Friday, February 24, 2006

WW II Railway Operating Battalions

From: "Arnim Gerstenmeier"
Re: Southern Pacific - 715th Railway Operating Battalion - 1943-1945

A friend of mine is researching her dad's WW II career. He was employed by the Southern Pacific RR and served with the 715th Railway Operating Battalion in North Africa and Italy. Was the Southern Pacific a sponsor of that unit also?

Where do you suggest we look for information? After the war, he returned to the Southern Pacific and worked for that line (California) until his death.



Courtesy of an anonymous donor.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a interesting locomotive bell currently up for auction on eBay. Reportedly an artifact from the WWII 715Th Railroad Operating Battalion, it is inscribed with several names, one being a Lt. Heisler! How cool is that!

4/15/2007 6:28 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The above "17" brass bell 1943 Illinois Central railroad 715th RROB" is described as follows:

"Brass railroad bell mounted on wooden plate. I believe this bell was "owned" by the 715th Railroad Operating Battalion. The 715th served in Italy from 1943-1945 and operated the lines between Pisa and the northern Italian coast, supplying the effort to drive the Nazis from the Apennines and out of the Po Valley of Northern Italy.
They were sponsored by the Illinois Central Railroad.

One side is engraved:

Company B
715th Operating battalion
Feb 5th 1943

The other side is engraved with the names of members of the unit:

Capt W. T. Kelly
Lt. R.J. Chinn
Lt. L.B. Griffin
Lt. E.V. Heisler
Lt. J. B. Mattingly

Boiler base 8", base to top of yoke-17", width of yoke-10', bell diameter 8" weighs approx 40 lbs."


4/15/2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See additional discussion.

4/15/2007 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike... I am starting to look for information on the 715th railway operating battaliion. My father-in-law, Raymond D. Simpson, served in Company A Oct 1942 to Oct 1945. Any sources you could point me to would be greatly appreciated.

Mike B

4/12/2008 11:37 PM  
Blogger krm said...

My father was also part of the 715th Battalion. He would love to hear more about this subject plus provide any details he may have.

12/26/2008 8:07 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Your dad is most welcome to post details here.

12/27/2008 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my grandfather served in company a of the 715rob. in the Apennines and po valley campaigns. his name was arnold wolters.

7/27/2009 5:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We are trying to record the history of the MRS in WWII at one spot. Have nothing on the 715 ROB.

Would invite contributions at the link below.

Dave Williams

11/05/2009 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Nancy Cunningham said...

Leaving the URL to Military Rails on line below.

Dave Williams

11/05/2009 1:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My Grandpa Virgil L Ryan (Erie,PA) was a tech grade 5 with company B and i have no pictures of him in the service or what the patch looks. He was in Italy and Africa from 1942-1945. He passed away April 15th, 2004 from Prostate Cancer. After World War 2 he worked for the Pennsylvania RR for 40 years.

3/07/2013 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Ryan, my Dad has a few old photos that I hope to be going through soon. Would you recognize him as a lad? My father is still living, so maybe I could find out if he recognizes the name. Thank you so much for posting.

3/07/2013 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

that would be cool and i would appreciate it

11/18/2013 3:17 PM  
Blogger EUCMH said...

11/19/2013 12:37 AM  
Blogger EUCMH said...

200 photos - 732 ROB / ETO
(European Center of Military History)

11/19/2013 12:38 AM  
Blogger krm said...

Came across a photo with the following names...
Gafjord - driver
Chearhaer - signal
Kreisel - signal
Paul Jenkins - supply
McPherson - signal

11/19/2013 6:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

let me know if you come across a Virgil L Ryan

1/05/2014 5:42 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just found out my Grandfather was in Co. A 715th. Clifford Akers. I have letters from Italy but really don't know a lot about his service. Anything would be helpful.

1/19/2014 12:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

well we will probably have to pay to keep more info on our grandpas. i have been googling the info.

1/20/2014 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan, please explain, as the meaning of your last post is unclear. If you are saying that you are willing to pay for help with obtaining information about your ancestor, there are professional genealogists available who may be able to help with the research.

1/20/2014 9:32 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

i said we will probably have to pay for our grandpas military records

3/21/2014 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather, Arnold L. Wolters was in 'A'company of the 715th Railway Operating Battalion. He went to railway replacement school at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. I have some pictures and documents, and would like to exchange information with anyone interested.

11/12/2014 1:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would be email me At

4/08/2015 12:10 PM  
Blogger Cunningb2 said...

Would love to hear fromn anyone else from this unit !
Thanks Nancy

8/04/2015 7:58 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My grandfather Served in the NYS-715th Railway Operation BN. Served in N/Africa/Italy from 1942-1945. His Name was Daniel W Donatelli. Interesting enough I have his Units "Extract" Letter for when they got the word they were going home from 2nd Lt H. Goodman. everyone on this list is From Ohio and Indiana and a few From KY,MI. About 65 names on this list. I have some Photos etc from his time in N Africa as well. He passed when I was a teen and never got to fully discuss his time there and would love to provide any info I could to people. So if you had someone serve in the 715 from Ohio or Indiana area feel free to email me

8/17/2015 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Guy Harrison said...

My father who passed away last week served in the 715th, Company C as a brakeman and engineer. He operated from Oran to Philippeville, Algeria, then to Bizerti, Tunisa, the they deployed to Italy (Salerno, I believe) where he operated up the coast through Naples, Rome and northward until VE day. They were then deploying to Okinawa for the invasion of Japan when Japan surrendered while they were at sea. The captain made an announcement "this vessel's destination has been changed to New York City!"

He has over 200 photos from his service. Amazing stuff. Are there any sites with more information!

11/04/2019 11:44 AM  
Blogger krm said...

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry to read of the loss of your father. Personally I would love to see all 200 of your photos! It is so wonderful that you were able to capture some of the story and to have all those photos. My father Enoch McPherson passed in 2015 and I miss him every day. I hope you can share your photos and more of their story. Do you have any audio or video recordings of your father? I can be reached at kelly(dot)mcpherson(at)

11/04/2019 12:28 PM  
Blogger Cunningb2 said...

I would love to post any docs or photos on the blog just email me

11/04/2019 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Ryan Horomanski"

It’s my grandpa not my dad.

11/04/2019 3:08 PM  

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