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54th Artillery, C.A.C.

IN WORLD WAR I

The 54th Artillery Regiment, C.A.C. was organized and called into Federal service in January 1918. The 54th was stationed at Ft. McKinley and Ft. Williams in the Coast Defenses of Portland Maine. The regiment was composed of men from the coast defenses of Portland Maine as well as men from the Maine National Guard. Orders came in mid March of 1918 for the 54th to sail to Europe. On March 16, 1918, the HQ Co., Supply Co., and the 1st Battalion consisting of Battery A and B boarded the Baltic in Hoboken, New Jersey. Nineteen officers and 566 enlisted men of the 54th Artillery were sailing leaving the 2nd and 3rd Battalions to wait for another ship. The Baltic sailed direct to LeHarve, France where they reached the safety of the crowded harbor on April 6.

On March 22 the 2nd Battalion (Battery C and D) and the 3rd Battalion (Battery E and F) of the 54th Artillery boarded the Canada in Hoboken with 50 officers and 1,146 enlisted men. They sailed to Glasgow, Scotland and reached there on April 2, 1918. When the regiment was assembled in France they were based at the O&T Center No. 6 at Mailly and Haussimont, France. This was the place that the Railway Artillery was stationed.

The regiment was never assigned to any guns and during September through November, 1918 the regiment was used as replacements for the heavy artillery regiments. September 26 through November 11, the 2nd Battalion was re-designated Tractor Artillery Replacement Battalion and was with the American 1st Army during the Meuse-Argonne operation.

Part of the 54th Regiment sailed 23 February 1919 on the Vedic arriving in Boston 7 March 1919. The remaining part of the Regiment sailed for Boston on February 25th, 1919 aboard the Battleship USS Nebraska and went to Camp Devens, Mass., March 6, 1919. The regiment was demobilized March 13, 1919 at Camp Devens, Mass.


Regimental Muster

As I find names and information about men who were in the 54th Artillery I will list them here. If you have information on someone who was in this regiment please email me and I will add their story.


Private Anthony Felix Balboni, 3rd Section, Battery D

Born in Renazzo, Ferrara, Italy, July 30, 1887. Immigrated in 1898 settling with his family in Springfield, MA. Son of Carlo (Charles) Balboni and Enrica Zoboli of Renazzo, Ferrara, Italy. After attending public schools, Mr. Balboni was the pioneer American of Italian descent in Springfield to enter the field of commercial art and sign painting. Proprietor of the Balboni Sign Co., Springfield, from 1910 until retirement in 1964. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and saw service in France. Married to Julia (Lula) A. Ferriter of Springfield, MA in 1922 until her early death in 1933. Father of five children. Married a second time to Desolina Bussolari Borrelli of Springfield, MA, also from Ferrara, Italy, on 10 May 1941. Died 2 Oct 1968 in Springfield.

Taken from “Leading Americans of Italian Descent in Massachusetts”, J. W. Carlevale, Memorial Press, 1946, pg. 38;

No unauthorized absence, or no absence under G.O. 45/14 or G.O. 31/12. Entitled to travel pay to Springfield, Mass. Wentworth Institute, US Army, July 1, 1917 to August 28, 1918; FF, Warren Mass, August 28, 1918 to Aug 29, 1918. S.A.R.D. August 29, 1918 to October 22, 1918; H.A. Tr Bn. October 22, 1918 to December 21, 1918; Btry “D”, 54th Art. CAC., December 21, 1918 to March 13, 1919.

Signed,
H. T. Canfield, 1st Lieut. CAC,
Commanding Batt. D, 54th Art. CAC.

More details taken from: “Honorable Discharge from The United States Army”,

This is to Certify That Anthony Felix Balboni (2795899) Private, Btry “D”, 54th Artillery CAC, The United States Army, as a Testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service, is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States by reason of Demobilization order from War Dept. dated Nov 15, 1918, and par. 19 S/O 29, Hq. USAC Camp Devens Mass dated Nov 22, 1918. Given under my hand at Camp Devens, Mass, this 13th day of March, one thousand nine hundred and nineteen.

Signed,
John T Rowe (Lowe?),
Major CAC, Commanding.


3rd Section, 54th Artillery, Angers, France, January, 1919

Pvt. Balboni dated to 1918
Pvt. Balboni dated to 1920
Pvt. Balboni shown in France during 1918
with gas mask bag rifle and bayonet.

