Tag Archives: USA

Notes on crossing from #Folkestone #FWW, #WWI

The 11th Engineers Regiment (Railway) crossed to France from Folkestone in August 1917. Two soldiers from the regiment, Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan became the first American Army casualties on the Western Front during the First World War. The 11th were working on the railway near Cambrai on the 5th September 1917, when they came under shell fire.  For his part in an action on the 30th November 1917, Lieutenant McCloud of the 11th received the British Military Cross. (1)

Also in August 1917, James McCudden crossed to Boulogne on the SS Victoria. He was to die in a flying accident in July 1918. James was probably the most highly decorated British Ace. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Bar, Military Cross and Bar, Military Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre.

At the beginning of August 1918, Lewis Gedalovitch crosses to France from Folkestone. Lewis a Russian subject and a registered alien. Brought under escort to enlist in September 1917, he is called up in June 1918 to serve in the Labour Corps. Just over a year later while serving in the 9th Russian Labour Battalion in 1919, he accidentally cuts off the top of his left thumb. On the 1st of November 1919, he is discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service.

…and a crossing from Boulogne to Folkestone. Not known when exactly this soldier crossed to France, nor when she returned.  Two reasons she deserves a mention though. She was in the trenches, and in her memoirs of the First World War, she mentions the Folkestone Harbour Canteen.  Her name is Dorothy Lawrence. Dorothy desperately wanted to be a journalist and by guile and subterfuge joined a Royal Engineers Tunneling Company at Albert in 1915.

1.http://www.webmatters.net/france/ww1_cambrai_us.htm

#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, http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/arrival.htm

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.

2)  http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwi/adminamerexp/chapter24.html

3)  https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2017/may/northwestern-nurse-among-first-casualties-in-ww1/ accessed 21st May 2017

4) http://wetherbywarmemorial.com/id49.html

 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.

 

The USA Enters the War. #Folkestone

There is a view that the Americans arrived just in time for the victory parades that followed the First World War, and there is no need to commemorate their arrival this side of the pond. This is not so.

On the 7th May 1915, the Lusitania is sunk by the U-20. 1198 passengers including 139 Americans drown. Two days later the New York Times reports President Wilson sees

On the 7th May 1915, the Lusitania is sunk by the U-20. 1198 passengers including 139 Americans drown. Two days later the New York Times reports President Wilson sees the need of firm and deliberate action.  A day after President Wilson announces that “There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by iy force that it is right.” American citizens in increasing numbers join the Canadian army. 24th March 1916 the SS Sussex was crossing the English Channel from Folkestone to Dieppe when she was torpedoed and badly damaged. Some of the Americans on her were injured in the attack. After America protested Germany suspended it’s intensive U-boat campaign.

Americans also volunteered to fly fighter aircraft for France. and on the 20th April 1916, the Escadrille Americaine goes into action. Later on in the war, the squadron changed its name to the Lafayette Escadrille. Their Mess song was

“So stand by your glasses steady.                                                                                                                   The world is a web of lies.                                                                                                                                Then here’s to the dead already,                                                                                                                   And hurrah for the next man that dies.”

Perhaps the most famous American Aces are Captain Edward V. Rickenbacker 26 kills, Second Lieutenant Frank Luke Jnr. 21 Kills, Major Raoul Lufberry 17 kills, First Lieutenant George A Vaughn Jnr 13 Kills, Captain Field E. Kindley 12 kills, First Lieutenant David E Putman   12 kills, Captain Elliot W springs 12 kills, Major Reed G Landis 10 kills and, Captain Jacques Michael Swaab also with 10 kills.

On the 18th December, President Wilson asks the belligerents to agree to a post-war League of Nations.  Almost a month later on the 10th January 1917, the Allies show president Wilson their peace terms. Wilson deems them too harsh. 12 days later Wilson pleads for “Peace Without Victory.”, the Germans reject them. February 1st, 1917 the Kaiser orders the German U-boats to “Sink on sight.”. Two days later America breaks off diplomatic relations with Imperial Germany. On the 25th the RMS Laconia is torpedoed 2 Americans are killed.     The 1st of March see the publication of the Zimmerman Telegram which promised German support for Mexico and an alliance with her if America entered the war and Mexico sided with Germany.

