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dedication 25 YEARS. This speci: dedicated to those railroadmen who were caught up in World War Il and all who have chosen to preserve those event memento is 728th Railway Operating Bat A special dedication to the women of SOXOS who have the widely dispersed 729th SOXOS, On this ¢ Anniversary Rounion, the pages of history are turned back to another day when photos of the husbands and wives of SOXOS. We are happy to share this portion of history with youon the 25th Reunion of SOXOS. 729°RY.OP.BN. HEADQUARTERS introduction overseas repped aay on its seciat {oop Rove: chronological history Throughout Iroads, made this ocean voyage under orders of the NYPOE, working on the boat as r, all located in the NYPOE. The SOXO's, cooks, K.P.'s, WAC baggage carryi mess hours, a goodly crowd could always bo found around the stairways. This sport was eliminated when orders were issued to the WACS to appear in fatigues only. Many budding ro- ing and overshoes patch case, gas masks wer The Aguitania lowered from @ port hole on deck § to one on deck 3, Upon arrival in the Firth of Ciyde, 15 July 1943 We procecded to Greenock, Scotland to disem: bark. The inevitable baggage details and final police of the ship was allocated to the 729th. We arrived at Shirehampton Staging Area on 17 July 1943, and there followed an orientation talk by Major General Ross, Chief of Transportation, and. the breaking up of the battalion into balanced detachments destined for every USA Depot in all UK Base Sections. Battalion Headquarters moved to London with the personnel section going to Sudbury. During this initial period we picked up and were assigned some 305 excellent railroad officers and enlisted men from newly formed Provisional Railway Detachments. These men were secured from the SO units in the UK prior to our arrival. During the succeeding months of expanding depot railway operations of the battal- ion, we had approximately 42 officers and 1200 enlisted mon in 34 detachments in 4 Base Sections. Being in so many depots, prior to the arrival of the ‘728th Railway Operating Battalion in the late Fall of 1943, meant great responsibilities for the 729th uring the large SOS depot operations prior to D-Day. Company A was at one time responsible for the maintenance of approximately 600 miles of trackage. Company 8's responsibilities were that fof servicing and maintaining locomotive equip- ment and car erection. Company C was respon- sible for all shunting operations which involved a daily depot average of 600 wagons moved into larger depots. ‘Special work done by the battalion was unloading and storage oparations of T.C. knockdown railway cars. Company B and all excess men of Head- quarters Company were started on this work in July 43, It wasn’t very long until the men of the train movernent Section became good riggers and crane operators and found at Sudbury that they didn't bring their overshoes along for any purpose, There are still rumors around that stars will be given for the baitle of Sudbury, Newberry, Morton fon Lugg, etc. Simultaneously, at Hainault, B Company embarked on its pioneer assembly work of reefers, box, caboose, gondola, war flats and tank cars, expanding operations by setting up assembly lines at Sudbury, Morton on Lugg, and Doncaster. Erection records eet up by the SOXOs were as follows: gondolas — 58 man hours, box cars — 80 man hours and refrigerator cars — 175, man hours per car. Other special pioneer work included (in the Spring of 1944) the conversion of 25 Liberty Ships to Troop ships forthe invasion During the first week of February 1944, we moved to Manchester, England for extensive military training. This was the first time in 8 months that, we were together as a unit. The battal housed this time in a large exhibition located at the Bellvue Race Course. Previously, the SOXOs had been bil Nissen Huts, Race Gourse Grandst: joned English Homes and Schools looked good ‘see again the battalion put ona review parade as in New Orleans. ‘The 13th of March 44 saw us back in the depots of Southern Base Section with Battalion Headquar- tersat Newbury Race Track. This time, the SOXOs at this detachment found themselves billeted in the Newbury Race Course Stables. Many a man king the stable door to the discomfort of the Commanding was at this point that SNAFU really set inspections and bugle calls were the order of the day along with regular operations. May 44 found the battalion together again at 1d for another intensive physical It was at this time Grand Division and also Advanced Section Zone. Road marches, bivouacs, rifle range, phy: training exercises, etc., comprised our at youghout this period we were compl ishing touches on our TBA, crating for a short sea voyage. Vehicles were checked and waterproofed. The inevitable shakedown inspec tions were made to get down to ASCZ require- ments and order any T/E shortages. Blouses were turned in and to date the SOXOs have been without onthis item. It was during this trying period that a certain officer held nightly 3 hour meetings Giscussing progress made in regard to ASCZ instructions, administration, supply, etc. All this while the SOXOs cavorted al Blackpool, Kirkham, and the surrounding English countryside. It was always a sure bet to have the mooting end up with, the question “Have we the 15 day condiments?” Just to refresh your memory, remember