Pvt. 1st cl, Rupert Richardson, Medical Detachment

Private First Class Rupert F. Richardson was in the Medical Detachment of the 54th Artillery, C.A.C. during WWI. Rupert’s story begins with a small bracelet bought at a Paris, France flea market in 1981 by Judy Grafe. She had been in France with her ex-husband and visited the Verdun battlefields and the Normandy beaches and at a flea market in Paris Judy purchased the small bracelet inscribed; “ Pvt. 1cl Cl. Rupert Richardson Med. Det. 54th Art. CAC. Angers, France.” Rupert Richardson must have left this behind in France when he returned to the United States on March 6, 1919. Rupert’s engraved bracelet lay quietly for 90-years, but now this bracelet can now tell the story of Rupert Richardson.

His story begins in the town of Denmark, Maine in July of 1898. Fred and Gertrude Richardson had been married sometime in 1897 and now had started a family when Gertrude gave birth to Rupert in July of 1898. His father Fred was supporting his new family by working as a blacksmith in Denmark. Fred was born in 1874 in Maine and Gertrude was born in 1880 also in Maine. Both sets of parents of Fred and Gertrude were Maine natives also so the Richardson family was 100 percent Maine through and through.

But within 10-years time Fred and Gertrude were not living together. On the 1910 Federal Census form it listed Gertrude as still being married, although Fred was not listed. It is not known what had happened. All that is known is that Gertrude and Rupert were living in the house of 61-year old Albert Gray who was a widowed Machinist in a wool mill. The home was located in Bridgton, Maine. Gertrude was working in the home as a private family servant and she had 11-year old Rupert living with her.

Rupert grew into a young man and at the age of 19 he joined the Maine National Guard, enlisting in the town of Norway, Maine. He enlisted on April 6, 1917 and reported for Federal Service on April 13, 1917. He was assigned as a Private in the Medical Department of the Maine National Guard. The 54th Artillery Regiment was being formed from various units from Maine National Guard Coast Artillery and as such Pvt. Richardson was then assigned to duty in the Medical Detachment of the 54th Artillery.

He would remain in this unit through out the entire duration of the war. On December 3, 1917 he was advanced to the grade of Private First Class. On March 22 of 1918 the entire 54th Artillery consisting of 50 officers and 1,146 enlisted men, were sailing on the Troopship Canada bound for France. PFC Richardson served with the Medical Detachment and returned to the States with his unit aboard the USS Nebraska on March 6, 1919. He was honorably discharged on March 13, 1919 at Camp Devens in Massachusetts.

Rupert returned to his mother who was still living in Bridgton, Maine after he was discharged from the army. On Christmas Eve of 1919 Rupert took a wife and married Nettie M. Durgin of Sweden, Maine. Sweden was a town located north of Denmark, Rupert’s birthplace.

It is not known what type of work Rupert was able to find to support his new wife and it is possible that work was hard to find. What is known is that in May of 1930 Rupert again was in the army serving in a Medical unit at Ft. George G. Meade near Baltimore, Maryland. Rupert was listed as being married on the census form so it is likely that Nettie was living either near the army base or she was back home in Maine. In searching for her name in the 1930 census form she can’t be found so her story ends there. But the story of Rupert Richardson does not end there. There is a name in the Social Security Death Index of Rupert Richardson with a birth date of 27 July 1898. This is the only recorded exact birth date for Rupert and so it is assumed that this death index record is the Rupert Richardson of this narrative. The date and place of death is July of 1968 in Atlanta, Georgia and the Social Security number was issued in the state of Georgia sometime around 1953. So from this information it is fare to say that at least Rupert had moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area and lived the rest of his life in that area. It is assumed he is buried in the Atlanta area. There, Rupert’s story paused for another 13 years until his bracelet was purchased in Paris, France. There are just a few words on this bracelet left to tell Rupert’s story but then again they say a picture is worth a thousand words.


This is a photo of the engraved bracelet that Judy Grafe bought in Paris in 1981.
Pvt. 1st Cl. Rupert Richardson
Med Det
54th Art CAC
Angers, France

Captain Frederick Wells Gilchrist

Frederick Wells Gilchrist was born 17 March 1893 in Michigan and lived in Ohio at the time he entered the Army. He was appointed a Provisional 2nd Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps, 9 November 1917. Was advanced to Provisional 1st Lieutenant 18 March 1918 and made Captain on 22 May 1918. His first station was a training company at Ft. Monroe. Then was assigned to the 21st Co., Coast Defenses of Boston at Ft. Standish and Ft. Strong from 28 March 1918-1 June 1918 when he was again reassigned to the 71st Artillery, C.A.C. He sailed to England with the 71st Artillery on one of the two British ships, the HMS Margha and the HMS Anselm. He was with the 71st and assigned to Battery B until 7 September 1918 when he was transferred to the 54th Artillery, C.A.C. He was with the 54th Artillery until 31 December 1918 when he was again transferred to the Headquarters Detachment Army Service Corps until he was unassigned as a casual officer on 6 May 1919 and returned to the States on 12 June 1919. Captain Gilchrist was Honorable Discharged on 12 September 1919.

Master Gunner, William Howard Heagney

William Howard Heagney was the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Heagney of Curtis Nebraska. William H. Heagney entered the Army at Omaha, Nebraska 1 December 1917. First stationed at Ft. Scott, California and then was transferred to the 54th Artillery, CAC. He was Discharged 11 March 1919.

Pvt. Washington Irving Baily, HQ CO

Washington Irving Baily was born 22 July 1890 and died on 22 March 1958. He was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery San Bruno, San Mateo County, California in Plot T 4655 on 25 March 1958.

Charles W. Spencer, Service No. 581410

Charles W. Spencer 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 Spencer 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.

Franklin Hiram Spencer, Service No. 582325

Franklin Hiram Spencer was born in Westbrook, Maine and was still living in Westbrook when he enlisted into the Maine National Guard at the age of 20 on 25 May 1917. He made Corporal on 6 June 1917 and advanced to Sgt. 8 July 1918. Upon entering the Maine NG he reported to the 12th Co. C.A.C. Me NG, 28th Co. Portland at Ft. Lyons, MA and then on 20 December 1917 moved to the 27th Co. Portland at Ft. Mckinley, Maine where they became Battery E, 54th Artillery, C.A.C. Sgt. Spencer sailed for France with Battery E on 22 March 1918 aboard the transport Canada. Sgt. Spencer participated in the Meuse-Argonne operations and the Defensive Sector. He returned to the States on 6 March 1919, sailing with the part of the regiment that went aboard the Battleship USS Nebraska and went to Camp Devens, Mass. Sgt. Spencer was discharged on March 13, 1919.

Fred C. Everett

Fred C. Everett enlisted into the Maine National Guard at Ft. Williams, Maine on 3 October 1917 as a Private and his service number was 583224. He was 22 years old and lived in Portland, Maine at the time. He was born in Waltham, MA. On 23 May 1918 Pvt. Everett was listed as Cook and on 30 October 1918 was again listed at the rank of Private. Everett was listed as being with Supply Company, 54th Artillery as shown by his dog tags below. He served overseas from 16 March 1918 until his return on 3 February 1919. Being he was with the Supply Co. he sailed on the Baltic 16 March 1919 and not with Battery D on the Canada. He was transferred to Battery D, 54th Artillery at an unknown time and on 5 November 1918 he was transferred to Battery A, 51st Artillery. He probably was transferred as a replacement as the 54th served as the Replacement Artillery Regiment. Shortly after the Armistice the 51st Artillery turned all its heavy equipment over to the Ordnance Department and returned after various delays en route 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. Pvt. Everett was Honorably discharged on 15 February 1919.

Dog Tags of Pvt. Fred C. Everett, 583224, Supply CO., 54th Artillery, C.A.C.
This photo was shared with me by Joe and Dana Smyth

Sgt. Max Owen Cragan, 54th Artillery

Sgt. Max Owen Cragan

Max Owen Cragan was a member of the 54th Artillery during WWI. Mr. Cragan's service history and the photo on the left was given to me by Genevieve Leavitt to which Max Cragan was her Great-Uncle. Max was from Colorado and was a Sergeant in the 54th Artillery, this according to the book "Roster of Men and Women Who Served in The World War From Colorado 1917-1918". He entered the Army during WWI from Cortez in Montezuma County, Colorado. According to Genevieve Max began his military career in 1913 serving at Ft. Flagler, Washington serving in the1st Company that was formed from the 26th Company from 1913-1916. The photo shows Max in a uniform that shows the 26th Company unit markings on the hat so that would make this a period photo from Ft. Flagler. Max was also stationed at Galveston Texas at Ft. Crockett in the 3rd Company and later in the 11th Company at Ft. Crockett. From there the trail leads to the 54th Artillery in which he served from June 22, 1918-March 10, 1919. After the war Sgt. Cragan returned to Ft. Crockett and served in the 20th Company. Genevieve reports that Max died in 1928 of lung complications.

