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Camp Tophat Belgium 1945

Started by River Patrol , Oct 13 2014 02:06 PM

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#1 River Patrol

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 02:06 PM

I found this in my travels recently. Does anyone know this camp?
Thanks,
Steve

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#2 BEAST

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 05:35 PM

Camp Tophat, a virtual city of thousands of black 20-man tents on the outskirts of Antwerp, Belgium, also qualified (technically) as a Cigarette Camp since it was named after Belgian Tophat cigarettes ""


Heres a link to a brief history http://www.skylighte...camptophat.html

#3 River Patrol

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 06:46 PM

Thanks Beast.....I tried multiple searches but came up with nothing. Good info.

#4 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:00 AM

Living in Belgium, I have a particular interest in Top Hat Items...

 

Here's front and back of a Camp Informational Leaflet

 

 

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#5 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:00 AM

Variation of the above...

 

 

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#6 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:01 AM

Pictures taken at the Camp and upon boarding a ship US bound... (Unit unknown...)

 

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#7 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:02 AM

Making those bracelets seems to have been a popular pass-time...

 

 

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#8 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:03 AM

1945 Belgian magazine featuring an article on the Camp...

 

 

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#9 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:04 AM

Let me know if I can help you with more info...

 

Cheers,

 

Johan



#10 Simon Lerenfort

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 12:17 AM

Interesting items. Thanks for sharing them.



#11 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 01:57 AM

Camp Tophat also qualified (technically) as a Cigarette Camp since it was named after Belgian Tophat cigarettes ""

 

I think the Camp may have come first and Cigarettes were named after it...

 

In 1945 and 1946 the American forces set up a series of camps to bring their troops home after the end of World War II. The camps, most of which were located in France, were named after a brand of American cigarette, a desirable and valuable commodity (Camp Lucky Stripe, Camp Pall Mall, Camp Chesterfield, etc.). Tophat, a virtual city comprised of thousands of black 20-man tents was set up on the outskirts of Antwerp, Belgium in close proximity to its world-class harbor. Unlike the French "cigarette camps" it was named for the unit that built it, which had a tophat as their unit symbol. However, a Belgian cigarette company manufactured Tophat Cigarettes so it became unintentionally a "cigarette camp" after all. ( http://www.the-forum...mera/TOPHAT.HTM )


Edited by Johan Willaert, 14 October 2014 - 02:00 AM.


#12 jgawne

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 06:52 AM

I note on the cover of the magazine with the holding his duffel bag that he is carrying a helmet liner (no pot). Now I suppose maybe they separated them with the pot in the bag, and the liner to use as a sun helmet on deck, but I do find this odd. I wonder if there was, even for a while, a thing about leaving the pots in Europe, possibly as they had so many unissued in the states and any in country could be issued to European Armies starting up.  Curious.  



#13 Johan Willaert

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 07:54 AM

The liner also seems brandnew...

#14 vintageproductions

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 06:28 PM

Steve- Here is the patch for the camp

 

tophat.JPG



#15 River Patrol

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 05:17 AM

Steve- Here is the patch for the camp

 

 

 

Ohhh...don't tell me they had a patch!



#16 vintageproductions

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 06:54 AM

Yup.

When I first saw this I thought it was a odd variant of the USN Top Hatters sqd patch, but it was sewn to a heavily damaged nurse's wool overcoat. Then Dave Johnson & Dave Kaufman sent me photos of a painted sign at Camp Tophat, and I realized quickly it wasn't a sqd patch.....



#17 kammo-man

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 10:04 AM

Great posting here !

Learned something new today.

owen 



#18 Mandy

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 12:45 AM

The Tophat cigarette packs in my collection. Tom

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#19 m1ashooter

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 11:54 AM

Great find.  Thank you for sharing.



#20 mortaydc60

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 05:52 PM

Great information! Did not know that camp was named after cigarette brand. Very cool to see that the patch was copy of the logo. It is a rare patch and maybe could also be in shoulder patch section. Mort



#21 Johan Willaert

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 08:18 AM

Actually for this camp, it seems cigarettes were named after the Camp...

 

As for the patch, it was commonly worn on the right shoulder of the uniform of the Camp's personnel, as shown on a picture of the Brass section of the  Camp Top Hat Band....

 

Picture from the book: Camp Top Hat ISBN 90-5868-168-8

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#22 vintageproductions

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 07:44 AM

That's a great photo.



#23 Johan Willaert

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 09:32 AM

Thanks Bob,

 

Here's a surviving Top Hat IKE jacket, worn by Donald ZOBEL

Picture from same book

 

 

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#24 Timberwolf

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 07:58 PM

That's an incredibly cool uniform! I wonder where it is now?



#25 kenv

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 03:59 AM

Thanks Bob,

 

Here's a surviving Top Hat IKE jacket, worn by Donald ZOBEL

Picture from same book

 

Hello , Do you sell items from Top Hat ?

Greets

Kenny from Holland !

 




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