1st Army Artillery Park

History of the 1st Army Artillery Park, C.A.C.
During WWI

This branch of the Service, Army Artillery Park, is practically a new one, created by the conditions existing in the Great War. In the English Army, it was used as a repair unit, repairing rifles of the infantry and guns of all calibers of the artillery, and was situated seven or eight miles behind the lines. In the American Army, the "Park" was not used as intended, due to the fact that anti­aircraft guns could not successfully repulse aircraft at night. Repair shops of large dimensions, therefore, could not be kept up near the front, and it was for this reason that the Army Artillery Park was used solely for the transportation and handling of ammunition.

The Army Artillery Park, First Army, American Expeditionary Force, was organized at Ft. Winfield Scott, San Francisco, California, on March 1, 1918, and was commanded by Colonel William. H. Tobin, consisted of three batteries with a strength of five officers and 300 enlisted men each, six truck companies, with a strength of three officers and 150 men each; Regimental Headquarters, with one officer and 28 men; Motor Section Headquarters, one officer and 30 men; 601st Mobile Ordnance Repair Shops, two officers and 45 men; Medical Detachment, four officers and 29 men; Depot Section, two officers and 12 men.

One Army Artillery Park, The First Army Artillery Park, was in France and operated with the First Army during the war. The Second Army Artillery Park was ready to sail, but did not reach France when the war ended on November 11, 1918. An Army Artillery Park consisted of three sections: 1) the motor section of 6 truck companies, 2) the depot section, consisting of a headquarters and 3 park batteries, and 3) an attached mobile ordnance repair shop. The whole park consisted of 1 Lt. Colonel, 3 Majors 14 Captains and 13 Lieutenants and 1,930 enlisted men. The motor section of the park was to be used to supplement the ammunition service of the army artillery units. The depot section was the repository for all spares of cannon and all other materiel for units of army artillery. The attached repair shop was used to affect the more important repairs for units of army artillery that could not be affected by the troops locally with their own repair facilities.

Generally, an Army Artillery Park consisted of these vehicles: 1 Ambulance, 8 five-passenger cars, 13 rolling kitchens, 92 motorcycles with side cars, 168 three-ton cargo trucks, 15 ration and baggage trucks, 5 artillery repair trucks, 8 light repair trucks, 3 equipment repair trucks, 5 supply trucks and 12 tank trucks.

The batteries were used for the purpose of constructing dumps, which were constantly being moved forward with the artillery whenever a drive is "pulled off," and also loaded ammunition on and off the trucks. This work is at its height during the drives, when a continual line of trucks come, load and go back up to the batteries, where they unload, and then repeat the performance. Therefore, during the big drives, night work is usually necessary. Men from the batteries were also detailed to act as lookouts on the trucks and to unload ammunition at the guns.

The truck companies, as the name implies, were mostly composed of truck drivers and mechanics, who, upon their arrival in France, were given the necessary instructions and, procuring their quota of trucks, proceeded to transport themselves and the batteries to the area assigned them. Starting from Chalus, France after having received the trucks, a trip of 402-miles was made in seven days. This done with many of the drivers being inexperienced. Having moved up to the position assigned, work in establishing dumps would begin, or, if dumps were already there, the loading and hauling would proceed. Of course, it depended upon the caliber of shells as to how close to the lines the trucks had to go. If it were a 155-mm. (6") battery you were hauling to, four or five miles in the rear of the front lines was usually the closest you got (unless you took the wrong road and wandered up closer, as was done many times). When hauling just before a drive, the truck drivers sometimes found the 155's almost hub to hub with the 75's. Although the larger guns were useless at that range, they were brought up this close in anticipation of Fritz being driven back, when they would open up. A battery of 75-mm. (3") guns was two miles and sometimes a mile behind the trenches. The truck drivers usually had the worst of it during the drives, as they worked both day and night, guiding their trucks through mud and slush through the darkest of nights (no lights were allowed), going without sleep for thirty-six or forty-eight hours, and usually unable to obtain decent chow.

Regimental Headquarters was, of course, headquarters for the whole regiment; Motor Section Headquarters, headquarters for the Motor Section, handling anything that pertained to transportation; Depot Section was the headquarters for the ammunition dumps; the Medical Detachment was split up most of the time, a few medical men being with each detachment. The Mobile Ordnance Repair Shop was the repair shop for the trucks, the personnel being mostly mechanics. This section, contrary to the other companies and batteries, was organized and trained at Camp Hancock, Augusta, Georgia.

The Army Artillery Park, First Army, like many other organizations, came over in sections. The first section, consisting of Park Batteries A and B and the Regimental Headquarters, started from San Francisco, California, on May 17, 1918. They arrived at New York City five days later, and were joined by the 601st Mobile Ordnance Repair Shops (M. O. R. S.) unit that would be attached to the Army Artillery Park. New York was left behind when the SS Kroonland, conveying the second phase, set forth upon its long journey on June 15, 1918, arriving at its destination, the French port of St. Nazaire, on June 27, 1918.

The other units aboard the Kroonland with the Artillery Park were: 33rd Division Casuals consisting of 1 officer, 78 enlisted men; 16 Casual officers; Engineers consisting of 9 officers, 2014 enlisted men; 23rd Depot Company with 3 officers, 100 enlisted men; 24th Depot Company with 2 officers, 98 enlisted.

On the 15th of June, the Kroonland with her cargo of 54 officers and 2,980 enlisted men set sail for St. Nazaire, France, in a convoy of 13 transports, escorted by the cruiser USS North Carolina and 14 Destroyers. The 13-ship convoy consisted of these troopships: Rijndam, LaLorraine, DeKalb, Finland, Appeles, Princess Matoika, Wilhelmina, Lenape, Czar, Pastores, Covington, George Washington and the Kroonland.

Upon arrival at St. Nazaire, France the Artillery Park went to O&T Center No. 5, located in Angouleme, France. Other units stationed there were the 47th Artillery, C.A.C., 54th Ammunition Train, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th HMORS (Heavy Mobile Ordnance Repair Shop) and the III Corps, IV Corps and V Corps Artillery Parks.

The movement of the third phase of the First Army Artillery Park, consisting of Truck Companies. A, B and C and Motor Section Headquarters, with a part of the Medical Detachment, left San Francisco on June 17, 1918, just two days after the second phase had set sail for France. They arrived in New York on June 24, 1918, leaving on the SS Chicago on June 29, 1918, sailing without convoy, and reached Bordeaux, France, on July 11, 1918.

The fourth and fifth phases, Park Battery C, Truck Companies D, E and F, with a section of the Medical Detachment, left San Francisco on August 15, 1918, landed at New York on the 21st, and sailed on an English transport, the SS Anchises, sailing in convoy, on September 1, 1918. Liverpool, England, was reached just twelve days later, September 12, 1918.

The Army Artillery Park participated in a number of drives, having delivered ammunition, under fire in most cases, on the following fronts: Verdun, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Champagne. The number of projectiles hauled during the few months on the front was approximately 525,000, varying in size from 3" up to 10". Powder charges, primers and fuses for 475,000 projectiles were also transported; all of this work done by the three first truck companies, two park batteries and Park Battery "C," the latter with one month's work to its credit.

At the shell-flattened villages of Esnes and Neuvilly, France advance ammunition dumps were established. Both of these dumps were bombed nightly. The Hun evidently believed in the old saying, "Have patience," for ten chances to one you could depend upon hearing the distant hum of Boche planes about 9 o'clock every clear evening (and most all of them were clear then). The sound of planes at that time of night meant "lights out," and no argument about it. A few moments after the first alarm they would start "dropping 'em," with the first landing about a mile away, the next closer. The tense moments were those from the time the nearest landed 'till the time Fritz had passed. Like other conditions surrounding us, we soon got used to being bombed and at the end hardly ever awoke, unless one dropped unusually close.

With the opening of the Meuse-Argonne offensive and the advance of the artillery, new ammunition dumps were established, one at Buzancy 36 hours after evacuation by German troops by Battery "A," the other at Dun-sur-Meuse, a town on the Meuse river, and at that time just a few miles behind the lines. This latter dump was in charge of Battery "B." However, the time at these two dumps was limited, as the armistice was signed soon after they were established, rendering them useless.

The total number of trucks supplied us was 129, of different makes: Nash­Quad, 4WD., Pierce-Arrows and Packards. There were also three Dodge closed cars, 25 motorcycles and one ambulance.

Shortly after the signing of the armistice, the motor transportation was turned over to various other units, and the Army Artillery Park started homeward bound on the 29th of November from the little village of Recicourt, France where the whole organization had collected for the first time since landing on foreign soil.

