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Camp Reynolds - World War II Army Cam

 

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CAMP MEMORIES


REMEMBRANCES
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 REMEMBRANCES - Page 1

My dad Charles Edward Duell was stationed at Camp Reynolds and was shipped out to Germany from there.
My grandmother also worked at the camp.
- Cindy Robbins / Greenville Resident

Edwin J Smialkowski Philadelphia PA My dad (Philadelphia PA) was one of the first soldiers stationed at the camp; he arrived in the spring of 1943. One of his jobs he had over the 2 years while at the camp was to process incoming soldiers.
My dad also talked about the heavy snows that the western PA area received that was quite different from what Philadelphia received at that time.
One of the soldiers from Ohio that he knew of, his dad owned a nursery so he planted flowers around the barracks to make it look more homey.
During my dad’s stay at the camp, he met my mom Elizabeth Mathewson from Sharon at a USO dance held at the Buhl club. My grandmother Marie Mathewson helped out and my mom was a member of the USO and to this day she still has her USO pin.
When my dad left the camp, he headed over to India via Oran (CBI) for 2 years and one of the men stationed over there with him was actor Pat O’Brien.
Dad was discharged on March 14h 1946 at Fort Dix in New Jersey, his rank was Corporal. My parents were married July 5, 1947 in Sharon PA at St Joseph’s Church on State Street and after a honeymoon in NY they returned to Philadelphia. 
- Maryann Smialkowski (Daughter) / Philadelphia

As a young married couple we lived with my husband's (Fran Stuver) parents on West Main Hill in Greenville, PA. along with his sister Clara.  We used to rent a room to some of the soldiers wife's or girlfriends. Clara would also rent her room out occasionally.
Another memory is that of my brother Dave Bright, working at a Fire House on E Street in the camp.
- Jesse Stuver / Local Greenville Resident

I remember as a little girl of around 6 or 7 crying when my Uncle who lived with us was shipped out for Europe.
I also remember when he came home from the war, we were getting ready to go to school. He gave my brother and I gave us Hershey Chocolate Bars.
Another memory I have is my mother telling about renting a room to a soldiers wife who had a young child. After he was shipped out she cracked up. My mother which was a RN tried to help her the best she could but the lady was taken away. 
- Mary Kay Surrena / Local Hamburg Resident

My husband, Harry grew up on a farm in Transfer, PA. He started working during his junior year at Transfer High School. He quit school and later went to Erie to work where he learned the wielding trade (after the war he started a wielding business which is now operated by his son Jim). While in Erie he was drafted and he was able to switch from the Erie Recruiting Station to Greenville, PA Station. Before being called up he worked at the Steel Car in Greenville, PA long enough that they held his job for him when he returned from the war. After basics he was sent to Shenango Personnel Replacement Depot (later named to Camp Reynolds). On the train to the camp he had met up with three other guys from the Transfer area, Tom Morrison, Ceil Kane and F. Jordan. While traveling on the train the guys started to recognize the landscape and realized they were going to go through their hometown Transfer. As they were going through Transfer they started yelling as they went by the Post Office and the Postmaster came out and then called their families to let them know that they were going to stationed at the camp.
While stationed at the camp Harry was allowed to go down to his father's farm in Transfer and help with taking in the hay in his off time. Once while he was out in the field he saw a soldier coming down the driveway and thought it might be an MP but it was his friend Tom  Morrison coming to tell him that they were getting ready to out.
The guys were shipped out of Ft. Lewis Washington. They were transported overseas on converted freighters which Harry referred to as Banana boats. Harry was dropped off at the Allutions and Ceil n Jordan were dropped off at the next island and Tom was dropped off at Guadalcanal where he was killed in action.
Another memory I have at around that time was when word was received at the Transfer Post Office that Tom Morrison had been killed in action at Leyte. His sister Verlene was there and she took the notice and ran all the way home to tell her folks.
I also remember playing cards at the Cadman Farm which was located across the Shenango River from the camp. While we were playing I looked up to notice a soldier watching us play through a window, he left as soon he was noticed.
- Naomi Derr / Local Hamburg Resident

I remember as a young boy being in Greenville on a Friday night when the stores stayed open later and you could see soldiers everywhere. 
- Ron Clark / Local Greenville Residents

