WWI DISPATCH June 2020

Another item from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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June 2020

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The National World War I Memorial Virtual Explorer App will be available July 3 on both the Google Play and the Apple AppStore. There are no costs and no in-game purchases required. It is suitable for any age above 14 years old with some depictions of battles and wounded soldiers.

Innovative Augmented Reality App for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. available on July 3

The Doughboy Foundation is announcing the release of The National World War I Memorial “Virtual Explorer” app on July 3. The free, innovative Augmented Reality smartphone app, for iOS and Android mobile devices, allows users to take a virtual field trip to the National WWI Memorial, being built in Washington DC, from wherever they are in the world.

Developed by the Doughboy Foundation under an education grant from Walmart, the mobile device App places a scaled version of the entire 1.8-acre WWI Memorial park into anyone’s back yard, driveway, living room, or (when schools reopen) classroom… but that is only the beginning. Click here to read more about this amazing app that gives students, teachers, veterans, history buffs, and anyone the ability to explore America’s WWI past using the tools of the future.


The 369th Experience band concert to rerun on WETA DC public TV and web in July

369th Experience

WETA Arts, a half-hour magazine-style show featuring Washington, DC-area arts and artists, will lead the July edition with an encore presentation of “James Reese Europe”, the story of a renowned jazz bandleader and commander of an all-Black unit in World War I, featuring The Kennedy Center’s Artistic Director for Jazz, Jason Moran, and the reenactment band The 369th Experience, The band was sponsored by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. The original episode segment can be viewed here:https://watch.weta.org/video/weta-arts-february-2019-ozigr4/  The new episode will feature an amazing group of additional DC-local Black artists, as well, and will be streaming  on the WETA website https://weta.org/arts and via the PBS Passport app, starting July 5 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.


Public-private partnerships developed during WWI had profound impact on American civilian society after the war

Mark Hauser

By his own admission, Ph.D. student Mark Hauser “knew very little about the First World War before I began graduate school, but I was always vaguely aware it was important.”  Mark’s recently completed dissertation provides an interesting new perspective on just how important the war was to America, making the case “that World War I changed Americans’ relationship to mass culture is both a history of the military and a business history.”  Click here to read more about how Mark’s research illuminated a relatively unexplored aspect of the impact of World War I on America.


Maryland couple finds live World War I artillery shell in their home flower bed

MD WWI artillery shell

A woman and her husband in northeast Maryland found a live World War I artillery shell while digging in a flower bed. After the startling discovery, Kelly and Shannon Thomas, of Belair, MD, left the round where they found it and called the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. “After examining the device, it was determined that the best course of action was to conduct an emergency disposal to render the ordnance safe,” the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal said in a news release. “Bomb Technicians disposed of the potentially dangerous round on the scene.” Click here to read more about this very unexpected find of a “connection” to World War I for a suburban household a century later.


Texas researcher discovers, honors African American World War I vets

Carolyn Warren Bessellieu

It was a single gravestone that prompted Carolyn Warren Bessellieu’s sometimes challenging, sometimes emotional, but satisfying quest for African American World War I service information. The discovery in “an unmarked African American cemetery” of a headstone of a WWI veteran named Tobie Harris started Bessellieu’s quest. “My great-uncle Holiday Bennett use to tell me many stories of World War II. I was fascinated to see what I could find on those who served in WWI.” Click here to read more about Bessellieu’s research, and how it led to a personal discovery of her own family’s connection to World War I..


United in the Great Cause: Allied and American military relations during WWI

United in the Great Cause

On May 28 1917, less than two months after the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allies, 191 U.S. Army officers and men led by Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing boarded the British ocean liner RMS Baltic and sailed for England. President Woodrow Wilson had dispatched this group as the nucleus of the American Expeditionary Forces, an army that eventually comprised over one million American soldiers in Europe. Writing in Army History Magazine, author Tyler Bamford takes an in-depth look at how this unprecedented interaction with the armed forces of allied nations helped prepare U.S. forces for “an enormous task for which the U.S. Army possessed little institutional experience.” Click here to read more about what they learned, and how the hasty U.S. and British Army introduction to cooperation during World War I “laid the foundations for the unique, informal Anglo-American military relationship in the interwar period.”