It was from this little town to Naives, that the never-to-be-forgotten hike took place. It was only for two days, but those two days put the brakes on our hiking appetite forever and ever more. The first night, after eight hours of hiking, was spent at Nubecourt. We had covered just 28 kilometers (about 18 miles), and that was done with heavy packs. Heavy is underlined and should be in capital letters, for we packed everything on our backs, and when hiking along the road looked like a bunch of pack mules. The distance covered the second day was a little more, but we had the packs for only half the day, trucks coming up at noon to relieve us of them. Naives was reached the night of the second day, and from then on, we had trucks on which to ride.

Several short moves were made after we reached Robert Magny, the little town at which the trucks landed us at 2:30 a. m. one day, after having been lost for six hours. At Vignory, a small French village, where the various companies boarded the train, we again met our old friends, the "side-door Pullmans." However, these were "civilized" cars, wide and roomy, and contained a good covering of straw. The French cars are only about half the size of American, with quarter and half-inch cracks in the floor, and no straw to soften the floor.

The regiment was divided into two sections for this journey. The first section, consisting of all the companies with the exception of Park Battery C, Truck Companies D and F, which latter were in the second section, left Vignory, France on January 27, 1919, arriving on the 29th, while the second section left on February 3, arriving at St. Emilion February 4, 1919.

These two towns, Vayres (where the first section was taken to) and St. Emilion are in southern France, and in the so-called Embarkation Area. Having arrived here, billets were secured in the surrounding villages.

While this part of the country was a good deal warmer than up from where we had just come, the rain made it very disagreeable. However, we were consoled with "knowing" that we would only be there for two or three weeks at the most, and made the best of it. Two weeks went by, as did two months, and still we were there. It was while killing time down here that orders for a review before General Pershing came in. The review was to be held at Libourne, some five miles distant. Three times did we hike up to that city in vain, but the fourth time saw us amply rewarded, for he was there this time. There were some 1,500 other soldiers besides ourselves in the review, but the General paid the Army Artillery Park a very high compliment on the neat and soldierly appearance of the organization.

April 12 saw Park Battery C and Truck Companies D and F on their way to Libourne, in compliance with orders received to start for the Port of Embarkation. After staying overnight in that city, the companies started out on a fifteen-mile hike to their destination, picking up Truck Company E and Motor Section Headquarters on their way. Truck Companies A and C had started from Arveyers a little before the other companies reached that town, while the other two Park Batteries, M. O. R. S., Headquarters and Truck Company B started from Veyres at 8:00 a. m. the same morning. The hike from Veyres was only ten-miles, and Camp No. 1 at Genicourt was reached at 12:00. From Camp No. 1, we went to Camp No. 2, two days later, where we were put through the "mill." Staying in No. 2, April the 15th, we started for the river docks at 6:45 a. m. on the 16th. Arriving there, we took a barge for 30-miles down the river, landing at Pauillac. Here we were stationed in a large building, capable of holding 5,000 men. April 18, to the great surprise of all, saw an order come in that we should board our long-looked-for transport the next day. Sure enough, April 19 saw us lining up to await our turn to go aboard. The ship was loaded by 3:00 p. m., and by 4:30 we started to pull away from land and out towards the middle of the river.

All of the regiment was unable to board the small ship we had boarded, Truck Company D, with 100 men, and the Motor Section Headquarters, with 30 men, were left behind to board another ship the next day.

We were on the good ship SS Canonicus, which had a tonnage of 5,500, and was 410-feet long with a 49-foot beam. The southern route of 3,700 miles was taken, and by the next morning land had faded away.

The trip was uneventful, and May 2nd saw the ship feeling her way into New York harbor through the dense fog. After going through the usual quarantine inspections, we landed at 11:00 a. m. After a Red Cross dinner at the docks, we boarded the ferry and were taken up East River, under the Brooklyn Bridge, and at a pier in Brooklyn. Camp Mills was reached at 3:00 p. m.

Back in France, Truck Company D and the Motor Section Headquarters boarded the SS Canandaigua and sailed on April 20th, arriving at Boston, on May 3, 1919. They were demobilized on May 6, 1919.

At Camp Mills, we were located in tents, and were allowed passes every two days. We anxiously awaited the day of our demobilization, which at last arrived. The Regulars were the first to depart, leaving on May 10th. That was the start, and from then on, the regiment, composed of men from almost every state in the Union, and from every walk of life, gradually fell to pieces. May 11th saw the Camp Grant detachment on its way, while the largest of all, the California detachment, left on May 12, 1919, with Camp Dodge departing on the 13th.

While sorry to part from so many friends, many of whom we would never see again, still we were glad to get home and be free once more-and fulfilling the ambition we had cherished for five and a half months.

Thus, came the end of one of Uncle Sam's many organizations, which, having done its duty, went out in the same way as it had come into existence, and with the same spirit of "Come what may, we are ready."

The above is a composite photo of three sections stitched back together of the Park Battery B. In the lower left of this photo is printed : "Park Battery B, Army Artillery Park, JD Givens Photo Presidio of San Francisco." This photo was shared by Jim Steuerlein, who has the origional photo. Jim obtained this photo from a Florida thrift store many years ago. He describes the photo as "It looks like it has never been out of the frame, although the back brown paper is gone. The retaining nails have never been pulled, so I have no idea what if anything might be written on back of the photo. The card stock backing is wavy and the photo is wrinkled, has bug damage, etc."

It is likely that this photo was taken of Park Battery B before they left the Presidio in San Francisco. This is indicated as several men are holding the Stetson style hats that were worn while in the States, the Garrision style hats were used in France, and so, for this reason this is a photo taken before they went to France.

Artillery Park Muster

If you have a family member who served in the First Army Artillery Park, please email me and I will add information on them here in this section.

PFC Carl O. Furaas, HQ, Motor Section

PFC Carl O. Furaas of (now Lake Bronson) Bronson, MN, served with HQ, Motor Sect., Army Artillery Park, 1st Army during World War I. He enlisted in the US Army on December 17, 1917 and went to Ft Winfield Scott for heavy artillery. Arrived overseas September 1, 1918. Saw action at Meuse-Argonne in ammunition service. Became ill November 14th and sent to hospital. Came back on the French liner La Lorraine on January 29th, 1919 and was discharged on February 18, 1919 at Camp Grant, IL arriving back in Bronson a few days later. He served as Commander of the Halma-Lake Bronson American Legion Post for many years and also belonged to the Kittson County 40 & 8.

Private Major Janeway, Cook, Truck Company A

Major Janeway was born on September 8, 1896 in Sulphur, Oklahoma, and passed away April 4, 1963 in Yuma, Arizona. Janeway joined the Army during WWI and was a Cook serving in France with Truck Company A of the First Army Artillery Park, Coast Artillery Corps. He would serve in the army from February 4, 1918 through May 17, 1919 when he was Honorably discharged from the army. After the war Janeway was married to Macy Hoggatt, and they had 4 daughters that were born in Henrietta Oklahoma, and raised on a farm in Oklahoma City before the family made their way west to Yuma, Arizona. Janeway later served a Deacon in the local Baptist Church when the family lived in Yuma.

Phillip Packer who is the grandson of Major Janeway (1896-1963) related the following about his grandfather. "After the war Major Janeway worked in a foundry as a Zinc Smelter and was married to Macy Hoggatt (1898-1979) on April 5th 1920. They had 4 daughters, starting with the oldest Thelma May Janeway (1919-1992) which later served during WWII as a PFC WAC in the US Army, Helen Juanita Janeway (1921-1959), Christine Janeway (1922-1987) and Phillip's mom Anthonita Augusta Janeway (1928-1995) the last of the Janeway family to pass away."

Above is Major Janeway's grave marker, and on the right is a photo of the family taken during WWII. The photo shows Major with his wife Macy, and daughters (left to right) Christine, Anthonita, Helen, and Thelma who was then serving as a PFC in the Women's Army Corps.

On the left is a oval framed hand colored photo of Janeway while serving in the army during WWI. Above is a photo of Janeway taken later in life while camping or at a picnic as he is eating a banana and drinking a cool drink.

Sgt. Edward O'Hearn, Truck Co. C

This photo belongs to Laura Bauer who is the granddaughter of Sgt. Edward O'Hearn shown in the above photo (tenth man from the right in the bottom row). He was a Minnesota native from the Arrowhead region around Duluth of that state. There are several names written on the back of the photo, presumably by Sgt. O'Hearn, that list that name from Duluth. Sgt. O'Hearn was a member of the local Arrowhead Servicemen's Last Man's Club.

Truck Company C

Bottom Row Left to Right: Warner (Duluth), Farrington, Jahren, Erickson (Duluth), Thompson L., Beatty L., Laird, Hanson, Andrews, French, First Sgt. Thompson, Lt. McLachlan, Captain Haag, 2nd Lt. Brown, Johnson, Bonser (Duluth), O'Hearn (Duluth), Marcellus (Duluth), Hinchcliffe, Stally, Lundberg, Beatty, Milroy, McTague, Sampson, Owens.