the phonetic alphabet, dog tags, who is your immed fate superior, Headquarters telephone number, general orders, what is your job, etc. A few days after D-Day, we were ordered to split into 7 self-sufficient, balanced detachments. The reason was obvious. The battalion was to make the ‘Channel trip by several ships and thereby would not have all our eggs in one basket. On the 11th of June, the tt and 2nd detachments were ordered to Southhampton to be attached to the U.S. Engineer Regiment with a mission to run work traine for them. Other detachments followed to concentration and marshalling areas. On 2 July 44 the 1st and 2nd detachments reached Cherbourg, The last detachment arrived on 25th of July 44 Most of the detachments landed at Omaha Beach and all will remember the trek up the hill and then, toa staging area. Pup tents were pitched, and after an air raid, some SOXOs were soon digging foxholes. Trucks were used for transportation to Cherbourg. The Jerries were still around St. Lo at thistime. Rehabilitation work on Cherbourg Peninsula start- fed immediately in the wake of major construction by the U.S. Engineers. A boneyard express was started to collect wrecked, damaged and aban- I power was used at Our initial responsibility, at first, included the Tunning of the Port Yards and the main line to Carentan, later extending to Lison upon comple- tion of the Vire River Bridge. Some more firsts occurred during our tour of duty ‘on this division. The first passenger train was run fon 11 July 44 (D plus 35) from Cherbourg to Carentan. Carentan at this ines and was subject to occasional 88 fire. On 20 July 44 the first freight train was originated trom Cherbourg hauling jen Huts for General Lee's Com Zone Head- fers to Valognes. On 25 July the first troop train ofiginated at Cherbourg hauling the 298th tal to Carontan. On 29 July 44 USA to arrive and was most heartily welcomed by all concerned. On 17 July the first hospital train (captured French passenger coach- 5 and box cars) was run to Ligon empty and returned with wounded to Cherbourg. Regular runs were made thereafter, ‘Thus, the long grind for the SOXOs began which has continued to date following General Ike's ‘Armies. Operating hazards were many, (e.d., running at night without lights or signals) not knowing was was ahead. Occupied block was almost a certainty, The 728th R.0.8, on 2 August 44 took over the Cherbourg Terminal leaving us with the road work from Cherbourg to Lison plus. branch lines, St. Vaast and Barflour, to Valognes. ‘Our job for the succeeding 6 months comprised the originating of trains from Port and 7 loading points along the line. Supplies were pouring across the beachos and they were trucked to these Toading points. A peak 24-hour day during this 6 months duty showed 52 loaded trains forwarded to the next division, 102 different train and engine movements. The Train Dispatchers sheet was 91% feet long after this day's business was over. Indirectly, this unit has had Patton trouble. ightning thrusts of our Armies after St. Lo made ‘that supplies, in volume, be transported ines was necessary ough Coutances, Folligny Fougeres to Le Mans. MAS units and the 'S. Engineers were called upon to do this rush job. ‘The 729th Railway Operating Battalion fitted into the picture as follows: On 13 August 44, at 0100, hours the Maintenance of Way Company Com- Mander received orders to dispatch his men as follows: The signal officer and 28 enlisted men of the Signal Section were to go to Fourgeres ‘a. communication system ly meeting the 728th Ral ‘Section wor from the Cherbourg yes with the fn of two track gangs left to patrol and he Cherbourg Division. These gangs fed tohelp the U.S. Engineers in making south. Three work trains, mainly bunk cars with one kitchen car on each, were dispatched to the scene of operations, This track repair mission was, supervised by Company A Officers and NCOs. Simultaneously, all available empties were ear ‘marked for this priority move and distributed to the Vital loading points on the Cherbourg Division: Rations, Ammunition, POL and Medical trains were made up. Double headers were used on all trains Decause of the low speed restriction on the new line and steep grades. In @ short time, the movement being so large, the Company C train crews were all on the road, Train after train was dispatched to the front, the first train of which was always in back of U.S. Engineers moving ahead slowly as the track was, repaired in front of them. All train and engine ‘crews were given two days’ supply of rations for their un. An excellent job of dispatching of power, ete., was performed by the Train Movement ‘Section of Headquarters Company. Diesel power was used ‘at first, until exhausted, 's, were pressed solved by Mi ay Service personnel in one case, for securing water, an Army ighter water pump truck was used to pump ws into the 2-8-0. Most of these train crews worked for three to four days without relief, running day and night using positive block train operation from station to station. A 728th train crew brought the first train of ammunition into Le Mans at 1300 hours 17 August 1944 One of the many amusing Incidents in Normandy wasas follows: Bridge goes AWOL: An incident which now can be treated as amusing happened on this division and ig as follows: The regular passenger train left for the next station with aclear track ahead to the next, station