Born November 4, 1888, in Brooklyn, New York. Son of Francis N. and Julia Macy Holbrook. Home, New York City. Educated Morris High School, and Columbia University, Class of 1911. In business, Charles H. Phillips Chemical Company. Joined American Field Service, June 30, 1917; attached Section Thirty-two. Enlisted U. S. Army Ambulance Service, September 22, 1917. Promoted to Sergeant. Croix de Guerre. Died, February 16, 1918, of typhoid fever, Essey-les-Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle. Buried Essey-les-Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle. Body to be transferred to Woodlawn Cemetery, New York.
"OF all the adjectives that might be used to describe 'Berry' Holbrook, the one that most of his intimate friends and classmates would agree upon, would be 'dependable.' But he was far more than merely dependable. He was a gentleman in all that the word implies, gentle yet manly, courteous and conciliatory, but firm in standing up for what he conceived to be right. He was imbued with a high sense of duty, particularly as regards public matters which many of us so often neglect. He was ambitious, but not for himself, for no man could have been less selfish than he. It was characteristic of him to say nothing if he could not speak well of a person."
In the above quotation from one of his classmates, Newberry Holbrook stands out as a man who was eager and willing to assume his obligations to the world and to his fellows but, more important yet, who was endowed with the fineness and sensitiveness necessary to the carrying out of these obligations without in any way antagonizing those whom he would serve. Not that he shrank from making enemies if it were in a just cause -- he was always fearless where his principles were at stake --- but his were the qualities which of themselves inspire love and respect.
As an undergraduate at Columbia University and later when connected with the Phillips Chemical Company, he was known, not only for his strict application to whatever task he had at hand, but also for a breadth of vision at once practical and idealistic. It was but natural that, with the organization in June, 1917, of the ambulance unit sent over by the City Club of New York, in which he was an active member, he should have been one of the first to volunteer as a driver, and should have been the man chosen to handle the complicated financial relations between the unit and the Club.
As a driver and subsequently as sergeant in Section Thirty-two, later Six forty-four, he gave himself with an energy and courage rare even in the ranks of volunteers. One of his comrades writes: "He was probably the most popular and the best liked man in the entire section, and by his devotion to duty, his unfailing patience and kindness had endeared himself to each one of us."
For work at Verdun during the latter days of November, 1917, he was cited for the Croix de Guerre by the 37th Division of Infantry with which the Section was serving. Of the character of the work which he did the following extract from a letter written by his lieutenant is sufficient proof: "Ever since the section left Paris last August, Newberry, or 'Berry,' as he was affectionately known to all of us, has been my right hand man. He was one of the best drivers, brave, cool, and intelligent. And in our first difficult engagement he actually made more trips, and brought down more wounded than any other man in the section. Personally, I have lost a very true friend; as his commanding officer, I have lost one of my most valued assistants."
He died on February 16, 1918, at Essey-les-Nancy, of typhoid fever, having refused to leave the section and go to a hospital until but a few days before his death. He gave his life as a soldier for the cause of his country and his fellowmen, nor was his sacrifice in vain. For as one of these fellowmen who knew him well has written: " In his death he still lives with us in his quiet, devoted, and unassuming friendship. His dignity and his quality of ready and faithful service to all he held dear will ever be an inspiration that we may the better 'Carry on.'"
Born October 25, 1897, in Danville, Illinois. Son of George W. and Laura Hoar Whyte. Educated Danville High School and University of Chicago, Class of 1919. Joined American Field Service, April 14, 1917; attached Transport Section 526, until August 28, 1917. Enlisted in French Aviation. Trained at Avord and Pau. Killed in aeroplane accident, March 20, 1918, near Bordeaux. Buried Bordeaux, Gironde.
ON March 20, 1918, the University of Chicago lowered its flag sorrowfully to half-mast, honoring the death of William Jewell Whyte, her first regular undergraduate to give his life in France. Just as he was completing his training in aviation, Whyte met with an accident. His machine fell, like a wounded bird with a broken wing, from an altitude of 6,000 feet, William "fighting gamely all the way down," his instructor reported. But the odds were too great, and he now lies buried in Bordeaux, among as glorious an assemblage as the world has ever known.
"Personally," writes his guardian, "there never was a finer lad. One could say nothing but good of him in any event, but it is especially gratifying to be able to say that he was always clean, courageous, and manly. He was large, physically, always interested in athletics, and was always popular among his associates."
