Just Above Sunset
April 24, 2005 - More on the B-17G

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I do recommend you visit the weekly photo magazine Left Bank Lens from Paris.  The photographer, Don Smith, has been trading email with me once more, and we’ve been chatting this week about the B-17G photos – here and here.


And he sends along a photograph of something really cool.


During WWII the US gave its bomber crews an Evasion and Escape kit in case they were shot down.  One item was a woman's silk scarf which held a map in the beautiful pattern so you find your way to Spain or Switzerland.


Courtesy of my Great Uncle Olaf Lee, I think a friend of his had given him another item from the kit which was " Escape Money " in French Francs, for the crews flying over France.


What's odd about this funny money is "Émis en France" which translates into "Issued in France" which was never true because it was printed by the US government. Also missing is "Banque de France" which real Francs had. A real Franc from WWII was a rectangle while the Escape Money is almost a perfect square and real Francs didn't have the French flag printed on them.


As the theory goes, if you were shot down and survived, with this fake money you might be able to convince a farmer that when the Allies did show up, they could trade it in for real Francs so you could buy a cooked chicken or whatever you happened to need at the time.

Actual size..

Copyright © 2005 – Don Smith, All Rights Reserved

And previously unpublished photographs from the April 14 flight in the old bomber – looking down the flanks at what the German fighter pilots would see…

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The engine that should not fail, or you would be in trouble…

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What would be shooting at you – an ME-109

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What you’d shoot back with…

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Death of a Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

- Randall Jarrell


Yeah, yeah.  We all get the abortion imagery.  And that business about when you really get born.  Consider it a really nasty take on the whole “born again” business and its political implications.  Think about it.





If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.   Note: To see an actual-size high-resolution version of a particular photograph, click on the image.  You will see the full image in a separate window.  These were shot with a Nikon D70 – lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70mm 1:35-4.5G ED or AF Nikor 70-300mm telephoto.


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....