The 52nd Artillery, CAC was an artillery regiment that was formed from men already in France during 1917-18. The 52nd has its beginnings within several Coast Artillery Regiments that were sent to France early in 1917. The 30th Separate Artillery Brigade was made up of Eight Howitzer Batteries. These Batteries were designated as the 1st through the 8th Batteries. They had no guns at all when they went to France, and would be assigned to loaner, or make-shift weapons from what the French and British Armies could spare for the Americans.
On August 13, 1917 the Howitzer Regiment, 30th Artillery Brigade, with HQ Company, Medical Detachment, Batteries, A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H sailed aboard the SS Lapland bound for France from New York. During the early days of the Coast Artillery as they began to arrive in France in 1917 they went through almost weekly changes in the make-up of the several early regiments. The men who evidentially made up the 52nd Artillery would come from in whole the men from the Howitzer Regiment, 30th Separate Artillery Brigade.
Once the war ended in November the men of the 52nd Artillery were one of the first units to be returned back to the States. On December 21, 1918 about a month and a half after the war ended, they boarded the USS Antigone at St. Nazaire, France and steamed westward across the Atlantic for home. They reached Newport News, Virginia on January 3, 1918 and moved to Camp Eustis, Virginia where they awaited their next orders.
During the First World War and in the years after the Coast Artillery Corps published its own monthly magazine named “Liaison, The courier of the Big Gun Corps” for the men of the Coast Artillery Corps. In several of the issues following the war several articles about the 52nd Artillery were printed. The following are these articles.
The Fifty-second has come home. In its nearly seventeen months of service overseas it fired from many positions about Verdun and on the Champagne front, aiding the French and American armies, sharing in the St. Mihiel, Argonne and Verdun offensives; it helped build the chief American heavy artillery camp, one of the largest French ammunition dumps, and a vital supply railroad along the Meuse River; it was complimented by American and French generals; and generally it displayed a versatility of industry that makes it quite impossible to tell its story in just a few paragraphs.
So this is simply a sketch of the outstanding facts of its tangled history, in celebration of its arrival at Newport News, Virginia on January 3, 1919. The Regiment is now at Camp Eustis, awaiting demobilization.
The Fifty-second began its career at Fort Adams, R. I., in July of 1917, as the Provision Seventh Regiment, one of the three regiments of Regular's from the Atlantic Defenses out of which the First Separate Brigade was formed. The Sixth, Seventh and Eighth owed their names to experimental mobilizations of the Coast Artillery Corps before the war. In 1911, when a division was mobilized at Galveston in the American Army's first speed test with a unit of that size, the First, Second and Third Provisional Regiments of Coast Artillery were organized into the First Separate Brigade, operating as infantry. In the summer of 1916 two regiments of infantry, formed out of some twenty companies of the Coast Artillery for service along the border, were called the Fourth and Fifth. The provisional regiments now formed for overseas service took the next consecutive numbers.
The Sixth was the first of the three to leave New York, but the Seventh, which embarked on the HMS Aurania on August 18, overtook it at Halifax and the two regiments crossed the Atlantic in the same convoy, escorted by nine British destroyers. The Eighth followed a week later.
This photograph was taken in England and shows the officers of the 7th Provisional Regiment, the first Coast Artillery Regiment to reach France.
THEY ARRIVE AT MAILLY
The Seventh reached Liverpool on September 2, 1917, with no more exciting adventure en route than a day spent in Bantry Bay, Ireland, because submarines were in the convoy's course and had to be chased off by destroyers. The Regiment disembarked at night, and left the next morning for Camp Borden, midway between London and Southampton, from which port it presently crossed to Le Havre, France. On September 13 it reached Mailly-le-Camp, Mai1ly for short, which served as the principal Heavy Artillery base and supply depot for the American Heavy Artillery through the hospitality of the French Army, which had a huge artillery park and permanent camp there.
A diary kept by Corporal Mulligan, company clerk of Battery A, records the pleasant fact that at Mailly the men "were met at the station by General Coe, Chief of American Heavy Artillery in France, and the French Artillery Chief, with French troops and a French band, who escorted the regiment through an arch made of French and American colors to the quarters we were to occupy." The corporal then notes two significant dates: "Received first mail from U.S., 17 September 1917. First pay day in France, 27 September 1917."
They Start Building
The old Brigade it was camp that Mailly for a few days, but a week or two after its arrival the Second Battalion of the Seventh that was sent on to Haussimont, 8 kilometers away, where the men found spreading of green fields which it was their business to turn into a heavy artillery cantonment. Haussimont, halfway between Chalons and Troyes, lay about 2 miles from Sommesous, where the French had training epis for their railway guns. The weather was fine, and the men established themselves in pup tents while they worked on one story floorless French Barracks for which the orienteurs had staked out sites. After about a month of this fatigue duty the Second Battalion was relieved by the First, and by the Second Battalion of the eighth (53rd Artillery). The First tracks of what that afterwards became one of the largest railroad yards of the American Expeditionary Forces were being laid, and an aviation field was being graded, while the cantonment was put up.
They Get 320's
Meanwhile, at Mailly, the regiment was getting its guns. The paper organization called for four batteries in each of the three Battalions, two batteries in each to have 32's, at the other to have 19's. Thus Batteries A and B of the First Battalion, E and F of the Second, and L and M of the Third were given 32's, though there were not enough to give each Battery two and the regiment, at this time, mustered only eight in all. The batteries that received 19's never took them to the front, and all at the regiments fighting was done with the 320's or 340's. The photographs give it a very fair idea of the construction of the 320 and its carriage and the peculiar features of its operation.
The batteries train with their new Guns at Mailly until November, when the regiment was reunited at Haussimont, except for Battery E, which was left behind at Mailly to man the saw mills which were turning out lumber for the cantonment at Haussimont. It was bitter cold, but drilling and target practice went on until the old Coast Defense gun crews, which were in most cases kept intact so far as possible, were accustomed to their new duties.
"Spent first Christmas in France at Haussimont," Corporal Mulligan writes. "The day was cold at, with a slight flurries of snow. Many of the men receive packages from home and altogether it was a good Christmas under the circumstances."
The newly constructed epis at Haussimont were used for drill, and the nearby French ranges at Sommesous served for target practice, while the batteries waited for orders to go forward and fire. When the orders came, Batteries L and M were the lucky ones. On February 10th entrained for the front in company with batteries at H and I of the 53rd, the whole groupement being commanded by Major W. H. Menges (now Colonel and lately in command of the School of Fire, Camp Eustis). Major J. A. Green (now a Lt. Colonel) commanded the group from the 52nd. The adventures of Group Gilmor, from the 53rd, which was the first to fire a, were recorded in the December 21st 1918 issue of Liaison on page 3.
They Begin To Fire
Group Green was loaned to the fourth French Army and found it routed via St. Heris to Hans, not far from St. Menehould, between Rehims and Verdun. The gun trains back in behind a hill and the guns moved, on the evening of the 11th, into epis prepared by the French. They expected to fire on the 12th, but fog prevented that, and the crews remained in the gun trains until the morning of the 13th.
At 3:00 a.m. they went out to fire, but were again disappointed. It proved impossible to observe on the assigned targets, and no firing could be done that morning. Instructions to change targets were received in the afternoon, and the batteries were ordered to demolish an observation tower and ammunition dump and the silence a battery of 155 's at a range of about 14,000 meters. Aerial, ballooned and terrestrial observation (all French) were now available, though the air was very hazy and accurate spotting was impossible.
About 4:32 p.m. Battery M opened fire. After two shots Battery L also fired, and three salvos were fired with good effect. German aviators shores had been looking over the position a few days before, but no shots from the Boche Batteries troubled the Americans during the shoot. The group returned to Haussimont on the 14th.
THEY PLAY SHUFFLE-BOARD
While these batteries were at the front the name of the Regiment was changed to the 52d. But that was the least of the changes, which the regimental organization encountered. On March 26 the whole Second Battalion, Batteries E, F, G, and H were transferred to the Provisional Howitzer Regiment (later the 44th Artillery).
In April Batteries I and K left Haussimont for the front, and did a good deal of firing in the Alsace. Batteries L and M saw service in the St. Mihiel drive, Battery L at Royaumeix in the Toul sector, Battery M at Chempenoise. But since these batteries composed the Third Battalion, which was transferred on August 6, 1918, to a new regiment called the 42nd Artillery (together with regimental headquarters of the 52nd), their detailed record does not belong in this story.
To finish the record of these checkerboard reorganizations, one must skip to midnight, August 6-7, when the four batteries of the old First Battalion; all that remained of the Regiment after the Third Battalion was detached were assigned to two new battalions, while two batteries from the 53rd, L and M, were formed into a new third battalion of the 52nd Artillery. The new regimental organization included three battalions of two batteries each, the batteries being increased from 132 men to 220. Batteries A and B of the old First Battalion were the new First Battalion 52nd Artillery; Batteries C and D of the old First were the new Second Battalion 52nd Artillery; and the new Batteries E and F received from the 53d Artillery were now the Third Battalion 52nd Artillery. To increase the batteries to their newly authorized strength replacement troops were added, diluting the Regular personnel.
THEY EAT PRODIGIOUSLY
While some of the new men were pretty raw, and did such weird things as playing ball with hand grenades, the men as a whole were very well behaved. They were fortunate enough to escape with hardly more than a couple of dozen casualties in all, and though they were often under fire and bombed at position after position they escaped serious consequences. There was a great deal of digging, first and last, in the Regiment's job, and the men developed prodigious appetites. Two of them walked into a little French restaurant one day and ordered three-dozen fried eggs.
"Mais oui," remarked the beaming proprietor. "And your friends, they arrive soon, sans doute?"
"No friends. We eat those eggs," replied the two artillerymen, in positive but un-Parisian French. And they made good.
The Third Battalion never fought with the rest of the Regiment. All it's firing, with 340's, was done under the command of General Gouraud of the Fourth French Army, and all its positions were on the Champagne front between Rheims and St. Menehould. It did good work and was cited for it, and it would have received some of the big Navy guns if the war had lasted a little longer. Lt. Col. (then Major) Knight commanded this battalion at first, Major Wayne M. Gilmore later.
THEY DO MORE BUILDING
Early in March the old First Battalion had left Haussimont for the second of its building jobs. This time it was as ammunition dump in the Vosges, which was one of biggest in France. Batteries A, B, C and D worked at Charmes on this project until the Fourth of July 1918, which involved the erection of some 200 buildings. They were comfortably billeted in a nearby village and enjoyed the hearty hospitality of the French. "The work was carried on six days a week," remarks the Battery A chronicler, "and on Sunday we once more became soldiers and had inspections and instructions in gas and other methods of warfare." Training on the guns for short periods only interrupted the work.
From the Vosges the Battalion moved to Avrainville, in the Toul sector, for railroad construction, which kept it busy until nearly the end of July. Then it returned to Haussimont for drill, refitting and the reorganization of August 6, which has already been described. Major J. A. Green, who continued to command the new First Battalion until he was ordered to the Training Center at Fort Monroe, Virginia, when Major William P. Frazer succeeded him, had commanded the old First Battalion. Major Frazer was later, to serve as executive officer of the Great West Groupement at Verdun. Major E. M. Metzger and Major Walker commanded the new Second Battalion successively.
THEY FIRE WITH MUCH ECLAT
The new First Battalion was the first to get into action, seeing several days' shooting near Verdun during the latter part of August. On September 3 it moved to Genicourt for a share in the St. Mihiel drive. The guns destroyed their targets, which was an ammunition dump and crossroads at St. Maurice, so efficiently and quickly that General William Chamberlaine, the Commanding General of the Railway Artillery Reserve, congratulated the Battalion.
In mid-September, Batteries A and B, moved to Recicourt, where they took part in the Argonne operations. They "made preparations for the largest engagement of the year." says Corporal Mulligan. The heavens fairly opened when the great barrage of September 26, 1918 began. The Battalion was firing on Montfaucon, on which a terrific rain of heavy shells was concentrated. After two days' firing and a week or more in position, the Battalion was withdrawn and sent to Chattancourt for still another construction job, of which more later. Meanwhile the new Second Battalion occupied several positions about Verdun under heavy enemy fire and fired on a concentration camp, observation posts, an abri "big enough to hold a regiment", and other targets. Both of its batteries then joined the First Battalion at Chattancourt.
THEY'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD
The Verdun-Meuse railway, winding along the Meuse River toward the German lines, had been under heavy shellfire for four years and was badly shot up. Now that the Germans were being driven back, it was possible to begin repairs, and since the movement on the front was too rapid for the 320's to keep up with it, the First wad Second Battalion of the 52d,together with about four batteries of the 43d Artillery, two of the 53d Artillery, and a company of Engineers, were put to work as railroad construction gangs.
There were shell-holes in the roadbed large enough to put the ordinary second lieutenant's quarters in, and it was under heavy fire from enemy batteries, so the task was neither an easy nor a pleasant one. The villages, which had marked the route Charny, Chattancourt Cumieres, Forges, had been smashed by shellfire. In Cumieres there were only two fragments of buildings that still stood high as a man. One could not tell the streets from the house sites. The artillerymen lived in pup tents and dugouts while they worked, and though an average of 150 shells fell nightly in and about Charny, they suffered no casualties. Fortunately the ten days spent on this work were mostly cloudy and rainy enough to prevent accurate German observations.
Field Artillery troops passing by took their fling at the strange labors of the men from the Big Gun Corps.
"What are you doing with those shovels?" they would shout.
"Hell!" the men from the Coast Artillery Corps shouted back. "We could put your whole guns inside our big babies!"
Incidentally the road when repaired was so very valuable for the S.0.S. that it was promptly adopted as the chief route for general supplies for the sector it reached, and the Heavy Artillery had to take its chances on getting its own ammunition up over the crowded rails.
THEY HELP HELL TO BREAK LOOSE
About October the first Battalion went back to Haussimont, but the Second Battalion joined the huge West Groupement at Verdun, which was mobilized for the final offensive. The 14-inch Navy guns, and two battalions of the 43d with 19 G's, were also parts of the groupement, which hurled a total of 971 shells into the Hun lines on its biggest business day! Battery D fired from Sommedieue, 15 kilometers south of Verdun, and was there when the armistice was signed.
The Regiment sailed from St. Nazaire on the Antigone on December 22. It fell to the lot of the 52d to do a good deal of digging and building, but as one officer remarked, nine-tenths of heavy artillery is work with the shovel, anyway.
