THE MOVE TO LE HARVE

Winter in LeHarve, France 1944-45 –Wikipedia

Winter in LeHarve, France 1944-45 –Wikipedia

Le Harve, France

Before Christmas 1945

Now that the port and city of Le Have was liberated, a few other GIs, and officers from our Cherbourg detachment were sent to Le Have to begin a similar liaison operation. I was one. Upon arriving, we were billeted in a large hillside house on the edge of town. This was great! There were beds, furniture and a view! But a few weeks later, we were moved to The Ecole Blanc, a school which was closer to the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français) railroad station where we had set up our liaison office.

This accommodation was more like a barracks. There were many beds in each room and little privacy. We also shared the school with members of an Army Engineering Unit.

Our office in Le Harve was much like the one in Cherbourg, but the number of staff soon increased when some men and officers of the 4th Regulating Group joined us. It was also three rooms where the office in Cherbourg was just one.

A few days after the new bunch of men joined us; one was Lieutenant Barbush. He had been with my group in Warminster, England and was also my platoon leader back in The States.

Le Havre was bombed, fought for and showed the scars of warfare. The port suffered a lot of damage, mostly by the Germans before they were forced out.

The Army Port Battalion was at work, clearing the rubble and making the port somewhat useable. In addition to the supply and troop ships that began to arrive, a large hospital ship came in and was docked close in. It stayed there for several months.

The Army created supply dumps for equipment, ammunition, food and other supplies. They also set up camps nearby for the incoming GI’s. One camp was named, “Camp Lucky Strike” and the other, “Camp Pall Mall.”

Other camps were set up too. One was for Russian soldiers and various nationalities who were captured fighting for the Germans. Because Russia was one of our allies, we could not refer to these people as “prisoners-of-war” instead they were simply labeled as “internationals.” Managing the many incoming troops and supply coordinating for the camps and dumps, our work was steady, interesting and sometimes hectic.

The town had about the same character as did Cherbourg. The port was of major interest and activity. The town, which was much larger than Cherbourg, was still of the same architectural interest. The “downtown” area boasted many shops. Eventually, they became quite busy, and a number of bistros catered to the locals and GI’s. The MPs labeled some of the bistros as “off limits” due to the owners’ German sentiments.

There was a small building behind the Ecole Blanc. We designated it an Enlisted Men’s Club. We furnished it with a bar, tables, stools, and chairs. A German prisoner painted pictures for the walls. One of them was of a scantily clad lady holding an apple!

We also hired a German prisoner who was a barber. He gave us haircuts and shaves. I well-remember looking into his eyes as he shaved my neck with a straight razor!

Le (Apr. ‘15) says, “Our days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months. Soon it would be another Christmas overseas.”

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