The 73rd Regiment was organized in July, 1918 at Fort Banks, Mass. with men from the Coast Defences of Narragansett Bay. In September 1918 the Regiment moved to Camp Mills, NY in prepration to sailing to France. That same month the Regiment sailed on the 24th of September from the Port of Embarkation, Hoboken, New Jersey aboard the British Transport HMS Scotian and arrived October 7, 1918 Liverpool, England. On the 14th of December, 1918 the 73rd Artillery and the 74th Artillery had orders to move out for the trip back home. That day they sailed from Brest, France aboard the transport USS Mongolia. On December 22, 1918 they reached New York and on the 23 went ashore and went to Camp Mills, New York. They were demoblized in January, 1919 at Camp Devens, Mass.
While in France the Regiment was stationed at Haussimont. This was where the AEF based thier Railway Artillery. The 73rd was part of the Railway Artillery Reserve and was undergoing training when the war ended.
Heavy Railroad guns of the 73rd Regiment.
This is a listing of officers of the Regiment.
|Col. Thomas Dwyer||Commanding|
|Capt. John J. Collins||Adjutant|
|1st Lieut. Roger V. Snow||Personel Adjutant (Actg.)|
|Capt. Sydney H. Foster||Material Officer|
|Capt. Sanford B. Ashford||Signal Officer (Actg.)|
|Capt. Wayne E. Davis||Orienteur Officer|
|2nd Lieut. Philip G. Clapp||Band Leader|
|Major William Cogswell||Surgon|
|1st Lieut. William B. Baker||Surgon|
|1st Lieut. Bernard S. Bohling||Surgon|
|1st Lieut. Archibald C. Kappel||Surgon|
|1st Lieut. Mauruce J. Tierney||Dental Surgon|
|1st Lieut. Edward D. Barnes||Chaplin|
|Major Charles M. Frost||Commanding Battalion|
|Capt. Seneca V. Taylor||Orienteur Officer|
|Capt. Gordon L. Carter|
|2nd Lieut. Charles W. Healey||Railroad Officer|
|2nd Lieut. Alexander T. Skakle||Signal Officer|
|2nd Lieut. Theordore M. Nichol|
|Capt. Charles E. Green||Commanding Battery|
|1st Lieut. George C. Kern||Orienteur Officer|
|1st Lieut. John P. MacNeill||Commanding Battery (Actg.)|
|1st Lieut. Joseph H. VanSchoick|
|1st Lieut. George E. Hutcherson|
|Capt. J. J. O'Hare||Commanding Battalion|
|Capt. Leslie Nichols||Attached|
|1st Lieut. George M. Holstein||Orienteur Officer|
|1st Lieut. Leon J. Walrath||Railroad Officer|
|1st Lieut. Walter L. Kitzam|
|2nd Lieut. Henry R. Cole||Signal Officer|
|Capt. William H. Toppan||Commanding Battery|
|1st Lieut. Harold Y. Keeler|
|2nd Lieut. Ralph C. Allen|
|2nd Lieut. Irving U. Townsend, Jr.||Railroad Officer|
|Capt. John S. Beck||Commanding Battery|
|1st Lieut. Leon A. White|
|2nd Lieut. James A. Murphy|
|Major Fenton Cannon||Commanding Battalion|
|1st Lieut. Francis L. Mottram||Orienteur Officer|
|1st Lieut. Walter S. Stewart|
|1st Lieut. Charles F. Colley||Railroad Officer|
|1st Lieut. Henry R. Brahana|
|2nd Lieut. Cedric H. Collins||Signal Officer|
|Capt. Oscar J. Coe||Commanding Battery|
|1st Lieut. Edwin A. Stratemyer|
|2nd Lieut. Ira D. Beynon|
|2nd Lieut. Gardiner L. Fassett|
|1st Lieut. Ira L. Hewitt||Commanding Battery (Actg)|
|1st Lieut. Miers C. Johnson|
|2nd Lieut. Earl C. Webster||Gas Officer|
Night Firing of the Railroad Artillery
Below is a transcribed copy of the history of Battery F and the Third Battalion.
In the month of May in the year of 1918 the great European War was at its worst. It looked as though the Hun would get to Paris, the pride and the heart of France. The prize that had been more than once all but within his grasp. It was then that the American artillery of the heavy railroad type was being discussed. On June the third 1918 certain officers were assigned to the organization which was to be known as the 73rd Artillery C.A.C., and the wheels began to turn to call together the best men of the land to make the organization an inspiration to all soldiers and to all nations of the earth. The different batteries of the regiment were assembled at different points along the New England coast, it is of Battery "F" and the Third Battalion Headquarters assembled and trained at Fort Adams, Rhode Island, of which I am proud to be a member, that I will write.
On June the third, 1918, Major Cannon, Captain Beagle, Lt. Hewitt, Lt. Perregaux, Lt. Webster And Lt. Collins were assigned to the 3rd Battalion. Major Cannon, a fine looking man, every inch a gentleman and a soldier, and a graduate of Annapolis, took active and personal interest in every move made by his officers and men. When the Major spoke to the battery it seemed to every man that he was being personally addressed; the battalion has every reason to be thankful and proud to have soldiered in his command. Capt. Beagle soon received his assignment elsewhere. Lt. Hewitt, next in command, received the men of the battery until Captain Cole was assigned in place of Captain Beagle. Battalion headquarters were then consolidated with the battery for drill with all of the officers rounding them into the best drilled outfit that ever left Narragansett Bay.
The first enlisted men ordered to report were Corporal DeLameter then Corporal Collins and Sergeant Kelly. The Major then made a tour of all the forts of Narragansett Bay and picked out the best to be found for his command. Some four or five weeks later, on a Monday morning assembly sounded and it was answered by men from every state in the Union. Tradesmen of every description, everybody from cook to cowpuncher, all eager for the fray. The men turned in early for the next day was to begin their training for the great World War. For the first week we drilled very hard and were glad to hit the hay when the sun went down; during that time many a dark eye was cast in Lt. Hewitt's direction and many a gloomy prediction was made as to his trials in the future. The boys were beginning to know each other by this time and nicknames came into vogue throughout the organization.
The boys began very soon to get popular in the neighborhood and in the city of Fall River. They were never too tired to slip off of an evening after the hard days drill to see their sweethearts, as it were, and then get restricted for being too tired to get up for reveille at the next morning.
Next came hikes to the Polo Grounds under heavy marching order where we had drilling, tent pitching and signal work by the hour. Think how heavy the hob-nailed shoes felt the first time you wore them, and how you groaned when you were ordered to turn in your garrison shoes. Meanwhile the boys had plenty of time to talk and many a time the officers would be the main subject of conversation. One would say, "If it wasn't for Hewitt, we would be OK". Another would answer, " Why the Lieutenant is the best officer in the outfit. Do you ever notice him at mess call? I do; and you'll always find him at the kitchen seeing that you and I get what's coming to us, and say bo, where do you suppose all this ice cream is coming from three times a week? Eagleye is responsible for all that". Then a sergeant would come along with, "I would like him fine if he didn't try to knock all this damn Gisemont into my head". Sure enough, we were all beginning to pull for him and the first thing we knew when anything went wrong it would be to him that we would go to get help. We were soon like a big happy family, all friends and all united in a worthy cause.
