The voices of millions CLICK HERE to read many soldier letters to the canteens

(From the book: THE WEST STREET AMBASSADORS) The Junior Girls Canteen at Troy, Ohio in March 1945.  In the rain and night, several girls and their mothers meet a train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.  Snacks were offered from the cart sheltered by the patio umbrella.  This is the only canteen in the United States operated by teenage girls.  Before it was over, the girls fed over 600,000 troops. -- Cam-Tech Publishing   Click here to learn more about this canteen

March 5, 1945

Somewhere in Germany

My Dear Young Ladies:

Late last Christmas Eve, a troop train rumbled across the U.S. en route from Texas to a P.O.E. The men were in their bunks but most of them were awake thinking of their loved ones and the Christmas Eves of years gone by. Being away that far from home on this particular night was pretty rough and the men’s spirits were naturally very low. On top of it all, they had been traveling across the nation that whole day and no one had so much as wished them a ‘Merry Christmas.’

Then an event happened that none of the men will ever forget. The train rolled into a town and baskets of neatly wrapped gifts were brought on board. The shout of "Merry Christmas" was heard in the still night. This event made all the men feel pretty good. They knew then that someone appreciated what they were doing.

You girls caused those men to fall asleep happy. For this we thank you with all our hearts. That welcome you gave us was a grand thing. Your gifts carried sentiment that was worth more than all the money in the world. Thanks again and may God bless all of you.

Gratefully yours,

Edward J. Krenek

Co. B 661 T. D. Bn.

(From the book: THE WEST STREET AMBASSADORS) This powerful letter was written to the Junior Girls Canteen at Troy, Ohio, after they stood out in near zero temperatures on Christmas Eve 1944, to hand out the treats and gift of a grateful region to total strangers in uniform.  Five men wrote their letters of appreciation from the trenches at the Battle of the Bulge in early 1945. -- Cam-Tech Publishing

BELLEFONTAINE CANTEEN

 

Is everything ready? The train is in! 

Here come the boys; look at them grin!

Hello there. Sailor! Hi there, Marine!

You're welcome to the Bellefontaine Canteen.

Right this way, Private, Lieutenant, too;

You girls Khaki, Green and Blue!

Help yourself to the sandwiches, cake and pie.

Our coffee urn is never dry.

Or if you'd rather, there's milk or "coke".

It's all donated by generous folk—

Whose prayers are with you constantly—

And anything you want is free.

Where are you from? What's that medal for?

You look too young to be in this war.

Send us a card. Or even better,

If you have time, write us a letter.

Here comes the conductor: "All ready, men?"

Good-bye! Good luck! Come back again!

Virginia Fortney

1945

(From the book: THE COLUMBUS AVENUE MIRACLE) A poem printed on the back of cards given to the troops who stopped by the Bellefontaine Canteen.

Identified WW II Community Based Canteens

Click on the name of any town in blue type for a link to their canteen information

FOR CITIES  IN BLACK TYPE,  CLICK HERE

Martinez California      San Mateo, California      Bridgeport, Conn.      Streator, Illinois

Evansville, Indiana      Elkhart, Indiana      Terre Haute, Indiana       Clinton, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa      Oelwein, Iowa      Arkansas City, Kansas      Dodge City, Kansas

Neodesha, Kansas     Newton, Kansas      Bowling Green, Kentucky      Springfield, Missouri

Helena, Montana      Grand Island, Nebraska      Lincoln, Nebraska

McCook, Nebraska    Norfolk, Nebraska     North Platte, Nebraska      Reno, Nevada

Rochester, New York      Alliance, Ohio      Athens, Ohio      Bellefontaine, Ohio

Bucyrus, Ohio      Crestline, Ohio      Dennison, Ohio      Galion, Ohio       Lima, Ohio

Marion, Ohio      Mansfield, Ohio      Springfield, Ohio      Troy, Ohio   

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma      Connellsville, Pennsylvania      Sayre, Pennsylvania

Aberdeen, South Dakota   Corpus Christi, Texas    El Paso, Texas       Charleston, West Virginia  

Parkersburg, West Virginia

 

ITEM MENU AT A.W.V.S. CANTEEN at LIMA, OHIO

Sandwiches

Roast Beef, Roast Pork, Baked Ham, Chicken, Turkey, Barbecue, Bologna (Ham) Salad, Meat Loaf, Egg Salad, Cheese, Chicken Salad, Goose, Rabbit

