Below is a history that was obtained from the U.S. Army Military History Institute located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
The 51st Artillery was organized at Fort Adams, Rhode Island, in July 1917 under the designation of the 6th Provisional Regiment, Coast Artillery Corps. The men came from twelve Companies from seven different Forts within the North and Middle Atlantic Coast Artillery Districts. All twelve companies came from the Coast Defenses of Boston, MA, C.D. of Narragansett Bay, RI, C.D. of Portland, ME, and of the C. D. of the Delaware. The Batteries that formed the 6th Provisional Regiment were as follows:
|Headquarters Company||2nd Co. at Ft. Mott, NJ formed in June of 1917
|Supply Company||2nd Co. at Ft. Mott, NJ formed in June of 1917
|Battery A||1st Co. at Ft. McKinley, ME originally organized in 1808
|Battery B||2nd Co. at Ft. Greble, RI originally organized in 1901
|Battery C||3rd Co. at Ft. Strong, MA originally organized in 1847|
|Battery D||5th Co. at Ft. McKinley, ME organized in April of 1917|
|Battery E||1st Co. at Ft. Preble, ME originally organized in 1901
|Battery F||4th Co. at Ft. Williams, ME originally organized in 1901|
|Battery G||3rd Co. at Ft. Williams, ME originally organized in 1861
|Battery H||2nd Co. at Ft. Williams, ME originally organized in 1812|
|Battery I||2nd Co. at Ft. Andrews, MA originally organized in 1907|
|Battery K||1st Co. Ft. Banks, MA originally organized in 1813|
|Battery L||3rd Co. at Ft. Andrews, MA originally organized in 1907|
|Battery M||4th Co. at Ft. Andrews, MA originally organized in 1916|
The regiment left New York August 13, 1917, for France aboard the HMS Andiana with 108 Officers and 1,745 enlisted men. They arrived in England on September 2, 1917, after having called at Halifax, N.S. and Bantry Bay, Ireland on the journey. The later call was caused by the presence of submarines off the Irish Coast. The Regiment left England and arrived at La Harve, France, on the 16th of September 1917. The regiment was transported and arrived at Mailly le Camp, Aube, September 18, 1917. The regiment remained at Mailly le Camp during the winter, obtained artillery, materiel, tractors, trucks, etc., and engaged in intensive training.
The 2nd Battalion was ordered to Bordeaux for the purpose of instructing new Coast Artillery troops arriving from the States in the late part of the winter. The 6th Provisional Regiment was designated the 51st Artillery C.A.C. in the later part of February 1918.
The 1st and 3rd Battalions were ordered to the Toul Sector in the middle of April. These battalions were operated separately under the VIII Army (French) and later under the 1st and 2nd American Armies as Army Artillery. They engaged in numerous actions including the Secheprey raid April 21, 1918, assisting the 26th Division in that operation.
In August the Coast Artillery in France was reorganized, the 2nd Battalion composed of Batteries F, G and H was transferred to another regiment, as were Batteries C, D and E. Batteries I and K had formerly been transferred in organizing the Howitzer Regiment C.A.C.
The new and present organization of the 51st Artillery are as:
1st BattalionBattery A / formerly Battery A, 51st Artillery C.A.C.
Battery B / formerly Battery B, 51st Artillery C.A.C.
2nd BattalionBattery C / formerly Battery L, 51st Artillery C.A.C.
Battery D / formerly Battery M, 51st Artillery C.A.C.
3rd BattalionBattery E / formerly Battery E, 53rd Artillery, C.A.C.
Battery F / formerly Battery G, 53rd Artillery C.A.C.
Headquarters Co. / formerly Headquarters Co. 51st Artillery C.A.C.
Supply Co. / formerly supply Co., 51st Artillery C.A.C.
The new 3rd Battalion located and remained in the Verdun Sector until after the Armistice.
In the early morning of the 12th of September 1918, all battalions engaged in the St. Mehiel Offensive and later advanced their guns into the St. Mehiel and Thiaucourt Sectors. Numerous artillery actions followed during the period of the Argonne Offensive, in which the 1st and 2nd Battalions participated by firing on enemy gun positions, roads, etc., in their rear, and the 3rd Battalion engaged in the frontal attack.
A third Offensive was planned in the early part of November 1918, and the artillery preparation was in progress when the Armistice became effective on the 11th of November 1918. Our farewell salvo was fired two minutes before this hour on which the Armistice became effective. While serving in France the 1st Battalion was equipped with the French 240mm tractor drawn guns, the 2nd Battalion with 270mm mortars transported by use of narrow gauge railways and the 3rd Battalion with the British 8" Howitzers, tractor drawn. Shortly after the Armistice the Regiment turned all its heavy equipment over to the Ordnance Department and returned after various delays enroute caused by congestion of traffic, to the United States, leaving Brest, France on January 26, 1919. All emergency men were demobilized during February and the remainder, mostly Regular Army, are still serving their Regiment.
