Off to Fight Fascism: 1942-45
Washington, D.C. resident William Simpson went to war with millions of others during the struggle against fascism. Images of his departure for war and of army life are contained in this set.

Many of these scans were made of photographic prints that appear to be contemporary with the scenes depicted 1942-45. Others appeared to be reprints or scans of photographs. There are notes on the back of the photographs for only a few of the images.

All are from the personal collection of William L. Simpson (1918-2009). The dates and location of most of the European photos are unidentified dates and places from 1943-45 in Italy, France and Germany.

William L. Simpson, a Washington, D.C. resident, entered the U.S. army in May 7, 1942 and was able to distinguish a “dit” from a “dah” and became a radio operator. He was assigned to the 45th Division, a National Guard unit based in Oklahoma that had been activated. He sailed from the U.S. via the southern Atlantic route on June 5, 1943 and arrived in Africa on June 29, 1943.

He survived taking part in four amphibious invasions: Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Southern France. Battle campaigns were Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. He contacted malaria in the spring of 1945 and was not present during the liberation of Nuremberg, the Dachau concentration camp or Hitler’s Eagles Nest in the Bavarian mountains.

He returned to the U.S. July 5, 1945 and was discharged August 1, 1945.

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