World War II Database


American female aircraft worker working at the Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, California, United States, June 1942.


American woman working on an aircraft engine at a North American Aviation plant in California, United States, June 1942.


A female North American Aviation employee working on a section of the leading edge of an aircraft horizontal stabilizer, Inglewood, California, United States, October 1942.


American women working in the interior of the tail section of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant, Long Beach, California, United States, October 1942.


WAVES Aviation Machinist's Mates Bernice Snasburg and Violet Falkum working on the Pratt & Whitney radial engine of SNJ-4 aircraft, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, United States, 30 November 1943.


WAVES Airman 1st Class (Aviation Metalsmith) Barbara Stroud drilling and riveting aircraft structure in the Assembly and Repair Department at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, United States.


Frances Wills and Harriet Ida Pickens being sworn in as WAVES apprentice seamen by Lieutenant Rosamond D. Selle, New York City, New York, United States, November 1944.


WAVES aircraft mechanics working on the port outboard Pratt & Whitney R-2000 engine of a R5D Skymaster aircraft, Naval Air Station, Oakland, California, United States, mid-1945.


Carrier pigeon trainer WAVES Specialist 2nd Class Marcelle Whiteman holding a carrier pigeon, Naval Air Station, Santa Ana, California, United States, June 1945.


Pilot Nancy Harkness Love and WAF co-pilot Betty Huyler Gillies, the first women to fly the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, circa 1943-1945.

Bild 146-1983-009-09A

Polish Jew Marcel Rayman, member of the French resistance, after being arrested by Germans, 1943-1944.


Resistance fighters in La Tresorerie near Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, 14 September 1944.

Bild 146-1983-077-13A

French resistance fighter being arrested, France, July 1944.

I've been going through so many photos on the World War II database, thinking how important sites such as this one are. Looking at each photo is like a small history lesson. I'm particularly drawn to the images of women working throughout the war and the contribution they made, as well as the images of resistance fighters. I don't approach these photos romantically, but with a sense that I'd love to know more about them. Although I've studied World War II quite a bit, there's a gap in my knowledge about women's roles and the various forms of resistance throughout the war. I do warn you though that once you start digging through the database, you might not be able to stop - it's so fascinating.