Friday, January 8, 2016

US Bombers Raid Antwerp Plants, 1943

I bought a 1943 aerial photo of the Antwerp docks where my grandfather's battalion served in 1944–1946. The photo was taken by an American plane that was bombing the automobile factories that the Germans were using for military production. The city was liberated the following year.

(This photo has north on the right-hand side)

Here's the caption that was on the back of the photo:

Bombs dropped by US Army Eight Air Force heavy bombers during a daylight attack May 4 cause smoke to rise above the Ford and General Motors plants in Antwerp, Belgium. This US Army official photo, made from a bomber during the raid, shows parts of both factories obscured by smoke. May 16, 1943.

Diagram of the docks where my grandfather's battalion unloaded supplies from ships and guarded warehouses, 1944 to 1946. I found this in the National Archives official historical report of the 519th Port Battalion.

I looked on Google Maps and found what the Luchtbal area of Antwerp looks like today.
The Antwerp docks in a 2013 Google Maps photo.

The docks in this 1943 photo.
This map shows where German v-bombs fell in the docks after the Allies liberated Antwerp. I got this image from

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

5th Engineer Special Brigade headed to Omaha Beach

I found this color photo of members of the 5th Engineer Special Brigade in Weymouth, England. They're loading landing craft to head over to Omaha Beach, June 1944. You can lisence this image as a stock photo from Galerie Bilderwelt. (And you can browse their collection to see more photos of Operation Overlord)

The 5th ESB along with the 6th ESB were responsible for all logistics in Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion and the months after. The Normandy beaches were the main place to land troops and supplies while the Allies waited for the sea ports of Cherbourg and Antwerp to be opened (the Fall of 1944). 

Check out my color photo of members of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade on Utah Beach. (My grandfather's battalion was attached to the 1st ESB in Normandy.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

WWII Antwerp Dock Pass

A veteran of the 280th Port Company, David Cohen, sent me a scan of himself and the dock pass that he carried with him in the port of Antwerp during the war.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

239th Port Company, 494th Port Battalion roster

In my continuing research in to WWII port battalions I requested the National Archives' historic report of the Army's African-American 494th Port Battalion. Among the papers was an October 1944 list of men receiving the Good Conduct Medal. The list offers a near-complete roster of the men in the battalion. I'm reproducing the names of the 239th Port Company in the hopes that family members find their dad or grandfather. I want connect people with the remarkable service of the WWII port companies. This battalion took part in the Normandy Invasion at Omaha Beach. You can read about the experience of one veteran here.

Herman Hanson (or Herman Hansen) • William C. Goodman • Andrew E. Jones • Ormister L. Smith • Johnnie R. Whitaker • Earl D. Boho • Caleb Carey • Richard Day • Moses Jones • Lloyd  Scott • William H. White • Loring Fountain • Herbert Benson • Leo I. Bridgewater • Gilmer Ecoles • Willie C. Grant • Earnest Gunthorp • Samuel B. Johnson • Marvin Kingcade • Nathan McKinnon • J. C. Smith • Robert Perry • Paul Watkins • Jesse J. Alexander • Arthur M. Burgo • Sylvester Cheeks • Frederick D. Crowe • John F. Davis • Benjamin Dover • Andrew J. Failey • George D. Hardy • John Robinson • Rueben Jackson, Jr. • Walter M. Ormond • James J. Treadwell • Walter T. White • Van O. Bonnitto • John E. Cobbs • Jimmie Jones • William D. Roberts • Earnest Shannon • William Cotton • Feliz S. Ball • George Bivens • Robert H. Coram • Solomon Gibbs • James T. Greene • William E. Hicks • Kenneth H. King • William S. Liddlie • Rex W. Merritt • Gordon S. Stewart • Warren B. Thomas • Ollie Williams • James Anderson • Joseph Butler • Thadus N. Craddock • George M. Daniels • Jean O. Dixon • Thomas A. Dyer • William Friday • Ollie Holt • Barney Hunter • James Kelly • George E. Majors • Eugene Moore • William Paul • James F. Sims • Chalres B. Smith • John H. Taylor • Robert E. Warren • Robert Cain • Leo F. Carrington • Robert J. Cheeks • Herbert Durham • Edward L. Gilmore • Abraham Green • Willie D. Hall • Clarence Harley • Walter E. Heard • Jim H. Hopkins • Albert Jacobs • Neal Lemmons • Lee T. Norman • Edward Roper • Wesley Smith • Joe A. Williamson • Quincy Wroght • David Jenkins • Melton Lumpkins • William McGill • Alvin R. Nance • Dolly L. Sal*** • Charles E. Smith • Charles E. Sullivan • Charles Walker • Love Williams • Clifford Carter • Vickers Chambers • Lewis Davin • *alton Eady • Shadrack Gill • *. C. Grigaby • Oscar Manna • Edward Harrington • Aaron Hensley • Atwood Humdy • James A. Jeters • Joseph W. Murph • Albert A. Potter • James Smalls • James M. Taylor • Leroy Wilson

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1945 Groenplaats Exposition, Antwerp, Belgium

P-47 Thunderbolt from my grandfather's album.
In a 2009 post I shared some photos from the 1945 Groenplaats Exposition held in Antwerp after the war. This was a display of Allied military equipment and captured German rockets. I found a GI's photo album on eBay. He served in the 268th Port Company in Antwerp at the same time as my grandfather's 304th Port Company. He also visited the Groenplaats Expostion, taking photos of many of the same vehicles and artillery pieces as my grandfather:

The same P-47.
British Spitfire.
Horsa glider.
Captured German V-2 Rocket.
M-8 Armored car.
Sherman Firefly, a British variation of the M4 Sherman tank.
Anti-aircraft artillery with radar trailer.
AA gun with interesting pavilion in the background.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Walter Kaplan and GIs at Club Chipper, WWII Antwerp

At Club Chipper December 16, 1945.
The daughter of Walter Kaplan sent me this great photo today. It shows her dad and some friends at Club Chipper. This was an enlisted mens' club in Antwerp, which opened shortly after Germany surrendered. You can read more about it (and see photos) in this previous post.

Walter served in my grandfather's battalion in the 303rd Port Company.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

280th Port Company group photo

A couple months ago the granddaughter of Enrico "Rick" Starnadori emailed me. His 280th Port Company and my grandfather's 304th Port Company were in the same battalion. She was nice enough to scan her grandpa's copy of the company's group photo.

Click on this photo for an enlarged image (then you can save the larger version to your computer)
The inclusion of the African-American sitting in the photo is interesting. The army was segregated during World War II, so there were all-black units, such as the 490th Port Company which was on Utah Beach and the 494th Port Battalion which was on Omaha Beach.

In a previous post I shared a near-complete roster of the 280th Port Company.