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


As of the fall of 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/

WWI Photo – Super Rare 3rd Air Park Patch Photo in Vichy France


Sometimes an obscure patch shot slips through the cracks of the myriad listings on ebay.  In this case, I picked up a VERY rare shot of two members of the 255th Aero Squadron, 3rd Air Park of the 2nd Pursuit Group posing in a Vichy, France studio.  I’ve only seen two or three photographic examples of the 3rd Air Park shoulder patch insignia (SSI, remember?) in wear before.  This is a spectacular example, save for a minor fold and a small tear to the corner.  For future reference, the 3rd Air Park patch resembles #3 billiards ball on an underlain circular patch.

3rd Air Park Patch

The WWII Nose Art of Hal Olsen – U.S. Navy Mechanic on Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateers


 

I recently had the esteemed pleasure of acquiring two nose art photos of PB4Y-2 airplanes.  Using the power of the internet, I was able to look up the two planes, the Green Cherries, and the Lady Luck II.  With a bit of luck I tracked down the name of the original artist.  Hal Olsen painted over 100 nose art pin-up ladies on various planes in the PTO.  He charged $50 per painting and eventually used the money to enter formal art school and travel with his wife.  Having tracked him down, I wrote him a nice letter asking for his autograph and promising that I would send along some copies of my photos.  They go out in the mail tomorrow!  For now, check out the shots and the nice card he sent me.

Thanks Hal!

 

Lady Luck II

Green Cherries

 

 

 

Hal's Autograph

The University of Vermont at War – Draftees in 1918 – Williams Hall at UVM


UVM SATC (Photo Courtesy of UVM Special Collections)


Drafted UVM Students (Photo Courtesy of UVM Special Collections)

My search for WWI Vermont photography continued this week at the University of Vermont’s Special Collections Annex.  Utilizing the Louis McAllister Collection database, I was able to track down two panoramic photographs taken at UVM in 1918.  This particular shot was taken in front of Williams Science Hall located on the UVM green.  I spent much of my time as an undergraduate studying in this building, so this photograph is particularly close to my heart.

This first photo was taken by McAllister on October 31st, 1918.  The new class of the S.A.T.C. was just inducted on October 23rd, just a week before this photo was taken.  Although the quality of the image is lacking, the content speaks volumes.

The second photo was taken a few months earlier, in July of 1918, and shows the first round of students from UVM to be drafted.  McAllister enjoyed using the Williams Hall entrance as a backdrop for his photographs; this is a panoramic style we see until the early 1960s.

While searching for reference material, I came across this advertisement from the 1918 Ariel yearbook of UVM.  It looks like Louis McAllister was a supporter of UVM!

Courtesy of UVM Special Collections

Special thanks to the UVM Special Collections crew for helping me with my search.  All photos in this post are courtesy of UVM Special Collections.

WWI 26th Yankee Division, 102nd Field Artillery Doughboy – Walter Laskowski


Originally a member of the 8th Co. Coastal Artillery based out of Narragansett Bay (RI) until April 1918, Walter eventually joined the 102nd Field Artillery of the 26th Yankee Division.  I was lucky enough to acquire two inscribed photographs depicting Walter in both roles.  His seated portrait was taken before his June 1918 departure for overseas service.

An interestingly decorated backmark shows that the seated portrait was taken in at 162 Thames Street in Newport, RI.  The Electric Studio’s logo includes a fanned array of lightning bolts emanating from the written portion of the backmark.

For further information on the Rhode Island National Guard unit Walter belonged to, click the link below:

http://www.or.ng.mil/sites/RI/army/56tc/a219sf/default.aspx

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

Korean War Color Photo Slides – USS Okanogan APA 220 – Evacuation of Chinnampo


 

 

Picked up a nice 15 slide Korean War grouping on ebay this past week. After doing some research on the USS Okanogan (APA-220) I found that it took part in the evacuation at Chinnampo in December of 1950. Looking at the photos, it is obvious that they were taken around Christmas time – and there are some shots of civilian and POW evacuees as well as a nice image of some 3rd Division soldiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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