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photos  •  READERS
U.S.M.C. Private first class William E. PLOCHARSKI COLLECTION, p. 6
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   This is the sixth webpage of photographs from the collection of Private First Class William Edward Plocharski / Planter of the US Marine Corps, who took these photos during his deployment in Las Segovias, Nicaragua, over a period of two years, from January 1928 to December 1929.

     The larger photos were scanned in high resolution (600 dpi).  The smaller photos (of individual pages of the photo album) were taken at lower resolution but show the captions, and for that reason are included here.  For a full high-resolution image of each photo, click on the thumbnail image on the right-hand side of each Photo ID banner.

     This collection has never been published anywhere else.  I first learned of it in January 2018 thanks to the kind courtesy of Private Plocharski's (Mr. Planter's) daughter, Patricia Barrow of Houston, Texas. I thank Patricia Barrow and her family for their generosity in making these photographs available and permitting their publication here. 

Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.01   •    On Patrol, March 1928

Caption:  "March 8 1928.  on Patrol." 

Captures the slow, steady movement of a partially mounted patrol along a dusty trail through the scrub landscape of the Honduran border zone of the northwestern Segovias.  Some men are mounted, presumably Marines -- including the photographer.  Other men, in white shirts and sombreros, are walking.  A wonderful photograph.

Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.02    •    "River Ration Patrol"

Caption:  "River Ration Patrol". 

This is a serious river.

Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.03   •    "Getting an early start"

Caption:  "Getting an early start." 

A marvelous photograph, full of movement & action & the orderly chaos of such military operations.  Brilliant.

Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.04    •    "In Dipilto Valley"

Caption:  "In Dipilto Valley."

Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.05    •    Plane crash, Estelí, March 1928


Caption:  "Esteli Nic Feb. 27 1928 Plane which took the lives of 2 aviators, a Buzzard was the cause of it." 

According to the OFFICIAL LIST OF MARINE CORPS CASUALTIES IN NICARAGUA, the crash occurred in Estelí on March 8, 1929 — a date I have corrected to March 8, 1928 for reasons noted on the webpage housing this document (namely, that Capt. Merritt Edson mentioned the death of Capt. Wm. Byrd in a plane crash in a personal letter dated March 28, 1928; see EAST COAST, 1928A, p. 3).  The two dead Marine Corps aviators were Capt. William C. Byrd and Sgt. Rudolph Frankforter.

A gathering of local men and boys inspect the crash -- at least a dozen by my count.



Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.06    •    Marines posing with aeroplane

No caption.

Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.07    •    Bull carts bringing in rations, Estelí, Feb. 1928

Caption:  "Esteli Nic. Feb 3 1928. Bull Carts Bringing in rations Top Sargent Bernica is the Center."

Another marvelous photograph, capturing the chaotic movement of bull-carts from outlying districts into town, laden mainly with what looks to be fodder for horses.  Here we see visual confirmation of Marine-Guardia reports emphasizing that the Marines' presence in Segovian towns like Estelí sparked considerable local commerce to supply this new market.


Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.08    •    "Some of the men who helped burn Santa María"


Caption:  "Santa Maria Nic. March 22 1929. Some of the Men who Helped to burn the Town of Santa Maria." 

This is a chilling caption, and along with it, a chilling photo.  The 14 men look to be standing in front of smouldering ruins, judging from the partially intact brick wall at far lower-left, and the clouds of smoke and splayed lumber and building materials immediately behind them.  Why are some men wearing Marine Corps uniforms, and others white t-shirts?  Are some Nicaraguan Voluntarios?  At center-right, a large, rock-jawed man in a white t-shirt drapes his arm around a much smaller uniformed Marine.  Why this gesture?  I have found no direct evidence that the US Marines burned the town of Santa Maria (west of Ocotal near the Honduran border) in March 1929, but considerable circumstantial evidence that such a burning was not unlikely.  During this period, Capt. Stockes and various columns of Voluntarios ranged widely and freely across this district, chasing EDSN General Carlos Salgado as he and his troops hopscotched across the Honduran border eluding the Marines and Voluntarios.  This period also saw considerable frustration among US Marine Corps commanders about the lack of cooperation of Honduran border officials and local residents on both sides of the border.  The first half of 1929 also saw spotty documentation of Marine-Voluntario operations in this zone.


Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.09    •    "Some of the men who helped burn Santa María"


Caption:  "Santa Maria Nic. March 22 1929. Some of the Men who Helped to burn the Town of Santa Maria."

Photo ID:  Readers - Plocharski - P6.10    •    "Getting another early start"


Caption:  "Getting another early start"


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