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Campaign to find World War II heroes behind 1943 sketches





  • Sergeant Stan Dube was stationed in the Central Pacific during the Second World War in Hawaii and surrounding mandated islands
  • He sketched 17 portraits of his comrades in 1943
  • It is believed that a majority of these soldiers died in the Battle of Saipan in 1944
  • 70 years later, Stan's son Ira found the photos in his sister's attic and has been working to locate the families of the soldiers
  • He said: 'People tell me that I am the rightful owner of these sketches. To me the rightful owners are these families'

By Matthew Wright For Dailymail.com

Published: 10:19 EST, 16 February 2017 | Updated: 10:19 EST, 16 February 2017

While stationed in the Central Pacific during the Second World War, Sergeant Stan Dube passed his time by drawing portraits of his comrades (pictured above is an unidentified comrade) While stationed in the Central Pacific during the Second World War, Sergeant Stan Dube passed his time by drawing portraits of his comrades (pictured above is an unidentified comrade)

While stationed in the Central Pacific during the Second World War, Sergeant Stan Dube passed his time by drawing portraits of his comrades (pictured above is an unidentified comrade)

Sergeant Stan Dube was stationed in the Central Pacific during the Second World War and passed his time by sketching portraits of his comrades.

When the US secured a crucial victory in the Battle of Saipan in 1944 where more than 3000 soldiers were killed, it was believed that a majority of his fellow soldiers passed away in the conflict.

With no indication of who these people were, 17 of these drawings remained untouched for more than 70 years up until their recent discovery by son Ira Dube in his sister's attic. 

Dube, 60, was searching through his sister's attic in Mississippi in late January when he found his father Stan Dube's artwork portfolio.

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In an interview with DailyMail.com and another with Fox 21 News, he shared how the portfolio included watercolor paintings but also 17 sketches of Stan's comrades in the war In an interview with DailyMail.com and another with Fox 21 News, he shared how the portfolio included watercolor paintings but also 17 sketches of Stan's comrades in the war
If you recognize any of the men in the sketches, Ira Dube can be contacted by email at ira.dube@yahoo.com If you recognize any of the men in the sketches, Ira Dube can be contacted by email at ira.dube@yahoo.com

It is believed that a majority of these soldiers  served in the 27 Infantry Division, 105th Infantry Regiment and died as a result of the Battle of Saipan 

These drawings were untouched for more than 70 years until Stan's son Ira found them in his sister's attic in Mississippi These drawings were untouched for more than 70 years until Stan's son Ira found them in his sister's attic in Mississippi
Along with the sketches were watercolor paintings and other drawings Along with the sketches were watercolor paintings and other drawings

These drawings were untouched for more than 70 years until Stan's son Ira found them in his sister's attic in Mississippi 

Stan paused pursuing his degree in architecture from Syracuse University in New York when he was drafted to be in the 27 Infantry Division. He died in 2009 Stan paused pursuing his degree in architecture from Syracuse University in New York when he was drafted to be in the 27 Infantry Division. He died in 2009

Stan paused pursuing his degree in architecture from Syracuse University in New York when he was drafted to be in the 27 Infantry Division. He died in 2009

In an interview with DailyMail.com and another with Fox 21 News, he shared how the portfolio included watercolor paintings but also 17 sketches of Stan's comrades in the Second World War.

'(These men) need to be remembered and honored and I just want to find them a home.'

Stan paused pursuing his degree in architecture from Syracuse University in New York when he was drafted to be in the 27 Infantry Division.

According to Dube, his father was stationed in the Central Pacific which includes Hawaii and other mandated islands in the area between 1941 and 1945. Stan died in 2009.

He told DailyMail.com: 'It was a topic he would avoid. He was Jewish so this was an overwhelming time for him and so he didn't ever really want to talk about it.'

'But it (sketching) was something that brought him peace and helped him cope with everything that was going on.'

Ira hopes to deliver the sketches to the soldiers' families and has already successfully done so for the grandson of Joseph Joner Kratky, who was killed in action in the Battle of Saipan.

'But it (sketching) was something that brought him peace and helped him cope with everything that was going on,' he said. 'But it (sketching) was something that brought him peace and helped him cope with everything that was going on,' he said.
'When I found out Kratky had died in action it was emotional for me,' he said 'When I found out Kratky had died in action it was emotional for me,' he said

Ira hopes to deliver the sketches to the soldiers' families and has already successfully done so for the grandson of Joseph Joner Kratky, who was killed in action in the Battle of Saipan

'I deal with the emotional aspect of it when I get an answer to the sketch,' said Dube who served in the Navy as a cook for 20 years.

'When I found out Kratky had died in action it was emotional for me. 

'That's why I have to do this because he'll see what his grandfather actually look like back in 1943, a year before he passed.'

And while there are no legible names visible on the remaining sketches, the Kentucky native believes that the men are from the New York area and served in the 27 Infantry Division, 105th Infantry Regiment circa 1941. 

