Bernard Akamine was born in Waipahu, Oahu. He trained at Camp Hood, Texas and was sent to Europe where he was assigned to the 100th Infantry Battalion, B Company. In the May 2011 issue of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans’ Puka Puka Parade, he wrote an article about buying a camera while stationed in Italy after the war had ended.
“”Having so much money, fellow Bakerite Tamotsu “Curly” Akiyoshi and I went looking for the most prized camera at the time – Leica with F2 lens. Curly had photo lab experience before entering the Army so he was very knowledgeable in the field. We went to most of the camera stores, but couldn’t find any Leica.”
Akiyoshi ended up with a Rollicord and Akamine with a Kodak Retina I. Akiyoshi also found chemicals and photo printing papers to develop prints. The men did their printing at night; their dark room was in a half-bombed out building that B Company was occupying. Since the Company was going to be moving out of the building, they developed all the film into negatives and planned to print them once they got back to Hawaii. However, Akamine wrote that he became more interested in movies instead and lost track of the dozens of canisters containing the 35mm negatives from Italy. These photos are copies of the ones he managed to recover and print over 65 years ago.