Dogs of War: A Saint Bernard Mascot – 67th Coastal Artillery Company Veteran “Barney”


It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here to PortraitsofWar, so I’m taking a quick moment to add a recently acquired real photo postcard of a St. Bernard mascot from the 67th Coastal Artillery Company. He’s even sporting his own uniform!  Check out the 1st Army variant patch with the 67 denoting the unit number and a double overseas chevron for a year of service.  Good work Barney!

Mascot photos are one of my favorite avenues of WWI photo collecting. They are relatively hard to come by and are tough to research.  All the better for a unique challenge when trolling through the pages of eBay.

 

Barney the St. Bernard in WWI

Barney the St. Bernard in WWI

The Mystery of the German POW of WWI: A Photographic Study


It’s been a long month for us here at PortraitsofWar, and we apologize for a lack of posting since the last photo on April 3rd.  In today’s post we will be looking at a different side of the war than normally highlighted on this blog.  Normally focused on American portraits, photos, and slides, we will be dissecting the story behind a German prisoner of war being held in Marseilles, France in 1918.

Unteroffizier Grießbach as a POW in France

Unteroffizier Grießbach as a POW in France

Before delving into the biographical information hand inscribed on the reverse side of the image, we will inspect and identify the visual imagery captured on the obverse.  The first thing of note is the format of the image.  The photo was printed as a real photo postcard (RPPC) and was likely obtained in a pack of 6 or 12.  It’s not uncommon to see identical copies of WWI RPPC’s pop up on the market from time to time.  The consistent size, quality and subject matter of these images make them a highly collectable form of WWI militaria.

The three major identifying features present on the front of the RPPC will need some research using easily-accessible internet resources.

  • Buttons
  • Collar Insignia
  • Cap/Headgear

Buttons

Upon quick glance it’s clear to see that the buttons running down the center are a rimmed (see the raised edge along the outside of the button) with a crown in the center.   This type of button is widely known as the standard button of a WWI German soldier and were made to be removable to allow for the cleaning of the uniform. This was a common standard of many nations during WWI.

Rimmed Crown Button

Rimmed Crown Button

Collar Insignia

The next identifiable feature of the tunic is the visible decoration of the collar. Here at PortraitsofWar, we’re use to identifying WWI doughboy collar insignia, but had to rely upon outside sources to help with this particular post.  The first thing to call attention to the neck region is the disc on the left side of the sitter’s uniform.

Collar Details

Collar Details

The disc on the left hand side of the photo is known as an Non Commissioned Officer collar disc (sometimes as disk) and can infrequently be seen in period studio photographs.  A lengthy internet-based search only turned up a small handful of images, the best of which can be seen below.

NCO Discs

NCO Discs

dscn1209r

NCO Discs

Headgear/Cap

The third and final identifying feature of the obverse side of the photo is the headgear worn by the sitter.  It appear to be an easily bendable version of the Prussian feldmutz field cap.  This style of cap was popular with NCO’s and were easily folded or packed for transport.  WWII versions were popularly known as “crushers.”

Prussian Feldmutze

Prussian Feldmutze

Cap Cockades (Kokarden)

The circular insignia seen on the cap above are known as cockades, or kokarden in German.  Sadly, the photo we’re working with is in black and white, but typically each cockade color helps identify the unit type, region and era of creation.

Visual Observations

So what do we know just by viewing the front of the image?  We certainly know the soldier is an NCO in the German Army during WWI.  He’s sporting all the fittings associated with a non commissioned officer of the period, but doesn’t have all the extra tidbits normally associated with a WWI period phograph. Where are his ribbons, medals and weaponry?

Hand Written Reverse Side

In the world of identifying WWI photos, the really important research material is always included on the backside (reverse) of the image.  In this case, the German soldier oddly wrote in French to an unmarried friend or relative of his who was living in Dresden during the time. It’s very likely that he was writing to a girlfriend or close female friend, as the wording is very proper.  Please see below for a low resolution scan of the backside.

Photo Backside

Photo Backside

What does the backside tell us? 

