WWI DISPATCH August 2023

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August 2023

Doughboy Foundation buglers at Phillies stadium

(L to R) Trumpeters Francis LaPorte, Justin Nurin and Jari Villanueva perform God Bless America at the Philadelphia Phillies' Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday August 27. The three are among the team of buglers with the Doughboy Foundation who sound Taps every day at the National World War One Memorial in Washington, DC. Click on the image to learn more about Daily Taps.

Sandra Pershing, Nov. 11, 1941–Aug. 14, 2023

Sandra Sinclair Pershing

Sandra Sinclair Pershing passed away on August 14, 2023 at her home in Quogue, NY, surrounded by her family. She was a Member of the Board of Directors of the Doughboy Foundation, and a Special Advisor to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. Sandra Pershing was the granddaughter-in-law of General of the Armies John J. Pershing, the Commander of The American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. She was a philanthropist, a filmmaker, and a charitable volunteer. Sandra Pershing played an important role in encouraging the construction of the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. Click here to read more about Sandra Pershing, and how she dedicated herself to keeping the memory of America's Doughboys alive in our nation.

Hello Girls header image

 Congress Needs To Hear From You
About The Hello Girls Gold Medal

Congress will be getting back from their recess after Labor Day, and will pretty quickly get involved in headline issues like keeping the government open, and passing a budget, and so forth. But you still have a short window available to reach out to your Senators and Representatives before they get too busy, and let them know that you support the Congressional Gold Medal legislation introduced in both the Senate and House to honor the brave American women who made critical tactical communications work for U.S. and French military forces on the front lines of World War I, but who were denied veterans status and benefits from after WWI ended until 1977.

Hello Girls standing banner

Click here for our toolbox that makes the process of reaching out to your Representative and Senators very straightforward. Please get in touch with your Senators and  Representative before or after after Labor Day, and tell them that you want them to support the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in the 118th Congress. When their nation called in 1918, the Hello Girls answered -- please answer their call in 2023!

The ‘Hello Girls’ Arrived In Europe Before The First Doughboys. Here’s Why They Were So Crucial

Hello Girls snip

With her book The Hello Girls and a follow-up documentary film, historian, commentator and author Elizabeth Cobbs set out to recognize the women who served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps’ Female Telephone Operators Unit during World War I. Members of the unit, many of whom worked Stateside as switchboard operators, maintained communications on the Western Front under spartan and sometimes hazardous conditions. Despite having served in uniform, however, the Hello Girls were denied veteran status. Though Congress remedied that in 1977, many of them had died by then. Recently lawmakers introduced legislation to formally honor the unit with the Congressional Gold Medal, presented for distinguished achievements that have had a major impact on American history and culture. Click here to read Cobb's recent interview with Military History about her book and why the Hello Girls are deserving of the recognition of a Congressional Gold Medal.

Her Stories Make History: ‘The Hello Girls’ Greets Harsh Realities Head-On

Cassi Q Kohl

"Taproot Theatre’s new production of “The Hello Girls” is a much needed history lesson," writes Johannes Saca on the Real Change web site. "These women, who have been mostly invisible in history books throughout the last century, were fighting in the war. While stationed in France as switchboard operators, they communicated information that shaped the strategy on the ground." Click here to read Saca's entire review of the production, and learn why he thinks that the play shows that "the American public, at large, is eager to go back to school and learn about the extraordinary women who helped the country achieve major victories, making invaluable contributions across the fields of technology, war and politics."

Daily Taps @ National WWI Memorial

Honoring Pvt. William B. Wilson

During the week of August 13, Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC was sounded in honor of WWI veteran Pvt. William B. Wilson, namesake of Beacon, NY VFW post No. 666.

Private William B. Wilson was killed in action in Belgium on August 19, 1918, the first soldier from Beacon, NY to die in WWI. Wilson went off to war with two of his best friends, George Van Pelt of Beacon and Herbert Miller of Newburgh, NY. On the day of August 19, Company L was under continuous shelling by the Germans, resulting in several American casualties. One of those was Herb Miller, who lay in No-Man’s Land, too dangerous to be retrieved in daylight. The night of August 19, Private Wilson and Corporal Richard Connery volunteered to go out and bring Miller back to the American trenches. Both men carried Miller on a stretcher under a heavy barrage of mortar fire. Connery was wounded by shrapnel; Wilson was killed by a sniper. In 1922, Beacon veterans would form a new VFW post and call it the Private William B. Wilson Post 666.

