Monday, October 25, 2010

WWII Antwerp warehouse guard

Guard duty was an important duty of the port companies on the docks in WWII Antwerp. Pilferage of Allied supplies was rampant. In the above photo you can see a man from the 517th Port Battalion guarding a warehouse full of supplies. I know he in the 517th because of his helmet insignia. My grandfather's 519th had been attached to the 1st Engineer Special Brigade and wore a lone full blue arc on the face of their helmet. The other US port battalion in Antwerp, the 517th, had served with the 5th Engineer Special Brigade and had a white half-arc with the Amphibious Training Command insignia under the arc. It's tiny, but you can see this in the photo above. I apologize for the poor quality image. It's a photocopy of a page from a 1946 unit history of the 13th Port, which had commanded US supply operation in Antwerp.

Now that my book is published I am interested in researching other port battalions in the European Theater of the war. My immediate plan is to write a magazine article about the port companies' role in the D-Day invasion on both Utah and Omaha beaches. After that I may write a more general history book.

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