Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wartime History Rescued from the Dustbin; Propaganda Posters Go Up for Auction

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wartime History Rescued from the Dustbin; Propaganda Posters Go Up for Auction

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

ACHANCE encounter 15 years ago saw Tynesider Steve Summers rescue more than 30 American wartime propaganda posters from a rubbish skip. Now Steve is set to cash in when the original 1940s posters are auctioned, with the posters expected to raise around pounds 4,000 in the sale at Boldon Auction Galleries in South Tyneside. Keen interest is expected from the United States and auctioneer Giles Hodges said: "We will be live on the internet in real time.

"These posters are very emotive and more hard hitting than the British equivalents and were aimed at getting the message across to Americans about the war and encouraging their commitment."

Steve, an operations manager who is from South Shields where his mother still lives, came across the posters when he was working for an aerospace company at Long Island in the United States. He said: "The company premises were being redecorated and as I walked through one office they were throwing the posters out. I asked them if I could have them for my walls. The posters had been delivered to the works during the war, but for some reason had never been put up."

When Steve came back to the UK, he stored the posters in his father's attic and forgot about them. He has recently returned to Britain after another 12 years working in Canada.

He said: "My father asked me what I was going to do about the posters. He mentioned that he had heard that some old railway posters had been sold at auction for reasonable money."

Mr Hodges said: "These posters are a great find.

"It is amazing what people will throw away from houses and offices.

"Most of them are as they were when they were folded up all those years ago during the war."

One poster - titled They Did Their Part - shows the five Sullivan brothers who enlisted on January 3, 1942 with the stipulation that they serve together.

All five were assigned to the light cruiser USS Juneau, which was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Approximately 100 of Juneau's crew had survived and were left in the water.

A B-17 bomber crew, unwilling to disobey orders not to break radio silence, did not pass the message about searching for survivors to their headquarters until they had landed several hours later. …

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