Pvt. William B. Wilson

The Daily Taps program of the Doughboy Foundation provides a unique opportunity to dedicate a livestreamed sounding of Taps in honor of a special person of your choice while supporting the important work of the Doughboy Foundation. Choose a day, or even establish this honor in perpetuityClick here for more information on how to honor a loved veteran with the sounding of Taps.

My Journey To Discover The Author Of A World War I Diary, And Tell His Story

John Lloyd Weeter

Bennington College student Cianna Lee took a summer job at an auction house, and spent her time researching and pricing books for an upcoming auction. Going through "a big tub of random books" from the auctioneer's backlog, she "spotted this diary almost immediately. Turning the pages, I realized the diary was about World War I and was written from the war front in 1918... Remarkably, I realized that the owner had not written his name anywhere on it."  Thus began Cianna's quest to identify the author of the remarkable diary that documented, from a soldier's point of view, important WWI accomplishments in American military medicine. Click here to follow the search process with her, and find out how the author was finally identified, and a forgotten soldier is now remembered once more.

World War One and Aviation Event Weekend

American Heritage Museum Presents The World War One And Aviation Event Weekend September 16 & 17

Real aviation history will take to the skies each day with flying demonstrations combined with presentations by historians, restorers, and authors for featured aircraft. In addition to the flying displays, WWI re-enactors and a WWI M1917 tank will also be present and will participate in combat presentations each day. There will also be exhibitions of original rare WWI uniforms and flight clothing of noted World War I aviators such as Douglas Campbell, America’s First Ace; and the original leather flight coat of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. Click here to read more, and find out how you can attend this exciting event and see World War I aircraft and tanks in action!

A Golden Jubilee For The National Cemetery Administration (NCA)

National Cemetery Administration logo

September 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the Veterans Administration’s stewardship of national cemeteries, the shrines honoring the final resting places of almost five million men and women who protected and served our country. The forerunner to today’s Administration was the National Cemetery System. U.S. participation in World War I led to the first major expansion of national cemeteries since the Civil War. This was due to two factors: the number of war dead who were brought home for interment, and the huge increase in the number of Veterans who became eligible for interment in a national cemetery as a result of their service during the war. Click here to read the whole article, and learn how the aftermath of WWI set the National Cemetery System on course to become today's National Cemetery Administration, providing national, state, and tribal Veterans Cemetery service to all American Veterans.

War And Evolution: The 20 Ways World War I Reshaped The United States

Brilliantio web site snip

You’ve probably studied World War I, but have you ever considered how it truly revolutionized the US? It wasn’t just about politics and economics; society, technology, and even gender roles were dramatically transformed. Writing on the Brilliantio web site, author Valerie Forgeard delves into how this pivotal war reshaped America’s landscape, forever altering its trajectory. Click here to read the entire article, highlighting 20 transformative changes that demonstrate the depth of the Great War’s influence on the American identity

Memorial Park’s History As Site Of WWI's 1917 Houston Mutiny Commemorated

Camp Logan, Houston, TX 1917

A new historical exhibit coming to Memorial Park in Houston, TX will commemorate the anniversary of the 1917 Houston Mutiny and Riots, a World War I-era event that took place prior to the park’s establishment when it was still used as a training camp for soldiers. The area that houses Memorial Park today was once the site of Camp Logan, where more than 70,000 soldiers were trained. In July 1917, soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment-one of the four “Buffalo Soldier” regiments in the U.S. Army-were ordered to guard the construction of Camp Logan. Click here to read more, and learn how the the 106-year anniversary of the Camp Logan "mutiny" and its aftermath created national outrage, and led to long-term changes in the military justice system.

Swashbuckling WWI Correspondent Launched Career In Minneapolis

Floyd Gibbons

Floyd Gibbons blossomed into one of America’s most colorful newspaper reporters in the early 1900s — but only after getting off to a rocky start in Minneapolis. After graduating from Minneapolis Central High School in 1904, Gibbons headed to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he got expelled. He returned home in 1906 and landed newspaper jobs at the Minneapolis Daily News, from which he was fired, and at the Minneapolis Tribune, where he was stripped of his police beat and then arrested in Wisconsin. From that ignominious start, Gibbons’ fame swelled after he left Minneapolis in 1912 — becoming a renowned globetrotting foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Click here to read how Gibbons' experiences covering WWI, during which he received the Croix de Guerre for bravery from the French government, led to fame--including a ship named for him.

