Memorial Day Weekend 2019

This is a rough guide to just a few of the Americans who embarked from Folkestone in the First World War.

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.

20th October 1914

Richard Norton1 Founder of the American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps, also known as the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps

Monday 9th November 1914

Glenna Lindsey Bigelow, an American who was living near Liege Belgium. Embarking for Calais. Glenna worked as a nurse throughout the war.1

27th November 1914

Doctor Rose, Colin Heerle and, Ernest Percy Bicknell of the Rockerfeller Foundation War Relief Commission.

31st May 1915

Private G/609 James Norman Hall, 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.
Died 6th July 1951

12th November 1916

Private 3329 Eric Frances Walker, 29th Battalion Australian Infantry, 7th Reinforcements. Australian Imperial Force. Crossed on the SS Onward. Eric is a “Natural Born British Subject” born in the British territory of Hong Kong. His father lives in Seatle, Washington State USA. Eric enlisted on the 3rd March 1916. He is killed in action on the 29th August 1918. He is buried at Eterpigny Communal Cemetery Extension. His father was informed by letter of Eric’s death by the United States Consul in Melbourn

19th November 1916

Private 5606 Alexander Kinnaird, ex-7th Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Alexander is part of 15th Reinforcements/27th Battalion. He crosses to France on the SS Onward. Alexander arrives at the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot on the 20th and is taken on the strength of 27th Battalion on the 3rd December. Alexander was born in Junction City, Kansas, USA and was 43 years and 2 months old when he enlisted on the 1st March 1916. Wounded in action in November 1917 he returned to Australia in March 1918 suffering from premature Senility.

12th December 1916

Private 5792 George Frost, Australian Imperial Force, 18th Reinforcements 15th Battalion. Crossed from Folkestone on the SS Arundel. George was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA in 1876. A sailor he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on the 15th November 1915 at the Rifle Range, Queensland. Tried by Field General Courts Martial for Desertion on the 6th October 1917. He went absent while on active service on the 21st June 1917 until the 17th July 1917 and going AWOL while under arrest 17th August until the 20th August 1917. Found Not Guilty of Desertion, but Guilty of being Absent Without Leave. He is sentenced to 9 months Imprisonment with Hard Labour in the Military Prison at Rouen. George returns to duty on the remission of the remainder of his sentence on the 12th June 1918 and returns to the 15th Battalion on the 17th June 1918. Reported absent on the 21st July, rearrested 16th August, absent 28th August, traced 15th September, absent 30th September, and again reported absent 15th October. On the 14th January 1919 he is sentenced to 15 months Hard Labour. Some of the sentence is served at No.10 Military Prison Dunkirk. On the 23rd July 1919, he is transferred to prison in Oxford. He embarks at Calais on the “Maid of Orleans” and disembarks at Folkestone, under escort. The remainder of his sentence is remitted from the date of his departure for Australia, 22nd September 1919

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.1 Emile Cyr was awarded the British War Medal and the British Victory Medal.

25th April 1917

Private 7075 Frederick McCabe, Australian Imperial Forces, ex 23rd Reinforcements/2nd Battalion. Arrived at 1st Australian Base Depot the next day. Taken on Strength by the 2nd Battalion on the 11th May 1917. Frederick is killed in action on the 22nd September 1917. Private McCABE, FREDERICK 7075. Born in Sofalla, USA. The son of Son of James Warwick McCabe and Emily Maria McCabe, of Hudson St., Granville, New South Wales. Is buried at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood. the inscription on his grave reads:
“THOUGH LOST TO SIGHT TO MEMORY EVER DEAR”

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,” Crossed to Boulogne on the 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, who on the 4th September 1917, will become the first American, in the American Expeditionary Force, to be killed by enemy action, in an air raid, during  the Great War.

13th June 1917

U.S. General “Black” Jack Pershing. 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.

11th June 1917

No.12 Base Hospital U.S Army, after arrival No 12 Base Hospital operated British General Hospital No. 18. This unit did march down Slopes Road1 On the 20th May 1917, the day following the units departure for England, a gunnery accident killed Nurses Helen Wood and Edith Ayres injuring a third nurse. The bodies of Wood and Ayres were returned to the US and given military funerals. They were the first United States Army Casualties of the First World War.

8th August 1917.

11th Engineers Regiment, (Railway), 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 from German shell fire.

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”

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 1918

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.

There were many, meny more Americans who also embarked from Folkestone. These are just a very few.

 

 

 

 

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