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Pursuing specifics about HQComZ Provost Marshal records, and VIP visits to Normandy July-Aug 1944

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by tzt4, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. tzt4

    tzt4 New Member

    Mar 23, 2014
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    Hi, I'm newly posting to this forum. My intro basics are in the NEW Recruits section. I separated out my questions and its preface to this area.

    I have for the last 9 months been on a research surge regarding my grandfather's service following rediscovery of a handful of wartime photos of his, taken in the US and France.

    He was an MP and Motorcycle Scout with the 287th MP Co (PC&S) for the majority of his overseas service.
    I shared the France photos with Flickr/PhotosNormandie and that group helped me greatly, findings locations of the photos and providing unit history. I have his separation paper (the "last unit" was wrong)
    I also went the official records research route:
    A) Hired a researcher at St Louis to trace his unit assignments in the Morning Reports, fully and successfully!
    B) I visited the Army's Military Heritage Center in Carlisle Barracks, obtaining the abbreviated Unit Histories from their microfilm, and some excerpts from 6th Armored Division, where photo evidence shows he followed behind them at some point during their initial 28-30 July 1944 breakout south along the coast through Coutances, Quettreville-Sur-Seine and Granville.
    C) I visited NARA II in College Park, obtaining some additional information about the 287th and 294th MP Cos.
    D) I took advantage of FOLD3.COM's gracious D-DAY 70th Anniversary "open-house" where they dropped the paywall and made the NARA RG498 COMZ / ETOUSA records available. If I need, I can make another trip to College Park to look up specific items but it has to be focused; I gotta work and maintain a home!
    5. So, I have obtained a great amount of detail; all the basic information and lots more, to produce a thorough paper/presentation for my family about his military service. But I am an analyst and apparently the family archivist and a bulldog. I am pursuing some more obscure details and hope someone on the forum can help.

    SUMMARY: The 287th MP Co. (PC&S) was one of a few MP Companies that provided security for HQ, Forward Echelon COMZ at Valognes on the Cotentin Peninsula (actually on 2 Chateau estates outside the destroyed city), arriving in France 14 JUL. This work continued for its parent command HQ COMZ when that group moved from England to France on 7 AUG and absorbed FECOMZ. They all moved to Paris on 14 SEP 44. He finished the war there and beyond, from JUN to OCT 45 with the 294th MP Co assigned to Seine Section. Apparently he would have been among the REMF's that frontline infantry hated. Oh well. My grandfather's unit would have been security and VIP escort for GEN John C.H. Lee and some of his high-ranking visitors, such as Patton and high ranking Roosevelt Admin. officials (I'll mention later). He also at times was involved with POW handling, probably to help transfer them from the combat unit MPs to the rear holding areas.

    Questions: to possibly help me get some insights:
    - To what extent "he was with Patton", when the unit never officially was?, and
    - While he was based in the Cotentin Peninsula, what purpose had him 50 miles south at Granville?

    1) Some records in RG498, reproduced by Fold3.com, show only a title page and then "Additional material under this number will be found on a classified roll of microfilm." Is that still true in 2014? The specific one of interest is: "484 - File Name: Daily Journal, Provost Marshal, Daily Incident Reports, OPMG, ETOUSA, Jan-Aug 1944 (Classified)" How is it possible to obtain this?

    2) The 287th MP Morning Reports for 8-10 AUG 44 show "26 EM detached to other orgs for a secret mission". Usually with detachments the 287th MP would identify the individuals and the hosting orgs for those men. Not in this case. On 8 AUG, Treasury Secretary Morgenthau was in Normandy, visiting the Cherbourg area. [ https://www.youtube....h?v=drJhPtKInhE ] There is an itinerary for half the day of 8 AUG; the part you see in the film (Youtube). My grandfather *may* have been in the security detail (however not visible in film). But Morgenthau also visited Gen Bradley at his Command Post at the Ch√Ęteau des Mares in Saint-Sauveur-Lendelin. That is not on the available itinerary.
    Does anyone have more detail about how long Morgenthau was in theater, and any more of an itinerary? If for instance he went to Granville on 9 or 10 Aug, it may have been as his escort that my grandfather went there.

    3) Similarly on 17 JUL, War Secretary Henry Stimson visited Normandy. I have found a couple of photos of that visit; Patton, Bradley and Lee all saw Stimson that day.
    Does anyone have an itinerary available for that VIP visit?

    Thanks, and Glad to be aboard!
  2. Earthican

    Earthican Member

    Oct 11, 2011
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    Welcome Tom,

    Just because I love speculating, I'll bite on this:

    - While he was based in the Cotentin Peninsula, what purpose had him 50 miles south at Granville?

    Recently I was reading about army engineers inspecting/surveying these ports to see how much effort it would take to open them. Perhaps the MP's provided security for such an FECOM-Z mission.

    I don't know if we have any experts on the Corps of Military Police. I usually enjoy learning from the research of others. If you have learned anything about the units assigned to the COM-Z/ETOUSA Provost Marshal (?) we would welcome the expertise.

    BTW what does the (PC&S) in 287th MP Co (PC&S) stand for?
    tzt4 likes this.
  3. tzt4

    tzt4 New Member

    Mar 23, 2014
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    That is a plausible MP security mission for him. While skimming the RG498 records of HQ ComZ and FECOMZ, I did see where the Engineers did port surveys and repairs. Thanks for reminding me of it. That gives me three possibilities:
    1) Assist and augment the MP forces for the breakout surge in POW handling and transition from combat MPs to rear ComZ holding areas
    2) A VIP escort tour
    3) An engineer survey / repair mission

    PC&S = Post, Camp or Station.

    From the June 1944 MP Field Manual, found here: http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p4013coll9/id/802

    a. Military police are organized into:
    (1) Platoons, companies, and battalions as part of all divisions and larger units according to tables of organization.
    (2) Battalions and companies under the control of commanding generals of the service commands, and theaters of operations.
    (3) Special units for oversea departments and other commands in conformity with special tables of organization; such as the Military Police Service Organization, T/O & E 19-500.
    (4) Detachments at posts, camps, and stations as authorized.
    (5) Military police escort guard companies and military police prisoner of war processing companies.

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