by the dispatcher. The block operator at the noxt station became alarmed when the train failed to show up on schedule. After allowing fora reasonable delay period, he called back to the last, station to find out the whereabouts of the train. Upon investigation, the train stopped at a bridge between stations. Unknown to the dispatcher, a platoon from one of the U.S. Engineer Regiments had taken the track out over the bridge to repair same. The Lieutenant in charge explained that he ‘was sent there to complete the job that had been partially repaired a month previous. Such was ‘Army Railroading in those days. The U.S. Eng neers, incidentally, did one great job of major railroad construction over there and the 729th men havoall praise for them, ting and messing problems were simplifs by using captured Dox and baggage cars for bunk and mess cars at various detachments along the line. Iwas also here that the first R.O.8. Rolling Chapel, Dental and Medical Cars were built by the 787th Railway Shop Battalion forthe 729th. At one time, at our maximum expansion on the Cher- bourg Peninsula Division, the battalion was running 14 messes feeding 1700 USA personnel (RTO, APO, Finance, MPs, Fire Fighter Units, MRS Lnits, irain guards, etc On 21 December 44 we received our orders to leave Cherbourg for duty in the Antwerp Port Area Movement of course was made by rail in 3 bunk car trains (60 cars each) and one TBA train. The ‘SOXOs referred to the above as circus trains partly {due to their appearance while rolling along (smoke Most of the cars lants could be seen operating throughout Radios, porcelain wash basins, rug: unusual beds, and stoves were among the items to bbe found in one of these SOXO cars, We nad heard many stories concerning enemy activity around the Antwerp Area and upon our arrival we wereable to verify same. ion Headquarters was located in Cen tion. Headquarters Company men were mainly leted at the Old Folks Home, 8 Company in a On 21 March 48 the Bat again. New assignment Grand Division brought us Nn was on the move the 708th Railway 9 to that of receiving ti ing them to the 8th Army Railheads hen-Gladbach to the Rhine Ri wagons to the 743rd R.0.B. ( ‘Terminal Operations) and making up loads mM Geldern to the Rhine River. D heir daily 24-hour operation they met ies of Engineer me lity of maintaining a smoo! working side by side with fers and operators. We put over the Atmy he Belgiques and soon an average of 27 ins per 24 hours departed two days after sd with the average in 10 days, beating a planned schedule by three days. under this mental and oper 769 tons were moved German positions across. by 3,000 tons the high reached at Cherbourg, comprised of a dispatcher and operators and Mess Personnel fs Company, Com- ing Company B members of equip- ment, and 15 train and engine crews. from Company G. They operated in the Paderborn and Hamm is time we were reassigned to the 707th Railway Grand Division. included a portable setup \L was unloaded tro west of Weser River and trucked east of 1 The first train to run over the newly erected Weser River Bridge was manned by a 729th ef train crew. The train crossed the Weser Bridge at 1824 hours, 25th April 1945, An interesting item in connection wi movement operation across the Bridge was the designation of the block st on the ends of the bridge as Tacoma and Maybrook. Tacoma is a Terminus of the Northern the Comman formerly associated bef absolute block. Trains could proceed upt of MRS Clearance Form "A" trom operator at the Maybrook or Tacoma when block is known to be clear. irborn had crossed the Elbe River in the Hamburg Area. Abusy spot on this to V-E day, {rom this dump. nal month on this Hannover ted by the May ac Section. T ty feport of, joved east 32. Ora total of 977 Eastbound — 27,661.5. bound — 33,867:5. Or a the Germans’ signal and communication systems came into the area and found towers smashed to inged the town, Be of artillery includ the giant 240MM Long Toms. Consequen yards looked anything but like one of Germany's German labor, equipment and materials were fed to accomplish the mission. Communica tions were par stored to movements and the bloc! that had Stalingrad. The job was done and at 1000 hou! 17 May 1945, 5000 Prisoners of War were turned over to Colonel Roscotsky of the Russian Forces. General Manager, 2nd Railway Service. Division included oper ‘occupational supph (near Kassel} Phase Il! operation was planned with the Germans doing the work. Munchen Gladbach, Germany, to Herzogenrath, Germany, and Maat from Herzogenrath, Gormany. On 2 July message from the commanding officer from the undersigned to all listed Men of the 729th Railway has been my very good for the command of such a well h everyone who comes ‘The 729th Rallway Operating B: ‘and { shall say wide as an A-1 ur ssion which you did not do and do ice down thru the occasions. ‘commended the Unit highly. True we have had share of troubles and made mistakes, but remarkable job and each and every one of you can be proud of the way in which you carried out yur mission. After all, there was no question in the minds of those who planned D-Day as to what unit would be the first to land on the continent. Your record, while in England, decided that you would betheone. Then again all members of the 729th Railway ing Battalion can be proud of thelr record ioned in Antwerp, Belgium. No more trying or hazardous