Monthly Archives: January 2021

Will you join the epic trip to the Menin Gate?

An item from the organization formerly known as There But Not There.

Ride to Ypres for RBLI in 2021!

Are you looking to challenge yourself and raise money to support veterans in 2021? Then why not take part in RBLI’s Annual Cycle Ride from the RBLI Village in Aylesford, Kent to the Menin Gate Memorial for the Missing in Ypres, Belgium.
This annual event will see you cycle 150 miles across to Calais and through historic battlefields before finishing in the incredible town of Ypres at the Menin Gate in time for the Last Post.

The ride is taking place on 16th–18th July, the whole ride is fully supported event with luggage transport, support vehicles, refreshments and celebration dinner.

What are you waiting for? Find out more and reserve your space using the button below:

Just 2 Days left of the January Sale!

There’s still time to take advantage of our January sale, with 10% selected products using the following code:
Code expires 31 Jan 2021.

If you haven’t already, click the button below to take a look at what’s on sale.

Tommy Window Sticker
Tommy Window Sticker
Price with code: £13.05
Limited Edition Tommy Patches
Limited Edition Tommy Patches
Price with code: £17.99
Sterling Silver Tommy Cufflinks
Sterling Silver Tommy Cufflinks
Price with code: £138.60
We have plenty of new and exciting products coming very soon to the RBLI shop, keep you eyes peeled!

Have You Sent Tommy Trotter a Card?

Last week, we sent out a request to send D-Day Veteran and soon-to-be centenarian Tommy a birthday card, in anticipation of his 100th birthday on February 10th.
Tommy, who has Dementia, has sadly lost a lot of his memories of the War as he has not been able to recount his stories to friends or family due to Lockdown. He was set to celebrate his 100th birthday alone, so Julia Cooper, the owner of Tommy’s favorite pub, the Last Post Remembrance Bar and Don War Memorial Museum, took to social media to call for members of the public to send birthday cards to the Veteran.

There’s still time to send Tommy a card for his birthday. RBLI has created a free, printable birthday card, which can be downloaded using the button below:

Send to:
Tommy Trotter
The Last Post
Cranworth Street
TS17 7DR

BBMC Sees Record Month in House Site Signs

The team at Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company are celebrating a successful month this January having completed signs for a housing development, generating record-breaking revenue for the social enterprise.

The housebuilding signs team have completed 6 sites this month in collaboration with close RBLI partner Barratt Developments.

BBMC’s customer Barratt have been quick to show their appreciation for the hard work shown by our team.

Barratt Developments’ Jo Towns said: “Working with RBLI has been a pleasure. Nothing is too much trouble, especially when you run into issues with installing signage ahead of a launch when everyone is feeling the pressure to get everything ready in a short amount of time. “Along with standard signage we have worked on some bespoke artwork projects which have all been very well managed.”

RBLI’s Tommy 10,000 Step Challenge Makes the News!

Our amazing supporters have got behind our most recent Tommy 10,000 Step Challenge, raising an incredible amount of money. The progress of Peter Ketley and Neil Young has been documented by Forces TV; Click the video below and skip to the 20 minute mark to check it out!
From all of us at RBLI, we thank you for your support and hope you have a lovely weekend!
Copyright © 2021 Royal British Legion Industries. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Royal British Legion Industries Ltd, Hall Road, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7NL

Mission First, People Always

An item from a fellow veterans organization in the Bay Area.

