Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 728th Railway Operating Battalion in World War II

For those of you who will be in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Saturday, November 28, 2009, I recommend you stop by and say hello to me. Bowling Green, besides being home to my alma mater, Western Kentucky University, is also home to a very nicely restored Louisville & Nashville Railroad depot and museum, now called the Bowling Green Historic Railpark.

The Railpark his hosting yours truly as a guest speaker. The subject: The 728th Railway Operating Battalion in World War II. This battalion consisted of many employees of the L&N, and was instrumental in supporting the Allied advance through France in the months following D-Day. The L&N helped re-open and operate the railroad from Cherbourg, France to Paris.

The reason for the invite is more complicated. Back at WKU, I wrote my senior thesis on the 728th, and largely forgot about the subject. A few months ago, a volunteer at the Railpark was doing research on the 728th so he could give the presentation, found my thesis, and managed to find me, all the way out in Missouri.

Of note, the depot includes several restored railcars on display, and I'll take lots of photos for a new Dave's Depots feature.

UPDATE: WKCT Radio in Bowling Green is doing a phone interview with me at 1:30 PM CST on Monday, November 23, 2009. There is a "listen live" feature if you dare.
UPDATE-UPDATE-The interview is a taped one, so don't listen live.


"Doc" Phil said...

Super! As you may know, we do a ww2 program here at IRM over Memorial Day and would love to hear more if you could come up. Do I hear "road trip"??

Unknown said...

I found your thesis online this last week and was so happy that I cried. My father was a Corporal in Co A of the 728th Railroad Operating Battalion. I am a genealogist and family historian and have gathered a whole lot of information about the family, but was never able to convince Daddy to talk much about the war. I have letters he wrote to Mother and pictures of the bombed tracks and upended rail cars and I knew he was stationed in New Orleans, Clovis and Minneapolis but never knew why. One picture of Mother and Daddy was made in front of a sign that said 'Camp W. C. Reid' - didn't know why he was there. Well, your thesis answered basically every question that I had. Thanks so much for making this work public. You have no idea how many blanks you have filled in for me. Best regards, Joanna Smith Dunn (daughter of Corporal W. Joe Smith)

Unknown said...

My Dad was in Co. A of the 728th Railroad Operating Battalion and was looking online for any information I could find when I ran across your Thesis. Thank you so much for making this public. You answered basically every question I had about his service. He would never talk about it much so I didn't have much information. I have pictures of bombed tracks and upended cars that he sent to Mother, but I didn't know where the pictures were taken. I was so happy to discover your research that I read it and cried the whole time. I have been doing genealogy and family history for the past 17 or 18 years and your research will be one of my most prized sources. Thanks again and best regards,
Joanna, daughter of Corporal W. Joe Smith, Sr.

David Wilkins said...


Thank you for your comments! Frank found them, they had been flagged mistakenly as "spam" by the software that manages this blog, and we had not been notified by e-mail, as we should have been.

I am going to contact you off line. I am considering brushing up the thesis for publication somewhere and the materials you have may prove to be helpful.

Unknown said...

David, my father was also in the 728th and I also have some pictures from that time . if you are interested you can reach me at steven4788@gmail.com