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Headquarters Company, 56th Artillery, C.A.C.


Headquarters Company 56th Artillery, C.A.C. was created from the personnel from 14th Company, Long Island Sound, formerly the 4th Co. Fort Terry, New York, formerly the 100th Co. C.A.C. Also certain non-commissioned staff officers and enlisted specialists from the Coast Defenses. Also bandsmen from the 11th Artillery Band and the Connecticut Coast Artillery Band. On March 28, 1918 the day the regiment sailed aboard the HMS Oylmpic to France the HQ Company was under the command of Captain Ernest R. Barrows, CAC.

Headquarters Company Muster

As I find history and stories of men from the Headquarters Company 56th Artillery I will list them here.


Lt. Colonel Furnival

On 23 February 1878, Richard Furnival was born in Philadelphia, PA. He was appointed to West Point from Auburn, NY, in 1897, graduated in February 1901, 59th in his class, and then was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps. He was promoted in less than a year to first lieutenant and then again, four years later, to captain. In 1913, he graduated from the Coast Artillery School and served in the Quartermaster Corps for a year. In 1918, he went to France as a Lieutenant Colonel of the 56th Coast Artillery Corps as part of the American Expeditionary Force. In 1920 he was at Ft. Constitution, NH, and due to physical disability, was placed on the retired list. He died on 2 May 1935 at Portsmouth, NH, at the age of 57 and is buried at West Point.

Corporal Herbert Henry Bartlett

Herbert Henry Bartlett was born in Petosky, Michigan to David E. and Ellen Bartlett. The Bartlett family prior to 1910 moved to Kootenai, Idaho, which is in Bonner County located in the extreme northern tip of Idaho. There in Kootenai with David and Ellen were 2 of the 4 living Bartlett children. Herbert who was then 22-years old and his younger brother Lloyd who was 20-years old. Lloyd was working as an auto repairman and Herbert was then a telegraph operator for the railroad. Previous to America entering into the First World War Herbert had joined the Idaho National Guard. He had served 5-months when he was discharged in Boise, Idaho because the Idaho National Guard was mustered into federal Service on account of the War. In the first call up of the Federal Draft on June 5, 1917 Herbert Bartlett who was then working as an auditor in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, registered as he was required to do. Herbert was a short and slender man with hazel eyes and dark brown hair.

Ultimately Herbert entered into the Army's Coast Artillery Corps and served in France with the Headquarters Company of the 56th Artillery and saw action at the Front. During the war his rank was Corporal and he was wounded in action. Although the circumstances of the wound are not known. At the end of the war Herbert was mustered out of the Army and returned to the States. In 1930 Herbert who was now married, was living in Washington, DC. his wife's first name was Julie and they lived in a rented home located at 1337 Otis Place NW in Washington, DC. Herbert was then working as a clerk for the Federal Government. Living in the home with Herbert and Julie was her sister, Emma J. Van der Covy. Both Julie and Emma were born in the Netherlands.

Herbert Henry Bartlett passed away on August 15, 1965 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Section 28, Site 3686.

Sgt. Ward L. Goul 623195

Ward L. Goul was the son of Jesse L. and Alice Goul. He was born December 15, 1891, Marion, Indiana. He moved to Madison County, Indiana in 1902. Previous to entering the Army he was a laborer. He enlisted in U.S. Regular Army on August 31, 1914, at Anderson, Indiana and was sent to Columbus Barracks, Ohio. Transferred to Coast Artillery School, Ft. Monroe, Va. Sailed overseas on 28 March, 1918 with the 56th Coast Artillery as an Engineer. On the passenger manifest he listed his mother, Alice Goul of Pendelton, Indiana as the person to notify in case of emergency. Engineer Ward l. Goul died in France on January 25, 1919, in Evacuation Hospital No. 28, from wounds received in action. Sgt. Goul's body was buried in the American Cemetery, Nantes, France.

In the Grove Lawn Cemetery located in Pendleton, Indiana there is a grave stone marker for Ward L. Goul. It is not known if his body was removed from France and brought back to Indiana sometime after the war for reburial or if this is a remembrance marker.