On the afternoon of Friday, August 23rd, after an inspection in the morning the Battery was entertained by Mrs. Hoffman at her home. We departed with many pleasant memories, also much cake and ice cream. Answer me truly now, were you one of those guys who went back after seconds? We've got your number and there's no use of trying to get out of it.
Then Lt. Webster started to instruct us in trigonometry; that made him about as popular among the sergeant, as the often mentioned wood pussy who came uninvited to raise certain fictitious pleasure gathering under somebody's shade trees. He was liked both as a good soldier and a good instructor; but the sergeants had long ago dismissed mathematics from their minds and its revision was not to their liking. The class was open to aspiring corporals and privates but the compulsory for the unfortunate sergeants. Alas, superiority of rank tendered no privileges in this rather Democratic assemblage, for the highest in rank were rankest, and the unhappy sergeants sought seclusion behind some timid recruit or bright eyed Corporal with all descriptions of promised leniency during future drill and exchange for solutions of problems. It is to be lamented that the class leaders did not have opportunity to demonstrate their ability on the firing line while helping the Orienteur Officer or that for the sergeants could not verify the range for the Battery Commander by application and proof of the principal that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the square of the other two sides.
Next came the gas mask and how we did drill and suffer to get so we could put them on in the required time. After the drill we would clean the masks until it was time to drill again. At the completion drill each platoon was on the alert, ready to execute every command with a snap that was appreciated and applauded by the onlookers. On Saturdays in turn each man would get a pass until taps Sunday night. How the boys would slick up in their best and go their way some to Providence, some to Fall River and some Newport, and if one had been away at one or 2 o’clock Sunday morning one would have seen them crawling stealthily into their tents. And on Monday morning it looked rather cruel to see them coming out at reveille after a very few hours' sleep, coming out to a hard days drill. Many of them had heads as big as we all have sometimes, and SH-H-H-H-H… sometimes some of them would have long hairs on their blouses, great long ones, longer than before they have their hair cut. I don't think they were playing football all the time they were on pass. But the boys were equally as good at drilling as they were at playing, and when the command: "Right Shoulder Arms" was given you would think from the sound there was but one man drilling.
On Saturday August 31st, in response to her invitation the Battery marched to the home of Mrs. James in Newport. We were entertained as if each were a personal guest. We must not forget the ice cream again, the cake, and the soda, it was a very enjoyable day. Among the many pleasant acquaintances we made that day was that of a Polish lady, Countess Turczynowicz, a guest of the hostess. She had been a prisoner of war and had been compelled to wait on Von Hindenburg in her own castle when the town was taken. She told how his soldiers had taken all the old and valuable furniture from her home, the highly treasured old clock was all that they left and that was taken later, she told us where it was and ask us to bring it back to her. Do you remember how each one swore to himself he would bring it back or die?
Up to this time we had been drilling as one organization, but now the Third Battalion Headquarters Detachment was separated. Captain Cole was adjutant, Lt. Hewitt commander of the Third Battalion, Lt. Colley was Railroad Officer, Lt. Mottram, Orienteur Officer, Lt. Collins, Battalion Supply Officer, Captain J. J. Collins was assigned to the battery and became the Commanding Officer, Lt. Parregaux was transferred from Headquarters and was assistant Battery Commander, Lt. Webster stayed with us and as Supply Officer and Lieutenants Stewart and Brahana were assigned as Mess and Camouflage Officers, respectively.
In our ignorance we had congratulated ourselves that we had mastered the requirements of our superiors, and now we were inflicted with an almost entirely new set of officers who had to be studied, their peculiarities noted and our behavior changed to meet them. On September 3rd the Battery went to Fort Greble for target practice, and during the three days spent their many enviable records were made which did not promise well for the Hun if we were allowed to get within range of him.
When we returned there was great confusion. Our Battery originally was to have manned 8 in. guns with 165 men. The extra men were arriving singly, by squads and it in bunches. In the shake-up our snappy "Top" Sergeant Wright, became a line Sergeant and Sergeant Hirtle, First Sergeant. We also got three new cooks that were guaranteed boose proof. Neither were they addicted to lemon extract. As a matter of fact I doubt if any of the participants of the lemon extract episode will ever be tempted again, even though lemon extract by the barrel is at hand. From all reports it has an awful wallop and oh, man, the day after.
If Eagleye was hell for drilling, Captain Collins was ditto for inspections, we were inspected for breakfast, condemned for dinner, and re-equipped for supper and how easy it was to lose a pair of strings shoe extra or socks, wool, heavy. Directly after breakfast would come the unwelcome sound of, " Everybody and everything out on the Parade Ground for inspection by squads ," and what a job it was, dumping everything into the blankets carrying it out, sitting on it all morning and bringing it back. To say nothing of how fast one had to think as Lt. Webster and his core of Sergeant inspectors approached and went through the often repeated slogan, “Everybody got a sergeant? All sent! One blanket; one belt, waist; one breaches, woolen; one code, woolen; to shoes, field; etc.”. And how unfortunate forgot got that one pair of shoes were actually on his feet and hence he was not short one pair and as he had just indignantly informed Lt. Webster And received that officers rather annoying query as to what sort of foot gear he was at present standing in. However, on the 11th we were restricted to the Fort all equipped and ready for the trip.
Let us pause for a moment in pious memory of mascot "Sancho". Sancho was a dog obscure and in recorded derivation, but he was as popular as the greatest of Danes. A capital joke was to tie a mess kit to Sancho's little tail and have him called by some other wicked soldier way down the Battery Street. Sancho would come all right but the mess gear would require a lot of pounding before Saturday morning inspection. But, alas! There are arrived and order which said that no animals would be transported across the sea as mascots, but all for the best. Sancho had never learned any French and he would probably have been seasick too, or if he had survived all that, he would have starved to death at Brest. Anyhow the order was foiled for it was immediately decided that he was physically unfit for overseas service and he was transferred to the home guards. The battery mechanics made a crate that would take Sancho to his destination, with plenty of meat and water, if by chance he should be taken to the North Pole. Signs appropriate and sufficient to announce a good sized circus were painted on sides, top and bottom. For the local boards must not be allowed to take Sancho for a slacker. The day came and Sancho was put in his box, he was neither unmourned nor unwept as he was started on his journey back to civilian life.
On the 14th (September) we were inspected and passed by Colonel Straub. Mrs. James had asked us to come and see her again, so on the 18th with the Headquarters Detachment we marched up to bid her farewell. Do you remember how she fed us and gave us cigarettes, how she called us heroes and did us such a touching God speed, that a lump came into our throats? Yes that's evening there came an auto load of candy, chocolate and athletic goods including balls and boxing gloves. On the last day in camp we lost our first victim of the Flu. Captain Cole went to the hospital with it and never rejoined the organization, he went to France later on and was grabbed for acting commander of a Heavy Artillery Replacement Battalion. On the 19th September we packed our equipment and at seven in the evening we left our good old home. We won't for get the trip on the Arnold to Newport, we thought that it would be a good many days before we would come back. We landed at Long Wharf and stole up the narrow streets and alleys of Newport, boarded the train and were cautioned not to hang anything our the windows, to tell no one where we were going or what outfit we belong to.
