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The Regimental Muster Of the 65th Artillery, C.A.C.

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Men of the 65th Artillery:

Captain Carl E. Hocker, Battery D Commanding Officer (O3839)

Cadet Carl E. Hocker while at the United States Military Adademy at West Point. Colonel Carl E. Hocker shown in a photo dated to 1941 during the time he was with the 61st Artillery , CAC.

Captain Carl E. Hocker commanded Battery D of the 65th Artillery during WWI. He was a graduate of the class of 1915 from West Point, Was a 2nd Lt. on 12 June 1915, 1st Lt. on 1 July 1916, Captain (Temp.) 5 August 1917, Captain 12 Oct. 1917, Major 2 July 1920, Lt. Col. 1 Oct. 1936.

A Mini-Bio of Carl Ernest Hocker By Peggy Hocker Small

Daddy was born in Monte Vista, Colorado, March 8, 1891. His: parents were Will and Joetta Hocker. Joetta was Will' s second wife. She gave birth to two sons, Clarence and Carl, and she died thirteen days after Carl's birth. Will married again (Leonora) and they had two children, Lotus and John. Children by his first wife, Nora, were Maud and Roy. Nora and Joetta (nee Cockrell) were sisters.

The family moved from Monte Vista to Rifle, Colorado in 1906. Carl was a member of the first class to graduate from Rifle High School in May 1909. Even though only 18-years old after graduation, he worked up to being supervisor with an oil drilling company in Utah.

Carl entered the University of Colorado in September 1909, in the School of Engineering where he stayed for his freshman year. During 1910-1911 he attended Braden Prep School in Highland Falls, NY. He entered the U. S. Military Academy West Point, NY in the summer of 1911 with the class of 1915.

While at West Point he was an outstanding cadet. He was Cadet Captain his last year. This was the highest Cadet rank attainable in the Corps of Cadets. He was an outstand athlete and broke two Academy track records, in the discus and in the Shot put. Quoting from his yearbook, the Howitzer, “He has the courage of his convictions and a whole bunch of convictions. Arguing with Carl doesn't do much good and is not recommended.” Interestingly enough, in 1935 when the class of 1915 put out its 20-year book, this was written:

“Carl claims that he does not argue - he is simply firm. At all events you may be sure that he knows where he stands on each issue that comes up - and he can tell you why. One of the great leaders once said that the soldier’s difficulty was not in doing what he had decided but deciding what he wanted. Well, here is one soldier who goes through that difficult process without any wavering or faltering.

What we need in this man’s army is more people who, like Carl, know what they want, can tell you what they want, and who doesn’t quit until they get it.”

When Carl graduated he went into the Coast Artillery Corps. His first assignment was in Washington State. The following year he married Eleanor Kriner of Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania. Due to the war against Mexico, he could not get leave and so Eleanor, with her mother and sister, Margaret, traveled by train across the country to Oregon where their wedding took place July 5, 1916. They lived at Fort Flagler, Washington, near Port Townsend until Carl was ordered to France because of World War I.

He went to France in February 1918 from Fort Flagler. Eleanor, with their six months old daughter, Eleanor, went to Pennsylvania to stay with her family. In France, the Coast Artillery manned the long-range rail guns as well as other heavy guns supporting the front lines. Carl returned from France in September 1919 as a Major. After leave spent in Pennsylvania, Carl and his family went back to Washington State, but this time they were stationed at Camp Lewis near Tacoma. Daughter Margaret was born in Portland, Oregon, in October 1920.

In the summer of 1921, Major Hocker and family moved to West Point New York. Carl taught at the U. S. Military Academy from 1921 to 1925 The Superintendent at the Academy was General Douglass MacArthur. It was during this tour of duty that Carl took up golf. Through the years he was usually club champion wherever he was stationed.

In 1925 the family moved to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where Carl attended his service school - the Coast Artillery School. This was a nine-month course. From there they moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where Carl attended the Command and General Staff School.

Next came orders to the 59th Coast Artillery Regiment stationed on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands. The family traveled across the United States, saying good by to the Kriner family in Pennsylvania and visiting (both hello and good by) to the Hocker family in Colorado. This was the first time Eleanor met most of the Hocker family.

Carl had command of one of the two battalions of the 59th CAC Regiment. The CAC batteries on Corregidor were primarily 12 and 14-inch guns for use in defending Manila Bay.

The family arrived in the Philippines in 1927 and left 2 years later, in 1929 with orders to Fort Monroe, Virginia. Travel to Fort Monroe was by ship (Army Transport), from Manila via China, Japan, Hawaii, San Francisco, and the Panama Canal to New York City and then overland to their destination. The trip took about six weeks.

Carl was librarian for the Coast Artillery Corps library at Fort Monroe. As were most of the officers in the Army, he was a real military historian and never stopped studying military history - not just American military history but European and Asian too.

The Army Air Corps was becoming increasingly important at this time and Carl had a great interest in rocketry. It is regrettable that we do not have any of his correspondence with Dr. Robert Goddard. Carl was sure that anti-aircraft weaponry was vital to the Army's future and that harbor defense would be obsolete. This was radical thinking in the early 1930’s.

This tour of duty was extended from the usual four years to five years (1929 - 1934). Orders then came for the Army War College, Washington, D. C. This was a much sought after assignment and essential for making general. Carl had now graduated from the Coast Artillery School, The Command and General Staff School, and the Army War College – a real high mark of a successful career in the Army.

Next came another top assignment - Carl was ordered to be G-4 on the staff of General Hugh Drum, Army Commander for the Pacific. His headquarters were at Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii. This was near Honolulu. This was an ideal tour of duty. Hawaii was a tropical paradise. There were only two hotels at Waikiki Beach and tourists came by ship. Nevertheless, there was concern at Army Headquarters about the Japanese Navy. The Japanese were considered a potential enemy. Many times Carl voiced his lack of trust of the Japanese and thought it was possible that they could attack Pearl Harbor undetected. This theory was based in part on the fact that we had traveled from Nagasaki, Japan in 1929 in bad weather with heavy cloud cover.

While Carl was G-4 (Supplies) at Headquarters, Colonel George Patton was G-2 (Intelligence). Colonel Patton was six years senior to Lt. Col. Hocker.

In 1937, Carl received orders to command the Coast Artillery Regiment at Fort Crockett, Texas, but before leaving Hawaii (July 3), new orders were received for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Carl was to head up the Artillery Section at the Command and General Staff School. It is here that the Army’s most promising officers are schooled in the tactics and logistics of senior commands.

While at the Command and General Staff School, Carl wrote the training manual for anti-aircraft artillery, which was used by all Anti-aircraft Commands. He taught at the C&GS School beginning in September 1937 until April 1941 at which time he went to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, to command the 61st Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) Regiment. At that time it was the top anti-aircraft regiment in the army. This was a dream command. A command such as this was his ultimate goal since cadet days.

During the next seven and a half months, a state of emergency was declared by President Roosevelt and the 61st was in a state of readiness. They went on the big Army maneuvers in the summer of ‘41 and performed admirably.

Then came December 7, 1941. Carl listened to radio reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor from his sick bed. He had come down with the flu a day or two earlier. Upon hearing of the attack, he was out of bed immediately, getting ready to go to war. Orders came for the 61st to proceed immediately for the Port of Embarkation, New York. The regiment was fully mechanized and within the day they were ready to head east. It was a grueling trip and Carl's flu got worse. In the New York area, they bivouacked at Fort Hancock on Sandy Point. It was a couple of weeks before the 61st got its destination orders (Dakar, Africa via Iceland). Final physicals prior to embarkation were required and Carl was found physically unfit. His hearing had been impaired for many, many years and the doctor who had just been drafted into the army recommended retirement.

There had been an accident with a 12" or 14" gun in Washington State when Carl was stationed there. He was close by and there was permanent nerve damage done to his ears. His deafness was worsened from being on the firing range at Fort Sheridan where 3-inch anti-aircraft guns were used. His bad case of flu affected his hearing, making it worse.

It is easy to imagine what a shattering blow it was to Carl to be relieved of his command and to know the 61st left the states without him. This was January 1942.

Mostly through personal contacts with friends in the War Department, Carl was not retired on physical disability at this time. He stayed on active duty and was ordered as Artillery Officer on the Staff of General Courtney Hodges who was to command the newly formed 10th Corps headquartered in Sherman, Texas. There were five divisions in the Corps, located in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Carl was with Headquarters Command from the spring of 1942 until early 1944. By then the original divisions and most of the original staff had gone either to the European Theatre or to the Pacific. General Hodges left in 1943 to command the First Army in Europe. General Anderson took the 10th Corps Headquarters Command to the Pacific Theater in either late ‘43 or early ‘44. At this point Carl was given retirement orders based on physical disability.

He watched the action of World War II from his home in little Sherman, Texas. He never got over the disappointment and the hurt of not being on active duty during the war.

He was very proud of the glory that came to his classmates. There were 164 who graduated in 1915 and about 60 became generals. Among them were Eisenhower, Bradley, McNarney, Van Fleet, Stratemeyer, Swing, Harmon, etc.

Had it not been for his trouble with his hearing, or had some regular army doctor examined him that bleak day in 1942, with any doubt, Carl Ernest Hocker would have been among the General Officers of the Class of 1915. There was never any question in the minds of his contemporaries that he would wear stars.

Interesting Notes:

  1. Carl and Eleanor were married in Portland, Oregon because Eleanor's aunt and uncle lived there. Her uncle (Fred Dammasch) had his medical practice there.
  2. Daughter Eleanor, was born in Portland August 29, 1917, and daughter, Margaret, was born in Portland October 10, 1920 because the medical facilities at Fort Flagler and at Camp Lewis were limited in maternity care.
  3. After the Armistice in 1918, Carl was appointed “man in charge” of the U. S. Mail in France by General Pershing. It was Carl's job, as he told it, to make sure that the U. S. Mail was properly accounted for, transported, and delivered. He was also involved in rounding up all the rail guns and getting them headed back to the U. S. He had many interesting tales to tell, but unfortunately, I can no longer remember them.
  4. Eleanor passed away on January 25, 1963 followed soon after by Carl on December 31, 1963. They are resting together in the West Point Cemetery. May they rest in peace.

Pvt. Joe S. Hewit, Battery A

Joe St. Clair Hewit was born in Butler County, Nebraska in a little town on a rail line named Ulysses, which is Northeast of Lincoln. He was born on October 11th of 1889 the same year that the great land runs happened Nebraska. It is not known who his parents were and Joe Hewit like many other children of his time found his way through adolescence and into his teenage years and when he was in his later 20’s the world was going to war. It may have seemed to Joe out in the middle of Nebraska and Oklahoma that the war clouds were a long way off and would or could never reach him. Little did he know that he would one day be on the battlefield fighting and bleeding for his Country.

