Americans and Folkestone in the First World War.
1)Apart from beating the Canadians at Baseball in Folkestone, there is a largely ignored history of Americans and Folkestone in the First World War.
2)Americans were American by Birth or Immigrants.
3) A large number of America enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On the whole, they are not included here. (Some Are)
4) A number of men born in Folkestone, such as Bertram Charles Goddard, registered for the Draft in America. They are not included here.
5) The dates are the date of embarkation from Folkestone during the War.
6) There are some photos and, there are Footnotes.
7th October 1914
Clarence V. Mitchell an American who went to France to be a volunteer Ambulance Driver. He wrote, “With a Military Ambulance in France,” which is a collection of letters he sent to his parents. Crossed to France on the SS Sussex.1a
27th November 1914
Doctor Rose, Colin Heerle and, Ernest Percy Bicknell of the Rockefeller Foundation War Relief Commission embark for Flushing.1b
31st May 1915
Private G/609 James Norman Hall, an American citizen he served in the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, The French, Escadrille Lafayette. , U.S. 103rd Aero Pursuit Squadron., 94th Aero Pursuit Squadron, United States Air Service., and US Aviation Head Quarters, Paris. Wrote “Kitchener’s Mob Adventures of an American in the British Army” Died 6th July 1951. (James Norman Hall War Pension record national archives Kew and The Lafayette Flying Corps, by Dennis Gordon, Schiffer 2000 ISBN 0-7643-1108-5)
15th July 1915
Dr Rudd an American Doctor embarked on the SS Sussex to work for the American Ambulance Service.
11th March 1916
Ray Baldwin, George Hollister, Philip C. Lewis2, Bert Williams, Harvard volunteer ambulance drivers for the American Ambulance Service They crossed from Folkestone to Dieppe on the “Sussex”.
26th March 1915
Ernest Percy Bicknell of the Rockefeller Foundation War Relief Commission3
26th December 1916
Private 11197 Fredrick James Felton, Hertfordshire Regiment4, disembarks at Calais. He arrives at 17 Infantry Base Depot, on the same day. Posted to 3rd Entrenching Battalion on the 10th January 1917. He is made “Company Clerk” and on the 1st February awarded 6d per diem additional pay. Appointed Acting Company Sergeant Major on the 30th March. Allotted a new Regimental number, 235206 in February 1917(?). Transferred to the 4th (Territorial Force) Reserve Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers and posted to the 16th Battalion on the 2nd July 1917. Joining them in the field on the 6th. He reverts to the rank of Private on completion of his duties with the 3rd Entrenching Battalion. Killed in action on the 31st July 1917. Mentioned in, The Foreign Burial of American War Dead, by Chris Dixon, as he was married to E. L. Felton, of 4056, Oakenwald Avenue, Chicago, U.S.A. Frederick is buried in Artillery Wood Cemetery, in Belgium. The inscription on his grave reads5
“THY WILL BE DONE”
28th December 1916
Private 2166A Charles Lathorp Gray, ex-4th Reinforcements/48th Battalion Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force. Crosses to Boulogne on the SS Princess Clementine. He arrives at 4th Australian Division Base Depot the next day. Taken on the Strength of 48th Battalion on the 16th February 1917. Born in Ithica, USA Charles enlisted at Adelaide, Australia on the 27th April 1916. Wounded in action in April 1917. He is medically discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on the 14th January 1918.6
Corporal 2517 Walter Theodor Hass, 48th Battalion Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force. He is killed in action 12th October, Aged 21. His brother Albert crossed to France from Folkestone on the 14th May 1917. Both have no known grave and are commemorated on the Menin Gate.