Fried Chicken

Cakes

Fruit Cake, Brownies, Doughnuts, Cookies, Peanut butter, Oatmeal, Molasses, Sugar, Gingerbread

PiesLemon, Apple, Cherry, Peach, Raisin, Strawberry, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Blackberry, Rhubarb, Pineapple

Hard boiled eggs

Popcorn balls

Candy bars

Fudge

Other candy

Drinks

Coffee, Milk; white & chocolate, Orange Drink, Orange juice, Tea, Hot Chocolate

Ice Cream

Fruits

Apples ,Oranges, Bananas, Grapes, Pears, Peaches, Cherries

Other Items

Cigarettes, Matches, Tobacco, Chewing gum, Magazines, Newspapers,  Post cards, Writing paper, Pencils, Telephone calls, Telegraphs, Bus Fare, Train Fare, Taxi Fare

CLICK HERE for a list of USO lounges during WW II

 

Canteen Books

These books are a result of extensive research by Ohio author Scott D. Trostel.  Included in his genre are four additional canteen manuscripts that will be released in 2007.  Don't miss any of them!

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THE WEST STREET AMBASSADORS Nearly 40 of Troy, Ohio's teenage girls operated a community-based free canteen for the soldiers in WWII. The Junior Girls Canteen provided dedicated service to approximately 600,000 soldiers on all passing trains.

Soldiers were provided sandwiches, pecan pies, cookies, coffee, magazines and friendly smiles as their trains paused at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad station.

Residents of Troy and communities in six counties supported the girls efforts. They s overcame many difficulties which would have discouraged any man or woman had the cause been less worthy, or had the community been less wholehearted. They were dedicated and unsung ambassadors to the many who stood in harm's way in defense of our freedom and liberties. On behalf of a grateful region they expressed gratitude to the many troops.

ISBN 978-0-925436-53-5 • 136 pages • 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 • Soft cover  $14.95   

THE COLUMBUS AVENUE MIRACLE At Bellefontaine, Ohio, wives of railroad men provided free lunch to every soldier passing through town on the New York Central Railroad. For 45 months around the clock, over 700,000 soldiers were nourished with donated food served by unpaid volunteers on the station platforms.

The volunteer canteen workers’ showed incredible spirit and selfless sacrifice. This became the rallying point for the community. Ladies all over town and in the rural areas made baked goods; pies, cakes, cookies and cooked food without hesitation. Sandwiches were made by the basket full. Sunday school classes, high school and grade school classes, ladies clubs, grange members, farmers, even groups of employees from local merchants and manufacturers stepped forward to help in any way they could. From 1942 to 1946, they served soldiers passing through on furlough, troop trains, hospital trains, and even the P.O.W. trains were humbly served.

ISBN 978-0-925436-50-4 • 176 pages • 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 • Soft cover  $14.95   

 

LIMA'S OPERATION KINDNESS Lima, Ohio's, inspiring story of hundreds of dedicated volunteers who fed over four million soldiers and sailors at Lima's railroad stations during WW II, Korea and Viet Nam Wars. This was the longest operating railroad canteen in the United States.

This is a moving portrayal of devoted and selfless giving. Soldiers derived a powerful sense of purpose when greeted with friendly smiles and words of encouragement.

Volunteers greeted thousands of troops daily. They served at track side, overcoming significant difficulties. Supported by donations from eleven counties, they did not allow the supply of scarce items to fail.

The text is laced with stirring letters from appreciative service men and women. Lima’s dedicated track side ambassadors of kindness waved good-byes to those headed to battle and offered thanks to veterans who stood in defense of freedom and liberty from 1942 until 1970. It was Lima’s finest hour!

ISBN 978-0-925436-51-1 • 130 pages • 8 1/2 x 11 • Soft cover $26.95   

Next Stop- Dennison! Over 1,300,000 troops stopped at Dennison, Ohio canteen on the Pennsylvania Railroad. They were welcomed with bologna and cheese sandwiches, fruit, candy bars and drinks.  It was a profound gesture supported by the citizens of over seven counties. 

 

 

 

 

 

ISBN 978-0-925436-54-2 • 134 pages • 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 • Soft cover  $14.95 

Angels at the Station  Never before told is the story of 16 canteens in one of the most powerful home front stories to come out of WW II.  This is a remarkable story of compassion and dedication by wives, mothers, sisters and entire regions in a profound gesture to meet the troops at several stations around the United States.    

 

 

 

ISBN 978-0-925436-54-8 • 262 pages • 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 • Soft cover  $28.95