We had a gay ride that night, arriving at Taunton where the silence of the night was being rent asunder by a very bedlam of noises. Shrieks, hoots, songs and cheers. To are anxious queries we were informed that Battery "E" of the 73rd was on a side track. This habit of being noisy while traveling brought Battery E regimental same when on a later date in our traveling across France they registered their protests against riding in those cute little French stock cars, with many a "Baaaa, Mooo ooo ooo" etc., ad infinitum, till it reminded one of the Union Stock yards on a busy day. Perhaps they were hungry also as well as disgusted with sleeping accommodations, but something happened to the N.C.O. in charge at the next Stop. At Taunton Battery "E" and "F" trains were consolidated, and the Third Battalion was at last together.
Morning found us at Long Island. We hiked up to Camp Mills there to join the rest of the regiment and wait for the boat that would take us to France.
Going Over. By Sergeant H. Kelly
Assigned overseas. Nothing so inspired a soldier of 1918 as those two words and it had, in the summer of that year, been but the one that objective of every true American young man then in the service of this country. The 73rd Artillery, C.A.C. had been formed in the Coast Defense along the New England Coast and it was mobilized at Camp Mills, Garden City, Long Island. It was the latter part of September not only assigned overseas but had completed the first page of the journey and was simply waiting to board the transport which was to take its no one knew where.
The waiting was not in vain for one night at retreat orders were given "Police the camp and sleep until 1:00 in the morning". Needless to say there was little or no sleeping done and between midnight and daybreak and another overseas regiment had quietly left under cover of darkness, transported through long Island City, ferried through New York Harbor and as day was breaking (September 23, 1918) landed at Pier 59 on the Newark side and the regiment was on its way to France.
Each Battery was lined up on the dock sheds and one by one boarded the Royal Mail Steam Scotian, sailing under the flag of Great Britain. As each man went up the gang way, he was handed a small white card telling which section and mess were to be his on the trip. This card also conveyed the information that the accommodations for each enlisted man was to be one hammock, this being the manner customary it on the English Transport.
The first day aboard ship was spent tied up to the pier, the daily routine explained for the trip, the lifeboat drill practiced, and all safety measures against the Hun submarine emphasized. The officers informed all of the necessity of making haste slowly in any case of disaster, explaining that revolvers would be carried fully loaded by all commissioned officers with instructions to make use of them if any signs of panic should occur in case of attack. Life belts were to be worn during the entire trip, no man was to appear on deck without one and the belts were to be used as pillows when sleeping.This was to the majority the first semblance of war that had thus far been observed and it was felt by all that we were embarking on no joy trip, but upon one of the most dangerous stages of the entire service. In passing it may be well to record here in connection with life belts, one of the humorous incidence of which there were a few are on the trip over. The enlisted men were equipped with two styles of life belts, one the old-fashioned cork affair tied around the body with tape and the other a life jacket much easier to wear. Needless to say the latter style was greatly in demand so much so that one fellow in the Battalion Headquarters, Philip Papa, by name, conducted a business in lifejackets all of the way over, picking up one where he could, putting his name on it in indelible ink and selling the same for " two bits". It was not an uncommon thing by the time the halfway mark was passed to see numerous men all around the deck with the word "Papa" on their life jacket.
The first night was spent as was the day, at the pier, everyone try to learn to sling a hammock and then stay in it after it was slung. The Battery was quartered in section H, and the headquarters in section B, both being 2 decks below. There was about 8 ft. of head room between decks, the sides of the sections were devoted to mess tables, each table seating 18 men, gun racks in the center and at night hammocks slung over the entire section. Immediately after breakfast on the second morning (September 24, 1918, 8:00am) the dock lines were let go and assisted by two tugs the transport slowly slipped out of the pier, joining the balance of the convoy in New York Harbor, very close to the famous Statue of Liberty. In the early afternoon together with 11 other transports and freighters and convoyed by a battleship, a cruiser, and two destroyers, headed East, the 73rd left for France.
The Scotian carried on this trip 2,600 men, 900 more than the boat was fitted for or had ever before attempted to carry. The personnel comprised chiefly the entire 73rd augmented by a Battalion of 500 colored Engineers and a Casual Detachment principally of Machine Gun. It became evident when but a few days out that the colored boys had not been in service very long and it was later learned that they had become members of the National Army but three weeks prior to their embarkation. Colonel Dwyer of our own regiment being the senior officer on board was in command of all the troops during the trip.
The first four days out, the usual seasickness among the men prevailed and as the trip became constantly rougher until the Irish Sea was reached, there are those among us who found their stomachs to be unsteady the entire 12 days. Sergeant "Jack" Wright could be seen almost any day adding his contribution to a banquet for fish or as expressed by sailors "Hugging the rail". He was by no means alone for there were others including, Sergeant "Ration Bill" Huber, "Top" Sidaway, "Don" Chadwell, Grady Kelly and numerous others who though not " feeding the fish " to any great extent, looked as though a slight push might send them over with the " flu" victims. Yes, the " Flu" went with us from this side and soon after sailing, a hospital was established on the saloon deck and was kept well filled. Battery "F" and Battalion Headquarters were very fortunate in not losing a man with the epidemic during the trip although both organizations had cases in the hospital on reaching Liverpool, man from the battery and three men from Headquarters were transferred to the base hospital there. Five of those from the battery, later died, memoriams to them in being another section of this book. Thirty-eight men, mostly colored, had been buried at sea on the trip.
The hospital conditions on board ship were a disgrace to the organization. Men with high fevers, many on the point of death, were required to lay on the open deck, day and night, with but to blankets. The sick were also obliged to lay there with all of their clothing on, not even able to remove their shoes. No mattresses were available for the hospital and, when, one afternoon Captain Collins tried to make the men from our own organization a trifle more comfortable by finding mattresses for them, the Major-Doctor, disliked by the entire regiment, reported him to the Colonel.
The food on the English Transport is cooked in English style and merely half cooked, everything being steamed, even bread. Major Cannon, our own Battalion Commander was Mess Officer going over and every morning at inspection of quarters would question the non-coms, who were in charge of the tables, in regard to the food. He would invariably receive the same reply that it was " rotten" and would then try to have it improved, but it appeared to be impossible as no improvement was to be seen at any meals. Inspection of quarters was held by Colonel Dwyer daily when all sections had to be clean, pans used for serving thoroughly dry and free from any grease, and all towels spotless. One morning as the inspecting party came down into Section B, military dignity was very much upset. It was one of the roughest days and as the man in charge of the tables came to attention an unusually large wave caught boat and the serving pans, men, and inspecting party were throwntogether across the boat. Inspection wasn't very rigid that morning.
Waves on the ocean have been described in numerous ways but the sight is practically indescribable. It became a pastime among the men to stand up at the rail and watch these immense waves, waves which were as high as the deck above us and which looked as though the they must swallow the boat. As each larger one came closer, however, the ship would gradually rise until on the crest and would then sink down into the trough again, pitching and tossing the while, giving everyone that peculiar feeling as though the bottom of one stomach had dropped away. Occasionally one large wave would break over the rail, drenching everyone close by and the larger the wave, the more sport to dodge it. Many a man went to his hammock at night to sleep in his wet clothes, but a little thing like that bothered no one. The waves continued to grow larger and the sea rougher until finally, on the Friday noon before landing, the decks were roped, for assistance and walking. The next 48 hours will never be forgotten by anyone, for during that time we were in the grip of the storm approaching the proportions of a hurricane. It grew continually worse and Saturday afternoon just after Battery F when on guard, all men were ordered below decks and kept there for 24 hours. The decks were swept constantly by waves and late in the evening, even the guards were taken off the deck. Sunday morning the storm was at its height and the boat was pitching and tossing like a cork when suddenly, about 10 o’clock a great crash was heard on the fore deck and the entire ship was instantly in commotion. The colored boys were badly frightened and started for deck. Corporal Foster, then on guard, was right on his job and grabbing the loaded rifle from the sentry in the colored section, threw a shell into the chamber and swinging the rifle in the air, told the "shines" in not to pleasant language, to stay where they were. One colored non-com was heard to remark "I'se gwine to git mah revolver and fix dat man" but "Slim" only replied that he guessed he could shoot as straight as the colored soldier.
