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Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

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    • Fishing cove near Amalfi, Italy, 1943

    • 1943
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The coastal city of Amalfi (just south of Naples) escaped damage despite its proximity to Salerno, where the main Allied landing took place. This image is typical of scenes from Italy as I saw it: an undisturbed village or town immediately near...
    • Camel pulling irrigation lift, Casablanca, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • The camel is truly the all-purpose animal, here turning the pump on an irrigation post in Morocco. His entire life would be spent walking in this circle, bringing up water from one level to a higher one. An attendant in the shack would not be...
    • Caravan camel, Bou Saada, Algeria, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • My camel for the trip from Bou Saada to Biskra. A long trip over the desert is a true adventure. This one, traveling with a group of Bedouin, took 6 days.
    • Craftsman, the Medina, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A craftsman working metal in the Medina, Algiers, November 1943. He is typical of the workers whose skill with simple tools could produce a gun, a sword or a spoon. They were completely essential members of their society; most of the things owned...
    • 99 Rue D'Isly, home for a few weeks, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A room in a private apartment at 99 Rue D'Isly, Algiers, that we were able to rent for a few weeks. Our commanding officer later discovered this flirtation with luxury and ordered us back to base. Typical of the time, this apartment belonged to a...
    • Prayer tower, Rabat

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • This prayer tower, then situated on the outskirts of Rabat, was in use by a Mullah who rode a horse to its top on a roundabout staircase 5 times each day for the call to prayer. The structure -- also known as the tower of Hassan or Hassan tower --...
    • Caravan entering Biskra, December 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A traditional camel caravan moving into Biskra after a long journey from the southern edge of the Sahara. Measured distance is not a concept these caravans use; days to travel and time are the measure. A trip from Biskra to Bou Saada is 6 days if a...
    • Caravan, December 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A traditional camel caravan moving into Biskra after a long journey from the southern edge of the Sahara. Measured distance is not a concept these caravans use; days to travel and time are the measure. A trip from Biskra to Bou Saada is 6 days if a...
    • "Heart of Algiers" , December 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • This is the intersection of the Rue D'Isly and the harbor street, with the Medina to the left. This was the heart of Algiers. Again, we have a view of a streetcar making its appointed rounds. The Algerian Lottery and the cinema are advertised; the...
    • Shopkeeper in the Medina, Rabat, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A typical shopkeeper in the Medina, Rabat, 1943. He specialized in metal things and repairs to pots and pans etc. As with many of the people and places depicted in these photographs, I attempted to find specific things on a return trip to North...
    • Farm caravan near Caserta, Italy, 1943

    • 1943
    • Italy and Southern France
    • A small caravan of wagons with hay and clover travel along to the farm from distant fields; late summer, 1943. To the northeast of the city of Caserta, located about 30 miles north of Naples, the land is rich and farming a major activity. While...
    • Cutting hemp stalks, Naples, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • This woman is harvesting hemp straw for the rope industry that was so predominant in and around Naples. Hemp was a major crop in the area of Naples. A large family enterprise, the making of hemp rope flourished all during the period of military...
    • Soldier with shrapnel wounds, Southern France en route to Naples

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Here pictured on-board the "Shamrock", a United States hospital ship, a soldier with a severe laceration wound of his shoulder -- he was probably hit by artillery fire as he lay in a foxhole -- seems visibly glad that the action is over. Some of...
    • Captured vehicle used as mobile lab

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • A captured German vehicle was converted into a mobile Medical Laboratory and used throughout the Italian campaign doing blood analysis and other lab work. Lou Breslow is on the left.
    • Erecting tents for the 8th Evacuation Hospital

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Depicted here is just one of many moves this hospital made up the Italian Peninsula as the fighting progressed. A huge complex, it could nonetheless be picked up, transported, and then returned to operation within two days.
    • Central Italy, Spring 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • This structure, probably a monastery, is surrounded by signs of war: land stripped bare of trees; pathways crisscrossing the plain; and some evidence of clean-up apparent, with the aim of resuming farming and food production.
    • 8th Evacuation Hospital, Pietramala, Italy, Winter 1944 / 1945

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The 8th Evacuation Hospital -- manned by a unit from the University of Virginia -- at the Pietramala location, about 40 miles north of Florence. The photograph was made from atop a mountain to the west of the Hospital. The highway shown is one of...
    • Mt. Vesuvius at night, eruption of 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The fury of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was more apparent at night when lava flow could nearly always be seen, a pattern of outcroppings that changed nightly. Here the front is advancing towards Naples. This flow occurred irregularly...

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