On the 8th August 1917, a train pulled into the Harbour Station on the Mole in Folkestone. The soldiers on board detrained and embarked on one of the small ships waiting to take them to France. They were an American unit, the 11th Engineers Regiment (Railway).(1) Two men from the Regiment Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan, became the first American Army Casualties on the Western Front when they were wounded by shellfire on the 5th September 1917. Also on the train and an officer in the regiment was Lieutenant Paul McLoud.
The regiment was on there way to help maintain, repair and expand the railway system prior to the Battle of Cambrai. The railway was used to bring the tanks forward to the assembly points prior to the attack. On the arrival of the tanks at the railhead the 11th Engineers helped to assemble them. (2)
On the 3oth November 1917 the 11th were working on the railway line between Villers (Plouich) and Epethy when the Germans broke through. Retreating back to their camp to collect their weapons, a group of men from the 11th under the command of Lt Mcloud fought a fighting retreat and rear guard action near Gouzeaucourt. For his part in the action Lt Paul Mcloud is awarded the American, Distinguished Service Cross. His citation reads:
Awarded for actions during the World War I
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Corps of Engineers) Paul McLoud, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 11th Railway Engineers, A.E.F., at Gouzeaucourt, France, November, 30, 1917, in remaining under shell fire until the escape of his men, who had been caught unarmed by the German attack, was assured. First Lieutenant McLoud then assisted in leading troops to the trenches, directing the procurement and distribution of ammunition, and displaying coolness, and judgment while continually under fire.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 129 (1918)
Action Date: 30-Nov-17
Rank: First Lieutenant
Regiment: 11th Railway Engineers
Division: American Expeditionary Forces (3)
Paul was also awarded the Military Cross from the British for his bravery on the 30th November. Unable to find his citation, but came across this;
(4) Clearly shows Paul Mcloud’s awards.
- Jones, Raymond W, WW1 Officer Experience Reports AEF
- The original source for this image was http://www.archives.nysed.gov/. This copy from Fold3. Image url: https://www.fold3.com/image/591030625
Publication Title: New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919
Content Source: New York State Archives