conditions can be thought of, under which all of you had to perform your duties. We can be humbly thankful that we emerged unscathed as well as we did. True, quite a few of you were awarded the Purple Heart, but, we can be was given the 729th Railway Operating Battalion when we departed that area for Germany, The way in which you worked and the steady flow of traffic which was maintained and the way the this space to hanks to each \did work you have done, and! know you shall continue to do so, wherever you may go, as time goes by, Sincerely, W,C. SMITH Lt. Col. To. Commanding. headquarters company reports 1s double anniversary (2 years overseas of ‘one year has been spent on the contine personnel of this company can feel proud of their part Accomplish its mission, All sé Heagquar ion Supply, of the company worked as service indicates. The Admi nel Sections working unde ‘Sergeant Major have always come o ‘colors. Officers of the Inspector General's Depart ogressed. A di janing down our crated Normandy beaches. iy about and red tape b. These boys can also boast In country (The States). jon has certainly come the peak of jon, 3 separate dispatching setups were mm Cherbourg to Lison, St points constant high pressure. At hips were down, this sec ‘maintain ‘work besides being under a ‘Severe mental strain caused by constant V-1 and Vez attacks. A Purple Hearts were collected here. Being well experienced now, the boys took ‘operations In Germany ide. When we turned Lehrte Railroad over t ips and downs bu the constant good heal plusthe ‘wino had been away Sion. the mess itary Governmer sients. When the queues deve ‘cooks have always some n dumps which has always 's considerably. They also have been ‘good 00d procurers of added needed ment, by: athe bunny At this time, the Company Commay to thank ‘The Company your boys da the work. The ather company and myself have been and are proud pe that you me say, younhave Bf ity and devotion to. duty. You have the right to be proud of the ‘accomplishments of the company. company a reports With only six months of military and technical ‘staging time ing B part of the pioneer railway operating 18 E.T.0., Company A was started on "ing over 600 miles ughout the U.K. within tess than a week. Due to the deplorable condition of existing track ai the neces: ious depots, it was necessary to place every man of Company A, regardless of rank or T.O. assignment on track Work, After the assignment of reinforcements from other units to aid in the primary mission of rehabilitating and “constructing new track, a Portion of the B & B Section was assigned the task of erecting buildings and assisting B Company in the program of setting-up and operating car assembly lines, notably at Sudbury and Morton. ‘on-Lugg During the Winter and Spring of "44, Company A, built many units of new track for the purpose of storing TG cars then being assembled in prepara- tion for D Day. During the months of March and April, over 100 men of Company A, mostly of the B & Band Signal Sections, worked side by side with B Company at Morton‘on-Lugg in a desperate effort to assemble as many cars as possible in preparation for the coming Invasion. The Signal ‘Section made a notable contribution to the huge task at hand by operating cranes and doing other ‘work in the unloading, stacking and storage of TC cars material at Sudbury, Morton-on-Lugg and Hainault It'can be told at this time that a unit of the track section of Company A laid out and built the tracks, at Tidworth, over which were moved all combat troops and armor that participated in the invasion on D Day. Among other secret and unusual assignments in preparation for D Day, Company A men were called to assist B Company in fiting-out Liberty Ships then being readied for the transpor- tation of men and supplies across the channel. ‘Another detail of men was assigned to the task of laying track rail sections into the holds of converted LSTS, permitting the loading of com- pleted Locos and rail cars at the piers and unloading to temporary track directly onto the beaches. the selection of our unit to spearhead the Mi allway Service on the cont first trains rolling aut of the ‘of Cherbourg, all companies faced a monumental task. Able Company A's assignment was, of course, to restore to serviceability the track, bridges, water. stations, signal system and communications that had been so thoroughly wreexed by bombing, shell-fire and, finally, demolition. Working hand in hand with the Engineers, our biggest handicap in those early, hectic days was the compiete lack of tools and equipment except for the pitifully inadequate supplies that came with us on the first vehicles. Sorsly needed equipment that had been so carefully packed, water-proofed and divided into seven phases was in England. French tools had disappeared with the enemy. itis to the everlasting cracit of the men of the Company that somewhere, somehow, they dug up tools of some sort and got the Job Gone with or without them. Within amatter of a few dayssthe first train was cun from Cherbourg to Carentan, then onto Lison. But the main jine was only part of the story: Tracks. water facilities and coaling facilities had to be restored in the great Cherbourg Yards, and, impossible branch lines to the beaches had to be made operative. We, ourselves, said it couldn't be one; they told us we had to do it — so we did. he ist Army, in the slow, bitter