Selfridge Military Air Museum To Restore World War I Jenny Plane

Selfridge Military Air Museum logo

The arrival of a new plane at Selfridge Military Air Museum in Harrison Township is always exciting news no matter how many times it happens. The newest arrival is Jenny, a World War I bi-plane known as a Curtiss JN-4, which was purchased by FreeStar Financial Credit Union and is being gifted to the museum. “There are currently only seven Jenny aircraft left in the world and now our museum will have one of them,” Ed Kaminski, deputy director of the museum said, in a news release. Click here to read more, and learn how Curtiss JN-4 aircraft were used to train pilots at Selfridge Field in 1917 

Fayette County, Ohio’s Last World War I Death In Service

Homer Perdue’s headstone

Nearly eight months to the day after Armistice had been declared, Fayette County, Ohio lost its last son in World War I. Seaman Second Class Homer Perdue drowned on July 12, 1919, in the sinking of the USS Richard Bulkeley. When the U.S. entered World War I, Homer wanted to serve his country. Unfortunately, he was 37 years old; at that time, he was too old to enlist. The Selective Service Act was amended in August 1918 and expanded to cover men between the ages of 18 – 45. That same month Homer Perdue enlisted in the US Navy. Click here to read the whole story about Homer's patriotic service, and how the perils of WWI extended beyond the armistice that ended the fighting.

The American Woman Who Reported On Japan’s Entry Into World War I

Eliza Scidmore

Eliza Scidmore, an American journalist and travel writer, was in Yokohama in the summer of 1914 when World War I broke out. In late August, Japan became a partner of Great Britain and the Allies to help rout German battleships from Pacific waters. Scidmore hustled to write about the developments for The Outlook, an American magazine. This big news was just the latest chapter in Scidmore's reporting about Japan to Americans, helping them understand what was still a mysterious but growing power in Asia. However, despite a long and productive writing career, her most visible legacy in America is one that entrances Washington, DC and the nation every spring. Click here to read how author Diana Parsell discovered that Scidmore was the earliest champion of planting Japanese cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.

Westchester County, NY Resurrects 102-Year-Old World War I Memorial

Westchester WWI Memorial Rededication poster

Westchester County held a ceremony on Friday, August 4th rededicating memorial plaques and trees for those who gave their lives in World War I at the Westchester County Center. The memorial, which rings the West Lot at the County Center, was partially dismantled when New York State used the lot to erect temporary medical facilities during the height of the COVID crisis. The original memorial was first dedicated on Armistice Day, November 11, 1921. Click here to read more, and learn how the living memorial evolved over the last century, and how in this latest rebuild, all of the original 49 plaques and trees were restored.

Veteran seriously wounded during Second Battle of the Marne in WWI

Henry Weber

For years, Mark Weber listened as his family shared vague retellings of his great uncle Henry Weber's combat experiences, never able to verify the accuracy of the astonishing accounts. But once he started researching the World War I service of Henry Weber, who was inducted into the U.S. Army on Sept. 20, 1917, and sent to Camp Funston, Kansas, for training,  the story got even more remarkable. Click here to read the entire account  of Henry Weber's World War I service with the "Rock of the Marne" division, and learn how Weber was seriously wounded on July 28, 1918, and "laid in a trench for three days before he was found by someone."

Arkansas Native John Pruitt Was A True Hero Of World War I

John Henry Pruitt II

‘Tell it to the Marines” was a popular recruiting slogan during World War I. Throughout the long, distinguished history of the U.S. Marine Corps, courage, determination and love of country have always been at the heart of their training. One Arkansas native, John H. Pruitt, one of the most decorated Marines of World War I, showed this to the world when he became one of the few men to ever earn two Congressional Medals of Honor. Click here to read the whole story of Pruitt's "gallantry above and beyond the call of duty" that earned him the Medal of Honor from both the Marine Corps and the Navy.