Cpl. Nelson Shepp of Battery F


Above is Cpl. Nelson J. Shepp's grave stone in Arlington National Cemetery. His granddaughter Susan Dull took this photo during a visit to his grave. The photo on the left shows Shepp as a Private with one overseas stripe on his lower sleeve.

Nelson Shepp originally was on duty with the 20th Company, Coast Defenses of The Columbia at Ft. Canby, Washington. On October 8, 1918 he was transferred to Ft. Stevens, Oregon in the Coast Defenses of The Columbia and was among the October OARD (Overseas Automatic Replacement Draft) that sailed to France most likely sometime during October to France as a casual unit. Also at the same time may have been promoted to Corporal. Upon arrival in France Cpl. Shepp was assigned to Battery F, 54th Artillery. He returned on the USS Nebraska to Boston and on March 10,1919 went to Camp Devens and was demobilized on March 13, 1919.

This information on Cpl. Nelson Shepp was provided by his granddaughter Susan Dull


PFC Carey J. Blythe of Battery F

Carey J. Blythe was born on November 4, 1897 in Hendersonville, North Carolina to Sewell Joshua and Sarah (Huntley) Blythe. Carey’s father Sewell was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains on November 11, 1862 to James J. and Therecia J. Blythe. Sewell was the eldest of 5 children. It is likely that Carey Blythe’s grandfather, James J. Blythe was a veteran of the Civil War but this is not confirmed.

By the summer of 1900 Carey J. Blythe was living in Cedar Creek Township of Henderson County, NC with his mother Sarah, sisters Jennie, Edith and Beatrice. On the 1900 Federal Census Sewell, the father was not listed on the census form. Sarah was listed as being married and had been married for 11-years so Sewell must have been living away at the time. The Blythe family lived on a farm and the occupation listed for Sarah was that of a farmer.

The family was living on 2nd Avenue in Hendersonville, NC in the spring of 1910. Sewell, Sarah M. and all four children were together again in the home. Sewell was working as a carpenter to support the family. When Carey Blythe was 19-years old he joined the army and before he turned 20 he would sail to France with the 54th Artillery, C.A.C., but before Carey went to France his father Sewell passed away on October 20, 1917.

While with the 54th Artillery his rank was Private First Class and was a member of Battery F of the 3rd Battalion. PFC Carey Blythe would have celebrated his 21st birthday while in France and with 7 seven days the war would end. PFC Blythe would have returned to the States with the 54th Artillery and after his discharge from the Army he returned back to North Carolina, his home state.

The gravestone of Carey J. Blythe as it is today in the Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville, NC. This was photographed by Ssg. Curtiss Poteat, U.S.A., Ret. It reads:
Carey J. Blythe
North Carolina
PVT.
54th Regt. Coast Arty
July 29, 1932

By January of 1920 Carey Blythe was living in Hendersonville, North Carolina with his mother Sarah. This was the same home they lived in back in 1910 located at 616 Second Avenue. According to the 1920 Federal Census Sarah who was now 49-years old, and Carey now 21-years old were the only ones living in the home. Sarah owned the home, which was free and clear as there was not a mortgage on it. Sarah would pass away on August 2, 1945. Carey was working as a house painter in January of 1920.

At some point after 1920 Carey met and married a woman named Lillie E. At the time of Carey’s death he and Lillie were living in Hendersonville, NC and he was now working as an auto mechanic. On October 9, 1931 Carey Blythe became ill with Pulmonary Tuberculosis and was treated at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oteen, NC.

At the age of 34-years at 10:45 in the evening of July 29, 1932 Carey J. Blythe passed away from his Pulmonary Tuberculosis, which was far advanced. His body was released to the Brownell, Dunn Funeral home in Asheville, NC where he was buried on July 30 in the Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville, NC.

Photo of Pvt. Blythe's stone provided by Ssg. Curtiss Proteat, U.S.A., Ret.


William Frank Bradburn, Battery A

William Frank Bradburn was in fact born on September 24, 1888. His mother’s name was Callie (Halfacre) Bradburn and was born in Newberry South Carolina about 1851. On William’s Death Certificate from North Carolina it does not state his fathers name but does list that he was born in Newton, North Carolina.