On the 5th of June 1917 shortly after America entered the war Joe Hewit went to Guthrie, Oklahoma and registered for the draft board, as he was required to do. At the time Joe was single and lived at 423 East Washington, Ave in Guthrie, Oklahoma, which was likely to be the home of his parents. He was a tall young man of slender build with brown eyes and brown hair. Joe worked in the neighboring county of Pawnee and worked there in a town called Terlton, Oklahoma as a material clerk for a company known as Noakola Pipe and Line. Noakola is a Choctaw Indian word and being that the area was filled with oil drilling rigs this was most likely a company associated with the oil industry.

On December 15th 1917 orders were received for the formation of a new regiment of Coast Artillery to be sent to France. As Joe Hewit was entered into the Army he was likely to be placed into the North Pacific Coast Artillery District, based in Seattle, Washington. The men that would form the 65th Artillery, C.A.C. would come mostly from this District. Joe Hewit was to be placed into Battery A of the 65th. Records show that most of the men in Batteries A and B would come from the Coast Defenses of San Diego. Men of Battery A would come from the regular Coast Artillery, and the men of Battery B from the National Guard Coast Artillery. Only recruits or recently drafted men would be assigned as privates in the batteries and other organization formed from the Regular Army. As a recently drafted man Private Joe Hewit came into Battery A of the 65th Artillery.

On March 2nd 1918, the USS Northern Pacific a passenger liner used as a troop transport cleared the Golden Gate in San Francisco, California at noon bound for New York via the Panama Canal. On board was Private Hewit who was probably seeing the ocean for the first time in his life and starting to think about where it was that he was going and what may happen to him and if he would ever see the plains again. After disembarking at Hoboken, New Jersey the Regiment was taken by train to the final resting place at Camp Merritt before being sent to France.

For the second time in his life Private Hewit boarded another ship. This time it was the great British Ocean Liner the HMS Mauretania a veteran of many safe peace time crossings of the Atlantic bringing many new Americans to the new world to find a new life. Now she was carrying some of the sons of those who she brought to America back to Europe to fight for freedom. But this time the Mauretania would be crossing hostile waters with the threat of a German Submarine in her wake. On board the Mauretania were the 65th Regiment C.A.C., from the Forts on the Pacific Coast, and the 55th Regiment C.A.C., from the Forts around Boston, and about 100 officers and 200 Red Cross nurses. All of whom were now wondering how many would be lucky enough to make the return trip as they in the tow of tugs, went out into the river with all men below decks, then down the channel where they passed the Statue of Liberty and headed into a stretch of endless blue ocean.

Tuesday morning, April 2nd, each man in the regiment, after being served with a sandwich and an apple as rations for the day, disembarked to the streets of Liverpool, England in a heavy fog. The British people cheered them as the American boys marched through the heart of the city to the train station. Again for the third time Pvt. Hewit boarded a ship at the Southampton docks, and under the cover of darkness crossed the English Channel to France on an English cattle boat. The trip across was rough and the men were tightly packed down in the ship’s hold. After a breakfast of Cheese and coffee Pvt. Hewit set foot on French soil for the first time in Le Harve, France.

Pvt. Hewit would get his first taste of combat at 1:15 in the morning on September 12th in positions near Manonville, as the guns threw hot steel at the Germans until 7:00 that morning. Pvt. Hewit had made it through his first combat in one piece. On October 9th two guns from Battery B were shelled, while in positions along the east bank of the Meuse River on the famous French battlegrounds to the north of Verdun. The German batteries began firing on both personnel and gun positions. On October 13th the guns of the First Battalion were relocated and were in action until the 23rd of October. It was during this time on the 17th or 18th of October that Pvt. Hewit heard the sound of the gas alarm. The Germans sent over gas shells and Pvt. Hewit was among several men who were overcome by the gas and sent to the hospital for treatment.

The 65th Artillery spent 70 days at the front lines in almost continuous action, either fighting or moving material. During this period the casualties to the regiment were almost negligible, they’re being only three men killed, while 99 men were wounded from German gas, Pvt. Hewit being among the 99 men that were gassed. After the Armistice was signed The Regiment was moved to Brest, France to await transportation to the States. The Base hospitals in Brest were full most of the time and there was as many as 340 men who reported to sick call in one day. As a result of the conditions there, 4 men died and 12 men had to be left in France too sick to make the trip. It is assumed that Pvt. Hewit did return with the regiment on January 14th 1919 when they boarded the English Transport Haverford.

Back in Guthrie, Oklahoma the Hewit family was unaware that Joe Hewit had been wounded and it was not until January 30th 1919 that Hewit’s father learned of his son’s injuries of being gassed from a letter sent to him from the War Department. The entire 65th Regiment returned to New York on February 6, 1919 and moved to Camp Dix, New Jersey. Pvt. Hewit being in Battery A, would have went with the First and Second Battalions to Camp Lewis, Washington, were he was discharged from the Army.

Joe Hewit returned to civilian life and lived and worked in Logan, Pawnee and Payne Counties in Oklahoma. According to the 1930 Federal Census Joe Hewit, now 40 years old was single and lived in Union Township of Payne County, Oklahoma in a rented house and worked as a foreman in a warehouse.

Twenty-five years and three months after the ending of the First World War, Hewit on February 11th 1944 was issued his Purple Heart Medal from the Army Service Corps for his wounds he received on the 17th of October 1918 while serving with the 65th Artillery in France. Joe Hewit sometime after 1951 left Oklahoma and moved to Texas where he passed away in November of 1963.

This is the purple Heart that Joe Hewit was issued on February 11th 1944 Back side of the medal showing his name engraved.

Wagoner Michael Joseph Connery, Battery A Service No. 841787

On January 18, 1954 a Mrs. Annabel Connery signs her name on an application for a flat granite military headstone for her husbands grave. Michael Joseph Connery was her husband who had passed away on January 31, 1950. He was during the First World War a Wagoner in Battery A of the 65th Artillery C.A.C.

Michael Joseph Connery was born on January 14, 1893 and was one of eleven children born to Thomas and Margaret Connery of Howard County, Iowa. Thomas Connery was a farmer and in June of 1900 the Connery farm was located in Afton Township in Howard County near Elma, Iowa. This is located in northeastern Iowa along the Iowa-Minnesota state line.

When Michael Connery finished his schooling he began to feel the calling to serve his country. Prior to The First World War Michael Connery served in the U. S. Army as a Private in the Field Artillery. He had served for at least a year and then went to work for an oil company.

Farming and oil production was what this part of Iowa was made up of. In 1917 when America was about to enter the First World War, the 26-year old single Michael J. Connery was then working as an oil scout for the Gypsy Oil Company of Oklahoma. The Gypsy Oil Company had been formed in 1907 to manage the Glenn Pool Field in Oklahoma and was a subsidiary of the Gulf Oil Company. Oil was first found at the Glenn Pool Field in 1905 and this was the beginning of the great oil boom of that time.

During the first call up of the Federal Draft in 1917, Michael Connery registered at Garfield, Oklahoma. He stated that he was single and living in Elma, Iowa. He also stated he was working for the Gypsy Oil Company and had served in the Field Artillery of the Army. Michael Connery entered the army on December 18, 1917 and once he was enlisted they saw fit to use his prior training in the field artillery and he was placed into Battery A of the 65th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps then forming at Fort Scott in San Francisco, California.

Connery served as a Wagoner, which carried a rank equal to a Private First Class and his job was to drive trucks for the battery. He would have driven truck with ammunition and supplies and also hauled the artillery caissons. Wagoner Connery’s service number was 841787 and he served through out the duration of the war with the 65th Artillery. It was at 1:15 am on the morning of September 11, 1918 that Connery experienced his first taste of combat on the front lines. That morning the guns of Battery A threw hot steel into the German lines from 1:15 to 7:00 am that morning.

After the return to the States of the 65th Artillery in February 1919 Wagoner Michael J. Connery was Honorably Discharged at Camp Lewis, Washington and he returned to civilian life.

By January of 1920 Connery was again working his old job as an oil scout for the Gypsy Oil Company. He was still single and at the time lived in a hotel owned by Otto Sherry on West Broadway Street in Garfield, Oklahoma.

At the age of 32 in 1925 Michael Connery married. His wife’s first name was Annabelle who was born in Pennsylvania about 1903. By 1930 Michael and Annabelle were living in Boles Township of Tulsa County, Oklahoma where they had two sons, Horace Joseph born about 1925, and William H. born about 1928. Michael was then working for a poultry hatchery to support his family.

The family remained in the same place in Boles Township for many years and by 1940 the family had grown with the addition of three more children, Thomas Arthur born about 1930, John O. born about 1935, and Mary Margaret born about 1936. Michael was then working as a foreman for the S. C. S.

On January 31, 1950 Michael Joseph Connery passed away in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Tulsa, Oklahoma leaving his wife and 5 children. On May 12, 1954 the flat granite gravestone Annabel had requested 5 months before was placed on his grave thereby marking the spot where one that has worn the uniform who has protected our Country lies buried

Michael Connery’s devotion to his Country in serving in the military rubbed of onto one of his sons as John or “Jack” as he was commonly known served in the U. S. Navy as a Lt. Commander aboard the light cruiser USS Topeka (CL-67/CLG-8) from 1964-66.

The gravestone of Wagoner Michael Joseph Connery in the Calvary Cemetery, Tulsa, OK

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.

Ronald Mckinley Jones

Ronald McKinley Jones was born in Arlington, Snohomish County, Washington 3 November 1896. Ronald died 25 November 1966 in Ellensburg, Kittitas County, Washington, at 70 years of age. His body was interred November 1966 in Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, Snohomish County, Washington. He married Hilda Elvina Johnson in Seattle, King County, Washington, 1 March 1919. Hilda was born in Ishpeming, Marquette County, Michigan 14 January 1895. Hilda was the daughter of Jacob Gustav Johnson and Hilda Augusta Landgren. Hilda died 5 February 1992 in Anacortes, Skagit County, Washington, at 97 years of age. Ronald was one of the original members of the Washington State Patrol (Badge #7), serving from 1922 until his retirement in 1957. He served as a motor cycle officer at various offices, mostly in Eastern Washington. For many years his photo was prominately displayed at the Patrol's exhibit at the Western Washington State Fair. He was a Mason and member of the American Legion. Ronald was attending the University of Washington when war (WWI) was declared on Germany. He enlisted three days later in the old 5th Company, which later became the 65th Artillery. He left Fort Casey on the Northern Pacific via the Panama Canal for Fort Dix, New Jersey where he left for France via England. He was stationed at Limoges, France before going to the front. Ronald died from cancer. He was a Mason and member of the American Legion.

