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

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