Posts Tagged ‘Cherbourg’

We have received many new photos in the past month, from former CO Captain Art Brooks; from Gene Karl’s daughter, Donna Leitzke; and from Leroy Brannon’s widow, Lillian. Here are a few–the rest we have posted in the “Photos” pages (at the top of this website) of “The Men” and “The Places.”

The new photos have given us some new information while also leading to new questions. We learned that the 111th had an earlier warrant officer we had not known about, Bill Hall; however, we have not been able to learn where he was from. We also now have photos of the men playing softball on the Poppit Sands near St Dogmaels, Wales, as well as more images of Albro Castle, where they lived for 4 months before Normandy; more photos of the men in Aberdeen, Maryland, in November 1942; and more photos taken in Europe. Sorry about the odd arrangement; WordPress doesn’t give much control over such things, at least as I have been able to learn.

Warrant Officer Hall, 1944

Warrant Officer Hall, 1944

Gen Karl in truck

Gen Karl in truck

Leroy Brannon

Leroy Brannon

Curt Vosz, Aberdeen, MD, Nov. 1942

Curt Vosz, Aberdeen, MD, Nov. 1942

CPT Malsbury

CPT Malsbury

Charles Burns, Bill Campbell, and Robert Mauer

Charles Burns, Bill Campbell, and Robert Mauer

Playing ball on Poppit Sands, near St Dogmaels, Wales, 1944

Playing ball on Poppit Sands, near St Dogmaels, Wales, 1944

Playing ball on the beach, Poppit

Playing ball on the beach, Poppit

George Legg and his D-Day beard

George Legg and his D-Day beard

Major Dante Vezzoli, May 1945; he had been a Lt. with the 111th in 1942-3

Major Dante Vezzoli, May 1945; he had been a Lt. with the 111th in 1942-3

Waiting for the train, Aberdeen, MD, 1942

Waiting for the train, Aberdeen, MD, 1942

Albro Castle, Wales, 1944

Albro Castle, Wales, 1944

Possibly the lane up to Albro Castle, St Dogmaels, Wales, 1944

Possibly the lane up to Albro Castle, St Dogmaels, Wales, 1944

Gene Karl in train, buddies below

Gene Karl in train, buddies below

Men working at Albro Castle, Wales, 1944

Men working at Albro Castle, Wales, 1944

MSG Frank Gomez

MSG Frank Gomez

Gene Karl in jeep

Gene Karl in jeep

St Dogmaels, Wales

St Dogmaels, Wales

Army tanks in Neath, Wales, 1943

Army tanks in Neath, Wales, 1943

Albro Castle courtyard

Albro Castle courtyard

Gene Karl at Albro Castle with gun

Gene Karl at Albro Castle with gun

CPT James Goode

CPT James Goode

Cherbourg, France, 1944

Cherbourg, France, 1944

Destroyed US tanks near Bastogne, Ardennes, July 1944

Destroyed US tanks near Bastogne, Ardennes, July 1944

Troop ship heading home, fall 1945

Troop ship heading home, fall 1945

Dortmund, Germany, May 1945

Dortmund, Germany, May 1945

Early morning, and we are on the ferry now, crossing the calm English Channel from Poole, England, to Cherbourg, Normandy, France, a four-hour trip on a very modern ship. As the sun breaks out of clouds, we pass by the yachts and condos and sailboats of Poole harbor. I think how different Dad’s departure must have been, in so many ways. What was in his mind as he left Britain, headed for a dangerous and uncertain future?

My thoughts are quite the opposite. I am looking forward to exploring new places, revisiting a few old favorites, and enjoying croissants with butter and jam for breakfast. So is this what all those good men gave their lives for, so that we spoiled brats of the next generation could have a good time?

Later: We disembark in Cherbourg, after a very quiet and comfortable journey across the Channel. The Hertz rental car office is not far from the ferry drop-off point, but we have an hour to wait until it reopens at 3pm. So we haul ourselves and our bags into a small bistro a few doors down from the car place and order coffees. The owner is friendly and seems to know some English, so I show him two photos Dad took of Cherbourg: the fortress and a main street from July 25, 1944 (“the day of the 3,000 plane raid for the St. Lo breakthrough.”) .He immediately recognizes the street–Boulevard Robert Schuman–and pointed the way.

img200 cherbourg, France, taken on day of the 3000 plane raid for the St      France etc. 2013 075

And the fortress high above town can’t be missed.

img198 Fortress overlooking Cherbourg, France     20131019-162253.jpg

We find and photograph–in the sudden downpour that materialized just as we took the camera out–both sights and head for our B&B in Gefosse-Fontenay, about an hour east off the road to Caen, past Utah Beach. This will be our base for the next two days. When we arrive at this wonderful 15th century farm, the sun is shining.