Friday, January 29, 2021

Maine family seeks help with World War II photographs

U.S. Army Tech Sergeant Richard
Perkins of Maine is shown at
Fort Shafter, Hawaii during
World War II. When Perkins 
died at age 92 in 2014, he left
behind a trove of photos taken
of servicemen that his family
is trying to identify and share
with them. COURTESY PHOTO  
When U.S. Army veteran Richard Perkins of Maine passed away at the age of 92 in 2014, he left behind a treasure trove of hundreds of photos he took while stationed in Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Perkins was a radio operator who was stationed at Fort Shafter in Honolulu, and he worked at an underground base inside of Diamond Head. Except for a few brief stories, he never talked much about his service to his family.

While cleaning out his house after he died, his daughter Alice Smith and his son Dana Perkins came across a large tin container full of rolls of film negatives that had been developed, but never converted into photographic prints.

Dana Perkins painstakingly scanned the negatives into his computer and converted them into hundreds of never-before-seen historical photos.

The people in the photos include veterans of the Army, Navy and Marines, as well as USO performers, civilians and children who lived in the area around the Army base of Fort Shafter. 

Alice and Dana have spent the last few years learning as much as possible about the people and locations in the photos. They have received a tremendous amount of help from Milton Migita, a curator at the Army Museum in Hawaii, as well as from the general public through online social media groups.

Their goal is to make all of the photos available to the public by compiling them in a book or through a website. The original negatives, photos, and three photo albums will then be donated to either the Army Museum or the National Park Service in Hawaii.

There are still a lot of people in the photos remaining to be identified. It is Alice and Dana's hope that someone in Maine will recognize their father, grandfather, uncle, mother, grandmother, aunt, or some other friend or relative in the photos. The photos can be viewed online at: www.WW2PacificVeteransProject.org

If you recognize anyone, please contact Alice Smith or Dana Perkins through the website, or by writing to them at: World War 2 Pacific Veterans Project, PO Box 789, Biddeford, ME 04005. <

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