July 26, 2016

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #124: "PRESENT ARMS" by Old Northwest Trading Company

Inspired by the cover of 'YANK' Magazine this two figure vignette from the Old Northwest Images of War series was issued in limited quantities in 2010. At the time we didn't know the background or have any concrete information of the soldier behind the photo. Having recently been contacted by his daughter we now have the backstory on one of our favorite images from WWII. 

The image was first published in YANK magazine Continental Edition of January 14, 1945, entitled "PRESENT ARMS" That happy-hunting grin is on the face of Pfc. Robert Leigh who has accumulated a rather sizeable collection of enemy guns including a MP.38, MP.40's, MG.34 and an MG42 that he took from Germans who were routed out of basements in Duren, Germany, by the men of the 83d Division during the bloody Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. The picture was taken in Gurzenich (Düren), Germany, probably just after the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 329th Infantry Regiment had cleared the city.

Pfc. Robert E. Leigh
Pfc. Robert E. Leigh, from Washington DC, was born on September 15, 1919. He had a Grammar school education and his occupation was listed as "Plumbers, gas fitters and steam fitters". Robert Leigh (#33044651) enlisted in the service on May 22, 1941 in Richmond, Virginia. In the European Theatre of Operation (ETO), he was a Rifleman, Private First Class in the 83rd Infantry Division, 329st. Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, B Company, where he was assigned on July 24, 1944, while the Company was in the vicinity of Sainteny, Normandy, France. Robert E. Leigh died at age 76, on January 26, 1996

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