It was afterward learned that on coming out of the storm the ship was headed into the rocks off the north coast of Ireland and as the Captain had but two chances, one the strike the rocks and the other of chancing in the seas, he chose the latter but not without doing considerable damage to the boat. A large box of depth bombs were swept overboard, but fortunately did not explode, a deck latrine was carried over the side, two life rafts broken loose and blown across the deck, two or three hatchways blown in, and a general breaking up of everything on the fore deck. Water rushed down through the broken hatches into some of the sections, but the entire regiment owes its gratitude to the captain of the R.M.S. Scotian, who after being at his post for 24 hours brought us through the storm. The sick had been moved from the decks into the Officers Saloon for the upper decks were swept by waves.
With the clearing of the storm, the decks were open to the men and looking to the east and west, land could be seen on both sides, Ireland on one side and Scotland on the other. The next morning, Monday, October 7th, 1918, we were anchored in the Mersey River just off the White Star docks at Liverpool and the Stars and Stripes, the flag of the "land of the free and the home of the brave" never looked better to American soldiers that it did to the man of Battery F and Third Battalion Headquarters, 73rd Artillery C.A.C. as it floated in the breeze over the American War Offices at the docks and Liverpool, England.
We disembarked at Liverpool about noon on the seventh of October and as usual spent some time in waiting. Rain greeted us on our first day in England and continued to greet us throughout our entire sojourn. Not once did we see the sun during our entire stay in that country, until the day we left it.
We were loaded on an English train and taken to an American Rest Camp. When we reached there we found that Webster's definition of the word rest, is incorrect. We had pictured a Rest Camp as a place where no reveille was sounded and where no formations were held. But alas! All our hopes were shattered. We left the train at a place called Knotty Ash and after walking about a quarter of a mile in the rain and with mud up to our ankles, we came to an oasis of tents. At the end of each hour we were more and more convinced that these camps were wrongly named. Most of the time we spent in falling in for check roll calls. One thing took place here which we will never forget, the King's message, which is reproduced below.
Remember how we marched around in a ring for about an hour in the rain and mud and finally found the exit of the camp. And how we marched about and mile to an open field where we were drawn up in a column of battalions. Then each one was presented with a printed message from the King. A few remarks by an English officer and then squads right, column right back to Camp. If the King had heard some of the remarks made about his Majesty, all of us would have been tried for slander in his Royal Court.
Just about the time we were becoming efficient in the art of dodging M. P.'s, the order came for us to move to another rest camp. So after another long hike we were again loaded on the train, which seemed to us like a row of cigar boxes and peanut roaster. Before the day ended we were convinced that no matter how small and queer they seemed, they certainly could roll over the rails. Night found us pulling into a little place called Romsey, just outside of Southampton. No camp was ever known to be near a railroad, so we had the pleasure of another long hiked with the rain keeping time to the patters of large tired feet. This place will long be remembered as it was here we had our first bath in over a month. Also it was here that we had our first rest - our stomachs only.
On the third day we left for Southampton, all joyous over the fact that we were soon to leave England with its rainy weather, bottomless mud and rocks and cigarettes. We spent practically all day on the docks of Southampton waiting for the boat which was to carry us across the Channel. At last we boarded the " Archangel ". Were we crowded? No, just unscientifically packed.
But in the morning we were rewarded for our tortures by having our first view of France, for we were anchored in the harbor of Cherbourg. The day was spent within the walls of an old French garrison, now used for American quarters. We were allowed to clean up and rest for the first time since we left the States. That night after a good supper we started on our trip across France in some of those French side door Pullmans. They are about the size of watch charm and each one bears the inscription "Chevaux 8; Hommes 40", ( Horses 8; Men 40 ). The officer in charge of transportation of troops must have been a sardine packer in peace times. We traveled this way for two days and nights, our meals consisting of "corn bullies and hard tack". All this time we rolled along at a tremendous rate of speed. But and end must come sometime to all things and, at last, we reached the camp which was to be our home while in France.
This camp is called Haussimont, but by some of the " French West Point". Our quarters consisted of wooden bunks. Our regular routine consisted of drills. When we came over we were designated as Heavy Artillery, but every day we became more and more convinced that we would soon be transferred to the Infantry. Eight hours each day were spent in doing squads East and this continued even after we were assigned to the big guns.
On the 11th of November our hopes of ever going to the front were shattered, for Kaiser Bill threw up the sponge.
Then came the rumor that our Regiment was soon to start for home. Naturally this was greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm. In about a week more our orders came and once more we boarded the cattle cars but this time we were headed in the right direction. Two days later we reached Brest. Accompanied by the customary rain we started on the long uphill grind it to the camp. And when we reach there… mud we will never forget it. We lived in that, slept in it and sometimes we were hungry enough to eat it. It was called Camp Pontanizen, dating from the time of Napoleon's Army. We were supposed to stay here but a very short time, but for two long weeks we patiently starved and slept on corrugated iron. Here the ever pleasant rumors put in their appearance. It began to look as though we would be transferred to S.O.S. General Pershing's phrase "Hell, Heaven or Hoboken by Xmas" seemed true to us for we were surely in the first named place. On December 11th, Battery F boarded the USS Mongolia as an advanced guard. The next day the remainder of the regiment came aboard and on the day following, Friday the 13th, the "Mongolia" slowly moved out of the harbor of Brest, passing the President's boat and convoy just coming in. It was not long before the rolling of the boat had its usual effect on the boys but after a couple of days, everyone was in high spirits. The weather was exceptionally pleasant throughout the entire trip. Our quarters and food were very good and this boat certainly was a palace in comparison with the RMS Scotian.
Long before daybreak the morning of the 22nd the decks were crowded and many eyes were searching the darkness for lights. Long before dawn, we were well into the Harbor of New York. From then until we docked at Hoboken we were nearly deafened by the blows of whistles. When the Statue of Liberty was first sighted the boat rocked from fore-to-aft with cheers and more than one was heard to say that if she ever wanted to see them again, it was up to her to do an about-face. When we landed we again greeted by the Red Cross with their generous supply of cigarettes, coffee and buns. We were hurried aboard a waiting ferry which took us to Long Island City. We were again fed by the Red Cross and then came the trip to Camp Mills on a real train. We were there two days, where we were introduced to the art of being deloused.
On Xmas Eve we rolled our packs and started for Camp Devens. It was here we had a real Christmas dinner.
On the 30th of December the first steps towards the demobilization of the Regiment took place when the boys from New England were discharged following by the rest on January 7th.
Thus endeth the life of Battery F, 73rd Artillery C.A.C.
"Knowledge Is Power ", and so of a few days after we came to Haussimont a few lucky men from each organization were given a much welcome relief from digging chalk soil, and told one evening to prepare to go to Mailly to school. As usual there was much conjecture as to how far we had to go, whether we would walk or ride and what each one of us was going to study. We were to study for special branches concerning Heavy Artillery so that when we went up to the front we would be able to give a good account of ourselves. There were many among us who signed up to study, or told to go and study subjects we knew nothing about, but we went in good spirits and our records show what we did.
