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jasoncummings

1053rd Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group

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Thank you in advance for reading my posting. I have run into a dead end in researching my grandfather's steps during WWII. His name was Victor Richards and was from Rochester, NY. He was assigned to the 1053rd Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group and left for England, from Boston, MA on 28 December 1943, arriving in England on 07 January 1944. His unit landed in France on 16 August 1944 and redesignated at Lige, Belgium 02 January 1945. This is where things become murky. His unit was redesignated to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company as "Port Construction and Repair". His unit left France on 16 January 1945, arriving in the Philipines on 20 July 1945, and was deactivated on 15 January 1946. IN trying to research his history, I cannot find anything on 1053rd Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group. Can anyone help at all? Thank you again in advance.

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Wow. Now that may be a tough one. Probably my toughest one yet, but I'll see what I can personally find out about this unit.

 

Thanks for posting here, you never know, someone might just see this and have an immediate answer. I'll keep in touch.

 

How did you find out about us? Always like to know.

 

:)

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I would strongly recommend trying to write to the Army Corps of Engineers. They have folders on each engineer group during the war. Some of much more extensive than others and some may only have a few pages, but it's worth a shot.

 

Contact Info For Army Corps of Engineers

 

They were a huge help to me! :)

 

Have you seen this link?

 

Roots Web

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Marion,

 

Thanks for the links, very much appreciated. The "Rootsweb" link provided some information that I have never seen regarding my grandfather's service in WWII. His unit is very hard to get any information on, as it seems that they were disbanded during the Battle of Bulge and placed in other units that needed men. I also appreciate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers link. I placed a call and left a message, hopefully they can help me out as well. Anyway, thank you very much for your assistance, it is greatly appreciated. Have a great afternoon.

 

Regards, Jason

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Jason;

The redesignation you refer to is probably derived from the soldier's mail address.

The early PC&R Groups consisted of 4 sections, the HQ being incorporated into the 2 dock sections. All mail seems to have been addressed as Hq of Hq co (number PC&R Gr)

http://users.bentonrea.com/~tinear/1054.htm

My history of these units begins with the 1054, but contains some generic info that may interest you.

I started with 1054 because my Dad was in it. But these early PC&R Groups were unusual and I intent to pursue the history of all of them.

Keep in touch.

Dusty

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The 1051st, 1052nd, 1053rd and 1054th Engineers, Port Construction & Repair Battalions were organized and constituted at Fort Joseph Screven, Georgia over the years of 1941-1943. Fort Joseph Screven is 45 minutes away from me on the North End of Tybee Island, near Savannah, Georgia. :)

 

I actually portray the U.S. 70th CAC, "A" Battery, circa. 1940 at Fort Joseph Screven. ;)

 

The 1051st & 1053rd Served in the Mediterranean/Europe. The 1054th served in the Pacific on New Guinea and in the Philippines. The 1052d I WAS in Europe but, toward the end of the war was transferred over to the Pacific only one of handful to do so. :)

 

Regards,

MARNE

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Gee it's great to hear from you. As I always tell folks; you never know when information will appear out of the blue. Consider the fact that the original posting was in 2005, and....

 

 

This is great info. Thanks Marne!

 

Hope all is well with you. B)

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Hey Marion! :D

 

Yes, I know its been a VERY long time... :( I've been doing great actually and you?

 

The boys in the 3rd Division Living History Company are doing well. :D We just finished... FINALLY... the WWII Memorial here in Savannah last November. We'd been working on establishing a WWII Monument to Savannah's fallen since the late Summer of 2006... and to see it finally come to life was simply amazing. I will post pictures of the ceremony and the

veterans who attended on that great day here in Savannah... a COLD day.. but GREAT nonetheless. ;)

 

Regards,

MARNE

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I finally got a chance to view the pics this morning and left some comments. I really enjoyed those and think the monument is stunning. Very different from anything I've ever seen before. It was fantastic that you had over 300 veterans show. Awesome!

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Hi Jason and others,

I know this topic is really old but I thought I'd put my 2 cents in about the 1053rd. My dad, George Brown, was also part of the group. He said he built bridges and blew up bridges.

I had the great experience of traveling with him back to France and Belgium back in the 1970s when I was

a teenager. He hardly ever spoke about his time in WWII except when we were over there visiting. We went from small town to small town literally knocking on doors of bars and homes of local families he remembered. We were treated like the family of a hero and we often ate with the families...whether they were the originals or not! It was awesome. We also went to see bridges (boring for me) and places where bridges used to be (reaaallly boring for me). Of course now I wish I had listened more.

