WWI DISPATCH February 2022

An item from the organization formerly known at the World War One Centennial Commission.

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February 2022

Taps Bugler with sky

Sponsored by The Doughboy Foundation, a bugler in World War I uniform sounds Taps every evening at 5 p.m., seven days a week, rain or shine, at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. Planning is in progress for a live stream of Daily Taps on YouTube, with the ability to honor specific veterans, groups or organizations for that day, week, or month. Click on this image to learn more, and find out how you can support this effort, and help ensure that this daily tradition will continue at the National World War I Memorial in perpetuity.

Contrasting lives: WWI Black Veterans Everett Johnson and Robert Chase

Johnson and Chase

Battery E, 349th Field Artillery Commander Lieutenant Everett Warren Johnson (1896-1964) and one of the non-commissioned officers in his unit, Sergeant Robert Chase (1891-1958), entered the war from similar backgrounds. Johnson volunteered for an officer training program and Chase was drafted, but they fought on the same battlefield and chose similar post-war professions. Click here to read the entire story, and learn just how “War impacted their lives in profoundly different ways.

Unconventional Memorials Created by the Forgotten Female Veterans of World War I

Allison Finkelstein

Why does the memory of World War I remain so much stronger in Great Britain than in the United States?” Seeking the answer to this question led historian Allison Finkelstein “on a long path to the publication of my first bookForgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials: How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 1917-1945.” Click here to read more, and learn about “significant but too often overlooked aspects of World War I’s history that have renewed relevance today.

New “Hello Girls” musical honors military exploits of women in World War I

Rosemarie Chandler

After spending her childhood on Luke Air Force Base, Rosemarie Chandler finds it fitting that she’s playing one of the first women in combat during World War I in “The Hello Girls” production by the Phoenix Theatre Company. “The Hello Girls” stars Chandler as Grace Banker, a switchboard operator in charge of a corps of women who went overseas during World War I. Click here to read more, and learn how being the child of two military parents gave Chandler an interesting perspective on the challenges faced by the first women in Army service during and after World War I.

Call for Papers: “Lesser-Known Stories
of the Great War: Women, Minorities, Civilians, and the Untold”

Park U/First Division Museum logos

This symposium, hosted by the First Division Museum and sponsored by The
Great War Institute at Park University will be held May 13-14, 2022, at the First Division Museum, 1s151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL., 60189. Paper and panel proposals in all fields of history related to “Lesser-Known Stories of the Great War: Women, Minorities, Civilians, and the Untold” are invited. The symposium is particularly interested in proposals for complete sessions, including panelists, chairs, and commentators. All proposals should be submitted no later than March 1, 2022. The symposium encourages aspiring and young historians, including graduate students, to present their work. For questions about submitting a proposal, please contact us at gsrcentre@park.edu.

Orange County NY Historian hosting Europe trip to pay tribute to 369th New York Infantry Regiment in World War I

Harlem Rattlers logo

Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun will host a trip to Belgium and France next year to honor the soldiers who served in the 369th New York Infantry Regiment. The trip will take place from July 10 -19, 2023 and will explore locations that served as notable backdrops during World War I. Harlem’s Rattlers, the 369th New York Infantry Regiment, later nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, was a regiment of soldiers of African American descent from New York City, the Hudson Valley and other parts of the county. Click here to read more, and find out how you can join this limited-space tour to sites of significance related to the 369th. 

Fighting For Respect – African Americans in World War I France

Fighting For Respect

Blue Lion Films, Inc, the authors of the award-winning documentary ‘Paris Noir – African Americans In The City Of Light’ has launched a new film in their series examining the African American experience in France. ‘Fighting For Respect – African Americans in WWI‘ digs deep into the often overlooked yet compelling story of 200,000 Black soldiers willing to fight for democracy abroad while it was violently refused them at home. The film shows why their story still matters today. Click here to read more, and learn how this film grew out of director Joann Burke’s “deep passion and commitment to tell the exciting but also heartbreaking stories of African American soldiers during WW1.”

The Great Forgotten: A Television Series Honoring Nurses Who Served in WWI

The Great Forgotten logo

Kacie and Karen Devaney are a mother-daughter team who wrote an original full length play entitled The Great Forgotten, the story of the American nurses who served in France during World War I, which had a sold-out run in the 2015 New York City International Fringe Festival. After years of aiming for Broadway, the team changed course and dived into “the arduous climb of transitioning from playwrights to television writers.” The result? Click here to read more, and find out how the duo pushed through the challenges of the last two years to go “from play to Pilot, to a fully fleshed out season with nine episodes’ ideas and a detailed Show Bible Long and Short,” and learn what comes next.