Early the next morning about 300 men from the regiment assembled on the main road and started on a hike. And talk about hikes! It was nearly 7 miles and we had just about twice as much to carry as each man had when we came across. We were given a rest or two on the road, and as we came through the town of Mailly there were quite a few stragglers who came into camp later with great stories of how much cognac and mince they got away with.
At the camp we were split up into sections according to what we were to study and were assigned to barracks. There were observers, plotters, Master gunners, electricians, engineers, firemen, motorcycle drivers, truck drivers Motor mechanics, Camouflage men, and gas Defense students. Things were soon settled in the barracks and the next morning we started to school. The Camp de Mailly was a big French artillery camp, a portion of which had been given over to the Americans and as a base and supply camp for railway artillery. The camp extended for about 4 miles in a large semicircle, the town of Mailly joining the camp near the central point. Our own barracks were but a few rods from the edge of the village which we soon learn to patronize for everything from souvenirs to the various French vintages. The school was held in brick buildings which had formerly been troop barracks for our allies, and were the pleasantest we had while in France. We went to class all morning and afternoon, with the exception of one hour, when we had calisthenics, and then back at night for two hours of study. It was easy to see that our time was pretty well occupied, but once in awhile we slipped out to the "Y" or the village. Saturday night we had off, and this was the big night. The hours were long, but the work interesting, and everyone took hold at once. We all settled down to a routine and led a very quiet, studious (?) life. I don't know all of the officers who were lucky enough to be instructors, but ours never gave us enough to keep us busy at the evening study hour, and probably many of our friends in America wondered how we were able to write so many letters home. All we did was write at night, for as long as we were busy everything went smoothly. In the daytime we would go out with our instruments, the motormen would work with their trucks, and someone would do something to get in Dutch. At 4 o’clock we would have what someone (I never found out who was) dubbed " physical exercise", it was combined with mental torture. My! How we hated that hour from 4 to 5, but it would get over somehow after we had hiked ourselves to the starvation point. Then came the evening raid on the kitchen, called supper, after which we had until 7 o’clock usually about an hour-and-a-half, All Our Own!
The weather was ideal during the whole month we were there, and at night the sections used to form out on the macadam road singing and joking, while the darkened windows were counteracted by the bright moon and stars. There are very few of us who will ever forget those nights.
The discipline was very strict, and of course we always did what ducking of it we could. Some, as usual, were of luck and got caught. Sergeant Farley happened to walk to the warehouse without a blouse and got a court-martial, while Ferguson tried the same trick and failed. Absent from formation meant a pretty stiff restriction. One of the favorite tricks was to drop out of line on the way back from the night study hour and go to the "Y", but after a few nights some few were caught by an officer with a flashlight, so check roll calls were in order when we reached the barracks. Of course, windows had to be covered at night to guard against air raids, and quite a few were the word battles we had with the MP’s over this.
On Saturday night and Sunday we visited the village of Mailly to buy toothpaste, French beer, or just to look around. The line of 1914 was but a few kilometers away, and on Sunday afternoon many little parties would go and visit the old trenches. The villages had for sale many "souvenirs de guerre" but we did not have the necessary francs. Indeed, it was the flattest broke bunch one could imagine. If souvenirs had been selling at one centime a ton all we could have bought could have been carried home in our watch pockets. We had not been paid for nearly three months and that which we had not spent was quickly loaned. Every night the French soldiers used to invade the barracks with fancy vases and paper cutters made from shells, and cigar lighters made for suckers, but very little trading was done. Every day we would hear rumors that we would be paid soon but it was not until we returned to Haussimont that we finally received our money. Some of our courses were for six weeks and some four and the orienteurs never finish there's for very good reason, the war ended. Naturally, before the signing of the Armistice all kinds of rumors were afloat, and when the good news came we could hardly believe it. School continued just the same, and there was very little demonstration for us to take part in. How could we, broke and no place to go?
A little diversion from the routine was made by the truck men going to another school, at Angelone and the firemen, conductors, and engineers taking a few pleasure trips in French engines. The gas school also sent a few gas artists in search of further instruction.
Just before the month was up wild rumors began to float about the school that the 73rd had been ordered back to the States and immediately and much suppressed excitement was in order. We finished our courses however, and not until returned to Haussimont was the rumor confirmed. The observers, plotters, conductors and firemen were all recommended for work with their outfit, or failed according to their ability, the rest of the school did not finished their courses before being ordered back to the regiment. The men who were successful did not get their ratings, but who cared about ratings, when we were going home. The students who had finished returned the day after their courses ended, and the others about a week later. The Motor truck gang drifted in from Angelone about a day after that and we were all together again and there was no more school.
Battery F and Headquarters were well represented in the honor graduates among the observers and plotters, having five out of the six men. They were in order of their grades, Sergeant Farley, Corporal Gray, Private Wilson, (Headquarters) Corporal Bowman, and Corporal Biehl. The men who did not finished did not get their grades published, but had it been done we would probably have been as well represented.
Men, the 73rd and Battery F are no more. At 12 o’clock today they ceased to exist. Henceforth they will be memories only.
You men are being discharged after having participated in the grandest cause and the greatest struggle that the world has ever known. True yours was but passive part, but you were behind the firing line waiting to be called. The date had even been set for you to move into firing position, but the Armistice canceled that.
And now you're going back to civil life with your souls untired by actual combat, but I know you're going back better men than when you entered the service. For you have learned to discipline yourselves. Rules can be laid down by those in authority, but unless you have the desire to obey them, and do obey them, discipline does not exist.
And you did obey them, you great big men, big in heart and soul. You are the men that had made the Battery a unit to be proud of.
One admonition before we part; - continue to discipline yourselves. Do the things you know if it is well-to-do, leave undone the things that weaken character and clog your better impulses.
Perhaps you entered the service as I did, feeling that you had a personal grievance against the baby killers and despoilers of women. At all times continue to be champions of those that cannot help themselves.
Men, Army regulations say that enlisted men shall not make presents to their officers nor the officers received them, but I do not consider that they were meant to cover a case like this where most of you have left the service and the rest are leaving it, the officer perhaps also.
Words cannot express my appreciation for this watch. Its value is small compared to the value I place upon it, for the reason that it came from you men of the Battery. Men I thank you. I can say no more. And now - farewell.
After 10 long weeks of restriction, the bars were let down, that is one or two were let down, and half the company were allowed to go on pass.
Six bold non-coms left Haussimont, each with a seven our pass clutched tightly in his hand. If he put it in his pocket for a few moments he would frantically search his pockets every time he thought of it. So as I mentioned before, he had it clutched in his hand.
Just thinking of it, seven hours without military duty. It was enough to turn the head of everyone that had not seen a pass from Months.
Sezanne had the most pleasing sound of anyplace mentioned, so to Sezanne went the sextet.
Sezanne was 25 miles away and the trains, or rather train, would not run till the next day. Anyway it was forbidden for American soldiers to ride the trains without special permission, so reaching the city by that route was out of the question. So the bold sextet "copped" a ride on a "Frog" truck going in their direction.
After two hours of dust, jolts and delays, Sezanne was reached at about 11:00 am.
