We visit Barry, Wales, the 111th’s first European home

Posted: May 22, 2014 in 1944
Tags: ,

Ed and I arrived in Wales last week. Our first stop, like that of the men of the 111th, was the town of Barry, not far from the Welsh capital city of Cardiff in South Wales.

Glenn Booker

Glenn Booker

There we met a loyal follower of this blog, Glenn Booker, who has been instrumental in creating the Barry at War Museum here and who publishes magazines about the U.S. military stationed in South Wales during WWII. Glenn told us he would pick up us at our hotel, and when I asked how we would know him, he said, “Don’t worry, you’ll recognize us.”

We certainly did. He arrived in a vintage U.S. army jeep, driven by its proud owner, Wayne. Glenn was wearing the uniform of a WWII U.S. Army infantry colonel. “Hop in,” he said, and we set off on a guided tour of the areas our 111th men lived and worked in for three months during the winter of 1943-44. The ride was, shall we say, quite exhilarating, and resulted in a less-than-best hair day for me.

Wayne and Glenn and the jeep

Wayne and Glenn and the jeep

Our first stop was the Brynhill Golf Club in Barry, which was busy on this lovely warm day. It was here the 111th men were “guests” of the 115th Field Artillery unit for their first two weeks in Wales. They slept in tents here, arriving on November 17, 1943.

Glenn showing us Brynhill Golf Club

Glenn showing us Brynhill Golf Club

Then we drove a few miles to the area where the U.S. Army had built Camp G-40, a major supply depot for Operation Bolero, the code name for the buildup for the invasion of Normandy. Perhaps as many as 200,000 American troops were working in Wales during the year or two before June 6, 1944.image

Many old buildings still stand there today, rusting and falling apart. We arrived at the scene of the officers housing area, only to find bulldozers on the scene tearing down the remaining buildings.

Camp G-40

Camp G-40

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That evening, we attended a talk that Glenn gave at the Barry at War Museum about Operation Bolero. We learned a lot and had the chance to chat with others who have a real interest in the war and the American troops who served in the area.

Thanks, Glenn, for a fun and informative day! You can read more about the Americans in Wales at his website, https://sites.google.com/site/usmilitaryinsouthwales/

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Comments
  1. Kay McAnally says:

    I’m always amazed at the magic you and Ed manage to conjure up…and it just keeps on happening. Glenn looks like a first rate Colonel and to be able to attend his talk must have been a highlight of this trip. What fun to meet Wayne and travel over your father’s footsteps in his army jeep. Thank you so much for sharing virtual journey with us.

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