Dear Michael Barbour,
Taking on a new role in the middle of a national crisis is a daunting task — but when did a challenge ever stop a Marine? When I took over as President and CEO of the Marines’ Memorial back in November, I knew I had big shoes to fill. I was excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work, building on the legacy of the Marines’ Memorial. I knew I was joining a high-impact, close-knit team — a family — and I have not been disappointed. The team continues to perform the herculean task of keeping the doors open, and you — the members — have heard the call and responded in kind. Thank you!
You have all made me feel so welcome during these first few months.
Mission First, People Always. It’s a mantra I lived by during my time in the Marines, but it’s no less true here at the Marines’ Memorial. You have shown me the importance of people to the success of a mission — especially when it’s a mission as important as CommemoratingEducating and Serving our military community.
Thanks to you, this mission was a success, even as the Club faced its most challenging year in its 75-year history! I asked for your support via letters and emails so many times, and you always came through. That commitment and loyalty gave me pride in knowing we would get through this crisis. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We are recovering slowly but surely — due entirely to the support of members, donors, guests, and friends like you — and the Club is ready to bring back the amenities the members enjoy so much. In keeping with the city of San Francisco rules, it will be a gradual return, and begin as soon as we are allowed.
We have a long road to recovery. We face 2021 together, and know that everyone at the Marines’ Memorial is ready to welcome you back.
I’m humbled to be a part of this team. You make the Marines’ Memorial such a special place — thank you.
Semper fi!
LtGen Michael A. Rocco, USMC (Ret)

President & CEO

Marines’ Memorial Association & Foundation
609 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, 415.673.6672 Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved
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Our 2021 Wreaths Across America Theme & Ways You Can Be a Part of The Mission

A newsletter from the Wreaths Across America organization.


Dear Wreaths Across America Supporter,


We stand on the shoulders of heroes that have gone before us, and really, what we strive to do is live up to their legacy.”

These are the words General James C. McConville shared with journalist Chris Wallace in November, 2020. As the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General McConville is in his own right a hero. Hearing his humble dedication to those who have served and sacrificed on our behalf truly touched me. Striving to “live up to their legacy” is simpatico with the Wreaths Across America mission, and the new theme for 2021.

Their Legacy is one of courage, character, sacrifice and love of country. These are the attributes that we hope to teach our children. In doing so, we ensure that the next generation fully understands the priceless gift of freedom and it’s cost.

Freedom however cannot be taken for granted and only through the stories of those who have protected it and the personal bond we can form between them and our children can we raise up a generation dedicated to the stewardship of our beloved America.

The future of this nation depends on our “living up to their legacy.” We must help the next generation move forward understanding the principles of patriotism. Patriotism that begins at home, spreads to community, and then to country. In our children we instill the legacy of the future.

With gratitude,


Karen Worcester

Executive Director, WAA


Join us on VIRTUALLY on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 12pm EST, as we celebrate the lives and legacy of the Four Chaplains and all those lost on the USAT Dorchester 78 years ago.

WAA will be LIVE from the Baslam Valley Chapel and tip lands where balsam is harvested to make veterans’ wreaths for Wreaths Across America.


How can you Join the Mission in 2021?

Start a Sponsorship Group

As a pay back group, your civic, nonprofit, school or other group can help raise wreath sponsorships for a participating cemetery, and a $5 for each $15 of the funds raised will be given back to you for you to support your program locally. Since 2007, WAA has given back $15 million to other like-minded organizations through this awesome program!


As a 3-for-2 group, a third wreath is placed for every two wreath sponsorships made. This is a great way to ensure as many veterans as possible are honored and remembered at the participating cemetery you support!

Sponsorship Group

Add a New Location

Coordinate a wreath-laying ceremony at a cemetery or veteran’s memorial in your community. Determine if this location is already participating by checking our website. We have resources to help you plan your ceremony and ensure community involvement and success!

Add Location


Volunteer to place wreaths on National Wreaths Across America Day – Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 – at any of our 2,550+ participating locations. Involve your friends and family to honor our servicemen, women and families.

Find a Location & Volunteer

Sponsor a Wreath

Honor veterans in your local community by sponsoring a wreath that will be placed on the grave of an American hero in 2021. Every $15 received, places a wreath. It is never too early to support the mission!

Sponsor Wreath(s)

If you haven’t tuned in to Wreaths Across America Radio yet, here’s what you’re missing!

Wreaths Across America Radio is a 24/7 Internet stream. Its unique format of informational and inspiring content about members of the U.S. armed forces, their families, military veterans, and volunteers throughout the country and overseas who support the mission.