Second Row: Guay, Neal, Christianson, Lambert, Dalen, Williamson, Johnson, Larson, Edeen, Stimley, Pratt, Michaelson, Fox, Oaks, Winter, Dombroski, Ojala, Eckholm, Hosking, McDonald, Coleman, Fitzgerald, [unknown], Hinton, Dallas, Mentry.

Third Row: Erickson, Morse, [unknown], Moe, Whittington, Marker, Roach, Rocelli, Allen, Ruis A., Denham, Janke, Moore, Perry, Mathas, Matala, Labine, Peers, Regan, Johnson, Sanders, Bartels, Risatti (Duluth), Houston.

Fourth Row: Shutt, McEvers, Kirk, Halverson, Aune J., Bunk, Anfinson, Nelson, Swartz, Mucha (Duluth), Perkins, Gallagher, Math, Lundgren, Hill, Clinton, Youngren, Danahe, Hasking, Kitto, Maredo, Morin, Ruis L. Salings.

Top Row: Bavers, Smith, Nelson, Iverson, Wright, Peterson, Randall, Darling, Porger, Chesla, Jackson (Duluth), McCart, Roseland, Anderson, Aune, Woods, Daniels, Tigland, Erickson, Gooderis, Hastings, Carlson, Peterson, Samuelson (Duluth).

This photo and the names were provided by Laura Bauer who's grandfather was Edward O'Hearn of Truck Company C. O'Hearn is in the bottom row tenth from the right end. Upon closer inspection of the original photo O'Hearn is seen wearing three stripes on his right sleeve making him a Sergeant. Additionally in this photo on the bottom row, eigth man from the right end, can be seen Corporal Hinchcliffe holding a small dog. It was not uncommon for soldiers and sailors to have pets and often they were seen as the units mascot. This may have been the case in Truck Company C. Many times these boys were straight off the farm and likely this was the first time from home in thier lives and so a dog that was loved by the entire unit brought a small piece of home and comfort along with them.

Edward O'Hearn was born on May 5, 1892 in Grimms, Wisconsin. Before the war O'Hearn worked for the Canadian Northern Railroad as a United States Post Office mail clerk. On June 5, 1917 O'Hearn registered for the Federal Draft. He was then single and lived at 712 West 3rd Street in Duluth, MN. He was a medium built man with blue eyes and dark hair. On the draft form he listed an exemption from service due to working for the post office. His exact phrase was, "Engaged in transmission of the Mail." Apparently the Army felt that they needed him more than the Post Office did.

O'Hearn would work the rest of his life for the Post Office. In 1940 he was still working for the railroad as a mail clerk. O'Hearn's wife's name was Sadie, and together they had a daughter named Margaret. The O'Hearn home in 1940 was located at 1624 East 8th Street in Duluth.

Edward O'Hearn passed away on April 18, 1988 in Duluth, MN.

PFC Archie Lambert, Truck Co. C

PFC Archie Lambert of (now Lake Bronson) Bronson, MN, served with Truck Co. C, Army Artillery Park, 1st Army, during World War I. He enlisted December 17, 1917 and went overseas June 29, 1918. He was wounded in a truck wreck and spent several months in different hospitals and was discharged June 8, 1919. Private Lambert is shown in the above photo second row, fourth man from the left.

Cpl. Clifford A. P. Youngren, Truck Co. C

Corporal Clifford A. P. Youngren, of Northcote, MN, Truck Co. C, 1st Army Artillery, C.A.C., Enlisted December 17, 1917. Went overseas June 29, 1918 and saw 3 months active service. Corporal Youngren is shown in the above photo in the fourth row, eight man from the right end.

Private Ted Porger, Truck Company C 

Theodore L. Porger was born in Two Harbors, Minnesota, on March 26, 1896.  His father came from Germany in 1886 and was partner with two of his sons, William Jr. and Herman, in a local auto garage and sales company. Ted was younger but also worked in that business as a mechanic until age 23 and his enlistment for WW1 on Dec 17, 1917.  He was sent to Ft Winfield Scott in San Francisco for training until 17 June 1918, and then deployed with Truck Company C from Camp Mills New York bound for France on the SS Chicago - on 29 June 1918. He arrived at Bordeaux, France on July 10th, attended Auto School for truck driving and repair, and began truck convoy work at Chalus. He drove ammunition and supplies around the front, participating in the 12-15 September St Mihiel offensive; and the Meuse Argonne offensive 26 Sept. - 11 November.  He kept a small notebook diary starting when he left San Francisco, making occasional short entries about his experiences until the end of the war. Ted was honorably discharged from the Army at Camp Dodge, Iowa on May 16, 1919.

Exactly what he did after that is not known for a while, but presumably he returned to his family business in Two Harbors, Minnesota, working as a mechanic.  By 1927 he was living in Los Angeles and working at various enterprises in the automobile repair and auto storage batteries industry, including the Jones Storage Battery Company in 1928. He was married and later divorced with no children during his time in LA. He was during the 1930s the proprietor of the Pico Crest Garage in a Richfield Station on West Pico Blvd in Los Angeles. This business failed after the start of WW2 due to gas rationing and the lack of skilled mechanics in the available workforce due to the war.  He moved to Whitney, Nevada in 1943 where the Davis Dam project was underway below Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Ted operated a garage, and a trailer park for workers at the dam. During this time, he served in 1947 and 1948, as a Justice of the Peace, for Clark County in the Davis Dam area at Searchlight, Nevada.  He was defeated when running for re-election, appearing further down on the same 1948 Clark County ballot - from Pres Truman and Gov Dewey in that famous election.

By 1952, he had moved to North Las Vegas, Nevada; and married my paternal grandmother, Hedy Westin Porger - also from Two Harbors, Minnesota, who had been a childhood friend - and whose first husband was an Iron Range Railroad worker that had died back in 1937.  Ted built a home and six duplex apartments in North Las Vegas, which he rented to airmen from nearby Nellis AFB. Ted was a colorful character that was fun to visit when I was growing up. On the property, he also had a large shop and was a skilled mechanic and "tinkerer" in his retirement.  Should he ever need some piece of equipment, he would always build one from scrap materials - rather than buy a new one.  He died there at the age of 72 on November 29, 1966, and is buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery. 

Submitted by:  Mark Westin, CAPT, USN Ret., Seabeck WA -  Step Grandson of Ted Porger

Pvt. Ted Porger's WWI Notebook and Diary

Transcribed by Mark Westin, as Porger had wrote in the notebook. Inside Front Cover: Home Address: Ted Porger, Two Harbors, Minn. USA. Then 7 pages front and back of addresses of friends and relatives:

(Then entries and narrative beginning at the Presidio in San Francisco California in June of 1918. Original appears in black ink. Some additional entries & corrections in pencil or in blue pen – are indicated in italics. There are also many mispelled French words and cities, but they have been transcribbed as Porger had written them.) Left Frisco June 17 – 18 for N.Y. Camp Mills. Places where we hiked:
June 19 – Stockton Calif. Winnemucca Nev. Elco Tenn. River foot bath in Green River
June 20-Grand Jct. Colorado, Pueblo, Colorado, Kansas City, Kokomo, Ind.
June 21-Jamestown N.Y., Hornell, N. Y., Camp Mills, N. Y.
June 28th – 18 Packed for overseas Left June 29th 1918 at 4am for boat. On boat At 9:30 am. Left harbor at 9:20 pm on board Chicago for France  {“pulled out at nite” –added in pencil) July 7th Reported torpedoed on July 7th. Boats out looking for us.

July 9 – 10  Got up at 3 am to watch for Subs. In harbor of Bordeaux waiting for high tide to get to Bordeaux
July 11- On land at Bordeaux at 8:30 am hike to rest camp No. 1. Got there at 12:30 pm. Back of page (added in pencil) Went to the castle where Richard the lionhearted. Saw where he was shot in the valley below the castle. Walls are 8 ft thick and a dungeon below. In Chalus, France  July 18 – 1918
July 17th 18 Left for Chalus at 10 am. Slept in Puptents 4 days. Batteries “A” & “B” were there to cheer us.
July-21- Assigned to billets today.
July-28-Left for Auto School for 2 weeks course in truck driving and rep. Aug. -8 Night convoy work of 23 miles without lights

Aug. -11- Returned to Chalus.
Aug 12-1918- 20 mile hike started 8 am, back at 7 pm (all in). Two bacon sandwiches for dinner.
Aug.-13- Capt Day took charge of Co.
Aug. -17 -  Capt Day left. Capt Haag returns
Aug. -18- Left Chalus for Brest for trucks left Limoges 5:20 am the 19th by train for Brest.
Aug 18 to 21 Passed thru Rennes, Chatraux, Orleans, Varsallies (near Paris)
Aug. -21- Arrived at Brest at 3 am. Got nuts out of sacks at Depot left with trucks at 4 pm for Limoges. Passed thru Landerneau, Aurry, St. Nayaire, Nantes. At St. Nayaire Aug 25 – 26
Aug. 27-28 waiting for gas. (German) Prisoners here. On back of page in pencil: Our 125 trucks 25 motor cycles, touring cars start for front. One Quad went over a bank 200 ft high. A fellow from Co. A got hurt. Truck upside down and against trees. Bbls of gas way down below. Sleep under the sky or in truck on trip. Some life. Capt Mott from Co. A got his leg broke, he was lying beside the road when I passed him. Thru Argenten. Chateauraux at 3 pm. Isseadren at 6 pm.Baurges, Nevers, VernuealSept 1 – 1918 Arrived at Chalus.