The Stone marker in the Grove Lawn Cemetery for Engineer Ward L. Goul,
Headquarters Company, 56th Artillery, C.A.C. 1891-1919

Sergeant John T. Johnson, HQ Company

John T. Johnson was born on January 22 1898, and was from Windham County, Connecticut. He served with the Headquarters Company, 56th Artillery. Johnson passed away on June 1, 1920.

Private First Class Bert A. Nordblad

On March 28, 1918 the day the HMS Olympic steamed out of New York Harbor there was a 22-year old enlisted man in the Headquarters Company of the 56th Artillery, C.A.C., which was sailing aboard bound for the fight in Europe. This 22-year old was a first generation Swedish-American by the name of Bert Alexander Nordblad. On the passenger manifest he is listed as PFC Bert Nordblad, his service number was 623096 and he listed his sister Mrs. Tillie Nordblad of 115 West Bowman St. in South Bend, Indiana as his next of kin.

In America Bert Nordblad lived in South Bend, Indiana where his family lived within eyesight of the Studebaker Auto works complex of buildings. Likely young Bert Nordblad had lived his entire life in South Bend and never ventured more than 50-miles from his home. Now he found himself aboard a British Passenger ship steaming away from New York Harbor with an ever smaller vision of the Statue of Liberty in the wake of the Olympic as the great ocean liner plowed through the Atlantic toward the European continent, the place of his fathers birth. Deep within the hulls of the Olympic in his bunk PFC Bert Nordblad may have had many thoughts running through his mind when the lights were turned out and he drifted off into sleep. Would he ever see his family again, if he did make it back to their loving arms again what would he become in his later years may have been only but a few of the thoughts.

The story of that young Swedish-American named Bert Nordblad begins on January 21, 1867 in Kristianstad, Sweden the place where Bert’s father Nils A. Nordblad, Jr. was born. Kristianstad in located along the southern tip of Sweden along the Baltic Sea coastline. Nils Nordblad, Jr. at age 20 took a wife, her name being Mary, while still living in Sweden. But Nils and Mary for reasons unknown felt they needed to come to America the land of dreams and opportunity. While still living in Sweden together they had two children, Gustave and Clara.

By October of 1891 Nils and Mary and the two children had made their way to Liverpool, England, where they could take transportation to America and by the beginning of 1892 had arrived in New York City, where they saw for the first time the Statue of Liberty standing so tall in the harbor of the country that would make their dreams come true.

Nils Nordblad and his family settled in South Bend, Indiana where there was plenty of work as then South Bend was a thriving city with the Studebaker Auto assembly plants and many other industrial companies there. Nils was a painter and wallpaper hanger by trade and by the turn of the century in 1900 the Nordblad family was living on Division Street. By then the family consisted of Nils and Mary, the two older children Gustave and Clara, and now included daughter Telka “Tillie”, son’s Bert and Walter, and youngest daughter Hildore. There would be one final son named Frity born about 1903. There is a notation on the 1910 Federal Census that stated Nils was divorced and at the time the family consisted of Nils, Gustave, “Tillie,” Bert, Walter, and Frity. Mary had moved away with Hildore, and likely because Clara was older she also may have left the family home. Mary Nordblad would pass away on September 15, 1903 in South Bend, Indiana. In 1910 Nils, Gustave and Bert all were working together for themselves as painters and wallpaper hangers to support the family. Nils Nordblad would pass away on July 12, 1914 at the age of 51-years, leaving “Tillie” and Bert to look after the family.

Bert Alexander Nordblad was born on August 23, 1895 and Walter Albert Nordblad, his next youngest brother was born on February 1, 1897. Both boys grew up in South Bend and likely were close as any brothers would be, and they likely looked up to their older brother Gustave.

But by the spring of 1917 America was now involved in that European war that she tried to keep out of. On June 5, 1917 the eldest Nordblad brother Gustave who was then 29-years old and married with one child, registered for the Federal Draft, as he was required to do. The only draft registration card for a Nordblad in South Bend is Gustave’s and none can be found for Bert and Walter. It is not known if Gustave served in the military during the First World War.

