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Help Us Identify the WWI Mystery Pilots

Dear Rudy,

On a recent trip to Boston, my sister, brother-in-law and I were strolling through Beacon Hill. It was trash day and had been raining. As we passed a few bags of garbage leaning against a tree, I noticed some photo negatives laying in the mud. I was curious because they weren't ordinary negatives * they were individually cut and an odd size. I squatted down, pulled them out of the mud and "washed" them in a puddle of water (much to the dismay of my companions - who are not dumpster divers).

I held the negatives up and was astounded to find they were World War I photos of France. The shots included a couple of biplanes, pilots, the Arc de Triomphe, bombed buildings, the American Red Cross, an office with soldiers standing in the doorway, a village scene with old women carrying baskets, a church with a vicar, and a railroad scene. There were 11 photos in all. Most were well composed and shot, and in pretty good shape.

Whose photos are these? My guess is that the camera belonged to one of the two pilots who traveled around and shot photos at the end of the war. A little research has told me that it was at the end, as the planes had been painted in different motifs: one was stars and stripes, the other was painted like a fish. I've found someone who thinks he can identify the squadron, and I'm hoping to identify the pilots, too. I have the addresses of the brownstones where the trash was sitting. I thought I'd send the residents copies and see if they can shed any light on my mystery photos.

Anyway, I think this story shows that there's no better souvenir than a found treasure.


NOTE FROM THE SAVVY TRAVELER: Do you know of any World War I pilots with Boston connections and a photography hobby? If so, let us know. We'd like to help Greg identify the faces in his "trashy" souvenir. Give us a call at 888-SAVTRAV.



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