I am trying to sort through old photos that belonged to either my Dad or his two brothers. I am really curious about this one - I am almost positive that it is my father. He was an airplane mechanic with the 13th Air Depot Group. It looks like the man in the picture is standing in the clouds, watching planes fly overhead. I have no idea what he is holding in his hand. My son-in-law said that it reminds him of some of the old recruiting posters he has seen. Is this kind of photo familiar to anyone? Thank you so much for any insight you can give me!
The photo was almost certainly made by superimposing the man’s image on the sky image, which was well within the capacity of any military photo unit or proficient amateur with darkroom facilities during or after WWII. It’s a print, but probably made from two negatives.
A mechanic was unlikely to be wearing air crew headgear, but as the photo isn’t of a real event it’s possible that your father is the man and dressed up for the occasion.
I don’t know if the suit is a flying suit used in the Pacific, or if the boots are likely to be ground or air crew in the Pacific, but maybe someone else can clear that up.
The items in his right hand could be a map and navigator’s ruler, which again isn’t something associated with a mechanic.
But, for all we know, it could be your father in a photo intended to a be a parody of something or someone in the unit or the wider war, such as a recruiting poster.
Thank you so much for your reply, Rising Sun! Your information now leads me to believe that this was my Dad’s brother, Clyde Liles. There were four brothers in the military at the same time, and they closely resembled each other. Clyde was a pilot with the 8th Army, 339th Bomb Squad. He was killed in April, 1944, when his B-17 was shot down over Pas de Calais area in France. My Dad and one brother came home, and the other brother Jesse M., survived WWII, but died in a training accident in 1956 over Goose Bay when the Stratotanker he was in exploded. I am one of the youngest of their nieces or nephews left - born two years before Jesse died - and I am trying so hard to get the family stories and mementos organized into notebooks. I am so afraid that their sacrifice will be forgotten by our generation’s children and grandchildren. Neither of my uncles were married or had families, so there are only a few of us to do this. My other cousins are at least ten years older than I am, and most knew our uncles, but I am not sure how much they remember. Again, thank you very much for your help with this - I appreciate it more than you know! Laura Liles Dove
You’re welcome, Laura.
In case you haven’t already found it, the 13th Air Depot Group’s involvement in the wider Pacific War is summarised at:
If you don’t want to read the full texts, just use ‘Find’ for ‘13th Air Depot Group’
I’m poor at identifying aircraft, but the rear part of the wings of the four engine bombers in your photos looks like a B 17. Alas, B 17s were used in Europe and in the Pacific, and quite probably serviced by the 13th Air Depot Group, so that doesn’t help narrow the picture down to your father or Clyde.
Thank you so much, Rising Sun! Will definitely check these links out!