Dad was From Knox County, Texas. He was inducted into the Army on 25 April 1944 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Being a mechanic, he was assigned to the Engineers Corps. and, along with other inductees, boarded a troop train in early May 1944 for basic and advanced Army Engineer training at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. The camp, located in Amite county on the Gulf coast, was named for Confederate General Earl Van Dorn. For information about Camp Van Dorn, Please see:
Several years ago, I sent for information about the 381st from the national archives and received about 150 pages. It was mostly routine reports (mainly early 1945), but a few photos were included. According to NARA, 80% of all US army service records from 1912-1960 were lost in a 1973 fire. So, we must piece together what information is available. Though complete rosters of the 381st were not included in the national archives papers, about 500 officers and enlisted men were named.
The battalion immediately boarded a train for Camp Nettlebed South in Oxfordshire, a county south of London. The village of Henley-on-Thamas was located near the camp and a POW camp was also nearby. During Nov and Dec 1944, three of the companies (A, B, C) traveled to Camp Pangburne in Berkshire to attend bridge building schools. Between Christmas and 30 Dec 1944, the battalion also traveled by convoy to Camp Howley Park for advanced training.
In spring/summer 1945, the 381st took "R & R" (Rest & Recreation) at "Camp Twenty Grand" near Le Havre, France. Camp Twenty Grand was one of the nine "cigarette camps" in the Le Havre
area. Each was named for an American cigarette brand. For more info on these camps, please see THE
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