Upon further research I find that there was in fact a Callie Bradburn married to a Pinkney Bradburn listed on the 1880 Federal Census from Reeder Township in Newton County, North Carolina. Pinkney was also born about 1851. On this census form he is listed as working as a laborer and Callie was keeping house. They at the time had no children. Additional research into Pinkney Bradburn shows that he appears on the 1850 Federal Census for Catawba, North Carolina. He is listed as the youngest child of T. W. Bradburn aged 29 and Sarah M. Bradburn also aged 29. T. M. the father was a farmer and he and Sarah had two children, a daughter named Martha Jane age 4 and Pinkney who was listed as age 2-years. So he may have been born as early as 1848.

William Frank Bradburn joined the army during WWI and served overseas with the 54th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps. At some point after returning from France he married and her name was Mary Lynnette. On March 2, 1930 William became ill with Lobar Pneumonia in his right lung and at 8:30 in the morning on March 4, 1930 he passed away at St. Peters Hospital in Charlotte, NC while under the care of Dr. T. W. Tregor. His body was released to the Douglas and Sing funeral home of Charlotte and was buried on March 5 in Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville, NC. This is the same cemetery that PFC Carey J. Blythe of Battery F is burried.


Pvt. 1cl Calixte Edward Poirier, HQ Co, Service No. 583261

Calixte Edward Poirier was born in the late fall of 1893 in Biddeford, Maine. He is likely the son of French Canadians who had come to Maine to make a home and a family. On April 4, 1917, two days before the United States declared war with Germany, Calixte Edward Poirier enlisted into the Maine National Guard in his hometown of Biddeford. He listed his name as Edward C. Poirier on the military documents, likely due to the fact it just made things easier in the army, Edward being a more common name than Calixte.

Pvt. Poirier was first assigned to the 7th Company, Coast Defenses Portland, Maine Coast Artillery National Guard then stationed at Ft. Preble, Maine. Poirier was with the 7th Company until transferred to the 9th Company then stationed at Ft. Levett, Maine and remained there until August 13, 1917. At that time he was transferred to the Headquarters Company of the 54th Artillery, CA.C.

Pvt. Poirier sailed March 16, 1918 with parts of the 54th Artillery on board the HMS Baltic where they arrived in Le Havre, France on April 6, 1918. Pvt. Poirier remained with HQ Co. 54th Artillery until he was again transferred on July 20, 1918 to the Headquarters Company of the 32nd Artillery Brigade. He served 9 days with the 32nd Artillery Brigade and on July 29 he was transferred to the Headquarters Company of the 65th Artillery Regiment, C.A.C.

With the HQ Company 65th Artillery Poirier saw action at the front in the St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne actions and in the Defensive Sectors. Poirier was advanced to Private First Class while with the 65th Artillery on October 4, 1918. Nineteen days later on October 23, 1918 PFC Poirier was again transferred back to the HQ Co. of the 32nd Artillery Brigade where he would remain until after the armistice was signed. He returned to the States with the 32nd Artillery Brigade on December 31, 1918. The 32nd was demobilized at Camp Hill, Virginia, PFC Poirier being separated from the 32nd Artillery on January 7, 1919. He was placed into the 4th Company of the 151st Depot Brigade at Camp Devens in Massachusetts until his final Honorable Discharge from the Army on January 15, 1919.


Corporal John Comer Hawkins, Service No. 724127, Battery E

John C. Hawkins (Texas) enlisted on May 3rd 1917 and received a honorable discharge March 24th 1919. Serial No. 724127. Served as a Corporal in the 54th Artillery, C.A.C., Battery "E"


PFC Thomas W. McGrath

Grave marker of Thomas W. McGrath
September 14, 1896-July 12, 1955
Massachusetts
PFC Battery E, 54th Artillery, C.A.C. WWI

Photo on the right is Private McGrath in uniform during the winter of 1917.


1st Lt. Floyd G. Brightbill, Battery B

Floyd G. Brightbill was born on June 10, 1891 in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. At the time he entered into the army he lived at 675 Parkwood Drive, Cleveland, Ohio. He probably entered Officers' Candidate School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana on May 14, 1917. Upon graduation from officers' candidate School he was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Coast Artillery Corps and was assigned to Fort Monroe, Va. until August 15th 1917.

2nd Lt. Brightbill was assigned to the 54th Artillery, C.A.C. where he was a Battery officer in Battery B. March 7th 1918 he was advanced to 1st Lieutenant. On March 16th 1918 he sailed on the Baltic with 19 officers and 566 enlisted men of Supply Co., Batteries A and B, 54th Artillery, and arrived in LeHarve, France on April 6th 1918.