Raymond Dunbar, Emerson Reavis, Alvin Clayton, Clyde Batty and Irl I. Olmstead

Artillery Ready For Action

The 65th Artillery is ready for front line duty in France and may be expected to be moved into battle shortly, in the opinion of a military man, expressed to the Oregonian on Tuesday. There are four Wallowa county boys in this regiment. Raymond Dunbar, Emerson Reavis, Alvin Clayton and Clyde Batty. When the regiment went overseas, Irl I. Olmstead was also in it, but he has been transferred to the 54th [Artillery], in special service.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
September 19, 1918
Oron L. Dunbar Dead

Oron L. Dunbar, who lived in Joseph several years ago, died last Sunday, Oct. 27, at Oregon City, of Influenza. He had lived in California until the first of the year when he went to Oregon City, where he was manager of a store. He was born 48 years ago in Fairview and for a time was manager of the McCully Mercantile company store in Joseph. A daughter, Lucile Dunbar, teaches in the Joseph school, and a son, Raymond [Dunbar], is in the 65th artillery, A.E.F., in France, having enlisted in Joseph more than a year ago.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, October 31, 1918

1st Lt. Kirk Parkhurst Cecil

Battery D of the 65th Artillery, CAC was under the command of Captain Edwin B. Hyde, Jr., and his second in command was 1st Lt. Kirk Parkhurst Cecil. On September 12, 1918, the first day that Battery D fired it’s guns Lt. Cecil was then 31-years old. It would be at 1:45 in the morning on the 12th that Captain Hyde gave orders to Lt. Cecil to open fire on the German lines. Battery D would be in action until November 4, 1918 when they ceased fire and removed the guns to a new gun position, one they did not get to fire from before the war ended.

Lt. Cecil had survived the war and narrowly missed being injured or killed on the 26th of September when Battery D was then located in a stretch of woods northeast of Dombasle, France. Both Battery C and D were then detailed to fire on a German Battery of 210mm guns, which was giving much stress to the infantry units of 1st Corps on the line in front of the battery position. ?In the first few minutes of the action a German shell struck near Battery D's position, slightly wounding First Lt. G. W. Fisher and one enlisted man. A German shell landed and set fire to the power piled near No. 1 gun of Battery D. But for the prompt and efficient action of First Lt. Fisher and Second Lt. Raymond H. Carrington, who with their own hands remove the burning charges to quickly put out the fire as a box of fuses was also in the burning pile, which had they cooked off the resulting explosion could have been very serious. As it was, only two powder charges were destroyed.

Kirk Parkhurst Cecil was born on January 30, 1887 in Topeka, Kansas to Joseph and Hattie Cecil. At the turn of the century the Cecil family consisted of Joseph and Hattie, along with their firstborn son Kirk P., and second son Ralph S. who was born in March of 1889. The family then lived on a farm in Shawnee County, Kansas.

When Kirk was in his early 20’s sometime likely about 1910 he had joined the Army, and was serving as a Private in the Oregon National Guard in the Coast Artillery. He would serve for at least 8-years until he had went to the Reserve Officers Training Corps at the Presidio in San Francisco, California just before America entered the war in 1917. On May 26, 1917 Kirk P. Cecil registered for the Federal Draft in Portland, Oregon. His home of record at the time was Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, and he was a tall, medium built man with grey eyes and dark brown hair.

Now that America was at war, and Kirk Cecil was already in the army and currently undergoing officers training at the Presidio, he was on August 15, 1917 called upon to fill the ranks of the newly forming 65th Artillery, CAC. At the time he would have likely been with the 2nd Company, CAC at Ft. Stevens, Oregon as that was the base unit that formed Battery D of the 65th Artillery.

Seven months before the 65th Artillery was loaded on the USS Northern Pacific and sailing out of the Golden Gate for the war, Kirk Cecil married. On September 10, 1917 he married Grace May Lukens in Multnomah County, Oregon. She was a few months younger than Kirk having been born on March 16, 1887, and had also been born in Kansas. As Kirk steamed off to war she waited the long days for his safe return. That return took place in February of 1919 when Battery D was returned to Camp Lewis, Washington where they were demobilized.

Once discharged from the army Kirk returned to civilian life and his wife Grace. They settled in Portland, Oregon where Kirk was then working as a Civil Engineer for the US Forest Service. They rented an apartment located at 711 Vanderbilt Street in Portland.

During the next 10-years the Cecil family began to grow. The couple’s first child, a daughter named Lucille C. was born in Portland about 1921. The second child Helen L. was born about 1923, but she was born in Kansas no doubt during a family visit back home in Kansas. A third daughter Patricia Ann was born about 1928 in Portland. By 1930 Kirk and Grace now owned a home in Portland where he still worked as an inspector for the US Forest Service.

By the spring of 1940 the Cecil family was still in Portland living at 3104 N. E. 34th Avenue, and Kirk was still working for the US Forest Service. For the second time in his life Kirk Cecil registered for the Draft. At the age of 55, Kirk again signed his name to a draft card signifying that he would defend his country if he were called on. Likely due to his age he did not have to serve during WWII.

The marriage of Kirk and Grace would last until June 26 of 1946 when Grace passed away. She was buried in a local cemetery, again waiting for the time she would again be reunited with her husband Kirk.

Four years and 4 months had passed since the passing of Grace. On September 1, 1949 in Portland Kirk Cecil remarried. His second wife’s name was Alwilda Vernette Babcock born on May 1, 1887 in Minnesota. They would be married until April 7, 1966 when Alwilda passed away. She was buried in the Forest Grove Cemetery in Washington County, Oregon.

For the second time in his life Kirk buried a wife, and he would pass away with in 4 months time. On July 30, 1966 Kirk Parkhurst Cecil passed away and was buried on August 12, 1966 with military honors in the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. That same day Kirk’s first wife Grace was re-united with her husband again for the second time as she was moved from her first burial site to lie next to her husband in Section K, Site 4241 in the Williamette National Cemetery.

Emerson Reavis, Battery D

Pvt. 1cl Emerson S. Reavis, Battery D

Emerson Sloan Reavis was born on November 20, 1898 in Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon to Frank A. Reavis (1857-1941) and Anna Smith-Reavis (1874-1965).  Emerson was raised in Enterprise, he had three brothers and a sister.  After High school on April 27, 1917 he joined the Army with the “First Enterprise Volunteers” and was stationed at Fort Stevens, Oregon, in the 2nd Company, Coast Defenses of the Columbia, for training and deployment..

March 2, 1918-Left the west coast on board the USS Northern Pacific for New York.
March 25, 1918- left Camp Merrit for France on the HMS Mauretana.
April 1, 1918-Arrived at Liverpool, England.
April 22, 1918- Arrived at Limoges, France.
May 5, 1918- Arrived at Pierre Buffire, France.

While in France with Battery D Emerson Reavis participated in the following battles: Saint Michiel- September 12-14, 1918; Argonne Forest- September 25-26, 1918; Verdun- October 8-20, 1918; Etrayes Offensive- October 23-24, 1918; Forest d’Argonne- October 31-November 2, 1918

On January 14, 1919 the 65th Artillery recieved the orders they were waiting on and boarded the HMS Haverford at Brest, France for home. Private First Class Emerson S. Reavis was Honorably Discharged from the Army on February 29, 1919. Upon returning to Enterprise, Oregon he became involved with the lumber business locally and moved to La Grande, Oregon in 1926, working for the Mount Emily Lumber Company as Superintendent of Lumber production. On October 19, 1930 he married Margaret L. Baker.  They had two children, James E. and Linda M. Reavis.  In 1952 he moved his family to Auburn, California where he was a Lumber broker with the Cal-Ida Lumber Company until his retirement in 1969.  His lifetime pastimes were wilderness activities, hunting, fishing, horse packing trips, etc. Emerson passed away from complications of Emphysema on October 18, 1976 in Auburn, California where he is interred.

Emerson Reavis's son Jim Reavis has a photo album of his father detaling what and where the 65th did and went during WWI. There are two web pages with Emerson's photographs. Here are the links to his photos Battery D 65th Artillery Page One / Battery D 65th Artillery Page Two

Emerson S. Reavis is 3rd from the left front row.

The following article was printed in the Thursday Edition, March 28, 1918 Enterprise Record Chieftain newspaper from Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon.

With the great war in its most critical stage on the blood soaked battlefields of France, America will float its Third Liberty Loan beginning Saturday, April 6 [1918]. Wallowa county seeks to show its loyalty by going over the top by the close of the third day of the drive. The people of the county wish to do this to show their devotion to their country, to humanity, and to the three or four hundred young men who have gone from here under Old Glory to fight for the great cause.

This photograph, which appeared in the Record Chieftian, May 3, 1917, shows the first group of Enterprise boys to volunteer. They have been training in camps in America ever since, and now part are on their way to France. Others will go shortly, and all undoubtedly will be on the firing line, or close to it before summer comes. The boys are (Not in correct order); Edward Lindsay, Elbert Bellows, Palmer McVicker, Ralph Kay, Alvin Clayton, Clyde Batty, Neva Streeter, Walter Doss, Albert Parker, Joe Sanford, Emerson Reavis, Jesse Warnock, Blaine Stubblefield, Burton Gifford, C. C. Clearwater and Louis Meecham.

No one who stays home can make any such sacrifice as these young men have offered. The terrible clash of recent days shows the awful maelstrom of death before them. But they are going bravely, eagerly, without a thought of holding back. They have laid their all, their lives, on the altar of country. Can anybody at home look into their faces in this picture and hesitate to do his part? For the sake of these boys and the birthright of every American, let the bonds be subscribed before the night of April 8. Be a man, do your duty!

Marston Coin Hussong, Battery E

Marston Coin Hussong was born on July 1st, 1895 in the County of Franklin, Nebraska to Edward Marston Hussong and Minnie Mantauzieque Coin Hussong. Marston Coin Hussong took his first name from his father’s middle name of Marston and his middle name from his mother’s maiden name of Coin. Marston’s mother Minnie was born in Boone County, Iowa on August 2nd of 1871. Edward Marston Hussong was born in Ames, Iowa on December 10, 1863. Edward was a lifelong educator and botanist and received his education in the Ames Agricultural College and at the University of Nebraska. For many years he was engaged in educational work with success. He was the principal of the Public Schools in Franklin, Nebraska and was a successful editorial writer and journalist. Edward M. Hussong was the author of several botanical and educational works. Edward M. Hussong passed away on April 21st 1949. Edward Hussong and Minnie Coin were married on Christmas Day 1893.

