmade wooden box with a light bulb built into it that would be turned on for a short time to expose the film.

Because the B-24’s were routinely flying photo-reconnaissance missions, film, which came on large rolls, was readily available from the "photo shack". Mr. Walsh would cut the film to fit his camera’s small rolls. The pilots, while on R&R in Australia, would obtain the necessary chemicals to process the negatives. What started out as a personal interest in taking and developing photographs, soon turned into a small enterprise, with the pilots and crew members posing for and buying "sets" of photos for "a buck apiece". While photographing the planes and flight crews, he also photographed the unique and interesting "Nose Art".

Photography runs in the Walsh family. James V. Walsh is my father, and I inherited my love of photography from him, as did my sister, Betty Dismukes. Today, Mr. Walsh and his wife, Rose live in Fannett, Texas, just west of Beaumont on 10 acres of land, where he cares for his menagerie of livestock. He travels annually to the 307th bomb group reunions, and he still has the old box camera with which he took these photos. Considering the simplicity of the camera and the crudeness of his "lab", I think these photos are remarkable.