Firstly, it’s clearly a real photo postcard created to be sent to recipients.  The CARTE POSTALE header is a clear indicator of it’s origin: France.  The sender of the postcard notes Marseille as his current location, and Dresden, Germany is the destination.  How do we interpret a real photo postcard without knowing anything else about the people included?  Isn’t it strange that the postcard doesn’t include a message?  This infers a close connection between the writer and recipient.  Perhaps she already knows about his wartime status.

Writer Section

This section is typically reserved for messages but, in this case, relays the status of the photographed soldier’s military situation.   His handwriting is careful and is strangely written in French without the normal stylistic handwriting nuances of Germanic writing of the period, it becomes easy to make out the passage.

“Uzfdir. Griessbach

pris. de guerre

6283, depit de Marseille,

detacbhment coulou

(Ceceille) france”

The surname of the sitter is uncertain at this point.  Is is Greissbach, Greissback, Greissbarf or possibly Greiss back?  The prefix Uxfdir. is short for Unteroffizier and can be easily related to a rank between corporal and sergeant most worldwide military rankings. It’s odd that an Unteroffizier would wear an NCO collar disc, but that is an issue best left to the armchair historians who browse this blog.

Who was it sent to?

“Frau Gerfrun Griecfsbahn

Dresden-U

Weinbergstraße 1/73 I”

Was this woman living in Dresden at the time?  Does Weinbergstraße 1/73 I correspond with an apartment number in the city?

If so, this is the location of the house the postcard was meant to be delivered to:

Weinbergstraße 73, Dresden

Weinbergstraße 73, Dresden

And is this the house that the card was meant to be sent?  I recognize the Audi in the carport! I used to have the same model.

Weinbergstraße 73

Weinbergstraße 73

I need the help of German speaking friends to help decipher the last names of the sitter and the recipient. Hopefully we can narrow down the search using the power of the internet.  If you have a clue that may help, please don’t hesitate to comment on this post!

Women of the YMCA in WWI: Kittie Kunz’s Service in YMCA Hut 16


 

Material related to wartime (and postwar) activities of the YMCA can be easily researched through the help of internet databases, digitized books, collectors forums and various other digital avenues.  What is lacking, however, is information directly related to the individuals who volunteered their time and money to travel to a foreign county to serve donuts to war-weary doughboys waiting to return to their families in the US.

I was lucky enough to track down a large grouping of ephemera collected during the war by a YMCA canteen entertainer, a Miss Kittie Kunz.  Included in the grouping is a selection of rare YMCA “unit history” paperwork which gives names and identities to many of the women and men who served alongside Kittie.  I researched each of the names in hopes of tracking down passport application portraits.  I was overwhelmingly successful and found nearly 75% of the names in the US Passport database that matched perfectly.  Each was listed as being a member of the YMCA or Red Cross, and each matches the date range for the YMCA hut. A neat find!  Please read on to see the faces of the women who served alongside Kittie.  You will also find a smattering of hard-to-find ephemera related to the YMCA.  It’s amazing that Kittie saved some of these items.  Not all the paperwork is contained in this post, but the scanned material gives a quick glimpse into the typical material a YMCA canteen worker would deal with.

Kittie Kunz's YMCA ID

Kittie Kunz’s YMCA ID

 

Kittie's YMCA Paris Travel Permit

Kittie’s YMCA Paris Travel Permit

WWITruck077

Kittie’s YMCA Paris Travel Permit Reverse

Kittie's Permit to Travel to Reims

Kittie’s Permit to Travel to Reims

YMCA War Service Pin Card

YMCA War Service Pin Card

YMCA War Service Pin Card Interior

YMCA War Service Pin Card Interior

Tea Service Notice for the 28th Division

Tea Service Notice for the 28th Division

 

Here is where my favorite piece of researching WWI material came handy….. I was able to research the names of the women listed in the distribution section and track down their WWI era passport applications.  Here are my results:

YMCA Women

Miss Gertrude Garden - YMCA

Miss Gertrude Garden – YMCA

 

