WWI DISPATCH May 7, 2019

An item from the World War One Centennial Commission.

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May 7, 2019

O'Connell at Cypress Hills

Wreath of Remembrance Ceremony at NYC’s Cypress Hills National Cemetery

A Wreath of Remembrance Ceremony was held in Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills National Cemetery, on Thursday of last week, to honor the centennial of World War I and Navy-Marine Corps heroes in advance of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Week New York 2019Commissioner Dr. Libby O’Connell of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission (above) was one of many speakers at the ceremony. The Commission-sponsored event honored Sailors from France and the U.K. who died in New York City in 1918, along with double Medal of Honor recipients Coxswain John Cooper, USN and Sergeant Major Dan Daly, USMC.  Click here to read more about the event and see photos of the ceremonies.

World War I Mobile Museum is on the Move!

Keith Colley

Chris Isleib, Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission, has been in touch with our friend Keith Colley (left), owner of the incredible WWI Mobile Museum (see previous articles here and here). Keith and the museum have been very busy telling the WWI story — he recently completed a trip to New England, with several stops, and he also has shared with us his upcoming schedule. Chris talked to Keith for a bit last week, and Keith filled us in on what he has been doing, and what the future holds for his incredible project. Click here to find out where the WWI Mobile Museum is going to be when, and how to have it come to you.

National History Day Students Receive Award from IA Governor for WWI Project

Iowa NHD award

The State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees recently selected the Nashua-Plainfield High School History Club as the winner of the 2019 Loren Horton Community History Award Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Youth Project, for their video “Who They Were: Dedicated to Nashuans Who Served in World War I.” The project,  utilizing a program sponsored by the World War I Centennial Commission and National History Day, produced a seven-minute film about their local community’s role in the Great War commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the war’s armistice on November 11, 2018. Click here to read more about this outstanding project, and the state award it earned in Iowa.

Marines dedicate Panzer Kaserne parade ground as ‘Devil Dog Field’

Devil Dog Field

The U.S. Marine Corps has long been associated with the Battle of Belleau Wood and its role in stopping the German advance on Paris in June 1918. But Belleau Wood was only the beginning of the story of the Corps in World War.  To commemorate the Corps’ service and sacrifice across the battlefields of Europe, a memorial dedicated on the parade ground in front of the MARFOREUR/AF headquarters renames the field as “Devil Dog Field” to recognize the Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers that comprised the units fielded by the Marine Corps in the American Expeditionary Force. Click here to read more about the ceremony, and the incredible bravery of the Marines in World War I.

The unlucky life of Nebraska’s own Private Ryan in World War I

Clifford Ryan

Private Clifford Ryan lived a cursed life, right up till the moment his commanding officer sent the Nebraska boy charging over a bloodied river in France. Matthew Hansen of the Omaha World-Herald newspaper writes:

“Clifford T. Ryan is the full name of the 24-year-old infantryman sprinting through your mind. He’s carrying some serious baggage as he runs on Nov. 11, 1918. Cliff’s mother died when he was 4. He grew into a man and married his first love, Loretta. His wife died giving birth to their first child.

“His baby girl died, too.

“He enlisted in the Army then, and — just his luck — soon found himself stuck for three months on the brutal front line of The War to End All Wars.”

Already you suspect that this tale won’t end well, but click here to read the entire story of how Private Ryan’s luck in World War I was pretty much no luck at all.

Camp Sherman look back: A proud Chillicothe story

Camp Sherman

Austin P. Story must have been puzzled when he checked the mailbox at his Caldwell Street home in early November 1975. Peeking out of the top was a large manila envelope addressed to him from Col. James B. Agnew of the Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pa. Tucked away inside was a lengthy 44 question survey inquiring about his experiences in World War I. The 84 year-old veteran had been discharged nearly 60 years earlier. Click here to learn more about the origin of the survey, and how it meant a lot to Storey and all the other veterans of a forgotten war.

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Updates from the States:
Susi Adler from the Minnesota
World War I Centennial Committee

Susi Adler

In April 19th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 119, host Theo Mayer interviewed Susi Adler, a Minnesotan determined to commemorate the soldiers from her state killed in action during the Great War. Adler, a member of the Minnesota World War I Centennial Committee,  created and continues to curate a Facebook group called Minnesotans Remembered. To learn more about the project, click here to read a transcript of the entire interview.

Remembering Veterans:
Dr. Alexis Catsambis on the
Mystery of the USS San Diego

Dr. Alexis Catsambis

In April 19th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 119, Dr. Alexis Catsambis of the US Naval Heritage and History Command spoke with host Theo Mayer about the sinking of the USS San Diego, and the process of unraveling the mystery behind what went wrong. Although other ships like The USS Tampa were also lost in World War I, this event was shrouded in mystery, until 2018. Click here to read a transcript of the entire interview, and learn the fate of the San Diego.

WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo New

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it’s about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.  Available on our web siteiTunesGoogle Play, PodbeanTuneInStitcher Radio on Demand.  Spotify  listen on Youtube. New – Comment and ask questions via twitter @TheWW1podcast

USS Recruit in Union Square

Episode #121
Highlights: USS Recruit in Union Square.

