St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Remembering WWI- Thru the Eyes and Words of 1918 Warriors - Part 1

As our nation gets ready to celebrate Memorial Day, I think it is most appropriate to remember our grandfathers as they fought for America during World War I.  If we don't remember the sacrifices of our veterans, then we take away what they fought for--  and their actions have preserved our wonderful country.

Our youth must know their stories and remember to thank our veterans, past and present.

Over the next several days, I will be commemorating our World War I veterans in the words of The Gazette Times (in Pittsburgh) Special Correspondent Charles J Doyle.  In 1918 and early 1919, Doyle was in France with our brave soldiers.  In his articles, he wrote of everyday life and battles of the units from Western Pennsylvania.

My genealogy buddy, Lynn B., transcribed these.  Read each and every entry.  Relive the battles, the pain, the suffering, the death, and the joy of these brave soldiers.

And then pray for our veterans, past and present.....

Dec. 2, 1918

Charles J. Doyle
Special Correspondent of The Gazette Times in France


Fighting Cook of Three Hundred Nineteenth Infantry Overjoyed When Told by Gazette Times Correspondent His Pals Came Through War Unscathed. Knoxville Youth Doing More Than His Bit When Stopped by Piece of Shell – Ball Players Act as Ushers in Paris Church.

Paris, Nov. 29. – (Delayed) – It was a curious but thoroughly enjoyable Thanksgiving afternoon that I spent sitting beside the cozy cots in American Base Hospital No. 41, chatting with the sturdy young chaps who are recovering their health and strength there. It is the magnificent Legion of Honor structure, rich in historic lore, at St. Denis, on the outskirts of Paris. The building, more than 600 years old, was formerly the burial place of the French kings. Once a monastery, it was later, under Napoleon, a school for officers’ daughters and is now a mammoth hospital sheltering about 2,500 wounded Yanks.

While wandering through the stately corridors of the ancient monastery in search of the men of the Twenty-eighth Division whom I had heard were being treated there, I was roused from my spell of admiration for the beautiful old building by a cheery hail.

“Hello, Doyle! How are the Three Hundred Nineteenth boys?” came the call.

Peering over a sea of cots I got a glimpse of the laughing face of Private Charles H. Glacken of 443 Brownsville road, Knoxville. Although “Charlie” was carried on the rolls of the regiment as a cook, he “went over the top” with the rest of them, having gotten hold of a rifle somehow, and was certainly doing his bit until hit in the knee by a small piece of high explosive shell.

This was during the early part of the advance and, as the wound was not a very serious one, Glacken was able to make his way back to a first aid station. Later he was brought to Paris for treatment. Now he looks the picture of health. As we talked he lay on his comfortable cot, extremely happy because he had been told that he would be sent back to Pittsburgh soon. He expects to have the full use of his leg in a short time.

The fighting cook of the Three Nineteenth [sic] had only one worry. He was anxious for news of Sergt. Bert Tremellen of Locust street, Mt. Oliver and Sergt. George Hegemelf of Knox avenue, his chums in Company K. I was able to tell him that both came through the hot fighting without a scratch, which was a great relief to him.

One of the The Gazette Times-Chronicle Telegraph soldiers literally beamed when I reached his cot. This young fighter was Thomas Orpy of 1330 Webster avenue, Pittsburgh, and was employed in the mailing room before he went join [sic] the army. He is a member of Company L, One Hundred and Eleventh Infantry, Twenty-eighth Division. His nurse had all sorts of nice things to say of this boy, who was wounded seven weeks before the Argonne forest fighting. Although he had a machine gun bullet in his foot, which required much attention, he displayed rare patience. He is doing well now.

Private Fred Libby, a Johnstown member of Company F, One Hundred and Tenth Infantry, was also in the hospital. He was almost entirely recovered from the effects of a shell wound. He formerly lived on the North Side, Pittsburgh.

Another Western Pennsylvanian I saw was Corp. George McCann of Butler, who was wounded near Verdun. He smiled broadly through his big bandage as he talked to me of the prospect of getting back home. He was wounded five times, but none of the injuries was serious and he is practically well now.
Private Louis McDonald, known about Homewood as an amateur ball player, who served “over there” with an anti aircraft company, was another who will probably soon be able to leave. He was sent to the hospital [unreadable] and was also told that Private Roy Kelly of the West End, Pittsburgh, had been there, but was recently discharged and was probably heading straight for the Steel City. He served with the One Hundred and Ninth Division.

I missed seeing a number of the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania men because most of those well enough to stand the trip had been taken in trucks into Paris for the big celebration. King George of England and two of his sons were present and took part in the official observance of the day. All Paris had a great day. The splendid cathedral was decorated with French, American and English flags and the service was wonderfully impressive. Cardinal Bourne of Westminster, the principal speaker, touched strongly on the part played by American in bringing the war to a close.

At the Madeleine the mass was opened by the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” on the huge pipe organ to the accompaniment of trumpet blasts. This service was arranged specially for Americans, but the appreciation of the French people was shown by the fact that they stormed the gates at a very early hour and literally took possession of the church.

Andy Noswing of Pittsburgh was in charge of the ushers at Madeleine and among his assistants were Jack Hendrick, manager of the St. Louis Nationals, and Johnny Evers, the famous second baseman. Both are doing Knights of Columbus work in France.

Ahh, genealogy.  Take the time to sit, reflect, and then pray for our brave warriors.

Special thanks to Lynn for her gracious permission to have her transcriptions included here.

©2011 AS Eldredge

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