WW II World War Two Army Air Corps Gunner S. Sgt. Ernest E. Sleeper Archive
This is an archive of items that belonged to S. Sgt. Ernest E. Sleeper of Norfolk, Massachusetts. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War Two, as a gunner on a Flying Fortress bomber. I purchased these items directly from his heirs many years ago, when his estate was being dispersed. I packed them away carefully, and now finally have found the time to sort them out and offer them for sale. If you like authentic World War Two items associated with the flying fortress bombers and the men who served on them, then you will appreciate this archive, which holds many meaningful objects.
Here's a quick rundown:
There is a metal gunner's helmet with movable ear flaps on the sides, along with a canvas radio helmet worn inside it, and a fleece helmet of reddish leather. They are all in very good to excellent condition. There is a manual for the Browning .50 caliber Machine gun, red stamped "Restricted" on the cover, with fold out intact. There are some old uniform patches, some empty shells, a novelty dagger, novelty jewelry, uniform buttons and a belt buckle, plus a number of postcards, booklets, and souvenir items from the U.S. bases where he trained, including a couple of very nice silk scarves, and a very cool silk pillow with a bomber on it. (The two booklets from Tyndall Field are mouse eaten, but legible; everything else is in excellent cond.)
One of the more interesting parts of the archive is a group of photographs. Some are of the overseas airfields where he flew missions from, including many pictures of airplanes of different types, many in disrepair and obviously being scavenged for parts. There are pictures of unknown airmen, messing around on base between missions, some with gals they've met. There are also pictures taken from airplanes in flight---some of flak, high altitude formations, etc. etc., and also a great picture of the cockpit of a B-17 G. (be sure to use the zoom in feature to view that image)
The most interesting of these pictures is a group showing the christening of the bomber " Stage Door Canteen ", with many important military people and celebrities in attendance. One shows Winston Churchill's wife striking the bomber with a champagne bottle. There are also pictures that show Vivian Leigh, Edward G. Robinson, Gen. James Doolittle (note the bombshell ashtray beside him), Gen. Gross, Gen. Eaker, Col. Leber, Clair Luce Booth, and a very striking image of the notable Italian American four star General, Joseph Nazzaro, back when he was still just a colonel.
These photos are not modern copies or repros of any kind, but all authentic period photos, c. 1940's, with original hand written ink descriptions and censor stamps on the verso.
Lastly, but best of all, there are two hand painted insignias of exceptional quality. The first is a round patch, made of canvas, that measures approx. 5 inches in diameter. It depicts a drooling wolf on a round target like background. The second is a remarkable insignia of the same drooling wolf, pictured in front of a long bombshell, with the words: " 233rd Base Unit " on the tip. It measures almost 11 inches tall, and is hand painted on thin aluminum, backed with green felt, with a hanging loop attached. Both are in near mint condition, clean and bright, with no repairs or restorations.
When I was purchasing these items from the heirs, I asked if there was a flight jacket. We searched high and low, but none was ever found. Then, just the other night, as I was examining the old photos, I came across the answer as to what happened to Ernest Sleeper's flight jacket.
I found a small picture that had been trimmed, showing a young woman wearing just such a flight jacket, and although much of the inscription on the back of the photo had been cropped away, I was still able to decipher this much: "...brother's jacket...[he] gave it to me... it's the one he wore....overseas... "
According to a 1940 census, Ernest Sleeper was born in Norfolk, Massachusetts, "about 1921", and he had but one sibling, a sister who was one year his senior. That's her in the picture, and that's his flight jacket she's wearing! It is enticing to see that there is a large round patch on it, and perhaps other markings, but the photo is too small to make out any details.
Sadly, I would have to assume that this flight jacket, like the old farm house where Ernest Sleeper lived, are both long gone.
Out of respect for Ernest and his service during the war, I'm offering this entire archive as a collection, and don't wish to break it up.
Price: SOLD... Thank you!
Accepted payment methods: U.S. Postal money order, or Personal check, (takes seven business days to clear). Sorry, no credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, or electronic payments.
Contact info: Bob Grabosky.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 167, Foxboro, MA. 02035-0167