World War One 1st Division Portrait Photo – First US Soldier to Fire During WWI! Alex Arch

The world of WWI photo collecting is becoming increasingly expensive; good identified photos are beginning to bring big bucks in the eBay world.  I was lucky enough to “steal” this gem of a portrait from the realm of auction obscurity.  Identified to a Sgt. Alex Arch of C Co.  6th Field Artillery, 1st Division.  I was blown away when I learned that Mr. Arch was the first US soldier to fire against the Germans on October 23rd, 1917.  He technically pulled the firing cord of a French 75mm while in Xanrey in the Luneville Section.  A great addition to the collection!


12 thoughts on “World War One 1st Division Portrait Photo – First US Soldier to Fire During WWI! Alex Arch

  1. Hello my name is Randy, I just aquired a WWI 8″ x 10″ Real Photo of Sargent Alex L. Arch sitting down in his Uniform and Helment with a Artillery Casing. This Photo was bought at a local auction, the Photo is personnelized to a Russell Warren who was in the Color Guard per a family member. This WWI Photo is signed by Sargent Alex L. Arch and reads Best Wishes to Russell Warren, From Sgt Alex L Arch Battery C 6th Field Art 1st Division. This is a original Real Photo! Can anybody tell me if this is a rare Photo?

    • Photos of Alex Arch are not uncommon in the WWI collecting field. I’ve seen a dozen or so over the past few years. One that is signed by him would be considered rare an is likely worth a few hundred dollars. Nice find!

  2. Alex Arch was my grandfather. My cousin, Alex S. Arch has the shells. My mother and aunts (his daughters) don’t have many memories beyond the few stories he shared, but he wasn’t very talkative about his wartime experiences. As children, my immediate family went with him and my grandmother to West Point where the gun used to fire those first shots was kept (1960’s). The curator took us to a basement room. Grandpa had to drop one of the shrapnel shields to find where his name had been painted and showed us the ‘ding’ where his finger was hit by a piece of bullet or shrapnel. Although I may have been only 10 or so, I can remember that visit vividly. We also visited one of his Army buddies in Stoneham MA during the same trip. We lived next door for a while in 1977-78 when our son was born and I remember Grandpa holding him on his lap. I think my son was the last of his great-grandchildren he held as a baby. We are proud of him and his service to our country.

  3. Hi all…

    Ken Roush and Dave Barkley..Alex Arch is my G-G Uncle on my moms side..the Hungarian/Austrian side. He was my moms grandmother Rose’s brother. I knew about him as well and all this before all these pictures the family didn’t have showed up online.

  4. On 07/08/2016, I (63) went with my son (39) and oldest grandson (7) to West Point where we met with one of my cousins (64), his son (37) and HIS two older children (5 & 3). We got a VIP tour from the curator at the museum and took many pictures of the gun used almost 99 years ago! I remember “Aunt” Rose minimally as I was born in November 1952 and was quite young while she was alive. Grandpa and Grandma Arch lived on Dubail Avenue and Aunt Rose (from what I remember) lived on Indiana Avenue (around the corner from each other). It’s great to hear from another close family member!

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