Sept 1 – 18 Towed in acct burt bearing.  All our company out cheering as we pulled in
Sept 4- left for front Sept 4  Arrived at Domgermaiu Friday the 12th {corrected to Thurs.} Throught Neuffchateau, Nevers, 400 mile trip. Rained like H____ last 4 days. Rode in covered {added:  Trucks at front tonight in first drive of war}
Sept 13- Pierce Arrow colder than blazes. Muddy place. Some are up at Front tonight of our Co. Aerio fights daily.
On back of page in pencil: Near Toul. 9/15/18  6 kilometers from form Toul see air fights and air patrol while St. Mehiel drive is on, Guns pounding steadily. Go out at night to St. Mehiel front with Ordnance pass thru Forigand Commercy. Where A.E.F. band is playing Star Spangled Banner. See signs of Boche bombardment here and camouflaged roads etc. Wire entanglements, trenches, dugouts, etc. Go thru towns that Germans held since 14 retaken 3 days ago in Mehiel drive.  Pass Neubelcourt and Fleury which are bombed.
Sept 15 – 1918  Heavy barrage at front all night which stops me from sleeping. Here at Domgermain is where I can see the hills where the first 3 Americans were killed in action. Guns pound all night.
Sept 18- Rained all night nothing doing went to Toul for gas in the am. Returned 1 pm.
Sept 19- Loaded with Ord. Stuff for Nexville. Run all night.
Sept 25-1918 Nixville Park. Many Frog Trucks here. Capt Haag located us here and we moved to Ippicourt. But run at night as M.P.s put us in the clear till dark. {added: “acct air raids”north of Neuville} Coleman got knocked down by shrapnel explosion at front near Neuville on the 23rd the trucks are full of shell holes and all the boys say they hit for the dugouts so were safe till the firing let up as the Capt in charge beat it and left them in the shell fire alone.
Sept 27 – 1918  {added: Ippicourt} Nothing unusual. Prisoners going thru again today. T-Mucha and Henchcliffe fixed up our dugout in fine shape. No mail since the 1st.

Oct 1, 1918 Went to Neuville with gas.  All shot to H___  Germans holding this place since 1914 – left on retreat on Friday {added: lost many dead germans and Americans}
Oct 4th, 1918  Left for Recicourt today.
Oct 5- Went to sleep in Packard and about 10 pm G. plain let a few peanuts drop in our back yard. I made a run in my bare feet and underwear for dugout and spent the rest of the night in there among the rats.  S. Owens says they got shoes on by the noise they make, but I think they got a race track in the corner as one hit the post in making his rounds and fell on the floor squealing.
Oct 5 – 1918  Went over to see Prisoners and got a few buttons from ‘em  they are the Prussian guards just from the front.
Oct 7- Went to front with Staley to stay with Artillery fellows. Got smacked in by tractor went in ditch so unloaded and went to bed, about 10 pm a couple of big boys went off and it shook us so much the truck slid in the ditch about a food farther and they just kept up, so Brophy and I go up and spent the rest of the night with the fellows.
Oct 7-18  “Fritz” let a few gas shells fly over head but we were told of their coming by a seargeant  so did not mind ‘em.
Oct 10- I and Chesla took a trip to Chalons and St. Manchould on a “Frog” truck and passenger trains.  {added: Sent souveniers away}
Oct 12- Returned to Recicourt and went to the dug out. During the night I felt Chesla jumping around and I heard a slam on the floor. A big 9 pound rat crawled in his hand and he let’er go for the wall. They kept us up all night by their heavy shoes on the floor.
Oct 17 – 1918.  Chesla and I got a truck and left for the front.  We landed at Carene a place about 3 kilos past Verdun. While pulling in we were met by a few of Fritz’s shells. Some of the fellows got a “wiff” of gas. All night long the shells were flying over us. Verdun is all shot to pieces and from the looks of the place it sure looked like a beautiful city before the war.  This place has been under shell fire every day for 4 years.
Oct 18- Put up at Mason for the nite  {rec’d mail Elma {his sister} + _______} Moved in evening for Neuville slept in a shattered house with Chesla in Neuville.
Oct 20 –1918  On Sick report. Had some back and felt rotten had a fever on the 22nd.
Oct 24 – Kitchen Police. Played poker. Made a haul.
Oct 25- Went to Frodis with Co. Slept in haystack in barn with the Chief.  No work. Uptown all day bought souviners for Elma. {added: Got piped up}
Oct 26 – Nothing unusual – only a flier doing the loop to loop. Went to Recicourt on sick report. Went with Reggie on truck to Lovage dump. Took shells to Esnes. Observation balloons up. Many aerio planes up Nov 1 – 1918  Very cold today put up in Corbetts dugout Made a bed today and fixed a fireplace up . Good place now.  Nothing doing for me just resting.  Nothing doing on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Went to Lampire and Clinten.  Backed into Patty and smashed radiator, came home.  Gway towed us in. Patty nearly got his, but jumped out of the way in time.  Had hot chocolate and cheese and jam for dinner. Stud is in bed, came in after an all night drive. He is all in I guess.  O’hearn is sick and laying around here today. Papers state that Austria signed peace yesterday at 3 o’clock.

Nov 5 Got a ring and cigarette case from German Prisoners yesterday. Bought a vase from Frog at Recicourt.
Nov 7– Peace talk tonight Colonel says she is finished boys.
Nov 8- Peace sposed to be signed at 3 pm today. K.P. at Neuville with field kitchen.  Looking for O.E. Ownes on main road all afternoon. Heavy work?? Eh? Trucks hauling from Neuville to Bugancy. Frog “Legare” finish today.
Nov 10-9  Hauled shells from Neuville to Bugancy. Towed in acct broken crank case and spring. Germans tore up rail roads and bridges. Bugancy is not shelled bad. Germans left everything on their retreat. They had lots of nice cabbage which the Americans are using. Roads are shot to pieces. Heavy traffic. I thought I was in a big city. Lights were permitted. First time in history of war. Towns were lighted and it looked like we were in the U.S.A. again. Church bell rang for first time again at Neuville.  Slept with S. Owens at dugout in Neuville.   It was cold. Frost in am. X Came to Recicourt to get fixed up. Going to Nueville. Loaded at Neuville in PM for Bugancy. Went to a dugout and slept with Chesla and Stalley. Read New York Herald where Kaiser abdicated and revolution in Germany. Peace now to be signed by 11 am today.  We unloaded at Neuville and went to Recicourt and two of us went to Maison Rudge got 75’s for Verdun anti air craft. Armistice signed by reports that we got at Maison Rudge. French flags flying everywhere. All France are celebrating. Frenchmen look happy for the first time since I arrived. Went to Recicourt. Slept in old dugout with Stalley.
Nov 12  Nothing doing fairly warm. Cold last night in dugout. Truck Co. D. E. F.   arrived today at Recicourt . Reports are they relieve us, and we move somewhere. I hope it is to a seaport. Cold!  Ice everywhere. Working in the kitchen.
Nov 18- First snow tonight about 5:30 pm. Nearly all our trucks are turned over to the 54 Ammunition train.
Nov 19- Reville at 6:15am  First time since Aug 18 1918 Still in dugout.  Co. mess moved to other billets.
Nov 20- am in a billet on main street. Blanket for a window cover. Very frosty last night. Sleeping alone now.
Nov 21 – On sick report today.
Nov 28 – Corn Willy for thanksgiving dinner. Capt Goh brought cigars and chocolate for us. Raining all day. All of us are getting ready for a hike to a camp until we go on a ship. Started at 8 am for hike got to Neubecourt about 5 pm.  30 kilos hike all in. Had a full pack but ditched most of junk. Threw away 2 blankets, underwear, etc. Started about 8 am after sleeping in barn at Neubecourt went about 6 kilos and all in had blisters on my feet fell out and dragged along behind.  Caught truck and rode about 10 kilos.  Hiked to Naives and had a French woman fry a few spuds for 4 of us. No meat. Had HardTack alone for dinner for 3 of us.