Along with the informational and inspiring content Wreaths Across America Radio plays a variety of music with the roots firmly planted in patriotism with a country music thread running through the core of the stream. Wreaths Across America Radio has a LIVE morning show every weekday morning from 6 am to 10 am EST, along with a variety of special programs that support the mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach!

Make sure to follow Wreaths Across America on social media for the latest news on the mission:


Wreaths Across America, PO Box 249, Columbia Falls, ME 04623, United States, 877-385-9504

WWI DISPATCH January 2021

An item from the World War One Centennial Commission.

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Header 10292020

January 2021

First Pour video image

On this date, the 58-foot long, 38-figure Memorial centerpiece sculpture titled “A Soldier’s Journey” reached a new milestone on its journey, as the sculpture’s first elements were cast into bronze in a “First Pour.” Click on the image above to view the video.

Honoring America’s WWI servicemen and women “in a noble and timeless medium fitting to their service.”

January 19, 2021 was a significant day for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. On this date, the 58-foot long, 38-figure Memorial centerpiece sculpture titled “A Soldier’s Journey” reached a new milestone on its journey, as the sculpture’s first elements were cast into bronze in a “First Pour.” Click here to read more about, and watch a video of, the “First Pour” of the memorial sculpture at Pangolin Editions Foundry in the United Kingdom.

Education Webinar February square

New Education Webinar: Strategies and Tools for Teaching World War I in 2021

Calling All Educators… and Learners!

Please join our panel of World War I Educators on Friday, February 26, 2021, 1pm EST,: to learn some of the best practices now available for teaching World War I History in “classrooms, online, and hybrid,” all of which will be a part of 2021.

We assembled a small group of educators from different areas and parts of the country to explore issues about teaching WWI from a real-world practical perspective:

  • How teachers are adapting in teaching especially social studies, during the Pandemic.
  • How do differing State standards affect teaching WWI
  • Best practices, clever ideas, and limitations when teaching WWI
  • Is teaching WWI through advanced placement (AP) European History & World History an option;
  • How local WWI memorials can provide community engagement learning;
  • Feedback from students about what works;
  • and more.

Also on the agenda, we will introduce you to some of the education tools created by the Doughboy Foundation during and after the Centennial of WWI, including the USB thumb drive Website “How WWI Changed America;” specific WWI handouts for the classroom and to prompt learning and conversation; plus the innovative “WWI Memorial Virtual Explorer App” that provides an interactive augmented reality field trip to the new WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C.;  and more.

Click here to register today to attend this FREE 2021 webinar for educators and learners about the challenges, opportunities and importance for teaching and learning about “The War That Changed the World”.

 “WWI Education Webinar: Strategies and Tools for Teaching (and Learning) WWI in 2021” on Feb 26, 2021 1:00 PM EST

 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Doc Hall’s WWI Casualty Records

Doc Hall

In the Spring of 2011, the late James “Doc” Hall (left) visited the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, to search for World War ll KIA records of the 35th Infantry “Cacti” Regiment, in which he served in Vietnam. During his visit, Hall came across the Graves Registration records for WW l. The names he uncovered reflected the profound diversity of those who served in the Great War: immigrants, native Americans and boys from cities and farms were called to serve. Hall’s discovery of a KIA named “Isaac His Horse Is Fast” fascinated him. Hall contacted two fellow Vietnam combat veterans, Richard “Dick” Arnold and William “Bill” Henson, and proposed an ambitious project: photographing the WW l records and recording their critical data to a spreadsheet. As Henson recalls: “None of us fully understood what we were to experience.” Click here to read the entire article about how three Vietnam veterans set off on a mission to remember those who preceded them in the nation’s service a century ago.