Army regulations requires one to be clean. The sextet's mouths were dusty. Red wine is good for dusty mouths. After seven rounds and then around again, and then around and around again the sextet negotiated the rolling highway to a food emporium, a block away.
The order: Everything they could bring on, as the sextet had "beaucoup francs", it was thought a fine meal, fine enough to make one forget that passes eventually expire, that trains do not wait, especially if one takes red wine with the soup, white wine with the dinner, cognac with a salad and Benedictine with the desert.
It was now past two and the passes cease to pass at four-thirty. They hustled from the cafe to the station, to find the next train left for Camp at 5:00 p.m.
The only way left was the "frog truck", but they were all going in the wrong direction.
Two of the six, boldly set out to hike, while the other three who stayed to take the train was only a few hours late, so they eventually reach camp.
Everyone in camp was talking about the mysterious absence of the unlucky sextet.
The two that hiked, reach camp about 9:00 p.m., the others a little later. Those that hiked, leg weary and foot store, the four, stiff and sore from the cold and the side door Pullman. All so tired that they did not lay awake long wondering if they would be dismissed from the service, or face the firing squad, for Army custom decrees that explanations, no matter how true, are of no avail.
Findings: Guilty. Sentence: Twilight squad for one week.
Just a word about the twilight squad. If you are suffering from ennui, try the twilight squad. The hour drill before daylight gives you an appetite for breakfast, the hour after supper settles the evening meal, and when taken in conjunction with the regular drills from 8 A.M. to 4:30 p.m., no one needs to rock to sleep at night.
All in all they claimed they had a fine trip, and none of them regretted the trip to Sezanne.
Corporal Frank B. Searll
Reminiscences. Lt. Earl C. Webster
Yes, oh yes, as we have said many times before to brother, sister, sweetheart and friends, we sure were right up on the firing line. Air raids, no sleep on account of the noise, constant casualties, and so on according to our particular consciences and depth of imagination. But aside from all the above trivial occurrences we occasionally give thought to some of the more perilous experiences and trials through which we bravely fought our way, and emerged unsullied and undaunted.
Even at the very beginning, we had barely become organized and surely in no fit condition to be assigned so during an undertaking as that of storming the Castle of St. James or of that secluded rendevous and death trap at Hoffman's Den, but just remember, boys, how we carried away the booty and the maidens fair (how many dates did you make for the next Sunday night?). Oh, those were the happy days, especially the never ending battle of "Polo Grounds" and the "Lemon Extract Campaign".
Mills? Mills, oh yes, that was the first sort of a rest camp we hit, wasn't it? As I recall it that was the place where our noted and distinguished Non-Com staff were extremely contaminated by having the vulgar and preposterous plot thrust upon them that they were a part of a common battery of men and must actually stand in formation with them, absurd! Then to think that there equipment must actually be laid out for inspection, so utterly disgusting and demoralizing.
Ah! but now our thoughts turn to our trip across which surely will forever stay foremost in the minds of all of us, the poor unfortunates that we lost day by day and the constant anxiety all, and as a grand finale the eventful storm of our last day out. We will never forget the sights we saw above and below decks. The sick floating around outside and the rest of us thrown around inside and wreckage floating by in the turmoil of angry waves. While the old Scotian hesitated, seemingly on her haunches, just as does the old gray dray horse on an icy pavement, and then righted herself and dug ahead to safety. One of the most remarkable features of this journey was the unaccountable disappearance of our sergeants after leaving New York. 'Tis true, occasionally one could observed a determined "three striper" heading resolutely for a portion of the ship were he could better observed the interesting landscape round about us. Even Mother Rugen put in at an occasional appearance for above said purpose, and the Top must have had bad news by wireless for judging from appearances he had the Ancient Mariner beaten to a frazzle.
Yes, England did seem a bit damp for a country so recently gone dry but it didn't have a look in with Brest. Brest, the Supreme generator of grouches. Did anybody smile twice while located in that ever delightful spot? No! assuredly No! How is it possible for one to smile congenially while the mud oozes out over the side of the corrugated iron beds and creeps stealthily into ones pillow or while one buries his head and shoulders in two feet of jellied black substance while returning from mess, leaving his meat can waving in the air for the first rescue party to observe and leave waiting.
And to think we gladly deserted Haussimont for this mud hole. Poor and abused innocent Haussimont with your clean white plains, hard dry barracks, hot baths and "Y". With your digging and your drilling and your work that seemed most killing, you're a better camp than Brest is, Haussimont.
And then the journey home. Who remembers that memorable last hike of Battery F in France. From beloved Pontanezen barracks to the USS Mongolia in pouring rain and oozing mud but everybody singing and happy. For once we were leading the way and it was the best thing we ever did. What a beautiful calm peaceful journey that was! Did you ever stop and wonder why it was that everybody aboard ship seemed so quiet and thoughtful? That each seemed all bound up in deep thought and silence all his own when one would have imagined all sorts of gay and wild parties on that last voyage? But was it not in most of our minds the thoughts of what we were going to accomplish in this new life before us? Of the new resolves and great deeds to be performed. And let us hope that in the years to come they may all be fulfilled and that we may read this book of our little part in the War of the World to our grandchildren with kind thoughts and remembrances of each other. As we go slowly over the list of names and distinguished titles you may recollect minor grievances long forgotten and kind deeds immemorial with the everlasting thought of what a really desirable combination we had and just what wouldn't have happened to Kaiser Bill had Battery F gotten a really good swipe at him and his.
Rest Camps. Ah! What a soothing sound to the ears of those whose routine for weeks had been drills and hikes and four days had been travel. Was it possible that the men were to be treated with the longed for opportunity for recuperation? Were they to enjoy true rest? Just close your eyes and picture a hut on the mountain side, nearby the babbling brook, the gentle breeze stirring the leaves overhead, the sunbeams dancing, the birds chirping, the enjoyment of absolute solitude, truly a rest camp.
In a rest camp for a regiment, however, solitude could not be expected, but this would be an asset, one would not get lonesome, occasionally one of the boys would stroll in for a chat, to smoke or reminisce on days of yore, days marked by blistered feet and aching bones, when your rest was desecrated at unseemly hours by the bugler, however, with tolerance for all who caused the unpleasantness of days gone by, one would lazily turnover on his couch and sleep until the announcement of the next meal. Ah, what could be more ideal.
You are approaching your expected scene of rest, it draws upon you that naturally this would be an "Eveless Eden" for the powers that be would so decree. But then woman, lovely woman, had always been one of the disturbing elements of life, and this was to be a rest camp. Rest, complete and absolute.
Through meditation you grow weary and are upon the verge of slumber when you are suddenly awakened by the harsh command, "Everybody Out". Certainly too harsh a command for disembarkation to proceed to a rest camp. Doubt at once enters your mind. Are we at a rest camp. Reproachfully you look out of the window, you perceive a dim image standing in the drizzle, it looks familiar and gradually resolved itself into a sergeant, a "Top", your "Top". Suddenly you become optimistic and accept conditions as being necessary. The "Top" also has a right in your rest camp. Immediately you prepare to obey orders by slinging your pack and picking up your rifle. Even at a rest camp you must carry your pack as no one else appears on the scene to do it for you. Upon reaching the platform you cast your eyes about to find a truck on which your equipment is to be carried. There is none there but you have little time for thought. From the "Top" comes this stern command, "Fall In". It seems rather harsh, out of place, surely he needn't be so snappy about it like he was at the old Fort with its drills and calls. It seems to you that he should be more considerate of your first day of rest.
