LT. JOHN J. NESBITT, JR.- WORLD WAR II SERVICE - RETURN TO LA LOUVIERE, JUNE, 1964
ALMOST TWENTY YEARS AFTER THE END OF WORLD WAR TWO, IN JUNE OF 1964, MY FATHER, MOTHER AND I SAILED FOR EUROPE ON THE CUNARD LINE'S QUEEN ELIZABETH ON THE OCCASION OF MY GRADUATION FROM COLLEGE.  WHILE FOR ME IT WAS A WHIRLWIND EUROPEAN GRAND TOUR BEFORE GOING ON TO GRADUATE SCHOOL, FOR DAD IT PROVIDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT AND SHOW MOTHER AND ME (AND PARTICULARLY ME) THE PLACES THAT WERE SPECIAL TO HIM AND HIS UNIT IN THEIR SERVICE DURING THE WAR.  WHILE THIS INCLUDED PARIS, ENGLAND AND BELGIUM, THE HIGH POINT WAS THE RETURN TO BEGIUM AND THE TOWN OF LA LOUVIERE.  AS A NEWLY MINTED U. S. ARMY 2ND LIEUTENANT, HAVING JUST BEEN COMMISSIONED FROM R.O.T.C. AT GRADUATION, THIS WAS A  MEANINGFUL EVENT FOR ME. 

DAD HIRED A CAR AND DRIVER/GUIDE IN BRUSSELS FOR THE VISIT TO LA LOUVIERE AND ENVIRONS.  ON THE WAY INTO LA LOUVIERE WE TRAVELED ALONG A LONG STRETCH OF TREE LINED, VERY STRAIGHT TWO LANE ROAD WITH MAINLY FIELDS ON EITHER SIDE.  DAD TOLD US THAT THIS WAS A MAJOR ORDNANCE DEPOT IN THE WINTER AND SPRING OF 1944-45 WHEN THE 430TH ORDNANCE TIRE REPAIR COMPANY WAS STATIONED IN NEARBY LA LOUVIERE.  HE SAID THAT ALL ALONG THE ROAD WERE OPEN STOCKS OF ORDNANCE EQUIPMENT.  EACH TYPE OF ORDNANCE EQUIPMENT HAD A SPECIFIC LOCATION ALONG THE ROAD DESIGNATED BY ITS DISTANCE IN KILOMETERS FROM AN "ENTRANCE" CONTROL POINT.  A FIELD UNIT WOULD SEND ITS SOLDIERS IN A JEEP OR TRUCK WITH A REQUISITION TO THE DEPOT CONTROL POINT.  REQUISITION ACCEPTED, THEY WOULD BE TOLD IN KILOMETERS HOW FAR DOWN THE ROAD TO GO TO FIND THE REQUIRED ORDNANCE MATERI AL.  ONCE THERE THEY WOULD PRESENT THEIR APPROVED REQUISITION TO THE SARGENT IN CHARGE OF THAT PARTICULAR ITEM OF SUPPLY.  I RECALL THAT DAD EXPLAINED THAT GIVEN WAR TIME OPERATING CONDITIONS THIS OPEN AIR DEPOT SYSTEM WORKED RATHER WELL.

ONCE IN LA LOUVIERE WE FOUND THE STREET AND THEN THE LOCATION OF THE SCHOOL WHERE THE 430TH WAS STATIONED AND BILLETED.  DAD SAID THAT IT HAD CHANGED LITTLE FROM HIS MEMORY OF IT DURING THE WAR.  NEAR THE SCHOOL WE FOUND THE HOUSE OF A FAMILY THAT HAD BEEN GOOD FRIENDS OF DAD'S DURING THE WAR.  MAKING INQUIRIES, WE SOON WERE TOGETHER WITH ANDREE AND EMILE NICAISE AND HAD A VERY NICE VISIT THAT INCLUDED COGNAC TOASTS TO "OLD TIMES AND RENEWED FRIENDSHIP," FOLLOWED BY A VERY NOSTALGIC LOCAL TOUR.  FROM THEN ON MOTHER AND DAD CORRESPONDED ANNUAL AT CHRISTMASTIME WITH ANDREE AND EMILE, AND AFTER DAD PASSED AWAY IN 1981 MOTHER CONTINUED THE CORRESPONDANCE UNTIL SHE WAS UNABLE TO DO SO SOME YEAR BEFORE SHE PASSED ON IN 2003.  THEIR FAMILY TOOK THE PHOTOS TO THE LEFT BELOW OF OUR VISIT AND SENT COPIES TO MOTHER AND DAD.        
THE TOP PHOTO TO THE LEFT SHOWS DAD, MOTHER AND ME WITH FRIENDS "ANDREE ET EMILE."  THEY ARE TO THE RIGHT WITH MOTHER IN THE PRINT DRESS BETWEEN THEM.  DAD AND I ARE TO THE LEFT.  I BELEIVE THAT THE YOUNG MAN WITH US IN THE OTHER PHOTOS IS THEIR SON WHO JOINED US.  THE "DRINK COASTER" LOWER RIGHT IS FROM A STOP IN NEARBY LE ROEULX AND SHOWS THE LOCALE OF OUR VISIT AND TIES IN THE LOCATION OF THE CHATEAU PHOTOS BELOW.  IT WAS IN THIS CHATEAU, CHATEAU DU ROEULX, THAT THE U.S. ARMY OFFICERS FROM NEARBY UNITS, INCLUDING DAD AND THE OTHER OFFICERS OF THE 430TH, WERE BILLETED.  A PHOTO OF THE CHATEAU TAKEN IN MAY, 1945 ALSO APPEARS ON THIS WEB SITE LINK TO PAGE WITH WWII CHATEAU DU ROEULX PHOTO IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THE HANDWRITTEN NOTATION ON THE BACK OF THE WARTIME PHOTO OF THE CHATEAU IS "CHATEAU DU CROIX, LA LOUVIERE, BELGIUM.".

THE ABOVE PHOTO I TOOK OF DAD WITH THE OLDER GENERATION OF THE FAMILY, WHO WERE WAR TIME FRIENDS ALSO, WITH THEIR GRANDSON.  THEY SAID THAT OUR VISIT WAS A VERY MEANINFUL OCCASSION FOR THEM.

BELOW ARE PHOTOS I TOOK AT THE CHATEAU.  WE HAD A GUIDE FOR THE  TOUR AND LEARNED THAT THE GARDENS ARE QUITE FAMOUS FOR THEIR ROSES.    
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