WWI DISPATCH April 2022

A newsletter from the organization formerly known at the World War One Centennial Commission.


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April 2022

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WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer” App Nominated for Two Webby Awards!

The WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer” App has been selected from among over 14,300 entries as a finalist in not one but two categories of the 2022 Webby Awards. Presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the Webby Awards are the “Internet’s highest honor.” Each category will give one award selected by the Academy and another that is known as a People’s Voice award, selected by vote of the general public. This means that YOU can help the WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer” App win one or both of these awards! Click here to read the whole exciting story, and find out how you and everyone you know can vote to bring these two prestigious awards to the “Virtual Explorer” App, and thereby put a great national spotlight on the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

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World War I Centennial Commission wins 2021 DowntownDC Momentum Award for National World War I Memorial

DowntownDC Momentum Awards 2021

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District hosted its 2021 Momentum Awards on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. At the ceremony, the World War One Centennial Commission received the Downtown Detail Award for the opening of the new National World War I Memorial at the former Pershing Park, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, “which serves as a beautiful dedication to the heroism and sacrifice of Americans.” Click here to read more, and see video that was played for attendees at the award ceremony last month.


Jari Villanueva Leads Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial

Jari Villanueva snip

The Daily Taps program at the National World War I Memorial, in Washington, DC was launched November 11, 2021 by the Doughboy Foundation as part of its ongoing commitment to Honor All Those Who Served in WWI. To ensure this commitment would be steadfast, Jari Villanueva, lifelong bugler, considered to be the country’s foremost expert on military bugle calls, and Director of Taps for Veterans, was chosen to lead this effort. Jari sounded the first Daily Taps at the WWI Memorial, DC, and continues to play, as well as organize many other dedicated buglers who have stepped forward to honor all our Veterans and active-duty military, rain or shine. Click here to learn more about Jari and the Daily Taps program at the National World War I Memorial.


“More Precious Than Peace” Uncovers the American Experience in World War I

Justus D. Doenecke

When Justus Doenecke retired in 2005 at age 67 from the faculty of New College of Florida, the state’s honors college, where he had taught for 36 years, he was “hoping for a large project to keep me occupied during my new ‘permanent leave.’” He realized that he had “collected a number of contemporary books” on World War I, so he decided to read them. One thing led to another, and 17 years later, his retirement “hobby” has turned into two monumental books on WWI. The latest book, More Precious Than Peace: A New History of America in World War I  was published this spring by the University of Notre Dame Press. Click here to read more, and find out how some light reading about WWI evolved into two important contributions to the canon of writings about the “diplomatic, military, and ideological aspects of U.S. involvement as a full-scale participant in World War I.”


‘Valor never expires’: How a pair of Iowa researchers is honoring the heroic acts of diverse World War I soldiers

Tim Westcott-Josh Weston

The Des Moines Register newspaper in Iowa recently ran an extensive article on the work of researchers on the Valor Medals Review Project at Park University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War. Supported by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the Valor Medals Review is searching for WWI American service members who deserved to be awarded the Medal of Honor, but received a lesser decoration due to their race, ethnicity or religion. Click here to read more, and learn how research team members such as Tim Wescott (top left) and Josh Weston are racing the calendar to complete the review by 2025.


Remembering James Butler, R.A., MBE, 25 July 1931–26 March 2022

James Butler

James Butler, who died last month at the age of 90, was a famous British figurative sculptor and the longest serving member of the Royal Academy. His notable works include not only large-scale bronze statues of famous historical figures like Queen Elizabeth, but also several memorials commemorating WWI and WWII in England, France and the United States. Commissioner Monique Seefried of the US World War I Centennial Commission pays fond tribute to the artist and his work on several monumental sculptures that honor American soldiers who served and died in World War I.


World War I Veteran to be celebrated during EMS Week at WWI Memorial

Dr. Frank Boston

On May 20, 2022, and in celebration of EMS week, Washington DC Fire & EMS Deputy Chief Michael Knight and Boston researcher George Whitehair will lead the recognition for all EMS workers and in particular, a World War I veteran, doctor, and surgeon, who served in France with the 92nd Division (Buffalo soldiers). He then returned to start an ambulance corp and a hospital, both of which continue to serve their communities almost 100 years later. His name is Dr. Frank Erdman Boston, and he will be honored at the World War I Memorial along with all EMS workers during EMS week. Click here to read more about Dr. Frank Boston and EMS Week 2022.


