Vermont WWI Veteran Post: Rutland County Veterans Return Home – Rare 1919 Celebration Footage


After years of stagnated war, Vermonters were ready to celebrate the return of Rutland County’s men and women in uniform. The Vermont State Fair has been held in the same location every September/October since 1846; nearly 73 years before the film was shot, and exactly 171 years before the date of this blog post.

I purchased this original reel of 1919 footage on the internet from a local Vermont dealer.  The footage was saved midcentury by a famous film preservation specialist, film historian and local Northeast historian named Karl Malkames, who apparently found the footage in disrepair and did his best to conserve the remaining material.

Although the footage was expensive, I was able to find a company to digitize the fragile footage and provide digital files of the film.  The content is spectacular, and MAY represent the first confirmed footage of a plane flying in Vermont………..

The men and women in the film can be clearly seen wearing the WWI Rutland County Service Medal; a commonly sold item on the internet, it’s uncertain how the actual medal was distributed following the war.

WWI medal for wartime service from Rutland County, Vermont

WWI medal for wartime service from Rutland County, Vermont

WWI medal for wartime service from Rutland County, Vermont

WWI medal for wartime service from Rutland County, Vermont

And for those of you who don’t know Rutland…. here’s an aerial view of the Agricultural Fairgrounds where this footage was taken in October of 1919.

Rutland County Fairgrounds

WWI 2nd Army Engineer – Immaculate Portrait Photo


2nd Army Engineer

The crisp details of this photo make it the best 2nd Army portrait in my collection.  Although we can’t know which Engineering unit he served with (there were many in the 2nd Army), we can deduce a few things from the elements present in the photo.  The crisp focus on his collar discs allow us to see that he was in Company E of an engineering unit of the 2nd Army.  Note that the disc on his cap lacks the E designation.  His 2nd Army SSI patch is well stitched and placed perfectly below the shoulder line.  His WWI victory ribbon has one campaign star.  A super example of a 2nd Army photo!

2nd Army Patch

WWI 107th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division NY KIA Portrait Photo – Harold E. Manners – Meuse-Argonne Offensive


I picked up this little gem in a Palmer Massachusetts antique store a few months back and never took the time to look at the photo closely until this past week.  The frame was intricately created; something not often seen in run of the mill WWI photos.  The gold stars on the corners and bottom of the image should have been a dead giveaway.  Once I  decided to look at the photo a little closer, I took the frame apart from the back and began to uncover the identity of the soldier depicted in the image.  I knew he was a member of the 7th Infantry Regiment; this was evidenced in the collar disc.  The 7th New York eventually became the 107th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Division.  Harold was in Company H.

The reverse of the photo was beautifully inscribed with everything I needed to know to track this fellow down.

Harold Edward Manners

Killed in France in the

Great War, Sept. 29th 1918

aged 23 years

After extensive research I’ve learned that Harold was killed during the operations before the Hindeburg Line east of Ronssoy, September 29th, 2918.  His citation for the day reads:

“This soldier, with great gallantry and determination, advanced against unusually difficult enemy positions composed of strongly fortified machine gun nests until killed.”

I found an auction result online that showed his medals which were sold in 2008 at an auction in NY. A beautifully inscribed NY veterans medal for a KIA was included.  I wish I had that grouping!

Harold E. Manners – KIA Meuse-Argonne 1918

WWI 79th Division Veteran w/ Purple Heart and Uniform in the 1940s


A wonderful set of negatives from a family in Pennsylvania shows the lighthearted side of aging WWI veterans.  An elderly member of the 316th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Division pals around with friends and family while showing off his war medals.  A Purple Heart medal was awarded to our subject for wounds received in battle, and was likely delivered to him in the early 1930s when the current medal was officially created.  Enjoy the images!

Legs Wraps and All!

WWI Doughboy Medics Pose in France w/ Mascot Terrier


One of my favorite WWI photo tropes is the mascot dog pose.  This photo caught my eye due to the presence of the medics with visible red cross armbands but was further enhanced by a little Jack Russell Terrier mascot.  Taken in France in early 1918, this image is a wonderful representation of the lighthearted antics that kept front line medics sane during the horrors of WWI trench warfare.