My husband Rudy worked for the White Rock Silica Sand Plant which was located across the road up on a hill from the former Greenville Country Club. We lived in a house next to the plant. From the view of our house we could see Camp Reynolds and it looked like a lake with the sun shining on all gray shingle roofs of the buildings of the camp.
When we would go to Sharon, PA we would see dozens of soldiers hitch-hiking, occasionally we would give some of them rides.
On one occasion Rudy went down to the camp with dynamite and caps to blast something while the hospital at the camp was being built.
Findley Barton from St. Petersburg worked building the camp as a electrician. He stayed with us during the week and go back home on the weekends.
When the camp's replacement depot element was moving to Indiantown Gap Military Installation we could see from our house the Army trucks with their headlights on coming through Greenville and coming down Rt. 58 by the Greenville Club Country Club. The string of trucks stretched for over a mile.
- Olive Clark & Son Ron / Local Greenville Residents

As a young boy of around 12 or 13 I remember selling local & nearby papers (The Record Argus, The Sharon Herald, Youngstown Vindicator and the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph) at the camp. A man from Youngstown would pickup us boys on Clarksville Street in Greenville and take us to the camp. My area was the 14, 15, and 16 block. While in the camp we were able to eat in the Mess Halls and go to the Movies at the Camp's Theaters.
- Ralph Giangiordano - Local Resident

My mother, Clara Mae (Snyder) Shipton worked at the Camp's Canvas & Webbing Repair Facility. She repaired leggings. She remembrances how muddy they were and often covered with blood.
- Shared by her Son

Angie Kerfoot from Burghill, OH worked at a Camp PX (Post Exchange).
- Shared by a Friend

I remember that my mother worked at the Webbing and Canvas repair Facility at Camp Reynolds. She remembers that when a machine broke down that a German POW would come and repair it.
Another memory that I have is that in my 4th, 5th and 6th Grade school years in Stoneboro, PA our school building was an Army barrack purchased from Camp Reynolds after it was closed.
- Joann Branch - Local Greenville, PA Resident

While at the Camp soldiers would be given a medical checkup including dental work before being sent over seas. Some of the servicemen needed false teeth. In a story related to me by my father was that some of the men would throw their false teeth away while on the train heading for a embarkation point. Thus they would be sent back. He said that some tried it a couple of times and eventually ended up in trouble.
- Local Greenville Resident

I lived on a farm down to the left of Colt road about a mile from the Army Camp. I remember one day my brother and I were riding the tractor as my dad was plowing. We got cold and we got off and ran for the barn. My brother ducked under the barbed wire fence but it caught me just below my right eye. My dad took me over to the Camp Check Point where a pretty WAC Officer that was on duty told the Private to get another jeep. She said she would hold the boy in her lap and the father to could set in the back. About the time we were ready to go. a Colonel showed up and told the WAC that she was having coffee with him. Another Private came and drove us to Greenville Hospital. It was a great memory for a boy around five years old.
Another memory I have is that dad helped tear down the camp. He worked in the Camp Hospital Area. He helped take down two of the big chimneys in the hospital area.
I also remember soldiers marching in columns of 4 going one way and 4 columns going the other way.
- Local Transfer Resident

I remember that my mother worked at the Webbing and Canvas repair Facility at Camp Reynolds. She remembers that when a machine broke down that a German POW would come and repair it.
Another memory that I have is that in my 4th, 5th and 6th Grade school years in Stoneboro, PA our school building was an Army barrack purchased from Camp Reynolds after it was closed.
- Paul Mitchell, Fredonia/Stoneboro PA

While I was attending Thiel College in Greenville, PA the camp was being built. I would go down to the camp and work on the weekends.
I remember that the camp had a Infiltration Course on the property next to ours. 
I also remember soldiers coming out on the weekends to visit, mainly to see my sisters. One of the soldiers was from Minnesota whose family had a farm, he enjoyed coming out and helping to put the hay away. There was also a soldier from Brooklyn New York, he was quite interesting.
- Dutch Reichard - Local Resident

As a young boy around 11 or 12 along with some of friends would hitch hike from Greenville, PA to Camp Reynolds to shine the shoes of the servicemen. After doing that for a while we recognized that there was an opportunity for a couple of other money making possibilities. When the new recruits came in all their clothes were in duffle bags the pants needed to be pressed. So we started to bring an iron and press the soldiers pants in their barracks. There were very few hangers so we started to sell clothes hangers to the soldiers. That was a good proposition because when the soldiers would leave we would gather the hangers back up and re-sell them to the next set of new recruits.
While we were at the camp we used to go to the movies, eat in the mess halls and buy candy & pop in the Post Exchanges (PX). A few times someone from the Provost Marshall's office would run us out of the camp.
A couple other things I remember, the first was that our family used to rent a room to some of the wives and girl friends of the soldiers. The other thing I remember is that my brother was at the camp the day of the Race Riot and had to go home through woods as all the roads were covered by the authoraties.