Group is closer to finding remains of World War I soldier from McKean County

Cpl. James Uber

James L. Uber has been missing in action since Oct. 8, 1918, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France in World War I. However, since his dog tag made its way to the Pennsylvania National Guard Museum in 2019, a group of volunteers have a pretty good idea of where the young corporal is buried. Click here to read the full Pennsylvania newspaper’s interview with the Doughboy MIA team that is closing in on accounting for Uber, one of over 4,000 Americans still MIA from World War I.

Mustering Out: the Navy’s First Black Yeowomen

Olga Jones service record

Writing on the National Archives’ Rediscovering Black History web site, researcher Cara Moore Lebonick takes a look at the first Black yeowomen to serve in the U.S. Navy who were later referred to as the “Golden Fourteen.”  Known as  Yeoman (F) (also as Yeowoman and Yeomanette), these pioneers in Naval service were headed by Armelda H. Greene, who enlisted August 13, 1918 becoming the first Black Yeoman (F). Click here to read more about how Greene and those that joined after her formed a WWI Navy active unit consisting of all Black females – the first Black female non-nursing unit of the Navy.

Driving a 1918 Liberty B truck back to the Western Front under its own power. What could possibly go wrong?

Liberty TRuck

We are taking a couple of trucks over to Belgium for the Armistice commemorations, would you like to come?” That sounded like a good idea to Tim Gosling in 2018, but as his memoire of the trip reveals, that didn’t last. The first clue that the trip might be an adventure was “when the transporter was unable to take the Liberty all the way to Belgium so it would have to be unloaded at the channel tunnel and then driven under its own power from Calais to Ypres.” And then…no, we won’t spoil the story. Click here to read the whole tale of a memorable journey in a century-old American truck that was, looking back at it from three years later, “a remarkable exercise and great fun.”

Halyburton and Grimsley: The Story of America’s first POWs in World War I

Halyburton and Grimsley

On the night of November 2, 1917, Company F of the 16th Infantry Regiment, First Infantry Division, held off a night raid from German forces at Bathlémont, France, and sustained the first of many combat casualties of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I (1917-1918).  Among these casualties were Sergeant Edgar M. Halyburton and Private Clyde Grimsley, who were captured by the Germans and became some of the first American prisoners of war (POW) in the conflict. Click here to read the entire article, and learn how both men performed their military duties with distinction in the POW camps until liberated at war’s end.

The Decision That Changed The World – America’s Entry Into World War I

The Approaching Storm cover

World War I? Why are you writing about that war?” says Neil Lanctot, “was an all-too-common attitude I encountered when I shared with family and friends that my new book would explore America’s path to involvement in the Great War.” But Lanctot knew there was a long-overlooked story to tell: “How did America come to make the fateful decision to join the Allies in 1917, a decision that actually changed the course of the 20th century?” Click here to read more, and see how a focus on some key characters in the process led to interesting discoveries on America’s path to involvement in World War I.

Battle Of Argonne Forest: America’s Deadliest Battle

Argonne Plan of Attack

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was a critical Allied forces operation of World War I, during the Hundred Days Offensive. It lasted for a bloody 47 days, starting on September 26th of 1918 and ending on November 11th by armistice. Writing on the Rebellion Research web site, Tony Cao analyzes the American effort in the epic struggle. Click here to read the entire article, and learn how “At Argonne, undertrained American Doughboys learned how to conduct mobile warfare through bloody experience.”

Windows On The Past

Sam Swaskegame

Historic photos are fractions of time frozen forever. They are windows on the past.” Jim Hinckley takes a look through one such window–photo of the Mohave County Courthouse at the dedication of a World War I memorial in 1928–and shows how the image is a key that unlocks some fascinating facts. Click here to read the entire article and learn about rare WWI memorials dedicated to  brave warriors, and how the experience of the war changed the county

Family Research and Service Projects Lead to Better Understanding of Doughboy Heroes

Russell Silverthorn

On November 13, 2021, I met my great uncle who died in France during World War One,” says Ann Silverthorn. She adds: “To be more exact, I met the young man who personified my uncle in a local play called A Doughboy’s Story.” American Legion Post 494 in Girard, PA was the site of this meeting, which was the end of (or perhaps a waypoint on) a “rewarding journey.” Click here to read the entire article, and learn how family history research sparked an interest in WWI, which led to remarkable commemorative efforts for the centennial of the war.

