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c. 1944

World War II paratrooper selfies

"A paratrooper makes a jump — and we jump with him."

Why is it that when soldiers leap out of planes during wartime, they don’t think to take a self-portrait? HA, trick question. They do. Or at least these guys did.  

Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images

They were British paratroopers — a division set up by Winston Churchill only a few years before, at the beginning of WWII.

Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images

In Churchill’s words, this was a division that would “be able to storm a series of water obstacles… everywhere from the Channel to the Mediterranean and in the East.” Here, a group of paras was undertaking a training exercise. Crammed into the fuselage of an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber, the men were accompanied by one Haywood Magee, editor at the photography magazine Picture Post.

Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images

Magee photographed the soldiers leaping out, one by one. Inspired, he handed a camera to one of the paratroopers, who took these self-portraits.

Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images

They may have been slightly out of focus, but the images made a big impact on the sales of Picture Post. The issue was captioned “A Paratrooper Makes a Jump — And We Jump with Him.”

Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images
Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images
Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images
Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images
Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images
Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images

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