Category Archives: America

US Out takes

Due to various reasons, time, dead lappy, cost, etcetera. There is the odd bit of research that has died a death. So this is sort of a what once would have been, and what might be when days of the future are past. They are not enough on their own to blog about individually. Hence the waffle.

Edgar Allan Poe had a brother who is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner. John P Poe, Black Watch. The Poe brothers are related to the Edgar Allan Poe who wrote The Raven. They are also American.

Tired of what about the….  This guy covers American, Australian, Chinese, and died in England. Cadet 2695 Charles Frederick, Australian Flying Corps, died 4th February 1919. His parents lived in Peking, China. Charles was born at Spokane, Washington, U.S.A.

Talk of Anniversaries of trips to the Battle Fields, Henry Williams, not an American, neither was Tarka the Otter, but anyway…  He said that when he returned to Ypres there was also someone else there. There was the Henry Williamson now, but also there was the Henry Williamson who was the soldier who fought there.

First Gold Star Mothers visit. 1930  They went to Paris, laid a wreath at the tomb of the French unknown soldier. Visits to the main American Cemeteries followed, along with a sightseeing trip around Paris.

The American unknown soldier was one of four unknown Americans, one each from the Aisne-Marne. Meuse-Argonne, Somme, and St Mihiel Cemeteries. Their grave details were destroyed before one of the coffins was picked, so no one knows which cemetery the soldier came from. The three who were not selected are buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Block “G”, Row 1, graves 1,2,and 3.

One day I might returned to the above, that day is not today.




Stories from the Harbour Arm #Folkestone

Occasionally I get asked what it is I’m doing. “God knows” is the usually reply. However I have been collecting stories of the soldiers who left from Folkestone in the First World War. Stories such as:

Captain John Macgregor V.C., M.C and Bar. D.C.M.
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles

Born in Cawdor, in Nairnshire Scotland, John Macgregor would have made a worthy thane. His mother still lived at Newlands of Murchang, Cawdor.  Prior to the war John had emigrated to Canada where he worked as a carpenter.

Macgregor was awarded the D.C.M. For an action on the 8th April 1917 during the preliminaries to the Battle of Vimy.

The citation for his Distinguished Conduct Medal (awarded when John was a Sergeant) reads:

116031 Sjt. J. MacGregor, Mounted Rifles. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He single-handed captured an enemy machine gun and shot the crew, thereby undoubtedly saving his company from many casualties.
(Supplement 30204 to The London Gazette 24 July 1917 page 7663)

John was awarded his Military cross for two reconnaissance missions on the 28th December 1917, and for his part in a trench raid on the 12th January 1918.

The Citation for his Military cross reads:

Lt. John Macgregor, D.C.M., Mtd. Rif. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst he was assembling his men prior to a raid, the enemy bombed the trench. He, however, changing his point of attack, led his men over the wire into the enemy’s trench, and successfully dealt with the garrison of the trench and three concrete dug-outs, himself capturing one prisoner. He then withdrew his party and his prisoner successfully to our trenches. Before the raid he, together with a serjeant, had made several skilful and daring reconnaissances along the enemy wire, which materially assisted in the success of the enterprise.
(Supplement 30845 to The London Gazette, 13 August 1918, page 9569.)

The citation for the award of the Victoria Cross:

T./Capt. John MacGregor, M.C., D.C.M., 2nd C.M.R. Bn., 1st Central Ontario Regiment. For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and self-sacrificing devotion to duty near Cambrai from 29th September to 3rd October 1918. He led his company under intense fire, and when the advance was checked by machine guns, although wounded, pushed on and located the enemy guns. He then ran forward in broad daylight, in face of heavy fire from all directions, and. with rifle and bayonet, single-handed, put the enemy crews out of action, killing four and taking eight prisoners. His prompt action saved many casualties and enabled the advance to continue. After reorganising his command under heavy fire he rendered most useful support to neighbouring troops. When the enemy were showing stubborn resistance, he went along the line regardless of danger, organised the platoons, took command of the leading waves, and continued the advance. Later, after a personal daylight reconnaissance under heavy fire, he established his company in Neuville St. Remy, thereby greatly assisting the advance into Tilloy. Throughout the operations Capt. MacGregor displayed magnificent bravery and heroic leadership.
(The Edinburgh Gazette .10 January 1919, No. 13384 page 200)