Dec 1 Rozieres  Layed at village about 1 kilo from Naives all day Sun. Found out we were not going to hike any more so went to Bar-Le Duc and got a pass from M.P. office for 5 of us and took in the sights.  They called role at the Co. and a few of us were missing. Had a good feed after we bought meat at a market. And had a French lady fix it up for us. Caught a truck for home. Pat Regan had a fight with the Chief in a Champagn drive??
Dec 2   Stayed here all day. Got up at 6:30 . Slept in a feather bed that Dallas and I fixed up for in a French home. Expect to put  up in it tonight. Left Roziers at 2 pm. Got on trucks at 5 pm for a place near Wassy.  Arrived at 4 am. Slept in a barn.  Raining all night. Billroy.  Got up at 10 am – hiked a mile for dinner at the next village.  Rain nearly all day. Had a few bottles of champagne last night on trip.
At Billroy. 
Dec 10 – Left Billroy on 12-10-1918 on trucks for Delevant.  Got in found billets with board mattress.  Kitchen off about a mile – little better than last place. Getting new clothes now.  Letter from Kempford.
Dec 13- Doulevant.  Went to Don Martin about 1 kilo from here and found big  Gust there.  Will meet him here tonight again. One guard watching trucks on main road.  Saw Risburg go thru here that am. For Lymmes I guess.
Doulevant. Dec 18 1918.  Bought 22 francs pork chops and 7 francs pork sausage and had a French lady fix it up for Batty, Marito and I. Had boo cou drinks. Cost us about $4 each. First pork I had since I left Frisco.
Dec 19- Cold last night and heavy rain all night. Cold and wet today. Am laying around yet in fairly good billets.
Dec 20 – moved on truck from Doulevant to Villars Sur-Marne. Went for wood by truck and got piped on way back on the 21st. On K.P. 21-22-24.
Dec 25 Christmas 1918.  Got rolled out at 4 am. by the “top soak”.  So all of the birds got up and had our xmas breakfast of  Steak.  Oatmeal milk butter applesauce, etc.  and had a bacon sandwich for xmas dinner.  Went by truck to Don Martin and Got a truck and moved the 52nd Ammunition Train to Wassy.  Somervoire – had slum for  dinner at Don Martin.  Saw Big Gust there. Saw where the Statue of Liberty was made at Somervoire.  Slept in barn in haystack.
Dec 26- Took truck and tow for Vignory and went haywire so got towed back and turned truck in.  Slept in barn again with Bauer.
Dec 27- Left for Villers Sur Marne by truck. Went for wood in am and started to hike for Doulencourt got lost and and out in the rain for 2 to 3 hours, got soaked, but made the town OK. Slept in a Frog bed cost 1 franc.
Dec 29- Left for the Sur Marne and arrived about 10 am.
New Year’s Eve Nothing doing at Villiers Sur Marne. Wrote 5 letters and went to bed about 11 pm NewYear 1919 – Started for Doulencourt with Bauer, Marito. Got there at noon. Caught a ford truck Joinville. Looked over the town got picked up by M.P. but they let us go. Slept in.

Jan 2nd- a French Hotel. Had breakfast brought to our room with cognac for an eye opener. Left about 10 am – caught truck to Donse-Jousy and passenger train in to our town.
Jan 3 to 9th – Just the ordinary routine of getting wood for our fireplace and sitting around arguing when we will be in the U.S.A.  Got paid the 8th 143.50 francs out for a hike the 9th about 1 hour. Got knocked off a quad when we hit a tree coming from Vignory the 8th.
Jan 12th – Went through De-Coutizer
Jan 13th - Through De-Cootizwer again. Got furlough to Neufchateau to see Herman (Porger - his brother). Started out with Warner and landed at Chaumont for the night.
Jan 14th – left Chaumont at 9:15 for Neufchateau 63K got here at 12:20. Fast Train? Not? Could not find Herm. Was to his Co. office and they said he went on detached service to Germany. Goblents I guess.  Went to his billet again at night. But the fellows say he went to Germany to put up a tire machine.  They say he was A.W.O.L. as they could not find out who sent him for 8 or 10 days. Am in a French bed now in a hotel in Neufchateau.
Jan 16th – Went to Langers and stayed all nite.
Jan 17th – went to Dijon and stayed. All night. Meet Morris and Mondrell. Got picked up by Capt.  All OK slept in Red Cross at Depot at Port Nauve station.  Left on PM train for Neufchateau. Herman not there yet met a fellow by name of Myer and passed Sunday. Saw lots of German engines that Germans turned over to allies.  Left for Villiers Sur Marne on 21 of Jan Long hikes of 10 miles or so going to move to Bordeaux soon.
Jan 27 – Moved today to Vignory by truck. Quad.  Unloaded rations into U.S.A. boxcar.  One Quad tipped over broke Samuelson’s leg, bruised Dallas’ leg also bruised Mareto. Left in a U.S.A. boxcar for Areyers 26 kilos from Bordeaux. Slept on hay on floor of car 2 nights. 41 of us in a car and very crowded.  Passed thro Brouges, Limoges, Chatereaux, and Nevers.
Jan 29 – 1919  Got off train about 3 pm helped move kitchen. In a hotel with electric lights  slept on boards. No hay yet.
Jan 30th  - nothing doing Only straightening around. Drill tomorrow.
Jan 31st – Out in am for a hike about 2 hrs back at noon.  Cleaning for inspection in pm. Nearly all the fellows drunk at night. No fights. Feb 1st – 1919.  On K.P. today. Nothing unusual for the day. Co. inspection this am.

Feb 2nd – 19.  Got pass from 10 am to 9pm to Libaurne went with Stalley came back on French train in pm. Saw first French dance here at Brucyres like a Swedish hop or polka.  Rest of week – hikes etc.
Feb 6th – 50 of the fellows were transferred to the Q.M. or S.O.S. and left today. Capt Haag rec’d a diamond ring last nite from the Co.
Feb 7th – Stalley, Owens, Chesla, Laird, Hanskins, Brophy went to a French house at 6 and spent a big evening.  Owens,  Brophy got lit up a little during the performances.
Feb 8th – Hikes every am with rifles and belts, and with packs in the pm. Went to Libourne to buy film for the camera but all out.  Chief got out of prison yesterday afternoon and got run in last night for being drunk and noisy.  Had a French nurse out in Libourne that talked English.  Nothing of any importance rest of the week.
Feb 22-1919.  Reville at 7 am Co. out to Libourne this pm to parade.  Review by Pershing Monday at Libourne.

March 14 – had two teeth filled by our dentist at St. Pardou.  Walked over with Laird.
Sun March 16th.  Went to St. Emilion on a pass with Hosna, and Chesla, and Woods.  Met Wm. D. Stinson there. Caught trucks for biggest part of the way. Got to Libourne about 5 pm and left for Areyres on the 8:24 train. Rained nearly all day.
March 26, 1919.  Drilled ½ hr. and off all day. Took a walk around the loop and thought of my birthday. April 12th, 1919.  Stood Reville and was told by the Mexican to look at the bulletin board and was on K.P. Tired tonight. A few of the birds were going over the top tonight.  Six trucks are here to haul baggage to embarkation camp. Maybe we ride tomorrow? Will sleep on board floor tonite and prepare for a hike of about 26 kilos tomorrow. Treat eh?  Stud and I filled our shelter half with straw and bunked together.  Wright came in with a crying gag. Major Haag and Lt Brown were up and Brown had Stalling take Wright and put him under the water pump. Soon he sobered up.
April 13 – Got up at 5 am and left at 7 am with light packs about 20 kilometers to Camp No. 1 Gemicart.  Slept there in billets.  Rained all night just poured down.

Photo above shows some of the men in Truck Company C while in France.
Note the men all holding mess kits, and there is one little French girl setting on the knee of one of the men in the front row.

Photo on the right shows Woods in the white Tee-shirt (who also served in Truck Company C) and Ted Porger on the right, showing off war souvineers, German Army helmets.
Photo taken about 1940 in Los Angeles, California.


Above a photo identified as, "Porger in back, Chesla, Woods and Maredo in France 1918." Photo on the right is Private Ted Porger, Service No. 821626

Pvt. Iver F. Casperson, Park Battery C

Iver was born on September 25, 1889. Pvt. Iver F. Casperson, Service No. 820210, of Hallock, MN, First Army Artillery Park, C.A.C., enlisted December 17, 1917. He went overseas with the 4th Phase of the First Army Artillery Park on September 1. 1918, aboard the SS Anchises. Pvt. Casperson saw action from October 3-November 11, at Argonne, Meuse and Verdun areas. Pvt. Casperson returned aboard the USS Canonicus on April 19, 1919 leaving from Paulliac, France and arrived in New York. Pvt. Casperson was Honorably Discharged May 16, 1919. Iver F. casperson passed away on July 18, 1949 and was burried in Section C-9 Grave site 8937 in the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN on July 21, 1949.

