35th Infantry Division Memory

For never forget...
Santa Fe
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Chapter 2

The Task Ahead

On 25 May 1944, Major General Paul W. Baade stepped ashore in the city of Liverpool, England. The 35th Infantry Division was in the European Theater of Operations to do their part in World War II. Behind 3,000 miles of ocean were the conjectures, the hopes and the rumors that characterized training camp possibilities. Behind were endless hours of tireless training, trials, counter-trials and experimentation. Here there were no exasperating dry runs and rehearsals. Now the Santa Fe was in England where the great scars of the enemy's ruthless bombing raids were still in gaping evidence. From here on there could be no misfires, no stoppages, no trials. Here there was no margin for error. The sum and total of all that had been learned in the training camps must now be given its battle test. Beginning with this moment it was necessary to be deadly certain of the objectives. On actions alone would depend the success of the Division.

By 27 May 1944, all the units had been disembarked and all felt better now that land was under their feet. To most of the officers and men each moment would bring new thrills, new sights and experiences. From the moment they dragged their loaded duffel bags off the ships and boarded the strange English trains, they gawked and gazed. This was England, the land that had carried the war for five years, the land of courageous people.

The trip across the country, from the ports of debarkation to the destinations in southern England, was filled with thrills and sights. There were the green country-side, the rolling hills and the deep glens, the forests, the little streams winding their picturesque ways, the criss-crossing hedges and beauties of the narrow, twisting roads, the like of which had never been seen before except in the movies or in pictures.

There were the tiny homes, gabled and quaint, each with its different design and construction. There were the clean, neat cities and towns, cities as calm and precise as an Englishman, cities that bore the mute and stark skeletons of once beautiful homes and churches bombed into tragic rubble.

These marks of the enemy were viewed with a strange feeling; these pillars pock-marked with the bullet holes of machine gun; these open spaces from which buildings had been wiped by ruthless enemy aircraft. For the first time each member of the Division realized that he was pitted against a brutal and determined force which gave no quarter in its campaign to subdue all free men. But looking at these calm English people, still maintaining their civilization and culture, the men gained new courage. They made individual resolutions that this sort of devastation would never happen to America. They had sworn to defend the United States, and in the words of the Commander-in-Chief, soldiers of the 35th intended to "hit the enemy wherever he could be found."

D-Day of the invasion of Europe was almost at hand and England was crowded to its peak with American soldiers. There remained no camp at which the entire Division might be reasonably accommodated. The various units had to be quartered in different places.

The 134th Infantry Regiment's Headquarters and Headquarters Company and the Service Company were quartered at the Pendarves and Clowance Estates in Camborne; the Anti-Tank Company went to far Land's End, the Cannon Company to the Tregullow Estate at Redruth. The 1st Battalion went to Penzance, reminiscent of Gilbert and Sullivan, and the 2nd Battalion, minus Company H, went to St. Ives. Company H went to nearby Hayle. The 3rd Battalion was quartered at Prah Sands, with the exception of Companies I, K and L which went to Lizard Point, Marazion and the Penrose Estate in Porthleven, as named.

The 320th Infantry Regiment found quarters at the Topsham Barracks, near Exeter, with the exception of the 3rd Battalion and the Anti-Tank Company at Newton Abbott and the Cannon Company at Showgrounds Camp in Okehampton with the 216th Field Artillery Battalion. Company L went to Bovey Tracey and Company K went to Bishopsteignton.

The 60th Engineer (C) Battalion had its Headquarters and Service Company at Wadebridge; Company A at Padstow, Company B at Trevone Bay and Company C at Harlyn Bay.

The 110th Medical Battalion was quartered at Poor Law Institute in Bodmin, and Headquarters and Companies A and D were distributed between the Kendall Building, Fore Street and the Methodist Church, Pool Street, in Bodmin, while Company B made its quarters at Town Arms, Fore Street, also in Bodmin.

The 161st Field Artillery Battalion was billeted at Parranporth, and the 127th Field Artillery Battalion stayed at beautiful Bake House.

Division Headquarters was established at the old town of Tavistock. Here, too, went the Headquarters Company, Headquarters Special Troops, the MP Platoon and Band, and the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the Division Artillery. The 35th Quartermaster Company was at the Scarne Cross Camp at Launceston with the 35th Reconnaissance Troop. The 35th Signal Company went to Bere Alston, while Bodmin played host to the 735th Ordnance Company, the 137th Infantry Regiment (less the 1st and 2nd Battalions at Newquay), and the 219th Field Artillery Battalion.

The 137th Regiment Headquarters was established in the structure that formerly housed the Duke of Cornwall and the place was still rich with the lore and ghosts of the Revolutionary War. Even the uniforms of the day were still in evidence. Other outfits of the 35th found themselves quartered or stationed in equally romantic and historical spots such as in Newquay where some lived in the home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

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