Dutch Harbor, Alaska, World War II Photograph Collection, ca. 1943  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Dutch Harbor, Alaska, World War II Photograph Collection
ca. 1943 (inclusive)
30 photographic prints (1 box)
Collection Number
Photographs depicting military activity and landscape scenes at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, around 1943.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

During World War II, the Japanese seized the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska, located off the tip of Alaska, in June 1942. These islands provided the Japanese with a base from which to limit Allied air and sea operations in the North Pacific. They attacked Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska on June 3rd and 4th, 1942, seeking to destroy U.S. Army and Navy operations near the city of Unalaska. In an effort to recapture Attu and Kiska, the United States established airfields on Adak and Amchitka Islands in Aug. 1942. Plans were made in the spring of 1943 to recapture Attu, and American and Canadian air and naval forces landed there on May 11, 1943. The Japanese defended their position intensely, and the fighting continued until May 30, when Japan announced the loss of the island.

On August 15, 1943, a powerful Allied amphibious force, including a U.S. infantry division and elements of the Royal Canadian Army, assaulted the island of Kiska, where the Japanese had developed their largest base. To the surprise of the Allies, they found that the Japanese, under cover of heavy summer fog, had secretly evacuated the island. Kiska was declared secure, thus ending the Aleutian Islands Campaign. During 1944, the Canadians left and U.S. Army presence in Alaska dropped from 144,000 to 63,000 personnel. Although interest in the Alaskan theater waned, it marked the Allies' first theater-wide victory in World War II and ended Japan's only campaign in the Western Hemisphere.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains photographs, ca. 1943, documenting the U.S. Army and Navy presence at Dutch Harbor, near the city of Unalaska, Alaska, on Captain’s Bay. Images include structures on the base, portraits of naval troops on parade and during leisure time, and the 51st NCB (Naval Construction Battalion) band. Also included are landscapes of Captain’s Bay, the city of Unalaska, and the surrounding mountains. The photographs appear to have been taken by a sailor or soldier stationed at the base.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1  Building and “Aleutian Isle U.S. Army” sign made of rocks
1 2  Recreation hall
1 3 Mess hall
1 4  Church built by 51st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB)
“Altar moved to revolve so Protestant or Catholic could worship there.”
1 5 Dock at Captain's Bay
1 6  51st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) on parade June, 1943
1 7  51st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) dress parade June, 1943
1 8  51st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) Band 1943
1 9-10  Navy men in uniform posing with rifles 1943
2 11-14  Shop crew
2 15-16 Men on barge
2 17  Man and camp's pet bear
2 18 Camp's pet bear
2 19 Silver fox
3 20-24 Mountains around Captain's Bay
3 25-28 Captain's Bay
3 29  City of Unalaska
3 30 Shishaldin Volcano on Unimak Island, Alaska

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Military bases--Alaska--Aleutian Islands
  • Soldiers--United States--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Alaska--Aleutian Islands
  • Corporate Names :
  • United States. Army--Photographs
  • United States. Naval Construction Battalion, 51st--Photographs
  • United States. Navy--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Aleutian Islands (Alaska)--History, Military
  • Aleutian Islands (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Unalaska Island (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Landscape photographs
  • Photographs

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)