Pvt. Richard A. Toreson, Park Battery C

Pvt. Richard A. Toreson, of Hallock, MN, Battery C, Artillery, 1st Army, C.A.C., entered the service December 17, 1917. He went overseas September 1918. Saw action at Argonne and Verdun. Discharged May 16, 1919.

Pvt. George R. Fossell, Park Battery A

Pvt. George R. Fossell, of Kennedy, MN, Battery A, Army Artillery Park, 1st Army C.A.C., enlisted December 17, 1917. Went overseas June 15, 1918 and saw action at St Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Verdun.

Cpl. Richard C. Shaffer, Motor Section, Truck Co. D

Mr. Shaffer died on 3 October 1945 and is buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, Plot: H BLK745.

Pvt. Jasper Wooten, Park Battery B,

Jasper Anderson Wooten was born on March 15th, 1892 in West Virginia to Wesley and Anna Wooten. On the fifth day of June 1900 Jasper lived with his mother and father in a rented home on Hanford Street in Montgomery, Ohio. At the time the family consisted of Charles the oldest son born in June of 1888, Irena born in April 1890, then Jasper and then the youngest son Wesley, jr. born in November of 1895. The Wooten family must have moved around quite a bit in the years previous to living in Montgomery as Charles was born in Kansas, Irena and Jasper were both born in West Virginia and Wesley jr. was born in Ohio. It is known that the Wooten family lived in Cement, Oklahoma in 1904. Wesley, the father worked as a laborer to support the family when they lived in Montgomery. The Wooten family would eventually grow to 3 sons and 3 daughters.

As America entered the fight in Europe in April of 1917, Jasper or “Jap” as he was called, saw the need to enlist into the military. This would be an event in his live that would take “Jap” Wooten on an adventure that would last for more than 21 years. And so on December 14, 1917, “Jap” Wooten enlisted in the Army Coast Artillery Corps at Fort Logan, Colorado after acceptance at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was transferred from Ft. Logan to the Presidio of San Francisco, where he joined Battery "B" Army Artillery Park. At that time this unit was known as Army Artillery Park and did not take its name of First Army Artillery Park until August of 1918 while the unit was in France. It was then assigned to the First Army and as such took the name of First Army Artillery Park. While with the First Army it participated in the following battles: St. Mihiel Offensive, France: 12 September-16 September 1918. Meuse-Argonne Offensive, France: 26 September-11 November 1918. On 15 June 1918 the Artillery Park went to the Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, New Jersey with 23 officers and 690 enlisted men and boarded the transport USS Kroonland. After the war ended the First Army Artillery Park was ordered to return to the States and during May of 1919 sailed home and went to Camp Mills, New York. On 26th May 1919 the First Army Artillery Park was demobilized at the Presidio of San Francisco, California.

After the war, “Jap” Wooten was discharged with others of Battery "B" at Camp Pike, Arkansas, on May 17th, 1919. “Jap” didn't stay out of the Army for long. He reenlisted at Fort Logan Colorado on July 29th, 1919, shortly after his marriage to Lela Marie Robinson. “Jap” Wooten continued in the Army, serving in the 6th Infantry, the 19th Infantry, the 21st Infantry, the 27th Infantry, the 31st Infantry, the 38th Infantry, and the 53rd Infantry in Colorado, Utah, Washington State, Missouri, Hawaii, and the Philippines. On April 4th 1930 Jasper Wooten is listed as being a Private First Class and a cook with Company B, 6th Infantry at the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri. His final discharge was for disability on Sep. 7, 1940. By that time, “Jap” had completed more than twenty-one years service in the U.S. Army.

After his final discharge, “Jap” Wooten was unable to work due to his disability. He was treated at the United States Soldiers Home Hospital in Washington D.C. several times, as well as various VA hospitals in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Washington State for his arteriosclerosis and other related medical problems. Between hospital stays, he visited friends and relatives in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Washington. “Jap” Wooten entered the U.S. Soldiers Home in Washington D.C. for the final time in 1955 and died there on October 5th, 1958. He is buried in Gravesite R 542, U.S. Soldier's Home National Cemetery, Washington D. C.

“Jap” Wooten’s grandson, Wayne P. Wooten recounts about his grandfather; “I had known grandfather “Jap” in the fifties when he lived with us in Sunnyside, Washington. He talked about the war a little. He said that he had been a "grenadier" during the war.”

Some research material was provided by the Grandson of Jasper Wooten, Wayne P. Wooten.

PFC Harry Blassman, Park Battery B

Harry Blassman was a Private First-Class serving in Park Battery B of the First Army Artillery Park, CAC during WWI. PFC Blassman left the United States with his unit and arrived in France and participated in the St. Mihiel Offensive 12-16 September, 1918 and during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive from September 26, through the end of the war on November 11, 1918. After the war the First Army Artillery Park returned back to the United States, but the story of PFC Blassman does not begin in the United States, it actually begins in Europe, the continent Harry had just come from.

The Blassman family is a Jewish family, and they spoke the Yiddish language. The family originated from either Russian or Austrian homelands. The family likely came from the area between Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. Harry Blassman’s parents were Tessie and Mendel Blassman and were married about 1884. At the time Harry was born on September 25, 1893, he was the last of the children to be born in Europe. The children were Paul the eldest son, then Morris, Dora, Clara, Edith or Eva, and Harry.

According to the 1900 United States Federal Census form it tells the story that Mendel Blassman seems to have come to America in 1897 and left his family in Europe. Mendel was likely searching for a better life in America and then he would send for the rest of his family to come to America. Tessie and the six children seem to have come to America in 1899.

Tessie may have been pregnant when she arrived in the States because in September of 1899 she gave birth in New York to the first American born Blassman child a boy they named Sam or Samuel. And so, it seems that Mendel may have went back to Europe in late 1898 to bring his family to America. When the Blassman family arrived in America they settled in New York and likely into the Jewish community of New York. Mendel and his eldest son Paul both worked as tailors, and may have worked for the same tailor shop. The Blassman home was located on Attorney Street in Manhattan.

The Blassman family would expand while living in New York with the addition of Samuel, Sallie and Abraham born in 1899, 1902 and 1904. Also, during this time, the eldest son Paul, married and his wife was named Ester, who was also Yiddish and likely came from the same general area that the Blassman family had come from.

Sometime between 1904 and 1910 the entire Blassman family which at the time consisted of twelve, picked up and moved west to Los Angeles, California. The reasons why they moved from New York are not known but it can be guessed that it was seeking a better life and more opportunities.

In the spring of 1910 the twelve Blassman’s were living at 723 Alpine Street in Los Angeles, which is part of the China Town area. Mendel and Paul were still working as tailors, and daughters Dora and Clara were working at a laundry in the area. It is interesting to note that on the 1900 Federal Census form that all the Blassman’s were listed as being born in Austria, but that on the 1910 Census form they are all listed as “Russia-Yiddish.”

By the spring of 1917, America had joined the war in Europe, which likely from Los Angeles, California seemed like such a far away place. But to Harry Blassman who would have been about 23 1/2 -years old in the spring of 1917, this may have had a calling to him. At the time Harry and possibly all his European born family were still Aliens and had not gained their citizenship yet. Harry would on August 5 of 1917, enlist into the United States Army, and this would begin his journey for petition for naturalization process.

Harry Blassman after his enlistment was serving in the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps and would have been in one of the various Coast Artillery Companies within the Coast Defenses of San Francisco.

At Ft. Winfield Scott, San Francisco, California, on March 1, 1918, the First Army Artillery Park was assembled under orders from the War Department. This new unit was commanded by Colonel William. H. Tobin, CAC, and the men that would form the Artillery Park came from California Coast Artillery Companies. This was how PFC Harry Blassman came to be in Park Battery B.

Park Batteries A and B and the Regimental Headquarters were in the first group of the Artillery Park that would be sent to France. On May 17, 1918 they started out from San Francisco, California, and arrived at New York City five days later, where they were joined by the 601st Mobile Ordnance Repair Shops (M. O. R. S.) unit that would be attached to the Army Artillery Park. On June 15, 1918 PFC Blassman went aboard the SS Kroonland in New York harbor. The Kroonland would sail that same day bound for the French port of St. Nazaire, France where they arrived on June 27, 1918. Aboard the Kroonland every soldier had to list someone to notify in case of an emergency. Blassman listed his married sister Dora Schlocker of 422 ½ Centennial Street Los Angeles, California.

It is noted that the family name was spelled as “Blassman” but on the passenger manifest the Army spelling was with one “s” and throughout his Army career the name was spelled “Blasman.”

