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Who is this man? Help me please.


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#1 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:05 PM

Hello!

Am totally new here, so here's to hoping I'm posting in the right thread.

I'm trying to solve a mystery. I have this photo of a man in some sort of army uniform. I'm not sure who he is. He's not family or a relative, I once bought this picture somewhere because I loved the look of it, without knowing anything about it.

I'm trying to find out who he is. On the back of the photo it is written: J07881 or J01881, that is a bit unclear. I don't know much about searching for soldiers, but I have found that that must mean he was Jewish and was from Middlesex, and was in the army in WW1. Is that even correct?

However, I'm stuck. I've tried searching for his uniform, and I do find it to resemble the ww2 american paratroopers uniform. Then again, I don't know anything about these kind of things, and I might be completely off. I'm not even sure if the number on the back is real, or maybe something the seller of this picture once wrote down.

What do you guys think? I'm sorry about the picture being somewhat unclear, but maybe you have some more information. I'm completely intrigued by this!

Hoping to hear from you. Thanks!
Milou

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#2 Owen

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:44 PM

Definately NOT WW1.
WW2 era US soldier I'd say.
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#3 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:53 PM

Definately NOT WW1.
WW2 era US soldier I'd say.


Thank you! I thought so too, glad to hear my instincts may have been right.
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#4 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:56 PM

Looks like an M-43 jumpsuit at first glance. Worn by a US paratrooper.

The M-43 was issued from Operation Market Garden onward.
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#5 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:03 PM

Looks like an M-43 jumpsuit at first glance. Worn by a US paratrooper.

The M-43 was issued from Operation Market Garden onward.


Wow, thank you! So my eyes don't deceive me.

That is wonderful to hear. I actually live in Holland, what a coincidence is that ;)
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#6 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:15 PM

Milou,

Hello and welcome to the forum.

I agree that the soldier appears to be airborne judging by his uniform.

He is also travelling light, so this indicates to me that he is more than likely an officer.

Regards
Tom
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#7 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:18 PM

I'm not 100% sure, just my assumption.

The reason I think it's the later jumpsuit is that the breast pockets look to be straight rather than slanted as they were on the M-42 jacket.


M-42
Posted Image

M-43
Posted Image



So assuming I'm correct, the photo could have been taken any time between Market Garden and VE Day.

I cannot however identify anything further on the photo that may narrow things down.
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#8 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:37 PM

Milou,

Hello and welcome to the forum.

I agree that the soldier appears to be airborne judging by his uniform.

He is also travelling light, so this indicates to me that he is more than likely an officer.

Regards
Tom



@Tom
Thank you so much. Really, an officer? Just asking, but I always thought there should be signs on the uniform to show their rank? And I don't see any.. I defenitely don't question your knowledge or judgement, am just curious.
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#9 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:42 PM

I'm not convinced that there's any hint of him being an officer (or otherwise) - it's a posed photograph and for that reason it could be anyone.

Not that I'm saying smudger is wrong, just that I don't see the evidence.
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#10 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:44 PM

I'm not 100% sure, just my assumption.

The reason I think it's the later jumpsuit is that the breast pockets look to be straight rather than slanted as they were on the M-42 jacket.


M-42
Posted Image

M-43
Posted Image



So assuming I'm correct, the photo could have been taken any time between Market Garden and VE Day.

I cannot however identify anything further on the photo that may narrow things down.


You are right, the pockets are indeed shaped like the M43.

Trying to narrow things down:
Judging from the building style of the house on the right, which is made of bricks, it is (in my opinion) defenitely taken somewhere in northern Europe (not in America, after the war). Also, there are leafs on the trees. Two trees further in the back seem to have lost leafs. That could mean two things: it would be fall 1944, or spring 1945. Winter 44 would be a bit unlikely, since it was a very cold winter, and there are still many leafs on some of the trees.

Could I be right with my assumption? Please let me know if you dissagree.
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#11 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:47 PM

Time of year could be spring or fall/autumn - I agree that's likely.

Is that a building on the left? I didnt see it until you pointed it out, but as I look at it it could also be that the right side of the photo is faded, and that the bit that looks like a building might be just a tree with thin branches.


EDIT: looking again I think the horizontal lines look a bit too uniform to be branches, but there's something about it that looks odd. Maybe its just too close, or there's not enough of it in the picture to be clear (in my eyes).
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#12 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:52 PM

Time of year could be spring or fall/autumn - I agree that's likely.

