In the heat of battle, photographer Horace Bristol captured one of the most unique and erotic photos of WWII.
Bristol photographed a young crewman of a US Navy “Dumbo” PBY rescue mission, manning his gun after having stripped naked and jumped into the water of Rabaul Harbor to rescue a badly burned Marine pilot. The Marine was shot down while bombing the Japanese-held fortress of Rabaul.
“…we got a call to pick up an airman who was down in the Bay. The Japanese were shooting at him from the island, and when they saw us they started shooting at us. The man who was shot down was temporarily blinded, so one of our crew stripped off his clothes and jumped in to bring him aboard. He couldn’t have swum very well wearing his boots and clothes. As soon as we could, we took off. We weren’t waiting around for anybody to put on formal clothes. We were being shot at and wanted to get the hell out of there. The naked man got back into his position at his gun in the blister of the plane.”
“And well, there was his butt, and I had a camera. I mean I AM a historian.”