A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done appropriate justice to the American heroes among our signatories.
Sergeant Benjamin J CALDER US ARMY further covers the key role of sea delivered LOGISTIC SUPPORT (but at the land delivery end) for the LIBERATION of NW EUROPE, here for those US RANGERS and others capturing & then for his own and other units’ use of NORMANDY’s OMAHA BEACH and the MULBERRY HARBOUR system, as well as the later ANTWERP PORT system, with its AMERICAN, British & Canadian run DOCKS, where he experienced the heavy V-1 bombardment and would see the arrival of President TRUMAN, his CRUISER “AUGUSTA” and the 30 vehicle cavalcade en route to the POTSDAM CONFERENCE.
Ben CALDER signs for those vital PORTS and RAILWAYS for SUPPLY of the ALLIED FRONT LINE combat troops and came from near Baltimore, Maryland, before joining Colonel KILLIAN’s 517 PORT BATTALION of the US 6th ENGINEER SPECIAL BRIGADE, with its 16 Battalions & constituents of Naval Beach, Chemical Decontamination, Medical, Ordnance, Quartermaster, Combat Engineers, Military Police, Grave Registration, and the other 494 Port Bn. This showed and later Sgt Calder saw how just each essential element combined to form this massive logistic jigsaw ahead of D-DAY. His Bn’s four Companies assembled in Mumbles Park, with the smell of their anti-gas impregnation everywhere around them, to embark at SWANSEA DOCKS in the old and rusty, POLISH manned, “CRACOW”, nearly being hit by dive bombing just before arrival on D+1, with delays of tide, mines and soft sand in clearing the beach, along a safe strip then only one yard wide, soon after OMAHA was taken. There were almost 2,000 dead already at the cemetery a few yards from where this unit slept at the edge of the beachhead, ready to unload the DUKWs & LIBERTY SHIPS. Dakotas would soon be evacuating wounded a couple of fields away.
Ben’s English late wife, PEARL who died in 1995, was the only lady in LUTON’s Laboratory, testing metallurgically CHURCHILL TANK production, with his family, further back, coming from Eastern POLAND, which was then to become SOVIET UNION territory.
A WW2 example of the scale of LOGISTIC SUPPORT is shown here, in abbreviated layout from the NORMANDY MEMORIAL to Ben’s UNITED STATES 6th ENGINEER SPECIAL BRIGADE: “IN MEMORIAM To All Members of This Command, Who Lived, Fought and Died for the Cause of Freedom D-DAY 6 JUNE 1944 Headquarters 6th Eng Sp BDE, 7 Naval Beach BN, 31 Chemical (Decon) CO, 60 Medical BN, 74 Ordnance BN, 95 Quartermaster BN, 147 Engineer Combat BN, 149 Engineer Combat BN, 203 Engineer Combat BN, 214 Military Police CO, 293 Joint Assault Signal CO, 494 Port Battalion, 517 Port Battalion, 538 Quartermaster BN, 607 QM Grave Registration CO, 880 Quartermaster BN.”
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