Pacific Shore Leave
By Rebecca Drew
ON THE seventy-fifth anniversary of Pearl Harbour, archive images have revealed the final hours of joy that brave US servicemen experienced before heading to the Pacific War.
Stunning images shedding light on the lives of US Navy soldiers on shore leave on the way to war have been unveiled in a new book.
The black and white collection of classic 1940s pictures show soldiers letting their hair down by dancing with Hawaiian hula girls and queueing at a busy bar for drinks. Other images show them strolling across the beach and having lunch at a café.
The series of photographs have been released in the photo book, Shore Leave by editor, Ryan Mungia (37) from Los Angeles, California. The book contains images collected by Jim Heimann.
Shore Leave reveals the experiences of US Navy sailors who passed through Hawaii on their way to the Pacific theatre of war of World War Two.
“The images in the book were culled from veterans’ scrapbooks that were collected over a thirty-year period from estate sales, flea markets, and garage sales,” said Ryan.
“They offer up an intimate and at times gritty portrait of wartime activity that is in stark contrast to the official government photos of life on the island which seem tame by comparison.
“I am fascinated by the idea of young men from all points of the U.S, urban and rural, joining the military and finding themselves stationed briefly in Honolulu before being shipped off to war.
“For many, this was their first time away from home and they had a little bit of money in their pockets, which was spent on beer, tattoos, women, games and arcade photos.
“Anything to distract from the reality of war looming in the immediate future.”
America joined World War Two following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941. The attack destroyed twenty American naval vessels which included eight large battle ships and three-hundred airplanes.
In the attack, two-thousand Americans died and another one-thousand were injured.
Located in the middle of the Pacific, the American territory was the final stop for the US Navy before venturing into war.
The book focuses on the sailors and soldiers who were just passing through the island for forty-eight hours instead of the servicemen who were permanently based at the island’s bases.
“Pearl Harbour changed everything about Hawaii and Honolulu,” added Ryan.
“Tourism stopped immediately, martial law was declared and numerous restrictions were enacted on both military personnel and civilians.
“For me, the snapshot quality of these photos is so seductive.
“Some of them are overexposed, out of focus, or poorly framed but this gives them an immediacy and honesty I find refreshing.”
Published by Boyo Press, Shore Leave is now available to buy on Amazon for £21.49.
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