In June of 1900 the Edward Hussong family lived in Franklin, Nebraska in a home that was rented. Edward and Minnie had 4 children at that time and they were, Alice Margaret born in October 1893, Marston born in July 1895, Herbert O. born in December 1896 and Dorothia L. born in July 1899. Also living in the home was Edward’s mother and two sisters and a 25 year-old single male boarder. Edward’s mother, Clara R. Hussong who was widowed, was born in Virginia in November 1839. Edward’s two sisters that were living in the home were Grace M. Hussong born in Kansas in February of 1878 and Nellie Hussong also born in Kansas in September of 1879, both of whom were single at the time. Grace like her brother was also a schoolteacher and Nellie was attending school at the time. The 25-year old border was named George Boone born in May of 1875 in Iowa who was a student at the time.

By 1910 the family had grown to include another son Edward M. born about 1902 and two daughters who may have been twins Clara F. and Laura G., both born about 1906.

Marston Hussong joined the army in 1917 and was sent to Fort Scott, San Francisco, California where he was placed in Battery E of the 65th Artillery, C.A.C. Marston sailed on the USS Northern Pacific on March 2nd 1918 as they cleared the Golden Gate at noon bound for New York via the Panama Canal. On March 16th the 65th Regiment sailed into New York Harbor, past the Statue of Liberty and landed at Hoboken, New Jersey and boarded a train for Camp Merritt, New Jersey. Finally on Sunday morning March 23rd 1918, the entire 65th Artillery left camp Merritt by rail with full equipment bound for the Cunard Line docks, then marched aboard the H. M. S. Mauretania.

While in France Marston Hussong took part in each battle of the 65th Artillery and on the morning of January 14th, 1919 he boarded the English ship, HMS Haverford for his trip back to America. Marston Hussong was in Battery E and being that Battery E was in the Third Battalion of the 65th Artillery, which was made up from men from California, they were sent to San Diego where they were discharged to return to civilian life, or re-enlist as they saw fit.

Marston returned to civilian life and made his home in Clatsop County, Oregon, living again with his mother and father. His father at that time was teaching High-School there in Astoria, Oregon. In January of 1920 Marston was a 23-year old single man and worked as a stenographer for a shipping company. Marston would remain in and around the Clatsop County, Oregon area for the rest of his life. He eventually married a woman named Hazel and on February 18th 1960 Marston C. Hussong passed away.

This profile was created for Sara Hussong, Granddaughter of Marston Coin Hussong, Battery E, 65th Artillery CAC.

Berry, Laurence F, b. 01/10/1883, d. 03/05/1951, PRIVATE BATTERY B 65TH ARTILLERY CAC USA, Plot: M 282, bur. 03/16/1951, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Point Loma, San Diego County, California

Fitzmaurice, John D., Everett, Washington, Sergeant, Battery F, 65th Artillery, C.A.C. Died at Brest, France, Jan 3, 1919

Ray T. Cummins, Everett, Washington, Cook, Served 22 months in the Army, and was in France with the 65th Artillery. Born in Superior WI.

George H. Curnutt, Duvall Washington, Wagoner. Born 21 Jul 1898, at Welch OK. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Curnutt, Duvall. Enlisted 9 Apr 1917, in 5th Co. at Snohomish, and at Fort Casey was transferred to Battery F, 65th Artillery, and served in France with that regiment. Discharged 28 Feb 1919, at Camp Lewis.

Donald C. Currie, Everett, Washington. Born 3 Aug 1898, at Everett. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Currie, 3208 Colby. Enlisted 5 Feb 1917 in old 12th Co. He was transferred at Fort Casey to Battery F, 65th Art., and served in France with the 65th during its operations in the battle line. Private, 1st class. Discharged at Camp Lewis 28 Feb 1919. Former Everett High School student. Brother of Robert B. Currie also of Batt. F, 65th Artillery.

Robert B. Currie, Everett, Washington. Born 13 Sep 1900, at Everett. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Currie, 3208 Colby. Enlisted in 12th Co., 5 Feb 1917. Was transferred to Battery F, 65th Art. at Fort Casey. He was with the 65th during its trip to France and in its operations on the front lines. Discharged 28 Feb 1919 at Camp Lewis. Private, 1st Class. Brother of Donald C. Currie, Battery F, 65th Artillery. Former Everett High School student. Private Currie received a citation for his work while the 65th was in action, the full wording of which appears in the history of the 65th Artillery.

Ross Aubrey, Merrill, Ore. Private, Battery C, 65th Coast Artillery Corps; fought at Verdun, St. Mihiel, Argonne Forest.

Paul Hilton, Klamath Falls, Ore. Private, 1st Army Division, 65th C. A. C.; fought at St. Mihiel, Verdun, Argonne, Etrayes offensive; slightly gassed at Verdun.

Elmer A. Lawrence, Klamath Falls, Ore. Private, First Class, Battery D, 65th Coast Artillery Corps; fought at St. Mihiel, Argonne, Verdun, Etrays offensive.

Edgar J. McCollum, Klamath Falls, Ore. Private, 65th Regiment, Heavy Artillery, C. A. C.; fought at St. Mihiel, Argonne Forest, Etrayes offensive.

Ben C. Mitchell, Klamath Falls, Ore. Private, Battery D, 65th Coast Artillery Corps; fought at St. Mihiel, Argonne Forest, Verdun, Etrayes offensive.

Clarence V. Montgomery, Klamath Falls, Ore. Private, Battery D, 65th Coast Artillery Corps; fought at St. Mihiel, Verdun, Argonne, Etrayes offensive.

Eugene Prouty, Klamath Falls, Ore. Bugler, Battery D, 65th Coast Artillery Corps; fought at St. Mihiel and Argonne Forest; wounded at Argonne.

Robert B. Turner, Klamath Falls, Ore. Private, First Class, Battery D, 65th Coast Artillery Corps.

Joseph Zumpfe, Malin, Ore. Private, First Class, Battery D, 65th Artillery; fought at St. Mihiel, Verdun, Argonne, Forges Woods.

Pvt. 1cl Edward K. Ramsey. Born in 1895 and passed away in 1971 and is burried in the Colfax Cemetery, Placer county, California. Served in Battery B, 65th Artillery, C.A.C.

Corporal Grover Cleveland Ratliff, Battery A. Grover C. Ratliff was promoted to Corporal in Battery A, 65th Artillery of August 28, 1918.

Corporal Roy F. Crim, Battery C

Harold Brownell

Bob Brownell tells about his great-uncle Harold Brownell who served in the 65th Artillery during WWI while in France.

“My great-uncle, Harold Brownell served with this unit during WW 1. He was my grandfather’s brother and died after returning home from the war in 1919 of spinal meningitis. My grandfather never talked of his brother much – they were the only two boys in a family of four girls, with a hard, unforgiving father and my grandfather was eleven years younger than Harold. His brother’s death left a lifelong scar on my grandfather who didn’t really know who his brother was or who he could have been. I always wanted to know more about my great-uncle, his service, who he was, and why he ran away to join the army in 1917. My grandfather never mentioned much other than some basic details which encouraged me to want to know more and more about this mysterious ghost in our family. The only things that remain are Harold’s dog tags, his shaving kit, some buttons, French coins.”

Henry Joseph Lecocq, Jr.

Henry Joseph Lecocq, Jr. was the second eldest son born to Henry and Gabrielle Lecocq. Both Henry and Gabrielle were born in France and had immigrated to the States. Henry and Gabrielle began their family with the birth of their first son named George, which was followed by Henry Joseph Lecocq, Jr on October 3, 1894 in Elliott, Missouri. The six siblings in the Lecocq family were George, Henry Jr., Henrietta, Marguerite, Ferdinand, and Helen.

In the spring or 1917 Henry J. Lecocq, Jr., was then living in Marshfield, Oregon and was working as a salesman. But previous to this he was also serving in the Oregon State Naval Militia for at least 6 months. On June 7, 1917 Henry, a tall slender man with black hair and brown eyes, enlisted into the United States Army and would serve in combat in France with the 65th Artillery, CAC. Because Henry’s father and mother were both born in France and the family spoke French, Henry, Jr. sometimes served as an interpreter while he was with the 65th in France. Henry J. Lecocq, Jr. was honorably discharged from the army on February 28, 1919.

Once out of the army after the war Henry returned back to Marshfield, Oregon and worked for the local public utility as an electrician. By 1930 he was still working for the power company only now his job was that of a storekeeper for the company.

Henry J. Lecocq, Jr. and his wife Alma B. or “Betty” as she sometimes went by lived in Marshfield, Oregon and had one daughter named Yvonne born about late 1928.

In 1940 just before the start of WWII Henry was working as an Area Supervisor at Camp White Division 6 in Medford, Oregon. Lecocq would have been working on constructing the 43,000-acre U.S. Army training camp for the 91st Infantry Division. Over the four years of the war, 40,000 troops shipped out of Camp White. During the war years, the surrounding plains sprouted temporary housing for many camp support services.

Henry Joseph Lecocq, Jr. passed away on March 30, 1976.

Henry Joseph Lecocq, Jr. 1894-1976

Sergeant Grahm E. McConnel, Battery C

Graham E. McConnel enlisted into the Idaho National Guard at Ft. Stevens, Oregon on December 11, 1917. He was with the 2 Company Coast Artillery, Idaho National Guard from enlistment until that unit was federalized and on January 1, 1918 McConnel was transferred to Battery C of the 65th Artillery, CAC. Sgt. McConnel was then transfered on December 17, 1918 to Battery E, 54th Artillery, CAC. He was with this unit until he was discharged on March 28, 1919. McConnel was advance to Sergeant on March 7, 1918 just befor the 65th Artillery sailed to France. He returned to the States with Battery E of the 54th Artillery sailing on February 25th, 1919 bound home where they reached Boston on March 7, 1919 aboard the Battleship USS Nebraska. Sgt. McConnel was honorably discharged on March 28, 1919 and was reported 100 percent disabled from suffering damage to his eyesight from gas at the time of discharge in view of his occupation.

