Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Tells of Fighting on Tarawa

Dec. 12, 1943, Comics

Dec. 12, 1943: Times columnist Tom Treanor, who will be killed in August 1944 covering the liberation of France, files a story about fighting between U.S. and Nazi troops around Filignano, Italy, about 100 miles southeast of Rome.   Crawling in the dark, forward observer Pvt. George E. Clark finds himself among German troops and directs fire on them.  The Germans, meanwhile drive a herd of goats toward the U.S. troops as a diversion.

A gang of young robbers is tracked down through their mascot, an adopted puppy named Stocky. Two of the young men were escapees from the Preston School of Industry and the other two were Army deserters, The Times says.

Now in Production: “Two-Man Submarine,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “The Golden Trail,” “The Outlaw Buster,” “The Merry Mountains” and “Make Your Own Bed.” [Out of those six movies, I have seen “Meet Me in St. Louis. How about you?]

Frank Filan, an Associated Press photographer now assigned as a combat photographer, visits his family in Los Angeles with tales of fighting on Tarawa. Filan’s cameras were lost when his landing boat sank 500 yards offshore, so after waiting for two days, he borrowed a camera and film from a Coast Guard officer. Filan’s photograph of a destroyed bunker on Tarawa won a Pulitzer Prize for photography the next year.

Before acquiring the camera, however, Filan said he witnessed a “photographer’s dream” in the way of pictures that “got away,”  The Times said. “There were  our Marines burning out Jap gun emplacements with flame throwers and screaming Japs running down the beach with their clothes on fire,” he recalled.

“Marines were going up to Jap pillboxes and digging them out with their bayonets. Snipers were everywhere: in trees, culverts, sunken barrels and rolled up in piles of debris and clothing.”

And Greer Garson says she wants to play comedy. She says: “The instant they find a story about an intelligent, suffering woman they come straight to me…. I would like to do one light modern character most of all. I really envy Ginger Rogers such assignments as ‘Tom Dick and Harry’ and ‘Lady in the Dark.’ “

Dec. 12, 1943, Unknown Soldier

Dec. 12, 1943, Tom TreanorDec. 12, 1943, Tom TreanorDec. 12, 1943, Tom Treanor Dec. 12, 1943, Tom Treanor

Dec. 12, 1943, Tom Treanor

Dec. 12, 1943, Bow-Wow Bandits

Dec. 12, 1943, Madame Curie

Dec. 12, 1943, Frank Filan

Dec. 12, 1943, Frank Filan
Dec. 12, 1943, Dinah Shore

Dec. 12, 1943, Films in Production

Dec. 12, 1943, Greer Garson

Dec. 12, 1943, Gree Garson

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1943, Animals, Columnists, Comics, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, LAPD, Photography, Tom Treanor, World War II and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Tells of Fighting on Tarawa

  1. Jerry Cronin says:

    I had my 2 year birthday on this date and enjoyed your post. It had a perfect mix of war stories, entertainment, and ads.

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