It is well, however, to humor him as the Colonel is coming to your way, so you elbow into line and look for some familiar face. Wrong squad, sure, but mistakes will happen. You decide, that your Corporal must have corns or indigestion, hope he goes on sick report, then ease into your own squad.
"Squaaaaads La-oft, Harch! ! ! (rising inflection) strikes your ears. The column moves, it is no more a disorganized mob, you are going to a rest camp. Well, you can stand the pack and Rifle for a while. You strike into a wide macadam avenue lined with beautiful shade trees, that is they would have been shade trees had the sun been shining. You are very optimistic, however, and think it must rain sometimes. Some days must be dark and dreary. It's very nice to have such good pavement, truly paradise after the old mud roads and drill field. Anyhow you are going to a rest camp. The pavement ends. What can that mean? Well, you are still optimistic, you think that they are taking a shortcut to get to camp. There is much mud on this road, seemingly there has been no improvement from its original condition, but then everything can't be done at once. Just wait until you reach camp.
"Battery Halt " surely some mistake must have been made, they are going to inquire to find a way out of this mud hole. " Falls Out! One Squad To A Tent ". Tents ! ! ! What can this mean? Yes you're still optimistic, you think, well the army is big and tents are easier to get than barracks. You fall out, go into your tent, lay down your pack and wait for the distribution of bunks. It is still raining and you hear that the yearly average is three hundred and sixty and two-tenths days per year.
Lest you get your feet wet the words come down from the fountain head of orders. "Restricted". Fountain heads are always suspicious. Perhaps you have the measles or mumps or chicken pox or perhaps someone in camp has pink eye, anyway you're too precious to risk being infected.
Fall in for physical inspection, nose and throat.
Fall in for police, pick up everything but the grass.
Fall in for mess.
Fall in to draw clothing.
Fall in and to carry wood.
Call in to carry out swill, cans and ashes, etc.
The orders are flying at you in swift, consecutive order in harsh tones. You become pessimistic. Rest Camps? Who is resting? Perhaps the engineers that were to build the camp, also the detail that was to bring your bunk. Tired, aching and disgusted you roll up in your blankets on the hard ground and fall asleep for the present, not noticing the hard place of rest. About 12:00 a.m., Lt. Brahana, thinking you are cold appears on the scene with blankets. Ouch! Oh my back, and what's the matter with that left leg? You thankfully receive the blankets, roll up in them and again lie down thinking that perhaps some building or other large object fell on you while you were asleep.
Again you fall asleep. "Can't get'em up, Can't get'em up" falls on your ears. You wait to hear recall. There is none. Rest Camp? And reveille at 5:00 a.m. Never! You hear that 2 million troops had rested in that same camp last year. Surely that accounts for the bustle. Give them all in chance. Perhaps 2 million more troops will relax here before the war is over.
Just wait until you get across where rest camps were invented.
You cross. You disembark. You're ordered to a rest camp. Again you wait with much optimism, surely you will see a real rest camp. You go through the same ordeal, however, from the start to the finish. You are greeted with the site of many tents, more mud and even less sunshine, surroundings are apparently even less restful looking.
You are making the best of your rest camp. Perhaps you do not respond to all the police calls. You are stealing time for that much longed for repose. "All out with rifles and belts!" strikes your ears. What's up now? Surely you're not going to drill? Line up! Squad formation.
Again it in the peaceful rest camp to hear "Squaaaaads La-oft!" It is raining. Where can you be going? Soon the report is circulated, the Kings greeting. Your rest has been disturbed on a rainy day. Well, perhaps you can stand it.
You marched a short distance and are then lined up and in a peaceful rest you welcomed it. Is still cloudy. The sun doesn't seem to want to shine. Soon the speeches are over. The band hits up some music. The initial notes of the " Star Spangled Banner" strike at our ears. The sun discloses itself. It is a glorious sunshine but the band could not play forever. It reached the close of our much loved anthem and again the sun hid itself behind a cloud. Everything became dismal. You then retrace your steps to the scene of rest?
Before the close of your travel you strike several rest camps, all the same, wonderful harbors of rest. You prepare to mend your course back to God's Country. The rest camp, is it inevitable, however. Rest is it needed and you must have it. You must rest while awaiting shipping orders. The last rest camp is the ideal one. You are placed in barracks. You stepped inside, you were surprised, your feet sank several inches in the floor, you look down expecting to see wonderful Persian plush rugs but alas, it is only mud.
You seek your bunk. There is none. You are informed that soft slabs of corrugated iron are piled near at hand and can be used if wanted. You get one and placed it upon the soft floor of the barracks but in no way can you place the bed that it is not surrounded with "Aqua pura". You place your blankets upon the sheet in such a way that they do not soak up all the water but alas! One cannot sleep at attention and upon awakening in the morning you find your blankets and perhaps one foot or so in the water. But consider the enormous prices that had been paid by the people who lie in European mud. Surely all this was meant for a health giving purpose.
At last you receive orders to proceed and are torn away from your health resort and by the help of more water you are arrived back to your starting point. Again you proceed to a rest camp, however, rest has ceased to have its original meaning with you, you pass it up as a by-word. Consider your surprise to arrive at a place with real buildings, good bunks, steam heat and hot water. Veritably it is God's Country. A toast to rest camps, "may they continue to exist and be the harbor for peaceful repose for all future generations that may have a need to use them".
||Grave Marker of Pvt. Charles McMasters of Battery F who died in the hospital in Liverpool, England of pneumonia, October 25, 1918. His body was brought back to the United States and high mass of requiem was held in St. Margaret's Church in Dorchester, Mass.|
Battery F lost 5 men during the war to sickness. None were lost from battle. The names of the 5 are:
The Regimental history book I have was owned by a family member of Charles McMasters, possibly his brother Leo McMasters or one of his two sisters. Someone had cut out clippings of obituary notices from a local newspaper of Charles and also the mother Elizabeth and the father Emmanuel McMasters and pasted them in the front of this book. Leo McMasters was in the Navy during the Great War and served on the transport Leviathan.
As I find history and information on men who served in the 73rd Artillery I will add them here in this section. If your relative served in the 73rd Artillery please let me know and I will add them to this list.
In March of 2002, I was asked if I had any information on the 73rd Regiment by Debbie Whitman who was doing some research on her grandfather Ray Holmes. At the time I did not have a web page on the 73rd yet but told her that I would be working on it soon. It was her request that got me started on the history of the 73rd Artillery. This was the information she gave me on her grandfather: Ray Holmes, 3088953 Private, Battery "A" 73 Artillery C.A.C. Grandpa was a quiet man and never spoke of the war or his service. He was not wounded and served only a short time (about 6 months). He did receive a Victory Medal. He died of a heart attack in his home, Alton, MO in 1971. Thank You! Debbie Whitman (email@example.com)
Reason for discharge:
Chas. E. Green
Born 13 July 1891 in Portland Oregon and lived in Cleveland Ohio at the time he entered the Army during 1917. Mostlikely attended OCS at Fort Harrison, Indiana and also served at Ft. Monroe, Virginia from 14 May 1917 until 15 August 1917 when he was promoted to Captain and assigned to Battery B, 73rd Artillery. Captain Nichols was with the 73rd Artillery when it sailed on the 24 Spetember 1918 and returned with them to the States on 22 December 1918. He was Honorably Discharged with a 10% disability from Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 11 January 1919.