Is that a building on the left? I didnt see it until you pointed it out, but as I look at it it could also be that the right side of the photo is faded, and that the bit that looks like a building might be just a tree with thin branches.


:)

On the left there is no building. On the right there is. On my picture it is more clear. It defenitely is a brick building with a gutter (or is it called rain water pipe?) running down. Sorry it is a bit faded, that's because I had to photograph it with my phone and upload it..
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#13 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:55 PM

tmm,

I think that you are right with the tree branches to the right on the faded right side of the photograph.

The bottom right lines look like wire on a fence running alongside.

There also appears to be two posts behind the soldier with what appears to be cross pieces like a roof shape.

It does not appear to be trees.

Regards
Tom
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#14 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:59 PM

I can try to get it uploaded more clear tomorrow if you'd like, though there isn't much more to see. I promise you it's a building with a rain pipe running down. ;)

The picture is slightly bigger in reality, and a bit cleared.

So lovely to have this kind of reply. Brings butterflies to my stomach, I love a good mystery slowly becoming a bit clearer!
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#15 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:03 PM

:)

On the left there is no building. On the right there is. On my picture it is more clear. It defenitely is a brick building with a gutter (or is it called rain water pipe?) running down. Sorry it is a bit faded, that's because I had to photograph it with my phone and upload it..


Left, right - same difference :P (I meant right)

It does look like a building, but also as Tom says I think it also looks like a fence or tree or something.

A clearer photo would be good.
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#16 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:09 PM

Left, right - same difference :P (I meant right)

It does look like a building, but also as Tom says I think it also looks like a fence or tree or something.

A clearer photo would be good.


Will try and upload a better picture tomorrow then. Have been studying the background, and am thinking that MAYBE there are telephone poles in the background. But that's hard to tell. Right now I'm off to bed, to dream about this mystery. Thanks and will check in tomorrow! Good night!
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#17 SDP

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:13 PM

I suggest that, because of the lack of detail on the photo itself, if you want to find out who this is, you need to write down everything you can think of, for example where, when and how you bought it, anything the vendor told you, did you buy or see anything else similar at the time etc etc. You need to hit the 'target' from all directions! Otherwise all you have is a nice photo of any one of thousands of soldiers! I was in a similar situation a few years ago but, over the course of about three years I managed to get names for a whole group of about 20 soldiers so I know that the task you face is possible to achieve. You should also make a posting on other web forums that specialise in US military history. If you can narrow your search to a specific location and then identify his Unit then you will find the next steps quite easy. There is even a chance he is still alive!
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#18 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:15 PM

I suggest that, because of the lack of detail on the photo itself, if you want to find out who this is, you need to write down everything you can think of, for example where, when and how you bought it, anything the vendor told you, did you buy or see anything else similar at the time etc etc. You need to hit the 'target' from all directions! Otherwise all you have is a nice photo of any one of thousands of soldiers! I was in a similar situation a few years ago but, over the course of about three years I managed to get names for a whole group of about 20 soldiers. You should also make a posting on other web forums that specialise in US military history. If you can narrow your search to a specific location and then identify his Unit then you will find the next steps quite easy. There is even a chance he is still alive!


This is good advice. Find some sites that specialise in 101st and 82nd airborne research. It's possible someone there may recognise him and an individual, rather than just am american paratrooper.
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#19 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:18 PM

Posted Image

Allright, so couldn't resist. Better quality.
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#20 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:20 PM

I suggest that, because of the lack of detail on the photo itself, if you want to find out who this is, you need to write down everything you can think of, for example where, when and how you bought it, anything the vendor told you, did you buy or see anything else similar at the time etc etc. You need to hit the 'target' from all directions! Otherwise all you have is a nice photo of any one of thousands of soldiers! I was in a similar situation a few years ago but, over the course of about three years I managed to get names for a whole group of about 20 soldiers so I know that the task you face is possible to achieve. You should also make a posting on other web forums that specialise in US military history. If you can narrow your search to a specific location and then identify his Unit then you will find the next steps quite easy. There is even a chance he is still alive!