The citation for the bar to his Military Cross reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and leadership from 5th to 8th November, 1918, at Quievrain and Quievrechain. Through his initiative the bridges over the Honnelle River were secured. His personal reconnaissances and the information he derived from them were of great use to his commanding officer. His prompt action in seizing the crossings over the river did much -towards the final rout of the enemy.
(Supplement 31680 to the London Gazette, 9 December 1919, page15312)

John Macgregor died in British Columbia on the 9th June 1952.


Private David Adams 4th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. This is not the first time Private Adams had crossed to France but the first and only date on record of him crossing from Folkestone.
Home Service from the 3rd September 1914 to the 27th July 1915.
3rd September 1914. Enlisted 3rd Battalion Royal Scots.
26th September 1914. Posted 14th Battalion Royal Scots.
21st July 1915. Posted 13th Battalion Royal Scots.
France from the 28th July 1915 to the 30th September 1915.
28th July 1915. France -not known from where he sailed.
29th September 1915. Gun Shot Wound left thigh.
30th September 1915. Returns to UK.
Home Service from the 1st October 1915 to the 1st January 1916.
1st October 1915. Depot Royal Scots.
30th November 1915. Posted to 14th Royal Scots.
1st January 1916. 13th Battalion Royal Scots.
France from the 2nd January 1916 to the 10th April 1917.
2nd January 1916. France, not known from where he sailed.

In March 1916 David was in the Hulluch Sector when he was blown up by a High Explosive Shell he is knocked unconscious and suffers from concussion. On a Medical Report dated 24th April 1918 from Glenlomond War Hospital it is stated that this is when his Neurasthenia started.

Home Service from the 11th April 1916 to the 18th April 1917.
11th April 1916 Posted for record purposes to the Royal Scots Depot, David is recovering in the Duchess of Connaught’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow. He stays at the hospital until the 22nd May 1916.

7th August 1916. Posted to 14th Battalion Royal Scots.
1st September 1916 . Transferred to 3rd Reserve Battalion.
20th October 1916. Posted to the Larnarkshire Yeomanry.
2nd December 1916. 10th (Works) Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.
31st December 1916. Transferred to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
It is known from his Pension Records that David was a patient at the 2nd Scottish General Hospital. Craigleith, Edinburgh from the 9th January until the 24th February 1917.
19th April 1917. Posted to the 10th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
France from the 20th April 1917 to the 14th July 1917. (Pension Medical Record states 19th April.)
20th April 1917. Leaves Folkestone for France.
21st April 1917. Joined 19 Infantry Base Depot.
Home service from 15th July 1917 until the 10th May 1918.
15th July 1917 Taken on Strength Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Base Depot Sterling.
It is known from his Pension Records that David was a patient at Merryflats War Hospital, Glasgow from the 15th July until the 15th August 1917.
27th August 1917. Posted to 4th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
3rd November 1917. Posted to 250 Reserve Company Royal Defence Corps.
From his pensions we know that David was at Glenlomond War Hospital, Kinross in April 1918.
10th May 1918 Discharged as, “No Longer Physically Fit for War Service”.
15th May 1918 Died.

It is not know where David Adams is buried. Hopefully he managed to return to the family home at 12th Nile Street, Greenock.
As well as the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal David received the Silver War Badge (No. 389532). He is commemorated on Broomhill War Memorial.