The American Sculptor Who Rebuilt Faceless Veterans in World War I

Anna Coleman Ladd

During World War I, Anna Coleman Ladd moved to Paris and made masks for men whose physical identities had been ripped apart by the conflict. Thanks to her artistic talents, around 100 disfigured veterans were given a new lease on life. A renowned artist in her time, the American sculptor exhibited her Neoclassical works in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. Yet gallerists were never interested in the most moving aspect of her work: prosthetics she created during an 11-month stay in Paris to help mutilated soldiers returning from World War I. Click here to read the whole story, and learn how Ladd's dedication earned her France's Légion d’Honneur long after the war was over.

A Fallen Doughboy’s Well-Traveled Footlocker

Howard Lee Strohl's footlocker

Writing on his War Stories web site, David Venditta recounts that "Last spring, I posted a two-part blog about Howard Lee Strohl, an Army officer who was killed in France in the First World War. A nice surprise followed. I heard from his great-niece, a researcher of her family’s history. She had never seen the photo that prompted me to write about him – the last picture taken of him before German artillery felled him in August 1918. Nor had she seen the letter he penned to his aunt and uncle in Allentown just days before his death. But she has something of Strohl’s that has survived the last 105 years – a terrific heirloom, his footlocker." Click here to read more, and find out how a humble WWI soldier's footlocker has accompanied an American family through their tradition of military service to the nation over the last century.

What The Doughboy Really Carried In World War One

Gat Daile Doughboy snip

Travis Pike, writing on the Gat Daily web site, has a question: "Imagine you’re a twenty to-year-old 2nd L.T. in the U.S. Army. You joined the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in 1917. The Great War is raging on. You have an infantry platoon to lead, so what weapons have the Army issued you?" There is an easy answer, Pike says: "You’re clearly armed with a Springfield M1903 and an M1911, right? Maybe, but in reality, the armament of the American Doughboy was not toting M103s and M1911s into combat." Click here to read the entire article, and learn how, during America's scramble to outfit an army in 1917-18, there simply weren’t enough M1903 and M1911s to go around, so the U.S. Army had to use several alternatives to properly equip the Doughboys for combat.

U.S.-Designed Lewis Gun Made Brits Formidable Foe In World War I

Firing Lewis machine gun

Isaac Newton Lewis showed his machine gun design to several United States ordnance officers and the Secretary of War by 1912, but received no interest from the American military. His military. By then a colonel in the United States Army, Lewis retired and took the four models of his gun to Europe in 1913, just in time to be one of the most important weapons of WWI. Click here to read more, and learn how Lewis' invention, nicknamed “the Belgian Rattlesnake” by German soldiers, despite its initial rejection by the U.S. military, eventually delivered over 16,000 to American forces by May of 1918.  

Doughboy From Philomath Honored 105 Years After Ultimate Sacrifice In WWI

Snip from article in Philomath News

Homer Armstrong was a farm boy who lived with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Alex J. Brown, west of Philomath, Oregon in 1917 when the U.S. entered WWI. On July 31, 1918, he was killed in action north of the village of Cierges in France. As reported by Doughboy MIA, "His comrades buried him in a hasty battlefield grave that day, the position of which was reported to Graves Registration Service. Nevertheless, when GRS officials went looking for the grave after the war, it could not be located. “Homer remains missing to this day and is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau, France.” Click here to read more about Homer, and learn how his service was recently honored by the Doughboy Foundation during Daily Taps on July 31 — 105 years to the day after he was killed in action.

Crossword Puzzles Functioned As A Bit Of Escapism During World War I

First crossword puzzle snip

Crossword puzzlers everywhere owe their thanks to Arthur Wynne, who in 1913 created what’s often cited as the world’s first crossword puzzle. It’s tough to say definitively that Wynne invented the crossword puzzle, but does deserve credit for originating and popularizing our modern version of the crossword puzzle, which functioned as a much-needed bit of escapism for a country on the brink—and then in the thick—of World War I. Click here to read more, and learn how this first-of-its-kind was beset by two big errors: a typo in its name, and one insanely difficult clue.

World War I News Digest August 2023

Bisa Butler, Don't Tread on Me, God Damn, Let's Go quilt snip

World War I was The War that Changed the World, and its impact on the United States continues to be felt over a century later, as people across the nation learn more about and remember those who served in the Great War. Here's a collection of news items from the last month related to World War I and America.


How America Nearly Forged A Different Path In 1916

World War I: Wednesday: Ice Cream And Hospital Ships

How The Start Of WWI Changed An American Heiress’s Life

Has U.S. Ever Fought On Russian Soil? You’d Be Surprised.