WWI Army nurse Helen Grace McClelland received Distinguished Service Cross

Helen Grace McClelland

Helen Grace McClelland was born in Ohio in 1887. She enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1908 and graduated in 1912. When the Red Cross asked for volunteers in 1914 to aid overseas during World War I, McClelland answered the call. She volunteered in 1915 for the American Ambulance Service and served in France. The U.S. officially entered the war in 1917, but McClelland saw it as her duty to continue helping in the humanitarian effort overseas. Click here to read more, and learn how, after briefly returning to the U.S., she officially joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1917 and was brought back to Europe’s Western Front to continue aiding in the war effort.


Congressman presents war medals to family of American World War I hero

Private First Class Abraham Smith medals

Private First Class Abraham Smith was part of the U.S. Army’s WWI American Expeditionary Force, known as the “Polar Bears.” On Oct. 27, 1918, PFC Smith carried wounded soldiers to the dressing station and delivered a message under artillery fire in north Russia. Unfortunately, he was never awarded the military medals that he valiantly earned. But recently, Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky presented the Silver Star, the WWI Victory Medal, and the WWI Bronze Victory Pin to Smith’s descendants. Click here to read more, and find out how this century-long oversight was at least partially rectified with the assistance of the Congressman’s office.


Honoring the “Hello Girls” of World War I

Daniela Larsen

More than 100 years ago, women from every state in the U.S. volunteered to serve as switchboard operators and real-time translators on the front lines of World War I. They served under commissioned officers, wore dog tags, rank insignia and uniforms and swore the Army Oath, but the 223 women and 2 men of the Signal Corps Telephone Operator Unit were told when they came home that they had served as “civilian contractors” instead of soldiers. Click here to read more, and learn how Director Daniela Larsen of the John Hutchings Museum in Lehi, Utah is doing her part to get the “Hello Girls” (including 2 from Utah) recognition they’ve long deserved.


World War I opened opportunity for women workers at Rock Island Arsenal

RIA female worker

During Women’s History Month, inspirational women such as Harriet Tubman or Susan B. Anthony are often remembered, but it is also important to recognize women closer to home. During World War I, women from Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, Davenport, Iowa, and the surrounding areas, were hired in large numbers at Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois for the first time, in order to support the war efforts. Click here to read more, and learn how women at RIA emerged from strictly clerical jobs, and put their lives on the line by working one of the most dangerous tasks at the arsenal, filling 155mm shells and setting fuses.


Cincinnati Icon passes; championed for Black World War I Soldiers

Paul LaRue and Carl Westmoreland snip

Carl Westmoreland, who was the senior historian at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center for the past 20 years, died March 10, two days after his 85th birthday. He had an “extraordinary friendship” with Paul LaRue, a retired social sciences teacher and former member of the Ohio WWI Centennial Commission. Click here to read more, and learn how the two men “came together because of a passion they shared for making sure the Black men who took up arms to fight oppression in the Civil War and World War I were never forgotten.”


Waking Up to History: Putin’s War and the Historical Precedent of World War I

Todd S. Gernes

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of its eerie associations with and similarities to the World War I-era Spanish Flu epidemic that killed millions globally, the crisis in Ukraine has emerged carrying its own unsettling resonances with the Great War. Writing on the EVN Report web site, Todd Gernes, Associate Professor of History at Stonehill College in Easton, MA, takes a look at the grim parallels. Click here to read more, and see how “Putin’s war against Ukraine evokes so many images and plotlines from the Great War of 1914-1918.”


Together in life and death:
The Cromwell sisters of World War I

Cromwell Sisters news clip

Buried side by side at Suresnes American Cemetery just outside Paris, lie the Cromwell sisters, who traded in a life of prominence in New York City to be frontline nurses during World War I. The twin sisters survived the war, but overcome by what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), jumped to their deaths from the ship that was to take them home in January 1919. Click here to read the whole story, and learn how the “Misses Cromwell,” as they were sometimes referenced in newspapers, were never far from active warfare, and how their shocking suicide helped put the mental trauma of war in a different light for the public.