Private 3290 Charles Ambrose De Leon, Australian Imperial Force marched into the New Zealand Base Depot the following day. He is taken on the strength of 38th Battalion ex 8th Re-enforcements 38th Battalion on the 9th May. Charles was born in New York in 1888, he enlisted at Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in December 1917. Accidentally injured on the 24th July 1918. At the Court of enquiry a witness gave the following statement. Report on No. 3290. Pte De Leon C.A. (Burnt about the face and hands)
“On 24th July last, Pte De Leon was on outpost duty when the company was holding the line in the Hamel sector The enemy was shelling very heavily in the region of his post, and a fragment of one shell hit one phosphorus bomb which was amongst some Mills grenades. The phosphorus bomb burst into flames and Deleon who was standing close to the parapet where it burst was burnt about the face and hands, also his clothing and equipment was burnt. Lieut Baxter were extinguished ordered De Leon to proceed to the Aid Post”
(Sgd) Pte F Binion No. 598.
Charles returned to his unit on the 11th October 1918

Now the question is, “What will I do with the Stories?  the answer is, “God  knows.”


Brandhoek Mil. Cem. No3’s Dark Secret #FWW #WWI #WW1

Guides love to tell stories. Stories about the battles places and the soldiers, especially the soldiers. The punchline is in more than a few cases is, “… and here he is.”

So this is where we are, plot II row N, grave number 1. and the story is about Frank J Clute. You can tell I didn’t go to guiding school. Frank was executed. He was killed by a shot from a revolver to the back of the head. His body was then thrown into a ditch. Frank though wasn’t killed in Belgium, not in France, or anywhere on the Western Front. Frank didn’t die in the war. He was killed in 1913 thousands of miles away.No one goes to Brandhoek Military Cemetery Number 3 to visit his grave. Not even me, so why are we here? This is why,  the motive for Frank’s execution on the 1st April 1913 outside Watervliet, New York state, is thought to be robbery.  He was a chauffeur and on the night he was killed his passenger is thought to have robbed him at gunpoint then shot him. He may have been shot first, it doesn’t really matter. A young man was arrested the son of a millionaire.The evidence against the young man, witnesses who met him after the killing say he had muddy shoes, dishevelled clothes and had lost his gloves. A pair of gloves very like the ones owned by the young man were found at the scene of the crime. Some of Frank’s belongings were found at the young man’s lodgings. The weapon used was pawned by someone with the same name as the young man and an identical signature. Then if you were wealthy in the USA you could stack a jury. That is exactly what the young man’s parents did. The trial was declared a mistrial and thrown out. There was a retrial this time the defence had found witnesses who gave the young man an alibi again the trail was declared a mistrial and thrown out. The prosecution believed the young man was guilty. No one else was ever tried for the crime.With the modern techniques of DNA testing and modern forensics, not being available at the time, the young man remains an alleged murderer.   The young man spent a few more years at college. In February 1917 he along with others attested in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in Montreal Canada. After basic training in Canada and Shorncliffe, he crossed to France, quite possibly from Folkestone. The timings on his service papers indicate that this was the likely route taken. He refused to make a will why is not known.  He was killed in action at Passchendaele,(3rd Ypres).His name is Gunner 1251785 Malcolm Gifford, KIA 8th November 1917, age 21, 8th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. He was the son of Malcolm and Marion Wells Gifford, of 345, Allen St., Hudson, New York. Enlisted at Montreal, 7th February 1917. His parents remained as parents do immensely proud of their son and themselves. The inscription on his headstone reads, “Son of Malcolm & Marion Gifford of Hudson, New York, USA.(1)

And here he is, Plot II, row N, grave number 1. Brandhoek Military Cemetary No3.

1)Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Sources and references


Malcolm Gifford’s Service Record

Atlanta Constitution, 3rd may 1914. Washington Post, 20th April and 2nd July on Fold3 website.



#Folkestone, #FWW. Next stop France, June 1917

Notable crossing to France in June 1917 include Harry Lauder. 1   
Harry is one of many artists of the day who journeyed to the Western Front to entertain the troops. He crossed on deck with the troops rather than in the Officers quarters. Very popular with the soldiers and he remained a popular entertainer until his death in 1950. Hw was the first British entertainer to sell a million records. The journey to the Western Front must have been difficult for hi, his only son had been killed in action in December 1916. Harry wrote many songs including “|Keep Right On to the End of The Road”
Ev’ry road thro’ life is a long, long road,
Fill’d with joys and sorrows too,
As you journey on how your heart will yearn
For the things most dear to you.
With wealth and love ’tis so,
But onward we must go.