'The 27 Infantry was made up of almost all New Yorkers and that was weird because although my dad went to Syracuse, he lived in Trenton, New Jersey,' he told DailyMail.com 'The 27 Infantry was made up of almost all New Yorkers and that was weird because although my dad went to Syracuse, he lived in Trenton, New Jersey,' he told DailyMail.com

'The 27 Infantry was made up of almost all New Yorkers and that was weird because although my dad went to Syracuse, he lived in Trenton, New Jersey,' he told DailyMail.com

He said: 'Every name that I've been able to come up with shows the New York area. Even the one where I am looking at now is in Newark' He said: 'Every name that I've been able to come up with shows the New York area. Even the one where I am looking at now is in Newark'
Ira has already found two of the 17 families Ira has already found two of the 17 families

Ira thinks that none of them were able to return back to the United States after the war. 'Saipan was very bloody battle, lots of casualties, unfortunately,' Ira said

Dube said: 'I knew when I found these, the chances of finding any of them alive with slim' Dube said: 'I knew when I found these, the chances of finding any of them alive with slim'

Dube said: 'I knew when I found these, the chances of finding any of them alive with slim'

'The 27 Infantry was made up of almost all New Yorkers and that was weird because although my dad went to Syracuse, he lived in Trenton, New Jersey,' he said.

'Every name that I've been able to come up with shows the New York area. Even the one where I am looking at now is in Newark.'

But he also thinks that none of them were able to return back to the United States after the war.

'Saipan was very bloody battle, lots of casualties, unfortunately,' he said.

'I knew when I found these, the chances of finding any of them alive with slim.'

The Battle of Saipan is regarded as a crucial strategic moment on the Pacific front of WWII because the US was finally able to strike the mainland of Japan eventually winning the war.

On June 15, 1944, US Marines stormed he beaches of the Japanese island hoping to establish an air base where they could launch long-range B-29 bombers to the home island.

A vicious fight broke out due to Japanese resistance being fierce but by July 9, US forces had their opponents cornered and raised a flag of victory.

Ira Dube (left) is hopeful he'll find the rest of the families the pictures belong to Ira Dube (left) is hopeful he'll find the rest of the families the pictures belong to

Ira Dube (left) is hopeful he'll find the rest of the families the pictures belong to

He was recently connected with the family of Joe Orbe on Monday He was recently connected with the family of Joe Orbe on Monday

He was recently connected with the family of Joe Orbe on Monday

And while there were more than 3,000 casualties and 10,000 wounded during the bloody struggle, the victory would allow the US to use the island for future skirmishes including the invasion of the Philippines in October 1944.

Ira hopes that by connecting these families with a small part of their history, he can honor the legacy of the men who gave their lives for the US.

He was recently connected with the family of Joe Orbe on Monday. 

'People tell me that I am the rightful owner of these sketches. To me the rightful owner are these families,' he said. 

If you recognize any of the men in the sketches, Ira Dube can be contacted by email at ira.dube@yahoo.com

BATTLE OF SAIPAN: THE CONFLICT THAT SEALED THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

From June 15 to July 9, 1944, U.S. soldiers launched an attack against Japanese forces on the Mariana Island of Saipan that was a crucial strategic victory in the battle of the Pacific during the Second World War.

Saipan is about 1300 miles south of the Japanese home islands. Acquisition of the island for the Americans meant the ability to launch air attacks against Tokyo and other major cities. 

The 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division and the Army's 27th Infantry were all under the command of Marine Lt. Gen. Holland McTyeire 'Howlin' Mad Smith.

American troops land on the beaches of Saipan island in June 1944. They needed to secure the island for future attacks to Japan's home islands American troops land on the beaches of Saipan island in June 1944. They needed to secure the island for future attacks to Japan's home islands

American troops land on the beaches of Saipan island in June 1944. They needed to secure the island for future attacks to Japan's home islands

Troops move from the beach to higher ground. They consisted of 535 ships and 127000 troops led by Marine Lt. Gen. Holland McTyeire 'Howlin' Mad Smith Troops move from the beach to higher ground. They consisted of 535 ships and 127000 troops led by Marine Lt. Gen. Holland McTyeire 'Howlin' Mad Smith

Troops move from the beach to higher ground. They consisted of 535 ships and 127000 troops led by Marine Lt. Gen. Holland McTyeire 'Howlin' Mad Smith

American forces consisted of 535 ships that carried more than 127,000 troops. Saipan, which was first colonized in the 1920s, had 3,0000 civilians and roughly 32,000 army and navy troops under the direction of Lt. Gen. Yoshitsugu Saito.

The battle claimed the lives of 22,000 Japanese civilians - many by suicide - and nearly all 32,000 Japanese troops on the island. 

Of the 71,000 American troops who landed on Saipan, 3,426 passed away, while more than 13,000 were critically wounded.

US Marines advance through Japanese positions on the island. 3426 troops would perish from the invasion US Marines advance through Japanese positions on the island. 3426 troops would perish from the invasion

US Marines advance through Japanese positions on the island. 3426 troops would perish from the invasion

A wounded American arrives at the hospital in Saipan. The victory at the island helped secure the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific A wounded American arrives at the hospital in Saipan. The victory at the island helped secure the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific

A wounded American arrives at the hospital in Saipan. The victory at the island helped secure the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific

Japanese forces had maintained a strong defense system for most of the battle but as carnage raged on, they became desperate, even pleading civilians to 'pick up their spears' and join the fight. 

Imperial General Headquarters even ordered a gyokusai attack - suicidal attacks done by soldiers in hopes of killing U.S. forces. Eventually some 4,000 Japanese soldiers even led the largest banzai charge of the war, with almost all of them perishing as a result. 

Not only did the victory secure the now American air field, the nearby island of Tinian would later serve as the base for the planes that dropped atomic bombs in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

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