Miss Dorothy Berry - YMCA

Miss Dorothy Berry – YMCA

Harriet McKenzie - YMCA

Harriet McKenzie – YMCA

Margaret Robinson - YMCA

Margaret Robinson – YMCA

Katherine Parks - YMCA

Katherine Parks – YMCA

 

Janet Kunz - YMCA (sister to Kittie Kunz)

Janet Kunz – YMCA (sister to Kittie Kunz)

Kittie Kunz - YMCA

Kittie Kunz – YMCA

Pauline Brown - YMCA

Pauline Brown – YMCA

 

Mary Waden - YMCA

Mary Waden – YMCA

Dora Lewis - YMCA

Dora Lewis – YMCA

Katherine Beakes - YMCA

Katherine Beakes – YMCA

Cora A. Kennedy - YMCA

Cora A. Kennedy – YMCA

 

RED CROSS WOMEN

Lois Loyhed - Red Cross

Lois Loyhed – Red Cross

Harriet Maxon - Red Cross

Harriet Maxon – Red Cross

Dorothy Peters - Red Cross

Dorothy Peters – Red Cross

Alice McCoy - Red Cross

Alice McCoy – Red Cross

Esther Edmondson - Red Cross

Esther Edmondson – Red Cross

Mary Jones - Red Cross

Mary Jones – Red Cross

Eleanor Little - Red Cross

Eleanor Little – Red Cross

Mary Healy - Red Cross

Mary Healy – Red Cross

A Mormon Missionary in WWI: Battling Influenza in American Samoa


Byron Miller in World War One

Byron Miller in World War One

When searching for new portraiture to add to PortraitsofWar I generally tend to look for material with identifiable soldiers, uniforms, medals and other researchable information to help shed light on life during wartime.   In this post, I will be researching a photograph of a US Navy sailor who caught my eye during a recent eBay search.

Reverse Side of Postcard

Reverse Side of Postcard

The information written on the back of the postcard shows an identification of the sitter as a B.G. Miller.  He is identified as being a Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class from Salt Lake City, Utah who was on duty at one point at a hospital in Samoa on August 1st, 1918.  Additional info added to the photo includes an anecdote about his position as a Mormon missionary in Germany during the breakout of the war between Germany and France.

With a little luck and a lot of research I was able to track down our mysterious B.G. Miller.  Byron Gardener Miller was found listed in the Utah World War 1 Military Service Questionnaire on ancestry.com.  Please see his card below:

Byron G. Miller in WWI

Byron G. Miller in WWI

It looks like Byron attended the University of Utah for a year before being shipped off for his overseas missionary work. This is likely the reason for his service as a Pharmacist’s Mate with the US NAVY as can be seen in the details of his uniform.

Navy Pharmacist's Rate Patch

Navy Pharmacist’s Mate Rate Patch

The reference to his missionary service in Germany during the outbreak of war in July of 1914 is partially confirmed through my discovery of his listing aboard a ship ledger arriving in Montreal, PQ in September of 1914.

1914

His service in Samoa has also been confirmed through the same series of records.

sssonomoa

Sadly, his arrival back in the US in 1919 wasn’t likely a time of joy for the Miller family; a Utah death certificate shows that he died of influenza only a few months later on February 7th, 1920.  Interestingly enough, my research into the US Hospital in Samoa shows that a MASSIVE flu outbreak in the Samoan Islands lead to the deaths of nearly 25% of the population.  The US Navy set up an epidemic commission to deal with the issue.  The results of the intervention in American Samoa were incredible.  Apparently the method of using maritime quarantine lowered mortality rates to nearly 1%.  It’s strange that Byron would die of influenza only a few months later while in the United States……

For the 1919 report please CLICK HERE

1920 Death Certificate

1920 Death Certificate

One of the main goals of this website is to help share photos and pertinent military service information with the families of the men and women depicted in the images I collect. In this case, I’m hoping a Miller family representative will discover a rare image of their ancestor who witnessed a formative time in history.