hedgerow ‘ianting. pushed the enemy out of St. Sauveur and wed up, getting the Inevitable flow of supplies st would soon follow. With the St. Lo break- through, every availablo man in Company A was thrown into the effort to get nes from La ines ready fort Haye du Puits east into operational condition behind Gen. Patton's Army, then surging on 10 Pa swing the “break-through” the Company con- tinued rehabilitation work on’ track, bridges, water-stations and signals, looking toward the time when the railroad could be turned over to Phase Two and Three operations. In December 1844, Company A with a large part of Battalion, made its headquarters in buzz-bomb alley at North Yards, Antwerp, Belgium. In trast to our Normandy operation, we found the road in Belgium already a going concern. There was work to be done, of course, out we didn't lieve it would be too hectic — until the buzz-bombs and V-2's began to find their targets. The incessant bombardment inev '@ and yard, water systems, bridges, and every case the men hit he trouble spot promptly and stayed until it was cleared up. On March 21st we moved to the Rhine River with the 9th Army. With headquarters at Krefeld, we Started the now fa Of track, bridges, communications and. water- stations on such lines as were subject to direct artillery fire. Considerable assistance was ren- dered the Corps of Engineers incidental to their Construction of the bridge across. the Rhine at Wesel. Shortly after the opening of the Rhine River bridge, we resumed our chase of the Sth Army — fatching them at the Elbe River, From \d, about 20 kilometers west of the Weser, ibe River became our responsibility. Once \was the old familiar progrem; take over, fehabilitate, then turn over to Phase 2 operation. Bending the arrival of Wwe also maintained the line from Warburg, With the finish of the war and the turning over of the East-West lines in Germany to the British, we fad the North-South corridor from Wunsdort through Hannover to Bebra long enough to make & reconnaisance and repair the damage done by the blowing-upofan ammunition train. In June 1245, we moved back to take control from the 734th R.0.B. of a railroad running through Holland, Beigium and Germany, with Company Headquarters at Sittard, Holland. Here, in addition to normal maintenance, the track forces had a to complete. The 8 & B ly detached at the Grand 10 another territory to save & ge in imminent danger of collapse and, under traffic, to rebuild one span, Impossible to recount in detail the number of times "A" Company men have responded to the emergencies that are inevitable in war zone railroading, wrecks, explosions, fires. bombs, V-bombs. ing toward one end only ~ that to get the war over and go home. We ‘can take pride in our record of ioneering in our achievements during two years In the €.7.0, and in the outfit of which we are a part In summing up — Company A, during its two years in the E.T.0., has maintained over 1850 miles of track, over 500 bridges, the longest af which were ‘more than 800 feet in iength, 1410 miles of wire itcuits which does not include local circuits nor the 195 miles of circuits constructed during the Normandy campaign and tured over to other battalions, and water stations for every queue. To any. You have done a good Job since leaving the "Good old USA” and! wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to each of you for your part in our mission, Though an Individual job may not have appeared important at was @ necessary part of the big, overall job performed, JAMES E. INMAN, Capt.” TC. company b reports two years the 729th Railway Operating last but not least of these being Germany. In order reach Germany, our original goal, the prepara- ns were many. and varied and’ often times questioned as to their necessity and importance. Only now since Germany's final defeat and unconditional surrender do we realize the large part the Railway Battalions played in making our Victory possible. The time spent and the work produced previous to our occupation of Germany. ow beyond all doubt has paid the dividends we have been looking forward to for so long. The ‘small but very important part our own Company B. has played in bringing our common enemy to her knees can be summed up ina fow paragraphs, but the results of our labor can be seen in every hamlet, village and town from Normandy to Berlin. Our first assignment in England took us to Hainault in Essex County. Although Hainault was the company headquarters and the hub of all company activities, our men were scattered over as many 2s eighteen different detachments at one time. Locomotives and cars in nearly every supply depot in England had to be si At Hainault from August unt unloaded and stacked for a car building program then underway. Our own Company B men under the direct supervision of Captain Farlich, Car Foreman, Lt. Hyatt and assistant Car Foreman T/Sgt. John ‘Campbell built the first refrigerator cars to be assembled in England. A total of five reefers at 175 man hours per car and 131 tank cars, at 24 man hours per car were assembled in our one month stay at this location. Working conditions jack out hours nad to the use of every inute of the daylight hours and the in no way helpful in making ing program the success From September 43 until Novernber 43 our car department was engaged in installing steam units for hospital trains and remodeling all