Irving W. Hampson Sr. was the son of Everett Marsh Hampson and Alice Francis Whyte. He was born in Irvington, NY on 23 May 1893, and lived in Yonkers, NY for most of his life. According to the discharge papers, his WWI military record was a follows:
Battery B, 58th Artillery, CAC Feb 1, 1918 - July 15, 1918
54th Artillery, CAC July 16th, 1918 - Sept 17, 1918
68th Artillery. Provisional Replacement Unit. Instruced as Per O.T.C.T.A #1 Sept 18, 1918 - Dec 4th 1918 (operations and training center, Libourne France)
Irving Hampson was a Non-commissioned officer and was made Corporal as per S.O.30.C.D.N.Y.N.G. on February 3, 1917. And was promoted to Sergeant as per S.O.102.C.D.N.Y.N.G. on July 10, 1917. He Departed May 10,1918 from Hoboken, N.J. on the U.S.S. Covington to Brest, France with the 58th Artillery. He was Honorable discharged from the army for the expiration of term of service on February 7, 1919. He arrived back in the US on February 16th, 1919, and his formal discharge date was March 1, 1919.
Sgt. Irving W. Hampson. Photos provided by Lorraine Hampson, granddaughter of Sgt. Hampson.
32nd Company, 8th Coast Defense Command, New York National Guard, marching in a parade on 30 August 1917.
My Dear Mother,
I will try and relate my experiences since last seeing you, day by day. First of all, I hope all is well at home. Believe me, I'd like to be there. Friday was the day we left. Thursday afternoon they chased all the visitors off the post at 3 PM and had us pack up. We had a light meal and a few of us turned in, the rest of them foolishly stayed up and raised the d---.
Friday morning they called us at 3 AM, and after a hasty breakfast and the usual final red tape, we were off for the dock. The old Grand Republic took us down the sound and the East River, loaded down. The people along the shore certainly displayed a lot of enthusiasm. They cheered us and waved flags, etc. After rounding the Battery we headed diagonally across the Hudson for Hoboken, and docked at Pier 5. There were a number of transports waiting there all loaded down. They later made up the fleet which I am now in. We landed and were marched along to Pier 1 where we immediately embarked on the U.S.S. Covington, a former German passenger Steamer. While waiting on the pier, the Red Cross women did great work by serving us with coffee and rolls, which tasted like a Christmas feed at the time. Our first impression of a transport was rather discouraging, as the quarters assigned to us were three decks below, and very stuffy at first. I succeeded in getting an upper bunk so I made myself as comfortable as possible. I then went on deck to watch the loading. While there, I met on of the officers I worked for in Hoboken. He was as tickled as I and the rest of the fellows were. He had more coffee and rolls brought on board and gave us a package of smokes each. He sure treated us white. About seven o'clock we pulled out into mid-stream with an awful storm (rain and thunder) beating down on us. Of course just before we left, everybody was ordered below, except the sailors. I sneaked up one of the hatchways about 8 o'clock to get a little fresh air, and caught my last glimpse of the U.S. for a while. We were just passing the Statue of Liberty, it was a pretty sight as the sun had just set and the storm was breaking up. The statue was a dark silhouette against the fast darkening sky. I went below then and had my first meal at sea. It wasn't the best in the world, but after our hard day, it tasted mighty good. We turned in early as every light on board is extinguished at twilight. The bunk was stuffy, but we slept very soundly. At six we were called, so up we jumped, looking around for some place to wash. By the way, all we get is salt water for everything except to drink. This is the fourth day out, and the weather has been perfect. We spend most of the time on deck reading and listening to the band concerts which we have twice a day. You have got to have them as the trip is very tedious. They figure 14 days.
I've gotten off my track. I must tell you that the rest of the daily routine, after reveille, we are served wtih coffee and bread, our first meal is 9:30. We don't eat again until 3:15 PM. After that, no more until the next day. The only drills we have are physical and abandon ship. The abandon ship drills prepare us for a possible attack by a submarine or some similar pest. I spend the rest of my time lolling around in the sun, or walking the promenade deck. Fortunately, they let us use this as we need the air. Today, the transports had target practice; after this, we will continue our steady going eastward. We have fourteen ships in the fleet, and one cruiser as a convoy. On our ship, we have the senior army officer of this unit, so we are in the Guideship of the fleet.
We follow directly in the back of the curiser, and are flanked on both sides by the balance of the fleet. It makes us a trifle more safe, although we have nothing to fear as every transport in the fleet is armed with six inch guns. The ship on which Harry Williams is working has been on our left flank ever since we started. Little does he realize how near I am, and yet so far. There is a rumor that the unit in which Earl McLay is in, is on it. I am satisfied with the boat, as it is the largest and fastest in the fleet. Our destination so far is unknown, but I think it is Brest, France. It is hard telling until about three days out. I'll continue this tomorrow providing everything goes well.
