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. The 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

A Mystery to Solve

All of the photographs on this site are scans of originals that my father Bernard McKenzie took on his trek across western Europe at the end of World War 2. To this point the descriptions written on the back have been meticulous, detailed in the handwriting of my dad and the vernacular of the times. They’ve also been accurate, both chronological and locations. This blog post has helped me identify the first discrepancy, a photo and description dated far out of sequence. What’s going on? I hope to figure it out as I keep following the trail of photographs back into Germany.

The lazy Moselle River near Wasserbillig, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 22, 1945

While this photo does appear to be of the Moselle River, Luxembourg is on one side while Germany is on the other. The photo is also obviously extremely mis-dated, as my dad was at Camp Home Run in Le Havre, France, on June 22.

A Short Time Spent at Camp Home Run, Le Havre, France, June 1945



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

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

In his last stop in Europe after being freed from a German POW camp, my dad and many others spent about a week at Camp Home Run in Le Havre, France.

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

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

A flag raising ceremony at Camp Home Run.

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

Here we could write letters, play cards, checkers, ping pong, read, etc.

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, Le Havre, France, June 24, 1945

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

Bernard McKenzie, Le Havre, France, June 23, 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 and en route to our boat.

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

By just looking at the calendar, my dad’s time in Europe was only a little more than six months. But the events of the short time he was there cover more than one full chapter in a history textbook. He landed in France and moved with his infantry division north through France into Belgium, to help protect the Allies eastern front in the Ardennes. Little did he know that just after Christmas, he and thousands of other Americans would be captured in one of Germany’s largest, final offenses, in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. After nearly six months of captivity, my dad and others like him must have so welcomed settling down to sleep in a place named Home Run before getting on a ship for the long journey home.

Bernard McKenzie, U.S. Army, World War 2

Chuck and I near Schleiz, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

That’s my dad on the right, at 25 years old. His resemblance to my son Ben is striking.

I’m trying to organize these photos to represent both a timeline and his travels along a map through Germany and France. For 30 years I’ve wanted to share these photos with the world, and I actually think what I’m going to learn for myself will also be of extraordinary consequence.