type cars at Doncaster, Yorkshire. There the men gained 2 ‘world of experience that later proved invaluable in conditions encountered on the continent. These locations mentioned were of course only one of the many where cars and locomotive men were engaged. At this same time the large supply depot at Thatcham, Sudbury, Westioors, Lockery Hal Norton Fitzwarren and others were being sup by locomotives and cars serviced and repaired by ‘Company B men. Again, at Sudbury, in November (of 43 the carmen started another phase in their car building program. From November 22 until De- cember 14, seventy (70) gondolas were built at a rate of 58 man hours per car and eight box cars at a rate of man hours. per car. From December 23 until February 4 of a4, 161 box cars were built at an average of 80 man hours per car and 48 many as twelve (12) cars per day were challenge our car building record. At Morton-on- Lugg from March 14 until April 26 in 1944, 272 more box cars were built under simitar conditions andat arate of 80 man hours percar, Walle the main body of the company was engaged In our car bullding and depot maintenance, we were called upon to perform a task entirely new and different than anything we had previously Uunderiaken, At Liverpoo!, on March 12 of 44, wo 1d 10 convert Liberty Ships into Troop Ships. Bunks wore aeeembled, placed and welded. be- ween decks and by 10 May 1944 twenty-two ships had been made ready averaging 240 man hours per ship. It was here that our welders were put to the lest and not found wanting. Their work was long but they stayed ‘other men During our twelve months’ stay in England, it ‘would appear that the car department's work has, ‘overshadowed and pushed into the background the job accomplished by the locomotives men. But only because the results n can be figured In black and white and actually seen on the assembly lines that this ‘appears to be s0. Locomotives had to be kept in working order to make It possible for thecarmen to get the material needed in their work and 30 ‘cage of the ball carrier getting the atten he line has made the hole. ing In Cherbourg on D plus 30, the power he situation and the conaitions at the engine house looked almost hopeless. Wreckage was strewn e other and 21 of the been | there from one end of the yard to 22 locomotives in the engine house hi sabotaged as well as the turn table. Were approximately forty locomoti Including those in the house but a weeks’ time about eighteen of these had been made ready for service. The men worked in thre shifts 24 hours a day in order to supply the power needed for the short runs in getting the material to the advancing armies. Several American-made loco- motives were found and put into service that had been brought to France during the last war and most of the other power was just as old or older than these. I was not until about a month later that the now U.S.A. locomotives were unloaded at the Cherbourg port and put into immediate service relieving the situation. Prior to this time two and three engines would have to be stripped of parts to ‘get one engine ready for the road and then usually ‘only to break down after a short run due to being just plain worn out, The battalion spent. six months in Cherbourg operating detachments out Vast, Carentan, Valognes, Isigny, Bartleur, other locations iclzed or known as the famous battle fields of other days. In December 44 we moved into Antwerp, Belgium, the target for ninety percent of Germany's famous. Ves and V-25 and we went to work in the city properand the famous North Yards. The following, information is taken from our records of work accomplished in Belgium from January until the middie of March 45 LOCOMOTIVE DEPARTMENT Locomotives Serviced 3998 Tons of Coal Used 16300 Locomotive Boilers Washed 170 Monthly Locomotive Inspections 95 CAR DEPARTMENT Cars Inspected 52917 Cars Repaired ‘2004 Loads Transterred 52 Cars Reralled 78 ‘The above record shows only the major jobs done while stationed in Belgium. In addition to the above a few of the minor details completed were lights installed and an office built at North Yard. Brown-holst and American Diesel cranes were assembled at Antwerp Dam, wrecks were cleared land locomotives rerailed. Hundreds of cars were ‘leaned before they could be used for service. Over 800 skates used to slow the speed of cars coming ‘over the hump were painted and a shower system Installed, hooking a steam line from an 0-6-0 locomotive to a wrecked tank car that had bean repaired and set up for use as a shower bath. All these things and others too numerous to mention are only a part of the work done in Antwerp. Late in March we moved into our first location and, assignment in Germany at Krefeld just west of the Wieser River. Here, as in Cherbourg, the yards and engine house had been damaged by bombing but not to such a large scale and so within several days, the locomotive department was able to meet the demand for locomotives. In the three months’ time the battalion has been in Germany, Company headquarters has been located in three different railroad cities, namely Krefeld, Leinhausen and Lehrte. It was during the month of May with Headquarters in Lehrte that both the car and locomotive departments have turned in thelr best, work records to dale. A brief outline of the production record is as follows and covers the work turned out at Lehrie, with detachments at