- Local Greenville, PA Resident


Kenneth Ivey from Susquehanna, PA was stationed at the camp. While there he was married and spent his honeymoon in the Riverview Hotel in nearby Greenville, PA.
- Shared by a Friend

I remember when my brother Harman was in High School he would play hooky and go up and worked at the camp was it was being built. Later he was drafted and went to Germany. He took training in the Signal Corps and infantry training at Camp Wheeler in GA.
- Bill Fennel, Local Resident

I remember my mom and dad renting rooms to two soldiers when I was around six years old. One them gave me a few pennies and I was so excited that I took off in a rush to get to the store and on the way I was hit by a car.
I also
 remember everybody celebrating when the war ended.
- Don Smith, Former Sharon PA Resident

I remember as a young girl coming up to Camp Reynolds on a bus to dance with the servicemen. Some of them came to Sharon and I went to the movies with some of them.
- Sharon, PA Resident

I remember while visiting the camp as a child seeing the German POWS. They would trade anything for food. I ended up with a fountain pen and some button off a couple of the prisoners.
- Bill Himes - Local Resident

My stepdad helped in the building of the camp. After the war I bought the Camp's Fire House on Edgewood Drive (called E Street while the camp was in operation) and used it as a service station.
- Jim Morgan - Local Resident

While living in San Francisco I met a couple visiting from Germany -- I was standing on the outside of a cable car and they were seated in front of me -- I heard them speaking a language that I thought was German and asked if they were from Germany -- they said they were and asked where I was from -- when I said Pennsylvania, they asked the town, and when I said Sharon, their eyes lit up -- the husband had been a POW at Camp Reynolds, and he told me how nice the people he met were and how well he was treated generally at the Camp. (I can't explain how he seemed to have had even occasional contacts with people (civilians) living in the area)
- Peter Boyle, Former Sharon, PA resident now living in San Francisco, CA

I enlisted into the Army and was stationed in Germany in 1962. While on assignment in West Berlin I meet a Chaplain. After a talking about where we were from etc. he related a story of how he danced with my Aunt, Carmilla Liscio at one of the Service Clubs at Camp Reynolds.
- Army Veteran, Anthony M. Liscio

My family moved from Glenn Campbell, PA to the Transfer area in the early 1940. My dad worked at Westinghouse in Sharon, PA and we lived in a house owned by Templeton a local potato farmer. As a young boy about 11 years old I worked for the Templeton's picking potatoes. In the middle of 1942 when the Army camp was being built the Army took over the Templeton property and the house we lived in and we moved down into Transfer. I remember before moving that they were building the camp so fast that we were picking potatoes underneath the barracks to save as many potatoes as we could.
Another remembrance was during the Race Riot at the camp when the local Civilian Defense Corps in Transfer came around telling us to stay inside.
- Bill Gardner, Transfer PA Resident

My father James Madison Gilliland (1882-1967) from the West Middlesex area had a team of gray horses that he sold to Sharon Coal and Ice in 1942. Because of gasoline rationing and costs the company intended to use the team to deliver beer to Camp Reynolds. A problem arose for the company when the team could not be driven by anyone else. Therefore Sharon Coal and Ice hired my father to drive the team two days a week in 1943-44 to Camp Reynolds to make the beer deliveries at the PX. I remember my oldest sister was very upset that Dad was delivering beer, but I certainly enjoyed the candy bars he occasionally bought at the PX for me.
- As told by Rebecca (Gilliland) Ahern on August 12, 2013

I remember when I was at Hickory High School Hickory, PA then / now Hermitage, PA) we saw truck loads of soldiers going south on Route 18. The students would wave at the soldiers and talk to them at times as they were stopped at the red light.
- Paul Turjan

Lady remembers her Elementary School in West Middlesex touring Camp Reynolds. She remembers seeing the soldiers in their uniforms.
She also remembers being in Greenville Hospital when news came that the war in Europe had ended. She remembers people shouting in the street that "The War Was Over."
- Lady from Transfer

