Visiting Fort Miles 70 Years Later
Two years ago while in Lewes, DE visiting a family friend, we took a ride to Cape Henlopen State Park because there was an event going on at Fort Miles. I knew that my grandfather, George Stroup. was stationed somewhere in the Lewes area during World War 2, but didn't know much more than he was stationed on some sort of signal tower. During a tour of Battery 519, the guide was talking about how there had been a Navy unit stationed at the base and as he explained their function, monitoring and challenging ships coming into into the bay, it became apparent this was what my grandfather did. I commented on this fact when I posted the photos I took that day to my website. (You can view them here.)
Over a year later, I got an e-mail from Dan Brown from the Fort Miles Historical Society asking if I had any photos taken during my grandfather's time there. As it turns out, my grandfather has an album that documents his entire time in the Navy. Some of the photos of the base in my grandfather's album included some never before seen views. After sharing the photos and talking to several others including a historian named George Contant, I helped my grandfather record some narrations and answer some questions. Before we knew it we were heading to Fort Miles so he could be interviewed.
This album is from the day we went down there with my grandfather. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to help preserve the history of the base, a history that my grandfather was a part of. It was just as rewarding to be able to walk around with him at a place that he hadn't been back to for nearly 70 years and likely thought he'd never return to. I'm sure that the 22 year old Navy Signalman 2nd Class (SN2) who stood watch on that tower would never believe he'd someday return with his daughter and grandson, both adults, to be interviewed about his everyday activities of 70 years prior.
You can learn more about visiting Fort Miles at the Delaware State Parks site and be sure to checkout Bill Manthorpe's extremely informative Navy at Cape Henlopen site to learn about the fascinating Naval history of the base through the years, much of which is still being learned and preserved thanks to the hard work of folks like George, Bill, Dan and many others.