Leinhausen, Hereford, Oebistelde and Minden Locomotives Serviced 1706 Boilers Washed 116 Locomotives Stenciled 500. Tonsof Coal Used 8520 Monthly Locomotive inspections 93 Cars Stenciled 4480 Cars Repaired 389 Loads Transferred 16 Locomotives Rerailed 5 Trains inspected, each train having ‘anaverage of 45 cars, 1286 Inall of our time spent in Germany from 22 March until 15 June the following work record has been turned out by the Locomotive Department, Locomotives Worked On 3475 Tons of Goal Used 17375 Locomotives Stenciled 363 Boilers Washed 168 Monthly Inspections 152 ‘The following record has been turned in by the Car Department for the same period in Germany, Cars Repaired 604 Cars Stenciled 13220 ‘Trains Inspected and Air Tested 2736 of Company wish, through this anniversary edition of,“ One" to express my thanks and appreci ‘every man in Company "3" fora job well done, In the past two years you have, through your ng efforts, compiled a record that Lam sure cannot be equaled by any other Railway Battalion in any theater of operations. Without the cooperation of every man in the company tl record would not have been possible and so to of you for your loyalty and devotion to duty, thanks again W.F. FARLICH Capt. TC Commanding company c reports January 11, 1943 was the di 729th Railway Operation Batt of activation tor ion in Camp Ha han, La. Thecadre had been chosen from the 759th R.0.B. and a few of our officers were of the New York, New Haven nd Hartford which was to in. The assembling of these us worthy and well qualified for such soldiering as we were {6 encounter. The last grand event of parti Hunt part With one chapter of our history closed we moved in March to Fl. Wayne, Indiana, Camp Scott. Here ‘we encountered the work most of us had acquaint ed ourselves with in cl the Pennsy R.R. and full G.I. crews operated w the regular help. The nearness of homes for many and the hospitality of the citizens of Ft, Wayne will make an indelible mark in. the memories of Company G for Camp Scott. Upon June 14th we headed out for the P,O.£. which brought us along, the Hudson River to Camp Shanks, N.Y, tion was a parade review for General im which over 5000 men and officers took the morning of the 8th July, when ted and we moved out of the harbor to the U.S.A. We had a job to do even aboard the boat, so C ‘Company rolled up their Sleeves and fought the battle of K.P. all the way across. It was a seven days and seven nights and on the morning of the 8th day came the call “Land Ho". In the next few hours, we glided up the Firth Of Clyde to anchor off the shores of Scotland. Early the next morning the shipwas unloaded and the SOXOs boarded a train for Shirenampton where we enjoyed 2 days rast. ‘Then we were dispersed to the various 19 detach: ments for operations. There were new depots started and work was plentiful for all. The three larger depots carried personnel of the 761st R.0.C. which had left nearly 100men behind while they took part in the African Invasion. Within a few months our detachments grew in number and some SOXOs had qualified to run L.M.S. main line between Sudbury and Eqgington. Our battle of moving supplies through the hours of rain, wind, fog and the unknown blackout was soon’a common factor to all. Each detachment earned praise for their work So wel performed. The SOXOs covered the depots of England from the smallest to its largest. N was the method of hook and link with a shunting pole, yet thousands of cars ware handled in @ 24 hour day. After some5 months the 728th R.0.B, came to our assistance and soon after, followed others. Turn- to these mon, we assembled as Ivue Park, Manchester. It was a a reunion for ail and alter a few, weoks, of ing, for a fow months: Called together again in April at Kirkham, we took up the Army ordeal again. Plans for the invasion of Europe were being brought to a close and the SOXOs had a job to do. A tew days after Cherbourg fell our first detach: ment of seven moved in to take over French ‘engines and railways. The 729th came to help us again in Cherbourg yards and all doing their best we moved an average of 45 to 50 trains daily. The ‘SOXOs even had passenger trains operating which didn't always keep schedule, but found their way around. Having proven ourselves as men of steal, we moved to North Yards in Antwerp, Belgium on Christmas Day. Yes, if he SOXOs could stand the test of "Buzz Bomb Alley” they had made the top. Come rockets or none, the SOXOs more than doubled the previous output of Antwerp Yards moving 57 trains in one 18-hour period. In March the Belgians were able to take over and the SOXOs moved to Germany with Hdgs. at Krefeld. Scat- tered again on D.S. from those serving with 740th Rwy Opn Bn to the Wesel Bridge, we found the same hours but different conditions ‘The Wesel Bridge was the first R.A. bridge across the Rhine and our Detachment D stood by 24 hours a day working hand in hand with the engineers to complete the masterpiece several days ahead of schedule. Finally on April 8th an engine crossed the complete structure with cars of ballast and mmber to the far bank of the Rhine River. Soon thousands of tons rolled over this bridge to the frontand to thedeteat of Germany. Moving deeper into Germany, in April, in order to supply the Ninth Army to their positions on the Elbe River; we were again directly behing the front A new division was acquired known as the Hannover Division