AlCan to Utah Beach 1944

Kilroy Drawings from the 145th Engineer Combat Battalion

Saved by Col. John French McGaughey
Compiled by Andy Miller

Click any image for a larger view

Colonel John French McGaughey
These drawings are from photographs in my grandfather's World War Two scrapbook, which was recently discovered as my aunt was packing her house to move. I never knew my grandfather, John French McGaughey, as he died when I was 7 months old. There is no one in the family now living who has personal recollections of French, so any information about his service in the war is from official records and his scrapbook. He was the commanding officer of the 145th, and served with the unit

(or its predecessor units) from 1941, and was with the unit when it was assigned to the construction of the AlCan Highway in the spring of 1942. The 145th sailed for Britain in April 1944, and disembarked on Utah Beach on July 7, 1944.

The 145th built numerous bridges and repaired roads in support of Patton's Third Army assault on German forces across France. They were moved toward the fighting around Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge,

but did not see significant combat in that battle, at least as far as my limited research has been able to determine. There were some incidents of strafing by German aircraft, but in nearly all the photos where the soldiers are present, there are very few weapons in evidence.

The drawings illustrate many of the experiences the men of the Battalion faced. Food, fear, discomfort, and the desire to be home are all clearly expressed in these drawings. While the 145th was not in the front line, they

still had to put up with miserable weather, living, and working conditions in a place where they had no desire to be. From my perspective of having the luxury of air conditioning in the summer and a warm, dry bed in the winter, being able to go almost anywhere I want when I want, and not living with the daily fear of being shot at, bombed, or shelled, I am constantly amazed at the length of time the GIs spent sleeping in mud and snow, eating cold food, with the added bonus of having the very real

chance of being killed. I'd like to think I could have endured that, but I am forever gratefult that I have not had to test that presumption.

There unfortunately is little information about these drawings. A few things are certain - they were drawn by someone in the 145th Engineer Combat Battalion. The drawings were done by a soldier who I can only identify as Schrader, from the signature on one of the drawings. I am presuming he was attached to the Battalion

intelligence section, given that there are a couple of drawings referring to "Snoop-Two," or S-2, the intelligence officer. I am not certain of the sequence of drawings, but have listed them in the order they were found in my grandfather's scrapbook.

I hope you enjoy the drawings, and I would very much appreciate hearing from you if you know anything about the 145th's time in Europe, and particularly if you recall my grandfather.

Andy Miller
Morrisville, NC

Send Corrections, additions, and input to:


Click the star for Site Map WWII Kilroy Was Here World War 2 gremlins Foo fighters Select Star Bearcat..

Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind
b search