Film Project Uncovers World War Two Images

A film project that recovers images from old or lost film rolls has found photographs taken by an unknown soldier on his tour of duty during World War Two.  The Rescued Film Project is a company founded by Levi Bettwieser, a photographer. The project researches and recovers old, undeveloped rolls of film from the 1930s to the end of the 20th Century.

Last year, Levi was at an auction when he found a group of 31 undeveloped films from the World War Two era that were being put up for auction. The rolls were labelled with various military locations such as Boston Harbor, Le Havre and Camp Lucky Strike.  Levi bought the set of films and took them back to his studio to begin developing them, the Colossal reports.

A lot of the rolls were damaged, but many were suitable for developing and being made into prints. Levi has developed all of the films except for one large reel that needs special equipment.  He began to see the same soldier in many of the photos; it is presumed that this man was the owner of the camera and had asked his comrades to take pictures of him at various locations.

Fort Warren at Boston Harbor was a control center for a mine field near the harbor, which had been put in place in preparation for potential German submarine attacks during the war. The 241st Coast Artillery served at the Fort.

Le Havre is a town on France’s north coast which was occupied by the Germans during the war and used as a naval base. It suffered continual bombing by the Allies, who hoped to destroy as many German ships and military personnel there as possible. When the Allied invasion took place in 1944, Le Havre was liberated from Nazi rule, but the harbor and city had been completely destroyed.  Despite its decimation, Le Havre’s advantageous location in north central France made it an ideal stopping point for incoming American troops.  The port ended up being World War Two’s largest replacement depot, where thousands of troops had been based before being sent on to the war front.  It is estimated that more than three million American troops stopped or stayed in the camps on their way through.

Camp Lucky Strike refers to one of these American replacement camps at Le Havre. All of the camps were named after cigarette brands. Camp Lucky Strike was one of the three largest, with a capacity of around 58,000 troops and located between Cany and Saint-Valery, just an hour north of Le Havre.

The Rescued Film Project uncovers pictures like these often, and it is the company’s goal to develop the lost films and reconnect them with their original owners, or the relatives and family members of the original owners.  The company is encouraging anyone who recognises the man in the images to get in touch with him so that the pictures can be reunited with the photographer or his family.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE