Tag Archives: World war one

WWI Photo – Perfectly Posed American Doughboy in Germany, 1919


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WWI Panoramic Photo – The Most Decorated Company of the 29th Division: Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment


WARNING: LARGE FILE SIZE

WARNING: LARGE FILE SIZE

One of the most difficult aspects of WWI photography collecting is presenting it in a manner that allows for many people to view and appreciate the content. Each of my scanned panoramic photos takes at least an hour to scan in sections, and subsequently digitally splice together. This post is a particularly good example of a panoramic taken of  H Company of the 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. Note the Native American soldier as well as two soldiers wearing the ribbon for the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). Sorry about the large file size.

Click HERE for the H Company, 115th Roster

I actually was able to do some research on Company H of the 115th and found some info on a few members that I was able to identify in the photo.

 

2nd Lt. Patrick Regan

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Patrick J. Regan, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 8 October 1918, while serving with 115th Infantry, 29th Division, in action at Bois-de-Consenvoye, France. While leading his platoon against a strong enemy machinegun nest which had held up the advance of two companies, Second Lieutenant Regan divided his men into three groups, sending one group to either flank, and he himself attacking with an automatic rifle team from the front. Two of the team were killed outright, while Second Lieutenant Regan and the third man were seriously wounded, the latter unable to advance. Although severely wounded, Second Lieutenant Regan dashed with empty pistol into the machinegun nest, capturing 30 Austrian gunners and four machineguns. This gallant deed permitted the companies to advance, avoiding a terrific enemy fire. Despite his wounds, he continued to lead his platoon forward until ordered to the rear by his commanding officer.

Congressional Medal of Honor

Congressional Medal of Honor

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 50 (April 12, 1919)

Action Date: 8-Oct-18

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: 115th Infantry

Division: 29th Division

 

 

2nd Lt. Patrick Regan

2nd Lt. Patrick Regan

 

I was recently (11/2014) contacted by a grandson of Lt. Regan alerting me to his presence in the photo.  I had no idea he was present in the photo based on my prior research and the visual evidence in the photo.  His double wound stripe stood out but wasn’t enough to make a 100% identification.  Upon contact with Lt. Regan’s grandson, I was able to confirm that this is a previously unknown and non-digitized version of the Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.  I’m posting the publicly available photo here:

Lt. Regan

2nd Lt. Regan

 

 

BOLTON, ARTIE E.

Captain, U.S. Army
Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 16, 1918
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Artie E. Bolton, Captain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the Bois- de-la Grande, Montagne, France, October 16, 1918. Having been ordered to take up his position on the final objective, Captain Bolton made a personal reconnaissance of his company front line, during which time he was subjected to the artillery fire of both friendly and enemy guns and machine guns directed on his position. He again went out on the same mission and captured 20 prisoners who were carrying a machine gun.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

General Orders No. 44, W.D., 1919
Home Town: Wingina, VA

 

Captain Artie E. Bolton

 

Robert S. Landstreet

Place of Birth: Maryland, Baltimore
Home of record: Baltimore Maryland

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 (Infantry) Robert S. Landstreet, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F., near Bois-de-Consenvoye and Bois-de-la Grande Montague, France, October 8 – 16, 1918. On October 8 First Lieutenant Landstreet led his platoon through machine-gun and rifle fire in an advance which resulted in the capture of 300 prisoners and 12 machine-guns. On the morning of October 16 lie volunteered, with one sergeant, and straightened out the line of an adjacent unit. His movements were under constant machine-gun fire, and so close to the enemy that he, with his sergeant, captured two prisoners while accomplishing their mission.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

 

Landstreet

Lt. Landstreet

 

 Hugh P. McGainey

Place of Birth: Maryland, Baltimore
Home of record: Baltimore Maryland

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 Sergeant Hugh P. McGainey (ASN: 1285511), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F., near Verdun, France, October 8 – 15, 1918. In the Bois-de-Consenvoye, east of the Meuse, Sergeant McGainey, in command of his platoon, led his men, under heavy machine-gun fire, and captured approximately 500 prisoners, three fieldpieces, and many machine-guns. On October 15 he voluntarily exposed himself to warn his men against gas, and was wounded by shrapnel. He refused to go to the hospital until ordered to do so by the medical officer.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 3 (1919)

Action Date: October 8 – 15, 1918

 

Sgt. Hugh P. McGainey

Sgt. Hugh P. McGainey

 

Pietro De Bernardinis

Company H, 115th Infantry.  For extraordinary heroism in action near Verdun, France, October 17th, 1918. In the Bose de Consenvoye, east of the Meuse, Pvt. De Berdaninis, acting in the capacity of a runner, carried three successive messages through heavy barrage of both own own and the enemy’s artillery, traversing a patch where two men had previously been killed by the same barrage.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross

Home address: Louis Brino, 3921 Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD.

Pietro De Berardinis

Private Pietro De Berardinis

 

FERGUSON, JOHN E.
Corporal, U.S. Army
Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 8 – 29, 1918
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John E. Ferguson, Corporal, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Samogneux, France, October 8 – 29, 1918. Throughout the offensive east of the Meuse, near Samogneux, Corporal Ferguson displayed exceptional bravery and endurance as a battalion runner, repeatedly carrying important messages through intense artillery and machine-gun fire after other runners had been killed in traversing the same routes. On numerous occasions he alone was responsible for the maintenance of both forward and rear liaison.

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross


General Orders No. 37, W.D., 1919
Home Town: New York, NY

Cpl. John E. Ferguson

Cpl. John E. Ferguson

 

 

Paul Reed Gilbert

Name: Paul Reed Gilbert
Race: white
Address: 510 N. Pulaski St., Baltimore
Birth Place: Baltimore, Md.
Birth Date: 22 Feb 1898
Comment: NG pvt; pvt 1c 4/20/17; corp 5/25/17; sgt 10/27/18, Co L 5 Md. Inf; Co H 115 Inf 10/1/17, Hon disch 6/5/19, Overseas 6/15/18 to 5/24/19, Center Sector; Meuse-Argonne
Maryland in the World War 1917-1919; Military and Naval Service Records, Volumes I & II
Serbian
Order of St. Sava

Paul’s grandson alerted us to his presence in this photo.  Thanks!

Sgt. Paul R. Gilbert

Sgt. Paul R. Gilbert

 

Thomas F. Streb

Place of Birth: Maryland, Baltimore
Home of record: Baltimore Maryland

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 Private Thomas F. Streb (ASN: 1285690), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company H, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, A.E.F., near Verdun, France, 17 October 1918. In the Bois-de-Consenvoye east of the Meuse, Private Streb operated his automatic rifle on a post enfiladed by direct machine-gun fire during a desperate counterattack by the enemy until the rifle was damaged by the enemy’s fire and he himself was wounded. He remained on post continuing to defend same with an ordinary rifle. He was later gassed and refused to go to the hospital until ordered by his company commander.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 27 (1919)

Action Date: 17-Oct-18

Rank: Private

streb
Thomas F. Streb

Thomas F. Streb

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Veterans Days 1921 – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Original Ceremony Service Attendant


As of September 1920, the US Quartermaster Graves Registration Service had successfully identified over 90% of the bodies of US servicemen who died overseas during WWI.  The nation was still in mourning from the losses of the war, and the government looked to other countries for a suitable ceremony to honor those whose bodies were never identified.  In the fall of 1920, the caskets of four unidentified U.S. soldiers were chosen for reburial in Washington D.C.  One pallbearer, SGT Edward Younger, chose one body to be the Unknown Soldier of WWI.

The remains were transported aboard the USS Olympia, the flagship of Vermont’s Own Admiral Dewey, and arrived home on November 9th, 1921.  The body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda for two days, where over 90,000 people quietly filtered through.  This Unknown Soldier was buried with full services on November 11th, 1921.

As I pawed through my large collection of WWI and WWII photography looking for a suitable candidate for a Veteran’s Day post, I came across one photo that stood out as a perfect blogpost.

This veteran is wearing an Indian Wars medal on his chest, and looks distinguished in his black cap and jacket.  This photo was taken only moments after he was a member of the first Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ceremony on November 11th, 1921.  He inscribed a quick note to a loved one on the reverse.  I can’t find a list of the members of that first delegation anywhere, but I’m sure he is one of the visible veterans standing around the casket in this photo:

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Although his identity is a mystery to me, maybe his name will come to the surface after this post hits the web.  What a fitting photo post for Veterans Day!

Special thanks to David R. Berry for the following message:

May I submit to you that the identity of the distinguished gentleman is Mr. Isaac B. Millner. US Navy, Civil War veteran –a seaman aboard the USS HARTFORD, flagship of Adm Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay 5 Aug 1864. Millner had a life-long interest in Adm Farragut, attending several commemorations of Farraguts life and career.

He was affiliated with the Dept. of Anthropology at the National Museum; holder of several patents; a specialist in Native American and Micronisian Indian cultures; a modeler for the Smithsonian working in the medium of paper’ machete and a member of the US Geological Survey. Author of the book: The Last Cruise (1917)

You will find many notations for him in Google under his full name as well as his initials I B Millner. He is mistakenly noted in the 1920 Census as Isaac B Mi-(one L) ner. What his relationship with Mrs. Clara A Wright Of Wincasset, Maine, might be is unclear, but one might note that the description and the address texts on the back of the portrait were written in two distinctly different hands. It could be that Mrs. Wright was a friend of his wife Mrs. Mary Millner.

A 1929 photo of IB Millner appears here:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c31287/

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WWI Doughboy Letter – Barre, VT Boy Compares Streets of France to the Granite Streets of Barre


A letter was delivered to Mr. Elmer Clark of 76 Maple Avenue, Barre, VT. in February of 1918.  I’ve included a snapshot of 76 Maple in the photo below:

76maple

76 Maple Avenue, Barre, VT

The letter provides the Vermont World War One historian with a wonderful snapshot of life in France in the early days of American involvement.  Sgt. Edward Clark was a truck driver who delivered supplies to front line troops but had the security of rear echelon  protection to write his letters.  Please enjoy this transcription and try to put yourself in Ed’s shoes:

Edward Clark  Letter Cover

Edward Clark Letter Cover

(Page One)

Dear Sis,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am well and feeling fine.  We are stationed about 100 miles from the front and have to go up there every other day with supplies.  To get back to when we first landed in France we received out trucks at a certain place and then drove them over land to General Headquarters.  On reaching that place we were attached to that troop and have been with them ever since. The trip overland was about 400 miles so we had a good chance to see that part of the country.  [Sgt. Clark appears to have refreshed his ink supply] From what I heard about France before I came over I thought that I would see greater things than we have in the States.  But now if you should ask me I would say that France was 600 years behind the U.S.A.  All there is to see is stone (Page Two)buildings two and tree stories high and the streets of Barre would make these streets look like a dump. When they talk about sunny France they will have to talk about it to someone else besides me.

Barre011a

I have received six or seven letters from Gin but none from you.  What is the trouble, have you forgot that I am living?  What is Elmer doing?  From what I hear it must be a hard winter on him. We are in luck for one thing and that is we can go around part of the day in our shirt sleeves but in the morning and night we need our coats on.  Not that it is so cold but it is damp and it goes right through you.

(Page Three) Is Royal staying with you yet? Gee it must seem good to him to get off the farm.  How is Steve and all the rest of the folks?  Well sis from the way things look over here we will be here for some time to come.  Gee if I could only get back in the gold old U.S.A. They would never get me to come over here again.  Well it is time for lights out so I will have to bring this to a close.  Love to all.  Write soon and often.

Brother,

Ed

Sgt. Edward Clark

Motor Truck Co. 304

General Headquarters

A.E.F

Want to read the letter in the original script?

Page 3 of Letter

Page 3 of Letter

Page 2 of Letter

Page 2 of Letter

Page 1 of Letter

Page 1 of Letter

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WWI Photo – Female YMCA Worker in Germany w/ Good Uniform Details and Rare Beret Cap


YMCA Ladies were sent overseas to help bring a glimmer of American home life into the trenches in France and Germany.  YMCA workers were attached to specific divisions and were tasked with putting on events, providing comforts of home, and entertaining the US soldiers with music and reading material.  Interestingly enough, female YMCA workers were only selected from a pool of women ranging in age from 25-45 with a few older exceptions.  No women whose parents were born in an enemy country could serve and women who were British or Canadian could not be sent to France.  The YMCA was often criticized for price gouging US soldiers when charging fees for cigarettes, shaving material and everyday odds and ends.

baretcrop

Through a collecting friend and author I was able to obtain a nice side profile shot of a YMCA woman associated with the 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Division.  The uniforms for the female YMCA workers was designed by Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt and was a gray-green in color with a French horizon-blue collar.  The pair of US triangles on the upper collar lapel were embroidered in silk and sported red-edged details.  This particular woman is wearing an incredibly rare beret stye hat with a felt YMCA patch attached.

 

WWI YMCA Worker

WWI YMCA Worker

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Winooski, VT WWI Veteran Photo Identification – eBay Photo Yields Vermont History Golden Research!


 

 

This story starts with a 23 year old Earl F. Lavalle scribbling his name on the back of a photo to pass along to a friend during WWI and ends with a full identification of Mr. Lavallee’s life experience.  The main goal of PortraitsofWar is to research and seek out every possible lead to identify an early 20th century photograph; recent digitization efforts have enhanced our ability to complete genealogical research from the confines of a remote desktop.

Earl in 1918

Earl in 1918

Our first accounts of Earl show him being born on November 29th 1894 to Fred Lavallee of Canada and Emma Pollinger of (my current hometown!) Colchester.  Earl worked his entire life as a laborer in the American Woolen Co.  in Winooski, VT, located along the Winooski/Onion River near Burlington,VT.  He lived at various locations during his tenure at the woolen mill including 36 Hood Street, Winooski, 102 Mallets Bay Ave, 22 Park Street and many more.

Earl Lavallee Reverse

Earl Lavallee Reverse

Earl enlisted on February 11th, 1918 at Camp Green, North Carolina.  He served with Company G, 58th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division until August 21st, 1918 when he was transferred to Supply Co, same regiment.  He was overseas from May 7th, 1918 to August 1st, 1919.

Earl was wounded in action on September 30th, 1918.  This photograph depicts Earl after his wounding evidenced by his right-hand wound stripe.  Earl was discharged on August 7th, 1919.

Earl Lavallee Draft Card WWI

Earl Lavallee Draft Card WWI

 

Earl Lavallee WWII Draft Card

Earl Lavallee WWII Draft Card

Lavallee Signature

Lavallee Signature

Lavallee Family Story

The 1900 US Census from Colchester, VT shows the Lavallee family as a solid unit with five family members comprised of Earl’s dad Fred Lavallee, his mother Emma, brother Charles,  sister Florence and himself (Earl).

1900 Census, Colchester, Vt

1900 Census, Colchester, Vt

 

 

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WWI Vermont National Guard Photo – 1st VT Infantry Captain Portrait Mystery


This portrait photo recently arrived from an eBay dealer in New Hampshire and my research bug is in full throttle.  The photo was taken at the Burnham Photo Studio in Burlington, VT in 1917 and depicts a 1st Vermont Infantry Regiment Captain posing for the camera.  I’ve seen similar shots of other officers taken at the same studio.  Not much to go on in terms of an identification, but I feel that a little hard work will pay off.  I should be able to narrow down all the captains in the 1st VT and work from there.  Most officers would have their portraits listed in unit histories, so my journey may take me in search of obscure tomes.  All the more fun!

1stVT063ab

Here’s the breakdown of the distribution from the 1st Vermont Infantry Regiment:

101st Ammunition Train, 26th Division

1 Major, 6 Captains, 3 First Lieutenants, 3 Second Lieutenants, 700 Enlisted Men

101st Machine Gun Battalion, 26th Division

2 First Lieutenants, 2 Second Lieutenants, 197 Enlisted Men

102nd Machine Gun Battalion, 26th Division

1 First Lieutenant, 2 Second Lieutenants, 212 Enlisted Men

103rd Machine Gun Battalion, 26th Division

2 First Lieutenants, 1 Second Lieutenant, 229 Enlisted Men

With this info in hand, I’ve been able to narrow down our sitter as a Captain who is most likely an officer with the 101st Ammunition Train of the 26th Division.  I’ve located a list of the captains of the 1st VT who were transferred to the 101st Ammo Train:

Captain Charles E. Pell, Co. B, St.Albans

Captain Haroll M. Howe, Co.F, Northfield

Captain Dowe E. McMath, Co.H, Montpelier

Captain William N. Hudson, Co.M, Burlington

Captain Richard T. Corey, Co.L, Newport

Captain John L. Shanley, Co.G, Winooski

Our sitter is one of the above-listed men.  Now to get down to some ancestry.com research……………..

I started with Captain Pell and quickly found a portrait of him.  His long ear lobes are quite distinct and are not a match for our sitter.

Captain Pell

Captain Pell

Captain Howe was next and I was able to find a shot from his 1911 Norwich University year book.  Not sure on the ID, so I will continue to search……..

Captain Howe

Captain Howe

Next step – locate a copy of the 101st Ammunition Train unit history.  Hopefully officer photos are listed!

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