Warren R "Russell" Lobdell was my great Uncle, and these are some of the photographs he took during his training and his brief combat career as a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot with the 9th Air Force during WWII. Tragically on June 27, 1944, he was killed over France. He was not alone. It is estimated that the attrition rate of the 9th Air Force P-47 was nearly 50%. Too many of these brave men never returned home. This is a record of the experiences of one of them.
The original contact prints of the photographs on this site have been kept by the family and held in the special collections of the Louisiana State University library, since his death. Measuring approximately 2" square, little of the detail was visible. The negatives, however, had been carefully stored away, and recently came into my possession. I have scanned them and enlarged them, revealing a wealth of detail that has not been observed since they were taken. There are several for which I do not have negatives. For these, I have scanned the original print. I have posted the collection here in order to share the history they record and to hopefully learn more about the places and the men depicted in them.
For the past year, I have been researching Russell's career and have begun to piece together his story. As I have only his letters and these photographs, I must rely on the experiences and memories of the veterans to fill in the gaps. If you can provide any information, wish to share any memories, or would like to discuss the photos further, please email me at email@example.com
I would like to thank all the people who have emailed me with information on the photographs. I will be updating the pages with the new and corrected information as time allows. I would also like to thank the descendants of the veterans of the group who stumbled across these pages, and contacted me.