They are the sons of Peter Heinrich Hass, of Peterborough, South Australia, and the late Lisette Hass (nee Lohmann). Both were born in Greenville, Wisconsin, USA.7
31st December 1916
Private 204 Arthur Jones, Australian Imperial Force crossed to France on the SS Princess Victoria. Born in California, USA, Arthur was a pastry cook by trade. He lived in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, on the 23rd February 1916. He embarks for England on the 17th May 1916, returns home on the 14th May 1919. Arthur is taken on the strength of the 41st Battalion ex 53rd Reinforcements/41st Battalion from 3rd (Australian) Division Base Camp on the 5th January 1917.8
4th January 1917
Driver 14865 George Thomas Bowden, Australian Engineers, Australian Imperial Force. Crossed to Boulogne on the SS Princess Clementine. Marched into the Australian General Base Depot, Etaples the same day. Transferred to 13th Field Company, Australian Engineers. on the 10th. He joins them in the field on the 12th. Born in Warwick, USA, circa 1871, George died 28th June 1949.9
16th January 1917
Private 4615 James Albert Phillips10, 45th Battalion Australian Imperial Force, crossed on the SS Princess Clementine. James is returning to his battalion after recovering from wounds. James was originally from Chicago USA.
24th January 1917
Private 2660 Richard Lindop, Ex Pioneer Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Taken on the strength of 4th Pioneer Battalion on the 7th March. He is killed in action on the 22nd June, age 43. Richard was the son of William and Eliza Lindop and the husband of Frances Lindop, of 1821, Cliff St., McKeesport, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. And a native of Staffordshire, England.11 He is listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead, by Chris Dickon.
2nd February 1917
Private 2283 Francisco Aceituno, Australian Imperial Force. Born in Key West, Florida, USA. Francisco was now a farmer in Australia. He enlisted in May 1916. He crossed to France on the SS Invicta and marched into 3rd Australian Base Depot the same day. Taken on the Strength of 44th Battalion Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force ex-4th Reinforcements/44th Battalion on the 8th. It was not until May 1936 that Francisco received his medals.12
6th March 1917
Private 277330 Emile Cyr, Manchester Regiment. Emile Cyr was a sailor who enlisted at Birkenhead on the 7th August 1916. The first eight months of his army service was spent at home before he was posted to the British Expeditionary Force. Embarking from Folkestone with the 2/7th Battalion on the 6th March 1917. On the 9th October, he is at the 2/7th Field Ambulance “Sick”. Moved through the casualty evacuation chain he is transferred by hospital ship back to England on the 20th October. The next four months are spent back in the United Kingdom until on the 20th March 1918 he again embarks from Folkestone to Boulogne. After three days at “H” infantry brigade depot in Etaples, he is posted to the 2/5th Battalion Manchester Regiment and serves with them in the Field from the 6th April. Cyr is attached to 66th Division Head Quarters for a short while from the 15th May possibly followed by a stint at 199 Infantry Brigade Head Quarters, Posted to 1/5th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the 30th September he does not join them in the Field until after the Armistice on the 22nd November. Between the 30th September and the 22nd November, he spends 23 days at “H” Infantry Brigade Depot and 30 days at “K” Infantry Brigade Depot. On Christmas day 1918 he is granted 14 days leave in the United Kingdom. Shortly after his return, he is ordered to proceed to the United Kingdom for reparation to the USA. He embarks for England from Dunkirk on the 2nd February 1919. .He was transferred to “Z” class reserves on the 21st June 1919. Emile did not qualify for a pension or gratuity. After his discharge from the army, he moved to Maine in the USA where his mother resided.13 Emile Cyr was awarded the British War Medal and the British Victory Medal.
13th March 1917
Private 1685 William Charles Gordon, Australian Imperial Force. Taken on Strength by 19th Battalion, Ex 56th Battalion Reinforcements. In July he is transferred to the 5th Light Trench Mortar Battery. Wounded in Action he survives the War. William was born in Seattle, USA.14
Private 2763 Walter Summerton, Walter was born at Crystal City, Missouri, USA. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. As his place of birth, he gave his parent’s address, Settler, Alberta, and his occupation as Labourer. Now ex 12th Training Battalion he is embarking for France from Folkestone. The following day he will join 4 Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples. Marched out to join his unit on the 17th. He joins 46th Battalion in the Field on the 18th. At first, he was presumed killed in action on the 11th April, but on the 7th of May, he is listed on the Prisoner of War List P.M 116. He died while a Prisoner of War in Senna Germany on the 28th October 1918. Walter, age 31, was the son of John and Annie Elizabeth Summerton. He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery Kassel, Hessen, Germany.15
13th April 1917
Sapper 16219. Alexander Charles McDermott16, Australian Imperial Forces, he arrived at Australian General Base Depot the next day. Joined 12th Field Company Australian Engineers, in the Field, on the 27th April. Alexander Charles McDermott, born on Rhode Island, USA. Alexander enlisted at Melbourne, Australia, and survived the war.