World War I marked the birth of New York Life’s volunteerism committment

New York Life volunteerism

When the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, New York Life shared the nation’s fighting spirit and rallied to help mobilize America’s troops. The company offered its deep financial and human resources to support the war effort. And the volunteerism born then—from fundraising to moral support to military service—would live on as an abiding value for decades to come. Click here to read more about how the culture of the company, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, was shaped by the organization’s experiences in World War I.


Book Review: “First Americans: U.S. Patriotism in Indian Country after WWI”

Navtive American knitter

Writing for the H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online web site of the University of Michigan, reviewer Matthew Villeneuve looks at Thomas Grillot’s book First Americans, calling it “a study of Indigenous patriotism in the aftermath of World War I. While the historiography on American Indian participation in the First World War often focuses on the battlefield experience of Indigenous people, Grillot’s study examines the ways Indigenous veterans, along with their Euro-American comrades, made meaning out of Indigenous participation in the War to End All Wars after the armistice.”  Click here to read more about how Grillot’s book “sheds light on the process by which the symbolic repertoire for the expression of Indigenous pride came to include such icons as the American flag, citizenship, and the figure of the GI.” in the war’s aftermath.


National WWI Museum and Memorial gets $125,000 from NEH for Digitization and Transcription of WWI documents

Soldier's letter for transcription

The National WWI Museum and Memorial announced a grant for $125,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize and transcribe letters, diaries, and journals from soldiers and family members originated from World War I. “This gift is essential as it allows the organization to take a major step forward in our efforts to digitize and transcribe our entire collection of letters, diaries and journal entries from the Great War, “said Museum President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor. “Making the content from these incredible first-person accounts available is important because it allows people to connect with those who experienced the 20th century’s founding catastrophe.” Click here to read more about the grant, and how it will support and further the work taken on by the Museum while it was shut down for the COVID pandemic.


Five Dog Breeds that Served in WWI

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Dogs are man’s best friend, and at times that means we have brought them with us into the worst parts of what we do. The use of dogs in war is nothing new, but their role changed over time. In the First World War dogs were used extensively by all sides, with different breeds managing different roles. Emily Green, Founder and Chief Editor of the DoggieDesigner.com web site, takes a look at five specific breeds which played (sometimes outsized) roles for American and other military forces in World War I.


Cole County, MO’s Grace Hershey remembered as World War I heroine

Grace Hershey

One woman is named on the Cole County, MO World War I Memorial at the courthouse. Grace Hershey was a stenographer with the American Red Cross. Highly praised for her clerical skills in contests and courtrooms, the 31-year-old took a significant pay cut when she left her job with the state insurance department to go overseas. Her fiancé, Thorpe Gordon, had deployed to France in August 1918. Click here to read more about how her departure only a month later was “her patriotic duty to do what she can to help win the war.”


Historian seeks volunteers to help digitize World War I burial records

Andrew Capets

Andrew Capets’ initial interest in World War I was finding out more about his grandfather’s unit, the 313th Machine Gun Battalion. That research led the North Huntingdon resident and amateur historian to write “Good War, Great Men,” which focused on his grandfather’s battalion and its exploits. Now, Capets has joined with a Nebraska man on a new WWI project: creating a searchable database of soldiers’ burial cards, some of which will be linked to a digital map showing where those soldiers are buried. Click here to read more about this grassroots effort to make World War I burial records more accessible to families and other researchers.


WWI Influenza pandemic continues to have resonances, lessons learned for 21st Century pandemic control efforts

Navy medical 1918 flu

As the nation continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19 influenza pandemic in 2020, a look back at the American experiences with the great Spanish Flu Pandemic during World War I can provide remarkable reminders of how a similar scourge was dealt with a century ago.

