Wartime Friends

 

Pat Grossi–switchboard operator & the one Brooklynite who has seen more than one tree growing in Brooklyn.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

Jack Coonrod of Fort Scott, Kansas. Taken in area near Schleiz, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

Morell & Tommy working their ration break down in their elaborate field office.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945, Schleiz, Germany

Ground Covered

Thus far, leading up to a Le Havre departure, my father has moved from Schleiz, Germany, to Luxembourg City, to camp Oklahoma City outside Reims, France, to Camp Home Run outside Le Havre, from the end of May through the end of June, 1945. After being malnourished during his six month POW stint, the journey must have been mentally and physically exhausting. I’m so glad he recorded the journey with these photographs, and especially with his writings on the back.

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A Frightening Christmas Day in 1944

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While attempting to stop the last great German counteroffensive of World War 2 in the otherwise serene forest of eastern Belgium, American GI’s like my father found a blizzard to be an equally savage foe. I walk through snowy woods today and the peace and quiet is startling. At Christmas time in 1944, I can only imagine how artillery shells and gunfire pierced the serenity. In this photo from the Warfare History Network, you can almost see the fear in this soldier’s eyes. The snow was a main factor in my dad’s capture, as he and 3 others driving in a Jeep were captured as they found themselves lost some seven miles behind German lines.

Just Weeks After VE Day, All Seems Quiet in Germany

 

McCormick, a cook, takes it easy in the German sun.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

Harvey & L.B. Kinlow in front of their post office.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945, Germany

 

Chow is nearly ready. All chow hounds “fall in.” Willie & Ferrara prepare.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945, Schleiz, German

 

The main street in our pup tent city. Near Schleiz, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

Heading Home Across an Embattled Europe

Our convoy rolling along a French highway toward Le Havre, France.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

French flags such as shown flying here were hoisted in France as the Jerry’s were pushed out.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

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Jerry’s is a term used by British and American soldiers to refer to Germans during WW1 and WW2, from Urban Dictionary.

 

The routine physical inspection. This particular physical took place at Camp Oklahoma City, France. (near Reims)

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

War is hell! Ask the residents of Le Havre–if you can find any.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

A typical German pill box. This particular one was located near the harbor at Le Havre, France.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

The truck just ahead of the vehicle I was riding in enroute to Le Havre from Germany. Chuck Miller seated and facing my camera.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

Enroute to Camp Oklahoma City, France (assembly area near Reims) our convoy stopped frequently for breaks. We amateur photographers had a lot of material here.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945, near French Border in Germany

 

Vineyards by the acres were a common sight. This flat section of vineyards was nothing like the mountainous ones in the Moselle River area.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945, near Bonn, Germany

 

Willie, Herman Rhinehart, & Peck. Bivouac area near Schleiz, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

Awaiting Redeployment

Our field mess hall at Camp Oklahoma City, France. Our 87th Division was the first unit to be processed here in redeployment home & then to the Pacific.

Bernard McKenzie, June 17, 1945, near Reims, France

 

“Bo” orients Doc Snipes on the Pacific War. War in Europe was over, but we were all thinking of the Japs.

Bernard McKenzie, June 17, 1945

 

A soft drinks truck paused briefly to take care of business in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

Bernard McKenzie, June 17,1945

 

Trier, Germany, on the Moselle River, was also the victim of our bombs.

Bernard McKenzie, June 17, 1945

 

Large cities of Germany were not the only ones who saw the havoc of war. This is the view of a small town outside Cologne.

Bernard McKenzie, June 17, 1945