19th April 1917
Private 1025 James Thomas Donnelly, 1st Reinforcements/41st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, Ex-11th Training Battalion Larkhill. He is Taken on Strength of 41st Battalion, ex 3rd Australian Division Base Camp on the 10th May. James was born in Colorado, USA, and enlisted at Brisbane Queensland, Australia, in February 1916.17
25th April 1917
Private 2815 Mayo Carlton Clark, Australian Imperial Force, he arrives at 4th Australian Division Base Camp the following day. Taken on the strength of 4th Pioneer Battalion ex-6th Reinforcements/4th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, on the 16th May 1917. Mayo was born near Denver, Colorado, USA. Married to Jane Reid of New Zealand, his mother lived in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. He enlisted on the 10th January 1916 in Brisbane. Hospitalised in July 1918 suffering from Trench Fever.18
9th May 1917
Lance-Sergeant 1145 George Joseph Richard Brown M.M., 28th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Returning to the front after being wounded. George joins the Australian General Base Depot the following day. Marched out to 3rd Australian Division Artillery, Rouillers, on the 2nd June. He is taken on Strength, Division Trench Mortars, 6th June. Transferred to, and taken on strength of 28th Infantry Battalion on the 10th August. George is killed in Action on the 4th October 1917. George was the son of George and Mary Brown, born in Concord, Northampshire, USA. He was married to Alice Oliver Brown who lived at, 129 Brighton Road, Surbiton. His Military Medal was Gazetted on the 27th October 1916:
“HIS MAJESTY THE KING has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the undermentioned non-commissioned officer:- No. 1145 Corporal GEORGE JOSEPH RICHARD BROWN.”
George has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.19
14th May 1917
Private 3156 Earle Nelson Gates,20 ex 15th Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Taken on Strength 57th Battalion ex 8th Reinforcements/57th Battalion. Born in Allegahanny City, Pennsylvania USA, enlisted in Broadmeadows, Victoria, Australia on the 17th October 1916.
Private 6948 Albert Fred Hass, ex 3rd Training Battalion, 10th Battalion. Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force. The son of Peter Heinrich Hass, of Peterborough, South Australia, and the late Lisette Hass (nee Lohmann). Born in Greenville, Wisconsin, U.S.A. He was killed in action between the 20th and 21st September, Aged 24. and has no known grave. His brother, Walter Theodor Hass also of the Australian Imperial Force was also killed in action and also has no known grave. Both are commemorated on the Menin Gate.21
30th May 1917
No.5 Base Hospital US Army. Marched down Slopes Road, now known as the Road of Remembrance. They “crossed the Channel in a crowded packet in a dense fog, surrounded by growling destroyers we could not see,”22 Crossed to Boulogne on the SS Princess Victoria. They take over the British Expeditionary Force General Hospital No.11, situated between Dannes and Camiers. Serving with the No5. Base Hospital is Lieutenant William Fitzsimmons, Private Oscar C Tugo and, Miss Eva Parmelee. William Fitsimmons will become the first American, in the American Expeditionary Force, to be killed by enemy action in the Great War. He is killed in an air raid on the Base Hospital on the 4th September 1917. Oscar Tugo is also killed in the air raid. He is the first American enlisted man in the American Expeditionary Force to be killed by enemy action. Eva Parmelee is on duty during the air raid. Escaping with only minor injuries despite her dress being holed by shrapnel, remained at her post. Throughout the raid Eva stayed calm, she collected, cared for, and comforted both the newly wounded and others. For her actions during the raid, General Pershing gave her an honorary mention and King George V presented her with the first Military Medal awarded to an American nurse.23 Other accounts record Eva being awarded the American Distinguished Service Cross.24 25
(More American Units marched down Slope Road (The Road of Remembrance) than Canadian and possibly British Units.)