24 days later President Wilson decides on war. The  Steam Ship Aztec is sunk on the 1st April 28 Americans are killed. Wilson calls on congress to declare war on the 3rd April  and a day after America joins the Allies as an “Associate Power.” In June the first American troops arrive in Europe.

11th June No12 US Base Hospital marches down Slope Road in Folkestone and crosses to France. They are one of the few Units from any nation known to have marched down what is now known as The Road of Remembrance in Folkestone. (Source,,http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwi/adminamerexp/chapter24.html)  They are followed by U.S. General “Black” Jack Pershing on the 13th. Shortly after their arrival in France, on the 4th July, Gen. Pershing’s aide Colonel Charles Stanton made the now famous remark “Nous voila Lafayette”. (Lafayette we are here). At the end of June Mr Mowry of the American Boiling’s Aronautical Commission and 63 men from the Civilian Motor Mechanics Group crossed from Folkestone to France. They are in Europe to study British and French aircraft production techniques. (Source, Gorrell’s History AEF Air Service Sheet 8 History of Bolling’s Mechanics).

On the 8th August the U.S. 11th Engineers Regiment, a regiment raised from railway workers crossed to France from Folkestone. They were sent over to help maintain the railways in northern France. Two soldiers from this regiment, Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan, became the first American Army casualties on the Western Front in the First World War when they were wounded by shell fire on the 5th September 1917.  (Source,  http://www.webmatters.net/france/ww1_cambrai_us.htm)

The First American Division is established on the western Front on the 21st October 1917. 8th January 1918 president Wilson’s peace terms to Germany include Independence for Poland, restoration of Belgium independence, the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France and the formation of the League of Nations. Theodore H Roosevelt in November 1918 described the League of Nations as “A product of men who want everyone to float to heaven on a sloppy sea of universal mush”.

The American Transport ship Tuscania is sunk on the 5th February 1918 and 210 Americans drown.

The Battle of Belleau Wood took place 6th June-26th June this was the first time the U.S Marine Corps went into action in the war. The 4th Brigade attacked over open ground towards the woods capturing and losing the woods over and over before they finally managed to secure the woods. During one of the German counter attacks it was suggested that the marines should retreat, marine Captain Lloyd Williams replied “Retreat? Hell, we just got here.” The U.S. lost 9.500 dead during the battle and the Germans took another 1,600 American prisoners.  Belleau Wood is now known as Bois de Brigade de Marine in honour of the United State Marine Corps.

From the French paper “le Matin Paris”  13th September 1918 The entry into the line of the magnificent American Army must be considered an essential factor in the operation of tomorrow.”

17th September 1918, “America rejects Austrian Peace proposal”, and “Worry Whitens the hair of the Kaiser” both from the Detroit Free press.

23rd September-3rd October The Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  Fifteen American Divisions alongside twenty-two French divisions, it should be noted that an American Division was far larger than its British or French counterpart, took part.  The Argonne region is not the easiest to campaign through and the American Army lacked experience progress was slow and only fifteen miles were taken. The offensive did tie down thirty-six german divisions. during this offensive Private Alvin York was awarded both the US  Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre for killing twenty Germans and capturing another hundred and thirty-two single-handedly.

While this blog is not or intended to be a history of American involvement in the FWW, There are many events not included, hopefully, it does show there was more to US involvement than the Victory parades.

On the 11th November 1918 at 10:59 am. Henry Gunther an American soldier became the last soldier from all the warring nations to be killed in action on the Western Front during the Great War.

 

 

The US Army in FolkestoneRT #FWW #WWI #WW1

There are many reasons for writing a blog, to show off, to entertain, to inform, to alleviate boredom, to share knowledge, to keep my one and only reader happy, plus many other reasons. The reason for this blog is to fish. I’m fishing for more information. The information I’m looking for is about the United States army in Folkestone during the First World War.

This is most of the sum total of my knowledge.

They were here, as opposed to “Over there.” How do I know this? There is a photograph in Folkestone Library. It has appeared in at least one book but, was incorrectly labelled.

