photos Antietam Battlefield, US CIVIL WAR


Antietam Battlefield from my trip in 2002 some of my shots from that day were made with a Voigtlander Cosina T101 rangefinder film camera and the CV Classic f2.5 35mm ltm lens.

The Battle of Antietam /ænˈttəm/ also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, particularly in the South, fought on Wednesday, September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Union soil. It is the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with 22,717 dead, wounded, and missing on both sides combined.

The bridge is known as Burnside’s Bridge for the Union General who kept sending Union troops to cross it and where many were killed by Confederate sharpshooters who were positioned on the high ground on the west side of the creek.

I stood up there and could judge how effective was the firing angle of their hilltop position.

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2147 views US ARMY Rangefinder camera 70mm – Graflex Combat Graphic


In 2002 on a road trip to South Carolina, I stopped off in Fayetteville, NC, to visit the Airborne Museum and took this photograph of this enormous rangefinder camera. It has been viewed over 2100 times in my photostream on flickr.com. Curious what attracts views.

“its a Graflex Combat Graphic – made for the US armed forces and took 70mm film.”

Combat Graflex sometimes referred to as a Combat 70 or Gulliver’s Contax.  Designed by Zeiss Ikon’s Hubert Nerwin. Resembles a Contax II on steroids.  Madfe between 1953 and 1957 and used by the US ARMY SIGNAL CORP up to and including the early years of the Viet Nam War.

Google for more info, but as a start try this: www.geh.org/fm/mees/htmlsrc/mG736700001_ful.h tml

Keneally’s novel about Operation Rimau


Finished reading an outstanding novel of WWII called The Widow and Her Hero by Thomas Keneally (2007), which deals with the true life commando mission “Rimau” (Malay for tiger), made by Australian Special Forces and British troops against Japanese held Singapore. Great book, tragic mission and it appears over time that the facts behind the loss of the men was a high level command decision to sacrifice them. The story by Keneally looks at men’s heroism and the emotional evolution of the women who survive them. It is the story of a war time marriage, the mission, and the long life of the widow who over time learns more about her husband’s final mission and execution by the Japanese. It’s a great novel based on a tragic truth.

Wikipedia article on Operation Rimau.

Keneally is best known for the Booker Prize-winning Schindler’s Ark. He is one of my favourite authors.

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson


Finished reading this detailed account of the battles of Sicily and Italy. It was a difficult read, not because of Atkinson’s style but because of the content. The incredible waste and suffering of so many soldiers and civilians. I had prior to reading this book only a sketchy idea of the Italian campaign. Growing up in Toronto, my next door neighbour was a Canadian Combat Engineer Major who I believe had been in Italy during the war. I thought of him often while reading this book. Highly recommended.

Churchill Tank WW II heavy tank



Churchill Tank WW II heavy tank

Originally uploaded by “canuckshutterer” wj gibson.

Today I revisited the museum at Canadian Forces Base Borden, west of Barrie, Ontario, Canada…..part of my remembrance of those who gave their lives.

Pat Barker, Regeneration Trilogy


I am part way through rereading this exceptional trilogy set in World War One. I have read Regeneration and am just started The Eye in the Door. For those who have not read these three novels (The Ghost Road, winner of the 1995 Booker Prize, is the final novel), you should. Regeneration begins with the Declaration that the war must stop – made by Siegfried Sassoon, decorated army officer and poet and his treatment for psychological damage from his time in combat. Dr. Rivers, like Sassoon a real-life figure, is another central character, who struggles with the Army and its attitudes, the difficulty of treatment, the moral question of treating men in order to help them and then to send them back in many cases to combat. Barker’s style is lean, effective, emotion-based. I am glad I hung on to my copies of her three novels and that I am now re-reading them. One detail that has always stuck in my brain, the yellow complexions of the young and old women working in the munitions plants.  I suppose it has something to do with the memory of my mother telling me that she worked in a munitions plant in Montreal making 20mm shells during the Second World War.