The Regiment has been equipped with 8" Howitzers, Holt Caterpillar tractors and the standard F.W.D. trucks, White Reconnaissance cars, GMC and Dodge cars and motorcycles, practically on the same plan as during our service at the front. The Regiment was temporally stationed at Fort Hamilton, New York, after its return from France. In October 1919, the regiment changed station and is now stationed at Camp Jackson, South Carolina.
In addition to the experience a solider in the Heavy Mobile Artillery is bound to obtain during his service, with various kinds of motor vehicles, including their principle, construction, operation, care and preservation etc, a number of schools are open for all enlisted men. The schools now in operation include, Motor Mechanics, Machine Shop, Clerical, Music, Singing, Chauffeurs, Telephone, Educational) Grammar and High School), Carpenter, and Plumbing, and others covering practically all useful and compensating trades.
In connection with Motorized Artillery radio, telephones, surveying, instruments etc., are used in obtaining information and computing firing data. All soldiers in this branch become familiar with these instruments and their knowledge, with a bit of voluntary effort and perseverance on the part of the individual soldier. The Regiment, by the service it rendered on the front in the World War, earned a good name and by virtue of its service was retained in the Service as a permanent organization. The Regimental Colors carry a distinctive Regimental Insignia and the names of the Battles in which it participated.
The 51st Artillery, C.A.C. took part in the following battles:
|Toul sector, France||1st Battalion, 10 April-11 September 1918|
|2d Battalion, 15 April-11 September 1918|
|Verdun sector, France||3d Battalion, 27 April-11 Sept. 1918; 17 Sept.-26 October 1918|
|St. Mihiel offensive, France||1st 2d, and 3d Battalions, 12 September-16 September 1918|
|Thiaucourt sector, France||1st Battalion, 17 September-11 November 1918|
|2d Battalion, 17 September-29 October 1918|
|Meuse-Argonne offensive, France||3d Battalion, 27 October-11 November 1918|
A 240mm gun emplacement of the 51st Artillery C.A.C.
The newly formed 51st Artillery received its training at O&T Center No. 6 at Mailly and Haussimont, France. The 51st was one regiment of the 39th Artillery Brigade C.A.C. During August 30-September 16, 1918 units of the 51st were at the disposal of the 1st Army during the St-Mihiel operation. The 51st used 240mm guns, 270mm mortars and 8" Howitzers. Also they were with the 1st Army 26 September-11 November 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne operations.
A detachment of 8" Howitzers of the 51st were with the 2nd Army from October 12-November 11, 1918 and again with the 2nd Army November 12-April 15, 1919 during Post-Armistice activities.
The 3rd Battalion (8" Howitzers) of the 51st Artillery was with the III Corps during the Meuse-Argonne Front from September 14-November 11, 1918.
September 17-November 16, 1918 saw the 1st Battalion (6- 240mm guns) and the 2nd Battalion (8-270mm guns), 51st Artillery with the IV Corps in the Toul Sector and Thiaucourt Zone.
Units of the 51st Artillery were with the VI Corps during post-armistice activities from November 13-April 10, 1919.
The 51st Artillery returned to New York 3 February 1919 aboard the USS Agamemnon. Regular army men were at Fort Hamilton New York and the rest were discharged. The Skeletonized 51st was retained on active service as part of the newly formed 39th Artillery Brigade at Camp Jackson, South Carolina in October 1919. The 39th Brigade (tractor-drawn artillery) was made up of the 44th and 51st Regiments of 8-in howitzers and the 56th Regiment of 155mm G.P.F. guns.
Cpl. R. N. Noonan, left side of the door crouched, rining in a French 40 and 8 car.
I was contacted by Richard N. Noonan, Jr. about his father who was with HQ. CO. of the 51st Artillery. He writes:
My father, Richard Nicholas Noonan was born in Bridesburg, PA which is a suburb of Philadelphia, near the former Frankford Arsenal. I believe the address was 4515 Salmon Street. He lived with his father and mother and brother Joseph. His father was a Conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and was killed at work when my father was a boy.
My father attended Catholic School for a time. He told me he got very angry with one of his teachers, and subsequently ran away from home.
During WW I, he enlisted in the U. S. Army, in the 51st Coast Artillery at Fort Adams, Rhode Island. He was shipped off to France. He became the Battalion Commander's driver, achieving the rank of Corporal. He said he drove a 1915 Cadillac open car. The biggest challenge was dodging shell holes. He said his commander wore glasses and frequently misplaced them--most often on the top of his head, as my father would respectfully indicate when asked.
At home, we had a large book of photographs entitled: "The First World War Illustrated," edited by Lawrence Stallings. The book was published in the 1930's. In that book was a photograph of a group of men in uniform occupying a French Railways (SNCF) 40 and 8 car. He told me he is the man in the left area of the door opening. He is the one waving his campaign hat with his right hand to the right of and slightly above his body, just above another man who is seated on the edge of the car and is also holding out his hat. I have compared the image my father indicated with other photos of him taken a few years later. His statement is accurate.
A couple of years ago I was watching a History Channel program entitled "Trains Unlimited." The episode covered trains at war, and this photograph was shown. I have a copy of that program. I located the book again (my father's was apparently lost) at the California Military Museum in Sacramento. The Librarian was kind enough to lend me the book so I could have a negative and prints made. He said he was injured in a gas attack, and received a would in the back of his neck from a piece of shrapnel. There was a scar from that wound.
He was discharged after the Armistice and returned home to Philadelphia. He told me his mother was upset that her son had not been so badly battered as the other boys who came back from the war. I don't think he had a very happy childhood or adult home life. In contrast, I had a good childhood in a very stable loving home. He was a marathon runner in Philadelphia, winning several trophies. He went to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a clerk. He subsequently enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Haiti and Santo Domingo. He was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1926 in San Diego, CA. He did not return home until 1947 and that was only for a brief visit. He had virtually no contact with his brother after he left. I never met him, either.
My father spent the rest of his life in San Diego. He went to night school and earned his high school diploma. He also specialized in bookkeeping at which he was very good. He worked for a furniture manufacturing company in the 1930's. He ran his own business during WW II, while also serving in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. After the war he worked for another furniture company, tried his hand at selling real estate, and owned his own three-axle dump truck, hauling asphalt and aggregate around Southern California. His biggest project was working on the first freeway, part of US Highway 101, between Oceanside and Carlsbad. He then worked for Merrifield Trucking Company until he retired. He died in May, 1982, of a heart attack at age 85.
He spoke little about his military service. However, he was a long-time member of the American Legion. He also preserved his records and medals, receiving one some time later from the French Government naming him a "Soldat de La Marne."
I would welcome contacts from other descendants of veterans of this unit. Richard N. Noonan, Jr. Elk Grove, CA
This dog tag is of the 51st Artillery and was found near Romagne-sous-Montfaucon (Where the Meuse-Argonne cemetery is located) by Rob de Soete of Holland. It is somewhat unusual in that it is square shape and not that of the more common round tags. The tags name cannot be read but it does say "Med Dept 51 Arty CAC" This dog tag is now in his friends museum.
I received this E-mail from a gentleman in Holland.
Dear Mr. Hartwell,
Using Yahoo I accidentally ran into your web-site concerning your relative who served at the CAC during WWI. With great interest I read parts of your site. The reason for this contact is as follows. I myself are interested in WWI too and especially in the efforts of the AEF during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. As I life in Holland we frequently visit the Meuse-Argonne-battlefield. During one of those visits we found a dog tag belong to a member of the Med. Dept. of the 51st CAC. Name: Willard H. Ra????, As I am trying to find more information about this person I tried many sources but without luck. As I ran into your site at least the regimental history was explained. This also explained why we did find this Dog tag at this place. But I am still looking for the name of the person. My question: As you seem to have quite some information about the CAC, do you have a roster of the 51st CAC in which you can find this name? It would be great if you could help any further on this person. If you have further questions or need more information, please let me know
Rob de Soete
||I received this photo and E-mail from Tim Reneau in reference to his grandfather, Jesse Roy Reneau, who enlisted in the United States Army in March of 1914. Jesse was a member of the 3rd Co. at Ft. Andrews, MA and was then in Battery L, 6th Provisional Regiment when it was formed and then in Battery C, 51st Artillery when it was formed. Jesse was honorably discharged in 1920 and later applied for disability with the VA. He had been exposed to a mustard gas attack during combat according to his medical records sent by the VA. Also late in 1918 he became sick with influenza and survived, while so many around the world succumbed to this tragic epidemic. At the time of separation from the Army Jesse was listed as Pvt. 1cl and was in HQ Company.
P.S. I attach the only photo I have in my possession of my grandpa while in his service uniform. I do not know the date in which this photo was taken nor whom the other individuals might be. Jesse Roy Reneau, my grandpa is pictured sitting.
I received an e-mail from Skip Theberge of the NOAA Central Library some information about individuals from the Coast and Geodetic Survey who had served in the Coast Artillery Corps during WWI. Many thanks to Skip for providing this information.
I applaud your interest in the history of those who served. I have been transcribing rough service records of Coast and Geodetic Survey personnel who served in WWI. We had a number of individuals serve in the Coast Artillery. I will try to provide you with copies of their service for your information. A sample is below.
NOAA Central Library
On Sept. 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, Robert J. Hole was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the War Department. Previous to his transfer he was a commissioned officer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey, with the rank of Aid. Effective Sept. 24, 1917, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps of the U.S. Army. From Oct. 5 to Nov. 27, 1917, he was at the Coast Artillery School at Fortress Monroe, Va., and on Dec. 27 he embarked at New York for service in France. From Feb. 12 to April 10, 1918, he was with Battery "I", 51st Artillery, C.A.C., located at Mailly - le -camp and Haussimont, France, where he served in regular battery duty and instructed in Fire control and Drill on 8-inch howitzers. From April 11 to August, 1918, he was with Provisional Howitzer Regiment, 4th Battalion, where he was assigned as Orientation Officer. This organization went into the front lines near Ft. Troyon on the first of May, 1918. Various positions along the River Meuse were occupied. The name of the organization was changed in August to the 3rd Battalion of the 51st Artillery, C.A.C. The Battalion to which he was attached was actively engaged from April to October, 1918, with the French Artillery, aiding in general "fixed front" bombardments until the St. Mihiel attack but afterwards participated in the advance in the Argonne region under American command. He was promoted to First Lieutenant, C.A.R.C. on Sept 21, 1918. On Feb. 6, 1919, he was honorably discharged from the U. S. Army at Camp Dix, N.J., and on the following day he returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey.
