A Look Inside Camp Patrick Henry

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CPH Map

According to Major W. R. Wheeler in A Road to Victory, Camp Patrick Henry (CPH) was formally activated on December 2, 1942 as a staging area for troops heading overseas and returning home. Between this time and January 31, 1946, an estimated 1,412,107 people passed through the camp. CPH was divided into regimental areas, many with their own mess halls. There was also a post office, hospital, chapel, and theaters. But what did it actually look like?

We have come across many photos of buildings within the camp. Here are five that give good insight into the types of buildings one could find there. Their locations in CPH are noted on the map above using corresponding numbers.   Read more

Entertainment for the Troops

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Chocolate Soldier

As mentioned in the previous blog entries, the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (HRPE) was an extremely busy nexus of activity during World War II. It wasn’t all hard work, though. Camp Patrick Henry was an Army base at HRPE where troops stayed before leaving for overseas or as a stop on their way home. They also hosted concerts and programs to entertain those troops.

One such event occurred on January 10, 1943. Gray Gordon and his Tic-Toc Rhythm Orchestra came to the Camp and hosted a show that included music, comedy, magic, and dance acts of all kinds. The US Signal Corps photographers took full advantage of this and we are lucky enough to have a wonderful collection of this wide variety of performances.   Read more

Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation

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WAC sliding into home base during an HRPE WAC softball game

For the past few months I have been lucky enough to view the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (HRPE) Collection at The Mariners’ Museum Library.  This collection includes over fifteen thousand photographs donated in 1946 by Brigadier General John R. Kilpatrick, former commanding officer of the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation.

Previous to World War II, HRPE served as a military port in the Spanish-American War and in World War I.  Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, HRPE was reactivated.  These photographs, taken by the United States Army Signal Corps, depict the various aspects of life at HRPE during World War II.   Read more