Texas A&M Announces Discovery Of 15 Additional Aggies Killed In World War I

Norwood plaque Texas A&M

Texas A&M University has announced the discovery of 15 additional Aggie veterans who died in the First World War. The additional names have been added to a WWI commemorative site on Simpson Drill Field in the center of campus, joining the 55 Texas Aggie Gold Stars who are all remembered with individual oak trees and plaques. Click here to read more, and learn how research efforts by the Brazos County World War I Centennial Committee identified the additional Aggie veterans who died during the war.


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Webinars & Event Series

Tomb Webinar

Beginning in January 2021, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) commenced a monthly program of events focused on different aspects of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as part of its year-long centennial commemoration. While the initial planning for these programs in 2019 envisioned that they would primarily be held in-person, ANC had to pivot due to ongoing Covid surges. Click here to read more, and see how this challenge came with creative opportunities, and how the benefits this shift afforded ultimately outweighed the difficulties.


In World War One, A Clean Pair Of Socks Could Save Your Life

Knitting Socks WWI

In a situation where people had to stand for what they believed in and at the same time run on their feet whenever needed, it is important to ensure that they are able to do so. In a war where weapons and tactics and how to defeat the enemies were the main focus, it was fairly easy to forget about the significance of small things like socks. As ridiculous as it might sound, a small detail as this one could dictate the fate of the soldiers in a war, and history had proved that to be true. Click here to read more, and learn how socks, relatively uncommon before World War I, became a battlefield essential often supplied by American volunteer knitters back home.


World War I News Digest April 2022

Gateway Pillars

World War I was The War that Changed the World, and its impact on the United States continues to be felt a century later, as people across the nation learn more about and remember those who served in the Great War. Here’s a collection of news items from the last month related to World War I and America.

90-year-old Gateway pillars in Lafayette deserve to be saved

Fiery crash topples over World War I memorial in Prospect Park

How war became a crime after WWI

Naturalized World War I Soldier Frank Capra

The first canned dog food in US made from excess WWI horses

How Basic Healthcare Became Big Business in America after WWI

WWI veteran considered for Medal of Honor recognized in Texas

What happened when the 1918 flu pandemic met World War I

VA Medical Center to celebrate 100-year anniversary next year 

Again, Russia at center of American-Backed War for Democracy

WWI in the Alps: An American Journalist on the Italian front lines

Des Moines museums  explore Black soldiers’ sacrifice in WWI


What are the best movies about WWI?
May I have the envelope, please!

Gary Cooper as Sergeant York

Maybe it had to do with the hand-to-hand combat onstage at this year’s Academy Awards, but for some reason, two major cinemaphilia web sites (now settle down, that means “a passionate interest in films, film theory, and film criticism“) took it upon themselves to issue their own lists of “the best World War I movies of all time.” You’d think these two lists would have a lot in common, but remember, we’re talking about cinemaphiles here: the two lists are actually quite different, both in their evaluation approaches, and the specific films selected for the honors. The Stacker web site posted its “Best World War I movies of all time” list on March 30, after consulting “the top-rated war films on IMDb and ranked the top 25 about WWI.”

Wings movie snip

However, five days earlier on March 25, the slashfilm.com web site was out with its own “The 14 Best World War I Movies Ever Made” list. Intriguingly, the two lists are quite different (quite apart from having a different number of films), and not all of the films on the shorter list are included on the longer list. (Bonus question: what now-famous actor appears in one film that is on both lists, and another film that is only on one list?)  So if you are looking for an excuse to binge watch a bunch of WWI movies, check out these two lists, and maybe come up with your own list of “the best World War I movies of all time.”

Farewell to Arms jacket

But say you’re a bibliophile rather than a cinemaphile—we still got you covered. Writing on the intercollegiate Studies Institute web site, David Hein is pleased to present his great big list of The Great Books of the Great War for your reading pleasure. And since we don’t have another contemporaneous list of WWI books to which to compare and contrast his, perhaps you can come up with your own!


Doughboy MIA for April 2022

Eugene Sharpe

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is Eugene Sharp. Eugene was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 31st, 1896. He was the youngest of the 6 children that Sterling and Delphia Sharpe would have, farmers by trade.

Tall and stout, Sharpe had already done a year and half in the US Army before he enlisted in the Marine Corps on 13 February 1918. Upon arrival overseas he served as a Private in the 17th Company, 5th Regiment of Marines and was killed in action on 3 August 1918. His body was never recovered or identified and he is memorialized on the Tablets to the Missing in the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau Wood, France.