John Smith service number 254132, from Tampa, Florida enlisted into the Regular Army at Terre Haute, Indiana on 28 November, 1916 at the age of 21. Pvt. Smith was stationed with the 5th Company, C.A.C. at Ft. Moultrie, South Carolina. On August 31, 1917 he was moved to the 2nd Company, C.A.C. at Charleston, SC and on 6 December 1917 transferred to Auto Repair Detachment 1, C.A.C. On 13 January 1918 this unit sailed to France aboard the HMS Carpathia (the ship that went to the rescue of the sinking of the HMS Titanic) with 4 Officers and 177 enlisted men.
On 9 April 1918 Pvt. Smith was transferred to Headquarters Company, 51st Artillery and saw action in the Toul Sector and the St. Mihiel offensive. On 21 December 1918 Pvt. Smith went to Battery C, 51st Artillery and remained there until his discharge on 3 December, 1919. He was promoted to Corporal on September 13, 1918 reduced to Private on 2 November 1918 and made Wagoner on 22 June 1919. Wagoner Smith returned to the States with the 51st and upon his discharge from the 51st at Camp Jackson, South Carolina on 3 December 1919 he re-enlisted back into the army. It is not known what his service was after that date.
Charles W. Spencer: Service No. 581410 was 18 years old and was born in Lewiston, Maine and entered the Maine National Guard at Ft. Preble, Maine where he was in the 3rd Company, C.A.C. On 27 March 1917 he made Corporal and was advanced to Sgt. 1 July 1917. He was briefly with HQ Company of the 101st Engineers from 23 August until 30 August 1917 then went back to his former unit the 3rd Co. CAC ME NG. He was reduced back to Private 1 March 1918 and again to Corporal on the same day. On 25 May 1918 he was transferred to Supply Co. 54th Artillery and sailed on the Baltic 16 March 1919 for France. At some point in France he was transferred as a replacement to 7th Battery, Howitzer Regiment which later was renamed Battery E, 51st Artillery. While with this regiment he participated in the Meuse-Argonne and the Defensive Sector. On 23 October 1918 was wounded in action probably in the Verdun sector as that was where the 3rd Battalion of the 51st Artillery was at that time. He returned to the States on 20 March 1919 and was Honorably discharged on 3 April 1919.
Charles W. Spencer, Service No. 582519: Charles enlisted into the Maine National Guard on 1 June 1917 at the age of 26. At that time he lived in Kennebunk, Maine and this was also his place of birth. He reported for Federal Service 25 July 1917 to the 13th Company, C.A.C. ME NG at Ft. Baldwin, Maine. On Christmas Day 1917 he was transferred to Battery E, 54th Artillery until he was again transferred to Battery D, 51st Artillery while in France on 17 May 1918. While with Battery E he participated in the St. Mihiel Offensive, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the Defensive Sector. He served overseas from 22 March 1918 to 14 January 1919. He was honorably discharged on 22 January 1919.
Ira Oval Hinton was born in Centerville, Iowa on November 8, 1893. During 1917 while living in Hammond, Indiana Ira enlisted in the Army. He was eventually assigned as a Wagoner to Battery D of the 51st Artillery, C.A.C. and served in combat in France with the 51st Artillery. After his return to the States after the war Ira married Grace Marian Tetlow on March 24, 1920 in Taunton, MA.
On December 22 just three days before Christmas of 1931 Ira passed away in the Hines VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois. The Lake, County [Indiana] Appropriation for Burial of Soldiers paid for the funeral of Ira O. Hinton.
John E. Burroughs during 1917
John E. Burroughs shortly before he passed away in 1971
|John E. Burroughs was born on September 27, 1889 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Before 1917 John worked as a motorman and as a lumber finisher and was single. As America entered into the war in Europe in the spring of 1917, John felt the call to serve his Country and enlisted into the Army.
On February 19, 1917 John Burroughs entered the Army at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, MO. Pvt. Burroughs was assigned to the Coast Artillery Corps branch of the Army and was sent to the 1st Company, Ft. Banks, Massachusetts. Then on April 19, 1917 as the 6th Provisional Regiment was being formed for duty in France Pvt. Burroughs was reassigned to that regiment. The 6th Provisional Artillery Regiment consisting of 108 Officers and 1,745 enlisted men sailed for France on August 14, 1917 as the first Coast Artillery unit to go to France. That day the 6th Provisional Regiment sailed on the British ship the HMS Andania.
On April 5, 1918 as the 6th Provisional Regiment was reorganized Pvt. Burroughs was then reassigned to Battery E of the newly formed 51st Artillery, C.A.C. and then again during another re-structuring on June 17, 1918 of the 51st Artillery was in Battery M and still again for the last time ended up in Battery D, 51st Artillery, C.A.C.
