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Hereford POW

A cache by Wuta & MJ Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 9/27/2008
Difficulty:
1 out of 5
Terrain:
1 out of 5

Size: Size: micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

Best way to get to cache is south and east from Hwy 60. Cache
location can be accessed from all directions, but roads could be
muddy after rains.

A nano was used at this location as cache locations at this site were few and far between. This cache is not so much about stumping someone as it is about showing a little bit of mostly unknown history of this area.

According to the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online, during World War II, Hereford became the site of a prisoner of war camp named the Hereford Internment Area or Camp Hereford. Covering a section of land, the camp was constructed in July 1942 at a cost of two million dollars. Italian prisoners occupied the site from April 1943 to January 1946. The first American Military Police unit arrived in 1943. Italian captives arrived in April of that same year. The prisoners were brought to Hereford by train and marched the approximately 4 miles to the camp. The first prisoners were escorted by guards who had no ammunition since it had not arrived yet. By September of 1943, the camp contained 5,000 prisoners. The openness of the flat high plains of Texas served as a deterrent to escape since escapees would be easily spotted. However, one escapee named Luigi Montalbetti traveled 300 miles toward Mexico before he was recaptured by the Texas Border Patrol.

The maximum-security policy was soon replaced by a policy of maximum utilization, and enlisted men were hired out to work on local farms at a rate of ten cents an hour. The officers, however, were incarcerated in separate compounds and not required to work. The mutual regard that developed between the prisoners and their captors was shown at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Umbarger Texas. There, seven Italian officers and two enlisted men made wood carvings, painted murals, and installed stained-glass windows, donating their labors in the spirit of Christian brotherhood. Parishioners reciprocated by providing them with bountiful meals. Each night the Italians smuggled the surplus back into the officers' compound, which was under a retaliatory starvation order from April through December 1945.

In late summer 1945, as the Nons (non-collaborators) recognized that the war was wrapping up and they would soon be leaving, they began to think of the five prisoners who had died while at Camp Hereford. What would become of these men after the war? They almost certainly would be forgotten in the otherwise unmarked area east of the camp designated as the cemetery. They concluded that a memorial was needed, both to mark the gravesites and to serve as remembrance of their deceased friends. Using scavenged bricks, broken glass, surplus materials, and a few purchased supplies, they built a small chapel in just a couple of weeks, complete with an altar, double French doors, stained-glass windows, and a marble-like concrete surface. They dedicated it with a plaque honoring the five men. The men were eventually re-interred at Fort Reno, OK. in 1947.

Rapid repatriation began with the end of the war, and in January 1946 the last 4,000 prisoners boarded special troop trains for their return to Italy. The camp was placed on the surplus list on February 1, 1946. All that remains today is a water tower, swimming pool and the memorial chapel constructed by the POWs. A 13-by-13-foot plaster-over-brick chapel, now vandalized, memorializes the five POWs who died in the camp.

If you’re interested there is another old POW site at McLean Texas with a cache also close by. The cache is named POW or GC1FMEV. The coordinates are
N 35° 14.903 W 100° 32.318.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Jver ubyqre

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



 

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80 Logged Visits

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Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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