29th June 1917
Mr Mowry of the American Bolling’s Aeronautical Commission to Europe, and 63 men from the Civilian Motor Mechanics Group. The Group were in Europe to study British and French aircraft production techniques.26
13th June 1917
U.S. General “Black” Jack Pershing.27 He crossed on the SS Invicta. Shortly after their arrival General Pershing’s aide, Colonel Charles Stanton, on the 4th July 1917 made the following remark, “Nous voila, Lafayette” (Lafayette, we are here!“) at Lafayette’s tomb.
8th August 1917.
11th Engineers Regiment, (Railway),28 an American regiment raised from railway workers. They were sent over to France to help maintain the railways in Northern France. Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan were wounded when the Unit came under shell fire on the 5th September 1917. They were the first United States Army casualties on the Western Front. 29
17th September 1917
Private M/322950.Victor Holman, Army Service Corps. Posted to 974 Motor Transport Company, 5th Heavy Repair Shop. Victor stated he was born near Colorado in the USA. Attested on the 1st September 1914 and gave his age as 19yrs and 345 days. He had served in France before. Embarked from Southampton when serving with the Kings Royal Rifles as Private Y861, in October 1915. Then he was sent back to England, on the 28th March 1917, for being “Under Age”.30
1st March 1918
Corporal 374A Thomas Oscar Miller, Australian Imperial Forces. Ex-Machine Gun Training Depot, Grantham. Returning to France, he arrived at the Machine Gun Base Depot, Camiers the next day. Rejoining the 21st Machine Gun Company in the Field on the 7th March. On the 1st April 1918, the 21st Machine Gun Company’s designation is changed to the 1st Machine Gun Battalion. Thomas Oscar Miller, born in Boston, USA. Enlisted in Adelaide, Australia. He survived the war.31
15th April 1918
Private 6765 Arthur Henry Banninger, Australian Imperial Force, Ex-20th Reinforcements/24th Battalion. Arrived at New Zealand Base Depot on the 17th. He is taken on strength of 24th Battalion on the 26th April 1918. Born in Hanover, Washington County, Kansas, USA. Wounded in action in July 1918, he survives the war.32
Private 3241 Richard William England, Australian Imperial Force, ex-9th Training Battalion. Marches into No.3 Base Depot, Etaples two days later. He is taken on Strength 40th Battalion, ex 7th Reinforcements/40th Battalion on the 26th April. Richard was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He enlisted in Claremont, Tasmania. On the 9th November 1916.33
Private 6904 Gustav Albert Mahle, Ex 6th Training Battalion. Australian Imperial Force. He arrived at the New Zealand Base Depot on the 17th. Taken on the strength of 23rd Battalion ex (20) reinforcements on the 20th April. Born in Mobile Alabama, USA. Gustav was an American Subject who lived with his wife, Kathleen Monica Mahle, in Richmond, Victoria, Australia. Wounded in action he survived the war.34
2nd June 1918
Company B, 311th US Infantry. The 311th had crossed from the USA on the “Nestor”. After arriving at Liverpool they entrained for Folkestone arriving at 2 a.m. on the 1st June. The history of Company B, 311 Infantry records they spent the night in an Embarkation Camp at Folkestone in “a large empty stone house in a row of similar ones” Sixty men from the 311th had left for France from Folkestone on the 1st June.35
8th July 1918
Private 3629 Norman Crumpler Frederick. Born in Key West Florida USA he became a farmer and lived with or near his parents in Victoria Australia. He enlisted on the 2nd of December 1917. Now he is part of the 10th Reinforcements/57th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Taken on Strength by 57th Battalion on the 24th. Wounded in Action on the 2nd of September 1918. Six months later on the 3rd March 1919, Norman is detached from the 57th Battalion for duty with the Australian Graves Registration Unit.36
15th July 1918
