“Camp Lili” Living History Unit

Camp Lili recreates a US Army Signal Corps Company encampment in a forward position in southern France during WW2.

Camp Lili recreates a United States Army Signal Corps Company encampment based on a signal company attached to the 441st Anti-aircraft artillery battalion, a part of “Camel Force” which invaded southern France between Cannes and St. Raphael in August of 1944 as part of Operation Dragoon.

This area was spear headed by the 36th Infantry Division (shoulder patch of Camp LiIi) to which the 441st was attached. Once the beach was secured, the 36th fought up the Rhone Valley to join U.S. Forces from the Normandy invasion.

Almost all equipment and displays at Camp Lili are original WW2 era items. In addition to static displays, the following items are demonstrated, many of which visitors may participate in: carrier pigeons and signal flags, field phone EE-8, switchboard BD-71, telegraph TG5A, signal lamp SE-11, Aldis lamp, portable organ, field phonograph, and demonstrations and blank firing of Garand, M-1 carbine and M1911 pistol.

Camp Lili is a private collection dedicated to preserving the history of WW2 and honoring those who did their part. It is a traveling exhibit and upon request items from the following categories can be included in display: home front memorabilia. Remember Pearl Harbor items, correspondence (including V mail, postcards, etc.), soldiers’ records and papers, photographs, and a variety of other items. Visit @camplili on Facebook.

Camp Lili will be participating in Camp Hearne’s Remembering D-Day Living History Event, June 8. Please join us on this special day. Admission is FREE!  Gates open 10am to 4pm.  Camp Hearne is located northwest of Hearne on FM485.   Visit camphearne.com for more information or contact Cathy Lazarus at 979-314-7012.

So What is a Living History Event?

Chances are you have at some time in your past, “re-enacted” a historical event – possibly in school or church.  Perhaps you were a shepherd in a Christmas pageant or playacted the part of George Washington in a skit.  “Re-enacting” a historical event or character is just that, performing a role or acting.

Living Historians are a bit different.  Certainly, their passion for history shines through. They study history beyond textbooks to develop a vivid impression of a person – common citizen or well-known hero – who is dwelling in our not so distant past.

According to The Alamo’s website,
Living historians tend to be associated with museums and historical sites that specialize in interpreting the past through a format that allows visitors to visualize the past through the use of their senses. Living historians can also be dedicated private individuals who volunteer their talents and services to historical sites and as such are a valuable resource.

The term “living history” refers to a method of interpreting the past through the use of a person or persons dressed in period clothing. The technique is usually enhanced by having the person or persons use period tools and engage in period activities.

So, what can you expect at Camp Hearne’s annual “Remembering D-Day Living History” event?  You can expect to visit with living historians, view traditional exhibits, inspect military vehicles & gear and hear lots of storytelling.  Saturday, June 8, will be a wonderful way to experience military history and learn more about a Central Texas town’s home front contributions to the war effort.  You can even walk the ground that was shared by German and American soldiers…just on opposite sides of the fence.

Camp Hearne is proud of our Living Historian and Re-enactor partners.  Hope you will join us for our June 8th Open House while Remembering the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

POW Escort Guard Returns to Camp Hearne, June 8

During WWII, few people were aware that America was home to hundreds of thousands of German prisoners-of-war.  Because of the Geneva Conventions of 1929, most prisoners were required to be held in a similar climate as their capture location.  On a parallel line from North Africa, the American southern states held many of Rommel’s surrendered Afrika Korps.  More were held in Texas than any other state. 

Hearne, Texas was home to 4800 mostly German prisoners and 500+ US Army personnel.  Our Camp Hearne exhibit sits on the original POW Campsite and reveals a very common story of what life was like for the American guards and their foreign prisoners in America.  Photographs, artwork, artifacts and various military objects housed in a 1943 US Army barracks replica help the visitor to experience WWII history today.  Come walk the same ground as German soldiers marched and America GIs patrolled, here in Central Texas.

Matthew Ware, former Military Police Escort Guard. His first duty during WWII was to travel to North Africa and bring back German POWs to Hearne, Texas.

This June 8, former military police escort guard, Matthew Ware, will be onsite to tell his story.  He escorted prisoners from North Africa to Hearne, Texas and spent some time in military service at the Camp before being shipped overseas.  Other living historians will be discussing their WWII impressions donning WWII uniforms, gear and weapons.  The Lone Star Military Vehicle Preservation Association will have a small “motor pool” of vintage trucks and jeeps to complement our stories. 

This is truly a good time to visit Camp Hearne to experience WWII history in a vibrant, hands-on way.

Join us June 8 for our annual Remembering D-Day Living History Event.

Admission is FREE!  Gates open 10am to 4pm.  Camp Hearne is located northwest of Hearne on FM485.   Visit camphearne.com for more information or contact Cathy Lazarus at 979-314-7012.