Just to let you know I’m keeping busy on these lovely warm evenings reading up on the arrival and stay of the 28th Infantry Division (ID) from October 1943 to April 1944. The 28th ID was originally the Pennsylvania National Guard, many of the soldiers from that area were of Welsh descent and were welcomed to Wales when they arrived to train for the D-Day landings.
The 28th ID docked at Cardiff in 1943 bringing almost 14,000 American soldiers to Wales, they were spread out across the Welsh countryside and began training and preparing for the retaking of France.
Part of the 112th Infantry Regiment of the 28th ID stayed at Highmead House, Llanybydder, only a few miles away from my hometown of Lampeter. There are written accounts of the American soldiers undertaking military exercises together with the 3rd Cardiganshire Battalion Home Guard, with the 112th advancing along the Teifi river in an attempt to capture the town of Lampeter that was being guarded by the Home Guard.
The American soldiers were welcomed to the area and were often invited to visit the homes of local families and join them for meals at which the soldiers supplied part of the rations for the meal. They made themselves especially popular with the children of the area not only because of the ready supply of gum and candy but also thanks to the Christmas party held by the soldiers for the underprivileged and other local children in 1943.
Even to this day, every person I have interviewed so far has remembered the Americans who stayed nearby fondly but also with great sadness as so many they had met and come to know never had the chance to return home to their families in America.
I hope to find families of those who were in the 112th Infantry Regiment and may have visited Lampeter, to hear about their father or grandfathers time in Wales. I have been in touch with the State Historian for the 28th ID and am very hopeful that they will be able to help with the regiment’s history during their stay in our part of Wales and possibly even some pictures!
If you think you can help fill in any part of the picture of the 28th ID’s stay in Wales I would love to hear from you! If your family remember the soldiers or if they were one of the soldiers please comment and say hi!
It’s back to the books for now but I will keep you all posted on how this develops.
Enjoy the wonderful weather!
Rhian -West Wales at War