Candy Bar Market Exploded After WWI

Doughboy eating candy bar

Candy bars may seem quintessentially American, but they have origins in the World War I chocolate rations given to European soldiers. The American military followed suit, helping its Doughboys develop a sweet tooth they would bring home after the war. Throughout the 1920s, thousands of small, regional confectioners emerged to meet the demand, creating a candy boom brimming with catchily named bars based on popular expressions, pop culture icons, and even dance crazes. Click here to read more about the chocolate bar explosion, and the effort of new sweets makers to take a bite out of a candy business dominated by Hershey’s, the planet’s biggest chocolate maker.

Why Keep That? exhibition opens at National WWI Museum & Memorial

Why Keep That? snip

Collecting, cataloguing, conserving. The heart of a museum is its collection, but how do Museums make decisions and who gets to answer the question, “Why Keep That?”

Why Keep That?, the latest special exhibition at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, follows the journey of a collection item from the moment it is donated to the Museum, to the decision-making and archival process of our collections staff. To help illustrate, archival staff track the processing and digitization of a collection of 16 objects and share behind-the-scenes information about obtaining the artifacts, processing the items and storing and protecting them. Click here to read more about the exhibition, and how collections largely featuring ephemera – objects usually meant to be thrown away, like ticket stubs, advertisements and written scraps – are now preserved in a museum.

Hard Hat Turns 101; Impact on Industrial Safety Never Gets Old

hard hat 1919

Luckily for industrial workers everywhere, Lt. Edward Wheatley Bullard of the U.S. Cavalry climbed out of the French trenches with an idea that would spark the industrial safety movement: the hard hat. Bullard, the son of a mining equipment supplier, was inspired by the metal helmets Doughboys wore to deflect the hail of bullets raining down on them courtesy of the Kaiser. When he returned home, he invented the first commercially available industrial hard hat, called the Hard Boiled hat. Prior to its invention and subsequent production in San Francisco, gold and copper miners in California and Nevada basically wore leather caps—which might not be all that good at stopping hail, let alone the rocks or tools potentially pouring down on them. Click here to learn more from Bullard’s great granddaughter about how this now 100-year-old equipment was invented and how it has redefined protecting the workforce.

AEF ‘Christmas Package Coupon’ helped soldiers during World War I

Christmas package coupon

The War Department recognized that the United States Army soldiers fighting in France in 1918 were about to endure their second Christmas far from home. To help combat the Christmas blues, each soldier was issued one Christmas package coupon. The soldier filled in his address and sent the coupon home to someone who he thought might send him a Christmas package. Click here to learn more from Linn’s Stamp News about how this system worked, how the Doughboys benefited, and why this bit of WWI ephemera is so rare today.

The Volga Germans in Portland, Oregon during World War I

Charlie Bauer

The outbreak of World War I on July 28, 1914 was met with anxiety and fear by both the Volga German colonists living in Russia and their family and friends who had immigrated to the United States. The war exacerbated Russia’s Germanophobia and Slavophile tendencies. Ethnic Germans living In the United States faced Anti-German sentiment and propaganda reaching extreme levels after America entered the war in April 1917. Click here to learn more about how the war years were an anxious time for the Volga Germans living in Portland, OR. Although they valued their ethnic German heritage and language, they also considered themselves loyal Americans.

Forgotten for 100 Years

Thomas W Regan draft card

Michael T. Naya, Jr. normally writes articles focused on World War II and the Greatest Generation, but when his research introduced him to Kenilworth, NJ  resident Thomas W. Regan, a veteran of World War I, he decided to take time to write about him. Click here to read this thoughtful portrait of “an Irish immigrant who felt the need to serve his country so he answered the call to duty,” whose “story deserves to be remembered especially today.”

Doughboy MIA for Month

Leonard Charles Aitken

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is 1st LT Leonard Charles Aitken.  Born in Reno, Nevada on 10 June 1897, Leonard Aitken grew up in California, where he joined the California National Guard at 18 years of age. When the trouble broke out with Mexico, he reported for duty in June, 1916 and served along the border with the hospital corps, attending elements of what would, a year later, become the 160th Infantry, 40th Division. Following America’s declaration of war on Germany, on 7 April 1917, Aitken reported to the Officers Training School at San Diego and upon graduation, shipped to France in August, 1918 as a 2nd lieutenant with the 158th Infantry, 40th Division. There, on 20 October 1918, he was sent as a replacement officer to the 372nd Infantry, 93rd Division, then holding a section of the line in the Alsace sector near Hill 607.