On February 28, 1918 while in France Pvt. Burroughs received his 1st Class Gunners rating. On April 12, 1918 Pvt. Burroughs gets his first baptism of action on the front lines in action along the Toul Sector. From the April 12 through June 17 was the length of time that his battery was in action for the first time. Then on September 12, 1918 his battery fired during the St. Mihiel Offensive and then again was moved to the Argonne Forrest to take place in the great Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which opened with a great Artillery Barrage in the early morning hours of September 26, 1918.
On December 3, 1918 after the war had ended Burroughs was advanced in rating to Corporal. During the later parts of January 1919 the 51st Artillery received orders to return to the States. On February 3, 1919 the 51st Artillery reached New York and went to Ft. Hamilton, New York for demobilization. Cpl. Burroughs was then reassigned to duty with the Railway Artillery Reserve for 4 more months. On May 31st 1919 at Ft. Hamilton, Cpl. Burroughs after serving 2-years service was discharged from the Army by Major J. P. McCashey, jr. C.A.C.
Captain Claude Hendon, C.A.C. 1919
|Claude C. Hendon was born on November 9, 1891 in Oklahoma. Claude and his younger brother Robert R. Hendon, jr., who was 3 years younger, both went to law school and then in the spring of 1917 America went to war in France. Both brothers enlisted in the Army at the same time and Robert would make a career in the US Army and retired as a Brigadier General.
As America was short of officers, Claude was selected as such and became a 1st Lt. with Battery D of the 51st Artillery, C.A.C. Lt. Claude Hendon served with Battery D in battle in France and was promoted at wars end to the rank of Captain. Upon his return to America and discharge from the army Claude returned to his former profession of a lawyer.
By January of 1920 both of the Hendon brothers worked and lived together in Washington DC as lawyers in their own practice. After Claude returned from France and was out of the Army, he and Robert rented a place on Pennsylvania Avenue N. W. in Washington, D.C. and were still both single at the time.
By 1921 Claude had turned to politics and moved back home to Oklahoma where he was elected and served 5 terms as the County Attorney of Pottawatomie County, OK. Claude was married to Dana Glass Fairchild of Lufkin, Texas on February 4, 1928. Dana was 9 years younger than Claude and together they produced three sons, William, Robert and Claude Jr. Claude and Dana owned a home at 522 W. Ford St. in Shawnee, Oklahoma, which was valued at $4,500 in April of 1930. About June of 1929 Claude and Dana had their first son, and he was named Claude jr. after his father.
During his career, Claude also worked as Special Counsel to Oklahoma Governor William H. Murrary, served in the Oklahoma Tax Commission and later was Head of the Oklahoma State Industrial Commission. Between appointments, Hendon practiced law with his brother, Scott Hendon in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Claude C. Hendon passed away on September 30, 1963.
|Battery D, Position, Ravine St. Jean, near Fliery. Lt. Hendon has also written, "Return to 1st Lt. Claude Hendon, 51st Art, CAC, Ft. Hamilton, NY" on both of these photos.||This photo was identified by 1st Lt. Hendon on the back in his handwriting as, "1st firing in action of Battery D, 51st Art., 270mm mortar, Ravine St. Jean, near Flirey. Firing on a casemated 150mm German Battery."|
||The photo on the left is also identified by Lt. Hendon as, "Driving; 1st Lt. Claude Hendon, On right; 1st Lt. Walter G. Miller, On running board; 1st Lt. Louis M. Coln, 51st Arty, CAC."
The photos of Lt. Hendon were contributed by his son Bill Hendon. Bill Hendon also has 4 maps that his father brought back from the war which include Pannes, St.Mihiel, Flirey and other towns. The maps are about 3 feet square and are labeled with the sectors and the towns and "Secret". The all have trenches marked and dates and some indicate the location of batteries on particular dates.
Fred “W” Grohn was a Private in Battery A, of the 51st Artillery, C.A.C. Fred Grohn’s story begins with his middle initial of W, which as it turns out is not his actual name. Fred’s real given name is Fred John Grohn and the story goes like this. After the war Fred told of an incident that occurred early in his army days. One payday Fred was in line to be paid, and the ledger he was required to sign had the typo of Fred W. Grohn typed out where he was to sign for his pay. Fred did inform the finance office about this but he was told he had to sign it the way it was printed otherwise pay might be withheld for everyone in his unit. That typo of his middle initial would follow Fred for the rest of his life and even after he had passed away.
Grohn enlisted into the United States Army at the age of eighteen in his hometown of Chicago. On December 13, 1916 Grohn was inducted into the army at the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri. Pvt. Grohn was given his service number of 254 087 and was assigned duty within the Army’s Coast Artillery branch and sent to Ft. Moultrie, Charleston, SC. Pvt. Grohn was qualified as Marksmanship Gunner on October 19, 1917.
Grohn volunteered for service with the A.E.F. and sailed for Europe on January 14, 1918 according to information on his discharge papers. Usually the dates of service outside the United States, is the sailing date of the ship he would have sailed on. From this piece of information I compared this to a known list of ships sailing by date and find that there are two ships he would likely have had sailed on. On the manifests for the USS Agamemnon and the HMS Carpathia there were units listed as January Replacements consisting of 5 officers and 250 enlisted men aboard the Agamemnon and 2 officers and 197 enlisted men on the Carpathia. The Agamemnon sailed on January 13 and the Carpathia sailed on January 15, so it is probable that Grohn sailed on one of these two ships.