Once in France PFC Blassman was with the First Army Artillery Park through the war and served on the front lines and in the rear areas with the Artillery Park as they supported the Artillery units on the Front lines. When it came time after the war for the return of the First Army Artillery Park, they were then assembled in the south-west part of France awaiting ship transportation. On April 19, 1919 at Paulliac, France all except Truck Company D and the Motor Section HQ, for which there was no room, were loaded aboard the USS Canonicus and sailed for the States. PFC Blassman again listed his sister Dora as his person to contact in case of an emergency.

The Canonicus arrived in Brooklyn, NY on May 2, 1919 and the troops of the 1st Army Artillery Park were sent to Camp Mills, NY. On May 21, 1919, at Camp Mills PFC Blassman was Honorably Discharged from Active Duty and returned to civilian life.

By January of 1920 Harry Blassman was back in Los Angeles, California. He was then living with his sister Clara who was by then married. Clara’s husband was Herman L. Alpert. The Alpert home was on Blanchard Street in Los Angeles. At the time Clara and Herman had two children, six-year old Edward and Dorothy who was 6-months old. Herman was also from Russia and was working as a tailor. Harry Blassman at that time had a job in a factory with a job description of “driver.”

It was on May 19, 1922, that Harry Blassman files a petition for Naturalization form to begin his process to gain his citizenship. His home address was at the time 605 W. St. Louis Street in Los Angeles. The form stated that his birthday was September 25, 1895 and that he was born in “Komeuautz, Podeelsk, Russia.” This would be the present-day Ukrainian city of Kamianets-Podilskyi, which is a city is a city on the Smotrych River in western Ukraine, to the north-east of Chernivtsi.

During the Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648–58), the Jewish community of Kamianets-Podilskyi suffered much from Khmelnytsky's Cossacks on the one hand, and from the attacks of the Crimean Tatars (their main object being the extortion of ransoms) on the other. About the middle of the 18th century, Kamianets-Podilskyi became celebrated as the center of the furious conflict then raging between the Talmudic Jews and the Frankists. The city was the residence of Bishop Dembowski, who sided with the Frankists and ordered the public burning of the Talmud, a sentence which was carried into effect in the public streets in 1757. Kamianets-Podilskyi was also the residence of the wealthy Joseph Yozel Günzburg. During the latter half of the 19th century, many Jews from Kamianets-Podilskyi emigrated to the United States, especially to New York City, where they organized a number of societies.

The petition form also states that in September of 1900 Harry “Blasman” (along with his family) left Hamburg, Germany aboard the SS Rotterdam and later that month arrived in New York City. SS Rotterdam was launched February 18, 1897, by Harland & Wolff in Belfast for the Holland America Line, the third ship by that name for the line. She sailed from Rotterdam, her namesake city, to Boulogne and New York on her maiden voyage August 18, 1897.

On May 19, 1922, the day Harry Blassman filed his petition he renounced any allegiance to the present government of Russia, of which he had been subject to, and took the oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States before Charles N. Williams, the Clerk of the U. S. District Court, Southern California.

It was on July 24, 1923 that Harry Blassman was married. His wife was Esther Brown and at the time of the marriage Esther was just 17-years old and was born in the state of Illinois. Harry and Esther began their family in 1924 with the birth of their first child a daughter they named Mildred Pauline. This was followed in 1925 with the birth of Rosella Lillian, 1926 the birth of Daniel and in 1929 the birth of Ruby.

In the spring of 1930 Esther and Harry had purchased a home at 6503 Holmes Ave. in the Hunting Park area of Los Angeles. Right next door at 6507 lived Harry older brother Morris and his family. Morris worked as a bartender and Harry at the time was working as a meat cutter. Both Harry and Morris owned these two homes, which were both valued at $4,000 and both families were able to have one of the few luxuries of the time, that being radio sets in the home. On the 1930 Census forms this was a question as to whether the family had a radio set or not.

It was on October 24, 1933, that the second born daughter Rosella Lillian passed away at the age of 4 ½-years old. The cause of Rosella’s death was not known.

At least by 1935 the Harry Blassman family had moved from the Holmes Ave. house to N. Miller Ave., which is located just north of the Belvedere area of Los Angeles very near to Interstate 10. By the spring of 1940 Harry had taken a carpenter’s job in the construction industry.

During WWII on February 15, 1942, Harry Blassman registered for the Federal Draft. Again, as in WWI his last name was spelled again with one “s” as Blasman. His date of birth was listed as September 25, but the year was listed as 1898, so, clearly during his lifetime there seems to be three different dates listed as his year of birth, on his petition for Naturalization form it states 1895, The WWII Draft states 1898 and his bronze grave marker states 1893 as the year of birth. It is assumed that 1893 is the correct year of birth.

Additionally, on the WWII Draft registration it states that Harry was unemployed at the time and that he weighed 148-pounds and had a ruddy complexion and had brown eyes and hair.

Harry’s father Mendel, on October 31, 1949 passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 89-years old.

Harry and his wife Esther would live the rest of their lives in Los Angeles. Throughout his life Harry voted mostly Democrat, but on two occasions in 1924 and in 1930 he voted Republican.

Near the end of his life about 1973 Harry was living in Oxnard in Ventura County, California. Harry would pass away in Oxnard on January 16, 1974. He was buried in the Conejo Mountain Memorial Park in Camarillo, California. His grave is marked with a bronze military grave marker and his last name is spelled “Blasman” as it was on many government documents after World War One.

Above is the Bronze Military Grave marker,

Harry "Blasman"
California PFC US Army, World War One
September 25, 1893 - January 16, 1974

On the right is a photo of PFC Blassman in unifrom.

Pvt. Joe Allen, Jr., Park Battery B

Joseph Allen Jr., was born in Golden, Colorado September 17, 1893. He was one of eight children born to Joseph and Isabelle Golighty Allen. The Allen's were Cornish, their parents emigrated to the United States in about 1855. Joe Jr. grew up in Denver, Colorado in a railroad family and was the only sibling to go to war. Luanne Buzbee, a relative to Joe Allen, told me that the family story was that he was gassed during the war, but in later years when she took care of him, he did not receive any government checks from a disability. He married a woman named Myrtle and they had no children of their own, and she preceded him in death. He worked as a machinist for the Colorado and Southern Railroad in Denver until he retired. He passed away in 1977 in Lafayette, Colorado at the home of his brother. Luanne Buzbee is a daughter-in-law of the family and niece in-law of Joe Allen, jr. and does not know much more of his life except that he was a nice old man with a good sense of humor.

Upon additional research on Pvt. Joseph Allen I found on his draft registration card dated 5 June 1917, he listed his age at 23 years. He lived at 2225 North 25th Avenue, Denver, Colorado. He was born September 17th 1893 and he was a natural born citizen. He listed his occupation as a lumber handler for the Restrick Lumber Company of Detroit, Michigan. At the time he was single and was listed as being tall and medium build with brown eyes and black hair.

According to the 1930 federal census, Joseph Allen Jr. and his wife Myrtle L., lived in a rented house at 2425 Hooker St. in Denver, Colorado. It was noted that the rent payment was $25. Joseph's age was listed as 36 years and Myrtle's was listed as 42 years. Joseph listed his occupation as a machinist helper for the railroad. It was listed that he was a veteran of the World War. Joseph was listed as being born in Colorado. His father was born in New Jersey (possibly in 1867) and his mother was born in Illinois. Myrtle was born in Missouri and her father was born in Illinois and her mother was born in Indiana.

A letter from Somewhere in France from Pvt. Joe Allen

Below is a transcribed letter written by Pvt. Allen that was shared with me along with the photos below by Luanne Buzbee.

Somewhere in France November 1st 1918

Dear sister and brother,

I received your most interesting letter today and was sure glad to hear that you are okay as this letter leaves me in the best of health. I would of wrote to you before but writing material was so scarce that I could not even write home so if you will excuse me this time I will try and do better. I am living in a dugout at present and say we have the coziest little home in France and we sure have a lot of company and we don't like them a bit but I guess we can't run them out.

We have changed mess sergeants since at we landed over here and say we sure are eating good we have pie about three times a week and say maybe you think that don't go good it sure makes you think of home. I haven't run across any boys from home that I knew but I hope I do before I go back and I don't think it will be long.

Where I am located at present it's the worst part of France that I've been in. I don't think there is another place like it. When it rains for a day or so the mud is knee deep. I was walking along the road the other day and I saw a hat lying in the road and so I pick it up and there was a fellow on a horse and he said never mind, I will get out alright. What do you think of that for mud?

I am glad to hear that you are doing so good on the farm this year. I guess when I get back you will have a good job for me. (Ha Ha)

The only thing I miss over here is good old American chocolate, in fact I have not seen any since I landed in this country and I don't think you can send any unless I get an order from the company commander and that is too much trouble.

