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U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection (Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation)

C1:002
1942–1946
64 albums, approx. 3,500 photographs


C1:002    Miss Ruth Hooker of 623 Oak Lane, Newport News, Va., is here pictured wrapping starter and generator of a 1942 Chevrolet at station 5 of the final processing line in Warehouse 29. Miss Hooker has been employed in the processing of vehicles for overseas shipment since July 6, 1943. She is one of 50 women employed in this type of work. January 8, 1944 (LVA sc_11_img33)

On June 15, 1942, the army officially activated the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, under the command of the army’s Transportation Corps, with its headquarters in Newport News. By the end of World War II, more than 772,000 men and women had gone to war via the port. Hampton Roads saw even more arrivals than departures: 915,116 people, including U.S. wounded and European POWs. The Transportation Corps maintained a port historian’s office and regularly assigned Signal Corps photographers to document as much port-related activity as possible. In almost all cases, the individuals in the photographs are identified by name and rank.

Our U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection includes more than 3,500 individual 8 x 10″ black-and-white photographs from the Hampton Roads Embarkation Series, 1942–1946. These photos show, often in intimate and unexpected detail, the preparation and loading of war materials, daily activities of the U.S. Quartermaster Corps, U.S. military personnel arriving and departing through the ports of Hampton Roads, the work of civilian employees, WACs, Japanese-American servicemen, and the Red Cross, group portraits, wounded personnel, entertainers, animals, German and Italian prisoners of war, military funerals and religious observances, training and drills, equipment, vehicles and warships, aerial views of the port, and servicemen going to the barber or dentist, receiving communion, and relaxing in racially segregated dining facilities. The collection is significant for its account of all aspects … more