Doughboy Family Memories Etched in Architectural Art

Benjamin Dunham

When Ben Dunham encountered the etching in an antique booth in New Bedford, he thought it looked familiar. Then I signaled to my wife and asked, “Doesn’t this look like one of the cathedrals done by the brother of your great grandmother’s second husband?” The distant relative was the British artist James Alphege Brewer, and Dunham’s purchase of the etching with that tenuous familial link led to a cascade of collecting, and a book: Etched in Memory: The Elevated Art of J. Alphege BrewerClick here to read the entire story, and learn about the significance of this and other Brewer etchings in regard to the Doughboys of World War I.

Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration

Tomb Soldier 11112021

In 2021, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) served as the designated government leader of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Tomb’s creation at ANC on November 11, 1921. The ANC team produced a wealth of content for the public about the history and meanings of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, much of which focused on World War I, which will be shared with Dispatch readers in the coming months.  Click here to read more, and learn about  ANC’s amazing Commemorative Guide to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Mrs. Dawson’s Wartime Memories

Dawson book

“It was a thoughtful gift; the giver knew that I had an interest in the history of the Great War and it was a book full of World War 1 photography. It was over a hundred years old but in bad shape. The binding was broken and unravelling, and the cover almost fell off when I opened it.”  But Thomas Emme was not discouraged. Click here to learn how his painstaking restoration of the WWI volume rescued a book that was “Too special to throw out, too damaged to keep.

Doughboy MIA for February 2022

Leonard Charles Aitken

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is1st 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 was 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, Graves Registration Service (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 church yard 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.

Would you like to help solve Lt. Aitken’s case? Please consider a donation to Doughboy MIA and help us make as full an accounting of our American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1 as possible. Can you spare just ten dollars? Give ‘Ten For Them’ 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.

Merchandise from the Official
Doughboy Foundation WWI Store

Books --Lest We Forget & Honoring the Doughboys

Lest We Forget: The Great War World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. One of the nation’s premier military history institutions pays tribute to the Americans who served and the allies they fought beside to defeat a resourceful enemy with a lavishly illustrated book.  It is an official product of the United States World War One Centennial Commission and is a tribute to those who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and what would become the Air Force. It serves as a lasting reminder that our world ignores the history of World War I (and the ensuing WWII) at its peril―lest we forget.

Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather’s World War I Diary is a stunning presentation of contemporary photographs taken by the author that are paired with diary entries written by his grandfather, George A. Carlson, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Jeff Lowdermilk followed his grandfather’s path through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and returned with these meticulously crafted photographs and his own engaging stories that bring the diary to life for contemporary readers. Lowdermilk’s passion for World War I and military history began as a young boy when he listened to his grandfather tell his stories about serving as an infantryman– a “Doughboy”–in Europe during the Great War.

Proceeds from the sale of these books will help finish the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the Doughboy Foundation.

Apps image Feb 2022

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.

Genealogy book FREE DOWNLOAD

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Doughboy MIA

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Sergeant Henry Veal, II

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

Henry Veal, II

Submitted by: Johnette Brooks {granddaughter}

Sgt Henry Veal, II served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The dates of service are: Known 30 APR 1918 – 30 AUG 1918.

Story of Service

18 FEB 1895, Henry was born in the Spring Hill District 2 of Milledgeville, GA. He was the baby son of eleven (11) children of Henry Veal, I and Lucy Ann Hearst of Deepstep, GA. Henry, II’s father was a minister and a farmer. Henry, II (Sr.) grew up a few doors down from his future bride, Mamie Solomon on the highway that would later (13 AUG 2011) be named in their honor.

He joined Green Pastures Baptist Church as a youth and attended school until the 5th Grad . On 5 JUN 1917, Henry registered for the WWI Draft.

He was inducted in Milledgeville GA on 29 APR 1918 and was entrained on 30 APR at Camp Gordon in the 157th Depot Brigade until September 21, 1918. he departed Newport News VA on the USS Mercury headed for Brest, France.

Seven (7) days after boarding the ship, he was promoted to Sgt. on 21 OCT 1918 and then Mess Sergeant to the White Officers on the same day. He served overseas in France from 13 Oct 1918 to 13 AUG 1919 and was honorably discharged from the Army on August 30, 1919. He was reduced back to the rank of Private on 27 FEB 1919 while still serving in France, likely to avoid paying the Sergeant’s pension upon his discharge. Seven (7) days after returning from France, he received his final Army payment of $4,278.95.

Read Sergeant Henry Veal, II’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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