It is likely that as the 6th Provisional Regiment was re-organized in the latter parts of February 1918, Pvt. Grohn was then attached to Battery A, 51st Artillery. What is known for fact is that Pvt. Grohn served with Battery A during actions at Seicheprey from April 21-22 and again at the St. Mihiel Offensive September 12-13, and finally during the Pont-a-Mousson actions from September 13 through the Armistice on November 11, 1918.
Pvt. Grohn would return to the United States with the 51st Artillery. On February 3, 1919 the entire 51st Artillery boarded the USS Agamemnon, which may have been the second time Grohn sailed in this ship. Once returned to the States, part of the 51st Artillery was demobilized and Grohn’s status was reverted to Army Reserve on June 9, 1919. Pvt. Grohn was later Honorably Discharged from the Army on June 4, 1920.
On February 7, 1922 Fred Grohn gave a Personal Affidavit to the United States Veterans Bureau, District 8, Chicago, IL. Even then the “Claimant’s” name was typed incorrectly as “Fred W. Grohn” and he did sign it as Fred W. Grohn. Likely this affidavit was given due to a health claim. In Fred’s own words this was his story.
I enlisted at Chicago, IL, December 13, 1916 and was shipped to St. Louis. From there to Ft. Moultrie, Charleston, SC. I volunteered in the American Expeditionary Forces for overseas service. From there I went to New York, then to Glasgow, Scotland, and from there to Winchester and Southampton, England. We boarded ship for LeHarve, France. From there we went to the Marne, and we were attached to the French 8th Army. Then we were ordered to the Front on or about April 3, 1918 and I was on the Front until November 15, 1918. On or about September 12, 1918 I was gassed at Bernecourt [sp] and I was treated for same at the First Aid Station there. November 15, 1918 we were ordered back home, but there were no trains available for us. So we marched from the city of Pont-a-Mousson on or about November 15, 1918 until sometime around the first of January 1919 to the city of Wasce [sp]. There we board a train for Brest, France. From that long hike I had, I was bothered with my feet, for which I was treated at the Infirmary at Brest. Then we sailed for the States the last part of January 1919, and we landed in Hoboken, NJ. From there we went to Camp Mills, and from there to Ft. Hamilton, NY. On account of my feet disability I was detailed as a Switch Board Operator. Later in June I was sent to Camp Grant, IL to be furloughed to the Regular Army Reserve. I came out of service unable to do any work of any kind, and was under the doctor’s care, for which I have affidavit here. I was receiving twelve dollars every six months as Reserve pay of which I only received two checks amounting to twenty-four dollars in all. Then I believe Congress passed a bill that there would be no more Reserve, so I received a special delivery letter from Washington with my honorable discharge. I received my medal with three clasps, The Meuse Argonne, St. Mihiel Drive and the Defensive Sector. I am married and have a baby one and one-half years old, and I do not see any way I can support them. In the latter part of 1919 I was sent to the Marine Hospital with unimproved discharge. In September of 1921, I was sent to the 47th & Drexel Hospital. Transferred from there to the Speedway Hospital, and the Doctors at all three hospitals could do nothing for my Trench Feet, which they call it, and which was caused in France by the wet mud and water and exposure that I have been through. Lt. Colonel Niles of the 51st Coast Artillery and Private Meyers of my Company could give me affidavit stating that I was gassed and having trouble with my feet, but I can not locate these men, that is why I can not furnish affidavits from comrades of my Company.
Signed Fred W. Grohn.
6240 South Sangamon St.
Fred Grohn was the son of Henry P. and Fredericka Kessler Grohn. Fred was born on June 7, 1898. In the spring of 1910 the Henry Grohn family lived on Dearborn Street in Chicago, IL. At the time Henry and Fredericka had 4 children, eldest son Fred, daughter Helen and sons Clarence and Harold.
In early 1920 while Fred Grohn was still in the Army Reserves he was married to Lillian Pearl Goddard. In January of 1920 Fred and Lillian lived in the home of Lillian’s parents, Charlie and Alice Goddard on Drake Avenue in Chicago. Charlie Goddard was English and worked as a paper cutter in a print shop and Fred Grohn was working as a conductor for the Chicago street railway system.
By 1930 Fred and Lillian were now renting a home on West 64th Street in Chicago. Fred was now a policeman working for the States Attorney’s Office. Fred was a Chicago policeman from October 22, 1922 until he retired on June 26, 1949. At the time they had one daughter named Frances who was born about 1920. Fifteen years later Fred and Lillian had a son named Wayne who contacted me for help in piecing together his father’s service history. Frances and Wayne would be the only children born to Fred and Lillian. Later in life Lillian passed away and then Fred remarried. Fred’s second wife was named Mae Murphy.
