New acquisition - Second World War scrapbook/photograph album

An original scrapbook/photograph album compiled by Sergeant Lewis M. Miller who served as a cook in the 71st Squadron, 38th Bomber Group, U.S. 5th Army Air Force, 1941-1944 was recently acquired for the collection.  This album contains original photographs, postcards, greeting cards, menus, tourist brochures, V-Mails, original pen and ink cartoons, military insignia, souvenir bookmarks and U.S. propaganda leaflets all from the period of the Second World War.

 Sketches and an American Red Cross Service Club dinner menu from Sergeant Lewis M. Miller's World War II scrapbook

 Sketches and an American Red Cross Service Club dinner menu from Sergeant Lewis M. Miller's World War II scrapbook

Sergeant Miller, of Reading, Pennsylvania, began his U.S. Army career in the early 1930s when he served as a Private at Fort Amador in the Panama Canal Zone.  He entered the 38th Bomber Group in February 1941 undertaking basic training at Langley Field, Virginia, and then at Jackson Army Air Base, Mississippi.  He was sent to Australia as part of the ground echelon of his unit in January 1942, and until October of that year was stationed at various airfields in Queensland. From late 1942 until January 1945 he served in New Guinea at various bases including Port Moresby and Biak.

Photo of an airplane from the Miller scrapbook

Photo of an airplane from the Miller scrapbook

The album contains a wonderful assemblage of memorabilia relating to his entire army service, particularly his time in Queensland.  Most notable is a unique collection of thirty photographs and fourteen small format tourist postcards and view folders of places and local people in Mackay, many of whom are identified with names and addresses.  The album also contains:

  • 23 photographs and related pieces of ephemera of Langley Field, Virginia, and Jackson Air Base, Mississippi.
  • a set of seven ‘Australian Scenes’ coloured postcards, and a small collection of Australian military theme postcards.
  • approximately thirty New Guinea theatre of war photographs, 1943-1944, including downed Japanese ‘Zeros’, New Guinea natives, Japanese prisoners, B-25 Bombers in the air and the strafing and bombing of Japanese ships and airfields.
  • two photographs of members of the Jack Benny USO Troupe, New Guinea, 1944 -  one of Jean Brummer, Martha Tilton and movie star Carol Landis and another of Carol Landis meeting a New Guinea local.
  • two original V-mails from Miller to his mother at Christmas 1943 and 1944.
  • an American Red Cross Service Club menu 3 June 1944.
  • two superb photographs of the burial service for four U.S. airmen in Townsville.
  • four topless ‘girlie’ photographs.
  • two U.S. propaganda leaflets in Japanese, one showing the progression of the Allies to Japan as the hands of a clock moving towards midnight.
  • three rare U.S. 5th Air Force cloth service insignia.
  • four U.S 5th Air Force and New Guinea felt souvenir bookmarks
  • three large format photographs of officers of the 5th Air Force.
  • fifteen outstanding large format photographs, all stamped on reverse ‘Passed by US Army Examiner’, of U.S. military airfields in Queensland and New Guinea, showing U.S. bombers (B-25s) and fighters (‘Thunderbolts’ and ‘Lightnings’), camp layouts, and surrounding landscapes and vegetation.

  US military ephemera, preserved in Sergeant Miller's scrapbook

  US military ephemera, preserved in Sergeant Miller's scrapbook

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Share the following blog post with current active duty military around the world so they too can start a scrapbook/photograph album as did Sergeant Lewis M. Miller during the second world war.http://navydads.blogspot.com/2008/09/scrapbook-memories.html

I have a bracelet found in family history box. It is made of coins and different small New Guinea items dated 1943, 1944 One small heart reads to Mom, another heart reads from Paul. There are many Paul's in our family. Was this a bracelet made by the New Guinea people for the American service men stationed there??? Maybe this was a way for them to earn extra money while their country was in the middle of a war??? Do you know anything about something like this being made to sell to our service men to send or take home to their loved ones? J. Stryker

Dear J. StrykerWe will look into this for you and get back to you.Thanks for your interest.

Dear Mr Stryker, thank you again for your email relating to the bracelet held by your family. From your description, it seems likely that the item had a strong World War II association. If you would like to forward a photograph to heritage@slq.qld.gov.au, we would be happy to look at it, but I think it unlikely that we will be able to shed light on its origins. I would suggest placing an image on one of the historical chat sites, where you may be able to make contact with a WWII historian or to make contact with the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. You can send them an email at info@awm.gov.au.

My mother, Finetta Norton, was a social worker with the American Red Cross in New Guinea and The Philippines. She had a number of bracelets made out of Australian coins and a heart made out of a shilling. I understand the soldiers made the jewellery.