Well as I have run out of news I guess I will have to close hoping to hear from you as soon as possible.

From your loving brother Joe.

Private Joe Allen
Park Battery B
Army Artillery Park
First Army C.A.C.
APO 784

Tell everybody hello

Photos of First Army Artillery Park From Pvt. Allen's Point of View

Studio photo on the right is of Pvt. Joseph Allen in dress uniform.

These 18 photos of the First Army Artillery Park were the property of Pvt. Joe Allen and were shared with me by Luanne Buzbee the Allen family historian.

Above is a mixed group of soldiers and sailors probably taken at Camp Merritt, NJ and is identified as " The two sailor boys are also from Denver and they live in North Denver at that!" Joe Allen was from North Denver, Colorado. Joe is identified with his name written over his head.
The photo above is Joe Allen, on the right in civilian clothes as he and a buddy pose for a picture for the folks back home as they go of to war. Above is a photo of the squad that Pvt. Joe Allen was in. Joe is in the back row, second from the left. Photo possibly taken at Ft. Winfield Scott, California.

Pvt. Joe Allen is on the left in both of these photos. Taken at Camp Merritt, NJ just before the Artillery Park sailed to France.

"What do you think of these pictures. Look at the soldier bob on me, HaHa! The other fellow on here left Denver when I did. The one in the center lives in Mason City, Iowa and the other in Omaha. Don't he look like a cornhusker?"

The photo above shows Joe Allen middle row left side. Photo above was written on by Joe and says "What do you think of the bunch? Most of these boys are draft boys from Chicago." Again this photo was taken in the States and probably at Ft. Winfield Scott. Of note is the small boy in the front row second from left. Possibly a son of the man with his arm around him.
Again unidentified and looks to be in France. Rheims Cathedral
This photo unidentified but is most likely Pvt. Joe Allen's squad and looks to be taken in France. Joe is in the back row 5 from the right end. This photo was captioned as "Someones Father" This was a German soldier.
The photo above was captioned as "taken under shell fire in the Argonne" Notice in the foreground left side you can see a shadow of the photographer and someone standing next to him. This photo was taken under shell fire again in the Argonne. In the foreground can be seen the cost of the war in horses as at least 4-5 dead horses can be seen. If you look in the center of the photo behind the row of trees you can see a shell burst as it throws up a plume of earth.
Photo shows a street in a destroyed village near the Vesle River. Above photo shows more boys of the First Army Artillery Park at work moving shells for 155mm GPF guns. This photo probably is taken at or near the front as each man in the photo has a gas mask bags with them. These shells have a weight of 95 lbs each. Several of these soldiers have on leather jerkins over the uniforms which was a typical dress for artillery men and ordnance handlers.
This is a street in a destroyed village near the Vesle River. French Soldier can be seen walking around the streets. Above are 5 boys from the First Artillery Park take time out from the War to pose for the folks back home under the remains of a stone arch somewhere in France.

The photo above on the right, of the five boys from the First Artillery Park taking a time out from the War to pose for the folks back home is identified as "under the remains of a stone arch somewhere in France." But this photo has now been identified by Jean Yves Lavaud, who lives in France, as the feudal castle of Châlus-Chabrol, near Limoges. Jean Yves Lavaud has contributed to this web site project before and I want to thank him for helping.

The photo of the five soldiers from the First Army Artillery Park was taken in the ruins of the feudal castle of Châlus-Chabrol, near Limoges, where Richard Coeur de Lion, (Richard the Lionheart) King of England, was fatally wounded in 1199 by attacking the castle. This is the story of the castle and the Richard the Lionheart.

The Château de Chalus-Chabrol is a castle located the town of Châlus, near Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France. The castle dominates the town of Châlus, and today it consists of an isolated circular keep, or a fortified tower built within the castle, which was built in the 12th century and a residential building constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries, which was enlarged in the 17th century.

The purpose of the castle was to protect the southern approach to Limoges, and the north-south route between Paris and Spain, as well as the ancient east-west route linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Coast.

The Castle today is most famous for the death of King Richard the Lionheart, who died there while besieging the castle in 1199 from a crossbow wound fired, according to legend, by one of the defenders of the castle called Bertrand de Gourdon. King Richard the Lionheart’s entrails are buried in the castle chapel.

The story of Richard’s death is told that in March of 1199, Richard was in Limousin suppressing a revolt by Viscount Aimar V of Limoges. Although it was Lent, he "devastated the Viscount's land with fire and sword." Richard besieged the puny, virtually unarmed castle of Châlus-Chabrol. Some chroniclers claimed that this was because a local peasant had uncovered a treasure trove of Roman gold, which Richard claimed from Aimar in his position as feudal overlord.

In the early evening of March 25, 1199, Richard was walking around the castle perimeter without his chainmail, investigating the progress of sappers on the castle walls. Missiles were occasionally shot from the castle walls, but these were given little attention. One defender, in particular, amused the king greatly—a man standing on the walls, crossbow in one hand, the other clutching a frying pan he had been using all day as a shield to beat off missiles. He deliberately aimed at the king, which the king applauded; however, another crossbowman then struck the king in the left shoulder near the neck. He tried to pull this out in the privacy of his tent but failed; a surgeon called a "butcher" by Howden, removed it, "carelessly mangling" the King's arm in the process.

The wound swiftly became gangrenous. Richard asked to have the crossbowman brought before him; called alternatively Pierre (or Peter) Basile, John Sabroz, Dudo, and Bertrand de Gourdon (from the town of Gourdon) by chroniclers, the man turned out to be a boy. This boy had said that Richard had killed his father and two brothers, and that he had killed Richard in revenge. He expected to be executed, but as a final act of mercy Richard forgave him, saying "Live on, and by my bounty behold the light of day", before he ordered the boy to be freed and sent away with 100 shillings. It is unclear whether the King's pardon was upheld following his death. Richard then set his affairs in order, bequeathing all his territory to his brother John and his jewels to his nephew Otto.

Richard died on April 6, 1199 in the arms of his mother, and thus "ended his earthly day." Because of the nature of Richard's death, it was later referred to as "the Lion by the Ant was slain." According to one chronicler, Richard's last act of chivalry proved fruitless when the infamous mercenary captain Mercadier had the crossbowman flayed alive and hanged as soon as Richard died.
Richard's heart was buried at Rouen in Normandy, his entrails in the castle in Châlus (where he died), and the rest of his body at the feet of his father at Fontevraud Abbey in Anjou. In 2012, scientists analyzed the remains of Richard's heart and found that it had been embalmed with various substances, including frankincense, a symbolically important substance because it had been present both at the birth and embalming of the Christ.

Jean Yves Lavaud has shared with us some current photos of this "Stone Arch" which is of the watch tower and arch at Chateau de Chalus.

A current view of the Arch at Castle Chalus Unidentified soldiers during 1918 at"The old chapel near the tower at Chalus, France." A closer view of the stone arch at Chalus.


Armstrong, R. O., 117 South Main St., Homer, N. Y.
Bostrom, G. A., Minden, Neb.
Bonsignore, A. S., 22 Bernard St., San Francisco, Cal.
Coliett, F. W., Palo Alto, Gal.
Curtis, G. S., 1336 Divisadero St., San Francisco, Cal.
Dunning, H. H., R. R. No. 2, Hardtner, Kan.
Eggers, G. A., 128 Eureka St., San Francisco, Cal.
Freeman, L. G., Bicknell, Ind.
Faries, J. R., 308 Roy St., Seattle, Wash.
Guddal, L. H., 2110 Pacific Ave., Alameda, Cal.
Gaffney, G. G., 11th and Barrett Ave., Richmond, Cal.
Jesperson, J., 625 53rd St., Oakland, Cal.
Kraus, A. P., 654 24th Ave., San Francisco, Cal.
Kramer, J. L., 195 Meridian Road, San Jose, Cal.
Larsen, C. J., 6 Commercial Road, Reno, Nev.

Mosier, Milo Dean, 1415 Oak St., San Francisco, Cal.
Partlow, R. E., 739 Courtland Ave., San Francisco, Gal.
Priestley, V. H., Campbell, Cal.
Richards, D. H., 1022 West Seventh St., Grand Island, Neb.
Robascotti, A. C., Santa Cruz, Cal.
Shaw, D. F., 1700 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, Cal.
Sullivan, T. R., 1669 Washington St., San Francisco, Cal.
Sluipp, H. A., 525 East 1st St., Albany, Ore.
Spence, A. L., Patton, Cal.
Shadsheim, H., Local, Minn.
Striplin, C. M., Route B, Box 300, Modesto, Cal.
Thompson, E. G., Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada
Tompkinson, J. E., 2029 San Antonio Ave., Alameda, Cal.
Zeluff, G. 1041 Orange St., Youngstown, O.

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