It is a fair conclusion to make that both Bert and Walter may have just went and enlisted together into the Army before they had to register for the draft. There is a date on Walter’s Headstone Application form that seems to support this theory. Walter’s date of enlistment into the Army was February 19, 1917, which would have been several months before the first call up of the draft that took place on June 5, 1917. It is known that both Bert and Walter served in the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps branch during and after the war.

Walter would serve in France in combat like his older brother Bert. Walter served in Battery D of the 52nd Artillery CAC and after the war remained in the Coast Artillery past 1920 serving at Fort H. G. Wright in New York.

Bert served in the Headquarters Company of the 56th Artillery CAC and like his brother Walter saw combat in France during the war. Once the 56th Artillery returned from France after the war ended PFC Bert Nordblad re-enlisted on February 19, 1919 and remained in service, stationed at Camp Jackson, South Carolina until he was discharged on October 12, 1920.

After Bert was discharged from the army and returned to South Bend, Indiana he would meet and fall in love with a Michigan girl named Kitty A. Raybuck (b. Aug. 17, 1897), and they were married about that same time. On March 10, 1922 Bert and Kitty had their first child; a son named Bert Alexander Jr. (d. June 25 1989). Kitty had been married before and had two daughters, Alice and Agnes Hrchembeault from her first marriage. Together Bert and Kitty and the 3 children lived in South Bend where Bert had taken his former job as a painter and paperhanger to support his growing family. When Bert Jr. was older he began to work with his father painting part time and also working as a clerk at a grocery store. Later during WWII Bert Jr. followed in his fathers footsteps and joined the US Army for the duration of the Second World War.

By 1940 Bert and Kitty were living at 218 East Broadway Street in South Bend, IN. Bert was still painting for a living. In the home on Broadway Street at the time was Bert and Kitty along with Agnes who was 21 at the time, Bert Jr. who was then 18 and Kitty’s 70-year old mother Lydia Raybuck. Today the house at 218 Broadway is torn down and is a vacant lot, but that was where the Nordblad’s home was and likely Bert A. Nordblad lived there until he passed away on January 30, 1980. Kitty would survive her husband and she passed away in February of 1986.

And so ends the story of that first generation Swedish-American boy in his bunk deep within the hulls of the HMS Olympic in March of 1918 who was likely thinking what his life might be like should he survive combat during WWI.

Private Homer Ray Dodd, Cook, HQ Company

When the 56th Artillery, CAC sailed to France aboard the RMS Olympic, Homer Ray Dodd was among the passengers that day. His name appears among the men from Headquarters Company, and Homer Dodd is listed as a Private. His service number was 596316 and was serving as a cook. He was 5-feet, 7-inches tall with blue eyes and dark brown hair. On the passenger manifest he listed his mother, Pearl Dodd as his next of Kin. His home of record was RFD No. 3 Hull, Illinois. Pvt. Dodd had enlisted into the Army on February 4, 1918

Homer Ray Dodd was born on June 4, 1898 in Missouri to Pearl Lee, and William Henry Dodd, who were farmers. Homer Ray Dodd served in France in combat with the Headquarters Company, 56th Artillery, CAC and did return from France aboard the armored cruiser USS South Dakota with the 56th Artillery. After the war being he was a drafted man and not Regular Army he was given an Honorable Discharge. Being he was from Illinois he was sent to the nearest army camp to his home for discharge. Camp Grant, Illinois was that place and on February 24, 1919 he was discharged and separated from the Army.

Once back home Homer took up farming near his parent’s home in Illinois. At age 21 Homer married Lola Pearl and together they had three daughters, Viola, Ruth, and Lilly Pearl. Homer and Lola and the children would live on a Farm for most of their lives in and around Fall Creek Illinois. Homer would pass away on January 31, 1990 in Adams County, Illinois and was buried in the Bluff Hall Cemetery near Fall Creek, IL.

Photo of Private Homer R. Dodd riding an army dispatch motorcycle with a side car. The photo is undated but is assumed to be before the 56th Artillery sailed to France. This is due to the hat Pvt. Dodd is wearing. This style of hat was not worn in France, so for this reason it is believed the photo was taken before the 56th sailed. Also Pvt. Dodd has a side arm in a leather holster on his left hip.


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Date this page was first created on 28 September 2002 and last updated on 1/29/17

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