In Belgium we knocked on the door of a convent/elementary school. My dad brought us and the nuns down to the basement where, according to him, he lived on cheese, cheese, cheese. The highlight was when he walked over to a window frame he had repaired during the war.....and his initials were still carved there. It somehow really struck him. ;-)

 

I have recently been looking through a few photos from that time. St Lo, St Malo, Porthcawl, Bournmouth, Liege, Rhinehousen Bridge, Meusse (?) Bridge, and more.

I have pictures of him (Brownie) with guys named Timmerman, Smith (Smitty), Brand, Frames, Regan, and "Heavy" Spradling.

 

In 8 weeks I am bringing my husband and kids to Normandy and of course I wish I had more to tell them about the 1053rd.....

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Wow, what a great letter. Loved the part about

 

In Belgium we knocked on the door of a convent/elementary school. My dad brought us and the nuns down to the basement where, according to him, he lived on cheese, cheese, cheese. The highlight was when he walked over to a window frame he had repaired during the war.....and his initials were still carved there. It somehow really struck him. ;-)

 

Now, what a thrill that must have been.

 

Thanks for joining and I hope you find our forum helpful. Would love to see the pics in the near future.

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My Dad was a captain and a combat engineer. He was Cecil W. Henson (0 468 898 Captain) from Hollis Oklahoma, and was the cadet colonel of the Oklahoma A and M ROTC in 1941 (now OSU), then a "90 day wonder" straight into the service as a Second Lt. I do not do intense research, but I have all his military records and am trying to fill in the blanks. I have a Fifth Army Training Center, 39th Engineer Combat Regiment for a course in the Mines and Demolition course issued "somewhere in Africa" in March 1943. I have found the meaning of all his patches and awards, bronze star, purple heart, combat stars, theater ribbon. My biggest question is he was listed in the 1051st Engineer Port Construction and Repair when he separated in 26 Jan 1946? I was born in Dec. 1946, so he got back to school and started a family - he married before going overseas. Google groups the 1051st in with the 360th (?) engineers in Europe - I am trying to make the distinction. He started overseas in North Africa (as a platoon commander for the training for combat and the use in combat of the engineering platoon)taking up mines and building bridges, hopped the Med. and was switched to the new MOS and involved in rebuilding the ports of Naples Marseille and Le Hawre and is listed as a engineer group supply officer and proceeded to South France and "Rome Arno Rhineland" in Central Europe. He was shot through the shoulder on a patrol, recovered, returned to service but declined a Major slot to stay and work with the reconstruction of Europe. Four years, I think, was enough for him. Thank you for the opportunity to have a look at the site, I have a group photo of the 1051st I will scan and insert.

 

Thanks, Randy Henson 5527 3rd Street, Lubbock TX 8067907405

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Hi: Touched on this in another post, but many guys who stayed in occupied Europe, often shipped home later in 45 and 46 with another unit, not necessarily their own. That is where the confusion lie. :pdt12:

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So true.

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Hi Everyone! Been gone from this site for quite a while now. I kept hitting dead -ends on finding information concerning my father, Walter N.P. Curlock who was with the 1058th PC & R Group in Europe .It has been discouraging as many of you can attest to, therefore I have decided to hire a research assistant to help me in seeking information on where my father went to boot camp, what towns and villages he traveled through during the war and any other pertinent information available concerning him or his group.

 

If anyone could help me out in this, I really would appreciate it!

 

Curlock :14_1_104:

 

 

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You can find some excellent researchers via NARA in Maryland. I don't know if you have been to their site yet, but they list a number of people and include their specialities. Let me know.