And the heavy railway guns, splendid as is their service at the beginning of an offensive in a war of position, are inevitably handicapped when movement becomes rapid, either way. The 52d went through more than its share of reorganizations; and its commissioned personnel changed repeatedly. Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Johnson Hagood took the Regiment over. He was relieved about November 1,1917, by Lt. Col. (now Colonel) Frank B. Edwards, who was succeeded in April 1918, by Colonel Kimmel. From July 1918, until the fighting was practically over, Colonel Malcolm Young commanded the Regiment. Only one officer, Major Robert T. Devereux, M.R.C., was attached to the Regiment continuously from the beginning to the end of its service.
But for all-around usefulness throughout America's part of the war has any Regiment of the Big Gun Corps a better record?
By Major THOMAS H. JONES,
In following the accounts of the activities of various Coast Artillery outfits, it has appeared to me that the early operations of the Railway Artillery Reserve have not been given proper consideration. Those engaged in those early operations were by way of being pioneers and suffered all the well-known hardships and experiences of that class of trail blazers. Of course, to many of those who were fortunate enough to subsequently participate in the swearing, sweating, fighting experiences of the Big Pushes, the old days, when the word "Front" was one to conjure with, seem meek and unexciting, but the retreat from Mailly and the Battle of Haussimont, it will be admitted, had certain individual characteristics. It is not the intention of this article, however, to go into the details of this period of preparation during which we got educated, got our guns, and got Hell. We learned that an epi was not related to an epigram. that a garage was not necessarily a home for motor cars, and as for "Gisement," shucks, that was nothing. We listened with respect and admiration to those languid gentlemen who came dribbling in, telling us about the way things were done at the front. Oh, the magic of that word! All day and all night we could hear the rumbling, groaning, and complaining of the mysterious "Front." Excitement subdued but intense, a new rumor born with every breath, officers calculating feverishly and every outfit raring to go.
We were among the first, Stockton's Battalion, Batteries "I" and "K" of the 52nd Artillery, C. A. C., subsequently changed to "A" and "B," of the 42nd. The day had arrived. I make the statement without fear of contradiction that this was some outfit, one to gladden the heart of any military man, all Old Regulars, God Bless 'em, capable, willing, and uncomplaining.
The first group of Coast Artillery Officers off for the front. Part of Stockton's Battalion.
Billeted in Lower Alsace-First Americans on German Soil
After an uneventful trip through some beautiful country we arrived under cover of darkness at Mortsweiler, in Lower Alsace, being, it is believed, the first American outfit on German territory. The noises that the Front habitually indulges in sounded pretty close, close enough for one to detect the menace in its grumbling. The Boche was staging a desultory "strafe" nearby and the French were holding up their end of the argument. With every nearly crash, the wise ones (Oh, yes, we had some of this brand, every outfit does) would air their professional and linguistic knowledge by whispering: "That was an arrivie " or "That was a partie." We were actually at the Front, the goal of every soldier's ambition. Our very capable billeting officer led us to our billets; those for the officers were not so bad, but those for the men were well, I may be wrong, but I got the impression that the cows permitted themselves to be ranked out of quarters with a suspicious complacence. However, almost anything looked good after the "Hommes 40 " and there were no complaints.
Epis and Abris
Daylight found us looking over our position. The epis were beautifully constructed and, would you believe it, just like we had been reading about way back at Mailly. Nothing had been constructed in the way of abris, and we immediately started in to make a great deal out of nothing. The outfits worked hard and willingly and accomplished a lot. A five-day snowstorm added to the discomfort but permitted the work to go on unobserved. The sixth day broke bright and clear but the work proceeded undisturbed until about nine o'clock, when I heard one of the men say: "Don't you hear that airplane?" Everyone gave their undivided attention to locating the plane, the lazy droning of a great bee, could be heard but no plane was in sight, then suddenly the Jack Johnsons burst into song and soon the air above was full of Wooly Bears. Keen eyes discovered one plane after another, resembling silver dragonflies flashing in the sunlight, darting, dipping, and gliding about in bursts of shrapnel and high explosives, apparently unconcerned. This merry game continued until it was the German airmen's lunch time, when they started hungrily homeward, and we resumed work.
The second Sunday, following our arrival, the men worked in shifts so they could have an opportunity to bathe and arrange themselves more comfortably in their billets. Some of us were taking what we considered a little necessary rest and recreation, sitting around a table in a cafe in a nearby village and having a snifter of French grape juice, and each one telling the others in turn how good he was, as is the custom on such occasions, when a French motorcycle messenger came dashing up and reported that our positions were being fired on. Gosh ding! Maybe we didn't leave in a hurry. We didn't even stop to pay the bill. The firing stopped as we neared the position, and there was really nothing for us to do except inventory the damage. Three men badly wounded, approach tracks cut in two places, and the general vicinity looking untidy and unsafe. We called it a day, adjourned and organized a poker game, all-agreeing not to play a minute after twelve. This little incident indicated that there was a war on and served as an additional incentive for revenge.
Now, it must be confessed, that the operations in those parts at that time did not agree with the popular conception of war. By a tacit agreement, billets were neither shelled nor bombed. The civil population, who were so inclined, was given every opportunity to practice spying "unmolested. In our little village of La Chapelle sous Bougemont alone, there were, according to General Gamelin, who commanded this sector, some forty-five well known spies who were paired with French spies on the German side. Taking it by and large, it was a very poor war, but, as the expression went, it was the only war we had so we had to make the best of it.
Our Rubber-Banded Counter-Recoil System
While it is not the intention of this article to be technical to any degree, a few semi-professional remarks might be of interest. The guns were French seacoast, cast iron, 24-cm., model 1870, relined with a steel rifled tube, mounted on simple railway trucks to fire at howitzer angles. Maximum range, about 14,000 meters. The principal feature was the counter-recoil system. More than one seasoned Coast Artilleryman took one look at it and burst into tears. It simply couldn't work. It violated every tradition of complication. Even now it pains me to describe it. The system consisted fundamentally of rubber bands that stretched on recoil and pulled the gun back into battery by simple tension. Imagine the wails that went up and the bitter cries of "Old Junk"!
Our tactical raison d'étre was simple. There were some fifty emplaced German batteries in our field of fire, and we were to systematically destroy as many as our capability would permit.
Our First Target
Everything now being ready, we were assigned a target for our first shoot. It is well to pass over the results of this shoot in dignified silence, but the second, "Mon Dieu"! How we did romp on those birds! The dope called for two hundred rounds to destroy our target, an emplaced battery of four 105's, but after we had fired eighty-six, S.R.O.T., having direct observation, reported that further fire was useless as the target was completely destroyed. It was vin rouge night in the village of La Chapelle that night. Only one fault was found and that was that the recoil system worked so perfectly that it stopped the argument. Prior to the shoot, rude laughter had greeted the estimation that these guns could be fired at the rate of ten shots per half hour. Well, the rate of fire developed in this shoot was almost one shot per gun per minute.
Fire Adjustment Developed
From this time on shoots progressed merrily with varying results, but invariably satisfactory. During this period it developed that a combination of the bracketing and successive approximation system of fire adjustment was the most satisfactory came into some vogue throughout the Railway Artillery. Several rules for fire control were adopted as a result of observation and practical experience, the principal one of which, I believe, was, "After fire has been adjusted, never change the range setting until the reason for the contemplated change is based on the results of at least as many shots as were fired in arriving at the range then being used." Thus, if it took four salvos to adjust the center of impact on the target, no change should be made until at least four more salvos have been fired.
Our shoots were so remarkable that they deserve a detailed description. We were furnished the exact coordinates of a battery emplaced in heavy woods. It could be dimly recognized, in the airplane photograph furnished, by using a powerful glass. It had been accurately located, when active, by observation on its flashes. It was extremely desirable that its pernicious activities be terminated, and all calculations and preparations with a view to bringing about this desired result were accordingly made.
We opened fire early in the afternoon of a beautiful clear, still day. The first salvo of four shots was reported by the observing plane and S.R.O.T. as making four direct hits. Our 24-G projectiles made a considerable splash and the confusion around the battery must have been worth seeing. It was in action up to the time our wrath descended upon them, but so far as is known it has never been in action since. The next salvo was reported as making four direct hits, ditto the next. There must be some mistake, says we to ourselves, so we fired three more salvos as rapidly as possible and anxiously waited for results. First S.R.O.T. reported four shots just short, four shots direct hits, and four shots just over, which amazing results was shortly afterwards checked by plane. Naturally, we didn't take time to change the elevation and deflection but just hopped to it. With clock-like regularity, every shot was reported a hit. It was so uncanny that it was almost a relief when a shot was finally reported as a hundred over. To vary the monotony, two magazines were reported as heading skyward. On the eightieth shot, we were told that there was no use wasting any more time, there was not a thing left to shoot at. Unbelievable though it may be, seventy-six of those eighty shots were located, by the most accurate methods known, within twenty meters of the target. A photograph, subsequently taken of this position of the arrivées, so we were not immediately aware that we were under fire. This will be more readily understandable from the following incident that illustrates the deafening noise made by a battery of 24 G's firing at maximum speed.
The Thirty-Second Division had moved into this sector for its "baptism of fire," and established Division Headquarters about a half kilometer from our position. General Haan, originally a Coast Artilleryman, had expressed considerable interest in our guns and, desiring to see them in action, had asked Major E. A. Stockton to call him up the next time we fired. Major Stockton, accordingly, got the Division Headquarters on the phone and said: "This is Major Stockton. Please tell the General that we are firing," to which the Staff Officer, who answered the phone, replied: "My God! Don't you suppose we know that? Why, that is all we do know."
The gun crews and those in the B.C. car were in pretty much the same fix as this Staff Officer, so it came as a surprise when the Battalion Commander called up the B.C. car and asked whether or not the shelling was sufficiently near us to make it desirable to cease firing and abandon the position. We took a good look and listen then and found that high explosives were dropping with considerable regularity about fifty meters to the left of No. 4 gun and reported that the immediate danger was not great.
We finished the shoot and withdrew just as the enemy changed his deflection and began dipping them around No. 3 and No. 4 guns. Subsequent inspection revealed that two 150mm. H. E. shells had dropped feet within ten feet of No. 4 gun, literally covering it with dirt but doing no other damage. We had our get-away just in time!
The German 150mm. gun, as a class, was a particularly accurate and vicious weapon, and those numbers of the tribe, obviously assigned to get us, were no exceptions. This battery crouched some 200 meters beyond our extreme range, and personal danger could be discounted in making plans for its use against us. Owing, undoubtedly, to the great distance between our guns, the enemy realized the futility of further destruction fire and settled on a policy of neutralization, a very crafty decision, though the first attempt, as set forth above, was abortive.
First C. A. C. Officer Killed
The next few efforts at neutralization were also fruitless and then, without warning, Hell descended upon a battery firing and immediately the moans of the wounded filled the woods. The Battery Officer and First Sergeant, with complete disregard of danger, crossed and searched the shell-swept area, carrying helpless wounded to safety. While engaged in this heroic work, the Battery Officer, Lieutenant Hoskins, was killed. Thus was the first Coast Artillery officer called upon to make the Supreme Sacrifice. Thus was another perfect score recorded in the game called Life.
Just prior to this time, the writer and several others in the Battery were classified as "experienced" and were transferred to regiments arriving from the States to disseminate any knowledge we might have regarding the way things were done at the front. Imagine leaving an outfit continuously in action to begin all over the dreary, drudgery of training. That huts but it is part of the game. I know, by hearsay and correspondence, that this Battalion remained in approximately the same position until Armistice Day, continually and being fired on, continuing to accumulate experience and paying for it with casualties. It fired the greatest number of rounds of any American manned guns of equal or greater caliber. I understand that it was constantly in the German eye and never fired but that an attempt was made to neutralize it, but it kept right on the Job.
A great part of the experiences outlined in the foregoing were common to all of those organizations of the Railway Artillery Reserve that participated in the early operations. Let us hope that in setting forth the vicissitudes of Stockton's Battalion, I have selected a typical example that will enable those who were not able to participate actively to form some kind of an idea of what this phase of the work of the Big Gun Corps was like, and what it meant to be on the job along the line with that indispensable adjunct to modern armies, the Railway Artillery Reserve.
By Corporal Ben W. Skinner, Battery C, 52nd Artillery, C.A.C.
On the 10th of September, 1918, Batteries "C" and "D" found themselves billeted in a small and partly destroyed village situated on the St. Mihiel salient. The name of the village was Grosrouvers. German shrapnel had perforated the tin roofs and sides of the shacks that were allotted to us for billets, but after all, we didn't mind the holes that were in our new homes, because while we were in that vicinity we didn't use them long enough to take a new load of "cooties" It was rumored that there would be a big drive on this part of the front, and we were all glad because we had looked forward and longed for a wonderful experience like that, and we wanted to show "Uncle Sam" that we had the grit to do real fighting, as well as the pick and shovel end of it. Our great desire was fulfilled a few days later, on the 12th of September. I must not get ahead of my story; I will tell our experiences as they came to us.
We were assigned to a position a few kilometers closer to the lines, just a little to the north of Bernecourt (better known as "Suicide Village.") The Engineers who were constructing our epis had not finished them, so we had to complete them and construct our B.C. dugouts and trenches. All day of the 11th we worked very hard to get our positions ready in time for the great offensive. During the day "Old Jerry" (The Boche) observed us butting in on the front, so he sent over a few 77s for souvenirs. They were good line shots, but were going over us. We were a little nervous at first, but later took the advice of Sergeant King, who said: "Don't worry, boys, those 'Heinies' couldn't hit a 'bull' in the stern end with a snow shovel." The night of the 11th we were at work putting down our I-beams, and there we were at one o'clock on the morning of the 12th of September, when the great Franco-American barrage started. The moment before the barrage opened up Captain Metzger, our Battery Commander, told us to go to the trenches.
When we jumped into the trenches we found that we were standing in mud and water, thigh deep. That didn't worry us any, because just at that time we didn't know whether it was the Germans that were being bombarded, or the Germans bombarding us. The concussion was so great it would wave and shake our clothes like a hard wind blowing. A few minutes later we were called out of our trenches to resume our work, and then we found out that it was all our own artillery that was doing the shooting. At five o 'clock our Infantry went "over the top," and all up and down the lines old "Joe Boche" began sending up his artillery rockets that called for a counter barrage. But it didn't get him anything, because his artillery had already been knocked out, or else, as the French say "Les Boche partir."
