Saturday, July 11, 2020

The purpose of this blog is to share the photos, drawings, and paintings of my late father, Verlin C. Blackwell, which he created during his service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Northern Australia during WWII.

I created a Flickr account to which I have posted the scanned images of my father's photos, drawings, and paintings. Please note that some of these images are in the public domain, and some are owned by and copyrighted by my sister and myself. The captions under each image provide that information. Please note: The Flickr gallery looks much better on a large screen!

I freely share these images and information to educate and enlighten the public. Perhaps some of you will recognize a father or grandfather in the photos. Please post your comments here, and I will be glad to transfer some of the information you provide to the Flickr gallery. Of course, you can also post comments on Flickr.

1941 drawing of fellow soldier.
Camp Blanding, Starke, FL
Image: Copyright 2017
Toni Blackwell Rhodes
Andrea Blackwell Kautz
All rights reserved.
As well as military materials, I am also posting a few of my father's early artworks to give a sense of his background before he was drafted. The first batch of photos reflects his experience at Sidney Lanier High School in Birmingham, Alabama, and at Northside Technical School, Miami, Florida, in the late 1930's.

The second batch of photos shows his work in college at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The rest of the images on the Flickr gallery show his photos, drawings, and paintings created during basic training at Camp Blanding, Starke, Florida, and then his service in Northern Australia (Darwin, NT).

This ongoing blog will consist of further information I glean from the public, or from books, or from military historians, or any source I can find that tells about the experiences of Americans (and other nationals) who served in Northern Australia during WWII.

Finally, I want to say that part of the reason I am doing this is to try to understand my father a bit better. By looking at the photos and artwork, I'll be looking at what he looked at, what he found interesting, who he was with, perhaps what made him laugh, and what inspired him. He was something of an enigma to me and basically a shy person, although it was clear that he was proud of his service in the Army and displayed his drawings and paintings in his house.

If my father were alive today and saw the images of his materials on the Internet, he would probably say that he didn't do anything special because he did not serve in the Infantry somewhere on the front lines in Germany. But I would tell him he did do something special by documenting an arena of the war that is not well known.

I want to send out a special thanks to my sister, Andrea Blackwell Kautz, who has stored and preserved much of our father's materials. We've gotten a few laughs along the way, learning some things about our father that we never suspected (like from his yearbook we found out he was a "tease" in high school -- OK, Daddy, what were you up to?).

I'd also like to thank my son, Graham Rhodes, for helping me scan materials and create the Flickr account. I think he's learned a few things about his grandfather!

I hope you enjoy this blog!

Verlin C. Blackwell far right. Do you recognize these other folks?
I think this photo was taken at Camp Shelby, MS, after my
father came back from Australia (but the war was still
going on). Image is in the public domain, courtesy
U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum, Ft. Gordon, Augusta, GA.

p.s. What you see on the Flickr account as of August, 2017, is just the beginning. More images to follow later.

You can access the Flickr album here:

Banner photo above is of Verlin C. Blackwell and his pet wallaby, radio room, Darwin, NT, Australia, 1942-43. (Image: Public domain, courtesy U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum, Ft. Gordon, Augusta, GA.

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Images :: My Daddy Went to War -- drawings, photos, & paintings of WWII

My son, who is helping me with this project, posted three new images of paintings on the Flickr account, "My Daddy Went to War." 

Here is what my son says about the work he is doing:

"These images were taken from archived digital photos and scanned drawings and cleaned up in Adobe Photoshop prior to posting. In many cases the images had to be stitched together from multiple scans or photos. Each of these methods posed its own problems; the paintings in particular were photographed in sections, each at slightly different angles, creating an issue with perspective alignment."

Thanks, Graham, for your hard work!

R.M. Vanderpool, N.T., (Australia)
Photo credit: U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum
Ft. Gordon, Augusta, GA