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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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

Camp Oklahoma City, Next Best Place to Being Home

 

Complete & successful destruction of a Nazi Party headquarters building near Cologne, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

A view of the picturesque Moselle River near Wasserbillig, Germany. Our regiment had taken Wasserbillig only after a terrific price in human lives last winter.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

The cathedral was to have been the chief subject near Bonn, Germany, and while hurriedly passing through, the picture was snapped.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

This photo, which I’d always assumed was of a sign constructed by a home-sick G.I., pointed the directions of American redeployment camps, or repo-depos.┬áThe camps were named after U.S. cities. My dad was at Oklahoma City.

Redeployment centers near Reims, France, were organized & functioning in these U.S. city named camps . Our Division was redeployed at Oklahoma City.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

These redeployment camps near Reims served as a funnel to prepare millions of American G.I.’s for military operations elsewhere in the world and to send the luckier ones home. The map below shows the location of the various camps around Reims. The first photo shows the long lines for the “Gourmet Restaurant” at Camp Boston. The second photo is of my dad’s camp, Oklahoma City.

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

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