Just before ten o'clock, news came to us that the "Doughboys" had driven the Boches back a great distance. We were overjoyed to hear such good news. At the time we didn't have much to do; we were waiting for our ammunition that was being pushed up to us by a French engine, so we all gathered together to talk about what we were doing to the "Boche," and what we were going to do to them, and what should be done to the Kaiser when we won the war. At the, height of our "tete a tete", the ground blew up in a cone-like shape. A shell had burst in our midst. Just for one second every man in the bunch looked as if he were having a bad nightmare; then like a bolt of lightning, every man dove under the gun.
The only man that was hurt by that shell in Battery "C" was a redheaded "Yank" who ran into the side of the gun and skinned his nose. A rock that was blown up in the air landed on a fellow's head in Battery "D" and put him to sleep for a while. About this time one of our gun officers ordered us to scatter out and take cover. We began running in small detachments to some old trenches. The "Jerries" began shelling the different detachments. The shells would mostly always hit the ground and burst in a conical shape. We discovered that when we heard a shell scream toward us, if we would dive flat on the ground like sliding for home plate in a ball game, it would save our hides from lots of punctures. Finally, we reached the trenches and old "Fritz" lost sight of us and stopped throwing the G. I. Cans over.
Then we "snuck" back to our guns. They pulled us out of those positions the next day, September 13, 1918, and we went into position near Pont-a-Mousson, for one night. The "Boches" bombed us that night. The next day we left those positions and that ended Battery "C's" part and experiences in the St. Mihiel Offensive.
"Good old Betsy Ross,"
"You showed the "Huns" at "Verdun,"
why we came across.
At "St. Mihiel," you taught 'em, what the
C. A. C. could do,
And made a "bran-new" record for the
You helped your "Sister Elsie," when she
could not stand the strain
And fought them single handed at "Jardin Fountain."
We hate leave you Betsy, we are called
Across the sea,
But the French will take good care of
You, the pride of Battery "B".
W. B. Taylor,
Battery B, 52nd Artillery
This is the way the men of Battery B, 52nd Artillery, C.A.C., said good-bye to the joy and pride of their hearts, the two 320 mm’s, which they had affectionately christened "Elsie Janis" and "Betsy Ross." With the very first shell fired at Verdun on August 27, 1917, "Elsie" broke her trunnion band but the necessary repairs were made and "Elsie" again went into action. Then at the Argonne "Betsy Ross," with true feminine sympathy, broke her trunnion, band on the tenth shot.
Well, here we are back again in God's country and mighty glad to be here, too. I never found out just why they call it "Sunny France" for we never saw any sun while we were there. And that place the French call a "rest camp," Oh boy! Nobody could rest there except a dead man. They did us one great favor when they "cootieized" us.
On board the Antigone we met a bunch of real fellows that Uncle Sam might well be proud of. The first day out was pretty rough. The first victim was Private Charles Altman. Father Neptune sure had Altman "buffaloed." He never spoke to anyone for two days and that is a sure sign he was sick. Then we had the detail dodgers and Sergeant Smith had the hardest job in the world trying to find anyone to clean up the hatches. The only time you could find a headquarters' man was on the chow line for that is the one place where they sure are "shock" troops. Most of the boys are pretty fast workers and so they had plenty to eat. Private Walter Berg was sometimes seen twice in the chow line; he claims the he believes in the Golden Rule and explains that the mess fed him and he fed the fishes.
Arriving at Newport News we were sent to Camp Stuart and we were given a nice bath and are clothes put through the cootie Machine. To look at some of those clothes after they came out of the machine one would suspect the owner of having use them for a pillow. Then something very unusual happened, much to our surprise we were given liberty from retreat until 7:00 a.m. At first we thought it was a joke but it turned out to be true. We all got "Dolled up" and went to Newport News where the people treated us very nicely. A dance was given for the boys and to look at some of the Privates one would suspect that they believe themselves to be Colonels by the way they were "dolled up" in nifty uniforms with service pins across their chests.
Our joy was short-lived for we were sent off to Camp Eustis to await Chinese laundry tickets or discharge papers, we weren't sure which. But say, talk about the Argonne Forests, those French ought to come here and see Camp Eustis, Virginia. What is worrying the boys now is when do they get their real home made meal, or see the bright lights, or get a hug from the best girl or the other guys best girl while he is still in France, or a kiss from mother, and all those of the things that make life worth living.
On behalf of this detachment, I want to say that while this organization is being split up, the National Army, National Guard and Duration men going to the Army of Occupation, and the Regulars staying with Uncle Sam there was not a better bunch than ours over there.
It is related that one day in France Battery F of the 52nd Artillery was being drilled by a Second Lt. who gave the command, "To the rear Gallup." as the company kept on marching to the front he halted it and in no complementary terms wanted to know why his commands were not executed. A private in the rear rank said, "Sir, Battery F never gallops to the rear."
It was on midnight of the 14th of July, 1918. The boys of Battery F were in the dugout waiting for dawn to come and the shelling to stop when suddenly the "Top" burst in and said, "Boys, the big show is on," and slinging our packs we started for the Battery position about a mile and a half away. After going about 5 miles Sergeant Smith turned to the Lieutenant and said, "Sir, we are lost."
"Never mind, Sergeant, just keep your post," replied the Lieutenant. Thereafter we heard the Lt. remarking several times that he wondered why he could not find that A.P.(Aiming Point) After going about 10 miles we found the A.P. lying on the ground.
|Battery F, 52nd Artillery in position on 1 May 1918 at Reherry, France.||Battery E, 52nd Artillery in position on 1 May 1918 at Reherry, France.|
By Pvt. Silas A. J. Pancake, Battery A, 52nd Artillery.
During my seventeen months in France I made it a point to observe and study the French people and among other things I have come to the conclusion that discretion, even to the extent of retreat, is at times the better part of valor in an "affaire de Coeur." When my battery was billeted in the little village of Mailly I made the acquaintance of "une petite femme" named Madeline. At the time was I was cooking in the officers' mess and as I had every other day off it was necessary for me to occupy this time in some way or another, so I found me Madeleine. I spent much time with the young lady and my observations and studies progressed fairly well.
We had to overcome some difficulties in accomplishing our meetings as Madeleine was only sixteen years old and her father did not permit her to go out with soldiers, not even American soldiers. Pere Gegat liked the "Yanks" all right but he did not like the idea of his daughter going out with them, so we had to do some scheming. One thing that helped us was his fondness for cigars, to purchase, which he sent his daughter to the cigar store of the town every day. I knew the route she took just like a book and was right on the job when little Madeleine came tripping blithely along. It was pretty hard for us to understand each other at first, as I knew about four or five words of French and her vocabulary in English was equally extensive, so we would just look at each other for a long time and then laugh, but as we got better acquainted we could do lots better then that.
Madeleine got a little book of English and I got a little book of French and after awhile everything went pretty good. We had been working the cigar store stunt for about two months when I met her stepmother and she thought I was the Real Stuff (apologies to George Ade). One-day step mama fixed a plan for us to have a nice little "tête-à-tête" and sent Madeleine for some cheese; I waited around the corner for her to come. It was about half past one when we started and we walked all afternoon and although we did not know it, her father was getting very uneasy about her.
It was late in the evening before we started home and we walked boldly up the street without thinking about the Old Man. Just as we came around a bend in the road near the little store which her father kept we saw him in the street with a big shovel policing up around the place. I saw him but I did not think he saw me so I told Madeleine to speed it up and I slackened my pace so that she would get there quite a little ahead of me. After she got in I sauntered into the little store. I was talking with step mama when suddenly the Old Man came after me with his big shovel. I ducked out and started down the street, and my pace was not as short as it had been before. Just so that you won't think I was afraid I had better explain that. Papa Gegat was about four feet six inches tall while I am six feet one inch in my stocking feet, but I did not want to have any trouble and get pat in the mill, besides I guess I must have had a guilty conscience. Down the street we went and all the time he was handing me something in French that I could not understand, but which I never have believed was very complimentary. However I never went back to find out what it was. Every four of five paces I would call back to him over my shoulder. "Oui oui." He got tired of chasing me after awhile and went back. After that I thought it was better for my health to stay at the officers' mess than to go poking around Papa Gegat's shop.
What about Madeline? Now you are getting curious.
As I find information and photos of men who served in the 52nd Artillery I will list them here in this section. If you have information on someone who served in the 52nd please e-mail me and I will add their story to this web page.
Charles S. Beard was the son of Margaret and Jacob Beard and was born on April 23, 1885 in Sabina, Ohio. When Beard was 29-years old in 1914 he had moved from Ohio to Huntington County, Indiana. Beard was then farming and likely lived in or near the small village of Warren.
Farming may not have worked out so well for Beard as in March of 1916 he enlisted into the Regular Army at Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Beard was then sent down to Indianapolis at Ft. Benjamin Harrison where he underwent basic training. Beard was placed into the Coast Artillery Corps as a Private. By the spring of 1917 beard was serving in Battery A of the 7th Regiment Artillery. On August 12, 1918 Pvt. Beard sailed aboard the SS Lapland from New York bound for France. He listed as his person to contact in case of an emergency Mr. Everett Miner of Warren, Indiana. Miner was listed as being a friend of Pvt. Beard.
Once in France Beard was promoted to Corporal and through the various re-organizations of the Artillery in France wound up serving with Battery A of the 52nd Artillery, CAC. Cpl. Beard would serve in combat with the 52nd at the battles of St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Once the war ended the 52nd returned to Mailly-le-Camp, France where they were based out of. It was here they Cpl. Beard became sick with pneumonia and died of the effects on November 24, 1918 while in the Base Hospital No. 13 at Mailly-le-Camp. He was buried in the base cemetery.
There his body lay until January of 1922, when he was removed and taken to Antwerp, Belgium. On February 3, 1922 his body, along with many others who were being brought back home, were loaded aboard the United States Army Transport Cantigny. The Cantigny with her cargo of American heroes returned to New York harbor on February 14, 1922 and the bodies of the dead servicemen were offloaded.
Cpl. Beard’ remains were transported to Arlington National Cemetery and were re-buried there in Section 18, Site 4252. A white military marble stone marks the spot where he rests today in eternal peace.
Grave marker and photo of Cpl. Charles S. Beard, 149664, Battery A, 52nd Artillery, CACArlington National Cemetery, Section 18, Site 4252
Throughout the various documents and histories, the name of “Burke” with regards to Clarence “George” Albert Burke, has at least two different spelling variations. His last name appears as “Burck” or “Burke” But according to the family the correct spelling is “Burke.” Burke throughout his life went by his nickname of “George” and seldom used the name of Clarence.
Burke was born on June 5 of 1892 to Mary “Mollie” McHenry (1871-1915) and James F. Burke (1867-1958) in Frederick, Maryland.
Sergeant George A. Burke, Service Number 149608 was a gun commander of one of the guns in Battery A, 52nd Artillery, CAC during WWI. Sgt. Burke was a Regular Army solider and had enlisted into the Army possibly as early as June 15, 1910, at the age of 18-years. There is a muster record showing that Private George Burke was serving with the 134th Company at Ft. Slocum, NY.
Pvt. Burke would serve with the 134th Co. until July 6, 1911 when he was transferred to the 109th Co. This Company was then serving at Fort Greble, Rhode Island and Pvt. Burke would serve with the 109th Co. through his first and second terms of service which ended about April of 1915. Burke re-enlisted again for a third term on July 17, 1915 and saw duty with the Coast Artillery as they were deployed during the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916. After the Mexican service Pvt. Burke returned back to Fort Slocum, NY. On October 7, 1915 Burke was advanced to Corporal while serving at Ft. Slocum.
When America declared war with Germany on April 6, 1917, the Regular Army soldiers serving in the Coast Artillery Corps all along the east coast began at once to move to a war-time footing. And as such Cpl. Burke on April 21, 1917 was advanced to Sergeant.
At about this same time four new Provisional Artillery Regiments were being formed which were named the 6th, 7th and 8th Provisional Artillery Regiments. The unit Sgt. Bruke was assigned to was the fourth regiment formed and would be known as the Howitzer Regiment, 30th Artillery Brigade. Sgt. Burke was then transferred into Battery A, 7th Battery of the Howitzer Regiment.
The new Howitzer Regiment would be the fourth Coast Artillery Corps regiment to sail to France at the beginning of the war. As the first three regiments had formed and were sailing in mid-August of 1917, so was the Howitzer Regiment.
It was on August 13th of 1917 that the entire Howitzer Regiment was aboard the SS Lapland and leaving New York Harbor bound for the war in Europe. On the passenger manifest of the sailing of the Lapland Sgt. Burke is listed as a member of Battery A of the 7th Battery, Howitzer Regiment. He listed Mrs. Lewis Hall of Niantic, Connecticut, who was a friend, as the person to contact in case of an emergency.
During the war Sgt. Burke kept a diary and made several entries. Once aboard the Lapland, they were part of a multi-ship convoy and left New York northbound for Halifax, N. S. to meet up with the rest of the ships in the convoy. The following are several excerpts of that diary.
Once in France the old 7th Howitzer Regiment was re-organized and became the bulk of the 52nd Artillery. Sgt. Burke was now assigned to Battery A, of the 52nd Artillery, CAC. During his time in France he served in action on the front with Battery A on August 9, 1918 at Thierville-sur-Meuse, which was just to the west of Verdun. On August 29, at Bellicourt. And during the operations at St. Mihiel and at the Meuse-Argonne offensives.
Additional notes from Sgt. Burke’s diary from October and through the end of the war.
Once the war ended and troops were being routed back to the States, the 52nd Artillery were one of the first units to be returned home. It was on December 21, 1918 that the entire 52nd Artillery was loaded aboard the USS Antigone at St. Nazaire, France and took the westbound voyage across the Atlantic. Only this time no German U-boats would be hunting them. Again, on the passenger manifest he listed his friend from Niantic, Connecticut but on this trip, it was Mr. Lewis Hall instead of his wife.
The Antigone made port at Newport News, Virginia on January 3, 1919 where the 52nd went to their barracks at Camp Eustis, in Virginia. The 52nd Artillery was kept in active status and most of the men were Regular Army troops they were kept together. Sgt. Burke served on through his present enlistment period which ended about September of 1919 and he again re-enlisted for another period. Sgt. Burke served on Active Duty with the Army stationed with the 1st Sound Ranging Battery, CAC. Burke would serve through 1926 when he was honorably discharged on April 20 from service after at least 16-years of Active Duty.
