WWI Photo – The Incredible Story of Roger Paget, Mascot of the 306th Field Artillery, 77th Division


The cherubic face of the little French boy in a recent photo acquisition belies the true sadness he felt when his father (Henri Paget) was killed in action while serving with the French 8th Cuirassiers in April of 1918.  The boy can clearly be seen wearing a US cap with Lt. insignia as well as a pair of decorated French Croix de Guerre medals.  A quick bit of internet research turned up an interesting story related to Roger Paget and his role as unit mascot for the 306th Field Artillery.

Roger Paget and his Mother

Roger Paget and his Mother

From the History of the 306th Field Artillery :

Roger Paget, the Son of the Regiment

On Sunday morning, June 9th, at a memorable
assembly at Camp de Souge, four-year-old
Roger Paget of Bordeaux was adopted as the
protege of the regiment. His father, Lieutenant Henri
Paget of the 8th Cuirassiers a poilu, was killed in action
on April 29, 1917, at a point north of the Marne near
where most of our own men were killed in action.
Lieutenant Paget twice received the Croix de
Guerre and was named for the Medal of the Legion of
Honor. We have been proud to have the son of
such a brave soldier and a representative of the
children of France, become a part of the regiment.

Madame Paget, Roger’s mother, and a detail from
the American Red Cross were present at the cere-
mony, which was opened by the regimental band
and the singing of America. The chaplain referred
to the story of Lieutenant Paget and introduced
Roger and his mother. Colonel Miller then accepted
Roger in behalf of the regiment while the handsome
boy himself stood on the table by his side.

Sergeant Levi then spoke briefly in French trans-
lating what had been said and expressing the senti-
ment of the occasion. The climax of the program
was reached when Rudolfi stood by the side of the
lad and sang Sweetest Little Feller, Mighty Lak’ a Rose
and the Marseillaise.

Captain Van Keuren of the Red Cross then con-
gratulated the regiment, after which the band played
Sousa’s 306th Field Artillery march. Most of the
men came to the platform to meet Roger and his
mother personally.

Bordeaux, Paris, Boston, New York, Philadelphia
papers have written up the event and referred in
glowing terms to Roger and his regiment. His pic-
ture was also published and sent to hundreds of
friends of the regiment who in turn have showered
letters and souvenirs on him. The 306th Field
Artillery Association at a mass meeting in Brooklyn,
unanimously adopted Roger and sent him a bountiful
box for Christmas, 1918.

Many of our men on leave visited the Pagets both
in Bordeaux and Lyon to which city they moved in
February, 1919. “9 Rue Valdeck-Bousseau, Brot-
teaux Lyon,” is the address. They will, in turn,
surely visit New York occasionally.

The Farmers Loan and Trust Company of Bor-
deaux is handling the fund we have established for
Roger’s education.

As we left France we of the 306th Field Artillery
had no more happy reminiscence than the thought of
the boy who has become a symbol to us of the mean-
ing of our fight for the children of France, our own
boys and girls, and the future generations of the whole
world. We are proud that we helped to finish the
work for which his father gave his life, and that some
of our comrades shared his noble sacrifice.

That thought will always bind Roger closely to the
306th Field Artillery.

RogPaget070a

RogPaget071

WWI Photo – 89th Division Soldiers Pose w/ Mascot Dog France


Following up on one of my favorite common threads seen throughout WWI photography – I present yet another example of the unit mascot.  Normally seen at the compnay level or below, the idea of having a small pet (normally a dog) as a mascot is very common throughout various nations during WWI.  I’ve literally seen examples from the US, England, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and even Australia. I probably have 15-20 examples in my own collection, ranging from small children as mascots, to dogs, pigeons and even goats.  My favorite are the small dogs. Here’s an example from the 89th Division. The collection of 8 photos came from a member of the 356th Infantry.  Unnamed, but we know he was wounded at least once during the war due to the wound chevron on his right cuff.