Toulon - Le Cap brun

Denebola Page

Toulon, France

Travels, Sightseeing, and Vintage Postcards

Photographs taken by US Navy sailors in 1944

By , April, 2010. Updated March 22, 2012.

The Mediterranean and southern France suffered heavily in World War Two. When my father traveled to this city in the popular tourist destination of the French Riviera, with the USS Denebola in August, 1944, much of the region had been bombed out, but the monuments, churches, hotels, and harbor still attracted the sailors on sightseeing trips. His memoirs, which we pick up here, reflect that.

The French Riviera!

That's the term that started to get tossed around when we left Corsica and set a course northward. We tended to overlook the fact that this area of the world had undergone four years of wartime conditions.

Perhaps if we had been more thoughtful of that, we would not have been so disappointed when the south coast of France turned out to be more of the same.

Actually we stopped at only three places; Toulon, St.Tropez, and St. Maxime. One after another those names sparked our imagination. As we moved from place to place we began to realize that these people and these places were worn down and nearly out. They had had it!

Vintage Postcards of Toulon

streetcar on Boulevard Strasbourg, Toulon Notice the streetcar, truck, and hand-drawn cart.
Toulon Vielle rue

an old narrow street in Toulon

Toulon-sur-mer port and arsenal, Toulon the port and arsenal; note large yacht in foreground
Le Mourillon rocky, tree-lined coast Le Mourillon
Le Cap Brun coastal scene Le Cap Brun, French Riviera
le port et le faron, Toulon Le Port et le Faron, Toulon

Photographs of Toulon

Toulon Grand Hotel with fountain Toulon Grand Hotel
Toulon street scene Toulon street scene
Toulon - hillside pillbox Toulon - hillside pillbox
wreckage of French fleet in Toulon harbor wreckage of French fleet in Toulon harbor, scuttled by the Vichy French government in Nov. 1942
lighthouse at Toulon lighthouse at Toulon
warships in Toulon, 1944 warships in Toulon
bombed waterfront, Toulon bombed waterfront, Toulon
US Navy sailors, eating with the locals US Navy sailors, eating with the locals, Toulon
more scuttled French warships, Toulon more scuttled French warships, Toulon
the harbor the harbor, Toulon
bomb-damaged buildings in Toulon bomb-damaged buildings in Toulon
another Grand Hotel

another Grand Hotel, Toulon


Memoirs and photographs of Milton W. Sherman (1919-2010). He served in the U.S. Navy during WW2, on board the USS Denebola, AD-12, when he was in mid-twenties. On board the Denebola, he sailed to Toulon in late 1944, where he bought these vintage postcards from street vendors and the photos from the ship's photographer. You might enjoy reading a fuller version of his travels in the Denebola.