Georgia Girl With An English Heart! Read the following and you can see that the Currahee Military Museum is right up my alley! (You will also understand about the nod to England in my title.)
Look on the side of my blog. Do you see that Toccoa, Georgia is my place of birth? My father was also born there AND his father before him! Since my Dad is now 91 years old, we have a long history of living in that area. Growing up, my mother's father had land on that same road as Camp Toccoa. In the early 1960's, all that was left of the camp were the abandoned white buildings that I would ask about when we would go past them in the car. In hushed tones I was told about the paratroopers who trained there in World War II. The stories about them were always conveyed with the deepest respect. There were a few books written about them but it was not until Stephen Ambrose wrote his best selling book "Band of Brothers" that most people first heard of the camp. This put Toccoa "on the map" so to speak. (And really, it was the mini-series film adaption produced by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg that did so. I will ask folks if they have read the book and hardly anyone has but "they have seen the movie". The mini-series is excellent, I agree but if you get the chance...please read the book, it is very good.)
Currahee Mountain is about five miles from the train depot in Toccoa, Georgia. When the soldiers arrived there, they walked to the camp which at the beginning was called "Camp Toombs". This was named after a Confederate general but when the commanding officer, Col. Sink, heard the name and also noticed that the men were walking past a casket company that was in Toccoa, he petitioned to change the name and therefore the Army agreed to the change and it became Camp Toccoa.
Currahee Military Museum and Stephens County History Museum are in the same place- the old train depot in Toccoa, Georgia. Now, both of these are fascinating to me and I hope that if you visit you will spend time in both.
CURRAHEE. The paratroopers used this as their motto since "Currahee" is a Native American word that means "we stand alone". The paratroopers were the first to be dropped into Europe just before D-Day. If you have read "Band of Brothers" you will know this already! But you WILL read it, won't you? Please do!
Time it just right and you will hear/see a train going past!
What about the English part? Okay, here it is...
After training, the men from Camp Toccoa were sent to Aldbourne, England. They were housed in stables from mid 1943 until 1944 in preparation for D-Day. (I hope you all know the date of June 6, 1944 for the beach landings in Normandy, France. Remembering, of course, that the paratroopers were flown in just before the landings.)
If you can read the sign above, one of the stables is now proudly inside the museum and it is one of the original stables from England! What a wonderful story, I think. If you notice, the four Englishmen even came to Georgia and re-assembled the building! I love that they did that.
I have mentioned Camp Toccoa before in my posts, you may read one of them just here.
I am thankful that the Currahee Military Museum exists to celebrate the "Toccoa men" and to honor all veterans and active duty military. There are plans to even further honor them with a museum at Currahee Mountain itself.. You may see that website just here. (Camp Toccoa at Currahee Project.)
My heart is full after writing this post. So difficult to explain my own admiration for these men who trained at Camp Toccoa! I have read every book about them that I could find, including the memoirs that many of them wrote. Most of them have passed away now, so it is more important than ever, I believe, that we remember them and honor them. (I worked as a travel agent for almost 20 years during the 1980's and 1990's and talked with many vets going to their World War II reunions. I see now how lucky I was to personally speak with them. What a great bunch of guys! I salute them all.)