Albert Edward Hunter was a Corporal in Battery C of the 73rd Artillery, C.A.C. during WWI. He had enlisted into the United States Army on April 10, 1918 just 10 months after he had to register for the Federal Draft. He did so on June 5, 1917 where he listed his home at 3146 Sheridan Road in Chicago, IL. At the time he was 27-years old and was working in the sales department of the J. W. Butler Paper Company located at 223 W. Monroe St. in Chicago. Albert was 5-feet, 8-inches tall with blue eyes and black hair.
Placed into the Army’s Coast Artillery Branch, Private Albert Hunter found himself in Battery C of the 73rd Artillery, which was under the command of Capt. William H. Toppan. Once in France Private Hunter gained the respect of his Battery officers and was in October of 1918 advanced to the grade of Corporal. When Corporal Hunter returned to the States after the war he was mustered out of the Army at his present grade of Corporal on January 14, 1919.
Albert Edward Hunter was born on February 14, of 1890 to Edward and Mary E. Hunter, who were both English. Edward Hunter married Mary Elizabeth Boazman on June 25 of 1884 in England, District of Stockton, County of Durham and had one son William E. born in England in November of 1884. Edward, Mary and their first son William E. then came to America in 1887 and settled in Muskegon, Michigan. By summer of 1900 the Edward Hunter family had grown to include Albert Edward, daughter May E. born in April of 1893, and youngest son Herbert B. born in November of 1895 all born in Muskegon. The father Edward was working as an Engineer for the State of Michigan. Mary E. had by June of 1900 given birth to 5 children but only four, William, Albert, May and Herbert, were still living and it is not known when this fifth child passed away.
By the spring of 1910 the Edward Hunter family consisting of wife Mary and Sons Albert and Herbert and daughter May, had now moved to the city of Chicago and had taken up residence in an apartment building on Pine Grove Avenue. The father Edward was now working as a janitor in the apartment building and Albert, now at the age of 20-years, was working as a salesman for the Nabisco biscuit company. At the time Albert was working for Nabisco they were just beginning to make the shift away from bulk crackers to the boxed crackers we all know today.
After World War One in 1919, Albert returned to the family home in Chicago. On January 10 of 1921 Albert married Helen Mae Kordick and they were married at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church in Chicago. Helen was born on April 30, 1899 making her about 10 years younger than Albert. In April of 1930 Albert and Helen owned a home that was valued at about $18,000 located at 1045 North Lombard Avenue in Oak Park in Chicago. Albert and Helen had moved into this home about 1923 and would live there for well over the next 20-years. Albert was working for a musical instrument manufacturer and he and Helen did not have any children at that time.
In early 1942 men born between April 28 of 1877 and February 16 of 1897 were required to register for the draft during WWII and Albert did so. On his draft card it states he and Helen still lived at the home on Lombard Avenue in Oak Park. Albert at the time was the president of the Regal Musical Instrument Company located at 3211 Grand Ave., in Chicago. The Regal Musical Instrument Company made all sorts of instruments in Chicago from 1908 until they went out of business in 1954. Regal was known for making good quality stringed instruments and their trade mark logo was a gold crown with the words “The Mark of Better Instruments, Made by the Regal Musical Instrument Co., Chicago.”
In 1948 Albert would suffer a stroke in May of 1948, which would leave him disabled until his death. Albert Edward Hunter would pass away on August 4, 1960 in the Loretto Hospital in Chicago.
Cpl. Albert E. Hunter shown above on the left with his wool overcoat on likely taken after his return from France in 1919 possibly at his parents home in Chicago. On the right Cpl. Hunter is posed again in front of the same door as the photo on the left, but without his overcoat. Barely visible on his lower right sleeve is a 6-month overseas chevron. Additionally on his right breast pocket he is wearing a medal, which appears to be the French Croix de Guerre. Above that is a ribbon bar, which may be the WWI Victory Medal.
The French Croix de Guerre was instituted on 8 April 1915 by the French Government to recognize acts of bravery in the face of the enemy specifically mentioned in dispatches. Open to soldiers, sailors and airmen of all ranks, and of any Allied army, various types of Croix de Guerre were available: bronze awarded by the army, silver awarded by a division, silver-gilt awarded by a corps, silver star awarded by a division and bronze star awarded by a regiment or brigade. It is very likely that the entire 73rd Artillery was awarded this medal and not just Cpl. Hunter.
|The Hunter brothers Herbert and Albert pictured on the back porch of their parents home posing after a wartime reunion. In the center is Mary Elizabeth (Boazman) Hunter, a very proud mother . Herbert Hunter had joined the navy during World War One.|
Another wartime photo of the brothers with Herbert on the left end and Albert on the right end, and the man in the center is Tom Harrison who was the husband of Herb and Albert’s youngest sister May.
John Steele was born born in September of 1883 in Newark, New Jersey. At the time of Americas entry into WWI Steele lived at 2444 E. 79th St. in Cleveland, Ohio. He entered the regular Army at Columbus Barracks, Ohio on 24 April 1918 and assigned to the 26th Co., Coast Artillery Corps at Ft. Andrews, MA. On 10 June 1918 he was transferred to Battery D, 73rd Artillery, C.A.C. and was advanced to rank of Corporal on 18 July 1918. Cpl. Steele sailed with the 73rd and returned to the States with the 73rd. He was Honorable discharged on 30 December 1918.
Cpl. Agnew was born in February of 1897 in Brookville, Pennsylvania. At the time of his enlistment into the Regular Army on 4 May 1918 he lived at 593 Inman St. in Akron, Ohio. His enlistment place was at the Colombus Barracks, Ohio and was first assigned to the 2nd Mine Co., Coast Defenses of New Bedford stationed at Ft. Rodman, MA until 4 July 1918 when he was transferred into Battery E, 73rd Artillery C.A.C. On 1 September 1918 he was advanced to Coroporal and remained with the 73rd until he was Honorably Discharged from the Army on 30 December 1918.
Arnon J. Seaver (443937) WW1. His Army Discharge paperstates; Private 1st class Battery E, 73rd Artillery Regiment, Coast Artillery Corps. Active 5-4-1918 to 1-9-1919. Served overseas, sailed from the States on September 25, 1918. Arrived from France on December 22, 1918. Character given on discharge Ecellent. Submitted by Tim Craycraft, the grandson of PFC Seaver. Tim served in the United States Air Force from 1981-1985.
Mr. Hartwell, Thank you for your work on this site I found while fishing around for information about my grandfather, Pvt. Thomas J. Powers, 2453666. I believe he spent (from his enlistment record and Massachusetts State Guard service contract) 15 months with the Medical Detachment of the 73rd Artillery Regiment, and office of Surgeon General. I will say, much like Ms. Whitman's Grandpa (Ray Holmes, 3088953 Private, Battery "A" listed above), mine was very quiet of his time in the service and rarely indulged me information about it. He passed on Nov. 1, 1972. I was 18. My regards, Bob Ryan
73rd Coast Artillery. He was born 1-9-1899 in Irving, Illinois and was tghe son of Johnb E. and Emma C. Whitlock, Hillsboro. Melvin joined the Army 7-8-1918. Casual Detachment #38 163rd Depot Brigade, Camp Dodge, Iowa. Discharged 6-14-1919.
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