WWI DISPATCH September 2019

A newsletter from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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September 2019

CFA Final Approval

U.S. World War I Centennial Commission Vice Chair Edwin Fountain (left) shakes hands with U.S. Commission of Fine Arts Commissioner Justin Shubow after the CFA gave final approval to the design for the new National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC on September 19.

CFA gives final approval to design for new National WWI Memorial in DC

The design for the new National World War I Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC received final approval on Thursday from the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).

“This is a day that all who have worked hard to bring the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC from concept to reality are very happy to see,” said Terry Hamby, Chair of the U.S World War I Centennial Commission. “This final approval takes us a giant step toward beginning the construction of this long-overdue tribute in our nation’s capital to the 4.7 million Americans who served in America’s armed forces in World War I.”

The Memorial design now goes for final review by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). With the CFA and NCPC design approvals in hand, the Commission will coordinate with the National Park Service to finalize the construction permit so that work can begin this fall to restore Pershing Park and build the Memorial. Click here to read the entire story and see more photos of the CFA meeting on Thursday.


Detailed document of approved DC WWI memorial design available for download

CFA submission page

A new detailed document of the approved National World War I Memorial design has been issued and is available to the public. The 80-page publication provides a detailed and nuanced look at the new Memorial from broad overview down to minutia including quotes that will be inscribed, surface and stone materials, what kind of plants will grace the park areas, the lighting plan, interpretive elements, handicap access and more. The document can be downloaded as a .pdf at ww1cc.org/memorial-design and is available now.


Sea Cliff, NY centennial anniversary honors town’s World War I veterans

Dave Hamon speaking

For over a century, Clifton Park has been a hub of outdoor events in Sea Cliff. From games to concerts to picnics, the park has seen it all, as have the eight giant oak trees that stand along its perimeter. Those trees are turning 100 this year: They were planted in 1919, in honor of the eight Sea Cliff residents who died in World War I in Europe. While the trees are grand tributes on their own, on Sept. 6, 1919, the village celebrated the return of 169 soldiers with a parade and picnic. The soldiers, and their eight fallen comrades, are memorialized on a plaque on the memorial rock in the park. Hundreds of people gathered on Sept. 7 to celebrate the anniversary of the soldiers’ homecoming. Click here to read more about the centennial activities in this Long Island community and its commemoration on this historic centennial.


World War I Airshow October 5&6 at Military Aviation Museum in VA Beach

Biplanes & Brews

The Military Aviation Museum’s Biplanes and Brews World War One Air Show soars into action October 5-6, in Virginia Beach, Va. Spectators will be transported back to the days of World War One with a weekend of live music, reenactors and aerial performances. Craft beer connoisseurs can pair the day’s entertainment with a brew in hand and food. Click here to read more about the World War I aircraft that will be seen on the ground and in the air at this annual event.


Huntington, WV man reunited with father’s World War I artifacts

West Virginia transfer

An American World War I soldier’s gun and medals left in a safe deposit box were returned to his son on Monday thanks to the West Virginia Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division. David McKee, 75, of Huntington, said he was shocked to find out his father, Mason Shelby McKee, had taken the gun, medals and other items to a Huntington bank’s safe deposit box department for safekeeping. Click here to read more about how the the West Virginia Treasurer’s Office brought family these artifacts of the Great War back to their rightful owner.


Vets worried as Michigan World War I monument faces demolishing

Michigan monument in danger

A Michigan colonel is hoping for some help as an eight-story tall WWI monument faces demolishing if enough money isn’t raised to move it. The Michigan War Veterans Memorial was erected in 1939. The 40-foot stone monument sits at the southwest corner of the Michigan State Fairgrounds with stones from cities all over Michigan represented. Now the new owners of the state fairgrounds wants to redevelop the property, and the crumbling monument, which is owned by the state, has to go. Click here to read more about the efforts to raise funds to relocate, restore, and preserve this World War I memorial so it will continue to honor those from Michigan who served in World War I.


Reborn World War I monument revealed at California’s Lompoc Museum

Lompoc memorial eagle

After nearly three years of raising money and implementing repairs, the city of Lompoc, California now has a reborn World War I monument that sits in front of the city’s museum. And now the monument has a new feature sitting atop of the revitalized structure: a bronze bald eagle. Click here to read more about the how the city and museum invested effort and money to ensure that the memorial will continue to be “a remembrance and honor to remember those who fell in this war so long ago.”