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My Father in Law was in the 1053rd Port Construction and repair group as a marine diver. T/Sgt Carmen DeLucia. He enlisted in Nov 1942. Trained in NY Navy Salvage 12 weeks and at Ft Screven GA. 12 weeks Marine Diving 1943. Was deployed Dec 1943 and arrived in England Jan 1944. Army Engineer Divers were placed in Port Construction and repair groups. There were 17 officers and 235 enlisted men in these groups. Their sole purpose was port restoration. The 1053rd was ADSEC and deployed in late June or July of 1944 to Cherbourg France. They were then moved to clear ports of St Malo and Brest in Brittany in August/September 1944. The efforts in St Malo and southern ports were ended in late Sept, as they could not produce the tonnage needed for supplies. Focus was put on Cherbourg, LeHarve other larger ports. The 1053rd was in Cherbourg from Oct 44 to Jan 45. We have a commendation naming all in the 1053rd for the meritorious and brave work in 90 ft of water installing charges and cutting metal under water to make connections to raise sunken boats and cranes etc. Carmen was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his work. He was moved to Reims France in Dec 44/Jan 45 due to the Battle of the Bulge. He never spoke much of the war and only said it was cold as hell that winter and those boys were being cut to ribbons upfront, so they were moved up closer to the front lines. He always said the real heroes never came home. He was then moved to Liege Belgium, when we are not sure. After the Battle of the Bulge the push was on to crossing the Rhine. Many bridges were built to cross the Rhine these units supported the Corps of Engineers efforts. In March/April ,the 1053rd and the 1058th Port Construction and Repair groups were detached to the 1146th Engineer Combat group to build a fixed timber highway bridge at the Rhine 1,813 ft and Lippe rivers, 411 ft.at Wesel. The 1053rd and 1058th built the Rhine portion of the bridge. Work began March 31 and open to truck traffic April 18, 1945. The spam was named the Roosevelt Bridge. Carmen was then deployed from Le Harve France on June 16,1945, and arrived in NJ and taken by train right thru his home town of East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, (after being in ETO for 18 months he said his family did not know if he was dead or alive at that time and he so much wanted to jump off the train that day) to San Diego placed on a troop ship to Luzon Philippines arrived July 20 1945 where he helped clear and salvage the port of Luzon. He returned home in late Nov 1945.

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Thank you for the info on your father-in-law. It's great to have some details!

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Some info I found today...

 

The goals set for the Brittany ports were never realized and at most of them the engineer effort was considered "utterly wasted."28 Despite the heavy emphasis on those ports in July, the breakout from the bridgehead and the headlong drive across northern France moved the action far from Brittany by September. This development caused logistical planners at SHAEF to regard Antwerp as the major prize; engineers nevertheless expended considerable effort in Brittany before the tactical situation changed so drastically. The 1053d Port Construction and Repair Group and the 360th Engineer General Service Regiment worked on St. Malo, Cancale, and St. Brieuc before moving into captured Brest. The St. Malo project halted just as it neared completion, primarily because the task of reopening waterways south and inland from St. Malo did not appear worth the effort required. Some port-operating personnel went to Cancale, but tidal conditions there proved so difficult that the port was never used. St. Brieuc opened in mid-September but operated for only a month, averaging 317 tons a day, mostly coal for local generating plants and railroads. St. Michel-en-Greve did somewhat better, averaging 745 tons a day; but it closed down on 1 September, never contributing more than a small amount of port capacity and reverting to French control in mid-December. The only ports in Brittany that delivered more than token tonnages were Granville and Morlaix.

 

 

http://www.usarmydeepseadivers.com/history.html

 

 

http://www.usarmydeepseadivers.com/RobertRayback.htm

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Note for clarification, this unit was the size of a WWII company. :-)

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Some info I found today...

 

The goals set for the Brittany ports were never realized and at most of them the engineer effort was considered "utterly wasted."28 Despite the heavy emphasis on those ports in July, the breakout from the bridgehead and the headlong drive across northern France moved the action far from Brittany by September. This development caused logistical planners at SHAEF to regard Antwerp as the major prize; engineers nevertheless expended considerable effort in Brittany before the tactical situation changed so drastically. The 1053d Port Construction and Repair Group and the 360th Engineer General Service Regiment worked on St. Malo, Cancale, and St. Brieuc before moving into captured Brest. The St. Malo project halted just as it neared completion, primarily because the task of reopening waterways south and inland from St. Malo did not appear worth the effort required. Some port-operating personnel went to Cancale, but tidal conditions there proved so difficult that the port was never used. St. Brieuc opened in mid-September but operated for only a month, averaging 317 tons a day, mostly coal for local generating plants and railroads. St. Michel-en-Greve did somewhat better, averaging 745 tons a day; but it closed down on 1 September, never contributing more than a small amount of port capacity and reverting to French control in mid-December. The only ports in Brittany that delivered more than token tonnages were Granville and Morlaix.

 

 

http://www.usarmydeepseadivers.com/history.html

 

 

http://www.usarmydeepseadivers.com/RobertRayback.htm

 

Thanks!

 

This adds some clarity on the Brittany ports timing of the 1053rd. in St Malo ,Breast and Cherbourg.

Thanks for the history links. We already have them. My father in law is in many of the pictures provided in the Robert Rayback historical posting.

He is kneeling is from of Robert Rayback in the group picture of the divers graduation at Ft. Screven GA. in Nov 43. We only discovered these on the internet in 2013 to our surprise.

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Now that had to be a scary job. I would have to pass on that one!  Lot of brave guys there! Thanks for posting this wonderful photograph!

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