Host – Theo Mayer

100 Years Ago This Week – Host | @ 02:00
Threat of Reimposed Blockade on Germany – Mike Shuster | @ 14:35
War Memoirs from WWI: ‘Jack’ Idriess – Dr. Edward Lengel | @ 18:35
Remembering Veterans: USS Recruit – Tom Frezza | @ 24:40
Events: AKC Museum of the Dog – Emily Brostek | @ 30:10
Educations: “Who They Were” Project from Nashua, IA – Suzan Turner w/ Drew, Abby, Tyler, Jayne and Lucas | @ 35:25
Articles & Posts: Highlights from Dispatch – Host | @ 44:15

Literature in WWI This Week

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The Red and the Gray

By Elsa Minisini

In 1914, German writer Ernst Jünger entered the war with weapons, notebooks, and a camera. He came out of WWI alive with his seminal novel, one of the only to be written on the front lines, Storm of Steel.

He also took numerous photos. French director François Lagarde spent 20 years producing, The Red and the Gray, a documentary film combining Jünger’s important text, his photos, and thousands of images captured by amateur German soldier-photographers on the front.

For this post, Elsa Minisini, the co-producer of the film, discusses Lagarde’s journey, one she helped him finish when he passed away before the film was complete. Read about this incredible project and the powerful story behind it at WWrite this week!

Behind Their Lines

behind their lines

Throughout the First World War, the coming of spring brought with it the renewal of military offensive action. In 1915, American poet Sara Teasdale examined the incongruity of resuming the killing during earth’s season of growth and rebirth: “Spring in War-Time.”

Doughboy MIA for week of May 6

Charles Timmons.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday’s Doughboy MIA this week is Sergeant Charles E. Timmons. Born in September, 1896, Charles Edward Timmons, Jr.  was the son of Charles Sr. and Annie McLeod. Timmons, at Rocky Mount, Nash County, North Carolina. One of five children, his family moved to Lynchburg, South Carolina when he was small. He attended Furman University where he managed the1916 football team and was a volunteer social worker for the region. When war was declared ‘Charlie’ immediately volunteered; as a matter of fact, he graduated from university that year wearing his uniform. He was originally assigned to his local unit, The Butler Guards, which when federalized became Company A, 118 th Infantry Regiment, 30 th ‘Old Hickory’ Division. He went overseas with them as Supply Sergeant of his company on 11 May 1918, leaving from Brooklyn Pier 29. Over There, the 30 th Division was brigaded with the British, serving in their sector, and saw heavy fighting in northern France and Belgium all that summer. Moving into the area of the heavily fought over area around the St. Quentin Tunnel and Canal to take part in the final offensive of the war on the night of September 23rd , the 118th took over a section of front held by an Australian unit. Filtering into the lines that night with their 1st battalion ahead to the left, their second battalion ahead to the right, and their 2 nd battalion behind in support, Sergeant Timmons and his supply section were kept very busy carrying needed supplies to the front. The enemy kept up a constant harassing fire all that night, all the next day, and well into the night of the 24th . That night, Sergeant Timmons volunteered to lead a detail of some 30 men forward for with provisions for Company D. Along the way, in the nortoriously tangled system of trenches in an area that had seen heavy fighting all through the war, Sergeant Timmons got lost and led the detail into the German lines where they were ambushed. Timmons, just 21, was killed there. There seems to be some speculation that Sergeant Timmons’ remains were later found and buried by the British at Bellicourt but, as with many British burials of that time and place, details are sketchy. There is a cenotaph for Charles Timmons at the Elmwood Memorial Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina.(Thank to Mr. John Holman for sending a great newspaper article and picture of Sergeant Timmons.)

Want to help us shed some more light on Sergeant Timmons’ case? Consider making a donation to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise


World War I Collector’s Bundle $29.95

Collect all commemorative coins and lapel pins in one purchase!

  • Coins: Each piece is die-struck, bronze alloy, with nice gravity (unlike cheaper zinc coins)
  • Enamel inlay provides premium detailing and finish
  • Each coin and pin comes with its own commemorative packaging, adding value and gifting appeal.

This collection includes a WWI Centennial Coin, Centennial Lapel Pin, Bells of Peace Commemorative Coin, Bells of Peace Commemorative Lapel Pin, and U.S. Victory Lapel Pin. Originally sells for $34.35, now only $29.95.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Paul Wittgenstein

In World War I, over twenty-one million people from around the world were wounded, including the famous pianist Paul Wittgenstein. A piano prodigy in his native Austria, Wittgenstein lost his right arm during the battle of Galicia. World War I Centennial Commission intern Dakota White tells the story of how — while a prisoner of war in Siberia — Wittgenstein became determined to overcome this disability, and to play the piano before audiences again. Click here to read the entire story of how Wittgenstein accomplished his goal and ended up in the United States after WWI.

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Hugh Thomas Nelson, Jr.

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Hugh Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Submitted by: Thomas P. Nelson, Jr. {Grandson}

During World War I, Hugh Thomas Nelson, Jr. was commissioned a Captain in the Medical Corps and ordered to Camp Lee, Virginia, where he was placed in charge of sanitation. He became the commanding officer of the 318th Field Hospital.

He was later commissioned a major and sailed overseas with the division on May 25, 1918 aboard the ship Mercury, returned to the States in the early 1919.

Among major engagements in which his service was rendered were the Argonne and Meuse Offensive.

Major Nelson would begin the effort to leave France on Christmas Day 1919 when he received word that Edith, his wife, was very ill. Edith, on October 15, 1918, gave birth to Hugh Thomas Nelson III in Charlottesville, who died two days later and is buried in the family cemetery plot at Riverview Cemetery in Charlottesville.

Read Hugh Thomas Nelson, Jr.’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.

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