The 40th Light Signal Construction Battalion were formed and trained in Camp Campbell, Kentucky in late 1942. After 16 months of training, they were selected as part of the huge mass of U.S. troops to be relocated to the United Kingdom.
After being mobilized to Camp Shanks in New York, they waited their departure on a troop ship. The 40th boarded the SS Susan B. Anthony on the 18th January 44. The journey took ten days. They finally landed in Wales on the 28th January 1944.
After landing in South Wales, thousands of Allied troops disembarked and dispersed themselves in England from 1943 onwards. These men were called Yanks by the British, and hailed as “Overpaid, Oversexed, and Over Here!”. Life in anticipation of combat mean further training, bivouacs, and a chance for many men to experience what life was like overseas in Europe.
The 40th Signal Construction Battalion landed at Newport, South Wales, on the 29th of January 1944, and entrained for Eynsham Park, Northleigh, Oxfordshire, England, where the entire battalion was-garrisoned in Neissen huts.
The from February to June, they time was spent devoted to intensive training in all forms of wire construction, including the battalions’ introduction to British Multi-Airline Construction. They were also trained in mine detection and deactivation.
On the 26 April,the battalion was alerted for movement overseas for the purpose of taking part in the liberation of the continent of Europe.
Eynsham Park was their base. With morale higher than ever before,the battalion knew that they were ready. “Salute the Soldier Week” was a charity fund-raising event to help supply Allied troops. Although the charity was aimed at raising funds for the British Army, American troops did participate in events, in the spirit of Allied comradeship. On the 2nd of June, the battalion participated in the “Salute the Soldier Week” inaugural parade at Long Hanborough in Oxfordshire.
On June the 6th, 1944, over 160,000 soldiers of the Allied forces landed on the beaches of France. Having soon established a beachhead on the Normandy coast, the Allied forces struggled to maintain this precious anchor-hold. The Allies were still held back by a combination of fierce counter strikes by German troops holding on to the Atlantic Wall, and bad weather. Manpower and munitions were being shipped through this bottleneck to the front lines, and this did delay most signal corps units waiting for embarkation, including the 40th. It would take a week after D-Day before combat engineers under heavy fire in Normandy undertook any sort of action involving radio or telephone communications, and they were hastily patching France’s owns communications cables in an attempt to take over the wire at Cherbourg.
On 2 July 1944, at 2545, the battalion left Eynsham Park by motor convoy for the marshaling area l/RCRP/4 near Dorchester, England, a distance of approximately one hundred thirty miles. It rained during-the entire nine hours of the movement.
The Battalion was broken into craft loads and at 0145 hours, 5 July 1944, the first craft load, LST 1359, left for embarkation area at Portland, England, followed at 0250 hours by craft load, LST 1360, and at 0650 hours by craft load LST 1361.
Arrived Newport, South Wales, England – 28 Jan 44
Eynsham Park, Oxfordshire, England – 29 Jan 44 to 2 July 44
Middleston Stoney, Oxfordshire, England (B Co.) – 24 Feb 44 to 29 Mar 44
Leatherhead and Staines, Surreys England ( A Co) – 11 Mar 44 to 29 Mar 44
Anti Aircraft Gunners, Stiffkey range, York – 27 May 44 to 31 May 44
Marshalling Area 1/RCRP/ – 3 July 44 to 5 July 44
LSTs-1359, 1360, 1361, US Navy – 5 July 44 to 6 July 44
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