When George Burke was just 16-years old back in 1908, he was married to Carrie Spann who was then 18-years old. George and Carrie were then living in Baltimore, Maryland. It was on June 30, 1909 that George and Carrie had a son they named Clarence Albert Burke, Jr. (1909-1994). And then in 1910 a second son named Charles Edward “Charlie” Burke was born (1910-1981). At that time the Burke home was located at 406 West 25th Street in Baltimore and George was working as a blacksmith for the railroad.
The Burke family was rocked by the death of Carrie on Wednesday June 23, 1915. The reason of her death is not known. A funeral was held at the home on West 25th Street and then on Saturday June 26 her body was taken to Saints Philip and James Catholic Church located at 2801 N. Charles Street in Baltimore, where a Requiem Mass was held and she was then buried in the New Cathedral Cemetery. George Burke was at the time serving on Active Duty in the Army. It was not clear what had happened to the two sons as George continued serving in the Army after Carrie’s death. It is assumed they went to live with another relative.
Skipping ahead to after the end of the First World War and George’s return back to the States, while still serving in the Army George married for a second time. She was Mildred Agnes Hall of Connecticut. Back when George was sailing across the Atlantic during the war he listed Lewis Hall of Niantic, Connecticut on the passenger manifest. Lewis Hall was the father of his second wife Mildred.
It was on July 18, 1919 that George and Mildred were married in East Lyme, Connecticut. Together George and Mildred would have six-children, with the first child a son named Earl George being born in 1920. George had been discharged from the Army by 1926 and had taken a job as a policeman for the Williamsburg, Virginia police department. Buy the spring of 1930 George and Mildred and three sons and a daughter were living on the Fair Ground Road in York County, Virginia. And according to the 1930 Federal Census, George was still a Williamsburg city policeman.
Sometime between 1930 and 1935, George Burke opened a Standard Oil gas station on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, VA, which is now part of the Colonial Williamsburg Historical district. At the time his station was the 300th Standard Oil station in the United States. Burke would eventually run three Standard Oil stations, located in Williamsburg, Toano, and West Point.
In 1940 the Burke family which then consisted of six children, were living on Toano Street in the area now known as Stonehouse at Millpond within James County, Virginia. George and his eldest son earl who was 19-years old were running the Standard Oil stations.
America was now nearly ready to enter a second war and in April of 1942 George Burke registered for the WWII Draft. At the time he was 49-years old and was then working for the Army with the Quartermaster Corps back at Fort Eustis, Virginia. On or about June 19, 1942 George Burke began to have heart troubles and went to the doctor at the Kecoughtan Veterans’ Hospital in Hampton, Virginia. In rapidly failing health after a 27-day stay in the hospital, George Burke passed away at 10:25 on the evening of July 16, 1942 from heart disease.
His funeral was held on July 20 at the Bucktrout Funeral Home in Williamsburg with the Rev. Francis H. Craighill, the rector of Bruton Parish Episcopal church officiating. Burke was then buried in the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Williamsburg.
His wife Mildred survived along with three sons and three daughters. Mildred on July 28, 1942 filled out paperwork to request that her late husband receive a granite military grave stone. And it was in April of 1943 that Sgt. George A. Burke’s grave stone was placed upon his grave.
Sgt. George A. Burke taken after the war likely in 1919.
Police shield of George A. Burke from the Williamsburg City Police Department.
Granite grave stone of George A. Burke
The below photo was found several years ago on an eBay auction. It is an aluminum army canteen cup and is inscribed by the soldier who it belonged to.
|"R. J. Waters, 149869, Battery B., 52nd Artillery, C.A.C. A.E.F."|
I don’t know how much it sold for or who purchased it but the soldier named “R. J. Waters” had intrigued me as he must have had a story to tell of the experiences of where this cup quenched the thirst of this soldier. Sadly we will never get to hear these stories of long ago on the battlefields of France during the Great War.
And so, I copied the image of the inscribed canteen cup, maybe one day I would learn who "R. J. Waters" really was. Years past and one day I was able to discover who he was. This is his story.
"R. J. Waters" was in fact Rufus Jack Waters. This was confirmed from the fact that he had also inscribed his army service number onto the canteen cup. From the Army Transport Service passenger lists I was able to find this service number attached to a soldier named Rufus Jack Waters serving in Battery B of the 52nd Artillery. And so this was the document that positively identified who he was.
Rufus was born on August 24, 1897 or 1898 to Mollie (b January, 1856) and Jessie A. Waters (b. October, 1855). The Waters home in 1900 was located in Ward Two in Red River County, Louisiana. Jessie was then a farmer and at the time they he and Mollie had four children, Walker, May, Bernice and Rufus.
Rufus would change his life’s path forever on September 8, 1916, as that was the day he enlisted into the United States Army. Most likely he was placed into the Army’s Coast Artillery Branch and possibly one of the Companies in and around the Coast Defenses of New Orleans. This would be an event that would shape the young life of Rufus Jack Waters forever.
By the time that America entered the First World War in April of 1917 Rufus was serving in Battery B of the 7th Howitzer Regiment. That unit was part of the 30th Separate Artillery Brigade, CAC and on August 13, 1917, was boarded onto the SS Lapland at New York for transportation to France. At the time Rufus was a Private and on the passenger manifest he listed as his next of kin, Mrs. H. L. Thornton of Winfield, Louisiana, who was his sister.
Once in France Pvt. Waters through the many re-organizations of the American Coast Artillery units in France came to be in Battery B, 52nd Artillery and would serve during the war in combat with his regiment on the front lines. This canteen cup likely held the dirt and bits of cordite powder and the blood of his fellow soldiers along with a soothing drink to satisfy Pvt. Waters and it’s stories would be interesting to hear.
Once the war ended the 52nd Artillery was one of the early units to be return to the States. On December 21, 1918 at the port city of St. Nazaire, France Pvt. Waters along with the entire 52nd Artillery walked up the gangway and boarded the USS Antigone for transportation to the States. The Antigone reached The States on January 3, 1919 and the men of the 52nd were demobilized. The Regular Army men got new assignments and the duration men went home to pick up life where they had left it. For Pvt. Rufus J. Waters his life was now army life as he was reassigned to new duty.
In January of 1920, Waters was serving in the Headquarters Company of the 30th Artillery Brigade, CAC stationed at Camp Eustis, Virginia. He was at the time married but there was no indication of who his wife was or if he had any children. Waters would at some point transition over from the Coast Artillery Corps to the Field Artillery branch of the Army. And he would be promoted through the ranks and was now a Sergeant.
In the spring of 1930 Sgt. Waters was serving in the Headquarters Company, 83rd Field Artillery out of Fort Benning Georgia. On the 1930 Federal Census form it indicates that Waters was single, so if in fact he was married in 1920 he may have divorced by then. It is known that in the late 1930’s Sgt. Waters was stationed at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina and in April of 1938 received orders to new duty in Hawaii. On April 16, 1938 Sgt. Waters took transportation aboard the USAT Chateau Thierry at Charleston, South Carolina bound for Hawaii.
Sgt. Waters was assigned berthing with Company No. 4, Hatch No. 3 Forward, Lower Hold aboard the Chateau Thierry during the long voyage to Hawaii. He was going to Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu to be stationed with one of the Field Artillery units there. From information gleaned from the 1940 Federal Census form it tells us that Sgt. Waters was serving in the Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion of the 13th Field Artillery stationed at Schofield Barracks. It also tell us that Sgt. Waters was married at the time and that he did have a 9th grade education.
Sgt. Waters would serve on active duty until he was released on August 31, 1945 ending a career of 29-years service in the army. After life in the army little is know of Rufus Waters, where he went of who his wife was. The only glimpse of his life during his last 30-years comes from the Social Security Death Index. It indicates that he was living in Texas before 1951 when he was issued his Social Security number. In November of 1975 Rufus Jack Waters passed away in Fort Worth. It is unknown where he is buried.
And so ends the story of the canteen cup inscribed "R. J. Waters, 149869, Battery B., 52nd Artillery, C.A.C. A.E.F."
Pvt. Kenneth David Byron, Service No. 818972 was a member of Battery E, Third Battalion of the 52nd Artillery, CAC during WWI.
Byron was of Polish heritage and born in Pilwishki, Lithuania on August 17 of 1893 or 1894 to Bessie and Kenneth Byron who were a Jewish family. At the age of nineteen Byron left his home in Lithuania to immigrate to the United States, likely to get away from conditions in his home country. On May 2, 1914 in the port city of Hamburg, Germany, Byron boarded the SS Imperator bound for the United States. It is not known if he sailed alone or had family with him on that voyage. Also nothing of the life he had or where he lived at is known during is early years in America.
The first glimpse of his life in America comes from the Draft Registration forms from World War One. When Kenneth Byron registered, as he was required to do, on June 5, 1917 he was living in Kansas City, Missouri and was staying at the local YMCA in Kansas City. He was at the time the Assistant Manager of the Byron Brothers Cloak & Suit Company located 1116 Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri. So, it was likely that back in 1914 when Kenneth Byron came to America that he came with at least his older brother Philip Byron. Together Philip and Kenneth owned and operated the Byron Brothers Cloak & Suit Company.
It was on December 11 of 1917 that Kenneth enlisted into the United States Army and was placed into the Coast Artillery Corps. It is known that Kenneth Byron was serving in a Coast Artillery unit in the Coast Defenses of San Francisco, California stationed at Fort Winfield Scott in San Francisco. This is known from a United States Petition for Naturalization form filled out by Byron while in the army on May 10, 1918. He was granted citizenship on June 11, 1918. On the Petition form two officers signed as affidavits and witnesses to Private Byron’s character. Captain J. L. Hayden and 1st Lt. D. C. Shoehy were the two Coast Artillery Corps officers who signed.
It is unclear how Pvt. Byron would have gotten to France during the war but it is a fact that he was a member of Battery E, Third Battalion of the 52nd Artillery and would have served in combat on the Champagne front. This is known from the passenger list of the USS Antigone, which was the ship that transported the entire 52nd Artillery back to the States after the war was over. The passenger manifest listed him as: Byron, Kenneth David, Private, CAC Service No. 818972. His next of kin was his other brother Abraham Byron of Lincoln, Nebraska. Once Pvt. Byron had reached the States and the men of the 52nd Artillery were discharged. Kenneth David Byron was discharged on January 25, 1919.
After the First World War years Kenneth eventually lived nearer to his brother Abraham in Lincoln, Nebraska. And also his brother Philip had moved to the same area. By the spring of 1942 both Kenneth and Philip Byron were living in McCook, Nebraska a smaller town in the southwest part of Nebraska. Kenneth was at the time working for Levine & Byron at 221 Main Street in McCook. Likely this was a clothing store as both Kenneth and Philip had been in that business before. They may have been in business together again in McCook.
But by the time the WWII Draft registration took place Kenneth was listed as living 285-miles away at the Hotel Loyal in Omaha, Nebraska, however he was still working for Levine & Byron at the time. The Hotel Loyal was located at 211 N. 16th Street in Omaha and was a large brick four-story building that took up the entire block.
Kenneth David Byron lived to be 87-years old and likely never married during his life. At the time of his death on May 19, 1981 he was living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today he is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Las Vegas in the Oak Section, Site 146. His grave is simply marked with a flat Granite Stone “Kenneth D. Byron 1893-1981” with a Star of David in the center.
|Pvt. Kenneth David Byron, Service No. 818972, Battery E, Third Battalion of the 52nd Artillery, CAC|
|Gravestone “Kenneth D. Byron 1893-1981” with a Star of David in the center.|
Harry C. Adair was born on February 14, 1888 in Athens, Ohio. Ten days past his 29th birthday Harry Adair enlisted into the United States Army before America entered the war in Europe. At the Columbus Barracks in Columbus, Ohio on February 24, 1917, Harry Adair rose his hand and took the oath becoming a soldier.
Harry would serve in the Coast Artillery Branch of the army and in mid-summer 1917 was serving at Ft. Adams in Rhode Island. There at Fort Adams a great many Coast Artillerymen were assembling into the first three artillery regiments to me taken to France. They were the 6th, 7th and 8th Provisional Regiments. But along with these three regiments at Ft. Adams were the men who were forming the 1st Expeditionary Artillery Brigade made up of Coast Artillery Troops. Pvt. Harry Adair was one of these men. He was serving with Battery C, 7th Howitzer Regiment, 1st Expeditionary Artillery. Once in France in March of 1918 this unit received a name change and was then known as the 30th Separate Artillery Brigade, CAC. And again, some months later had become known as Battery C of the 52nd Artillery CAC.
But back at Fort Adams as the 6th, 7th and 8th Provisional Regiments had just left the fort for France, the next artillery units to go over were the men of the 1st Expeditionary Artillery. On August 13, 1917, Pvt. Harry C. Adair of Battery C, 7th Howitzer Regiment went aboard the USS Lapland for transportation to France. The men loaded onto the Lapland with their uniforms, new dog tags and steel helmets, hob-nailed army boots and backpacks. But there was one rather vital piece of equipment that was not loaded aboard ship with the men, that being any artillery guns, they were after all an artillery unit. But neither did the 6th, 7th or 8th Provisional Regiments. The American Army had no mobile artillery weapons they could take to France to use. They all would be totally reliant on what meager weapons the Brits or French could spare for them when they arrived. The Americans would be getting hand-me-down weapons. Likely every man aboard the Lapland may have had the thought, ‘Gee what a way to go to war’ cross their minds.
But on that trip across Pvt. Adair had to list a next of kin or someone to notify in case of an emergency. Pvt. Adair did not list any family members but listed a friend, Miss Pearl Morehead of 125 Latross Street in Detroit, Michigan as his contact. After the war and Adair returned back home Pearl would become his wife.
Once in France Pvt. Adair’s unit would change its name three times but the original Battery C members stayed together throughout the name changes. By the time he saw combat his unit was known as Battery C, 52nd Artillery, CAC and were using 320mm railroad guns given to them by the French. They were older than many of the boys in the regiment, but the American Artillerymen made them work.