The American build-up continued, the first unit had already crossed in May. In June. No.12 Base Hospital U.S Army crossed from Folkestone. This unit did march down Slope Road.2 . After arrival in France, No 12 Base Hospital took over British General Hospital No. 18. Probably the first deaths to occur in an American Army Unit in the first World War were two nurses from No. 12 Base Hospital. Shortly after departing from the US for England on the  20th May 1917 a gunnery accident killed Nurses Helen Wood and Edith Ayres injuring a third nurse. The bodies of Wood and Ayres returned to the US and given military funerals.3

The 13th June and U.S. General “Black” Jack Pershing, along with his aid Colonel Charles Stanton came through Folkestone on their way to France.

Source, Yanks, by John S.|D. Eisenhower,

Shortly after their arrival, General Pershing’s aide made the following remark, “Nous voila, Lafayette” (Lafayette, we are here!“) Colonel Charles Stanton 4th July 1917 British soldiers continued to cross fro Folkestone too. Perhaps most notably personnel of the 126th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. 4 The Brigade consisted of:

2/A Honourable Artillery Company

2/B Honourable Artillery Company

2/1 Warwickshire Royal Horse Artillery.

They crossed on the S. S. Victoria. The end of the month again saw some very important Americans pass through Folkestone on their way to France.Mr Mowry of the American Bolling’s Aronautical 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.5  

1) A Minstrel in France, by Harry Lauder, unknown edition, page 45.


3) accessed 21st May 2017


 5) Gorrell’s History AEF Air Service Sheet 8 History of Bolling’s Mechanics

“Lafayette, We Are Here” USA enters #WW1

Well almost, at least on their way, but they were”Here” already.   When Stanton utter those words on 4th July 1917 at Lafayette’s tomb, it was more than telling the French that the America Army had arrived it was confirming the American Special relationship was in 1917 with France,  not the UK.

Americans were already involved in the war.They had been since 4th August 1914. James Gerard was saving British lives before the British Army landed in France. Americans had also been serving and dying in the armed forces of Britain and France in increasing numbers in places as far away as Singapore, as well as on the Western Front. Pete Seeger’s uncle Alan Seeger had been killed on the Somme.

But from the 6th April 1917, they were officially in it for the duration. American troops served in Italy, Russia, during the advance into Germany as well as on theWestern Front. 24,234,021 men were registered for the draft. 4,800,000 men served in the US armed forces. 367,864 were New Yorkers. 4,00,00 in just the army. 1,390,000 fought in France. 1,200,000 in the Meuse Argonne battle.  Out of a total of 112,422 deaths in the army 50,00 were battle deaths. Surprisingly more American soldiers died from the disease (56,00) than were killed in action.  Although up to 11 November 1918 more Americans had been killed in Battle. The war cost the American Taxpayer more than a million dollars an hour.

Both the British and the French sent over specialist instructors to help train the US army. In the list of 261 French Specialist Instructors, only one was an Artillery Specialist. 59 were gas and another 38 were machine gun specialists.

In Defence of the Empire, Americans Volunteer #FWW

On the 6th April 1917, America declares war against Germany.  Two years earlier in May 1915, Americans volunteered to help defend a small corner of the British Empire as long as they could serve “…without prejudice to our allegiance to the United States of America.” This small group of Americans had already served as Armed Civilians, one was almost court-martialed for falling asleep but the British Officer in command thought better of it. These armed American civilians were also Methodist 5 of them clergymen. There was another proviso which reflected this.”…Mr Oechali has a public service to conduct every Tuesday from 5.30 to 6.15. The authorities will, we anticipate, give due consideration to this fact…”

So where was this? Who were these Americans? How do we know?