WWI Photo – Silver Lake, MN Pvt. Edward Prochaska Killed in Action, 118th Infantry, 30th Division


Each of the 116, 516 US soldiers, Marines and sailors killed during WWI   deserve a narrative on the world wide web.  In this case, a photo of Edward Prochaska of Silver Lake, MN recently arrived in the mail from an eBay seller in the Midwest.  I purchased the photo after doing some brief research on the photo, finding that Prochaska was killed in action while serving with the 118th Infantry, 30th Division.

Ed Prochaska ca. 1918  France

Ed Prochaska ca. 1918
France

Incredibly, Prochaska is referenced heavily in a postwar book following the exploits of Private Oscar Dahlgren during WWI.  The full text version of the book can be found here: http://bit.ly/1bSx4h9

Some excerpts from the book are incredibly detailed and give us a unique view into the experiences of a doughboy on the frontlines.

Page 59

“In the evening of this day (August 4th, 1918), we started for the front line trenches carrying with us rations.  Myself and Prochaska toted a bag of coffee together changing off with other when tired.  Getting on the road just east of Valencies, we got caught in a shelling that Jerry put over on the roads every day at Valencies toward evening. The big shells dropped so close that we expected to be blown to pieces for every shell.  We threw ourselves flat, favoring the fall.  Luckily, my platoon got through the shelling without any casualties, except for a bag scare.  I could tell how bad when I noted how extremely pale they all got. It struck me so funny that I wanted to laugh.  Ed Prochaska noticed it too, and felt kind of ashamed saying he could laugh at death grinning us in the face.”

Page 105

“Again between August 26th and 27th Prochaska was with me when another heavy shelling took place.  The trench here was shot up bad so there was little protection.  A heavy shell tore into the bank behind our backs.  We both flopped down with pan.  I said it felt like my fingers had been shot off, but I found all my fingers there.”

Page 117

“It was dark and rainy as we walked up the line we had to step over German dead who were lying thick around there (sic) holes they had made in the ground.  When we halted we took into those holes which weren’t very deep.  The hole I got wasn’t more than a foot deep.  Schellenburger got to be my partner.  4 or 5 dead Germans lay dead by my hole.  Prochaska was close by digging in together with R.L. Ross, we not set to work and dug our hole 4 feet deep and wide enough to stretch out.”

Page 65

“Someone caught sight of one coming towards us from Company Headquarters.  He was already half ways and now there was some hollering for him to get down, especially by the sergeant.  It turned out to be Prochaska.  Poor boy – they had him pretty nervous before he came up.  He did not know we weren’t allowed to cross now……… They asked him what he meant by coming over…… He told them he had been at the canteen having bought some cakes, cookies and a can of salmon saying I wanted to bring Dahlgren some! ……. It touched my heart that he had so much friendship and love for me – he thought so much of me.”

And the sad details leading up to Edwards death:

Page 135/6

“I stopped to talk to Prochaska who had dug in deep by himself and was carrying straw to bed down with.  I and he had always dug in together before, but now as I was a runner, we were parted.  Well, he did not get used to his foxhole as he was put on guard at Company Headquarters where I was.  There in the hedges he slept when off guard, that being the last time I talked with him.  That night, though I had a warm bed, I was not able to sleep as the cooties and German fleas started going over the top and giving me no peace……

After getting through the hedge and the wire fence which separated us from the field, we noticed an observation balloon.  We had a funny feeling something terrible was in store for us. My heart made a few quick beats and I felt pale.  All of us runners said to the Captain that it would be suicide to cross the field……. I noticed dozens of Americans lying on the railroad bank killed and the rails lay twisted up…….. We now got to talk to some men of the 128th Regiment who said the same thing happened to them at Brancourt…… The first I got across, one of the boys called me and said, “Prochaska, Dahlgren is killed.”  He had out names mixed up.  The boys were lying close to Prochaska told me his head and shoulder were knocked off by a shell.  He had been my best friend for a long time……”

Prochaska

Prochaska

WWI Draft Card

WWI Draft Card

WWI Wounded Marine RPPC – Belleau Wood Navy Cross Recipient – Jacob Heckman, 5th Marine Regiment


My favorite World War One photo in my collection has to be the following real photo postcard shot taken in Paris in December of 1918.  The content and context of the photo – three wounded officers posing in a French studio before being sent home – is good enough to grace the “top shelf” of any WWI photo collection.  The fact that they are named on the reverse makes it all the more interesting.  For the purpose of this post, I will identify one of the officers and track down his service history.

