World War II US Servicemen in Warkworth – More Information Needed!

These dashing young men are US soldiers based in Warkworth in 1942 prior to leaving for the Pacific theatres of war. Photo credit: Auckland Museum.

By Phil McKenna, Public Affairs, U.S. Consulate, Auckland.

You can also help spread the word by linking to and sharing these hashtags on social media: #AMcollection  #AucklandMuseum.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum has a proud history of making its collections available beyond the walls of the Museum itself. It loans artefacts, organizes traveling exhibitions, and, increasingly, it has been digitizing Museum exhibits to enable their discovery, learning, and research online.

Iconic landmark: Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo credit: Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Iconic landmark: Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo credit: Auckland War Memorial Museum.

This strategy has been very successful in the past 12 months, with 1 million collection records being made available to local and international communities online, and over 150,000 virtual poppies laid on the Museum’s Online Cenotaph.

Museum Director Roy Clare contacted the U.S. Embassy recently to ask for help in a new online project: the Museum recently digitized part of the large photo collection of Warkworth photographer Tudor Washington Collins, which came to the Museum via a bequest to his nephew. This image bank comprises photos of American servicemen based in Auckland in World War II prior to being sent to the Pacific. The photos are a wonderful trove of individual and group portraits, together with action shots of the men having fun and taking advantage of the relaxed lifestyle in this rural town north of Auckland.   They include photos of servicemen sea-fishing and relaxing in front of local homes.

The Museum takes its Online Cenotaph database out into the community. Photo credit: Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The Museum takes its Online Cenotaph database out into the community. Photo credit: Auckland War Memorial Museum.

At any one time between June 1942 and mid-1944 there were between 15,000 and 45,000 American servicemen in camp in New Zealand.

For more information about American soldiers in New Zealand and in Auckland during the war, please follow this link: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz.

Below and above are just a few examples of the more than 800 photos in the Tudor Collins collection. Many of the servicemen shown are unidentified and the Museum would love to know more about them and their experiences in Auckland. The Museum is hoping to gather more information and ‘back stories’ on these men to enhance the online collections, both for researchers and friends and families overseas.  A page has been created with easy instructions on how to browse the online gallery and how to contribute using an enquiry form: aucklandmuseum.com.

You can also help spread the word by linking to and sharing these hashtags on social media: #AMcollection  #AucklandMuseum.

Camp Hale at Auckland Domain in WW2 [Unknown (1943); Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PH-RES-3136].
Camp Hale at Auckland Domain in WW2 [Unknown (1943); Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PH-RES-3136].
This mighty haul of local snapper was harvested by a group of US servicemen based in Warkworth in 1942.
This mighty haul of local snapper was harvested by a group of US servicemen based in Warkworth in 1942. Click photo for photo credit.