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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Looking Forward to the End…

American soldiers & not French are boarding this GI vehicle with some of the ruins.

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945

 

Camp Home Run, once a German held fort, was our waiting place for the boat.

Bernard McKenzie, Le Havre, France, June 20-26, 1945

 

This picture was taken as our advance party convoy entered the city of Aachen, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 20, 1945

 

American Cemetery of World War II soldiers. Located in Belgium, just across the German border.

Bernard McKenzie, June 20, 1945

 

“In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow…” This snap is but a tiny sector of Flanders in Belgium. Nothing but poppies were visible in the field. A very beautiful sight.

Bernard McKenzie, Flanders, Belgium, June 20, 1945, quoting a 1918 poem by John McCrae

 

The very busy business cross intersection in the heart of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

Bernard McKenzie, June 20, 1945

Le Havre’s a Home Run

French girls were on hand at Camp Home Run to make for a less “G.I.” atmosphere.

Bernard McKenzie, June 23, 1945

 

A German-constructed pill box surrounding their old fort at Le Havre, France.

Bernard McKenzie, June 23, 1945

 

A distant view of Le Havre, France. Taken from the top of an old German fort. Church and other buildings in the foreground were relatively untouched–buildings in the background were demolished.

Bernard McKenzie, June 23, 1945

 

Entrance gate to Camp Home Run.

Bernard McKenzie, Le Havre, France, June 23, 1945

 

 

Underground tunnel barracks that we were housed in during our 5 days at Home Run.

Bernard McKenzie, Le Havre, France, June 23, 1945

 

A sector of Le Havre that had missed some bombs.

Bernard McKenzie, June 23, 1945

 

Service deluxe was to be had at Camp Home Run. Here are a few French girls who dished out food in the kitchen.

Bernard McKenzie, June 23, 1945

 

Once a German fort, Camp Home Run was a restful place for American G.I.’s awaiting shipment home.

Bernard McKenzie, Le Havre, France, June 23, 1945

Thinking of WW2 Veterans on Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day need not be a politicized holiday. Looking back at these amazing photos that are the greatest gift my father left us, I see Americans fighting oppression and tyranny. I see the great nation and people of France so devastated yet only weeks after the end of the war the smiles have returned to many of their faces. Veteran’s Day is a day to remember what binds us all together, the valor of generations of young people to protect fellow humans. I am proud to say that my dad was a veteran of World War 2 along with his brother, who landed in Normandy 24 hours after D-Day, and their dad before them was a veteran of World War 1.

 

Le Havre & her harbor from the distant hill at Camp Home Run.Bernard McKenzie,

June 24, 1945

 

 

German PW’s are completing work on a volley ball court. Soon after they finished we played a game.

Bernard McKenzie, June 24, 1945, Camp Home Run

 

 

A flag raising ceremony at Camp Home Run.

Bernard McKenzie, June 24, 1945

 

 

Here we could write letters, play cards, checkers, ping pong, read, etc. (Camp Home Run Day Room)

Bernard McKenzie, Le Havre, France, June 24, 1945

 

 

At Camp Home Run–near Le Havre, France–we had all the service one would want. French girls served us in a cafeteria manner.

Bernard McKenzie, June 24, 1945

Pray for Le Havre

Think about communication and getting your hand on news in the World War 2 era. Cables. Wires. Telegrams. News reels. First word of events that changed the course of world history were first discovered by everybody in 72 point type in newspaper headlines. Seeing the devastation in these photographs of Le Havre 73 years later, the utter horror of World War 2 is shocking. To the people who lived here, they must have thought humanity was ending.

A view from Camp Home Run looking out to the ocean.

Bernard McKenzie, Le Havre, France, June 25, 1945

 

Le Havre & the Harbor.

Bernard McKenzie, June 25, 1945

 

A limited view of Le Havre from the distant point at Camp Home Run.

Bernard McKenzie, June 25, 1945

 

More ruins of Le Havre.

Bernard McKenzie, June 25, 1945

A Cigarette Camp in Le Havre

Le Havre offered a setting for the large-scale U.S. exodus from the War. Tens of thousands of GI’s gathered in the Cigarette Camps, including Camp Home Run where my dad Bernard McKenzie spent his final days in-continent.

A view of Camp Home Run. Notice the German fort surrounding the camp.

Bernard McKenzie, Camp Home Run, Sanvic, France, June 26, 1945

 

M. P.’s out on a little stroll in Le Havre, France. Many white and negro troops were stationed in Le Havre.

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945

The Slow Road Home

I’ve seen this stack of photos stuffed inside a shoebox since I was a young boy. My dad would take the box out to show the photos to close friends in hushed tones. They’ve taken on a mythical quality to me, and I’m so thankful I’ve found this outlet to truly examine them closely for the first time myself, and to share them with anyone who’s interested.

Ruins of Le Havre. Enroute to our boat & then the U.S.A.

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945

 

We had stayed at “Home Run” for 5 days. We were sweating out boarding our ship. Here we are leaving “Home Run”–boarding trucks & enroute to our boat.

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945

 

Enroute to our ship. One small sector of Le Havre that had missed our bombs in the early days of the war.

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945

 

Most of us are loaded on trucks. Approximately two hours later we got on the “Marine Dragon.”

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945