Jacob H. Heckman(L)

Jacob H. Heckman(L)

Heckman is included in the hall of heroes for American Jewish Military History: http://www.nmajmh.org/exhibitions/catalog-hallOfHeroes/cat41.php

HeckmanHere’s a transcription of the above entry:

Second Lieutenant Jacob H. Heckman, USMC

For extraordinary heroism in action in the Bois de Belleau, France, June 25th, 1918.  With the assisting three sergeants, he started out to destroy the final stand of enemy in the Bois de Belleau, an impregnable position, where enemy guns were concealed by rocks and heavy shrubbery.  Armed with only a pistol, he rushed the nest, which was offering the most violent resistance, and captured one officer and ninety men.  Each of his men destroyed a nest and captured two of the enemy at each position.  After effecting the complete reduction of the last element, he marched his prisoners in under a severe and harassing fire of the retreating enemy.

And from the following blog: http://boatagainstthecurrent.blogspot.com/2008/06/this-day-in-world-war-i-history-marines.html

Perhaps an even more astonishing example of heroism was provided by First Lieutenant Jacob Harrison Heckman, whose actions on June 25 were just one of many examples of courage up and down the line that day that secured victory. His citation reads as follows:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Jacob Harrison Heckman, First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with the 5th Regiment (Marines), 2d Division, A.E.F. in action in the Bois-de-Belleau, France, June 25, 1918 resistance, and captured one officer and ninety men. Each of his men destroyed a nest and captured two of the enemy at each po. With the assistance of three sergeants, Lieutenant Heckman started out to destroy the final stand of the enemy in the Bois-de-Belleau, an impregnable position, where enemy guns were concealed by rocks and heavy shrubbery. Armed with only a pistol, Lieutenant Heckman rushed the nest which was offering the most violent sition. After effecting the complete reduction of the last element, Lieutenant Heckman marched his prisoners in under a severe and harassing fire of the retreating enemy.

Maine in the First World War: The Maine National Guard and the 54th Artillery Regiment Coastal Artillery Corps in WWI


Everyone knows that I love Vermont WWI material, but I also enjoy collecting photos from other New England states as well.  I have a handful from every state but only one from Maine.  Now I have another!

This fantastic interior studio RPPC has a ton of great qualities that drove me to make the purchase.  The crossed flags at center, the helmet and pistol props, the uniform details, and the identification on the reverse all make it a great shot to add to the collection.  This particular group is comprised of men from Portland and Bath.

Battery D of the 54th Artillery Regiment, C.A.C.

Battery D of the 54th Artillery Regiment, C.A.C.

Identified to a Corporal Carl L. Pearson who I believe is positioned directly right of the flag, this shot shows a group of 19 soldiers posed in a French studio.  This may be a record for my collection!   I have a few with 6-8, but none with more than 10.

Pearson was from West Falmouth, Maine and was born in January of 1893.  He enlisted with the National Guard in Portland in March of 1917 and reported for Federal service in June of that year.  He was overseas from March of 1918 to March of 1919.  This photo was taken in either late March, or April or May of 1918.  He was promoted in early June of 1918.  Since this photo shows him as a Corporal at the time of the photo, we know it was taken before his promotion.  Also, his lack of OS chevron and the abundance of spats likely points towards an early photo taken in France.

54th037a

A little info on the 54th CAC

Source: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cacunithistories/54thcac.htm

WORLD WAR I — 1917 – 1919The Coast Artillery Corps a Maine National Guard were mobilized on 25 July, 1917, and all companies, band, field officers, and non-commissioner staff officers reported on 27 July. 14 staff officers reported at Portland Coast Defenses and were assigned to duty in the Coast Defenses. The several companies were re-designated at once. This designation was changed again on 23 August 1917, and on 25 December 1917, nine of the thirteen C.A.C. Maine National Guard companies were made a part of the 54th Artillery, C.A.C., the supply company and Batteries B, D, E, and F, of the new 54th Artillery, C.A.C. 6 inch guns (Motor drawn), were entirely constituted from the nine companies Maine National Guard.