Sergeant Rodney F. Smith, Battery C, Service No. 297964

Rodney F. Smith was born in Morris, Stevens County, Minnesota on January 7, 1898. On March 6, 1916 Smith enlisted into the Oregon National Guard. Once his Guard unit was called into Federal Service at the start of the First World War he was placed into Battery C of the 65th Artillery, CAC as Sergeant. He served with Battery C during its time in combat in France. He would have returned to the states and was Honorably Discharged from the Army on February 28, 1919. After life in the army Smith married and remained in Oregon for the rest of his life. He passed away on July 12, 1958 and is buried in the Rest Haven Memorial Park in Eugene, Oregon.

Corporal Leroy L. Reed, Battery D

Born: December 8, 1891. Death: January 28, 1964. Burial: Missouri Flat Cemetery, Applegate, Jackson County Oregon

Private Theodore Tucker, Service No. 583278 HQ Company 3rd Battalion

Theodore Tucker was born in South Berwick, Maine in 1895, and in December of 1917 was living in Kittery, Maine. He entered the Army in late 1917 and was placed in the Headquarters Company of the then forming 54th Artillery, CAC. The 54th was a Coast Artillery Regiment, which was formed of mostly Maine men who were in the Coast Artillery Coast Defense units stationed in Maine.

On March 16, 1918 the HQ Company of the 54th Artillery, Batteries A and B, the Supply Company along with the HQ Company consisting of 19 officers and 566 enlisted men sailed aboard the HMS Baltic from New York bound for France.

Once the 54th Artillery arrived in France this regiment was selected to become the Tractor Artillery Replacement regiment. This was done so that fully trained men would be ready to be placed into the various artillery units on the firing line when replacement men were needed due to casualties. Private Tucker would have remained with the HQ Company until July 20, 1918 when he was transferred up to the 32nd Brigade HQ Company. On July 29 Private Tucker reported for duty with the HQ Company, 32nd Brigade, which was the command unit of the 58th Artillery, 59th Artillery and the 65th Artillery. All three of theses regiments were on the firing line at the front.

On August 3, 1918 Private Tucker was reassigned to the 65th Artillery CAC, which was, then in combat on the front lines. Private Tucker was placed into the 3rd Battalion of the 65th, and likely into the HQ Company of the 3rd Battalion, which was the command unit for Batteries E and F. He remained with this unit through out the duration of the war while the 65th was engaged in the Lorraine sector, and on February 6, 1919 was then transferred into the 62nd Company, 16th Battalion of the 153 Depot Brigade.

After the war Depot Brigades were formed for the collection of men from various units who were not career army men so that these men could be transported back across the Atlantic to the States. While these Depot units awaited transportation they were also used as labor units and preformed various tasks while in France.

Private Tucker arrived in the States on January 30, 1919 and was Honorably Discharged from the Army on February 14, 1919.

In February of 2014 Wayne L. Pruett of Gouldsboro, Maine wrote the following about Theodore Tucker. "When I was a kid growing up in Kittery, Maine I lived across the street from Mr. Tuckers' grandson.  The grandson and I were close at the time, and Theodore would visit his son and grandson often during the summer months. Theodore was great with his grandson and myself, and because of this closeness Theodore told us various stories of his life. Theodore's stories about the army and his service in France were very interesting to me. Theodore's son, who was a WWII Pearl Harbor Navy survivor, was also very good to me and I tried to keep in touch with him every so often. Just two weeks ago, I found out that the son had past away and this got me thinking about Theodore, and I went on line to find out about the 54th & 65th CAC units, which Theodore served in, and this led me to your web site, which is very well done by the way. It is just a matter of one thing leading to another." Wayne Pruett.

Corporal Milton John Lamping, Battery D

Cpl. Milton J. Lamping and his new bride
Lauretta Van Doren.

Cpl. Lamping was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 1, 1890. At age 24 years Milton Lamping enlisted into the United States Army on March 1, 1914 at Fort Lewis, Washington. His assignment was in the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps and was stationed at one of the coast defense forts along the Pacific coast. As WWI began for America several of the Coast Defense Companies in and around the Coast Defenses of the Columbia River and Oregon coast were formed into the 65th Artillery. Battery D was made up of men from the 2nd Company out of Ft. Stevens, Oregon, but Lamping’s name does not appear from the list of original 2nd Company men from Ft. Stevens, so he must have been from another Coast Defense company in the area.

Being that he was already in the army at the time the 65th Artillery was formed he was seen as a squad leader and may have already been at the grade of Corporal when the 65th was formed. Lamping would have sailed to France with the 65th when they left Washington on March 24, 1918. He did participate with Battery D during the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne actions. After the war Cpl. Lamping returned on the HMS Haverford with the 65th where he remained in the army until he was discharged on June 3, 1920.

Milton Lamping was married and this was likely just after he returned from France as seen in the photo on the left. This is supported in the fact that on his left lower sleeve is a service stripe that denotes 6-month service overseas during the war. Additionally on his upper left shoulder is what looks like the First Army Artillery shoulder patch. This would have only been worn on the uniform after the war was over as prior to and during the war there were no patches worn. Also above his left breast pocket can be seen a ribbon bar, which may be the WWI Victory ribbon bar.

After Lamping was married he had several children and four of his sons would follow his footsteps and serve overseas during WWII. Milton John Lamping would pass away on February 12, 1959 in Portland, Oregon.

Leonard F. Donaldson #582982 HQ. Co. 54th Artillery, C.A.C. / Battery C, 65th Artillery

Leonard F. Donaldson


The following record of my grandfather’s WW1 service was reconstructed using various sources. My most important source was the contents of an old cardboard box given to me by Grandpa several years before he died in 1981. The box contained his mess kit; canvass leggings, M1917 rifle action cover, numerous WWI vintage ammunition for various small arms and field guns. Also inside the cardboard box was an old tin candy box containing his dog tag, numerous small items, documents, photos and French Postcards.

A second source was the official Army records still surviving. These I obtained directly from the Army in 1990. Unfortunately, the Army archives in St. Louis were extensively damaged by fire in the 1970’s and not much was available. They did send me an “Honorable Discharge” and citation eligibility page. They also sent me a Purple Heart inscribed with his name along with a WW1 Victory Medal with 3 battle clasps.

My third source of information is the verbal history given to me by Grandpa over the years. This consisted more of stories and antidotes than hard data. I was not particularly knowledgeable about WW1 and never even thought to ask the questions, which could have made assembling this remembrance, a simple chore.

The final source for reconstructing Grandpa’s WWI experience is 21st Century technology via the Internet. Through records now available on the Internet, I was able to obtain very good unit histories for WWI and coupled with the information from the other mentioned sources we are now able to track his movements with a high degree of accuracy.

1) Introduction
2) Chronology
3) Contents of Grandpa’s box
4) Army Records / Medals
5) Verbal History
6) Author’s Notes


October 25, 1917 Detroit Mich. Enlisted in the US Army
December 25, 1917 Fort Williams Port Elizabeth Maine US Army assigned to 54th Artillery, C.A.C.
March 22, 1918 Portland Maine Sails on the Canada for Europe
April 2, 1918 Glasgow Scotland
April 3, 1918 Winchester England
April 6, 1918 LeHarve France assigned to Camp Mailly-le-camp
July 21, 1918 Limoges France reassigned to 65th Artillery 2nd Battalion Battery C
July - Aug 26, 1918 Limoges, Pierre Buffere, La Courtine training with guns and equipment Donjeux France
Aug 26-30 1918 Donjeux to Toule France in route to the Front
Sept. 12-25 1918 St. Mihiel in action/ major offensive
Oct. 6-18 1918 Verdun in action/major offensive
Oct. 20-24 1918 Bois De Forges in action
Oct. 29-30 1918 Fleville in action
Nov. 1-11 1918 Meuse-Argonne in action/major offensive. Leonard F. Donaldson wounded by shrapnel and gassed with phosgene gas exact date unknown but it was after 4pm on November 1st (Leonard F. Donaldson made notation on German pilot’s calendar)
Nov. 11, 11am 1918 Armistice End of War
Nov. 15, 1918 Tille to Tours Leonard F. Donaldson on hospital train
March 20, 1919 USA Leonard F. Donaldson Honorably Discharged from Army
June 1920 USA Leonard F. Donaldson finally discharged from hospital treatment after 19 months classified as Disabled Veteran

Contents of Grandpa’s box

Originally, this cardboard box must have contained a pair of boots or perhaps a hat and was roughly 8x20x8in. Grandpa first showed this to me in 1964 and we looked through it together. I remember asking him what battles he had been in and scratched the names in the mess kit lid while he talked. The next time I saw the box was in the old log garage at BAR-D in the late 70’s when he gave it to me. I knew that he had treasured it for more than half a century and felt honored to be entrusted with it. It was as if he was giving me a bit of himself.

1) Mess Kit dated 1-18 including a knife, fork, and spoon and canteen cup. Lightly scratched on the kit lid: St. Miheil, Argonne, Verdun, Le Forge, Argonne Muse

2) Canvass leggings, hand marked in ink inside DON. These are only slightly worn and I believe these to have been a second pair used for inspections.

3) A canvass rifle action cover dated April 1918 and hand marked Mack. This cover fit’s the US Model 1917 perfectly and could also be used on the M1903. It is dirty and has seen use. Mud is trapped in one of the snaps. This item is one of the indicators that Leonard F. Donaldson carried the M1917 rifle.

4) Two field gun shell cases. One believed to be for a 37mm anti-tank gun dated 4-4-18 the other smaller and unmarked and made of tin.

5) Foreign and US small arms ammunition: 4 rounds in a clip believed to be for the 7.62mm Russian Nagant, 3 French 8mm Lebel, 1 German 8mm Mauser, 3 USA 30-06 dated 1917 and 1918, 1 USA .45 pistol dated 1914

6) “Schraffts Hard Candy” tin candy box used to contain the below smaller items

7) Dog tag Leonard F. Donaldson #582982 HQ. Co., 54th Artillery. I remember Grandpa reciting his serial number to me some 55 years after the war.

8) A leather wallet containing a Canadian commercial travelers train pass dated April 17th 1917 in Calgary. Grandpa had been working in the lumbering areas of British Columbia and Alberta for the Goodyear Rubber Company. His duties entailed driving a model T Ford around the Rocky Mountains selling and delivering drive belts for sawmills. When he learned that the US was calling for volunteers he traveled to Detroit Michigan to sign up. Perhaps the fact that his older brother Charles was on the Detroit Police Department had something to do with Grandpa’s choosing Detroit as sign up location.

9) A portrait of Leonard F. Donaldson in uniform. He is wearing a US army uniform showing a collar tag with the crossed cannons of the Artillery. This is the type of portrait taken during training camp. It is unknown where he obtained his basic training but it definitely was with the regular US army not a militia or National Guard unit.

