There was no finer rest camp in the ETO than the one operated by the Division in the French village of Bains-les-Bains, between the Meuse and Moselle Rivers. While rest camps in more exciting metropolitan areas allowed combat troops to schedule days of unending sightseeing and night-clubbing, at Bains-les-Bains the accent was on much-needed and well-deserved rest.
The first contingent of restees, with more than 100 continuous days of combat behind them, arrived at Bains-les-Bains for a week of relaxation on December 7. Four months later when the camp was officially closed, the Special Service Officer determined that 5,533 enlisted men and 401 officers had been quartered there.
During their stay troops were billeted in five of the towns hotels, each one of them named for a Congressional Medal of Honor winnerthe Hotels Kelly, Logan, Crawford and Wise for enlisted men, and the Hotel Bjorklund for officers. After a hot shower, men shed their mud-stained combat clothing for a complete new uniform. Dinner, prepared by French chefs, followed in the Hotel Kelly, with china replacing mess-kits and with waitresses to serve.
Mindful of the poverty of sanitation during the preceding months, GIs by popular demonstration selected the Roman Baths as their favorite spot at Bains-les-Bains. In them they bathed for hours and then crawled between white sheets, the first for many of the men in over a year.
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