During Fred Grohn’s Chicago police career he made at least one arrest that made the Chicago Daily Tribune news. On November 6, 1930 Sergeant Fred Grohn was off duty and heard of a woman being attacked over the police radio. The woman was 24-year old Mary Ruane who was working as a maid in the home of Judge Howard Hayes who was a Chicago Municipal Judge. Miss Ruane had been attacked by Willie Crochran a 27-year old male in an alley near Judge Hayes home at 4840 Kimbark Avenue. Upon hearing the report on his radio Sgt. Grohn came to her aid and then arrested Crochran at the corner of 47th Street and Kenwood Avenue. Miss Ruane then identified Crochran as her assailant.
All through out his life Fred Grohn was trying to get the army payday mistake with his middle name cleared up. On September 22, 1942 he had Fred H. Raddaty, a schoolmate who had known him for the past 34-years, write a notarized document stating that his name was in fact Fred John Grohn.
Fred “W” John Grohn would pass away on March 15th 1971 in Hollywood, Broward County, Florida. He is buried in the Cedar Park Cemetery in Chicago, IL. Mae his second wife would survive until her death in April of 1977.
Fred Grohn circa 1920 shown in his streetcar conductors uniform. The child he is holding is likely his daughter Francis.
Fred Grohn’s Chicago Police Retired Shield. Badge No. 870
Photos of Fred Grohn his WWI Victory Medal and Police Shield were shared by his son Wayne Grohn.
Robert A. Ramsey was born about July of 1895 in Great Falls, Montana. On September 22, 1917 Ramsey enlisted into the Regular Army at the Columbus Barracks in Columbus, Ohio. Ramsey sailed for France December 26, 1917 aboard the President Grant as a Private with the 21st Engineers, which was a light railway unit. While with the 21st Engineers Ramsey fought in the St. Mihiel and Muse-Argonne actions. Six days before the end of the war on November 5, 1918 he was transferred to Battery B of the 51st Artillery, CAC. He would return to the States with the 51st Artillery on February 3, 1919. Ramsey was Honorably discharged on February 25, 1919.
Julius James O'Hara was born on March 25, 1894 in Macon, Georgia. When he enlisted into the Army on December 8, 1916 he was living in Cleveland, Ohio. He entered the army at the Columbus Barracks and was assigned to the Coast Artillery Branch of the Army. Pvt. O'Hara was then assigned to the 3rd Company at Fort Greble, Rhode Island until July 15, 1917 when he was reassigned to the 2nd Company at Ft. Greble. He was with the 2nd Company until August 10, 1917 when he was assigned and sailed overseas on August 13, 1917 with the 6th Provisional Regiment, Coast Artillery Corps. While in France the 6th Provisional Regiment was reorganized and formed the 51st Artillery where Pvt. O'Hara was placed into Battery B of the 51st Artillery then on the line in France. The 51st Artillery returned to the States on February 3, 1919 and Pvt. O'Hara was with Battery B of the 51st Artillery until September 6 of 1919 when he was sent to the 2nd Heavy Mobile Ordnance Repair Shop. He was advanced from Private to Private First Class on January 10, 1919 and advanced to Wagoner on June 11, 1919 then back to Private First Class on June 20, 1919 and finally advanced to Corporal on November 13, 1919. Pvt. O'Hara participated with the 51st Artillery in the St. Mihiel actions, and the Defensive Sector.
Julius J. O'Hara was Honorably Discharged from the Army on June 4, 1920. O'Hara passed away on November 2, 1954 and is buried in Section J, Site 171 of the Ft. Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.
Dog tag of Julius J. O'Hara
This side reads
"51 ART C.A.C. 148147"
Julius J. O'Hara
Fifty-six years after the death of Julius J. O'Hara a man in Chicago was using a metal detector in a Chicago Park and finds a square flat object. After cleaning off the dirt he finds it is the dog tag of Pvt. Julius J. O'Hara. How his dog tag was lost in the Chicago park so many ears later will forever remain a mystery but if it were not for his dag tag being found his story may have never been remembered.
Perry S. Johnson was born about 1882 in Doniphan, Missouri. Just at the start of the Spanish-American War in 1898 Perry S. Johnson enlisted into the United States Volunteers and fought in Luzon, Philippines with Company B of the 38th Infantry USV during the Philippine-American War, or commonly known as the Philippine Insurrection, which lasted from February 4, 1899-July 4, 1902. U.S. Volunteer units raised specifically for the Philippine Insurrection were the Eleventh U.S. Volunteer Cavalry and the Twenty-sixth through Forty-ninth U.S. Volunteer Infantry. African Americans served in the Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth U.S. Volunteer Infantry.
Once his volunteer service was ended with the army Johnson returned to civilian life in the Portland, Maine area. On November 22, 1917 at the age of 35, Perry Johnson enlisted for a second time into the Regular Army at Fort McKinley, Maine as a Private. At Ft. McKinley he was placed into the 1st Company, and was advanced to Sergeant on January 9, 1918. While at Ft. McKinley his unit was transformed into the 6th Provisional Artillery Regiment and was part of the first 3 Army Artillery Regiments made up of Coast Artillery Corps men to sail to France. The 1st Company at Ft. McKinley was transformed into Battery A, 6th Provisional Regiment.