Thank you so much! Unfortunately I bought this picture of of Ebay (couldnt resist the look of it). The seller sells more vintage pictures, so I might message him tomorrow asking him if he remembers anything about it, or if the message on the back is his.
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#21 Milou

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:21 PM

This is good advice. Find some sites that specialise in 101st and 82nd airborne research. It's possible someone there may recognise him and an individual, rather than just am american paratrooper.


Thank you. Will defenitely look for those!
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#22 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:24 PM

Okay, I can see now it is a building!
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#23 SDP

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:29 PM

One possibility is that the photo is a souvenir; I'm trying to account for why a Dutch person has a photo of an American paratrooper! Possibly he gave the photo to the people he was billeted with as a souvenir (in which case the photo might have been taken anywhere even in the USA) or the photo could have been taken by the people he was billeted with (in which case it could be close to where you bought the photo). I know civilians gave photos of themselves to soldiers who were billeted with them (because I have some examples given to my father when he was billeted in Poperinghe and Aarschot) and I can only assume that the reverse happened.

Is there any other information on the back of the photo such as the type/make of photographic paper as this could indicate in which country the photo was taken? The number you mentioned in your first post looks like a photo reference number to me. The photo is obviously 'posed' so was presumably taken on a 'special' occasion.
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#24 SDP

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:38 PM

Oh, the wonderful Ebay! Good luck with your enquiry to the seller!. If it was a recent purchase I suggest you also look at all his current items for sale and, possibly more importantly, his completed items to see if anything else gels with your photo. You need to be quick because the completed items list is removed quite quickly.
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#25 -tmm-

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:39 PM

It it possible to get a high quality scan that will allow us to see more small details?


It occurred to me that the M-43 jacket was supplied to infantry as well as paratroopers. The soldier is not wearing jump trousers (with big pockets) so this guy is likely not a paratrooper. (so please ignore any paratrooper related advice)

Edited by -tmm-, 18 February 2012 - 11:48 PM.

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#26 Milou

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:00 AM

It it possible to get a high quality scan that will allow us to see more small details?


It occurred to me that the M-43 jacket was supplied to infantry as well as paratroopers. The soldier is not wearing jump trousers (with big pockets) so this guy is likely not a paratrooper. (so please ignore any paratrooper related advice)


Haha, so we're back to square one.

Things we are pretty certain about:
- He was in US army
- He's wearing M-43 jacket
- That means he was alive, and the picture was taken at the time of Operation Market Garden, untill VE Day.
- Judging on the looks of the surroundings, the picture is probably taken in (Northern) Europe, in either fall 1944 or spring 1945
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#27 Milou

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:18 AM

One possibility is that the photo is a souvenir; I'm trying to account for why a Dutch person has a photo of an American paratrooper! Possibly he gave the photo to the people he was billeted with as a souvenir (in which case the photo might have been taken anywhere even in the USA) or the photo could have been taken by the people he was billeted with (in which case it could be close to where you bought the photo). I know civilians gave photos of themselves to soldiers who were billeted with them (because I have some examples given to my father when he was billeted in Poperinghe and Aarschot) and I can only assume that the reverse happened.

Is there any other information on the back of the photo such as the type/make of photographic paper as this could indicate in which country the photo was taken? The number you mentioned in your first post looks like a photo reference number to me. The photo is obviously 'posed' so was presumably taken on a 'special' occasion.


Other than the pencil written photonumber, there is something on it. It is very small in light grey inkt. It's on the edge of the picture, so it might be that part of the word fell off. It says either: dujac or (if you turn it upside down) ovira/avira.

I did check on Dujac. There is a wine domain in France, but that wasn't started untill the 60s, so that seems to be a dead end :(
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#28 SDP

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 03:09 PM

Need a 'Eureka!' moment on this one. There must be something we have missed. Have you made any progress with the Ebay vendor? All will be OK, the impossible simply takes longer.
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#29 Remember George

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:19 PM

Could I just mention that the UK could be rulled out as a location for the photo. I can't say for the USA. My reason is that when in Poland, France and Germany over the past few years, I had noticed all drain down pipes were as wide as is in the photo. the UK are narrower. John.
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#30 ronald

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:01 PM

What you call a tree with leaves looks like a climbing rose growing over a
construction made of poles. All those sticks coming out of the ground
on the background make me think of a vineyard. So, maybe it is in France:)

Just a guess ofcourse..!!!!!


Ron
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