A porcelain tray and coaster set depicting various scenes familiar to members of the 509th MP Bn. in WWII. Identified.
This is a notch above for your basic bring home souvenirs from occupied German by American GI’s. Corporal Joseph S. Klepes from HQ & HQ Det., 509th Military Police Battalion, brought this great set of illustrated porcelain made specifically for either himself or for perhaps a few of his buddies in the Bn.
Klepes enlisted at Fort Jay, Governors Island, NYC on 5 Oct. 1942. They arrived in England in early 1944, and obviously Klepes was able to get to London and see the sights (Piccadilly Circus).
The 509th MPs landed on Easy Red Beach (Omaha) on D-Day + 3, and were assigned to traffic duties about one mile inland – later moved through St. Lo, France which was pretty much destroyed by the time the 509th went through. The unit moved with the army through France and into Belgium delivering captured German POWs to the rear as well as traffic duties. They convoyed through Paris but were not allowed to stay there, thus one of the coasters shows the Eiffel Tower which reads “off limits.”
Sometime later toward the end of October, they were serving at another intersection near Aachen, Germany. In December, the MPs were in Belgium and were near the main fighting was during the Battle of Bulge. By April of 1945, the HQ was assigned to Wanfried, Germany. In July, the MPs got as close as they were going to get, stopping at Bonn, Germany area (see the porcelain for “Nacht (To) Berlin.”
The other coasters mimic what’s on the tray, with a nice unit insignia in center, a .45 ACP and a 1st Army Patch on an M1 helmet.
Condition of the set is excellent, all held together with quickly fashioned wood. The tray is approximately 13 inches long x 6.5 inches wide. The coasters are approx. 3.5 inches square. Some of the green felt backing has dried over the years and shows some cracking in a some areas but nothing bad, and can’t be seen anyway.
The map shown is from the internet just to show the route of the unit during their time in the ETO.
A great set of souvenirs. Sorry, had nothing else for Klepes.