Monday, July 26, 2010

Tampico Flats, Antwerp: then and now

From November 18, 1944 to December 20, 1945 the 519th Port Battalion men were billeted in Tampico flats. Men from the 517th Port Battalion also lived here. This apartment complex stands in the north west corner of Antwerp, right up against the docks. The buildings are surrounded by these streets: Santiagostraat, Canadalaan, Columbiastraat, and Tampicoplein. You'll notice all the streets in the dock area were named for the various parts of the world that brought shipping to the port. The original "Tampico" is city in Mexico.

My book only includes a few photos, so I thought I should post the remainder here. My friend Raf, a resident of Antwerp, was nice enough to send me photos of the buildings as they look today.

Richard Krause on the left, and James Dolan on the right posing outside the building.

Krause again and another guy. Note Tampico Flat's distinctive exterior tile walls.

519th men in line for guard duty. The 303rd and 304th port companies spent all their time in Antwerp on guard duty. After December 20, 1945 the entire battalion (or what was left of it after so many GIs were shipped home) was engaged in guard duty. Note the plywood covering the windows. Just about every pane of glass in the port had been shattered by exloding v-bombs.

Dave Weaver returned to Antwerp in the 1980s. He photographed the building and marked where his room was. It seems that the original first floor exterior tiles were still in place. In 1944 the roof was flat and open and it was used as a mess hall. Sometime after 1946 a pitched roof was built on.


Tampico Flats as seen today. My friend Raf photographed the buildings this past winter. The first floor exterior tile has changed.

A few more photos of the 1940s building can be seen in a post on WW2 Forums.

Here's a link to the buildings on Google Maps. As you can see the apartment is very close to the docks.

Photos above: Bruce Kramlich (at left) leaning against the Canadalaan side of the building. Photo below: Bruce (in window at right) with 519th Port Battalion men.


5 comments:

  1. What a great site Andrew my uncle Eugene F. Rushton served in the 345th Harborcraft Co. He wore Army and Navy uniforms this almost got him killed during the Battle of the Bulge thank goodness his buddy Swoop could answer MLB questions to the MP`s because my uncle was no baseball fan. I have lots of photos and stories passed down to me about his time in Antwerp. I have pictures of his barracks which was Tampico Flats the Ford factory that was bombed out trains on the move and some duplex drive shermans on rail cars and lots of pictures of boats and the harbor there. One of his pictures is a photo of the theater in Antwerp that was hit with a V-2. A bottle of beer saved his life because he was just across the street from the theater. His friend talked him into one more beer before going to the theater when it was hit with the V-2. They where knocked across the room from the blast. They went over to the theater to help in anyway they could and one of things that put my uncle over the edge was when my uncle saw how this one women was stealing someones rings off a severed limb very sad indeed. His other terrible story was when he was looking out of the barracks there "Tampico Flats" he was watching children ice skating there on a pond and there was an attack by German planes and the children where caught up in it and where killed. My uncle served in the rear along with all the the other Longshore soldiers. There jobs where very demanding and dangerous plus they saw and dealt with the carnage of the War also.

    my e-mail gregoffrd101@aol.com

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  2. RE; Krause & Dolan photo: This isn't Jim Dolan, actually it is Elmer Beck, the 304th barber smoking a pipe.

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  3. Re: Getting ready for guard duty.
    Names , from right to left: Jim Bittles from IL, Hal Chitty(IL), Al Wiesbruck (from Wheaton, IL)

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  4. Bruce Kramlich and Jim McConchie (from Paris, Il) probably taken in front of 304th Co. headquarters.

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  5. John O'Connor & Bruce Kramlich in window.
    Below: Bob Marx fr. St. Louis (my winch operator partner) and Bill Wilder from
    Rochester, NY.

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