“Letterkenny World War II Italian Prisoner of War Experience” Opens at Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center

“Letterkenny World War II Italian Prisoner of War Experience” Opens at Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center

Franklin County Visitors Bureau is pleased to host “Letterkenny World War II Italian Prisoner of War Experience,” a new exhibit in the lobby of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center. The exhibit showcases more than 400 photographs, excerpts of memoirs, and document facsimiles to tell the story of repatriated Italian POWs, housed and working at Letterkenny Depot during World War II. Letterkenny Chapel is a lasting artifact of these men, who visioned and created the place of worship. A special dedication and welcome to Italian family and friends of the repatriated men will take place at 9:30 AM on September 10, 2022 at the 11/30 Visitors Center. The public is invited to attend.

Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and propelled the world into war. By September 1943, Italy signed an armistice with the Allies and in October 1943, Italy declared war on Germany. More than 50,000 Italian Prisoners of War, detained in the United States, were offered the opportunity to sign a statement of allegiance. A majority of nearly 90% repatriated and supported the American war effort. In May 1944, 1250 repatriated Italian soldiers came to Letterkenny Depot. They formed the 321st Quartermaster Battalion and helped to order, stock, and ship military supplies from Letterkenny Depot to Ally efforts in the Pacific and Europe.

The men of the 321st Quartermaster Battalion spent seventeen months at Letterkenny Depot, supporting the Allied effort. In their spare time, the men of the service unit applied their skills and created a lasting landmark. Using the materials from the farmhouses, barns, and other structures razed to construct the Letterkenny Depot, the men built Letterkenny Chapel. Today, the chapel stands as a lasting reminder of these men and a significant time in world history. Letterkenny Chapel is a prime representation of Italianate architecture with the characteristic square tower, quoined brickwork, and curved arches above the windows and doors.

The service unit returned to Italy in October 1945 after an international agreement was reached. “Letterkenny World War II Italian Prisoner of War Experience” tells their unique story.

“Letterkenny World War II Italian Prisoner of War Experience” is a joint effort of Dr. Alan Perry, Giorgia Magni , Historic Letterkenny Committee, and the Franklin County Visitors Bureau with exhibit design by Visitors Bureau senior designer Patricia Bunn. The exhibit remains open through November 11, 2022.

Remembering Veterans

Remembering Veterans

Franklin County’s military history stretches back to colonial America and carries to the present day. Today, on Veterans Day, Franklin County Visitors Bureau remembers and honors the military history of Franklin County and extends sincere gratitude to all veterans.

If you would like to learn more about Franklin County, PA’s military history, please see the Franklin County Military Trail of History guidebook here. Discover the stories of Franklin County’s men and women—a medal of honor winner, prisoners of war, two 9-11 memorials, pre-Revolutionary War heroes, the Doughboy, USCT, Civil War soldiers, and more.

Franklin County Visitors Bureau and 11/30 Visitors Center would like to share a verse penned by Joanna Fuchs as a Veterans Day Tribute.

The Best on Earth:

A Veteran's Day Tribute

If someone has done military service,

They earn the title "veteran," and more;

They earn our deep respect and admiration;

That they are special no one can ignore.

They sacrificed the comforts we enjoy;

The list is long of all the things they gave.

Our veterans are extraordinary people;

They’re loyal, dedicated, true and brave.

When terror and invasion were real threats,

They showed us they could handle any storm.

We owe our freedoms and our very lives

To our veterans, who served in uniform.

Our veterans should be celebrities;

They’re exceptional; no other group compares.

We’re grateful for the many things they’ve done;

They’re always in our hearts and in our prayers.

We owe our veterans support and friendship;

Let no one ever question what they’re worth.

These men and women served us and our country,

Our veterans--the very best on earth.
Remembering Veterans in Franklin County

Remembering Veterans in Franklin County

Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) invites the public to remember veterans throughout Franklin County this November. Waynesboro, in southeast Franklin County, is honoring local veterans with Hometown Heroes banners throughout the downtown. The banner initiative pays tribute to the contributions of Waynesboro area veterans.

The November 2nd First Friday in downtown Chambersburg is dedicated to remembering and honoring veterans. Brussels Café, 55 North Main, commemorates service men and women with a remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. U.S. Army Retired Colonel Doug Mastriano, author of Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne and Argonne: A New History of America’s Greatest Battle will be discussing his work and signing books throughout the evening. Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne received the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Award in 2015.

Allison-Antrim Museum, on Ridge Avenue in Greencastle, is commemorating the end of the Great War with a fall exhibit from its collection of uniform items and photographs of native sons. In addition, WWI recruiting posters, trench art, souvenirs, Prussian helmets, rifle bayonets, a slide show of WWI photographs from France and Germany are on exhibit through November 23, 2018. Allison-Antrim Museum is open regularly Tuesday to Friday, noon to 4 pm and Saturday, 11 am to 1 pm.

On November 24, as part of the grand opening of the Franklin County 11/30 Center, 15 South Main Street, local historian Mike Marotte will tell the story of WWI and its ending through the original source letters of a local resident. In addition, a feature exhibit of the new center will remember the impacts of WWI in Franklin County.

In November and throughout the year, visitors to Franklin County are invited to explore the Franklin County Military Trail of History. In Franklin County and throughout the country the local stories are the national contributions. The Military Trail guidebook is available online here or by contacting FCVB at 866.646.8060.