Being that Pvt. Adair was in one of the first artillery regiments to get to France they were also one of the first to get to go home after the war ended. In the days before Christmas 1918 the 52nd Artillery was bivouacked at the port city of St. Nazaire, France and it was on December 21, 1918 that the 52nd Artillery walked up the gangway onto the USS Antigone, with war souvenirs in their backpacks and leaving those old “32’s” as they called them, where they belonged, in France. Across the Atlantic in late December was not a great time for a cruise but on January 3, 1919 they cruised into Hampton Roads and entered the James River at Newport News, Virginia. Once back on shore and at Camp Eustis, Virginia the men who were draftees were discharged. But the Regular Army men like Pvt. Adair waited for new orders. Pvt. Adair would remain on Active Duty with the Coast Artillery at Camp Eustis, likely still with the 52nd Artillery as they were still kept on active status after the war at Camp Eustis.
When Pvt. Adair listed Pearl Morehead as his contact person back in August of 1917 they obviously knew and had a relationship with each other before the war and so Pearl was likely waiting on him when he returned back home. It was twelve months later on December 10, 1919 that Pvt. Harry C. Adair married Phoebe Pearl Morehead in Detroit, Michigan. By January of 1920 Harry and Pearl were living on base housing at No. 14 on Block H in Camp Eustis. Harry Adair would serve on Active Duty until March 29, 1920 when he was furloughed to Reserve status.
Harry and Pearl moved to Dayton, Ohio and lived there to 1929. During the time in Dayton Harry and Pearl lived at 320 Hamilton Ave and Harry worked as an electrician. But about 1930 it seems that at least Harry moved west to the Tucson, Arizona area. Pearl Died on March 15, 1962 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and at the time it was believed that Harry was still living in the Tucson area. So, it is likely they may have divorced and never had children.
This is further supported from information gleaned from the 1942 WWII Draft Registration form that was filled out by Harry C. Adair. He listed his home address as 201 E. 35th Street in Tucson, Arizona, was working for himself in an unknown job, but likely could have been as an electrician. On the form there was a line that asked “Name and address of person who will always know your address.” The name entered in that line was Josephine Stefans with Harry’s address listed. So, this seems to support that he and Pearl his wife were separated or divorced.
Harry Adair would live the rest of his life in the Tucson area and passed away on January 23 of 1970 just shy of 82-years. He was buried in Section No. 2 of the South Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Tucson, Arizona.
The story of twenty-three-year old Leonard Cunningham Hoskins begins before he was born. He descended from ancestors, who were ready to take on a challenge. These included Nathanial Tilden, who outfitted and sailed on the Mayflower. Also Colonial relative Daniel Hoskins, an Army Officer serving in the Revolutionary War. Captain Daniel Hoskins was a devoted member of George Washington’s staff. He took part in the famous crossing of the Delaware River with the General and was given a silver ring from General Washington's walking stick as a token of appreciation for his devotion.
Several generations later Leonard Cunningham Hoskins would also serve his country. The story of young Leonard Hoskins picks up with his grandfather Lafayette Hoskins, born about 1825 in New York. He was a shoemaker and storeowner who lived in St. Louis, MO with his wife Sarah Lucretia Tilden, she, the daughter of Congressmen and Judge, Daniel Rose Tilden. Together they had a son named Daniel Tilden Hoskins, born in September of 1857. When Sarah died shortly after giving birth to Daniel, his grandparents, Mary Bolton and Professor Leonard Hoskins, an avowed abolitionist, took over helping raise the infant. This is the great-grandfather that 2nd Lt. Leonard Cunningham Hoskins was named for.
Leonard's father, Daniel Tilden Hoskins was named in honor of his famous relative who served with General Washington. He'd eventually strike out on his own, driving horse and wagon along the famous Santa Fe Trail. This led him in 1880 to a boarding house run by Charles E. Wesche and Samuel Jeffries in the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico, often called the Wildest of the Wild West Towns. When the owners left, Daniel ended up running the boarding house, and invented an inventory system that would later be used by Fred Harvey, of the Harvey Girls restaurants fame. He and his children would end up facing the likes of Doc Holliday, Jesse James and Kit Carson. Experiences that would prepare the young Leonard for circumstances he would face later in life.
By 1884, Daniel T. Hoskins would meet and marry his Canadian sweetheart, Florence Douglas. She had immigrated to the states in 1862 with her father, Mississippi riverboat Captain, John Douglas and mother, Mary Stewart Douglas.
Their children started with Harry Douglas born in May of 1885, then daughter Dorothy Florence born in April of 1887. Another two sons Daniel Tilden Jr. born in April of 1889, and John Douglas were born in April 1891. Son Leonard Cunningham, born August 8, 1894, followed by son Jerold, who died in infancy. Sixty-six year old Mary Stewart Douglas widowed mother of Florence lived with them.
Daniel Hoskins Sr. supported his loving, active family as a partner and cashier of The San Miguel National Bank, in Las Vegas N.M. He eventually worked up to being the bank vice-president. Leonard got his middle name from Daniel's business partner, J.M. Cunningham.
By 1904 the family had grown to add one more daughter, Helen and another called Frances. It was at this time, due to complications of childbirth, Leonard’s mother Florence passed away. His father Daniel kept the family together by himself, as best he could. Young 15-year old Leonard was in school and was doing what he could to help out.
After graduation from the local High School in Las Vegas, NM, Leonard had a desire to better himself. Being a good student he wanted to become an engineer. Following in his brothers Tilden and Douglas' footsteps, he went to college at the University of Illinois at Urbana where he was accepted into the engineering school.
Leonard C. Hoskins while at the University of Illinois at Urbana
Photo shared by S. H. Close, who is related to 2nd Lt. Hoskins
As the spring of 1917 was unfolding, war clouds came to America and Leonard, in his last year of college felt the call to serve his country like his famous Colonial relative. As America entered the war in Europe, the slender 22-year old blue eyed, brown haired Leonard came home to Precinct 29 in East Las Vegas, New Mexico and registered for the Federal Draft.
The Army, would need men to lead it's growing number of enlistees who would soon be filling its ranks. Leonard being a new engineering graduate was selected to be an officer, and as a new 2nd Lt., Leonard Hoskins was assigned to the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps and sent to Ft. Adams, Rhode Island where the 7th Provisional Regiment was forming.
His regiment sailed in September 1917 landing in Liverpool, England. They made their way, ending up in Haussinmont, France where the American Heavy Artillery was based. They spent much of their time learning about the weapons they would be taking to the Front. 2nd Lt. Hoskins was a Battery Officer in Battery I of the 7th Provisional Regiment under the command of Major E. A. Stockton. They were among the first Coast Artillery men to see action at the front.
The weapons in which the men of Battery I would use were French Seacoast guns cast in 1870. They were of a Cast Iron design with steel tubes. These guns were taken from French Forts and mounted on railroad flat cars. One of the strangest things about these ancient guns was the recoil system, which was quite literally a set of giant rubber bands that took up the recoil when the gun was fired. Many men with 2nd Lt. Hoskins saw this for the first time and wondered if this would even work. In fact the French said that they could be fired at a rate of a shot every ten minutes, but the men under Stockton’s Battalion fired one shot every minute. This speaks highly of the hard work preformed by men like 2nd Lt. Hoskins in making such great improvements in this antique weapon.
Battery I was called to the front and their first targets were to be a battery of 4 guns of German 105’s in the La Chapelle area in Alsace, France. Hoskins battery was called on to take this German position out and 200 shots were called for to do so. But 2nd Lt. Hoskins battery took out the Germans in only 86 shots.
On the 28th of June 1918 the Germans sent over a hail of shells. One of the guns of Lt. Hoskins battery was located in woods not far from the gun Leonard was assigned to. The other battery in the woods was then firing on a target when the Germans fired back with a deadly hail of shells at this American gun. Soon the woods were filled with the moans of wounded men. 2nd Lt. Hoskins and his First Sergeant without any thought to their safety ran out into the hail of incoming shells from the Germans to save his fellow men. Lt. Hoskins and the First Sergeant carried many helpless and wounded men to safety. Lt. Hoskins was hit and killed while saving them, he was the first Coast Artillery Officer killed in action during the war.
At the age of Twenty-three, 2nd Lt. Leonard C. Hoskins was laid to rest in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, a hero to his family and to the men who he commanded and saved that day in June 1918.
Back home Lt. Hoskins family grieved over his death on the battlefield. Leonard’s father Daniel T. had remarried in 1913, Grace Dunlop, a schoolteacher, who was born in 1875 in Missouri. Defying the stereotype of an evil stepmother, Grace was loved by all, especially the motherless Hoskins children.
As soon as the war was over Grace applied and was granted permission under the WWI Mother’s Pilgrimage act. She traveled to France and the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to visit the gravesite of her stepson 2nd Lt. Leonard Hoskins. Called “Gold Star Mothers,” Grace earned again the name all had already felt for her.
In 1930 Daniel T. and Grace living in a rented home for $56 a month at 1930 La Salle Ave. in the city of Los Angeles, California. Leonard's father Daniel T. who was now 73-years old and retired, afforded himself one of the few luxuries of the day, a radio set, and with him rested the following medals that had been awarded posthumously to his son Leonard:
The World War I Victory Medal with Defensive Sector Clasp
World War I Victory Button (silver)
Purple Heart Medal
Croix Guerre with Bronze Star
The Distinguished Service Cross
His DSC Commendation reads:
"By direction of the President, under provisions of the act of Congress, approved July 9, 1918 (Bul. 43, W.D. 1918), the distinguished service cross was posthumously awarded by the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces, for extraordinary heroism in action in France to the following named officer... Leonard C. Hoskins, second lieutenant, Coast Artillery Corps, 52nd Artillery. Near La Chappelle, France, June 28, 1918, he gave proof of great devotion and bravery when he entered a shell swept area in search for wounded, and was killed while conducting several of his men to safety."
The city of La Vegas, New Mexico honored their fallen son by naming the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, Number 24 in honor of 2nd Lt. Leonard C. Hoskins.
His brothers Douglas, Harry and Tilden, also served in WWI. Their descendents have carried on the Military tradition, having served in WWII, Korea, Desert Storm and Iraq, all proud of their country, and proud to serve.
During the April of 1917 the United States Army was tasked by the government of doing what it was created for, carrying out armed conflict against an enemy. The ranks of the army at the time were not adequate to do this on the European battlefields as the armies then engaged in battle had advanced their war making abilities far beyond what the American Army was capable of in those early days of April 1917. The United States Army would soon be growing in size and with this growth they would need qualified officers to lead the enlisted men that would very soon be growing to over a million men. But where would the army get these qualified officers? The army looked to two places; firstly, college men who exhibited the qualities they were looking for, and secondly, in the enlisted ranks of the army itself. Harold Waldo Kramer was an example of the best and most qualified enlisted men who would be looked at too become officer candidates.
His story begins in Lithopolis, Ohio on January 10, 1893, which was the day he was born. Lithopolis is a small village in central Ohio and the village is named for valuable deposits of stone near the original town site, the name Lithopolis translating to "stone city" in Greek. And so, the stone of Lithopolis was the foundation on which the life of Harold Waldo Kramer was built upon.
Harold was the youngest of four children of Ella Newton and John B. Kramer. On Columbus Street in Lithopolis was where the John B. Kramer home was located and John was a local merchant in town. There he learned the value of one’s abilities and what could be accomplished if you applied yourself to a problem or issue.
By 1910 when Harold was 17-years old the Kramer family then lived at No. 54 West 10th Street in Columbus, Ohio where John B. Kramer then ran a local laundry. In the home with John and Ella lived Harold and his 25-year old brother Donald who was working as an electrician in a Columbus baggage factory. Harold grew into a fine young man and by 1916 was working as a salesman. But Harold also had the feeling to serve his fellow citizens by joining the Ohio National Guard about 1913. The National Guard saw that Harold was a leader and had a good character that fit well with military life. By 1917 Harold Kramer was a Sergeant with the Headquarters Company of the 166 Infantry, 4th Infantry, Ohio National Guard.
During the same time in civilian life Harold had also met a young Columbus girl and fell in love. On June 24, 1916 Rev. T. L. Lowe married Harold W. Kramer and 22-year old Gail Bordenheimer. The young couple lived with Harold’s parents on West 10th Street in the early years of their marriage.
In April of 1917 when America joined the war in Europe, Harold’s unit, the 166th Infantry was Federalized for duty in France. At the time Harold was then a Supply Sargent in the Headquarters Company of the 166th Infantry. The 166th was detailed to be sent to France in mid-October of 1917 so, farewells were said with his new wife not knowing when they would see each other again. On October 18, 1917 at the U. S. Army Pier No 1 in Hoboken, New Jersey the men of the 166th Infantry numbering 47 officers and 1,248 enlisted men went aboard the USAT Henry R. Mallory for transportation across the Atlantic. It was 3:05 pm that afternoon that the Mallory swung out into the river and steamed out past Lady Liberty and into the danger that lay ahead of them. On the passenger manifest for that voyage Sgt. Kramer listed his father as next of kin in place of his wife Gail.
While the 166th was in France the army was looking among its enlisted ranks for men who exhibited the temperament and qualities to become officers. Sgt. Kramer was seen as once such enlisted man and so after nearly a month in France on November 20, 1917 Sgt. Kramer was honorably discharged to accept a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. On November 21, 1917 Kramer was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and likely attended an officer’s school while in France. He was then assigned to duty with the 54th Artillery Regiment when they arrived in France in March 1918.
The 54th Artillery Regiment served as the training Regiment for the Coast Artillery Regiments in France. The Idea was that the 54th would always be stalled with trained men and those who would need trained in the workings of an artillery regiment. And then when an Artillery Regiment on the front line needed a replacement man he would be pulled from the 54th Artillery and the new replacement would be fully trained and ready to fill that spot without having to be trained. This was how Lt. Kramer cam to be with the 52nd Artillery.
Once with the 52nd Artillery 2nd Lt. Kramer would be advanced to 1st Lt. quickly and then on April 2, 1918 was advanced to the rank of Captain. He would be with the 52nd Artillery until October 18, 1918 when Captain Kramer had been ordered back to the States for new duty, which was likely to train new officers and instruct them on what to expect when they would arrive in France. On October 18, 1918 Captain Kramer along with 47 other officers from the Coast Artillery, Field Artillery and Infantry sailed aboard the USS Agamemnon from Brest, France with orders to report to Commander Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, NJ. Upon arrival. At 10:45 in the morning on November 5, 1918 the Agamemnon was tied up at the dock in Hoboken.
Once the war ended six days later Captain Kramer’s duty likely was changed and on January 9, 1919 he resigned his commission in the army and was Honorably Discharged.
