Cranston, Rhode Island: 2002. Notebook: 11-3/8" x 9-5/8". Modern maroon vinyl notebook with 10 display/mounting leaves in transparent vinyl sleeves. Item #42276
This World War II Army Air Force scrapbook includes an excellent oral history entitled "FLYING BACKWARDS". The album is comprised of original WWII photographs and snapshots taken by and belonging to the late Jim Keyes of Cranston, Rhode Island. Jim Keyes is an anomaly in that he flew 72 missions as a tail-gunner in B-26 Marauders while most WWII airmen, if they survived, were sent stateside after flying 25 missions. Keyes went into active service in 1942 and served under the 12th Air Force 17th bomb group squadron. Keyes was trained as a tail-gunner and went through most of the war "Flying Backwards." In addition to his tail-gunning skills, Keyes was also a very good artist and painted the "Nose Art" on his crew's plane "Starduster" as well as executing the nose art for several of the other planes in his squadron. Keyes flew his 72 missions over North Africa, Italy & Southern France. Keyes flew on many important missions, including the raids on Monte Cassino and the first raid on Rome. The five-page essay in this album is a brief oral history of his amazing story, as told to Mr Roberts. In addition to the essay the album conatins 22 original World War II photographs, all related to his service in North Africa and Europe, including an original 8 x 10 color photograph of a B-26 on a bombing mission taken by Keyes from his tail gunner position. Also included in this album are newspaper clippings and copies of important military documents relative to Keyes, e.g., his award summary [awarded the Air Medal in September 1943].
The above Scrapbook accompanied by a lot of 100 vintage, loose WWII photographs, primarily of the snapshot variety taken [mostly] by Keyes [and his fellow crew] as he flew his 72 missions as a B-26 tail gunner. About fifteen of the photographs were taken by Keyes from inside his aircraft, some are interior shots of the airplane but most are of other airplanes in flight including an 8 x10 photograph of a B-26 that has just dropped his bombs. There are about twelve photographs of airplanes that have been shot down and eight other photographs of airplanes on the ground. There are at least seven photographs of planes showing their nose art. There are about fifty snapshots taken on the ground, of which most appear to have been taken in North Africa. There are a few snapshots of friends and a photo of their mascot puppy. Some of the photographs are annotated in pen. The photographs range in size from 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" to 9 x 10 inches.