Struthers, Ian Duncan. War Correspondent for Paramount 1942-6
Struthers, Ian Duncan. A Collection of Material Relating to The Work of Ian Duncan Struthers, War Correspondent for Paramount during the North Africa Campaign. [Letters, Paperwork, Telegrams, Photographs etc.].
A collection of ephemera including a parcel of detailed and candid letters home to Struthers’ mother in England, aerial photographs, expenses sheets, telegrams, correspondence with military authorities and with news organisation figures. A fascinating snapshot (no pun intended) of the work and pressures of a Second World War combat journalist. Amongst other things, the collection comprises:
45 letters from Ian Struthers to his mother, aside from from family details and checking in, Struthers presents a very comprehensive and in depth account of his adventures.
Communications with the War Office Medals Dept. detailing Struthers’ awards, his mention in despatches and the medals to which he is entitled (with accompanying medal ribbons and directions for use).
A sheaf of telegrams from Tom Cummins, the administrator of Paramount News, sending greetinigs, detailing assignments etc.
Correspindence with Allied Force HQ in Algiers, including a letter to Cpt. Taprell Dorling (better known post-war as “Taffrail”, author of thrillers) detailing the need for adequate transportation, letters detailing the problems associated with liaising with army units, a proposal to cover volunteers for the British Pioneer Corps (provided nobody mentioned that some of the volunteers were Spanish), the transcript of a press release by Struthers detailing his attempts to cover the assault on Heinsberg including some rather laconic emphasis on how bloody dangerous war actually is, Struthers’ Gazette Certificate, film footage lists, expenses sheets (detailing a fair amount spent on ‘entertaining’ various military officers in an effort to get better access to the action, something that Struthers frequently frets about), and 3 large format aerial recon shots showing industrial details of what appears to be a heavily bombed European city. The whole collection is housed in a buff “Dalex” spring folder stencilled with Struthers’ name and initials. The majority of the contents are in excellent condition, although there are a number of slightly corroded paperclips that have had their small way with some of the papers. The letters in particular (in opposition to most domestic letters being of the “I’m fine, please send socks” variety) are most detailed and illuminating, Struthers seems to have had a very candid and open relationship with his mother, he discusses fretting about missing the action, although later he details his 3 uninterrupted months at the front, his arrival in Tunisia and then Algeria, a particularly dense letter from 1943 details his being the “6th car to the enter the town” after a major location is liberated from the Germans “Driving into the town was most amazing, the inhabitants just cheered and shouted in the most amazing way” he mentions the lack of resistance “Jerry had decided to run the previous day” and mentions his surprise at meeting liberated Jews; “One of the most amazing things that I came across was the Jews still wearing the “Stars of David”, yellow cloth things worn on the coat lapel. As far as I know this is the first town that we have taken from the Germans where they have exercised their anti-Jewish principles. I was given one of these stars by a man who had worn it. It was most amazing, we had quite a difficulty sometimes in telling the people and persuading them that it was now no longer for them to wear these stars!..I took some footage of a correspondent telling the inhabitants to take the stars off. I hope you will see it.” A fascinating and illuminating collection of material.
[Ref: 929] £500