At an unknown date (possibly during April, 1918 as a large number of officers, most of who were 1st and 2nd Lieutenants, were transferred into the 56th Artillery) 1st Lt. Brightbill was transferred to the 56th Artillery, C.A.C. and participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive with the 56th Artillery. He was advanced to the rank of Captain on November 11th 1918. Captain Brightbill did not return with the 56th Artillery to the United States. He did return on February 9, 1919 and was honorably discharged on February 13th 1919.

2nd Lt Floyd G. Brightbill

After his discharge from the army Floyd Brightbill lived in Cleveland, Ohio on West 114th Street, where he was an electrician with a Bolt and Nut Manfacturing Company. At the time of the 1920 Federal Census he was not married. Sometime in 1923 he married and her name was Florence, who was 23 years old in 1923. Florence and Floyd according to the 1930 Federal Census had two children, Ruth E. age 7 and Barbara J. age 3 years. In 1930 the family was living in a rented house at 1433 Maile Avenue in Lakewood, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. At the time Floyd was an electrician in a auto factory. Floyd survived his wife who died at an unknown date and on November 5, 1958 Floyd G. Brightbill died in Lakewood, Ohio at the age of 67.

Battery B, 54th Artillery

Battery B was commanded by Captain H. E. Heeren and the other officers were First Lt. C. H. Pierce, Second Lt. F. W. Hoorn, Second Lt. C H. Liley, and Second Lt. Floyd G. Brightbill.

While officially Battery B, 54th Regiment, Artillery, is composed of the 18th and 19th Companies, C.A.C., Portland, it also has a absorbed practically all the enlisted personnel of the 17th Co., so in reality the battery consists of what was formerly First Co., Fifth Co. and Seventh Co., Maine Coast Artillery National Guard, first two of Portland and the last from Biddeford. The 18th and 19th companies were merged completely in the formation of Battery B and all that remains of the original 17th Co. is a skeleton organization which retains the original designation and forms a basis upon which to organize a new 17th Co..

The 18th Co., formerly fifth Co., Maine Coast Artillery National Guard, of Portland, was organized about nine years ago to replace the old Montgomery Guard, which has its origin in 1872. The company was organized through the efforts of the late Captain Robert C. Foster and under the sponsorship of the late Judge William L. Putnam, whose death occurred in Portland about two weeks ago. It came in the Federal service in July under the command of Captain E. H. Besse and Lieutenants C. H. Pierce and C. H. Liley, all of whom have been assigned to the 54th Artillery.

It was in1873 that the Seventh Co., Maine Coast Artillery National Guard, later 19th Co., Portland, and now a part of Battery B, was organized in Beddeford. Originally, the organization was known as the Biddeford Light Infantry, and was later changed to Co. G, First Maine Infantry. In 1910, when the First Maine Infantry became Coast Artillery, the Biddeford company was given the seventh numeral, which it retained until after entering the Federal service in July of 1918. The Officers in command until the company became a part of Battery B were Captain C. E. Holt, First Lt. Joseph Lonsdale, and Second Lt. A. F. Cowan.

While First Co., Maine Coast Artillery National Guard, now the 17th Co., Portland, remains intact as an organization, practically all its enlisted personnel has been merged in the formation of Battery B, and a brief sketch of its history might not be amiss. The company is one of the two oldest military organizations in New England, its history dating back to the Revolution. As a Company, it was organized in 1803 by an act of the Massachusetts legislature, and from that date until January 1, 1910, it remained a Light Infantry organization. The company had an excellent record during the War of 1812, the Civil War 1861-1865, and the Spanish-American War during 1898.

It came into service in July 1918 under the command of First Lt. W. M. Mosley and Second Lt. L.H. Lawton, both of home were after word promoted and the vacancy filled by the appointment as second lieutenant of First Sergeant H. A. McMillan. That portion of the company which retains the designation of 17th Company, is now in command of Captain E. A. Reed.

At midnight, December 31st 1917, 18th and 19th Companies, Portland, ceased to exist as organizations and with the major portion of the 17th Company were united to form Battery B, which is now in command of Captain Harry E. Heeren, whose Lieutenants are First Lt. C. H. Pierce, and Second Lieutenants F. W. Hoorn, C. H. Liley and Floyd G. Brightbill.


Below is part of the history of Maine National Guard. The 54th Regiment C.A.C. was a part of this history. Supplied by Joe and Dana Smyth

WORLD WAR I -- 1917 - 1919

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supply Company, from 20th Company, Lewiston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3rd Battalion, Unknown.

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

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

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

1st Fort Command

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

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

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

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

2nd Fort Command

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

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

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

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

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


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