Wonderful 70 years old camera found that belonged to a soldier – Amazing stuff inside it
The World War II has a special place in history as it was the most destructive war in the annals of the mankind. Casualties reportedly reached a staggering 50 million including the soldiers and civilians from both sides.
The World War II also proved to a pivotal point in our history as it shifted the political power from the Nazi Germany into the hands of the Allies and paved the way on which we walk today. The war thought us many things like human behaviour, strategy. It brought innovations in the field of business and manufacturing.
As humans we strive to learn about our history and it helps us in preparing ourselves for a better future. Such was a piece of history discovered by Levi Bettweiser who is a collector and film restorer. He bought a collection of undeveloped film at an auction that once belonged to a soldier who fought in WWII.
He has carefully documented the process of restoring these images and what he has found is simply unbelievable.
1 How the camera was discovered?
Captain Mark D. Anderson of the United States Navy and historian Jean Muller were probing for artifacts from The Battle of the Bulge in the mountainsides of Luxembourg. When their metal detector went off, they discovered something rather unbelievable.
They had discovered a foxhole that was dug during a World War II battle. In it, they found the belongings of American soldier. Amongst the belongings were a camera and some roles of undeveloped films.
2 How were the films procured?
The camera and the box of 31 undeveloped films were up for grabs at an auction in Ohio. The roles were shot by a single soldier in the World War II.
The artifacts were brought by Levi Bettweiser who is a collector and film restorer. He is a professional film restorer so he used his skills to develop these rolls. He had to be especially careful when restoring this film because of the historical value of these images.
Some of the labels on the film rolls read; “Lucky Strike Beach”, “Start of Train Trip”, “Roll of French funeral, 1947″. There were also some letters wrapped around some of the undeveloped film rolls.
3 Who is Louis J. Archambeau?
The camera, rolls of films and letters belonged to American Soldier Louis J Archambeau. He was a Technician Fifth Grade in Company C, 1st Battalion, 317th Infantry Regiment and his job was infantry rifleman.
The artifacts were discovered in Luxemburg where the Company had camped. Louis was declared missing in action on December 26, 1944. But he was not declared killed in action till February 23, 1945, when his body was finally found. He had died during the Battle of Bulge. His company was tasked with securing the road used by the Germans to supply their forward troops directly from Germany itself. The road was in the village of Kehmen, Luxembourg.
Company C, 1st Battalion dug foxholes in the frozen earth and tried to take cover from the hellish artillery fire they were being subjected to. One of those men in Company C was T/5 Louis Archambeau. And that is where the camera and the films were found.
4 The images on the film
The images had to be handled with utmost care because of its historical value. Levi is part of The Rescued Film Project, which is a union of photograph restorers who feel it is incredibly important to rescue film before it is lost forever. They do all this work for the public and do take your undeveloped photos and restore them for free.