World War I Purple Heart News

After 101 years, Maine WWI veteran’s family receives his Purple Heart

Maine Purple HEart return

Arthur Labbay of Maine was wounded twice during a fierce fight in France on July 18, 1918. The injuries were life-threatening. Labbay stayed in a French hospital for several months recovering from his wounds before he could return home. More than 101 years later, Labbay finally received the Purple Heart he earned that day. Whether through missing paperwork, the fog of war or an administrative mishap, he had never received his medal. Click here to read how Senator Susan Collins of Maine and others worked to enable Labbay’s daughters and granddaughter to final receive the Purple Heart medal that Arthur earned a century ago.

Purple Hearts Reunited announces September family return ceremonies

Purple Hearts Reunited

The Purple Hearts Reunited Foundation has announced the return of two awards earned in World War I to the families of the soldier recipients in New York and Maine during September. The organization held ceremonies for the families of Corporal Frederick W. Beisswanger of New York, and Sergeant Erroll Wilbert Brawn of Maine.  Click here to read more about these two soldiers, the actions that earned them these awards, and about Purple Hearts Reunited and its ongoing mission.

Brewster, MA family receives Purple Heart of great-uncle Coast Guardsman lost on USS Tampa in World War I

Finch Brothers

Nearly 101 years ago, Norman Wood Finch was out to sea aboard the Coast Guard cutter Tampa, a 190-foot-long vessel that was one of six ships on convoy duty in European waters during WWI. On Sept. 26, 1918, the Tampa was  torpedoed by a German U-boat. All 130 men on the Tampa died, with Finch among the 111 Coast Guardsmen aboard. For about 20 years, the Coast Guard has been working to honor the people aboard the Tampa. On Monday, Finch finally got his due when legislators and Coast Guard officials presented a Purple Heart to his two great-nephews, Bradley and Steven Finch, who live in Brewster.  Click here to read more about Finch’s service, the ceremonies, and how the Tampa casualties are receiving their deserved Purple Heart medals.


From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Born in the Month of August 

Birthday Cake 1918

From August 26th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 137, our very own Dave Kramer kicks off a new monthly segment called Born in the Month by introducing several important people who played a role in World War I and were born in the month of August. One was a Hall of Fame pitcher who suffered a terrible malady during his war service. One went on to run an influential newspaper. Another was a woman who may have played both sides during the war. And the last eventually ascended to higher office. Think you have the right guesses? Click here to read on and find out.

Remembering Veterans:
The Revitalization of American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood, CA

American Legion Hollywood Post Theatre

In August 26th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 137, host Theo Mayer spoke with Lester Probst and Fernando Rivero from Hollywood, CA’s American Legion Post 43. Started by WWI vets, Post 43 has had a distinguished membership, including many famous names from the film industry. Over time, the Post fell into disrepair. However, an effort spearheaded by Mr. Probst, Mr. Rivero, and others to remember WWI in the Los Angeles area and inject new life into Post 43 has been wildly successful; it has grown in numbers and once again become a community focal point. Click here to read on and learn more about this remarkable transformation.

Spotlight on the Media: Over There With Private Graham

Over There book cover

In August 19th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 136, Bruce Jarvis and Steve Badgley joined the show to discuss their new book, Over There With Private Graham. Drawing on a Graham’s own accounts of his service, which he intended to publishing during his lifetime, Jarvis and Badgley have assembled an impactful, first-person account of the Great War. As the authors discuss, Graham’s background, including his age and police career, and Military Police role gave his writing a distinct perspective. Click here to read on and learn more about this compelling first-person account of service in the Great War.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Doughboy Podcast Logo

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.

Elsie Janis, USA Signal Corps, AFS

RECENT EPISODES:

Episode #138
War Football & the NFL

100 Years Ago: Woodrow Wilson’s last chapter – Host | @ 02:15
A Century In The Making: From the Sabin Howard Sculpture Studio – Host | @ 12:15
Remembering Veterans: Camp Doughboy “4” – Kevin Fitzpatrick | @ 13:45
Spotlight on the Media: “War Football: World War I and the Birth of the NFL” – Chris Serb | @ 22:30
Articles & Posts: Weekly Dispatch – Host | @ 34:50

Episode #139
FOCUS ON – The Non-Combatants of WWI

Unprecedented logistics – Joe Johnson | @ 05:00
The US Army Signal Corps – Host | @ 09:15
The Hello Girls – Dr. Elizabeth Cobb | @ 11:30
Medical Support Services & the AFS – Nicole Milano | @ 15:50
The US Postal Service in WWI – Lynn Heidelbaugh | @ 22:15
The Stars & Stripes – Robert Rheid | @ 25:40
The Doughboy’s Sweetheart: Elsie Janis – Dr. Edward Lengel | @ 28:15
Bringing Soldiers to God and God to Soldiers – Dr. John Boyd | @ 32:05
Donuts and Coffee – Patri O’Gan | @ 34:25