On August 14, 1917 the 6th Provisional Regiment sailed aboard the HMS Andania with 108 officers and 1,745 enlisted men. Once in France the 6th Provisional Regiment was reorganized and became the 51st Artillery, CAC. Sgt. Perry Johnson would have been in Battery A, 51st Artillery, CAC.
Sgt. Johnson remained with the 51st during the St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne Offensive actions as well as when the 51st was on the line in the Defensive Sector. Once the war ended Sgt. Johnson returned to the States on February 4, 1919. On April 11, 1919 Sgt. Johnson was stationed at Fort Williams, Maine. On May 5, 1919 he was Honorably Discharged and then re-enlisted back into the regular army. Sgt. Perry S. Johnson died on July 18, 1921 at Fort Williams, Maine, and family legend has it that some of the effects of the war were partially responsible for his death.
He was buried in the Fort McKinley, Maine Cemetery in plot B27. Later his body was moved to the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, NY, Section O, Site 37533.
Ninety-six years have passed since Corporal George N. White last had this dog tag around his neck. In March of 2014 this dogtag was found by Michael Toussaint who lives in the Northeast of France near the city of Gezoncourt. Michael finds bits of metal with a metal detector and when they can be identified such as this dog tag the goal is to return these found items back to a family member if one can be found. Such is the case with this dog tag. The only information it can tell us is that it once belonged to George N. White who was a member of the 1st Company CAC. He had once been a Private and then was advanced in grade to Corporal, as can be seen from the letters "PVT." that have been stamped out and "CORPL" stamped under the ones marked out.
From this information a story of who George N. White might be can be discovered. First we need to discover who the 1st Company CAC was. The history of the 1st Company is this. They were formed in 1901 when the Coast Artillery Corps was formed from the Artillery units of the Army. Below are the station list from 1901 through 1924:
|1901 at Fort Dade, Florida||1902 at Fort DeSoto, Florida||1907 at Fort Armstrong, Territory of Hawaii|
|1908 at Fort Levett, Maine||1910 at Fort McKinley, Maine||1916 temporarily at Fort Sam Houston|
|1916 were the 1st Company at Fort McKinley, Maine||1917 were the 1st Company, Coast Defenses of Portland, Maine||1917 became Battery A, 6th Provisional Artillery|
|1918 formed into Battery A, 51st Artillery, CAC while in France||1922 1st Company, CAC||1924 Again were Battery A 51st Artillery, Tractor Drawn at Fort Eustice, VA|
So the question of how this dog tag came to be found near Gezoncourt, France can be answered from discovering that the 1st Co. CAC became Battery A, 6th Provisional Regiment. That unit sailed to France on August 13, 1917, aboard the HMS Andiana, and later that unit was reorganized and became Battery A of the 51st Artillery, CAC. It is likely that when Cpl. White was reorganized into Battery A, 51st Artillery, he may have gotten a new set of dog tags and threw it away or lost it on the battlefield. We will never know but it is fare to say it was lost in the mud of France in 1918.
Fast forward 96-years, and now we are looking for answers to who Cpl. George N. White might have been. On June 5, 1917 in Veazie, Maine, which is a small town just up river from Bangor on the Penobscot River, a medium built man with brown hair and eyes registers for the Federal Draft. He states he lived in Bangor, was born on July 11, 1888 in Westminster, Massachusetts, was a barber and worked out of his home was single, and had not been in the military. This mans name was George Nelson White.
It is not known for sure if this is the same man who lost his dogtag in France but what is known is that George Nelson White did serve in the military during the First World War. This is known for the notation the census writer made on the 1930 Federal Census of "WW" which stands for World War.
Sometime likely in 1917 George married Ethelyn N. Spencer of Veazie, Maine. She was the daughter to Isaac E. Spencer who was a 73-year old widower. Information gleaned from the 1920 Federal Census tells the story that in the Isaac Spencer home on Rock Street in Veazie, lived Isaac's 42-year old son Archie and his wife Maud and the couples infant daughter Evelyn. Also living in the home on Rock Street was George and Ethelyn White. Archie Spencer worked as a painter and George White was a barber.
In April of 1930 George N. White was 41-years old, and lived in a home he owned valued at $5,000 on Olive Street in the little town of Veazie, Maine. His wife Ethelyn Spencer or sometimes referred to as Ethel was born about 1883 in Maine. It appears that the couple did not have any children as none are listed on the 1930 census form. But living in the home was a nephew named Raymond E. Spencer age 19, who was born in Maine. George was at the time still working as a barber.
George and Ethel likely never left Veazie, Maine and in the spring of 1940 they were still living in the home on Olive Street. This was just around the corner from Ethel's father's home on Rock Street very near the Penobscot River. George was still a barber and likely was one his entire life.
In the end it can't be said that for sure this is the same George N. White who lost his dog tag in France in 1918 but it is very likely that it is. Unfortunately the trail grows cold after 1940 and it is not known when George or Ethel passed away. And so the story of the dog tag found after being lost for 96-years will have to wait some more time before the ending to the story can be known.
This page is owned by Joe Hartwell © 2003-2014. This page was last modified on