We have just finished an abandon ship drill, so I will try and jot down a few more lines. The rest of the fleet after being separated all day is coming together for the night. We parted early this morning for target practice. They left in groups of two, one towing the periscope (which they use for a target) while the other fires. Just before entering the war zone, we are met by a fleet of destroyers, about one for each ship. In addition to this, airplanes and dirigibles oftimes accompanies them. While in the zone, we wear our life belts continuely, using them as a pillow at night. I do that now as they make very good ones. They are of a new model that completely envelopes you, and are supposed to keep you afloat 72 hours. We also wear our water bottles as they would most certianly come in handy if the Huns succeeded in hitting us, and we were fortunate enough to get on a raft of boat. There are enough on board here for all of us. Today, a man fell overboard from the Lincoln (the boat on which Harry is). They circled about, and finally succeeded in picking him up. I can't understand how it happened, as they do not permit us to get any nearer the rail than 3 feet. The rail is about five feet high also. The atomsphere is very pleasant tonight in comparison to a few nights ago. At that time, we were passing through the gulf stream, which you know is very warm. I've just been gazing out in the horizon, it is a great sight. If you ever had a feeling of awe, you feel it then. Nothing around you except water. It is a pretty sight though, especially if the weather is pleasant. The steady stream of transports going eastward is a great sight, it certianly would stimulate the feeling at home. On the last return trip to the states that this vessel made, they passed a fleet with 32 transports in it. Can you imagine the army we have in France now? It must be very near a million and a half. Germany ought to feel our strength soon. Occasionally, I jot down incidents at they come up, so if this letter appears to be confusing, don't think I've forgotten all I ever learned. I can picture you people on the portch now, it must be pleasant there. I could go for one of those egg welch rabbits just now. The air makes one hungry.
The crowd we have with us are sure a light hearted crowd. Especially the Artillery unit. One would think we were going on a big excursion. Along with us we have infantry, machine gun companies, and several hospital units that are attached to the various organizations. The infantry are all equipped with steel helmets, so I guess they will see active service very shortly. I forgot to tell you that this letter will be mailed from New York City if all goes well, by a sailor who I met today who is in a brother lodge. It probably would never get by the censor.
Last night I remained on deck until 8:30 PM listening to the concert and enjoying the cool evening breezes. The sky looked wonderful as the stars were all out and the moon appeared to be a silver creasent. I crawled in my bunk about 9 PM and selpt fairly well until 5:30 AM this morning. Once during the night I awoke when one of the sailors on watch called out, "Whale off the port bow!" I guess he was seeing things. I had a good wash in fresh water and a shave which I enjoyed very much. I also washed my leggins and towel which dried very quickly in this warm sun. Our fleet is once more intact, and are now continuing their steady gait eastward at a good pace. They came over the horizon this morning, the cruiser was out rounding them up during the night. This noon I became acquainted with one of the sailors, and rung in for a good feed with coffee that had milk and sugar it for a wonder. It's a tough proposition feeding the bunch we have on here, as it must be close to five or six thousand including the crew.
I must make a few remarks here in regard to a lot of idle rumors that are oftimes circulated by men working for the German Gov't. They go about telling of transports and war vessels being sunk that are still just as safe as ever, they also tell of regiments being wiped out that are not even on the front, so don't ever believe any idle story or rumor that is started by the likes of these. Also be very close mouthed about anything you hear. If a rumor you hear is confirmed by the U.S. Gov't, then it is time to take stock in it, otherwise ignore it. The weather is still perfect. Today several porpoises appeared off our port bow. They were big fellows too.
The work accomplished by our American destroyers in the war zone, according to most of the sailors who have been through it many times, must be wonderful as the submarine is almost extinct since they have been operating there. Their daring and alertness has kept the Huns in deadly fear of them. The people at home do not hear much about them but they can rest assured that they are superior to any of the other ones.
Last night was another wonderful one, similar to what we have been enjoying right along. On the horizon in the West there was a number of long low dark clouds which, with the red sunset, reminded me of the Palisades. It sure reminded me of the Hudson and made me feel a trifle blue for the moment. I went below about the usual time, and was told by one of the fellows that a boy in the Supply Co. of our Reg't had died that afternoon while undergoing an operation for appendicitis. I knew the fellow very well by sight. He was rather slight built and inclined to be delicate. Our quarters were awful stuffy last night, I was glad to get out of them this morning. Believe me, those that remain at home can well afford to buy Liberty Bonds and the like and stay away from the hardships as long as possible. I do not mind it personally, as I've had sufficient training to harden me enough to withstand the discomforts. We are plodding along at a good speed now, and the weather is still perfect. The sea is rough today, the spray sometimes breaking over the bow. It's a glorious sight which I'm sure you would enjoy. This afternoon we held Masonic services on aft port side deck over the body of the boy who died. It was very impressive as we went through the ritual which was strange to most of us new members. The boat pitched considerably and the wind was nearly a gale. His body will be brought to New YorK probably on the return trip of this ship. As the evening advanced, the sea seemed to become rougher and rougher until waves were monsters. The other ships woudl drop in the hollow of a billow nearly out of sight, then re-appear a moment later. It became real chilly also, but this was a welcome change as it purified the air in our quarters and made them very comfortable for sleeping. Stayed on deck until dark, as I was deeply interested in a book. Reading seems to be the chief amusement as there is nothing else to do.