consisting of 125 miles of doubletrack, exclusive which was consistent with our handling of German P.W.s out of the Ruhr Pocket at the rate of 10,000 average of 26,540 tons had kept the SOXOs on t ball. Many ifems constitute a good Job and fecords show Company C with a job well done. Throughout all the foretold operations we were fate that only 3 men paid the supreme VITAL STATISTICS ‘The following figures represent our work under the 42nd Reg. Group as indicated: 165 used 22 Apr to 9 Jun ‘Traveled 22 Aprio9.June Average Miles Per Locomotive 22 Apr to9 June 42.66 Gross Tons Handled 22Aprio9June 1,300,482 ‘Average Tonnage Per Engine Mile 22 Apr 210 9,002.8 to9 June 19.972 Daily Average Tonnage Hauled 22 Apr t09 June 28,540.45 ‘Troop Trains Moved Krefeld and Hannover” 128 Cars Troops Moved Krefeldand Hannover 3716 Average Cars in Troop Trains, Krefeld and Hannover 29 ‘Total Troops Hauled Krefeld and Hannover 92,900 DPTrains Moved, Krefeld and Hannover "176 Total Cars DPs Moved, Krefeld and Hannover 7717 Average Cars in DP Trains, Krefeld and Hannover 44 Total DPs moved, Krefeld and Hannover 270,095 POW Trains moved, Krefeld and Hannover | 67 Cars POWs Moved,'Krefeldand Hannover 2756 ‘Average Cars In POW Trains, Krefeld and Hannover a Total POWs Hauled, Krefeld and Hannover Train Miles: Eastbound April-11,984.6 May-14,394.1 Westbound April-27'661.5 May -33,867.5 Trains Operated April 410 Juneo East 979 West 1009 the medical detachment The Medical Detachment bagan operations im mediately upon coming ashore at Omaha Beach, taking care of patients from pup tents, and during the first night, evacuated patients to the nearest beach Evacuation Hospital 124,020 Dispensary cars ‘The Dispensary throughout, telephone, and hot and cold running water. n’s next station, Antwerp, Belgium, ised cont by shrapnel from Gorman artillery shells. Inting of the operating room, In Surgeon would like to take this the ten had much re- i ity but had to carry on by themselves and have donea very good job indeed W.D. WALDREN Bn. Surgeon Car club soxo On the Sth of July aclub was opened for the men of, the 729th ROB. Membership cards were printed and quite a f ing concer. It has been going strong since !ay and only once has It been closed (SOXOs ‘sweet or hot. Each momber is allowed to bring a so ther In honor of only cloud 12 Sky of Memories”. battle stars ETO orders gives st waving with our quarter ocs news The following enlisted men of this battalion successfully passed the Infantry OCS Course and are now 2nd Lieutenant them. T/4 George Yarberry and Pvt. Craig Gladson from Company B. signedto other units in the pest. ‘Award of Legion Of Mer Lt.Col. Worthington. Smith 0251135 0496277 37288568 0251135 0496277 0472752 0481583 95498318, Pvt, Mortis D. 42094845 Cpl. Anthony Gaimbone 33172463 Pvt. John McLovich 6853502 Pic. George H. Erdman 16048277 35056555 38086973 Pfc. Warren A. Isemmann ‘6047381, Distinguished Unit Badge T/Sgt. George H. Dyer 95134895 what we had to put up with while this joned at Antwerp, Belgium from December 25, 1944 to March 24, 1945, BUZZ BOMBS ON ANTWERP Statistics furnished by British Provost Marshal: From period 23 Oct 1944 t0 28 March 1945 4288 — V4 1712—V-2 t Day 8 March 1945, tava soxo service hhas plenty of go and when thi Lets g Upon the train's the Road Foreman whether he was going to ride the engine, The Road Foreman replied “I am going to handle the train personally as | have always ahead of this schedule as | have an imp ‘meoting at 9th Army Hs at 1500 hrs.” The Road Foreman repli for someos 729th wast The run was made with the Road Foreman at the controls and gave him back 25 minutes of his schedule: have been waiting 22 m authority to ask me type of run was very easily accomplished. endof and good service while his train moved over the territory. the chaplain’s activities work of your hands is the only Chapel Car of the past few has served as a Germany, months the itself, but the real secret of keeping the church moving is by the support of each and every man. 1 During the month of May, | conducted eighteen Protestant Worship Services, five Holy Com- munions, one V-E Day Prayer and medi ‘Three hundred and Mass was given for the Catholic men in ci ‘churches. These men havehad unusual opportu ypical of the made the world and things therein, is Lord of heaven and earth, temples made with hands.” CHARLES A. FRANCIS Chaplain ascz regulation officer ninth us army apo 339 15 June 1945 ‘SUBJECT: Commendation To lating Officer fades out of the pi the Army, Two ball fields are available and in use. Also, courts have been prepared for volley ball, horse shoes, tennis and the like, Special Service has given us backing in procuring equipment. Com- pany A has been on hand when it comes to measuring or renovating the ground. everyone who can scramble out of the be taking ‘saving instructions. Warm weather is ound to roll around sometime. Wehave access t recreation rooms where ping-pong and small games get attention. Thanks to Lt. Hyel 9 of tables and they CHARLES A. FRANCIS Chaplain tem that might be of some quite a golfer and right now he is doing quite well ie tournament. A banquet was. given soxo editorial staff ler — Agjutan ‘Sgt. Watson — Company ‘T/4Condon — Headquarters Company Lt. Holland — Company A. jan — Company B memorial to those who are gone There ate many men of the 723th 3g from Europe with American Troops. of the team respon-