My brother was 12  years older then me. In 1942 when he enlisted in the Army I was only 5.My memory of his Army career is that he was working for Baldwin Brower's out of Erie in 1941. They had an asphalt batch plant in Boyer's PA  and were installing roads at Camp Reynolds. As the war heated up he and a  couple of buddies enlisted in the Army. My brother had a "lazy eye" and was rejected  for combat and was put into finance. My grandparents were from Germany and he could speak a little German and became a MP at Camp Reynolds. He guarded prisoners and escorted some to Leavenworth in Kansas. He was later transferred to Kansas where he guarded prisoners who worked on farms. He made friends with some and kept in touch after they had returned to Germany when the war ended. He knew a couple of them who returned to the US and married farm girls they met while working. He also attended reunions of prisoners who returned to Leavenworth occasionally. My brother also married a farm girl and spent the rest of his life in Kansas.
- Bill West

My grandfather Calvert was the owner of Calvert Lumber in (Budd St.) Sharon, PA. Calvert supplied wood for the building of the camp.  My cousins still operate Calvert Lumber. He also helped build camp Reynolds and also built torpedo boxes for Westinghouse in Sharon. I remember going to Camp Reynolds to see the Nazis and giving them cigarettes through the cyclone fences which had three strands of barbed wire on top of it. Two of my friends fathers drove buses to take the Nazis to the Columbia Theater in Sharon for movies.
- David W. Difenderfer

Lena Giardina, a Greenville, PA resident who operated Lena's Doll Hospital sewed patches for GI's at the camp.

- Grandson


Carmella Giardina (daughter of Lena Giardina), a Greenville, PA resident married Patrick Orrick who worked in the Motor Pool at the camp.

- Grandson


I remember when Judy Garland sang at the Officer's Club and, I imagine, sang later elsewhere in the camp.  We were at a table with General Ladd, and Colonel & Opal Chase. They used to keep our little dog, Peanuts, when we were away.  They were a grand couple.  Were posted in Japan after leaving Camp Reynolds.  Both General. Ladd and Chuck Chase were buddies from West Point, as was the Major who lived with his wife in our spare room for a while. Sorry their name escapes me at the moment - they were a very fine couple, as well. 
- Mimi Filer, Columbus, Ohio

I remember riding in an Army truck to school in Transfer until the Army Base provided a school bus. We even had a guard with a rifle and I remember being worried that anybody jumping out would be shot. I also remember the German POWs who picked up garbage.

- Ruth Ann Allen (Wescott)


My mother Lois Wilson (Crawford) was a file clerk in the post office at Camp Reynolds.

- Ellen Crawford Dummett


In May of 1944 I hired out on the Erie Railroad as a freight and baggage handler at the Greenville passenger station and freight house. It was an exciting time. In 1942 the U. S. government bought up some of the farm lands south of Greenville, and turned it into, first, Camp Shenango, later re-named Camp Reynolds.

The camp was not a training camp as such, but on a good day, and with the wind in the right direction, we could hear rifle fire from the ranges at the camp four miles away. I can remember by father taking me to the over-pass near the camp on a Sunday afternoon, and watching the troop trains on the Pennsylvania Railroad, which entered the camp, loading and unloading soldiers.
Something that most people don't remember now is that during World War II, many Mexican nationals came to the states to work. At Greenville, there was a track gang of at least twenty men of various ages headquartered.
After Camp Reynolds was in business for about two years, German prisoners-of-war began to be brought in. The camp received some of its small freight at the Erie freight house. I can remember five or six German prisoners, guarded by a non-com from the camp, usually armed with a M-1 carbine, plus a non-com driver, also armed, arriving to pick up some freight. I would get the papers ready to sign; the guard would tell me to point out what was to be taken, and then to step out of the way. He would say something to one of the Germans, they would go to work, the non-com would sign the papers, and they were off back to the camp. It was quite interesting, and I felt no fear at the time. I didn't get a chance to speak to any of the prisoners, since the non-com was strictly business, but I would have liked to.
- William Garts  (Former Local Resident)    To Read More CLICK HERE

My father and mother met at Camp Reynolds. He was from Maryland and she was a local girl. They married in January 1944.

- Email


Mike Pistolesi taught music at Greenville HS for many years. He came to the Greenville area during WWII and was sent to Camp Reynolds to play in the band.  He would play for the troops who were leaving and I believe, for the Germans when they would go to dinner, etc.  

