WWI Photo Identification – Base Hospital #10 Doctor and 103rd Field Artillery Officer Fritz Draper Hurd


Fritz Draper Hurd in 1918

Fritz Draper Hurd in 1918

After owning this photo for over a year, I decided to reexamine the image in hopes of properly identifying the sitter.  The front is inscribed ” Oh for Some Ice Cream!” with a partial ID of F Draper Hu….. with the surname clipped away.  The reverse proved juicy for wartime information, giving some additional information placing the Lt. as being present during the Yankee Division’s experiences at Chateau Thierry,  St. Mihiel and Verdun.  His name was partially obscured by remnant scrapbook paper.  After steaming the affected section with heated and distilled water, the glue separated the paper from the photo and revealed his full name.

F Draper Hurd

FritzHurd287a

FritzHurd288resize

Fritz Draper Hurd was born in Williamsport, Maryland in 1894 and attended Pennsylvania College as a member of the class of 1916 but sadly was expelled the night before graduation after a graduation party involving drinking and furniture breaking.  A dejected Hurd left home and went to Philadelphia seeking work, eventually landing a job with the Eddystone Remington Arms Company turning out components for the lend-lease British Enfield rifle. After hearing of the US declaration of war on Germany, Hurd signed up with a Philly based Red Cross ambulance unit and went overseas in May of 1917 eventually landing in England.  After a quick training he was sent to France to serve as a nurse with Base Hospital #10 – a British hospital for badly wounded soldiers.  The initial wave of Pennsylvania men and women was comprised of 23 doctors and 64 nurses – the first Philadelphia body of organized soldiers to leave Philly.

FritzHurd287abresizedHe next attended Field Artillery School and commissioned a Lt. with the 103rd Field Artillery Regiment, a unit of the 26th “Yankee Division”.  The photo shown above depicts Hurd wearing a uniform with insignia related to this period of his wartime career.  During his time as an artillery liason between the 103rd and the front line infantry units, Hurd was responsible for lugging a wire spool and calling in artillery fire.  He also spent some time in an observation balloon and is credited for calling in a barrage that took out three German machine gun nests.  He also is documented as being a participant of the last artillery shot of the war- firing only minutes before the official end of the war.

He was able to attend Oxford after the war and later became a distinguished medical profession back in the US.  He lived well into his 80s and recorded a memoir which can be found in the Special Collections department of Gettysburg College along with his wartime diary, knuckle duster trench knife, musette bag, scrapbook and assorted ephemera.

FWHurd FWHurd2

Based on the article posted above, we know he had a brother named Mason who also served during the war in a similar set of campaigns as Fritz.  Mason Hurd’s record can be found here:

Name: Mason Montreville Hurd
Race: white
Address: Williamsport, Washington Co.
Birth Place: Clearspring, Md.
Birth Date: 07 Jul 1896
Comment: ORC 11/27/17 2 lt FA, (Ft Oglethorpe Ga.); Btry D 77 FA; Btry E 13 FA 5/10/18; Btry A 13 FA 7/-/18; Hq 1 Army Corps 8/13/18; Casual Officers Dep Blois 8/14/18; Hq SOS 8/-/18; 302 Stev Regt 8/29/18; Btry E 13 FA 11/8/18, Hon disch 10/27/19, Overseas 5/22/18 to 7/31/19, Aisne-Marne; Vesle Sector; Meuse-Argonne

Special thanks go out to Sarah M. Johnson for her extraordinary research on the wartime experiences of Fritz D. Hurd.  She generously provided me with much of the information included in this blog post.  Her official article citation can be found in the footer of this post.   Her poster abstract can be found here: http://bit.ly/K4tWaE

Wartime Summary

Wartime Summary

Johnson, Sarah M. Growing up in the Trenches: Fritz Draper and the Great War. Diss. Gettysburg College, 2013. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

WWI Vermont Veteran Photo – John J. Corcoran, 101st Machine Gun Battalion Wounded in Action


My continued obsession with WWI Vermont material has landed me a new WWI photo taken in France in June of 1918.  I literally stumbled across this listing; the seller didn’t mention the fact that the soldier was a Vermonter.  Luckily I checked out the back of the photo before moving on to the next auction listing.

The photo was addressed to a Mrs. George Bolduc of Fitzdale, Vermont dated June 25th, 1918.  The writer added the following info:

“June 25th, 1918

Dear Sister,

Am well and happy and hope you and children are well.  Will write you a letter later, am pretty busy just now so am sending this in place of a letter.  This is not very good but will have to pass some love to you all.  From bro-

John Corcoran

101st MG BN, AEF”

101stMG043a

John J. Corcoran(R)

John poses in the above photo with an unnamed friend of his from the 101st MG Bn. sporting a beautiful example of a woolen M1911 sweater.  I’ve attached below a period advertisement showing two versions of the service sweater.  These were either hand-knit from patterns or could be privately purchased through various supply and retail companies.

I am fortunate enough to own a copy of the hard-to-find 101st Machine Gun Battalion unit history.  Wagoner John J. Corcoran is listed with a frontal snapshot beside his biography.  He was born on May 29th, 1890 in Maine and eventually made his way over to Vermont where he lived in Lunenburg, VT working as a paper maker with the Gilman Paper Company.  He enlisted at Fort Ethan Allen on June 29th, 1917 with the 1st Vermont Infantry, where he was later transferred into the 103rd MG of the 26th Division.  His WWI and WWII draft cards were both listed on ancestry.com and I’ve included them below along with a copy of his death record.  He passed away in 1947 and is buried in Lunenburg.  I hope to travel there soon to take a photo of his grave!

101st MG Bn. Unit History Roster Entry

101st MG Bn. Unit History Roster Entry

CorcoranWWIRecordVT

WWI Draft Card

WWI Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

John was badly wounded on July 22nd, 1918 during an attack on the French town of Epieds.  I’ve included a period map of the battle as well as an image of the location today.  Not much has changed!  This attack was coordinated only a few days after the Battle of Chateau Thierry.  Luckily, John’s encounter with the Germans was noted in the 101st MG unit history diary section.  I’ve transcribed the section:

“At daybreak both companies were sent into some woods overlooking Trugny to assist the attack of Major Rau’s battalion against the town. We could not locate any enemy to fire at, and the best we could do was wait to protect Rau’s left against possible counterattack.  We were shelled and M.G. bullets flew pretty thick.  Bristol of C Co. was wounded.  After awhile(sic) the attack crumbled in spite of Rau’s gallant efforts against impossible odds, and the troops were withdrawn to the old positions.  A little later C Co. was sent over to the right to join Rau.  There they found him with only a few of his men left.  The guns were set up on the edge of the woods in a defensive position.  B Co. got orders to support an attack of the 102nd Infantry Regiment on the town of Epieds over on the left flank.  The company formed a fourth wave behind the infantry, and spread out into a long skirmish line.  The advance started over the open wheat field at a slow walk, with frequent halts during which each man flattened out so that no moving thing was visible in the field.  M.G. bullets began to kick up little puffs of dust all around us, and the enemy artillery barrage came down fiercely just ahead.  We knew we would have to go through this, and every nerve was tense.  We soon found ourselves in the midst of it – direct fire at that, mostly from one pounders, and 105’s and Austrian 88’s which come with the shriek of a thousand devils.  The fumes choked us and the concussion half stunned us.  it was here that Hez Porter, following his platoon leader, was instantly killed.  Corcoran, Dick and Wendt were wounded…………………………….”

Unit History  Casualty Report

Unit History
Casualty Report

Corcoran038

CorcoranWounded

Death Registration

Death Registration