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

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

Remnants of a War, Le Havre

Le Havre was just coming back to life after being destroyed for its location as a gateway to the European theater in World War 2. Le Havre took a major hit when the Germans seized control, then suffered utter devastation when the Allies regained the stronghold.

Business “not as usual” in the heart of Le Havre proper.

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945

 

German forts (pill boxes) at the harbor front. The Jerries at one time were very entrenched here.

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

 

Our bombers scored here.

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

 

Home was never like this. Thank God.

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

 

The “Ghost City” of Le Havre, France.

Bernard McKenzie, June 26, 1945