Private 7026 Daniel H Burchfield, Australian Imperial Force. An American born in Tennessee enlisted on the 31st October 1917. He Arrived at the Australian Infantry Base Depot Harve on the 18th. Marched out to the 45th Battalion the next day. Transferred to the 34th Battalion from the 45th ex Australian Infantry Base Depot and Taken on Strength by the 34th on the 21st July. Wounded in Action on the 8th August 1918. A Gun Shot Wound to the heart. He is transferred through the evacuation train back to England via 5 General Hospital, Rouen. He dies from his wound on the 18th of November 1918. He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery. Daniel is probably the Daniel Horatio (Sp?) Burchfield in Knoxville Tennessee. There seems to be a close match in signatures, as well as in name.37
29th July 1918
Private 7958 William Robert Christian38. Born 9th September 1895 in Leadville, Colorado, the son of Evan and Sarah Christian, he is an American Citizen. William enlisted in Tasmania, where he lived with his wife, in October 1917. After basic training, he embarked from Australia for Liverpool on the 28th February 1918 and joined the 1st Training Battalion at Sutton Veny on the 20th April. Taken on Strength by 12th Battalion ex 27th Reinforcements 4th August 1918. Wounded in Action, Wounds caused by a shell, back and legs. On the 26th of August. He died from the wounds on the 30th August at 41st Casualty Clearing Station. Buried at Daours Communal Cemetery Extension. The inscription on his grave reads:
“HE DIED DOING HIS DUTY MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE”
8th August 1918
Private 7378 Ernest Thompson, Australian Imperial Force, ex 12th Training Battalion. He arrived at the Australian Infantry Base Depot the next day. Taken on Strength by 51st Battalion on the 16th August. Ernest was born in Omaha, USA. An American subject he enlisted in Narrogin, Western Australia, on the 18th December 1917. He survived the war.39
30th August 1918
Driver 16202 Isard Zeltner, Australian Imperial Force, he arrived at the Australian General Base Depot on the 1st September. Joined 3rd Motor Transport Company, ex Australian General Base Depot on the 5th September. Born in St Louis, Missouri, an American Subject. He enlisted on the 26th November 1917 at Melbourne Australia.40
8th August 1917.
“Nous voila, Lafayette”.
Americans also stayed at No.3 Rest Camp on the Leas before marching down Slope Road to the harbour and the ships waiting to take them to France. Two soldiers from the United states 11th Engineering Regiment (Railways) who were to become the first casualties from the A.E.F. were at the rest camp on the Leas. There is also another almost forgotten connection with the United States.
The United States is well known for the respect Americans pay to their war dead. American Great War Cemeteries are impressive places. They are very proud of the role their soldiers played. Yet there is a lost almost forgotten army of American dead. Those that fought in other nations uniforms. They are buried in cemeteries all over the world and ignored by Americans. For some the connection to the United States begs the question of, how do we define nationality, and does it matter? Others there is no doubt of their nationality. These are the Folkestone/Shorncliffe dead with an American connection. All are buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery, all are listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead by Chris Dickon.
James Desmond McNulty Born in Valley City, North Dakota. killed in the Air Raid 25th May 1917.
John Lucius Rumsdell The husband of Letitia M Ramsdell, Brooklyn New York.
George Bates, Son of Norman and Sally Bates of Arkansas. Served in Mexico, presumably with the US Army. Married and lived with his wife in Vancouver. After his enlistment, his wife moved to North Wales.
David Gordon, died of wounds received in France. Born in Belfast, he was the son of James Gordon of 1 Bunker Hill Court, Charleston, West Virginia.
Ottawa Gladman, Born in Canada and lived in Chicago. Died of Meningitis.
Charley Hanson, Born in Norway, lived in Saskatchewan, married to Caroline Hanson of Fairchild Wisconsin, USA. Dad to six children. Charley had arrived in England on the SS Scandinavian. on the 5th of February 1917. He died from an illness.
David Gray, Married to Annie Gray of Detroit, Michigan. Wounded on the Somme, he died at Manor Court Hospital, Folkestone.