10) A banquet menu from Christmas 1917, Fort Williams Maine 1st Co Portland. I believe this represents a special holiday dinner given for the soldiers stationed at Ft. Williams by the local National Guard organization. The 54th Artillery was at Ft. Williams where it was being reorganized and called into Federal Service. Fort Williams is one of several forts at Cape Elizabeth near Portland Maine.

11) A newspaper clipping bearing a poem titled “A US Volunteer” and a write up about a Portland Me. man being promoted to Corporal. One partially torn item indicates a date of January 12.

12) A welcome letter from King George V of England to the American soldiers dated April 1918. This letter is on Windsor Castle stationary with its own envelope. Grandpa somehow managed to “snag” two copies of this letter. From 54th Artillery regimental history we know the unit was in Winchester England from April 3 until probably April 5. This is when Leonard F. Donaldson most likely obtained this memento.

13) Twelve French Postcards. These were most likely purchased by Leonard F. Donaldson for souvenirs as opposed to use in the mail. There are 2 showing American Troops with equipment similar to but not exactly the same as mentioned in unit history or in the (item 16) photographs. 3 depict general French scenes. 4 refer to Camp de Mailly where the 54th Artillery was stationed after arrival in LeHarve. The last 4 are from the Limoges area this was the main training area of the 65th Artillery before going to the front. These cards definitely confirm a transfer of Leonard F. Donaldson from the 54th Art to the 65th Art.

14) Army issued English/ French dictionary and Signal Corps handbook on Morse and Semaphore codes.

15) A 3rd class train ticket. I am unsure from the ticket, which way the train was going but the areas are Pierre-Buffiere and Limoges-Benedictins. The impressed date stamped into the back or the ticket is 21 JUIL 08. I believe that it should read 21 JUIL 18 which we would be in English July 21, 1918. This would be in keeping with the movements of the 65th Artillery.

16) Five original 2” x 1” photographic prints. Two of these appear to be the same image and depict what I believe to be a 9.2 Inch British Howitzer of the Mark I or II and an American Gun crew. This could well be one of the guns of Battery C, 65th Artillery to which Leonard F. Donaldson was assigned. One is a picture of a line of Caterpillar tractors used to haul the heavy guns. One shows a soldier, likely American, near the ruins of a building. The remaining picture is of American troops in the rubble of a town.

17) Newspaper clipping believed to be from the Cape Vincent NY local paper. It is a copy of a letter sent to his sister Ruth. The exact date of the clipping is unknown but on the reverse side the paper appears to be endorsing Alfred E Smith for Governor and came out on a Thursday. Assuming the election was to be held November 2nd, the paper was likely from Thursday October 24 or more likely October 31. In the letter to his sister Leonard F. Donaldson describes the miserable conditions at the front and mentions that it is a Sunday and that he is wearing heavy clothes. Using a 1918 calendar and assuming that he would not be writing letters during combat actions it is likely that Leonard wrote the letter on Sunday October 20th 1918. Earlier dates of September 29 or October 6 may be possible. However, heavy clothes and reference to prolonged action do not seem to fit the earlier date and October 6th was the beginning of the Verdun action. Nor does it seem possible that a letter from later than October 20th could leave the front lines in France and get home in time for a newspaper article published before a November 2nd election. In any event perhaps the most important bit of information in the letter is that Leonard F. Donaldson was assigned to Battery C 65th Artillery.

18) YMCA stationary and envelope. Stationary and envelope bear the YMCA logo and was made available to soldiers for writing home. This is the type of stationary most likely used by Leonard F. Donaldson to write the letter to his sister described in item 17.

19) A 1916 calendar written in German measuring 1” x 1 5/8” with 20 pages. Contains 3 photographs of women glued inside. Writing of original owner has not been translated and appears cryptic but ends with the word Finis!!! It is not known if this writing is from 1916 or a later date. Near the last page Leonard F. Donaldson made a contemporaneous entry: “Taken from a N.C.O. P. Guard, 4 P.M. 11-1-18 Head partly blown off. Harmless, Argonne Meuse Sector.” Grandpa told me that he had been the first soldier to a downed German plane and that he had taken this diary from the dead pilot along with his Lugar pistol. This pistol was later stolen from Leonard F. Donaldson while in field hospitals. He speculated that the pictures were likely of the dead man’s loved ones. One interesting thing brought to light by this item is that Leonard F. Donaldson was still unwounded at the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and would have to been wounded during the last 10 days of the War.

20) American Army train pass from Tille to Tours dated Nov. 15, 1918. This signifies Leonard F. Donaldson’s transport away from the Field Hospitals near the front to rear area medical care. The war has been over for just 4 days.

21) A German tunic button depicting the crown and an Italian rank insignia/collar star.

22) A scalpel with black handle marked MILLERDA Co USA. Likely liberated from the hospital by Leonard F. Donaldson while recuperating. Grandpa was under the mistaken belief that this was German steel. The markings are quite small.

23) Various post WWI mementos including VFW items and a U of M watch fob.

Army Records / Medals

In 1990 I requested information from the Veterans Affairs about Leonard F. Donaldson. They responded with a copy of his Honorable Discharge paper, which provides his dates of enlistment and discharge. They also sent me two US issued medals.

WWI Victory Medal: This medal was awarded to all members of the armed forces who served during WWI. Grandpa‚s has 3 battle clasps. St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and Defensive Sector. I believe Grandpa’s original medal is in the possession of his daughter, Ann Armento. I have studied an image of this original in an artistic collage titled “MY HERO” done by Aunt Ann and presented to my parents. In this image the third battle clasp is not legible but seems to be of two words ending in GE. I believe it may refer to the engagement referred to in unit history as Bois De Forge. Perhaps there were clasps for these smaller engagements back in 1918 but now they are covered by the Defensive Sector clasp. This clasp was issued for combat in smaller engagements not covered by major battles clasps. (see footnote/Defensive Sector)

Purple Heart: This medal given for wounds or death in combat was not given until 1932 and Leonard F. Donaldson became eligible retroactively. He knew of his eligibility but never got around to applying for it. When I requested information from the Army in 1990 they sent it to me. It has his name inscribed on the reverse.

Croix de Guerre: This medal was awarded by the French for bravery in combat and was widely given to American soldiers. Exceptional cases got the award with a palm leaf. Grandpa spoke of receiving this medal numerous times. I can still hear him rolling the French words on his tongue. Unit history mentions a French General Alexander of the 17th French Army Corp recognizing and issuing citations to the men and officers of the 65th Artillery. It is also quite possible Leonard F. Donaldson received this medal from the French while lying wounded in the Field Hospital.

WWI Victory Button: A US issued small silver pin comemorating participation in the armed Forces during WWI, which could be worn with civilian clothes.

DEFENSIVE SECTOR CLASP: Defensive Sector Clasps were issued for participation in any of the following engagements.

1) In the First Army area, between 30 August and 11 November 1918, or in the Second Army area between October 12 and November 11, 1918.
2) At the regulating station at St Dizier and in the billeting region in connection therewith between October 31 and November 11, 1918.
3) In the area of corps, divisions, or smaller independent organizations under French, British, Belgian, or Italian commands between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918.
4) In any engagement not included in one of the thirteen major operations recognized by its own battle clasp.
5) In any engagement in European Russia after August 1, 1918, or in Siberia after August 15, 1918.

Verbal History

The following information is from countless conversations I had with Grandpa over the years. Many of these occurred in the kitchen at BAR-D while he was having his late night “toddy.” He would be reminiscing while heating milk in a small sauce pan or drinking the milk and whiskey concoction. I will take the liberty of using the 1st person, these may not be his exact words but they are his stories and antidotes.

In 1917 I was working in British Columbia and Alberta for the Goodyear Rubber Company. Driving a Model T Ford over the Rocky Mountains I would call on various lumber camps and sell them drive belts for the large circular and gang saws. When I learned that United States had declared war and was calling for volunteers I took the train to Detroit and signed up. The Army in its wisdom decided that if you signed up in Detroit you must know all about cars and trucks. Consequently I was listed as a Wagoner. (Ft. Wayne, IN is believed to be place he signed up)

Once I got to France I quickly learned about the inequity of war. The Germans got a beer ration, the Limeys (English) got a rum ration, the Frogs (French) got a wine ration and we got nothing. Our women back home didn’t think it was good for us to have something to drink! One night after an exhausting march in the freezing rain our column stopped for the night near a French outfit. I saw a French soldier sleeping under a truck. I could see that he had a wine flask slung over his shoulder. Crawling through the mud I snuck up on him with the intention of helping him out with his wine. When I got up to him I found that the strap of the flask was securely held in place by his buttoned down epaulette. He was sleeping so soundly it didn’t seem right to disturb him and besides he was well armed. So I lay down next to him and was able to empty his wine flask. Once the wine was gone it began to feel a bit crowded under that truck so I crawled off and found a different place to sleep.

It was a miserable life at the front with no way out of the weather and no change of clothes or way to wash. When you got wet you stayed wet sometimes for a week. Standing in the pouring rain trying to eat your cold soaking wet food if you were able to get food at all was bad. Sometimes you couldn’t get any sleep for days if your unit was on a drive or the Germans were shelling you. I do remember one time when we were ordered back from the Front to get cleaned up and rested. They sent us to a de-lousing station where we had to strip naked and put our uniforms into a sanitizing unit. We then had to shave our entire bodies, yes even there, and then we went to the showers where along with soap and water we were sprayed with bug killer. When we got our uniforms back from the sanitizer they had been baked so much that the leather was stiff and shrunk and nothing fit. The Army was trying to get rid of all the cooties and lice we were carrying around but it wasn’t long until our little unwanted companions returned. You still had the bugs but now your uniform didn’t fit and your boots were painful.

The suffering of the French civilians was terrible to see. Many of the men had been lost and farms ruined. Women sometimes with families were desperate. After pay days some of these women would show up at our camps and prostitute themselves but would cover their faces with the long skirts to try to preserve a measure of dignity. I didn’t judge them harshly as it was a matter of survival.

I was with the 42nd Rainbow Division. [More likely Leonard means, “We followed the 42nd Division in combat”] This was a special unit because for the first time men from all over the US were in the same Division together and that is why it was called the Rainbow. Sometimes you could have a guy from Michigan, New York and Alabama fighting side by side.

Shrapnel near Verdun, France wounded me. While I lay wounded in the mud the Germans gassed us with phosgene gas. If I had not been lying with my face in the mud it is likely the gas would have been much more harmful. As it was I lost about 14 inches of small intestine and had significant problems with my lungs. Even after I got back to the States I needed more surgery. They were still getting shrapnel out, which was missed in France. (As a boy I remember Grandpa showing me this piece of jagged metal about as large as my little finger) It took 19 months in different hospitals before I could be released.