Navy, Marines Struggled With 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Remembering WWI soldiers who succumbed to the 1918 flu

As the 1918 Flu Emerged, Cover-Up, Denial Helped Spread

The Pandemic to End All Pandemics?: World War I, the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, and Urban America

1918: A Study in How Disease Can Shape Public Policy

Reading your own obituary: Samuel Bustard, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, and the evolution of New York Metro Area soccer through World War I


One of the earliest Monuments to African American WWI Troops

372nd Infantry Monument

Paul LaRue, former member of the
Ohio World War I Centennial Committee, writes that “A unique monument stands in the rural French countryside. It is a monument to the 372nd Infantry, an African American World War I combat regiment. The 372nd Infantry Monument represents one of the earliest monuments erected to African American World War I Troops.” Click here to read more about the 372nd, and how those who served in it “understood the significance of their service, and wanted to leave a monument in France to their fallen comrades.”


Doughboy MIA for June 2020

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On May 29, 2020, Doughboy MIA was featured on the Doughboy Foundation / World War I Centennial Commission webinar series. Those who attended the webinar live learned about The Who, The Where, and The Ways and Means behind what it is we are doing to be sure that all of the MIA are properly remembered, and how you can be a part of the effort.

Click here to watch the recording of the webinar.

Click here to download the slide deck from the webinar.

Would YOU like to be a part of our mission of discovering what happened to our missing Doughboys from WW1? Of course you would, and you CAN! Simply make a donation to the cause and know you played a part in making as full an accounting as possible of these men. Large or small doesn’t matter – that you cared enough to help does. Visit www.ww1cc.org/mia to make your tax deductible donation to our non-profit project today, and remember:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

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Fly the World War I Centennial Flag

This WW1 Centennial Flag is made of durable nylon and measures 3’x5′.  This flag has the iconic Doughboy silhouette digitally screened onto it and has 2 brass grommets to hang the flag.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this flag are designated for the National World War I Memorial.. You can show your support, and help promote the efforts, by proudly displaying your custom flag.

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.


Memorial Camera

You can keep track of progress at the new National World War I Memorial through construction site time lapse video, or a live video feed from the site. Click here to take a look, and also find out how you can help finish this national tribute to the 4.7 million Americans who served, and the 116,516 who did not come home from World War I.


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Free Self-Contained WWI History Web Site on YOUR computer

Sources, lessons, activities, videos, podcasts, images

We have packaged all the content we created for “How WWI Changed America” into a format that is essentially a web site on a drive. Download the content onto any drive (USB, external, or as a folder on your computer), and all the content is accessible in a web site type format even without an internet connection. Click here to learn more, and download this amazing educational resource for home or classroom use.


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William E. Baker

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

William E Baker

Submitted by: Robert D. Baker {Great Nephew}

William E. Baker born around 1892. William Baker served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

I never knew much about my dad’s Uncle Bill, except that he was my Grandpa Baker’s brother and had dated my Grandma Baker’s sister and that he was killed in World War I in France. He had a gravestone in the Dayton, OH National Cemetery, but it was never clear to me whether his actual remains were in Dayton or still in France.

After being contacted by the Secretary of the American Legion Auxiliary, I learned that The William Baker American Legion Post 363 in Lucasville, OH, was named in honor of my Great-Uncle back in Feb, 1920. So I started researching.

William Edwin Baker was born in Nov, 1892, the fourth of five children of Charles & Mary Baker. The family lived in Scioto County, Ohio, at the time of William’s birth. Around the age of 16, William moved with his folks and younger sister to Jamestown, OH. Meanwhile, his oldest brother, George (my Grandfather), had migrated to Dayton. William decided to find out what big city life was like, so he followed his brother to Dayton, where he worked as a Janitor, a Packer, a Motor Assembler, and a Conductor on the Dayton Street Railway line.

Read William E. Baker’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


Honor the Stories of Service of ALL Who Served.

Do Your Bit to Help Build the new National World War I Memorial.

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