eBay can be a fun way to research WWI soldiers in a way that wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago. With the emerging databases of WWI soldier roster information and the ever-expanding capacity of Ancestry.com for genealogical data, WWI veterans are becoming easier and easier to research. In this case, I purchased a photo of two US officers posing in a French studio in March of 1919. The signature on the front and the inscription on the back give roughly enough information to make a positive identification. The standing officer is 2nd Lt. William H. Barry of Langley, Washington. He served with F. Co of the 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division during the American involvement in WWI. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for his bravery and extraordinary heroism in the breakthrough of the Hindenburg Line. A large percentage of his company became casualties and he assumed command after the CO was wounded. He reorganized the company and completed their objective under the rain of German machine fun fire.
To think, this photograph was obtained on an internet auction site for less than the price of a tank of gasoline and had been sitting in a pile of postcards for years before it was posted. I’m glad to provide this information – I hope a family member can find this post and learn a little about their ancestor!
Lt. William H. Barry (Standing)
Lt. Barry’s March 1919 Signature
BARRY, WILLIAM H.
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 5, 1918
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to William H. Barry, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Exermont, France, October 5, 1918. Assuming command of his company after his company commander and a major portion of the company became casualties, Second Lieutenant Barry reorganized his company and personally led it forward in the attack, successfully attaining his objective in the face of intense machine-gun and artillery fire. He constantly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to encourage and insure the protection of his men.
General Orders No. 103, W.D., 1919
Home Town: Langley, WA
Balancing work life, house chores, being social, and collecting WWI photos can be a daunting task; too much investment in one area can lead to neglect in another. As is the case of my life as of June, 2016. Luckily, I’m making a solstice dedication (is that a thing?) to posting more of my identified material in hopes of reuniting family members with deceased relatives.
In tonight’s post, I’ve purchased and researched a photo in the course of one calendar week with some positive results. As you may know, veterans with interesting surnames are typically easier to identify, and this post is an example of one of these researching ventures.
Elmer Liebig (at left)
Elmer Reinhardt Liebig was born on November 1st, 1894 in Spink, South Dakota, the son of two German immigrants. Having served in a Quartermaster unit during WWI, he went on to own and run a pool hall in his hometown for a number of years until operating as a salesman until the 1940s, where he eventually ended up with the South Dakota Department of Fish and Game, acting as a warden for Brookings an Moody Counties.
WWII Draft Registration
Full Photo Scan
Today’s post comes from my growing collection of 78th Division portrait photos. Although we don’t know his specific unit designation, we do have his name and company. Taken in a French studio, Alex Lindell was posed in a manner which allows the viewer to see his maimed hand. The fact that he was wounded is evidenced by a visible wound chevron on his right hand sleeve. The stitching is barely visible.
Alex Lindell of the 78th Division
A fabulous shot of a group of doughboys taking some much needed R&R in a French city. A busty French girl stands in the doorway as the men pose for a photo. Just read the back! A superb WWI dog mascot photo with great content. Note the two wounded soldiers – one with a face wound, the other with a broken hand.
The details of the image pop out once the casual observer steps back from noting the obvious and begins to look for subtle details. Notice the reflection in the window? How about the stone gutter along the street? The hastily buttoned blouse of the facially wounded soldier? Enjoy!
As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite areas of collecting is the mascot photo. Almost every unit had a mascot; commonly a dog or puppy, or sometimes a woebegone French or Belgian child. In this case, a young boy poses in a well-tailored uniform as the mascot for the 31st Engineer Regiment. What a stellar find!
Yet another 26th Division photo to share with all my followers. This image was taken in France towards the end of 1918 and shows two doughboys of the 104th Infantry Regiment posing for the camera with unit designation pinned to their French made caps. An interesting addition to my growing collection of Yankee doughboys!
Two Doughboys of the 104th Infantry Regiment
The bulk of my collection has been culled from endless pages of ebay listings, but I occasionally have the opportunity to discover hidden gems at flea markets and trade shows. Today I attended a Antiquarian Book and Ephemera show at the Sheraton in South Burlington, VT. I attached a link below to help plug this great organization. Anyway, I eagerly searched through thousands of postcards and photos looking for military related images. I saw a few overprices Civil War images, and a number of lack luster WWII photos. My WWI radar was in full swing and I left with a handful of great images. Please enjoy reading about my favorite find!
This wonderful image depicts two band members of the 102nd Field Artillery of the 26th Division. Taken in France in 1918, this RPPC (real photo postcard) has everything going for it. The two doughboys are wearing French style caps with unit designation affixed. Their collar discs are a mix of MASS National Guard insignia and 102nd Field Artillery band discs. The details on the M1911 pistol grips is superb. Even the embossed leather US is visible on the holster.
Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association Website
Check it out!