Now in civilian live once again, Harold and his wife Gail were living with Harold’s parents for a short while. About 1922 Harold and Gail had their first child a daughter named Jeannie Ann born in Ohio. Sometime between Jeannie’s birth and 1930 the Kramer family had moved out to Los Angeles County in California, as Harold had taken a job as a salesman for a fruit packing company. Harold had also arranged for his parents to also come out to California to live. Shortly after the move from Ohio to California Harold’s mother Ella would pass away in 1930. His father John would pass away in 1944.
In the spring of 1930 the combined Kramer family were living on Golden West Avenue in Pasadena, California. Harold was working for the San Marino Preserving Kitchen, Inc. who were at the time makers of jam and jelly and other preserves in San Marino. By at least 1938 he had risen to the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the Company
In 1942 at the time Harold Kramer registered for the draft in WWII he and Gail were then living at 319 N. Alessandro Avenue in Temple City, California and Harold was still working for San Marino Preserving Kitchens.
Sometime during the Second World War Harold had changed jobs but still lived in Temple City. By 1948 he was then working as a draftsman-engineer for the Consolidated Engineering Company at the Naval Ordnance Test Station at the NOTS Pasadena Annex. They were involved in testing Anti-Tank Aircraft Rockets for Korean War service and also early guided missile testing for the fleet. Harold Kramer would have this job past 1955.
In retirement years Gail and Harold Kramer still lived in Temple City, California. It was in 1974 that Gail passed away and Harrold passed away on January 21, 1976 at the age of 83-years. Harrold is buried at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.
Albert N. Adkins was born about November of 1898 in Salem, Virginia and lived at the time of his enlistment in Cincinnati, Ohio. Albert enlisted on February 10, 1917 into the Regular Army at the Columbus Barracks, Ohio and was assigned to the 1st Company C.A.C. at Ft. Terry, New York and was on 17 July 1917 re-assigned to the 2nd Co. C.A.C., Ft. Terry. Shortly after America had entered into the war in April of 1917, Private Adkins was formed into Battery C of the 7th Howitzer Regiment, 30th Separate Artillery Brigade. They would be the third Coast Artillery unit to be sent to France in 1917.
In August of 1917 the 1st Separate Howitzer regiment was ordered to France and it was on August 13 they were loaded aboard the SS Lapland and steamed eastward across the Atlantic for the war. Pvt. Adkins listed his father as his person to contact in case of emergency on the passenger list of the Lapland, Joseph A. Adkins of 931 Paradome St. in Cincinnati, Ohio.
They would be sent to war without any artillery weapons at all and would be totally dependent on what meager relics that the British and French Armies could spare for them to use. Once in France the 7th Howitzer was stationed at Mailly-le-Camp, France which was where the bulk of the early American Coast Artillery units were stationed before going up to the Front Lines. While in France Pvt. Adkins was advanced in grade to Private First Class and when Battery C of the 7th Howitzer Regiment was reorganized they as a whole were re-formed into Battery C of the 52nd Artillery. While with Battery C of the 52nd PFC Adkins saw action on the front at the St. Mihiel operations and during the Meuse-Argonne operations.
The 52nd Artillery was among the first American units to be returned back to the States after the war. In Mid-December the 52nd was making their way to the west coast of France to St. Nazaire where on December 21, 1918 they boarded the USS Antigone and steamed back across the Atlantic in winter. On the Passenger list for this trip PFC Adkins listed his mother Mary as the contact person. They would spend Christmas of 1918 and celebrate the New Year at sea were the Antigone landed in Newport News, Virginia on January 3, 1919.
The 52nd Artillery was selected to remain on active status after the war and was stationed at Camp Eustis, Virginia. As a Regular Army man PFC Adkins remained on duty with the regiment at Camp Eustis. He was Honorably Discharged on December 9, 1919 from the Army.
On Sept. 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, he was transferred to service and jurisdiction of the War Department. Previous to his transfer he was a commissioned Junior Hydrographic and Geodetic Engineer in the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Effective Sept. 24, 1917, he was commissioned First Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army, and soon thereafter entered upon duty at the Artillery Training School at Fortress Monroe, Va.
After completing his course at this school, on Nov. 27, 1917, he was assigned to duty with the Coast Defenses of Charleston, S.C., at Fort Moultrie, where he was attached to Battery B 61st Artillery, C.A.C., for another course in training and equipping for services in France. For several months during the period of training at Fort Moultrie, during the absence of the Captain of the battery, he was commanding officer of the organization, and among other duties instructed in the regimental schools on subjects pertaining to engineering, surveying and range finding. He sailed from Newport News, Va., on July 18, 1918, and arrived at St. Nazaire, France, July 31, 1918.
In the reorganization of the regiment for active field service he was made regimental orientation officer, and in this work he was called upon to conduct various schools for training in orientation and later he was engaged in extending by survey the artillery range at Camp de Longe, France.
On Oct. 26, 1918, he was promoted to Captain in the Coast Artillery Corps, and was transferred to the Railroad Artillery Reserve Corps for duty at Mailley de Camp. He was assigned to Battery F and in the absence of a superior officer acted as commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, 52nd Artillery. The material of this battery consisted of two pieces of 32 cm. French guns, mounted on railroad trucks.
He was later transferred to the command of Battery B of the first Battalion and in that capacity returned to the United States on January 3, 1919. Upon arrival, he was assigned with his organization to Camp Eustis, Va. and later to the Heavy Artillery School at Fort Monroe, Va. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on May 5, 1919 and returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on the following day.
Written on back of photo:
Henry Lewis Creasey was born on July 23, 1892 in Kanawha County, West Virginia to Catherine Frail (1870-1960) and Joseph L. Creasey (1860-1931). Henry was the second eldest of at least four children born to Catherine and Joseph. In the summer of 1900 the Joseph Creasey family lived near the small village of Cabin Creek Junction, which is located within Kanawha County along the Kanawha River where the Cabin Creek entered the Kanawha River. Joseph was working as a night watchman likely for either the railroad or the local coal mine. Nearly everyone who lived in Cabin Creek worked either for the coal mine or the railroad.
In the spring of 1910 when Henry was 18-years old the family had grown to include three more siblings. Henry was at the time working as a clerk in the local grocery store. Henry’s father and older brother Fred both were working for the railroad, Joseph as a car repairman in the shop and Fred as a brakeman on the train. There were also living in Cabin Creek other Creasey family members. Living very near the Joseph Creasey home was the David Creasey family. David Franklin Creasey (1842-1916) was Joseph’s older brother.
Faced with life in the coal mines or working on the railroad was what lay ahead for Henry living in Cabin Creek and we may never know the reason why, but on January 28, 1915 Henry enlisted into the Army.
Henry was assigned to duty in the Coast Artillery Corps of the Army and was likely serving at Fort Adams, Rhode Island or another installation nearby. By the time America entered into the war in April of 1917 Creasey was serving with Battery C of the 7th Howitzer Regiment. At Fort Adams in the spring of 1917 the 1st Expeditionary Brigade was formed of which the 7th Howitzer Regiment was a part of. This unit was detailed for duty in France and would be among the first groups of Coast Artillerymen to go to France.
The 1st Expeditionary Brigade was soon changed in name to the 30th Separate Artillery, CAC and on August 13, 1917 they were loaded aboard the SS Lapland, a White Star Line passenger liner under charter to carry troops to England and France during the war. On the passenger manifest of that voyage Creasey was then a Sergeant with Battery C, 7th Howitzer Regiment. He listed as his next of kin his father Joseph Creasey of Chelyan, West Virginia.
Once the Lapland reached Europe and off loaded her troops, the units of the American Coast Artillery Corps underwent several re-organizations and Battery C of the 7th Howitzer Regiment became Battery C, 52nd Artillery. During World War I, Sgt. Creasey saw heavy action in the St. Mihiel, Argonne and Verdun offensives, in France, with Battery C of the 52nd Artillery.
Being Sgt. Creasey’s unit was among one of the first units to go to France they were also one of the earliest units to be returned to the States after the war. In mid-December 1918 the 52nd Artillery was moving to the west coast of France to the port city of St. Nazaire. And that could only mean one thing to the men, that they were going home. On December 21, 1918 the 52nd Artillery boarded the USS Antigone and sailed back across the Atlantic. They took the southern route and were landed in Newport News, Virginia on January 3, 1919. The 52nd Artillery was then moved to Camp Eustis, Virginia for new orders. Volunteers and men to be discharged left the regiment and the Regular Army soldiers which included Sgt. Creasey waited for new orders. The 52nd was kept in active service after the war, and Sgt. Creasey was discharged from Active duty at the rank of 1st Sergeant on June 4, 1920.
Henry Creasey returned to his family in the Cabin Creek area. The Creasey family home was then in Chelyan, which was just across the Kanawha River from Cabin Creek on the south bank. There Henry took a job working for the railroad with his father working in the car repair shop. Sometime that summer Henry would marry Myrtle C. Dunning where together they established a home in Chelyan very near his parents’ home.
Within a few short years Henry Creasey was working for a local oil refinery company known as the Pure Oil Company in Cabin Creek as a foreman. He would learn the business of oil refining and would make it his life’s work.
The Pure Oil Company was a firm with Ohio roots, having started out, in 1920 as the “Ohio Cities Gas Company” which was the natural gas utility for Columbus, Springfield and Dayton, Ohio. However, crude oil was discovered as a result of drilling for natural gas, and the company found itself in the oil business. Pure Oil Company was organized by independent interests to counter the dominance of the Standard Oil Company in the Pennsylvania oil fields, and Pure Oil was the second largest oil company (after Standard) in the region. Cabin Creek Crude was considered the finest oil in the world at that time. It actually came out of the ground looking already refined.
While living in the Cabin Creek and Chelyan area Henry and Myrtle started their family with the birth of their first child a daughter named Ruth Ann in 1921. This was followed in 1923 with Robert Berterum and then on May 25th, 1925 a daughter named Edith Marcelline was born. Sadly, her life would be short-lived as the infant girl would only survive four days. But four-years later a son was born on July 17, 1929, who was named James in honor of his paternal grandfather.
During the Second World War years both sons Robert and James Creasey would follow the example of their father Henry by serving their country during wartime. Robert served in the Marine Corps and James in the Air National Guard and Air Force. Henry during the Second World War had a vital wartime job running the Pure Oil Company operation in Cabin Creek. Henry’s wife Myrtle was active in the Evening Star of Rebekah Lodge 163, who met at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall, on the east bank of the Kanawha River, and served as the lodge’s outside guardian.
In 1950 Henry Creasey was one of 37 honored guests, most who had worked there for 25 years or more, at a dinner for veteran retired employees of the Pure Oil refinery in Cabin Creek. His service to the company was also commemorated in a full-page ad which appeared in the local newspapers.
Henry's youngest son, James who was serving on Active Duty with the Air Force, was killed in the crash of a transport plane in 1951 as the aircraft was attempting to land at Yeager Airport, in Charleston, West Virginia.
By the last years of his life Henry and Myrtle had move to Charleston, West Virginia living in an apartment on Sixth Avenue. It was on August 21 of 1957 that Henry Creasey passed away in Beckley, West Virginia. Henry was buried near his son at the Montgomery Memorial Park, in Montgomery, West Virginia. Myrtle would pass away in 1960.
It was in September of 1957 that Myrtle filled out the paperwork to have a flat granite military grave stone placed upon her husband’s grave site. That stone was delivered and placed upon his grave on October 8, 1957 and marks the honored grave of a man who wore a uniform and protected his beloved country in wartime.
Richard Cox Coupland was born at West Point, Va., in 1893. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, Va., in 1915, and two years later enlisted as a flying cadet. He graduated from the U.S. School of Military Aeronautics at Cornell University at Ithaca, N.Y., and commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery in October, 1917. He then went to Foggia, Italy, where he completed his pilot training in March, 1918, after which he served with the 52nd Artillery of the American Expeditionary Forces in France until the following November. During this time he participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and in the occupation of a defensive sector.
Returning to the United States in May 1919, he was assigned to Fort Terry, N.Y. The following year he received a degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Military Institute, after which he did experimental work at Glouster and Boston, Mass., and Washington, D.C. In October 1921, he transferred from the Coast Artillery Corps to the Ordnance Department and was assigned to Springfield, Mass., for duty in the Experimental Department.
In August 1923, he entered the Air Service Engineering School at McCook Field as ordnance representative and post ordnance officer. In July 1928, he went to Washington, D.C., for duty in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance. Four years later he transferred to Raritan Arsenal in N.J., as maintenance and shops officer, and in July 1934, was appointed depot supply post ordnance, and war plans officer at that station.
He returned to Washington, D.C., in August 1936, to enter the Army Industrial College, from which he graduated a year later. He then was appointed assistant chief of the Civilian Personnel Division in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, and subsequently became acting chief of that division. In August 1938, he was designated chief of the Small Arms Division in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance.
A year later he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps in Washington as assistant to the chief of the Plans Division. He became a member of the Plans Division in July 1940, and the following November was designated ordnance liaison officer with the Materiel Division of the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps. In January 1942, he became chief of the Accessories and Equipment Section in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff at Air Force headquarters in Washington.
He was appointed air ordnance officer at Air Force headquarters in February 1943, and served in this capacity until March, 1946, when he was designated chairman of the Air Force Materiel and Services Planning Board, whose mission it was to develop and recommend a detailed plan to accomplish the materiel and service objectives of an autonomous Air Force. In June 1946, he resumed his duties as air ordnance officer, and on Nov. 6, 1947, transferred from the Ordnance Department to the Air Force.
The following July his title of air ordnance officer was abolished and General Coupland was named director of armament for the Air Force. He assumed command of the Air Materiel Armament Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in April 1950.
During World War II, General Coupland's office was instrumental in the research, development and supply of the following ordnance items: high rate of fire and high velocity machine guns; improved 20 mm, 37 mm, and 75 mm cannons; armor-piercing, incendiary, special high-velocity, and headlight tracer ammunition; larger and improved general purpose, fragmentation, blast, semi-armor-piercing, and deep penetration bombs; methods for clustering fragmentation and smaller type, general purpose bombs, so that more economical bomb loads could be carried; bomb fuses which made low-altitude bombing possible; VT fuses, and series of target-identification bombs.
General Coupland holds patents covering radio control of dynamic bodies, aircraft gun synchronizers, feed mechanisms of aircraft weapons, computing gunsights, aerial mechanisms and various types of ammunition. General Coupland has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Army Commendation Ribbon and the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the degree of Honorary Commander.