On 7 November, while leading his platoon on a night action, Aitkens and his men captured several prisoners but unknowingly walked into the line of fire of a German machine gun nest, which opened up on them, killing or capturing all but two enlisted men of the patrol and freeing the prisoners. Without hesitation Lieutenant Aitken immediately advanced against the position with the intent of eliminating it, but he was shot twice in the chest and killed in the endeavor. The end result was that they captured 1 officer (Aitkens) and 22 men; however the date of Aitkens’ death is given as 8 November 1918.

Following the Armistice, GRS officials went on the search for Aitkens’ remains, but had little luck. Their hardest clue was a report that German officers had buried Aitkens with full military honors “in the churchyard of the tiny hamlet of La Paive, some 40 miles east of Epinal, France.” There being no town by that name anywhere in that area, this was almost certainly actually the town of La Pariee which is indeed in the area of the action of 7 November. Nothing was ever found however and his remains continued to be unlocated in the years following the war. As investigations continued, in January 1924, GRS sent a letter to Aitkens’ father requesting a civilian dental chart, but also admitting in the letter that in all probability he was among the Unknown burials, though how this information was considered is not stated in his surviving file.

A final attempt at some kind of identification came in December 1926 when the case files of Aitkens and one other officer from the 372nd Infantry were checked against a set of Unknown remains at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery morgue. It was a long shot, however, as the remains being checked came from a French cemetery in the Marne sector some 300 kilometers northwest of where both officers in question were at the time of their deaths. Not surprisingly, neither officer’s remains were a match and Aitkens’ case was officially closed in 1932 without resolution.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give ‘Ten For Them’ to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of 1st LT Leonard Charles Aitken and all the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks. Visit today to make your donation, and sign up there to get more information on other ways that you may be able to help.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Jacket and Vest

You can wear your American pride and stay warm this winter with these two Made in the USA garments Inspired by the iconic image of a U.S. Doughboy. This poignant silhouette of a lone 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.

Vest features: Black with white Doughboy embroidery. 100% spun polyester, 12.5 Oz. Premium anti-piling fleece. Vest has full zip front with two side seam pockets. Mens’ sizes available S – 2XL.

Proceeds from the sale of these items will help to fund the building of the national World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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

These 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.

Virtual Explorer

Click or scan the QR Code below to download the Virtual Explorer App for the National World War I Memorial, and explore what the Memorial will look like when work is completed.

QR Code for Virtual Explorer App download

Education Thumb Drive image

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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J. Arthur Mayer

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of

J. Arthur Mayer

Submitted by: John A Mayer {Son}

J. Arthur J. Arthur Mayer born around 1893. J. Mayer served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Veterans Day has always seemed special to me. My Dad, J. Arthur Mayer, was a WW I veteran and I grew up hearing his reminiscences. On the one hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day I felt compelled to record some of those “rememberies.” Our once close-knit family has spread to the four corners and there is no one left in the immediate family who seems much interested, so I’ll post it here in his memory FWIW. (Yeah, we skipped a generation. Dad was born in 1893, and was 50 before I was born in 1944. I’m the age of my second cousins. Many of my first cousins were WW II veterans.)

Dad was 24 when he was drafted off the farm. He entered active duty in July 1918, and was sent to Camp Pike, Arkansas for basic training, I think for 4-5 weeks. He was one of the older men in his group, and was offered NCO Academy training. But he said it was so hot and humid and generally miserable there that when his group was given the opportunity to “go to Brest”- the debarkation point for the American Expeditionary Force in France – that he volunteered for that. He said it was to escape the misery of Arkansas, but I suspect he also felt some duty to go in place of his older married brothers who were starting families and other married men.

Read J. Arthur Mayer’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.

Memorial Fundraising Thermometer December 2020