Was up bright an early this morning and went immediately to the deck as we were rolling around in great shape. The waves were about as high as a house. Out on the sea so far from land, the strength and mysteries of all this water make one sit down and ponder over the wonders of nature. A very amusing thing happened at mess this morning. One of the men was coming from the mess line, when the boat gave an ususual lurch. It sent him and all his eats sliding into a group of fellows sitting on the floor in a corner. Nobody was hurt, so it gave us all a good laugh. Some of the fellows are feeling the effects of the rough weather, but I've been fortunate enough so far in this respect. They feed us "light" so I think this is the reason.
While I think of it, I'll remind you of a favor I would like to have you do. I would welcome the following magazines sent to me once in a while. "The Literary Digest", "Judge," "Puck" or "The Saturday Evening Post". If you ever send me aything in the line of eats, I'd prefer chocolate. Those big thick cakes of sweet chocolate is what a number of the fellows brought with them, and it goes good once in a while.
The fury of the sea continued until late yesterday afternoon, we were pitching something awful. The other ships in the fleet were affected worse than us. They would sink out of sight in the trough of the sea and suddenly come sweeping up again on the top of a billow. Some of the decks were at an angle of 45 degrees at times. Just about dusk, we came across an American Destroyer headed for the War Zone. One of the sailors told me it was of the latest type and was headed for the zone where it probably will do patrol duty. The destroyer was still with us this morning, so it adds greatly to our protection. She tosses about something fierce, you can imagine the gameness of the crew.
Sleep was out of the question last night as the ship tossed from one side to the other. We would roll from one side of our bunks to the other. In fact, most of us in the top bunks were a trifle anxious about the falls we might have. A storm came up (thunder) so the hatches had to be clamped down, and life lines placed all about the decks. This made us a bit uncomfortable, but everybody made the best of it, and laughed and joked most of the time. Overhead we could hear cots, pans, and all sorts of things rolling around. The officers could not eat their suppers off their elaborate tables as things flew helter skelter everytime the ship rolled. For once, they were no better off than us. I heard that one fellow broke a leg sliding around in the kitchen.
Today is is still rough, but the sky is clear, and the sun bright, so we are once more in a happy mood. Will proably be in the war zone tonght or in the morning. We can soon tell when the destroyers start to appear over the horizon. Was able to get a good meal through one of the sailors. That is the one trouble on board here, two meals a day they give you keeps us terribly hungry.
At last we are in the zone, the day is perfect and the sea is gradually calming down. Everybody has to go about with life preservers on all the time with your canteen attached to your belt. Altogether there are about 36 sailors in watch continuously night and day while we are traveling through this zone. This includes the gun crews which are always at their post. We sighted a large "tanker" vessel off our port bow this morning, so all eyes were on it. It came within a mile of us, and had not shown it's colors, so the cruiser fired on it. It very soon showed us its signal, and passed on.
Monday was a hard luck day for me. I felt punk, in fact I had a little fever, so I hit my bunk for a while to try and sleep it off, but no use. One of the Sergeants knew a Naval Lieutenant in the Sick Bay (Naval term for Hospital) so he took me up to see him. Well, to make a long story short, he took me in and treated me just as if I was very sick. I had an awful head, so was glad of it. I came out this morning. You know since entering the war zone, we are not allowed to remove any part of our clothing, not even our shoes or leggins. I think this brought on my headache. While in sick bay, I met a young fellow by the name of Stanney who comes from the town next to Bob's home town in Mass. He is a Mason, and certainly treated me splendidly, so I told him to drop up to the house to see you if he had a chance, and tell you about the trip. Make him feel at home as he is a shy sort of a chap. You might introduce him to the girls if they are in town when he calls. Don't let them do any vamping.
Our fleet of destroyers met us yesterday morning early. A regular slew of them, running in and out and all around us keeping their eye peeled for a submarine. We are expected in sometime in the early morning so I'm going to shorten my letter so I can slip it to one of the boys. Give my regards to all the girls and tell them I will write as soon as I land, expecially my very good friends. Take good care of yourself and don't worry about anythng. We will all soon be together, so look forward to that time. Love to yourself, Eve, Aunt Lydia, Uncle John, etc.
New Address: Serg't Battery "B" 58th Art'y (CAC)
American Exp. FOrces
Via, New York
1st Lt. George O. Jarosh, Battery D
|I received the following letters from the grandson of 1st Lt. George O. Jarosh of Battery D, 58th Artillery. Paul Jarosh also contributed the panoramic unit photo at the top of the page. This photo is of 1st Lt. George O. Jarosh taken after his return from France. He was an Officer of Battery D and entered service in Illinois and was also born in Illinois. Mr. Jarosh passed away in 1959. Below are the letters I received from Paul Jarosh:
"Hello, I'm trying to find info on my grandfathers unit in WWI. I know he was in the 58th CAC and fought in Metz, France. I found a letter of a fond farewell from his men that demonstrated their great admiration for him. Do you have any more info on his unit or on my Grandfather of whom I never met? If you do I would really appreciate if you could share it."
Paul J. Jarosh
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