He was promoted to first lieutenant (temporary) Jan. 31, 1918; to captain (temporary) Nov. 2, 1918; to first lieutenant (permanent) July 17, 1919. He reverted to his permanent rank of first lieutenant May 3, 1920, and was promoted to captain (permanent) March 16, 1928; to major (permanent) July 1, 1937; to lieutenant colonel (permanent) Oct. 26, 1940; to colonel (temporary) Feb. 1, 1942; to brigadier general (temporary) March 18, 1943; to colonel (permanent) April 2, 1948; to brigadier general (permanent) June 11, 1948, with date of rank from Jan. 22, 1945, to major general (temporary) Dec. 21, 1948. (Up to date as of April 1950) Retired Aug. 1, 1951. Died Jan. 10, 1988.
Valmore Gale Akeman was born on July 27, 1896 in Crawford County, Illinois. For nearly all of his life he was known by his middle name and just went by Gale Akeman.
Gale was the son of Melana Horn (1864-) and Henry H. Akeman (1864-1910). Henry was a dealer of farm implements in the area of their home in Licking Township of Crawford County, Illinois. The family in June of 1900 consisted of Henry and his wife Melana, and children Luella, Gale and Lena. It was about 1908 that another child was born, a son named Byron.
It was during 1910 that Gale’s father, Henry passed away leaving Melana to raise the children on her own. By then Luella and left the family leaving Gale who was then 13-years old as the man in the family. Gale was still in school but was now placed in the position of the man of the family. This made Gale grow into the role of what his father would have had, fixing things, making decisions, and being a leader in the family. Training he was receiving for a time in his life when these skills would be needed.
As Young Gale Akeman grew into a man he likely joined the United States Army before America declared war in April of 1917. Gale was serving in the Coast Artillery Corps and was in late summer of 1917 serving in the Howitzer Regiment, 7th Regiment, Battery A. At the time Akeman was a Corporal suggesting that he had been in the Army for a year or more in order to be serving at the rank of Corporal.
But it is fact that Corporal Gale Akeman was a member of Battery A, 7th Regiment, Howitzer Regiment, 30th Separate Artillery Battalion on August 13, 1917, as that was the day they sailed from the States for France aboard the SS Lapland. On the passenger manifest Cpl. Akeman listed his younger sister Lena Brooks of 2114 Bryan Ave. in Granite City, IL as the person to contact in case of an emergency. Each soldier knew that the “person to contact in case of an emergency” meant if the ship was sunk and they were dead.
Cpl. Akeman stayed with Battery A throughout the many changes that the original 7th Howitzer Regiment underwent. Battery A, 7th Howitzer ended up becoming Battery A, 52nd Artillery, CAC and Cpl. Akeman would have served in combat during all the engagements that the 52nd Artillery participated in during the war.
After the war ended the men of the 52nd Artillery were among the first American units to be returned back to the States. In mid-December of 1918 the 52nd Artillery had made their way to the west coast of France to St. Nazaire and on December 21 boarded the USS Antigone for transportation back to the States. After spending Christmas of 1918 and New Year’s Day at sea the Antigone reached Newport News, Virginia and the men of the 52nd Artillery were off loaded. On the trip back westward aboard the Antigone Cpl. Akeman listed his mother Melana who had the same address as his sister Lena as the name to contact in case of emergency.
Being that nearly all the men were Regular Army troops and the 52nd was kept in Active Status they were sent to Camp Eustis, Virginia. Men who were eligible to be Honorably Discharged were separated and the rest began the process of reforming the 52nd for peace time duties. Cpl. Akeman’s Army Service Number was 149657 and other men from the 52nd had service numbers very close to his. Most of the other men with service numbers close to Cpl. Akeman’s were Regular Army troops so, this seems to also indicate that Akeman was also a Regular Army soldier and not a volunteer. It is unclear how long Cpl. Akeman remained in the Army but it is known that by January of 1920 he had been discharged.
Gale Akeman returned back to his family in Illinois and had settled in Granite City living in January of 1920 in a boarding house ran by Carrie Wright. There were at the time 26 persons in this rooming house that Gale Akeman was living in. Gale’s mother Melana, was also at the time living in the same boarding house. She was at the time working as a dishwasher in a restaurant. Gale at the time worked at the Hoyt Metal rolling mill located in Granite City.
About this same time Gale had met Lydia Merle Roseberry who was a local Granite City girl. It was on July 17, 1920 that she and Gale were married. The marriage took place in Union, Missouri, which is about 65-miles west of Granite City. Lydia was known by her middle name of Merle during her life. She and Gale settled in Granite City living at 2235 Bryan Ave., in a small shotgun style house. Gale in 1927 was still working for the Hoyt Metal Company in Granite City. Hoyt Metals was started about 1900 and produced Babbitt metal for use in bearings and they also had a line of metals used in the musical instrument industry. Hoyt Metal was sold in the early 1930’s and was renamed United Lead.
“Merle” and Gale would live in the small house on Bryan Ave for several years, and by 1930 they had two sons Robert who was born about 1926 and an infant son named Richard. Gale was then an inspector at the Hoyt Metal Company. The little shotgun style home on Bryan Avenue was a rental and in April of 1930 the rent per month was $15.00 and according to the census taken that year the Akeman family had a radio set in the home, which was a bit of a luxury item at that time.
Ten years later the Akeman family was still in the same house and had grown to include another son born about 1939 named Samuel. Gale was then working for the General Steel Castings Company as a machinist. But by April of 1942 the family had outgrown the little house on Bryan Ave., and moved down the street to a bit larger home at 2436 Bryan Ave.
During WWII on April 27, 1942 Gale Akeman registered for the draft. Gale was a tall thin man, he stood six-feet, two-inches and weighed 175-pounds. He had brown eyes and black hair and had a dark complexion. Gale must not have been too fond of his first name of “Valmore” as on the draft registration form he listed his name as Gale the name he had always went by, and wrote “none” for his middle name.
Gale Akeman would live the rest of his life in Granite City. He passed away in August of 1973. The Government listed his name on the Social Security Death Index using his birth name of “Valmore Akeman” and left off the name of Gale.
Fred Anthony Bauer was born March 24, 1894 in Barnesville, Minnesota to Amelia and Charles Bauer who were German-American parents. Previous to his enlistment into the U. S. Army Fred Bauer worked as a machinist. On December 8, 1915 Fred A. Bauer enlisted into the Regular Army in Indianapolis, Indiana and was sent to the Columbus Barracks, Ohio.
Pvt. Bauer was then assigned to the 4th Company, C.A.C. at Ft. Totten, New York. On July 1, 1916 Pvt. Bauer was advanced to grade of Corporal on April 21, 1917. Cpl. Bauer was transferred to the 6th Company, Ft. Totten, New York and on July 23, 1917 Cpl. Bauer was advanced to grade of Sergeant.
Once America had entered into the war the Coast Artillery Corps began to re-organize and form units for duty in France. The 30th Artillery Brigade was formed for this duty, and was made up of eight howitzer Regiments. Sgt. Bauer was transferred into Battery H of the 7th Howitzer Regiment. Throughout the summer of 1917 the 30th Artillery Brigade was being assembled and put into a wartime footing. They would be the fourth Coast Artillery regiment to sail for France in that summer of 1917. August was the month that all four coast Artillery regiments would sail for France. The 6th, 7th, and 8th Provisional Regiments were in the process of sailing in the early of August and on August 15 it was now the eight regiments of the 30th Artillery Brigade’s turn to leave for France.
The eight regiments of the 30th Artillery Brigade along with Sgt. Fred Bauer had boarded the SS Lapland in New York, which was to be their transportation to France. Sgt. Bauer had to list a name to contact in case of an emergency when he boarded the ship and he listed his father Charles Bauer of 848 Flint Ave in Devils Lake, North Dakota. As the Lapland made her way out of New York and the Statue of Liberty grew smaller in her wake, Sgt. Bauer and the rest of the troops aboard likely had the thought of would they get to see this lady Liberty ever again run through their minds.
Once in France the American Coast Artillery Corps units began an almost weekly re-organization. Bauer’s original unit, Battery H of the 7th Howitzer Regiment was re-organized into Battery H, 52nd Artillery. But shortly after Sgt. Bauer was transferred back into the 30th Artillery Brigade but this time into the 4th Battery. And then that unit was re-organized into Battery B of the 44th Artillery Regiment, the outfit he would serve with through the rest of the war. It was with both the 52nd and 44th Artillery Regiments he was to see combat at the front lines with. Sgt. Bauer served on the front lines in combat at the St. Mihiel Offensive; the Champagne-Marne Defensive; and the Lorraine, Alsace and Champagne Defensive Sectors.
After the war ended the 44th Artillery was selected to return back to the States. And as such they turned in their artillery weapons and headed for Brest, France to await a ship to take them back home. In the last week of January 1919, the USS Cedric arrived in the port of Brest and the 44th Artillery went aboard for the trip back home. Sgt. Bauer listed his mother Amelia as the contact name on the passenger list for the trip back home. The Cedric arrived in New York City on February 4, 1919 and the 44th Artillery went ashore once again back on home soil.
After return to the States, Sgt. Bauer being a Regular Army soldier received new duties and was serving at Fort Totten, New York until April 26, 1919 when he was furloughed to the Reserves. Sgt. Bauer remained in the Reserves until honorable discharged on June 4, 1920.
After his return back to U. S. Soil Fred had become engaged to a young German born woman named Gertrude H. Schmidt. She had become naturalized in 1908 and she and Fred were married in Manhattan, New York on March 1, 1919 just about a month after returning from France.
While still in the army under reserve status Bauer and his wife Gertrude returned to his family then living in Devils Lake, North Dakota. There Fred’s father Charles was working as tinsmith in a hardware store. The family home was located on 12th street and consisted of Charles and his wife Amelia, with Robert and Gertrude, and Fred’s siblings, Elizabeth, Robert, John and Joseph, Stella, Marie, Cecelia, Charlott, and youngest brother Donald. Fred at the time had taken a job working as a machinist at the local railroad shop in Devils Lake.
About 1922 while living in Devils Lake, N. D. Fred and Gertrude began their family by the birth of a son they named Fred, Jr. After some Sometime about 1926 Fred and Gertrude were able to move out of his parents’ home on 12th Street and start their lives on their own. They had moved away from Devils Lake, N. D. and had settled in Louisville, Kentucky. This move was likely in search of work as when they moved to Louisville Fred found work as a sheet metal worker in a kitchen equipment manufacturer in Louisville. The home was located on South Second Street and they rented this home at $50 per month rent.
Sometime during the summer of 1926 shortly after they arrived in Louisville a second son was born they named Charles in honor of Fred’s father. Living along with them in the home was Fred’s brother John and wife Blanche and their daughter Elizabeth. John was a radio service man.
Fred and Gertrude in the spring of 1940, were still in the home on South 12th Street in Louisville with sons Fred, Jr., and Charles. Fred’s brother John and family were no longer living with them but now another of Fred’s brother, Joseph was living with them. By 1942 the Bauer home was located at 4805 S. 5th Street in Louisville. Fred at the time had taken a war-time job working at the Louisville Naval Ordnance Plant on 3rd Street working for the Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing Company.
When Fred at the age of 46-years old, registered for the draft during WWII he was described as being 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighed 196-pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Fred Anthony Bauer would live the rest of his life in Louisville, Kentucky until his death on October 3, 1977 at the age of 82-years.
Walter W. Merrill was born 20 October 1881 in Newport, Kentucky. He made his home in Glendale, Ohio and was commissioned as a Second Lt. in the Infantry on 2 March 1903. On 6 April 1917 he was advanced to Captain in the Coast Artillery Corps and was assigned to Fort Baker, California. From 25 May 1917 - 29 November 1917 he was stationed at Ft. Winfield Scott, California in the Coast Artillery Instruction Reserve Officers Training Corps. Captain Merrill sailed on 12 December 1917 aboard one of the following ships that sailed on the 12th; Adriatic, Pocahontas, Susquehanna and the Antigone. He may have been on the Susquehanna as she was the only ship that carried any Coast Artillery Corps units (1st AntiAircraft Battalion). After arrival in France Captain Merrill was with the HQ Co. of the 7th Provisional Artillery, C.A.C. and on 14 February 1918 Captain Merrill was given a temporary comission as a Major. On 28 April 1918 Major Merrill was assigned to the Heavy Artillery School in France and on 30 June 1918 was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd Artillery, C.A.C. On 20 October 1918 Major Merrill was assigned to the 52nd Artillery, C.A.C. and that same day was advanced to Lt. Colonel. Lt. Col. Merrill was with the 52nd Artillery during the St. Mihiel actions and also during the Meuse-Argonne operations. Lt. Col. Merrill returned to the States on 3 January 1919 and on 29 May 1920 was Honorable discharged from his emergency Commission only and reverted back to his Regular Army Status.
On February 19, 1917 three months before America entered into the First World War, a 22-year old first generation Swedish-American enlisted into the United States Army. His name was Walter Albert Nordblad from South Bend, Indiana. Who was this 20-year old man who of his own free will enlisted into the army before the United States entered the war?
Walter Nordblad’s family lived within eyesight of the Studebaker Auto works complex of buildings in South Bend, Indiana. Likely young Walter Nordblad had lived his entire life in South Bend and never ventured more than 50-miles from his home. Now he found himself leaving his family and learning to live a new life, that of Army life.
The story of that young Swedish-American named Walter Nordblad begins on January 21, 1867 in Kristianstad, Sweden the place where his father Nils A. Nordblad, Jr. was born. Kristianstad in located along the southern tip of Sweden along the Baltic Sea coastline. Nils Nordblad, Jr. at age 20 took a wife, her name being Mary, while still living in Sweden. But Nils and Mary for reasons unknown felt they needed to come to America the land of dreams and opportunity. While still living in Sweden together they had two children, Gustave and Clara.
By October of 1891 Nils and Mary and the two children had made their way to Liverpool, England, where they could take transportation to America and by the beginning of 1892 had arrived in New York City, where they saw for the first time the Statue of Liberty standing so tall in the harbor of the country that would make their dreams come true.
