NOT a photo of sailors saying goodbye during WW2

This photo (often titled “The last kiss” is shared all over the internet as a World War Two photo, a dramatic moment of sailors kissing their sweethearts just before being shipped off to the front.

© Roberto Borra

It is not.

Although a great picture, it is not from the 1940s.
As someone who analyses old photos as part of my job but also as someone who is specialised in daily life during the 1930s & 1940s, it was immediately clear to me that this photo was taken long after WW2 ended.
It is quite obvious that the hairstyles and clothing are from a later period.

The box camera on the ground by the second couple, is a Brownie Hawkeye Flash, manufactured between 1949 and 1961 (thank you Mr. Evans for identifying it).

It didn’t take me long to find the origin of this picture.

What we are looking at is the departure of the Amerigo Vespucci from a harbour in Italy in 1963.
The photo was taken by Roberto Borra.
You can see where the ship was where and when on the ship’s itinerary.
You can read Mr. Borra’s story about the trip by clicking here.
I soon found other photos taken that day, these also show clues that everything took place in the 1960s, not the 1940s.
Here’s a selection of them, use the arrows on the side to navigate through the gallery.

The car on the far right in one of the photos is a Ford Sedan, 1949-1951 (Thank you Mr. Descarpentri for identifying it.)

As poignant as these kinds of farewells always are and as scary as the world was back then, these sailors are not on their way to fight in a World War.

The Amerigo Vespucci is the oldest ship in commission in the Italian Navy and is still used as a training ship for Naval Academy Cadets and other naval students.
It was launched in 1931 and is quite a well known ship.

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Picture(s) found online, used for (re-)educational purposes only.
I do not own the copyrights to these images, I only share them here for educational purposes to try and make sure the real story behind it becomes known and people will stop spreading false information.
If the copyright owner objects to the sharing here, kindly contact me and I shall alter the article.
If you’re interested in using any of the images here get in touch with the copyright owners mentioned in the article.
Feel free to contact me with questions.

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