During those many months in the hospital I changed. One of the worst moments happened as I was starting to recuperate. I had been a heavy cigarette smoker and was sneaking a smoke when the Doctor caught me and chewed me out in front of the entire ward. He said that after all the work that had been done to try to clear my lungs that for me to smoke was an insult to all the guys who were actually trying to get better. He said that if he caught me smoking again he would no longer waste any time on me. I was so ashamed of myself. Even after the doctor left I knew the other men did not think much of me. While laying in that bed about the only thing I could do were small craft activities like making wallets. One day I set the wallet aside and felt like crying it seemed such a meaningless life. I made a vow to myself that day that I was going to rise above it. That I was going to raise myself up above the masses and make something of myself. Never again would I allow myself to used by others and to be thought of as insignificant.

When I was released from the hospital I was able to use the Disabled Veterans benefits along with working two jobs to get an education and eventually become a lawyer. Sometimes, I was so tired that in order to stay awake to study for exams I filled a bathtub with ice water and got in to study. Nothing was going to stop me I was determined to make something of myself.
Other Information

Back in the early 70’s Grandpa gave me a pistol that he had brought back from the war. It is a 7.65mm (32 auto) semi-automatic made in Spain and purchased by the French for WWI. Grandpa stated that he got it from a surrendering German. If so the German must have gotten it from a French soldier.

I remember buying a Springfield M1903 rifle of WWI vintage thinking it was like the one Grandpa had carried in France. When I arrived at BAR-D I couldn’t wait to show it to him. My car was parked by the old log garage when I handed it to him. He picked it up and looked it over but said he didn’t think it was like the one he had in France. I did not know at the time that two thirds of our WWI Doughboys carried the M1917. By the time I learned of this Grandpa was gone. Given the predominance of the M1917 along with Grandpa’s failure to recognize the M1903 and the fact that the canvass action cover from his box is better suited to the M1917 I am certain that he carried the M1917.

Grandpa did have a diary, which has been lost. The only time I ever saw it was in Florida in the late 70’s. It was about 3in x 5in and 75 pages covered in red leather. I read it completely with Grandpa present and this is what I remember. It covered the time period from the end of training camp to his first day in combat. There were songs including Over Here, When the Caissons Go Rolling Along, and Mademoiselle from Armentieres. There was also a poem about crossing the ocean with references to how thin were the blankets and seasickness. The Diary also mentions his first day at the front when he had the heel shot from his boot. After this the entries stop. Perhaps life at the front was not conducive to keeping a diary.

From the official Divisional History of the Rainbow Division and the book Retreat Hell! We Just Got Here! by Martin Evans, I am familiar with the movements of the 42nd Rainbow Division. During September through November of 1918 they closely parallel those of the 65th Artillery Regiment. Especially, during the Meuse-Argonne offensive they are almost identical. Unlike most regiments the 65th was never really assigned to any Division. As a heavy Artillery regiment the 65th fired in support of the Divisions they happened to be near. It is almost a certainty that they would have fired in support of the fabled Rainbow Division. Grandpa’s claim to have been with the Rainbow Division may not be technically correct but considering the circumstances of the 65th Artillery it is not too far from the truth. When the first thing asked was likely “With which Division were you?” Grandpa either had to say none or pick one of the several, which the 65th Artillery had supported.

At least part of his time at the front Leonard F. Donaldson drove a truck bringing up ammunition. This is a highly dangerous job. To the enemy, ammunition trucks are of high value and very visible targets. The truck was likely the standard 3-ton open cab of the Liberty type. This was the first truck ever produced to military specifications and was manufactured in high numbers by several suppliers. The one driven by Leonard F. Donaldson would have been one equipped with the ammunition body as opposed to the cargo type. The second battalion of the 65th Artillery Regiment had been assigned 19 of this type.

Leonard F. Donaldson mentioned that the artillery we used was not of U.S. manufacture. I recall him mentioning the French 75mm as one type we used. This would have been true of a Field Artillery unit but I can find no mention of them being used by the 65th Artillery, which was a heavy artillery unit and according to regimental history they were assigned 9.5-inch British Howitzers. Years ago I remember seeing a piece of “trench art” (flower vase) made from what definitely could have been a French 75mm shell case. This case used to be in the basement of his house in Detroit on Glastonbury Street.

Author’s Notes

For the sake of future generations reading this I am the first and oldest grandchild of Leonard F. Donaldson. My father, J. Bruce Donaldson, was his son. I am Bruce J. Donaldson. My son of the same name was the only great grandchild Leonard F. Donaldson ever saw. While holding my son he turned to me and said, “Don‚t ever spoil his smile.”

It has taken me years to solve the mysteries of Grandpa’s WWI service. Even after I had read widely about WWI and examined in detail the contents of box I could not put it together. I had a dog tag indicating 54th Artillery, a letter to his sister indicating 65th Artillery, Battery C and Grandpa’s repeated mention of the 42nd Rainbow Division. Army Records were non-existent. My early research into the 54th and 65th Artillery indicated that they were National Guard Costal Artillery Units stationed in the U.S. I could find no record of their even going to France. I even suspected that the reference to the 65th Artillery in the letter to Ruth might have been the product of military censors deliberately causing miss-information! Finally, this fall (2005) I happened to recheck on the Internet for information on the 54th and 65th Artillery and found that both regiments had been called to Federal Service in WWI. Once I started comparing the regimental histories to the mementos in Grandpa’s box it all fell into place. I was elated! After many years as a detective I had finally solved my most difficult and personally rewarding case. Investigation conducted 87 years after the fact yields conclusive results! In researching, remembering and writing this remembrance I have again come close to one of the most remarkable of men. My Grandfather, I miss him so much.

PFC Clifford W. Sevits, Battery C

Clifford Warner Sevits was a Private First Class serving in Combat with Battery C of the 65th Artillery CAC During WWI.

Clifford was born on July 2, 1895 in Kirksville, Missouri to Mary Elizabeth Marks and George Franklin Sevits. The Sevits family was a farming family that had moved from Missouri to a family farm located in Plevna Township, Klamath County, Oregon. This was near Keno, Oregon, which is about 15-miles from Klamath Falls, and about 10-miles from Dorris, California. The reason for the move was unclear, but stories told in the family today indicate that the Sevits family may have walked from Missouri to Oregon. George and Mary would have 10 children, but their eldest daughter, Goldie supposedly had died in 1902 during the walk west from Missouri. All the rest of the Sevits children would live to adulthood. The Sevits family, according to the 1910 Federal Census, was living on the farm in Klamath County, Oregon, and from the stories of the death of Goldie in 1902, allegedly during the walk from Missouri, it is assumed that the move took place about 1902, and it was not known how long it took the family to get to Oregon.

Clifford W. Sevits may have enlisted into the Army before America joined the war in 1917, as no World War One draft card can be found for him. Sevits was stationed at Ft. Stevens, Oregon, in the Coast Artillery Corps. It is known that Battery D of the 65th Artillery was formed from men of the 2nd Company, Coast Defenses of the Columbia, which was also stationed at Ft. Stevens, and being that Sevits served with Battery C, 65th Artillery, CAC, it is likely that Battery C was formed from the 1st Company, C. D. of the Columbia, which was also stationed at Ft. Stevens. If this was the case then Pvt. Sevits would have been serving in the 1st Company, C. D. of the Columbia at Ft. Stevens when he first enlisted into the Army. Again, if this was the case then Sevits, if he had joined the Army before the war, would have been in the Regular Army, and shortly after America entered the war, most of the regular Army men then serving at the rank of Private, were advanced to Private First Class. This was done to allow for the expansion of the Regular Army units with the new drafted men to enter at the rank of Privates.

PFC Sevits sailed to France with the 65th Artillery, CAC, and boarded the RMS Mauretania on March 25, 1918 sailing from New York. On the passenger manifest, Sevits listed his mother, Mary Sevits, as next of kin. The address he gave was 921 Prospect St. Klamath Falls, Oregon. PFC Sevits was on the front lines in combat during the war. Family stories seem to indicate that Sevits may have been gassed during the time the 65th was at the front. This is backed up later in his life, from x-rays of his lungs seem to indicate he may have been gassed.

Once the 65th Artillery returned back to the States the local newspapers were hungry for the boys to tell about what they had experienced “Over There” in France. PFC Sevits was quoted as saying the following in the Tuesday February 18, 1919 edition of The Oregon Daily Journal. “The German officers were quite haughty even after the fight was done.” Sevits went on to say that the enlisted soldiers “However, were quite glad that the scrap was over, and admitted it freely.”

In the newspaper article Sevits told about how he had retrieved a German Helmet from a dead German, and a few other souvenirs to go with it. About the same time there was a detachment of German prisoners marching nearby and Sevits was wanting some German money to take as a memento, and spoke to one of the Germans. Sevits asked him in broken German “Have you a mark” hoping for a German coin. And to Sevits surprise the German soldier replied back to him in perfect English, with a Chicago style accent to boot, “Say Kid, the only mark I’ve got is one from a piece of one of your damned shells. I haven’t seen a cent since I left Chicago.” Needless to say, Sevits was surprised.

After his Honorable Discharge from the Army, Sevits returned to Klamath Falls, Oregon where in January of 1920 he was working as a Bank clerk. His wife was named Freda Steiger and she went by her nickname of “Fritzi” most of her life. Fritzi was born in Wisconsin, and was about the same age as Clifford.

By 1930 Clifford and Fritzi had moved from Oregon and were living in Dorris, California, which was in Siskiyou County along the California-Oregon State lines. Clifford was still working in the banking business as an assistant cashier for the State Bank. By then they had two daughters, Maxine M. born about 1920 and Dolorez M. born about 1926, both in Oregon. Clifford, during his life, worked several jobs besides his job with the State Bank, which he held for many years. He worked for a lumber mill, and later helped to start a small lumber company. And he also sold real estate on the side. Clifford and Fritzi would remain living in Dorris, California for many years, and about 1935 added to the family with the birth of a son they named Clifford, Jr., who went by the nickname of “Skip”.

Clifford Warner Sevits would pass away on August 26, 1969 and was buried in the Klamath Memorial Park in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Both he and Fritzi are buried next to each other there, and Clifford’s grave, overlooking the Klamath River, is marked with a flat bronze military marker.