There is also a US Army war diary which records the unit, an American Military Hospital, as staying in the rest camp on the Leas. Then marching down  Slopes Road to the ship which will take them to France. At least one other War Diary records their unit staying on the Leas and proceeding to Calais via Dover. Some of the buildings the US Army stayed in still survive.

Are there other War Diaries which record where a unit stayed between arriving at usually Liverpool and heading to France?

US General Jack “Black Jack” Pershing crossed from Folkestone to Boulogne. There is at least one photograph showing him disembarking at Boulogne. Apart from being the US Commander, he is famous to a few people for saying, “Lafayette,  We are here.” Which he never actually said. Colonel Charles E. Stanton also crossed from Folkestone. Charles E Stanton not as well known as Black Jack did say, ” Lafayette, nous voilà ” 

More details will appear in my next book. If I can find an editor and, a publisher.

I for one would like to know more about the Americans in Folkestone during the First World War. So this is very much a “Fishing” blog.

One last thing there is a photo of the cafe on the harbour mole which shows the interior of the cafe. There is an American flag on the wall. 

This is the last blog before Christmas 2016. Thank you for reading. Thank you for the engagement. Have a good Christmas.  Peter.

#Shorncliffe and the Great #Folkestone Air Raid 25th May 1917. #WW1 #FWW

This blog is only concerned with the burials in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. Bombs were dropped in various places. One person was killed in Ashford, two in Hythe. Other places throughout Kent were also bombed on the same day.

Six bombs fell on the Army Camp at Shorncliffe. Eighteen people were killed by these bombs. There are five other victims buried in the cemetery there. Two are civilians. May Arnold and Francis Harry Considine, they are included in the list. The people who died were from America, Belgium, Canada and England. The five victims of the bombings elsewhere are; May Arnold(Folkestone), Francis Considine(Cheriton), George Bloodworth(Folkestone), Constante Houdard(Folkestone) and, Hyppolite Verschueren(Folkestone). Houdard and Verschueren are buried in unmarked graves in the Belgium plot in the cemetery.

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An American citizen he was born in Indiana. His attestation papers record he attested at Windsor Ontario on the 22nd December 1916 Injured in the air raid on the 25th May 1917. he died of wounds at 9pm the next day.

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May Alexandra Arnold age 21, the widow of Freddie Arnold a Canadian soldier who was shot at dawn. May was wounded by the bomb that hit her home, 19 Bouverie Road East. Taken to the hospital at Moore Barracks Shorncliffe, May died of her wounds later that day.

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George Henry Bloodworth was born in Lee in Kent. Injured by one of the bombs that fell on Bouverie Road East he died at West Cliff Hospital with injuries to the Head and Heart.(Details are from http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7293.0;wap2 25/11/2016)

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William Brown. His service record shows he attested on the 18th October 1916. He was taken on strength at Shorncliffe on the 30th April 1917. there does not appear to be a record of his promotion to Sergeant.

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James Alexander Bruce attested on the 5th December 1916 in the Draft Siege and Heavy Artillery. There is a note on his attestation papers that he was too small for the Heavy Artillery. He was awarded the British War Medal.

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Little Frances was killed by the bomb that fell on Cheriton. Buried in Shorncliffe because his father was in the Canadian Army.

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Jules Benjamin Alfred Desaleux was born in London, England. He lived with his wife Alice in Winnipeg Manitoba. Prior to emigrating to Canada Jules had served for a year in the 24th Battalion City of London Royal West Surrey Regiment. He attested on the 8th January 1917 in Winnipeg and he arrived at Schorncliffe on the 22nd April.

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Arthur Doig the son of Andrew and Maggie Murray of Birtle Manitoba, attested on the 7th March 1916. Hee arrived in England on the 4th May and was taken on strength at Shorncliffe on the 15th.

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The Screen Wall at the Belgian Plot at the Cemetery on which Constante Houdard’s name is inscribed.(see Below)

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Houdard C Belgian Soldier no other details are known.

