St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Remembering WWI- Thru the Eyes and Words of 1918 Warriors - Part 3

Forget the parade, the President--  lonely boys away from home prefer to find their friends from Pittsburgh!

Today is the third entry in the series of remembering the brave actions of our grandpas through the words of Doyle.  90 plus years later, and the story of World War I continues to captivate.

Dec. 17, 1918

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


Members of Three Hundred and Twentieth Infantry, Recommended for Commissions Because of Bravery in Action, Say Absence of Comrades Mars Enjoyment of Paris Festivities.

Paris, Dec. 16. – There is one bunch of Allegheny county doughboys in Paris who are disappointed, although they saw the wonderful spectacle connected with the arrival of President Wilson. They are members of the Three Hundred and Twentieth Infantry who had been detailed to an officers’ training school near here. They are disappointed because they have not yet seen their pals of the old regiment, which, they had been told, were to be detailed to Paris in connection with the President’s stay in the French capita.

The Army orders instructing the Pittsburgh boys to report at the capital did not say when they were to come or exactly what they were to do. There were no soldiers of any description in the party which escorted the President from the railroad station, although thousands of French troops were used as guards along the line of march.

The Western Pennsylvania fighters have all be given new uniforms, shoes and arm decorations and have been assiduously drilled, so they are ready for any event, no matter how pretentious. The regimental officers say they think there will be a review later and are holding the regiment in readiness.

The embryo officers in the vicinity of the city, who secured short leaves of absence to witness the big spectacle, were all up bright and early. By 6 o’clock in the morning they were out hunting for the boys with whom they fought in the severe battles for the Argonne forest. They are all members of the splendid Three Hundred and Twentieth Regiment and, following the first two drives made by that command, were recommended for admission to the training school in preparation for commissions.

I happened to meet up with a party from the training school. Shortly before they had encountered two pals from the Three Hundred and Twentieth, who were going back to join their outfits after recovering from wounds. Fine husky-looking soldiers they were, all of them, and they asked The Gazette Times to convey their wishes for a “Merry Christmas” to their friends back home.

These fellows who made me very welcome were: William Keifer, Iten street, North Side, Pittsburgh; D. C. Hill, Halsey place, North Side, Pittsburgh’ P.V. Speer, Vandergrift; Sabin Boltin, Collins avenue, East End, Pittsburgh; James Palmer, Bellevernon; Charles Ernst, Rial street, East End, Pittsburgh; William Collignan, Michigan avenue, South Hills, Pittsburgh; T. K. Brennan, Hotel Henry, Pittsburgh, and George Costello, Coltart square, Oakland, Pittsburgh.

All these men won distinction during the hard fighting immediately preceding the final actins of the war and were recommended for commissions. It was their behavior under fire that attracted the attention of their superior officers. Although all of them have finished the prescribed training, they told me they would be willing to forfeit their pending commissions if allowed to get back to “the old outfit.” They are lonesome, and want to renew the warm friendships made in the ranks of the Three Hundred and Twentieth, preferring them to military honors. Most of these men were sergeants during the time they were fighting in France.

Charles O. Mebie, a well-known Fayette county resident, whose home is near Uniontown, was one Pennsylvanian whose presence in Paris came to the notice of the public. He disregarded all parade traffic rules in his efforts to find the youthful son of Carl. L. Bemies, a member of the Three Hundred and Twentieth Regimental Band, but has had to postpone the reunion for a few days. Mr. Mebie is on his way to Russia on a special mission for the Y.M.C.A.

It is evident here that the folds back home are reading the special stories in The Gazette Times. A number of clippings have come to the boys of the Three Hundred and Nineteenth and the Three Hundred and Twentieth, and they are not only being passed around among the men, but are being read with interest by the officers.

Ahh, genealogy.  Remembering our veterans is always in style- so take time to sit, reflect, and then pray for our brave warriors.

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

©2011 AS Eldredge

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