The places is the Settlement of Singapore.  The Americans were:

William T Cherry, Superintendent Methodist Publishing House.

Earl Hibbard, Principle, Oldham Hall.

Osbourne E Hooley Teacher Anglo-Chinese school, Oldham Hall.

Harry H Mansell, Mission Treasurer,

J Stewart Nagle, Principal Anglo-Chinese School

Leonard Oechali, Paster Wesley Church

and George E McComb, Teacher Anglo-Chinese School

The quoted pieces and the names are from a letter to the Editor of The Straits Times published by the Straits Times on the 10th May 1915.

All the men named had served as Armed Civilians helping to suppress Singapore Mutiny.


American Shot by Indians. #FWW #WWI #WW1

I have no idea who the first American to be killed  in the First World War was. Moira Maclean was killed on the 15th February 1915. Those who keep such things can add Moira to the List. Moira is not listed in The Foreign Burials of American War Dead by Chris Dickon, so that would be a good place to start.

Moira was born in Colorado City, Texas in 1885. Schooled in England at Oundle School  Moira joined the Indian Army in 1900 and served in India for 13 years.  In 1913 now Captain Maclean is placed in command of the Mountain Battery, Malay States Guides. A unit that consists of Sikhs, Pathans, and Punjabi Muslims. They are based in Singapore at Tanglin Barracks. The 5th Light Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army arrives in Singapore in October 1914. Half of the 5th had mutinied during the Indian Mutiny. On the 15th February 1915, half of the 5th mutinied again.

Havildar Sohan Singh, Malay States Guides,  is awaked by a shot at around 3 pm. There is another shot heard just as Sohan is getting up and the alarm is soundedSohan sends Gunner Santa Singh, the bicycle orderly to tell Captain Maclean that there is firing from the 5th Lines.  Santa returns with orders from Maclean that the men are to take cover.  Sohan orders his men to get behind cover.  Sohan watched Maclean approach through the jungle and go between a couple of barrack blocks. Then some men of the 5th Light Infantry came out from the direction of Hyderabad Road and attacked Maclean Sohan says he heard them shout “Ali Ali” and fire five or six shots. He saw Captain Maclean fall. In his statement to the enquiry into the mutiny Havildar Singh said.  “Amongst those coming from the opposite direction I saw some of our men; there was a lot of firing and there may have been some of our men but I don’t know. The Captain was very good and kind to us and I don’t think that there was any man who had a grudge against him or would do a thing like that after giving those orders to the men;we went down through the Jungle to the road.”

Corporal Chanda Singh also of the Malay states Guides vouched for Havildar Sohan Singh story. he added that Maclean’s orderly Sham Singh came and gave the same order that Santa Singh had, that the men were to get and stay under cover.  Chanda goes on to say that after 20-25 minutes he too heard the shouting of “Ali Ali” and then he heard Havildar Sohan Singh say, “The 5th Light Infantry have shot my Captain”.

Chandra also escaped through the jungle where he met  Sohan Singh along with two others, place another they met soon after, headed to Singapore. Along the way the did capture two men from the 5th and disarmed them. Followed by over a hundred men of the 5th they decided to let the two men go. From the jungle, they headed by road to Singapore. By chance, they came across two English ladies who were walking towards Singapore and a car  waiting for the two ladies.  They all headed off until they halted at a lorry full of European troops who they surrendered to. After the women had explained that Sohan Singh and the others were decent chaps the men proceeded to the Police Station at Keppel harbour. Here they reported the incident and Captain Maclean’s death to a friend of Maclean. From the Police station, they were sent to the P and O Wharf were the General headquarters were to report on the day’s events there.

Captain Moira Francis Allen Maclean, born in Texas, killed by Indians, is now interred  in Kranji War Cemetery Singapore


references – gives Moira’s date of birth as November 1883.

CWGC gives his age as 30

Statements given to the board of enquiry and the military courts convened after the Singapore Mutiny.