What makes PVT Sharpe’s case so special to us at Doughboy MIA is that we found a long forgotten ‘movement card’ for a set of remains received at the cemetery on 11 December 1922. These were deemed unidentifiable and so interred permanently there on 18 January 1923. This card indicates the remains were those of a Marine that carried the name ‘Eugene’. In looking on our comprehensive list of MIA’s, we find that there is but one Marine with that first name who is still missing in action from WW1. The likelihood of the man described on the card being Eugene Sharpe are very good then – however, in order to investigate further there is a batch of long missing paperwork we need to find that we have been searching for a very long time. Once we find that paperwork, we will be able to either raise the case for the man on the card being our man or else dismiss it all together. In fact, Sharpe’s would be the fifth case we could do this on – WHEN we locate this paperwork!

Now that the National Archive system is beginning to open up again, Doughboy MIA can get back in there and resume doing what we do best there: root out the clues that help us locate these men for recovery and/or tell their stories. FOR THAT WE NEED YOUR HELP. Every trip to the archives or to the battlefields costs us money, and we survive solely on donations – donations that help us bring closure to these long-forgotten cases. Our recent trip to the battlefields of France last November has put us tantalizingly close to possibly recovering at least two sets of remains, and we’ve got a follow-up trip in the works – a trip that may prove very exciting and a real breakthrough for us after many years of dedicated work!

BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! Won’t you consider giving to Doughboy MIA? We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and your donation is tax deductible. Every dollar is used for our mission – a mission we believe is worthy of our best efforts. Here is YOUR chance to be part of this great endeavor. Please give today, and don’t be afraid to give generously! Visit us at www.ww1cc.org/mia and donate today with our everlasting thanks. Also visit us at www.doughboymia.org, or on Facebook at Doughboy MIA. Want to know more? Drop us a line – we’ll fill you in! But above all GIVE PLEASE: www.ww1cc.org/mia

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.


Merchandise from the Official
Doughboy Foundation WWI Store

WWI Poppy Lapel Pin

Poppy Lapel Pin

Back in stock!

♦ Exclusive Commemorative WW1 Poppy Lapel Pin

♦ First Colors Commemoration

♦ Soft enamel color design

♦ Approx. 1.5 inch in dia.

♦ Standard military clasp

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

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



WWI Memorial Visitor Guide App map screen

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


Genealogy book FREE 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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John Henry Allison

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

John Henry Allison

Submitted by: Jim Allison {grandson}

My Grandfather, John Henry Allison had moved from Adair County Kentucky to Pontiac, IL and was a farm hand for his future father-in-law John B. Scott in 1916. At the beginning of his courtship with Louise Scott, what is now known as World War 1 disrupts the plans of many a young man including Grandpa who was inducted in Pontiac, IL September 19, 1917 and sent to Camp Dodge, Iowa. From there he went to Camp Pike Arkansas. Then he sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey on June 19, 1918 on the ship “Delta” arriving in Liverpool, England on July 15, 1918, and on to Le Harve, France on July 20, 1918.

Grandpa was in the following engagements: Chateau Thierry July 20-August 5. 1918; St. Mihiel Sept. 14-20, 1918; Verdun Sept. 21-28, 1918. He was wounded in the left arm at Chateau Thierry and in his right foot at Verdun. He was in overseas hospitals at Tauris and Vichy France. He sailed back from Brest, France on September 29, 1918 and arrived at Hoboken, New Jersey Christmas Day 1918. He was discharged January 19, 1919.

In her high school days my sister Janet interviewed grandpa concerning his World War days. When grandpa told her about diving into a fox hole and having a bullet hit his foot, she asked him why he dove in head first? Grandpa said something to the effect with a touch of humor, “Would you rather I had got shot in the head?” Janet could probably fine tune this part of my memory a bit!

Here are a few memories grandpa shared about his war experiences. While on leave, he and a small group of soldiers were in town somewhere in France. They were trying to find some thing and one of the fellow soldiers convinced grandpa to ask a lady how to find it. They told grandpa how to say it in French. He did so and was promptly slapped in the face. They “got” grandpa on that one!

Read John Henry Allison’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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