The 54th Artillery, C.A.C., was organized with a Headquarters Company, a supply company, and three battalions of two batteries each. Of the 6 batteries, four were taken from the Maine National Guard and from 25 December 1917, the further World War history of the C.A.C. Maine National Guard is properly that of the 54th Artillery since over 62 percent of its units were entirely Maine National Guard. In addition, only 30 percent of the units of the Maine National Guard were not included in the organization of the 54th Artillery C.A.C.

The 54th Artillery, CAC, (6-Inch Guns, Motor)

This regiment was organized in Portland Harbor Forts on 25 December 1917, five of its units being formed from National Guard units and three from Regular Army units.

The batteries of the 54th Artillery were organized as follows:

Headquarters Company, and Batteries A and C from the Regular Army.

Supply Company, from 20th Company, Lewiston.

Battery B, from 4th Company, Portland, and 7th Company, Biddeford.

Battery D, from 2nd Company, Portland, and 4th Company, Bath.

Battery E, from 3rd Company, Auburn, and 3rd Company, Kennebunk.

Battery F, from 9th Company, Lewiston and 11th Company, Portland.

Headquarters Company, Batteries C, D, E, and F, sailed from Portland, Maine, on the CANADA, 22 March 1918 and arrived Glasgow, Scotland 2 April, Winchester, England 3 April, and LeHarve, France, 6 April 1918.

The Supply Company, Batteries A and B, left Portland 14 March, sailed from Hoboken 16 March, 1918 on BALTIC arrived LeHarve, France, 6 April 1918.

The 54th Artillery C.A.C. was sent to rest camp at Mailly-le-camp (Aube) and on 2 May 1918, transferred to Haussimont (Marne), as replacement regimen to Railway Artillery Reserve and Tractor Artillery Regiments. On 20 September 1918, the 54th Artillery was reorganized into three battalion stations as follows:

1st Battalion, Training Battalion (A and B Battery) Angers (Marne-et-Loire).

2nd Battalion, Tractor replacement(E and F Battery), Haussimont (Marne) Angers (Marne-et-Loire.)

3rd Battalion, Unknown.

After the Armistice the 54th Artillery was assigned to Brest, and part of the Regiment sailed 23 February 1919 on the Vedic arriving in Boston 7 March 1919. It was completely demobilized at Camp Devons by 13 March 1919.

The four companies (1st, 6th, 10th and 12th) that were not formed into the 54th Artillery, C.A.C. were demobilized in January 1919 at Harbor Defenses of Portland however, but few of the original members of the companies remained in them late in 1918. Two large transfers of enlisted men from these batteries were made. The first was made on 23 August 1917, to the 26th Division Artillery and Engineers. One hundred-sixty-nine men were taken from these four companies in the transfer. On May 31 1918, the other large transfer was made to the 72d Artillery, C.A.C. From the 1st Company, 147 men were taken, and from the other three companies large numbers. However, the transfers were made as individuals no units being reformed or discontinued.

In July 1922, the regiment was reorganized and designated as the First Coast Defense Command, C.A.C., Maine National Guard. The regiment was formed into Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment, Band, Medical Detachment and 1st Fort Command.

1st Fort Command

301st Company, Portland, org. 1803 – later Btry A

306th Company, Sanford, org. 1903 – later Btry B

307th Company, Brunswick, org. 1884 – later Btry C

311th Company, Portland, org. 1807 – later Btry D

2nd Fort Command

303d Company, Camden, org. 1920 – later Btry E

304th Company, Thomaston, org. 1921 – later Btry F

305th Company, Rockland, org. 1921 – later Btry G

302d Company, Vinalhaven, org. 1921 – later Btry H

On 17 September 1923, the 1st C.D.C. was re-designated as the 240th Artillery, C.A.C., and individual batteries as shown above. The designation was again changed to 240th Coast Artillery, Harbor Defense, on 16 April 1924.

