Souvenirs of the War

Posted: December 11, 2017 in 1944, 1945, Men of the 111th Ordnance Company

In past posts, we have mentioned some of the items the men brought home with them as souvenirs of the war. The other day, I heard from a reader, Peter Pauwels, whose wife’s grandfather knew some of the men in the 111th’s repair shops. Here’s what he said:

“Hello from Heerlen in The Netherlands!!! I was surprised at seeing the pictures of Heerlen in the winter of 1944/45. That was in the street where late my dad lived. He always told me about his friendship and adventures with the American soldiers at the stone factory nearby. The granddad of my wife was working at the LTM-remise. He was always trading Dutch souvenirs that he made himself , for food or equipment.”

Peter sent me photos of the items our men traded. It was a good thing the war was nearing an end, or they might have needed these items! (If any 111th family member has a handmade Dutch souvenir that might have been traded for these tools, I’d love to see it.) Thanks, Peter!

So, to revisit a few of the men’s souvenirs, here are some photos:

Ottea others with Nazi flag
Nazi flags were a popular souvenir, it seems. My dad sent one home to his mother in San Antonio. When she opened the package, the musty odor prompted her to air it out on the backyard clothesline. She soon heard from the neighbors!









heerlen tea cup

111th daughter Linda Campbell showed us this tea cup and saucer given to her in the 1980s by Vickie Baggens, ,whose parents had been kind to Linda’s father, Roland Unangst, who used to drink from this very cup in the Baggens home in Heerlen, Holland, during the winter of 1944/45.

box with part

This Chevrolet truck part, carefully packed in wax, was left behind at Albro Castle, in Wales, where the 111th men lived and worked for several months before the Normandy Invasion. Owner Peter Newland found it and some other parts and gave it to me.


  1. Vickie Unangst Gratton says:

    I am grateful that my sister posted this picture of the cup our dad used in the Baggen home. Being the first daughter born post WWII, my parents named me Vickie after one of the Baggen sisters. She sent me a demitasse spoon that she used every day. A treasure I love. To our knowledge, Vickie is still alive. My sister also has the funeral announcement of Momma Baggen sent to our family when she passed. I also have the most beautiful, hand-made cream and red knit (wool) dress they sent when I was born.

  2. Tom Sedlacek says:

    Nice article! Merry Christmas from Tom and Lynn 🌲

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Hi, my Belgian friend turned me onto your site. I am the daughter of a 540th Combat Engineer with an extensive site on VI Corps Engineers. Pleased to make your acquaintance.

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