Bert Arbuckle, Born in Indiana. Injured in the air raid on the 25th May 1917, he died of wounds the next day.
George Wheeler Armstrong.An American Eagle of the First World War. lots of references to the Americans who flew in the Lafayette Escadrille, few for those who flew with the RAF during the war. Born in the US Virgin Islands. Died in an accident while flying a Bristol F2b.
Also at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery is the grave of May Arnold. A victim of the Folkestone Air Raid in May 1917. May’s husband was Freddie Arnald an American serving in the Canadian Army. Freddie was executed, by the British Army, for desertion on the 27th July 1916 at Le Portel. He is possibly the only American executed by the British in the First World War.
May Arnold’s grave.
Other notable Americans who embarked from Folkestone in the First World War include:
Richard Norton1 Founder of the American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps, also known as the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps, embarked 20th October 1914,(Arlen Hanson, Gentlemen Volunteers, New York: Arcade, 1996. quoted in, http://www.ourstory.info/2/a/Norton.html accessed 10/02/2018) and Glenna Lindsey Bigelow, an American who was living near Liege Belgium. Embarking for Calais. Glenna worked as a nurse throughout the war. Embarked on the 9th of November. (Liege on the line of March, Glenna Lindsey Bigelow, John Lane Company 1918.)
1a) Unpublished article by Peter Anderson.
1b)In War’s Wake, 1914-1915; the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Red Cross Join in Civilian Relief by Ernest Percy Bicknell. Hathi Trust Digital Library online 12/01/2019.
2)Page 205 The Harvard Volunteers in Europe Edit by M.A. DeWolf Howe, Cambridge Harvard University Press. 1916
3)In War’s Wake, 1914-1915; the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Red Cross Join in Civilian Relief by Ernest Percy Bicknell. Hathi Trust Digital Library online 12/01/2019.
4)Frederick J Felton’s Medal Card.
5)Fredrick J Felton’s Army Pension Record, and his listing on the CWGC Website.
6)Charles Lathorp Gray’s Army Service Record.
7)Albert and Walter Hass Army Service Records and CWGC Web page.
8)Arthur Jones’s Service Record.
9)George Bowden Army Service Record.
10)James Albert Phillips Army Service Record.
11)Richard Lindop’s Army Service Record. And listing on the CWGC Website.
12)Francisco Aceituno Army Service Record.
13)Emile Cyr Army Pension Records.
14)William Charles Gordon’s Army Service Record.
15)Walter Summerton’s Army service record and Medal Card,
16)Alexander Charles McDermott’s Army Service Record.
17)James Thomas Donnelly’s Army Service Record.
18)Mayo Carlton Clark, Army Service Record.
19)George Joseph Richard Brown’s Army Service Record and his CWGC Website Listing
20)Earle Nelson Gates’s Army Service Record.
21)Albert and Walter Hass Army Service Records and CWGC Web page.
22)The story of U.S. Army base hospital no. 5, web retrieved 05/04/2017
23)http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/hospitals/bh5a.html retrieved 12/91/2019
26)Gorrell’s History AEF Air Service Sheet 8 History of Bolling’s Mechanics
27)Yanks, by John S.D. Eisenhower, and, http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/arrival.htm
28)Jones, Raymond W , WW1 Officer Experience Reports AEF
30)Victor Holman’s Army Service Record.
31)Thomas Oscar Miller’s Army Service Record.
32)Arthur Henry Banninger’s Army Service Record.
33)Richard William England’s Army Service Record.
34)Gustav Albert Mahle’s Army Service Record.
35)Pages 14-15 The history of Company B, 311th infantry, in the world war. Edited … Colonna, Benjamin Allison. Hathi Trust online book, 04/02/18
36)Norman Crumpler Frederick’s Army Service Record.
37)Daniel H Burchfield, Army Service Record, Tennessee Draft card on Fold3, CWGC web listing.
38)William Robert Christian’s Army Service Record and CWGC listing.
39)Ernest Thompson’s Army Service Record.
40)Isard Zeltner’s Army Service Record.