While reviewing a new set of scans of old family photos and I found this 3-generation portrait. This is a 1926 photo of my dad, Raymond Everett Bence Jr., my grandmother Bertha Alice (Ratcliffe) Bence, and her mother Mary H. (Buckley) Ratcliffe.
Bertha Alice (Ratcliffe) Bence and her son Staff Sergeant Raymond Everett Bence Jr.
In World War II Raymond served in the 445th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force as a nose-gunner in a B-24 Liberator. He was shot down over Germany on September 27, 1944 during the infamous “Kassel Mission”. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner-of-war, first in Stalag Luft IV and then on “The Black March”.
This photograph accompanied an article in the Quincy Patriot Ledger on Raymond’s first visit home to Braintree, Massachusetts. At the time of his liberation in May of 1945 he weighed less than 100 pounds. A few months later he still appears to be very gaunt.
I recently had some 2000+ family 35mm color slides scanned. These were photos that my father took over a 30 period starting in the early 50s as well as pictures I took in high school, college, and beyond.
Many of the photos were taken with an Argus C3, similar to the one pictured here. My father purchased the camera in the mid-50s and handed it off to me in the late 60s. I carried that camera to a peace rally in Boston in 1968, to summer school in 1969 at Syracuse, on a 3 month solo backpacking trip to Europe after college, and on a trip to England with my mother 2 years later. All the settings were manual, it was small but heavy (its nickname was “The Brick”), and it stood up to a lot of rugged handling.
I really loved that camera.
LIST OF AXIS PRISONER OF WAR (POW) CAMPS (Kriegsgefangenenlager) IN GERMAN OCCUPIED TERRITORY