Military History/417th Military Police Escort Guard Company
QUESTION: My father served in WWII as an MP. I know he trained at Camp Custer and was at Camp Hereford POW camp in Texas guarding Italian POWs. His 214 shows him leaving for England in Jan 1944 & returning to the US in Feb 1946 aboard the SS Waterbury Victory. I have been told the company landed on Utah beach D+18 or so. He received a battle star for Northern France. My uncle tells me of my dad escorting prisoners from France to England. After that, I know very little. I have not been able to locate any unit history of the 417th. Basically, I am looking for his companies history.
ANSWER: Dear Sir,
Thank you for your question. In it you typed "I know he trained at Camp Custer". Fort Custer, located at Battle Creek, Michigan, was the Military Police Replacement Training Center.
In your question you typed "Camp Hereford POW camp in Texas guarding Italian POWs." Camp Herefore, located 40 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas, was a POW Camp for die-hard Fascist / Italian POWs. The camp's capacity was 7,200 men & there were escape attempts.
In your question you typed "His 214 shows him". If you are refering to page two of your father's Discharge Documents, then you are refering to WD AGO Form 53-55. The term "214" or DD-214 refers to a post-WW 2 document.
In your question you typed "leaving for England in Jan 1944". If you were to provide me with ALL THE DATES [ALL THE DATES] typed in Box #36 on page two of your father's WD AGO Form 53-55, it would be my pleasure to try to provide you with the name of the troop ship your father was a passenger upon in January 1944.
In your question you typed "I have been told the company landed on Utah beach D+18 or so." Regrettably, my list of US Military Forces landing across UTAH Beach or OMAHA Beach only goes through D+14. However, in my opinion, what you have been told may be an error. By your own admission, your father participated in the Northern France Campaign (July 25-September 14, 1944). Had your father arrived any earlier upon the Cotentin Peninsula, he would have participated in the Normandy Campaign (June 6-July 24, 1944). Since "D+18" would have been approximately June 24, 1944 & your father was not credited with participating in the Normandy Campaign, in my opinion, your father did not arrive on the Cotentin Peninsula until after July 25, 1944. Of course, you are welcome to disagree with me.
In your question you typed "my dad escorting prisoners from France to England." My question to your uncle is, did your father escort "prisoners" or POWs? There is a difference.
In your question you typed "I have not been able to locate any unit history of the 417th." Neither have I.
In your question you typed "I am looking for his companies history." May I suggest you obtain photocopies of the unit records for the 417th MP Escort Guard Company. The unit records are located at:
US Army Heritage & Education Center
950 Soldiers Drive
Carlisle PA 17013
Good Luck with your quest. I will eagerly await your reply to the questions I asked of you.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections
2011 Richard Jones Road
Apt E 26
Nashville TN 37215-2837
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks for your answers. To my knowledge, my father escorted prisoners, not POW's. I do recall him talking about Italian POWs." He kept hand made book ends that my Uncle says were made from Italian POWs. The crossing into France date is probably what you came up with. I looked into the US Army Heritage & Education Center but could not find out anything about his unit. Any suggestion's?
I attached his AGO form & a picture of his company.
Thanks again for all your help.
Thank you for your follow-up. In it you typed "I looked into the.......his unit. Any suggestions?" No.
In your follow-up you typed "I attached his AGO form". From Box #36 on page two of your father's Discharge Document WD AGO Form 53-55 I wish to share with you the following:
Departure Date: January 19, 1944
Departure Location: Boston, Mass. Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship: U.S.A.T. Borinquen
Arrival Date: January 29, 1944
Arrival Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Good Luck with your quest.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections