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Keep Them Rolling: World War II letters from Louis Solberg – 1-9-2013

COLFAX — Louis Solberg, who passed away in 2008, grew up in Albertville, owned a farm north of Colfax and later on farmed on the Rusk Prairie. He and his wife, Alda, who passed away in 2006, operated the farm in the Town of Otter Creek during the 1940s and 1950s.

Here is Part 10 of Louis Solberg’s book, “Keep Them Rolling” (Company 314) (A World War II Story 1941-1945).

Sometime between October 9th and 17th (1943) we returned to Ireland. I don’t have the exact date.

We left Ashchurch by truck and drove up through England and Scotland.

I guess the highlight of the trip for me was when we stopped for a break in Dumfries, Scotland, right next to a sales barn.

Most of us farm boys went inside and looked over the nice cattle they had there. They were mostly roan Shorthorn.

We went on to Stran Rear and took a ferry over to Larne, Ireland. We drove out to Upper Balinderry to the Camp where we were first in Ireland.

Some of our Company had stayed there and ran a small operation when we were in England.

We had warehouses about a mile north of the Camp beyond the railroad station.

Most everyone hated the thought of going back to cold and rainy Ireland, but after we got settled and acclimatized, we were glad to be back in this land of friendly people.

At this time, our Company’s name was changed to 314 Ordnance Depot Company.

We were inland, southeast from Belfast. We would walk to the station and take the train in.

Our work here is about the same as the other time we were in Ireland: to supply incoming troops, so they would be field ready for the invasion of France.

Many vehicles were shipped in waterproof boxes across the ocean. They were hauled here from the ship and uncrated.

A lot of nice lumber was just thrown in a big pile and burned.

Much equipment was shipped to Balinderry where we had an unloading crew and trucked to the warehouses.

Heavy units

After we had been here a short time, Kristenson and Lanners, who had taken care of the heavy units section, needed me back there, so I took over that section. Soon Bill Heil, Joe Lyden, Victor Bosjancic, and Steve Steko, were also working with me.

A lot of the heavy stuff we had no room for in the warehouses, so we piled them outside and covered them with tarps.

The work was made easier here than it had been before, as we had a cement yard, and also fork lift trucks, to handle the boxes.

The big piles outside, we used a crane to pile boxes.

It was while we were here all incoming shipments were shipped to Bluff 9. That was the code name for our Deport.

We had guards posted around the warehouse area and also at the entrance of the camp.

The guard at the gate had a small guardhouse, about big enough to stand in, so he could keep out of the rain.

A couple of dirty kids used to hang around there a lot and an Airedale dog used to come around and lay inside. The boys said he snored, so they used to call him Asthma.

(Next, the soldiers celebrate Christmas 1943 in Ireland.)