WWI Photo Research – Dedication Provides 26th Division, 103rd Regiment DSC Recipient’s Identity – Maine Veteran


Sometimes a little research and hard work pay off.  In this case, I received a WWI 26th Division portrait in the mail from a friend in Pennsylvania.  I knew it was a good image given the subject matter and the fact that the soldier was likely from the Lewiston area given the photographers embossed stamp.  Not an easy task.  I counted a dozen or so guys in a thirty mile radius of Lewiston that were possible contenders.  Lots of Maine men were members of the 26th during the war, and it’s not always easy to associate a location given a photographers stamp.

Mellen F. Tuttle

Mellen F. Tuttle

With a little forensic work I was able to figure out the identity of our mysterious hero.  Since I’ve handled thousands of vintage photos and negatives, I know that photographers often penciled info on the back of the print, or etched names/numbers on the bottom of the original negative.  The numbers would cross reference to a name and address to ship the photo.  In this case I was lucky to find a name etched on the original negative.  Obviously it was in reverse on the positive image, so I flipped it 180 degrees with photoshop and tweaked the contrast and brightness.  Bingo, a name appeared.  Tuttle.  A quick search found a Mellen F. Tuttle from New Gloucester, ME who served as a private in Company B of the 103rd Infantry Regiment.

Further research shows that his actual name was Francis Mellen Tuttle, but he went by Mellen F. Tuttle during the war.  After an hour of searching in vain for the death records of Mellen F. Tuttle, I decided to search for birth records for the Tuttle family in Maine.  I came across a Francis M. Tuttle Jr. and clicked on the birth record.  His father was Francis Mellen Tuttle!  Everything fell into place after that. Please see the end of the article for a photo of his grave showing his name as Francis M. Tuttle.  Somehow he made it all the way to Los Angeles and passed away in 1961!

His feat of bravery occured on July 20th, 1918 on Hill 190 near Rochet Woods, Chateau Thierry.  Mellen was with an automatic rifle team of Co. B of the 103rd when all of his fellow soldiers wounded.  He single-handedly advanced on an enemy MG nest and forced them to retreat.  His detachment was able to advance due to his bravery.

Reversed photographer etching

Reversed photographer etching

Lewiston, ME Photographers Stamp

Hammond Brothers
Lewiston, ME Photographers Stamp

 

DSC102small

Maine soldier registry entry

Maine soldier registry entry

Name: Mellen F. Tuttle
Serial Number: 67163
Birth Place: Freeport, Maine
Age: 22 6/12 yrs.
Residence: New Gloucester
Comment: Enl: NG Augusta, May 30/17. Pvt 1st cl Jan. 2/18; Cpl July 18/19. Org: Co B 2 Inf Me NG (Co B 103 Inf) to Mar. 6/19; 291 Co MPC to disch. Eng: St Mihiel; Defensive Sector. Awarded French Croix de Guerre; awarded DSC. Overseas: Sept. 26/17 to Aug. 3/19. Hon disch on demob: Aug. 8, 1919.

72151927_131116584196

Note the Chateau Thierry reference on the grave marker!

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 pied, was killed in action
on April 29, 1917, at a point north of the Mame 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, aftfer 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 Vermonter Identified Photo – John D. Hamilton of Middlebury, VT – 301st Engineer Supply Train


As my followers will know, I’m a huge WWI Vermont collector who loves to uncover identified photos of First World War Vermont veterans.  In this case I was able to trade a series of photos to a fellow collector/friend who knew I search for identified Vermonters.  The photo itself has good composition and details with a visible pistol and holster as well as OS chevron and signet rings.  Mr. John D. Hamilton lived in Addison, VT and enlisted and inducted at Middlebury on April 29th, 1918.  He was set up with the 301st Engineers and was listed as a wagoneer.  He served overseas from July 10th, 1918 to June 13th, 1919.  Given that he is wearing a six month chevron on his left arm, this photo had to have been taken sometime between December 10th, 1918 and June 10th, 1919.  He has no visible insignia that give his rank, but he is wearing a brass whistle which indicates that he is likely an NCO.  All in all a great shot!