Monday, November 28, 2016

U.S. Signal Corps Training (1918)

Harry Kidd recently contacted us about a remarkable 4 reel historical film at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. The footage shows American soldiers of the U.S. Signal Corps during World War I. The U.S. Army Signal Corps was designated as the sole official agency responsible for obtaining photographic coverage of America's participation in the Great War.

Nieuport (Berquet bombing) aerolane, French model, and Lt. Clime ready for photographic flight. Issoudon, France, 23 May 1918. Signal Corps photograph from Harry Kidd's collection on Flickr. 

"Historical Series"

The footage was originally shot in 1918 and edited in 1936 for the "Historical Series" of the Signal Corps. We have shown Signal Corps films before in a previous weblog. This footage has new scenes that were not available to the public domain until recently. The final two reels are particularly interesting because these cover the photographic activities by the Signal Corps. Reel 3 features a parade at Columbia University in New York City where the Military School of Cinematography was located during World War I. Reel 4 shows how stereoscopic slides were prepared at Cornell University. Here the Signal Corps soldiers were trained in aerial photography. The instruction film shows how lantern slides are made and placed in an aerial camera. Aerial photos are shot, developed, and made into an aerial map.

Here is also a link to Harry Kidd's outstanding collection of pictures on Flickr, showing the activities by the U.S. Signal Corps photographers of the First World War. 

We have uploaded reels 3 and 4 of this film to our YouTube channel.



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