Wednesday, February 24, 2010

French girls greeting the GIs at Utah Beach

About an hour's walk inland from Utah Beach was an apple orchard. My grandfather's unit camped while unloading ships. A few people from the nearby town of Ravenoville came by to see the GIs. Some were interested in food, some were more interested in the boys.

My grandpa told me about some French civilians coming by their bivouac area to ask for food. The retreating Germans had stolen all the French people's supplies. He said that one of these French guys was actually an American ex-patriot that had gone AWOL during WWI. He had been living in France all the years since. When I asked another veteran of the 304th Port Co. about French civilians visiting their camp Dave told me two girls came by the orchard one day and were drinking calvados with the guys. It just so happens I have a photo of these girls. My grandpa snapped this shot, and it looks like S/Sgt James Dolan is in the background. This would have been between June 24 & November 15, 1944. They were camped on the actual beach before the 24th, and headed up to Antwerp in November.

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