In September of 2016 Clifford’s grandson Terry Sundkvist wrote the following about his grandfather:

PFC Clifford W. Sevits was my maternal grandfather, and he died in 1969, when I was 19. Two of his three children, my mother and uncle, are still living. "Grampy" did not speak of WWI often. Most of what he did speak of were small incidents such as shooting down a German plane with rifle fire, or things like how green tinted foods reminded him of the half-rotten horse meat they ate. He had received a dose of mustard gas along the way but where and when was a little vague. I knew he was in the artillery and had been at Ft. Stevens. I didn't know his unit number or his specific job. He never spoke about campaigns or attacks, to his children, myself, or anyone else that we know of. A very probable exception was Grammy, who he spent 50-years with and who died shortly after him.

Two or three years before he died, I picked up a paperback copy of Laurence Stallings' then new book "The Doughboys". Grampy read it after I did. I don't remember him saying anything about the book at the time I got it back from him. At about the same time, Grampy got out his copy of Stallings' photo book "The First World War". He pointed to a specific spot on a half-page photo of ruins & said "This is where I picked up the German helmet.". I was stunned then, and still am, that after 50 years he could remember that. Again, he didn't say what was so significant about the place in the photo, and I forgot the name of the place immediately, (I was about 16 and had lots of things to think about besides French place names). Grampy did give me the helmet, which I still have as well as the book.

It was several years after his death that I noticed an ink line drawn on the edges of the pages. Opening it to where it ended I found a map. Grampy had circled two places and indicated when he was there along with his initials. One place had a specific date attached to it. By this time, I'd forgotten the specific names and locations of most battles. I just assumed Grampy was indicating where he was gassed and later hospitalized. This was pretty much all I knew for around 40 years.

A few years ago, I got interested in Grampy's history. I eventually found this website, and shared it with my mother and uncle. Still nothing specific about Grampy, although I recall that at the time the website referred to the gas incident as occurring in a "rest area", (suggesting the whole unit was involved). Then about two years ago I happened to see my cousin, who mentioned that Grampy was an observer! Now I had a pretty good idea that had seen some intense shell fire. The big break came a few weeks ago when I read a review of William Walker's "Betrayal at Little Gibraltar". A name jumped out at me: Montfaucon.  Checking the Stallings' book, I found it was Montfaucon that was circled and Grampy wrote: "I was here 9-27-18 C.W.S". He also circled Verdun, indicating he was there in October. The ruins where he picked up the helmet may have been at Montfaucon. I have now read Mr. Walker's excellent work. What Grampy saw and did on this hill, and how long he was there can never be known. I recall one survivor cited by Mr. Walker saying that the fire on Montfaucon in those days was so intense that men walked around with their lives in their hands. Again, Grampy never mentioned this to anyone, but he didn't want to be forgotten.

There was still the question of where and when Grampy was gassed. The answer was in your website, which I re-visited only a week or two ago. Obviously, the paragraph about the only casualties suffered by the unit has been revised. Grampy acknowledged he was in Verdun. I know what "excessive exertion" stands for. I have to wonder: if 100+ men from the 65th were killed/injured, how many of them were in this facility in total? Again, Grampy never mentioned this to anyone, except his wife I am quite sure. She told her children that their father had been gassed "in the Argonne Forest". I can't imagine he lied to her. There were lots of reasons why a young veteran who wanted to get married and start a life in the small town he grew up in would want to avoid the label of "shell shock". Grampy and George Patton were part of the same generation.

Grampy never applied for a Purple Heart. He said he did not deserve it compared to the men he had seen severely mangled. His brother, my uncle was with him shortly before his death when a radiologist looked at his chest x-rays. The first thing the doctor noted was the scarring on his lungs from the gas 50-years before. In the end, I do not think Grampy carried any feelings of hatred or blame for his experiences in the war. He was proud of his military service, and it is clear he had a deep sense of duty. He wrote of childhood memories of his own grandfather, apparently badly wounded in the Civil War. If you look on line, you will find that in 1942, at nearly 47-years of age, he registered for the draft. I doubt he considered himself heroic. He would be happy to be remembered as someone who did his job the best that he could.

Bronze grave marker of
Clifford W. Sevits
PFC Btry C, 65th Arty, CAC
World War I
July 2, 1895 – Aug 26, 1969

This is a photo of the German helmet that PFC Sevits picked up from the battlefield during WWI.

Cook, Ernest A. Barnett, Battery B

When the 65th Artillery, CAC began its journey from the west coast of the United States to the battlefield in France, they began by sailing aboard the SS Northern Pacific on March 2, 1918. Aboard the Northern Pacific the men of the 65th started a journey that everyone hoped they would be able to complete when things were over, over there, but everyone understood that some would not make the complete round trip. One man who did make the entire round trip was one of the four cooks of Battery B, named Ernest A. Barnett Service No. 841930.

Ernest Barnett was in the Regular Army having enlisted into the army on January 24, 1916 at Los Angeles, California. Most likely he was serving in the 8th Company, Coast Artillery, California National Guard. The 8th company was, in August of 1917, formed into the 6th Company at Ft. Rosecrans, at point Loma near San Diego. This is assumed that he was serving in these units because, in January of 1918, when the 65th Artillery was being formed, the 6th Company at Ft. Rosecrans was formed into Battery B of the 65th Artillery.

The four cooks of Battery B were Ernest A. Barnett; Paul F. Barnett; Edward J. Kyle; and Walter Maybee. It is not known if Ernest and Paul Barnett were related or not, but at that time many brothers and family served in the same units, which was a common practice, so they may have been related, but there is no known relationship between them.

Once the Northern Pacific had made her way from the west coast to New York the troops were off loaded, and then on March 25, 1918 were again loaded onto a ship. This time the entire 65th Artillery was aboard the RMS Mauretania bound for France. Cook Ernest A. Barnett listed his mother Ella Jane Watson of Mesilla Park, New Mexico as next of kin on the passenger manifest.

Once the 65th Artillery was in France they did see combat on the front lines and Barnett would have witnessed the death and destruction of the battlefield first hand.

When the war was over Ernest Barnett returned with the 65th Artillery aboard the SS Haverford on January 30, 1919 from France to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Once they landed in Philadelphia the 65th was sent to Camp Dix for demobilization. It was on February 20, 1919 at Camp Kearny, California that Ernest A. Barnett was Honorably Discharged from the Army. Camp Kearny is now the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Ernest A. Barnett was born in June of 1886 to Ella, and A. M. Barnett, who were living in Texas at the time Ernest was born. Ernest’s mother Ella was born in February 1869 in the state of Kansas, and his father, A. M. Barnett was born in November 1848 in Alabama. Ernest the eldest son of three children. The second eldest was a son named Otto born in September of 1890, and the third child was a daughter named Lillie born in October of 1895. All three were born in Texas. In June of 1900 the A. M. Barnett family was living in Tom Green County, Texas, which is located in west central Texas.

By the spring of 1910 when Ernest was 22-years old he and his brother Otto had moved away from the family, and were then living in Reeves County, Texas. This was in western Texas, and Ernest was then working as a taxidermist, and his brother Otto was working as a waiter in a hotel, which may have been in Pecos, Texas.

Around this time, Ernest’s parents may have been divorced, or simply Ernest’s father may have passed away. When Ernest listed his next of kin when he boarded the RMS Mauretania in March of 1918, he listed his mother Ella Jane Watson. So, clearly by March of 1918 Ella had been re-married and had taken the name of Watson. It was during January of 1916 that Ernest for unknown reasons joined the army, which would give his life a direction for the next 3 and a half years.

Once discharged from the Army in February of 1919, Ernest went back to Texas. He lived with his brother Otto again who by then was married and was living in El Paso County, Texas. Otto’s family consisted of his wife Margaret, a daughter Gladys Sparks from Margaret’s first marriage, and a son Riley Barnett. Otto drove a laundry truck, and Ernest was working as a cook in a restaurant.

Ernest Barnett would never marry during his life, and after the war Barnett struggled with his mental well-being. He had been working and living in Palo Alto, California as an express delivery man, and by 1926 things for Ernest had gotten to a point where he needed help. It was on June 9, 1926 that he was admitted to the Sawtelle Veterans Home in Los Angeles, where he was diagnosed with a condition then known as Constitutional Psychopathic Inferiority.

This condition was described as individuals who had shown a lifelong tendency not to conform to the customs of society, and have no sense of responsibility to their fellowmen or society as a whole. During the 1920’s this term was also used to describe persons who had suffered from shell shock during the war, so Ernest may have been affected by what we commonly understand today as PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

At the time, Ernest was admitted to the Sawtelle Veterans Home he was 39-years old and single. He was about 5-feet 8-inches and had blue eyes and light brown hair. He listed his mother Ella Watson as his nearest relative. It is not known how long Ernest Barnett stayed at the Sawtelle Veterans Home, but in the 1934 California Voter Registration List, he is listed as living at 126 East 109th Place in Los Angeles. So, by 1934 he must have been living on his own by then. The Voter Registration listed that Barnett had voted Republican.

On July 11, 1938 Ernest A. Barnett passed away. Being single and there was really no one to take care of his final arrangements the Veterans Administration took care of his final arrangements. Being a Veteran he was buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Section 26, Row L, Site 4. On August 1, 1938, Hans Hanssen the Supply Officer at the Soldier’s Home in Los Angeles, filled out the form to have a Veterans Headstone made and placed upon Ernest’s grave. It was in November of 1938 that the Grave stone was placed upon his grave, thereby ending the story of Ernest A. Barnett, a soldier who dutifully served his Country.

One of the only physical pieces of Ernest Barnett’s life that survives today is this souvenir Service Statement remembrance. These were printed in various different forms after the war and had a place to be filled out with the soldier’s name and what unit he had served in. These likely would have been handed out when the soldier was discharged and then taken home and put in a frame and hung up at his home. But Barnett’s does not seem to ever have been put in a frame and is tattered from being rolled and folded up for the last 99-years.

Close up of the center of the above poster showing Barnett’s information. It reads:
“This Certifies that E. A. Barnett enlisted for service in the United States Army April 8, 1917 served in 65th Artillery (C. A. C.) and was honorably discharged February 20, 1919.”
It is signed by James Muerhead.

Also at the bottom of this photo is a 5-round clip of .30-06 bullets for the M1903 Springfield used by the army during WWI. And above is a 10-round clip from a 9mm “Broomhandle” Mauser C96 pistol. The “Broomhandle” was the world’s first successful self-loading pistol and was built in 1896. These were however not from Barnett’s personal items, but were just used as a sort of paper weight in order to photograph the souvenir Service Statement remembrance poster.  

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This page was created on 7 January 2006 and last updated on June 19, 2017

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