- Warren Keck

As a result of a great amount of snowfall Main Street of our little town Greenville, developed two ruts in the heavy snow, since we didn't have any snow-clearing equipment to handle such a large snowfall. The standing joke at that time was that a stranger, finding his way into town, would ask "Which rut do I take to get out of this place?" That was more truth than fiction, since the ruts grew larger by the day, and if you didn't stay in your rut, you didn't go anywhere.

Camp Reynolds was just a few miles down the road from our town. In, I believe, March of 1945, an engineer company stationed at the camp brought in its equipment, which included power shovels, bulldozers, etc., along with high-pressure water hoses, and cleaned up Main Street. We hadn't really seen the pavement since December 12 of 1944.
- William Garts  (Former Local Resident)    To Read More CLICK HERE

I remember going through the camp with my uncle who was a WWI veteran at age 13. The German prisoners came to work at a factory next to Wampum school. 

- Gene Cody

My father Frank Rotell worked in the commissary during the war, then when the camp closed in 1945, he operated the grocery store at the village across the highway. We left in 1948 and moved back to Sharon as things pretty much closed down then. I have vivid memories of the POW working in the village, collecting garbage etc. I remember 1st grade in a one room school house in Transfer (Ms Mortimer was the teacher I believe), then 2nd grade at St. Michaels and then 3rd grade at Transfer. I believe the school house is still there.

- John Rotell - Sharon Resident

Me and my twin brother & mom went to the camp to see dad, it was on his birthday
I think I was 5 or 7 at the time.

- Son

A couple months ago we had some discussions. On the Mahoning Division, the Erie had on-line the Keystone Arsenal [connect at Stony Point], Ravenna Arsenal [Freedom, OH], The Ravenna Arsenal was active at ever decreasing activity until the end of the Cold War. The Erie did serve the Shenango Personnel Replacement Depot [Camp Reynolds] via a connector at Pymatuning [Transfer] to the parallel PRR E&P branch. This facility was used for the build-up for the Normandy invasion then after beginning of 1944 was used as a German POW camp.
- Paul Stumpff: Geneva, Ohio [formerly Greenville, PA & Niles, Ohio]

My mother used to work as switchboard operator at the Camp.

- Paul

My friend's brother-in-law says when he was 10 years old he remembers seeing prisoners of war walking down the Mercer-Greenville road picking up trash. They lived in the Fredonia area at the time. I've been told that the Rhodes Busing Company that was in our area  (New Castle) would come to the camp and take the soldiers to Conneaut Lake.
- Nancy

I Volunteered at the camp with sisters and parents. We lived in Sharon and had soldiers in for dinner.

- Heidi Moyer  CA


My dad (Papa) often talks about Camp Reynolds at Transfer, PA. During World War II, the Army came into the area and forced people from their homes and farms in order to establish a camp used for preparing troops to ship out overseas. Many of the neighbors had to sell out and move to other areas. Papa's family moved to the area called Delaware Grove, where they bought a farm which his parents owned until the mid-1970s. (The house on this farm was very old and was reportedly used by the Underground Railroad to hide slaves many years before.)
On Route 18 in Transfer, Papa's family, his Grandfather Love and Uncle Paul Love all had houses side by side. After the Army came in and forced them out, they moved Grandfather Love's house across the road and put the main gate to the camp in its place. Papa's house was taken by the Commander of the base as his residence. It was a very nice house - Papa's father was a good carpenter and had built it well.
Camp Reynolds was built in 1942 and closed in 1945. Papa thinks that it covered about 1,000 acres. Over one million men passed through its gates during that time. The soldiers were trained there and sent to the "European Theater of Operations" to fight in the war.
While the camp was under construction, Papa, who was 15 years old, worked at a sandwich shop about a half mile from his house towards Greenville. The "sandwich shop" was on a neighbor's front porch. The construction workers came there to buy sandwiches, drinks, etc. for their lunches. The neighbor also had one gas pump, so folks could buy gas there, too.
On one trip back to this area after his family had moved, Papa and his friends took a road that goes through a covered bridge. They came to the bridge as American soldiers were marching down the road. The troops parted and Papa drove right down the middle between two rows of soldiers!
The most interesting part of Papa's Camp Reynolds story is when he tells of one visit he and his buddies made to the base in his 1936 Ford convertible. They entered through a back gate - no one tried to stop them, although he doesn't think that they were supposed to be there. They came around a corner and stopped. Right in front of them was a large group of German POWs being marched to the mess hall! They just sat there in the car and watched the enemy soldiers pass by.
- Granddaughter   - Papa Tales - Stories from the life of my Grandfather.  CLICK HERE to Visit Blog