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Oron Alfred Jenner enlisted in the “Bantams” on the 23rd February 1916. On his attestation papers, it is recorded that he had previously served in the Q.O.R (Queens Own Rifles) for five years. Oron arrived at Liverpool on the 29th April 1917 and taken on strength of  the 3rd Reserve Battalion Canadian Infantry at West Sandling on the 30th. He was still on the strength of the 3rd Reserve Battalion when he was killed at Shorncliffe.

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James McArthur. (As of 24/11/2016 service record not yet available online)

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Robert MacDonald attested on the 5th March 1917 at Winnipeg Manitoba.

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Hugh McNair (Records not available 24/11/16)

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James McNulty born in Valley City, North Dakota. He is listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead: A History by Chris Dickon. James lived in Edmonton Alberta. Prior to enlisted on the 1st December 1916, he had served with the 101st Edmonton Fusiliers a Militia Unit. The Militia in Canada were traditionally the Canadian Reserve.

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Charlie Marshall was born in London England in 1894. He attested in Crystal City Manitoba on the 8th April 1916. Initially recorded as killed in action May 25th 1917 his service record was altered to died from wounds May 26th 1917. He bequeathed his real estate and personal estate to Miss Nattie Maybe, Port Rowan, Ontario. He arrived at Shorcliffe  on the 30th April. On the 18th May he attended the West Cliff Canadian Eye  and Ear hospital in Folkestone for an eye test. The Senior Medical officer 2nd Canadian Reserve Brigade confirmed on the 25th May that glasses had not been ordered.

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Albert William Merchant was born in Little Oakley in Essex. He attested in Winnipeg where he lived with his wife Lillian, on the 26th March 1916. He arrived at Shorncliff on the 30th April 1917.

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John Miller, the son of Agnes shaw, attested in the 2/4th BattalionSouth Lancashire Regiment on the 22nd March 1916. Just under eleven moths later on the 16th February 1917, he crossed with the battalion to France from Folkestone. On the 31st March, he is admitted to 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station with Haemorrhage of the Lung. April the 5th and he is on the Hospital Ship “Princess Elizabeth bound for Dover. From Dover, he is transferred to Hospital at Shorncliffe. His discharge papers were signed on the 21st May and he is awarded a Silver War badge. John’s discharge was to be on the 1st of June as being no longer  physically fit for war service.  His British War and  Victory Medals are sent to Mrs Elizabeth Show Lyon Street Warrington on the 1st February 1922.

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Frank Padley was born in Nottingham, England. His parents Harry and Elizabeth Padley, lived in, Carrington, Nottingham, England.  He lived in Antler Saskatchewan where he was a farmer. Frank attested in Winnipeg on the 30th May 1916. He was unmarried.

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Ralph Pelluet was born in London. The family emigrated to Canada as  his father lived in Athabaska in  Alberta. Ralph worked as a bank clerk and lived in North Battleford Saskatchewan. He attested in Winnipeg on the 26th May 1916.

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Jack Sutherland was born in Bradford Ontario and lived at Palmer House Regina in Saskatchewan. He worked as a CPR Checker (Canadian Pacific Railways?) attested in Winnipeg on the 10th April 1916.

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Ernest Tennyson worked as a Lumberman. gave Mansion House Winnipeg as his current address on his attestation papers. Next to “Next of Kin” is the word “None” crossed out J F Davidson is handwritten  “Friend” is also handwritten next to “Relationship to next of kin”. Ernest was 37 when he died.

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Looking across part of the older section of the cemetery to the screen at the Belgian Plot on which Hyppolite Verschueren’s name is inscribed.

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Hyppolite Verschueren resided in sandgate Road. He died as a result of the bombing of Tontine Street, no other details known.

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Lloyd Garfield Yeo was born in St Thomas Ontario in 1898. Prior to being attested into the Canadian Mounted Rifles in October 1915, Lloyd had served a year in the 25th Regiment.

Notes on Sources

Names of Soldiers and some are from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site.

Other details where possible were taken from the soldier’s service records

May Arnold and Little Francis Considine’s information came from their gravestones, th free page on ancestry about the Air Raid

Name checks were carried out by referring to the companion volume to A Glint in the Sky by Martin Easdown with Thomas Genth.

All photographs, no matter how bad, were taken by myself, no one else shares any responsibility for them, what so ever.