Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past


This week’s Sepia Saturday was another challenge for me due to my dearth of 20th century photos, so I searched my files and came up with something somewhat on theme. The prompt was of a group of WW1 soldiers cooking in the rubble of a bombed out town. Wow, that is tough to meet. So here I have two photos dating from 1940-50, of American military men somewhere in the tropics. That’s about as vague as you can get, I suppose!

The image quality is quite poor, with the subjects all barely discernible beyond “men”. I wonder if these were mailed home with a letter identifying Tom, Dick and Harry? Based on the posture of the top right man on the group photo, he appears to also be the man in the palm thicket photo. I don’t know enough about American military dress during that decade to even venture a guess a to what branch they were.

The backs of the photos have the Kodak Velox stamps. “Kodak print” is in a circle and “Velox” is printed on a diagonal, dating the photo paper to 1940-1950. Beyond that, there’s no information to tell us more about these fellows who paused for a moment to pose for a couple photographs on a sunny day, somewhere in the tropics.

Please click through to Sepia Saturday to then jump off to an array of fantastic sepia images from around the world.

14 thoughts on “Somewhere in the tropics

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    Its hard to tell – but I agree – the same man is in both photos.

    The uniforms remind me of the ones worn by US Marine aviators ala Black Sheep Squadron in the South Pacific during WWII.


  2. Yes,They Look the Same.I’m Not Sure Where But It Looks Warm!


  3. gluepot says:

    Those are banana trees in the right hand photo, I think. Yes, I’d guess they’re in the Pacific theatre somewhere too. The open-sided tents suggest it’s pretty warm – reminds me of M*A*S*H.


  4. Little Nell says:

    Yes, I think you’re right about the tropical scene. Tom (or is it Dick or Harry?) certainly seems a happy chap. As much as one could be under the circumstances anyway.


  5. postcardy says:

    They reminded me of MASH too, but that was in Korea.


  6. Christine H. says:

    It’s a big mystery, but it doesn’t look like such a bad place to be.


  7. Karen S. says:

    My mother used to talk a lot about, Tom, Dick and Harry…..it’s so funny reading that, and remembering her always saying “like every Tom, Dick and Harry….I always wondered where that came from. Cool post, and such amazing tents weren’t they?!


  8. Bob Scotney says:

    The escape tunnels dug at one prisoner of war camp in Germany were called Tom, Dick and Harry as well.
    Definitely the Far East with the banana trees. That tent has to be WWII or later.


  9. QMM says:

    One of my uncles was in the South Pacific in the army during WWII. Thank goodness he was not at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. This reminds me of the movie “South Pacific.”


  10. Martin says:

    Sad to think that these men lived and breathed, laughed and cried, but lost their identity over time.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I have often thought that also, but then I realized that just the photo has lost its identity. These people continued to live and breathe, be loved and loved others, all moving forward from this moment. So, although we don’t know who they are, we can hope that they lived full lives. What I find is sad is when photos lack identification and therefore lack meaning to descendents.


  11. Liz Stratton says:

    It must have been such an adventure for them … so far from home, different climate and culture. They definitely seem to be making the best of it.


  12. My Military man says it is hard to say which branch of service they are in..but most certainly warm and tropical:)


  13. I have several very similar photos from my father and my father in law, taken during WWII but most with no names on them.


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