Darkness Visible

Memoir of a World War II Combat Photographer

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About the Book

The average GI in World War II carried a rifle, had military support, was committed to whatever action his unit was engaged in, and often had time to rest and regroup before advancing. Conversely, the combat photographer had his camera, a sidearm, and a jeep, was sent wherever there was fighting to document what was happening. He often saw the worst of the war.
Charles Eugene Sumners was a still photographer in the 166th Signal Photo Company, and in Darkness Visible he offers his World War II memories—some sad, some happy, many horrendous, all life-changing. With the aid of many of his photographs reproduced in this book, he remembers boot camp, the trip overseas, and events in France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg, including the Battle of the Bulge, while covering Patton’s Third Army’s field artillery, infantrymen, engineers, the 10th Armored and the 6th Armored. Other subjects include Hitler youth, refugees, labor camps, POWs, other combat photographers including his friend Russ Meyer, and going back to Europe after the war.

About the Author(s)

The late Charles Eugene Sumners earned five Battle Stars and a Bronze Star for his participation in all five major European campaigns in World War II. He lived in Vincent, Alabama.
His sister-in-law, Ann Sumners, works for a magazine and lives in Rome, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

Charles Eugene Sumners
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 172 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1218-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8194-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Preface     xi
Prologue     1

1 Camp Crowder     3
2 Maneuvers     8
3 Shipping Overseas     14
4 Ireland     16
5 England     22
6 War Is Evil     27
7 Photographers     32
8 St. Lô     41
9 Nehou     44
10 St. Malo     47
11 Avranches     49
12 Paris     53
13 Reims     64
14 Nancy, France—The Big Gun     67
15 Cheligny     69
16 Fort Driant     73
17 Belguim and “The Bulge”     79
18 Sarr–Moselle Triangle     90
19 Refugees     96
20 Hitler Youth     101
21 Patton at the Rhine     105
22 Tanks     107
23 Engineers     118
24 Conflicts in Germany     124
25 Germany with the Sixth Armored Division     128
26 Labor Camps, POWs and Grave Registration     134
27 Close Calls     143
28 Souvenirs     147
29 War Ends in Europe     149
30 Memory Bank Stories     152
31 Wild Bad Kreuth     155
32 Going Home and Aftermath     161
33 Reunions     165
34 Russ Meyer     167
35 Back to Europe     170

Epilogue     181
Index     183

Book Reviews & Awards

“interesting…a great collection of photographs…unique…highly recommended”—On Point; “a pleasure to read”—Military Heritage; “the 172 photographs in the book document his war experiences from ‘boot camp’ through all five major European campaigns, including the Battle of the Bulge”—The Newton Record.