Episode #140
The American Worker & WWI

The American Worker & WWI – Host | @ 05:15
Labor Gains & Labor Losses – Dr. Mark Robbins | @ 10:05
A Century in the Making: Article by Traci Slatton- Host | @ 19:20
Historian’s Corner – Col. Michael Visconage, USMC (ret.) | @ 30:15
The Buzz: Posts from the internet – Host | @ 39:05


Doughboy MIA for September 2019

Murray K. Spidle

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

The MIA of the Month for September is 1st LT Murray K. Spidle. Born in Wilmot, OH on 28AUG1897, Murray Kenneth Spidle was the only child of Clarence and Martha Spidle. Active in sports and school groups, he attended Mt. Union College and was there when war came to America in April, 1917. Sent to Ft. Benjamin Harrison for officer’s training he volunteered for the air service and was accepted on 15AUG1917. From there he was sent for training first to Ft. Worth, Texas, then to Toronto, Canada before final training in England and assignment to a squadron at the front. In France he arrived at the 17th Aero Squadron (nick named the ‘Camel Drivers’ due to being equipped with the British Sopwith ‘Camel’ fighter plane) on 13JAN1918. Over the spring and into the summer of 1918, Spidle worked to hone his craft as a fighter pilot, suffering at least 5 forced landings due to enemy action in the process.

On 03AUG1919, while out on patrol, another squadron member last saw Spidle dive after a single German plane in the area around Dixmude. When he later failed to return from the patrol,  none of his squadron mates would believe he had been shot down – the Germans had not been aggressive on that patrol – but entertained other ideas. Prominent among these was he had suffered engine failure while diving on the German and arrowed into the ground, or that in abandoning his chase he flew too low in the combat zone and was hit and obliterated by a passing artillery shell. Either way, no trace of him or his plane was ever found.

Today LT Spidle is remembered on the tablets of the missing at the Flanders Fields American Cemetery.

YOU can help us make a full accounting of our missing Doughboys. Simply make your tax-deductible 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.  Big or small doesn’t matter, we appreciate it, and you get the satisfaction of knowing you played a part in helping. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks. And remember:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Navy ¼ Zipper Fleece Sweatshirt

Navy ¼ Zipper Fleece Sweatshirt

Inspired by the iconic image of a U.S. Doughboy, you can wear your American pride with this Made in the USA ¼ zipper fleece sweatshirt. An informal term for a member of the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, “doughboys” especially used to refer to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War One. Largely comprised of young men who had dropped out of school to join the army, this poignant lone silhouette of a soldier in trench warfare serves as a reminder of those who sacrificed so much one century ago.

Sweatshirt features: Navy with white Doughboy embroidery. 80% cotton/20% polyester,  9.5 Oz. High quality heavy weight pre-shrunk fabric. Sweatshirt has ¼  zip pullover with cadet collar and silver metal zipper. Ribbed cuffs and waistband with spandex. Cover-seamed arm holes. Mens’ sizes available Small and Medium. Proceeds from the sale of this item will help to fund the building of the national World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included.

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



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Pelham Davis Glassford

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

Pelham Davis Glassford

Submitted by:  William C. Parke {Grandson}

During World War I, Gen. John J. Pershing’s favorite horse, named Kidron, was among a group of gelding thoroughbreds captured by the French from the Germans in 1917.

While training his troops at the Saumur Artillery School, Brig. General Pelham Davis Glassford was offered one of those horses by the French Colonel Godeau, commandant of the adjoining remount depot. Godeau’s act on behalf of France was a gesture of gratitude for the help of the American Expeditionary Force in the War. He also knew how skilled Pelham was on horseback, and that Pelham was respected by the French military and villagers, as he would engage them in their own language.

Pelham knew French from the time his father, Colonel William Alexander Glassford in the Army Signal Corps, took his two sons to Paris, France, to study the French signal balloons.

Gen. Pelham Glassford appreciated good horses. His admiration developed when he was a young man, helping on his father’s farms and horse ranch in Phoenix, Arizona. (Later, in retirement, Glassford raised quarter horses, including the grandson of Man-of-War.)

Read Pelham Davis Glassford ‘s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


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