Five Of America’s Best World War I Recruitment Posters

Brotherhood, Poetry, And Mental Illness During World War I

Unpacking Stories Behind Artist’s Portrayal of Harlem Hellfighters

Why U.S. Broke Diplomatic Relations With Germany In 1917

Doughboy MIA for August 2023

First Lieutenant Sidney Paul Thompson

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is First Lieutenant Sidney Paul Thompson of the 95th Aero Squadron.

Awarded France’s Croix de Guerre with Palm Shot for his actions on 5 July 1918 while flying only his third mission of the war on July 5th, 1918, our Doughboy MIA of the month is First Lieutenant Sidney Paul Thompson of the 95th Aero Squadron. Since he had such a short combat history, little is known about Lieutenant Thompson. Very few of his squadron mates mention him in their memoirs and letters, but this is what we do know of this brave flyer.

Sidney Paul Thompson was born the third child to Frederick C Thompson, a carpenter, and Mary V. Westervelt Thompson, on 23 January 1895 in Jacksonville, New York. His mother can trace her Westervelt family roots over 200 years to Epke Jacobse, an early Dutch settler of New Amsterdam, now Manhattan, New York, who came to North America from Holland in 1659. Frederick and Mary would move to Ithaca, New York after their marriage in 1880 and would give birth to a daughter Mildred in 1883 and then two boys, Harold in 1893 and Sidney in 1895. There Frederick would join the Rescue Steamer Company 2 of the Ithaca Volunteer Fire Department and work in his carpentry trade.

Sidney graduated from Ithaca High School in 1913. Though the school was destroyed by fire on 14 February 1912, in Sidney’s junior year, he still managed to finish on time to begin attending Cornell University in its Architecture program. After the United States joined the war Sidney Thompson, while a junior at Cornell, most certainly was one of the many students and faculty members who signed a petition requesting the U.S. War Department establish an aviation ground school at Cornell. This petition was approved creating the U.S. Army School of Military Aeronautics at Cornell University.

Click To Read Sidney Thompsons' Whole Story.

Would you like to be involved with solving the case of First Lieutenant Sidney Paul Thompson, and all the other Americans still in MIA status from WWI? You can! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization today, and help us bring them home! Doughboy MIA will be mounting another mission to France this summer. Help us do the best job possible and give today, with our thanks.

Merchandise from the Official
Doughboy Foundation WWI Store

Poppy Flag

WWI Poppy Flag 5’X7′

  • A Doughboy.shop Exclusive
  • Premium, Dual sided Poppy Design
  • 5’ x 7’ Digital Nylon
  • Grommets for rigging
  • Limited Edition
  • Made in USA
WWI Poppy Lapel Pin

Poppy Lapel Pin

Back In Stock!!

  • Exclusive Commemorative WW1 Poppy Lapel Pin
  • Soft enamel color design
  • Approx. 1.5 inch in dia.
  • Standard military clasp

Proceeds from the sale of these items will help build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the Doughboy Foundation.

2Lt. Fritz Winifred Alexander Sr.

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

2Lt. Fritz Winifred Alexander Sr.

Submitted by: Johnette Brooks {GA WWI African American Historian}

Story of Service

2Lt. Fritz Winfred ALEXANDER, Sr., (ATTORNEY-AT-LAW) Camilla, GA/Gary, IN, was born on 26 APR 1893 in Camilla, Ga. He was a mulatto descendant of the prominent RAMBEAU-COLLIER-ALEXANDER Families; who have their own cemetery nearby in Seminole County. By 1910, his siblings were already working as a Public School Teachers; a Hotel Porter and an Engraving Manager.

By the time Fritz registered for the WWI Army's Selective Service on 5 JUN 1917, he was age 25 and a student at Howard University. He passed the pre-qualifying army examination for medical, mental, moral and social fitness. He was inducted on 1 NOV 1917 into the Officers Reserve Corp.

He joined the Officers Training Corp (OTC) with the first 999 that were commissioned First Lieutenant Officers in SEP 1917. He was transferred to Camp Meade for additional training on Heavy Artillery in NOV 1917. June 5, 1918, they set sail on the USS George Washington from Hoboken, N.J. He arrived in Brest, France on 15 June and served with the 368th Infantry, Company L until 11 Feb 1919.

Read Fritz Winifred Alexander Sr.'s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.