Japanese Arisaka Type 38 rifle and bayonet

Japanese Arisaka Type 38 rifle & bayonet

In March of 1945 during World War II, my father and his battalion were in Manila, Philippines. The Allies fought the Japanese there and killed many thousands. The Walled City, or Intramuros, was one of the places the enemy was fighting from. This is where this Japanese Arisaka Type 38 rifle and bayonet were found. You can read the whole story on page 151 of my book, Dad’s War Photos: Adventures in the South Pacific. Read more

Photos and videos of LSTs

The Landing Ship, Tanks or LSTs are the ships that transported troops and machinery. See last week’s blog post for more information, photos and video.

My father and his battalion traveled aboard these ships, being transported to the various locations in the South Pacific. They were on these LSTs when they left Oro Bay, New Guinea and went to Saidor; from Saidor, New Guinea to Biak Island, and from Biak to Calicoan Island in Eastern Samar Philippines, then on to the battle of the Lingayen Gulf in Luzon, Philippines. Read more

Landing Ship Tank, or LST, Part One

Introduction to LSTs Part One

One of the more fascinating and mysterious aspects of the photos my dad took were the troop and vehicle carriers, called LSTs. I always wondered how the trucks ended up parked on the top deck. It wasn’t until after I completed my book, Dad’s War Photos: Adventures in the South Pacific, that I learned how that was accomplished.

Landing Ship, Tank (LST) is the naval designation for vessels created during World War II to support amphibious operations by carrying vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore. About 1,000 LSTs were laid down in the United States during World War II for use by the Allies. Read more

Your Ancestor’s Army Air Force Records are Available

Do you know anyone who was in the Army Air Force during WWII, or in the Air Force since WWII? Did you know you can have the military history of their battalion?

If it would not have been for the discovery of the complete military record of my father’s battalion during its three years during World War Two, this book, “Dad’s War Photos: Adventures in the South Pacific” would not have turned out as good as it did. Read more

Neal Bertrand and James Bollich

Meeting a WW II POW

I had the honor of meeting with Mr. James J. Bollich in his home on Friday Feb. 13, 2015. He was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942, and was part of the “Bataan Death March” where multiple thousands of soldiers died. He also took lots of photos while in the Philippines, but had to bury them in the jungle so they would not be captured and used by the Japs. Read more

Neal Bertrand on local TV Show

Neal Bertrand’s interview on a local TV station

I was invited to be a guest on a local TV show last week to talk about my book “Dad’s War Photos: Adventures in the South Pacific.” The hostess interviewed me and we talked for around 30 minutes about this book.

The show will air locally in a six-parish area around Lafayette, LA, that is served by Cox Cable and LUS Fiber. Read more

WWII Memorabilia

Trench Art — An Amazing WWII Memorabilia Find!

WWII Memorabilia
President Truman Letter

After I finished writing Dad’s War Photos, my sister, Karen, happened to find some WWII documents and artifacts our father brought home from the South Pacific. They had been placed in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet and forgotten about.

There was a handmade toy airplane made out of a long rifle bullet casing. I recently learned that artifacts of this nature are called “trench art.” He also brought back an artillery shell casing that was made into an ashtray.

These items were crafted aboard ship coming back from the South Pacific. As a young boy, I remember my dad telling me that he and his fellow soldiers sat on the deck of the ship and used a tablespoon as a hammer to bang on the metal pieces to flatten them. They had plenty of idle time, since it would take at least two weeks to get back to San Francisco. Read more

Neal Bertrand

Gifting “Dad’s War Photos”

Neal BertrandFor the past three years, I’ve been working on the biggest book project I’ve ever undertaken. You might call it a labor of love. I finally finished it and received a copy from the printer just before Christmas. I wanted to give this copy to a very special person in my life.

The book is about my father’s tour of duty during WWII in the South Pacific. His name was Curtis Bertrand and he was just a country boy with a camera when he entered the U.S. Army. He returned home from the Southwest Pacific Theater with 600 pictures to share with his folks, never realizing the importance these unique views of the war would provide. Read more