From your date, I feel comfortable dating my uncle's photo before March 25, 1943 and Richard's photo after March 25, 1943 - assuming that the backdrop is physically the same one in each photo rather than two separate prints of the same scene. It looks very likely that at least your photo and Richard's have the physically same backdrop, judging by the angled cut or tear down the lower right side. (Although Richard's seems to have an extra bit cut or torn from the bottom right corner, helping to date it older than your photo.)
From Mark and Hania, it also appears likely that all of these photos were taken in the Middle East rather than Italy.
I have not been able to find a definitive explanation for the "3 B.P" on the back of Richard's photo. It looks like a military unit, and the tam worn by the man in the photo often means a tanker. It looks to me as though what follows 3 B.P. in the inscription could be "Warszaw" (contraction for Warszawska?)
Putting all that together, my best guess is that what was meant was 2 B.P. Warszaw - 2 Warszawska Brygada Pancerna (2nd (Warsaw) Armoured Brigade). Richard's father was in the 4th 'Scorpion' Armoured Regiment, which was part of the 2 B.P. This adds weight to the possibility that 2 B.P. may have been intended.
Or, does anyone know if there was an actual unit that would correspond to "3 B.P. Warszaw"?
It's exciting to find mysteries solved by the considerable talents of this group. Thank you very much to all who contributed.
Sault Ste Marie, Canada
From: Jan Prygoda <jprygoda@...>
Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2012 9:21:24 AM
Subject: RE: [Kresy-Siberia] Mystery photo background
At the back of the photo are written the names of the men (partly cut off) and dnia 25 III 1943 (day : March 25th 1943).
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2012 09:54:22 -0500
Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Mystery photo background
Greetings, Group! You may recall John Halucha's email from the 16th asking for help identifying a mysterious photo background canvas that appears in both my family album and John's. We have discovered yet another photo in Jan Prygoda's album, already posted to the gallery. Here is the new collection of three photos--John's on the far left, Jan's newly discovered photo in the middle, and mine on the right:
Here, again, is the inscription on the back of the far-right photo:
I am copying John's original post below. I am hoping that, because this background seems to have been a popular photo op, more members will find that they have similar photos or more information.
If anyone has the time to help us solve this mystery--Where were the photos taken? What does the entire inscription say?--we would appreciate it! Rich Kozlowski, Ohio, USA
On Feb 16, 2012, at 9:41 AM, John Halucha wrote:
Eagle-eyed new member Richard Kozlowski has found a link between his father's photos and my uncle's photos, and we are wondering if other forum members have similar pictures in their albums. The link is the background. I have combined the pictures into a single image for ease of comparison, attached here. My uncle Jakub Hal'ucha is on the right in the left-hand shot; the man in Richard's right-hand photo has not yet been positively identified.
There is a faint "1943" visible in the upper middle of the right-hand picture, but we're not sure if that dates the photo.
We're hoping that if other members have photos including the similar background we can figure out when and where the photos were taken.
Also attached is the reverse of Richard's photo. We are able to read some but not all the inscription, and invite members to suggest transcription, translation and context.
Here's a summary of what we think we know so far:
1 - The
background appears to be a commercial photographer's backdrop, hung outside for purposes of drawing customers passing by. Note what seems to be bunching or folding of the material at the bottom in the left photo.
2 - It is the same image, which may be the same physical piece of cloth or canvass hung in two different places at two different times. If so, then the picture on the left was definitely taken earlier. In the right picture, part of the top has been cut off or obscured by what appears to be a long piece of wood from which it is hung, and the bottom has been trimmed and edged with a new piece along the length. The dots along the new bottom edge may be fasteners.
3 - It is possible that these are two separate prints of the same image, perhaps reproduced mechanically and available to professional photographers through some sort of supply service. However, there is no evidence to back this up.
4 - The backdrop was probably hung
in two different places, judging from the differences in the walls that can be seen at the edges. The wall to the left of the left picture is plain while the wall to the right of the right picture has a distinctive weave pattern. It is possible but unlikely that the backdrop was hung in the same location for both pictures but the wall transitions from plain to weave behind it. It is also possible but unlikely that the wall started out plain but was later resurfaced with the weave pattern.
5 - The faint "1943" written on the backdrop or print on the right may or may not indicate when the picture was taken. It was more likely written on the print itself rather than on the backdrop, which the photographer would have wanted to keep unmarked.
6 - The dark dot near the top middle of the left print is missing from the right print, but does not prove that these are two different backdrops because it could have been painted out after the left
picture was taken but before the right picture was taken. [Correction: the dot could be cut off by shortening the backdrop, not painted over.]
7 - The men in the left photo are wearing different uniforms than the man in the right photo. The men on the left were probably both sappers (my uncle definitely was), the man on the right was probably a tanker like Richard's father, Eugeniusz - 1st Squadron Skorpion (4th Armoured).
Any and all information, observations and opinions are most welcome.
Sault Ste Marie, Canada