Nils Nordblad and his family settled in South Bend, Indiana where there was plenty of work as then South Bend was a thriving city with the Studebaker Auto assembly plants and many other industrial companies there. Nils was a painter and wallpaper hanger by trade and by the turn of the century in 1900 the Nordblad family was living on Division Street. By then the family consisted of Nils and Mary, the two older children Gustave and Clara, and now included daughter Telka “Tillie”, son’s Bert and Walter, and youngest daughter Hildore. There would be one final son named Frity born about 1903. There is a notation on the 1910 Federal Census that stated Nils was divorced and at the time the family consisted of Nils, Gustave, “Tillie,” Bert, Walter, and Frity. Mary had moved away with Hildore, and likely because Clara was older she also may have left the family home. Mary Nordblad would pass away on September 15, 1903 in South Bend, Indiana. In 1910 Nils, Gustave and Bert all were working together for themselves as painters and wallpaper hangers to support the family. Nils Nordblad would pass away on July 12, 1914 at the age of 51-years, leaving “Tillie” and Bert to look after the family.
Walter Albert Nordblad was born on February 1, 1897 and his next older brother Bert Alexander Nordblad was born on August 23, 1895. Both boys grew up in South Bend and likely were close as any brothers would be, and they likely looked up to their older brother Gustave who was ten years older than Walter.
But by the spring of 1917 America was now involved in that European war that she tried to keep out of. On June 5, 1917 the eldest Nordblad brother Gustave who was then 29-years old and married with one child, registered for the Federal Draft, as he was required to do. The only draft registration card for a Nordblad in South Bend is Gustave’s and none can be found for Bert and Walter. It is not known if Gustave served in the military during the First World War.
It is a fair conclusion to make that both Bert and Walter may have just went and enlisted together into the Army before they had to register for the draft. There is a date on Walter’s Headstone Application form that seems to support this theory. Walter’s date of enlistment into the Army was February 19, 1917, which would have been several months before the first call up of the draft that took place on June 5, 1917. It is known that both Bert and Walter served in the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps branch during and after the war.
Walter would serve in France in combat like his older brother Bert. Walter served in Battery D of the 52nd Artillery CAC and after the war remained in the Coast Artillery past 1920 serving at Fort H. G. Wright in New York. Bert served in the Headquarters Company of the 56th Artillery CAC and like his younger brother Walter saw combat in France during the war. Once the 56th Artillery returned from France after the war ended PFC Bert Nordblad re-enlisted on February 19, 1919 and remained in service, stationed at Camp Jackson, South Carolina until he was discharged on October 12, 1920.
Walter was stationed along the east coast and was serving in the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps when 3 Provisional Artillery Regiments were being formed for service in France. These three regiments would be the first Army artillery units to go to France. Walter was then assigned to the 7th Provisional Artillery Regiment serving in Battery D of the Second Battalion. He would have boarded the British transport ship HMS Aurania where they steamed out of New York Harbor on August 18, 1917 with 187 officers and 1,726 enlisted men of the 7th Provisional Regiment. As the Aurania steamed out of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty grew ever smaller Private Walter Nordblad may have retired to his bunk deep with in the hull of the Aurania. Being that his older brother Bert was also serving in the Coast Artillery Corps his thoughts may have been with him wondering if they would meet in France, or would he ever return to his family. One thing that was for sure, Walter would be the first of the two Nordblad brothers who would see combat first. Bert would make the same trip across the Atlantic eight months later in March of 1918.
Walter did see combat with the 7th Provisional Artillery, and then while in France the army re-organized its artillery regiments then in France and Battery D of the 7th Provisional Regiment became Battery D of the 52nd Artillery. Pvt. Nordblad would serve with Battery D of the 52nd through the remainder of the war. On November 11, 1918 Walter Nordblad and Battery D, 52nd Artillery were then on the front lines in firing position 15km south of Verdun, France sending hot steel into the German lines when the guns went silent at 11:00 AM that morning.
Once the 52nd Artillery was returned to the States Pvt. Walter Nordblad remained on active service with the Railway Artillery Reserve then stationed at Fort H. G. Wright in New York. Pvt. Nordblad was honorably discharged from the army on June 4, 1920.
After Walter was discharged from the army he returned to South Bend, Indiana and his family. Once back home Walter would marry Ruth F. Pinrod and together they would live in South Bend. Walter and Ruth would have at least one son named Walter Gustave Nordblad born on April 3, 1928. Walter Gustave would pass away on October 1, 1998.
By 1942 Walter and Ruth may have split up as on the WWII Federal Draft Card for Walter he stated that he was living at the home of Mrs. Charles Radican at 1923 South Main Street in South Bend. At the time Walter was working in LaPorte, Indiana at the Kingsburry Ordnance plant making munitions for the war effort.
Walter would live in South Bend, Indiana for the rest of his life, and he passed away on June 9, 1959. He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Mishawaka, Indiana. On June 11, 1959 Richard T. Miller of Lawton, Michigan filled out an application for a flat granite military marker to be placed on his grave. It is unclear what the relationship was between Walter and Miller. The last chapter of the life of Walter Nordblad came on August 10, 1959 when his granite military stone was laid on his grave.
The springtime of 1917 found Oscar Zinneman in the 8th Grade in Hanover, PA and his only cares were school and pitching baseball for the 8th Grade team. Young Oscar had always admired the military and when America entered the war in April of 1917 Oscar felt the call. But he was only 14-years old, how was a boy of 14 to become a man in the Army?
Ironically Oscar’s story begins in Germany, where one day he would go to fight his kinsmen. Oscar’s father, Ernest George Zinneman was born in Germany on August 19, 1876. As a young boy all things mechanical intrigued Ernest, and as such when he became a young man he took the trade of a machinist. Ernest joined the Imperial German Navy and rose to become a Chief Machinist. Ernest at the height of his German Naval career became the Chief Machinist of the Kaiser Wilhelm’s private Yacht the Hohenzollern. The yacht’s name came from the House of Hohenzollern, which was the family dynasty of kings and emperors of Prussia, Germany and Romania, which date back to the 11th century, of which the Kaiser's bloodline came from. Ernest served 4 years in the German Navy and then about 1898 came to America where he would live the rest of his life.
In 1901 while Ernest was 26-years old he married his wife, Estella K. Henry, who was 16-years old at the time. That same year Ernest became a Citizen of the United States. Ernest and Estella started their family when their first child was born, a son named Oscar H. Zinneman born on September 14, 1902. The Zinneman family made their home in York County Pennsylvania in the city of Hanover.
The family would eventually grow again in 1913 when sons Woodrow and Wilson were born. Woodrow and Wilson may have been twins as they were born the same year. It seems that the one time father who was the Chief Machinist on the Kaiser’s Yacht had a sense of American Patriotism by naming his two sons after the American President Woodrow Wilson. Then again in 1916 son Edward was born and another son Earl in 1918. A daughter named Myrtle born about 1922 and then finally two more Zinneman sons named Carl E. and George W. born sometime after 1930.
According to the 1930 Federal Census, which showed that the Zinneman family, except Oscar and the two sons born after 1930 lived together in a home owned by Ernest and Estella valued at $4,500. The home was located on Alleghany Avenue in Hanover, PA and Ernest was working as a machinist in a wire cloth factory. Sons Woodrow and Wilson who were 17-years old at the time worked as leather cutters in a shoe factory. Edward, Earl and Myrtle were all in school.
In the spring of 1917 as young 14-year old Oscar Zinneman was on the baseball field his thoughts were not of the game, but of the battlefields of Europe. Oscar asked his father Ernest, who himself had served 4 years in the German Navy if he could join the Army. Ernest reportedly answered him “Well go, I have no objections.”
Soon enough on April 28, 1917 Oscar at the age of 14-years, 7 months and his 16-year old cousin Robert Henry accompanied by their fathers Ernest Zinneman and Jacob Henry, traveled to the York Recruiting station to enlist their sons in the Army. Jacob Henry was the brother of Estella Zinneman and the Henry’s lived on North Street in Hanover. In the Jacob Henry family there were 6 children including Robert who was the youngest.
After a considerable amount of talking Oscar and Robert were finally allowed to join the army. Oscar was sent to the Columbus Barracks in Columbus, Ohio and selected for service in the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps. Oscar Zinneman as a new recruit was sent to the east coast and was placed into the newly forming 7th Provisional Artillery Regiment as a Private. This was one of 3 such Artillery regiments being formed from the ranks of the Coast Artillery and would be among the first troops to go to France.
On the 18th of August 1917 Pvt. Zinneman was among the 1,726 enlisted men and 187 officers of the 7th Provisional Artillery who sailed aboard the British transport ship HMS Auriana. When the 7th Provisional Regiment finally got to France Oscar Zinneman found that he was among the first Artillerymen to fire French made 32cm Railroad Artillery Pieces at the Front. For Oscar this may have held some reservations as it was not improbable that the shells he was firing may be killing some of his family members, albeit distant relatives, but Oscar knew he was an American and it was for the Freedom of his country he was fighting for.
While at the front Oscar saw much action as the 7th Provisional Artillery was always at the thick of the action. Once Oscar was wounded in the left foot with some shrapnel. But he refused to be treated and in his words retold later “Oh, that was nothing! It was all in a days work and the wound healed quickly.”
Oscar saw his share of German gas while on the line and once recalled, “…we would see clouds of gas rolling our way. So we donned our gas masks. A piece of shrapnel cut into my respirator tube. It was damaged too bad and I was unable to grab a second mask quickly enough.” Oscar survived the gassing but it left its mark on him as after he returned home after the war rheumatism put him in bed for over a year. In the 15 years after returning from the war in France Oscar was in the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia with recurring attacks nine times.
While with the 7th Provisional Regiment, Oscar was transferred to Battery C of the 52nd Artillery, C.A.C. during a major re-organization of the American artillery units. Then later still again during a second re-organization was transferred to the 42nd Artillery, C.A.C. Pvt. Zinneman took part in the battles of Alsace, Champagne, St. Mihiel and the Butte du Mesnul Offensive.
As early as October 11, 1917 Oscar was known as “The Youngest Doughboy.” In the Thursday, October 11, 1917 edition of the New Oxford Item, New Oxford, PA, there was an article telling the home folks that Oscar was “the youngest soldier from Pennsylvania and may also be the youngest soldier from any other state in the Union.”
After Oscar recuperated from his first bout of Rheumatism met and fell in love with his wife, Beulah Shuman of Midway, PA where they were married on October 18, 1922 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Oscar’s fame as the “Youngest Doughboy” followed him long after the war ended. In November of 1932 Robert Ripley, the famous author and cartoonist of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” came to Hanover, PA to interview Oscar Zinneman for Ripley’s book. Ripley drew a cartoon of Oscar and entered him in his book as the “Youngest Doughboy of the United States Army during WWI.”
Oscar and Beulah lived the rest of their lives in Hanover, PA at 104 Alleghany Ave. in Hanover, PA, which was the same street he lived on as a boy. Oscar and Beulah had two sons, Maurice M. and James E., and at the time of Oscar’s death he had nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
While Oscar was raising his family in Hanover he felt the call to serve his community like he had felt the call to serve his country. Oscar was a 50-year member of the Hanover Fire Department, a member of the Hanover VFW Post 2506, and the Fireman’s association of York County, PA.
At the age of 67 on Tuesday evening September 16, 1969 Oscar passed away in Hanover General Hospital. He had been under the care of a doctor and was admitted earlier that day and at 8:30 that evening died. His funeral was held at the Wetzel Funeral Home in Hanover and was officiated by the Rev. Carroll C. Luckenbaugh, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ. Oscar H. Zinneman was then buried in the Rest Haven Cemetery.
Organized 22 July 1917 in the Regular Army at Fort Adams, Rhode Island, as the 7th Provisional Regiment, Coast Artillery Corps. Redesignated 5 February 1918 as the 52nd Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps). (3rd Battalion inactivated 16 May 1921 at Fort Eustis, Virginia; activated 18 August 1921 at Fort Eustis, Virginia; 1st Battalion inactivated 1 August 1922 at Fort Eustis, Virginia.) Redesignated 1 July 1924 as the 52nd Coast Artillery. (Battery D inactivated 1 November 1938 at Fort Monroe, Virginia; Battery F inactivated 1 February 1940 at Fort Monroe, Virginia; Batteries D and F activated 8 January 1941 at Fort Hancock, New Jersey; 1st Battalion activated 1 June 1941 at Fort Hancock, New Jersey.) Regiment broken up 1 May 1943 and its elements reorganized and redesignated as follows: Headquarters and Headquarters Battery disbanded at Fort Hancock, New Jersey.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions reorganized as the 286th, 287th, and 288th Coast Artillery Battalions, respectively (Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 288th Coast Artillery Battalion, concurrently inactivated at Fort Hancock, New Jersey.) After 1 May 1943 the above units underwent changes as follows: Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 52nd Coast Artillery, reconstituted 28 June 1950 in the Regular Army and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 52nd Field Artillery Group. Activated 18 January 1952 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Redesignated 25 June 1958 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 52nd Artillery Group. Inactivated 30 June 1971 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
286th Coast Artillery Battalion converted and redesignated 30 August 1944 as the 538th Field Artillery Battalion. Inactivated 14 December 1945 at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts.
Activated 31 December 1946 in the Philippine Islands. Inactivated 30 May 1947 in the Philippine Islands. Activated 22 March 1951 at Camp Carson, Colorado. Inactivated 1 June 1958 in Germany.
287th Coast Artillery Battalion converted and redesignated 30 August 1944 as the 539th Field Artillery Battalion. Inactivated 28 December 1945 at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts.
Activated 31 December 1946 in the Philippine Islands. Inactivated 30 May 1947 in the Philippine Islands. Activated 18 March 1955 in Japan. Inactivated 25 March 1956 in Japan.
286th Coast Artillery Battalion inactivated 18 April 1944 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Disbanded 14 June 1944. Reconstituted 28 June 1950 in the Regular Army; concurrently consolidated with the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion (active) (see Annex) and consolidated unit designated as the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion, an element of the 24th Infantry Division. Inactivated 5 June 1958 and relieved from assignment to the 24th Infantry Division.
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 52nd Artillery Group, and the 538th, 539th, and 52nd Field Artillery Battalions consolidated, reorganized, and redesignated 30 June 1971 as the 52nd Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 52nd Air Defense Artillery. Withdrawn 16 April 1988 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System with Headquarters at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Constituted 1 October 1933 in the Regular Army as the 52nd Field Artillery. Redesignated 26 August 1941 as the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion and assigned to the 24th Infantry Division. Activated 1 October 1941 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
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