Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jeeps and Storefront in Belgium?

This is a photo from my grandfather's WWII album. I think it's a great shot, but I'm not quite sure where it is. The French writing indicates either France or Belgium. Men from the 519th visited Waterloo battlefield and nearby museums in the fall / winter of 1945. Above the door it says "Museum" and the GIs' dress indicates the war is over. So, I suspect that this museum and cafe is near Waterloo in the French-speaking area of Belgium.

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.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

284th Port Company roster

In September, 2010 I had the good fortune to receive an email from Donald Hemphill. Don served in the 284th Port Company. This company trained and worked in many of the same places as my grandfather, so my book is a good reference for the 284th's service. Although in different battalions, Don and my grandfather both served in Boston, Bristol, Normandy, and Antwerp.

The 284th started out as attached to the 505th Port Battalion, which was activated in the spring of 1943. They trained at Camp Myles Standish and worked in the Port of Boston. On November 5th 1943 the battalion boarded the SS Explorer and arrived in Glasgow, Scotland on November 16th. On the 18th they arrived at Camp Sea Mills to work Bristol's Avonmouth Docks. In April of 1944 the company moved to Transportation Corps Training School at Mumbles, Wales. It took part in Exercise Tiger, the ill-fated invasion practice off of Slapton Sands.

In May of 1944 the 284th joined the 517th Port Battalion which was attached to the 6th Engineer Special Brigade for the normandy Invasion. They worked Omaha Beach from June to November 1944. When Antwerp opened to shipping the battalion was transferred to work the Port of Antwerp. In fact, his company was living in the same apartment building as my grandfather's company, Tampico Flats. In June 1945 the company was reassigned to the 487th Port Battalion and moved to Bremerhaven, Germany.

I sent Don a copy of my book and he sent me a copy of his company roster. I am posting the names here in the hopes that veterans or their families may get in touch with me. The list organizes names by home state, but omits rank.

Clarence L. Filyaw

Robert Bonsells
Clark H. Hibell
Sergio L. Moreira
Emilo Y. Renteria

Melvin C. Swanson

Connis B. Boccuzzi
Frank A. Cassetta
Ralph L. Cipriano
Robert Drapatin
John F. Dessereau
Edward M. Grifa
Frank O'Brien
Jerry M. Raimo
Clair B. Roys, Fr.
William A. Sabetta
Maro Samela
Michael D. Santone
Arnold J. Scriven
Boleslaus J. Sowal
Frank S. Tarrasewicz
Frederick D. Trowbridge

Vernon R. Elarbee
George W. Floyd
Vernon Hartlene
Julian Keathley
Luchen B. McCracken
Pervis Roach
Orlo W. Smith
Keith C. Whitlock
Charles R. Whittaker

Stanley J. Black

Russel R. Antler
Stanley A. Rzewnicki

Alexander L. Bride
John T. Wilson

Benton M. Mullins

Stewart M. Beatty
B.M. Sumrall
Edgar B. Wroten

Keith R. Calef
Clarence E. Childs
Herman A DeRasier
Earl F. Dore
Joseph B. Kelly
John L. Nadeau
Robert Whiting

Karl J. Wheeler
Harr J. Dempsey

Lionel S. Andrade
Victor G. Barrett
Joseph Barys
Louis Bonavire
Roger Bonneville
Richard A. Boscardin
Armand J. Boucher, Jr.
Roland A. Boucher
George F. Boufreau
Anthony Brzostecki
Charles E. Buxton, Jr.
Francis E. Byrne
Albert E. Chretein
Fred Clifford
William Cloutin
Albert M. Colonna
William R. Crevier
Joseph H. Diaz
Joseph A. DiStasio
Joseph E. Ferriera
Clarence Fournier
Robert E. Gelinas
William B. George
Edward V. Goff
Valmore R. Gonneville
John Hagerty
Louis Joseph
Raymond A. LaRue
Chester G. Long
Charles J. Morris
John J.P. Morrison
Charles E. Powell
Boleslaw P. Przydzials
Thomas Ruta
George M. Sahilakas
Daniel J. Salmon
Anthony A. Sannicandro
Raymond A. Savary
Walter J. Silva
Joseph R. Soares
Francis Stimporziewski
Thomas J. Sweeney
Hagerty Tilkin
Kenneth H. Sennett
Clayton L. Vaughan

Glenn J. Rice
Vernon H. Zahl

Winifred B. Johnson

Robert C. Alexander
George L. Arnett
Rex Butler
Henry D. Callicutt
James C. Clark
James F. Coleman
Thomas L. Cook
John Davis
John W. Edwards
Melvon R. Eldridge
Robert L. Goff
Forrest L. Grisham
Vester R. Hallmark
Thomas A. Harris
Donald A. Hemphill (Don gave me this list)
Alvin Howard
Samuel R. Liddell
Jessie M. Martin
Waldo C. McClamroch
Lester S. Nicholson
Robert W. Pollard, Jr.
Ernest L. Smith
Richard A. Stulman
Keylon C. Randle
David W. Shilton
Basil M. Sumrall
John P. Thomas, Jr.
Walter L. Tribble
William F. Tyer
Hugh C. Wallace
Clifton Williams
Dewey B. Windham
Edgar B. Wroten
Thomas P. Yates

New Hampshire
Jpseph N. Anton
J. Antony
George Beckwith
Russell C. LaClair
John E. Travia

New Jersey
John J. Farley
Charles Mershon

New York
Thomas M. Aiello
Lawrence W. Agoney
Rolf C. Anderson
Howard Bensen
Irvine Charles
Alexander Goldman
John "Irish" F. Haren
Charles J. McGroarty
Laurence P. Ritcha (spelling?)
Leonard L. Rosenberg
Carl R. Schwartz
Edward J. Simmons
Anthony Zahorian, Jr. (the document listed Zahorian as from PA, but his son and daughter contacted me to say he was from NY)

Miller C. Baumgardner
Walter E. Consylman, Jr.
Lewis H. Eshbach
Landis H. Eshelman
Jacob Fritz, Jr.
George C. Herzberger
Steven E. Jacobs
Sameul Lowery
Victor A. Mahdad
James Mitchell
Michael Proch
Andrew Spero
Steve Torau

Rhode Island
Walter E. Barber
Harold E. Briggs
OScar L. Bruvere
Carmine Catola
Lew H. Chin
Henry Costa
John Costa
George M. Cunha
Lawrence Diaz
William S. Edelman
Jack Feldman
George Fitzsimmons
Charles N. Fuller
Sherman N. Greengus
Mever Grossman
John E. Hague
Herbert Hiatt
Russell F. Hamieson
Frank A. Joyner
Francis J. LaLiberte (LaLiberté ?)
Eugene N. Larence
Joseph F. Laurie
Enville P. Leueille
Arthur Lori
Duane W. Kelley
Leonard K. King
Robert L. Lomas
Andrew T. Mignacca
Joseph Morrisey
George H. Potter
John Silva
Chester Swiszcz
Maurice Turgeon

South Carolina
Harol J. Rowell

Floyd Willis

Robert L. Ward
Oscar O. Gibson
Theodore N. Hine

Francis C. Stack
Edmiund F. Short

Harvey Durham

Eugene G. Denio
Leonard A. Ruzinski

P.S. I'm not sure which company he was in, but I found the obituary for William James Farthing who served in the 517th Port Battalion. I'm putting his name here in case his family ever tries to research his service.