Young Whyte graduated from high school at Danville, Illinois, and in 1915 entered the University of Chicago, where he was on the regular, football squad. He was in his sophomore year when he enlisted in the American Field Service. At the end of his six month's enlistment, when this service was taken over by the regular army organization, he transferred to aviation, where he was a private in the Lafayette Escadrille. He was keenly interested in his work, and, shortly before his death, wrote to a friend as follows : "Flying is going as well as ever. I am nearly finished with my last advanced training and am expecting orders now any time. Before I can receive any really active orders, I shall have to receive my commission. Through some error I received appointment as a second lieutenant, and didn't accept it as I am entitled to a first. This was in January, and the government has been all this time trying to rectify the mistake and grant a new commission." He goes on to tell of having one cheek frozen through, on a high altitude test, and comments laconically, "They tell me I am living on borrowed time. But I think, don't you, that I have a long time loan."
This same disregard of death, as long as it be so honorable a death, is clearly reflected in an article on Whyte, written by a classmate and fellow ambulancier.
"On the campus many of you knew him better than I. From the most fortunate of you ---those who knew him as a Fraternity brother in Delta Tau Delta, as a member of Skull and Crescent, or on the foot-ball team, --- he won undying respect and friendship. Like you, I too came to count Jewell as one of my dearest friends. Last April he and I left the University to become ambulance drivers in the French Army. For three weeks we were together, then bad luck separated us, sending him to one section of the front and me to another.
"After that we saw nothing of each other until one September afternoon during my furlough, when, out of the cosmopolitan crowd passing the Café de la Paix in Paris, I caught sight of Jewell . . . . . That evening we dined together in an out-of-the-way Café. Next morning he was leaving for Avord to train for aviation, and I was returning to Verdun . . . . . As we parted, I said, 'Well , Jewell, bonne chance, and I'll see you later at the University or in Berlin.'
"' I hope so,' he answered. 'But not many of us come back from the Suicide Club. But why worry? There never was a time when it was as easy to die as it is now.'
"Those, I think, were the last words he ever spoke to any one from the University. And now, over a green spot in France. stands a white cross with the inscription:
'Mort pour la France
Born April 12, 1887, in London, England. Son of Alfred J. and Margaret O'Brien Avard. Home, New York City. Educated New York public and high schools. Clerk, New York Central Railroad to 1904. California and Arizona, mining. Came East, 1909. New York National Guard. Enlisted United States Army, September 26, 1910, Fort Slocum, New York; attached 5th Cavalry, Troop 1; served Honolulu, Hawaii, and Mexican Border. Promoted to corporal and sergeant. Honorably discharged, September 27, 1913, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Credit Department, Grolier Society, New York. Joined American Field Service, July 31, 1915; attached Section One, to July 15, 1916. Returned to America. Mining with Chile Exploration Company, Chuquicamata Mine, nine months. Enlisted Naval Aviation, New York City. Naval Training Station, Charleston, South Carolina. Petty Officer. Died of pneumonia, March 26, 1918, Naval Hospital, Charleston. Buried in Calvary Cemetery, Long Island.
WITH spring of the first year of the World War, Percy Leo Avard felt he must share, however humbly, in that supreme effort which all France was making and he determined to join the American Ambulance Field Service. To the objections of his brother, Reverend A. J. Avard,, he responded: "You've given your life to the service of God, why should n't I give mine to help His people?" In June, 1915, his employer wrote in his excellent letter of recommendation: "Mr. Avard is not an adventurer looking for new thrills. . . . . I cannot understand his attitude in that he should give up his work and his family ties to spend an indefinite part of his life in this sacrifice." But those who knew "Pete" Avard best understood: his spirit was one of service, his fine ideals were of action as well as thought.
To "Pete" existence was an amazingly interesting thing, exhilarating, zestful. "We only live once," he said, and in that span he wished to see as much of the world and know as many of its human beings as he could. He traveled far, eager to know life, and always he was well liked and made staunch friends. "Pete" was, as another has described him, "the very salt of the earth."
Although born in England, "Pete" always considered himself entirely American for all his youth was passed in New York. Upon leaving high school he worked with The New York Central Railroad until 1904. Then, interested in mining, young Avard went west, returning in 1909 for his brother's ordination.
He was in the State National Guard, but his real military career began in September of 1910 at Fort Slocum, New York, when he enlisted as a private in the regular cavalry. With troop "I" of the 5th Regiment, he went to Honolulu, returning for further service on the Mexican Border. He was an excellent soldier and a crack shot, and in the troop he had a horse which he had "broken" himself, and which no one else could ride. At the expiration of his enlistment period in 1913, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, he secured his honorable discharge with high commendation, although told he would be commissioned if he remained in the army.
For nearly two years in New York he was in the credit department of the Grolier Society, leaving it in June, 1915, to join the American Field Service in France. After several weeks of active work with the Paris Squad, "Pete" was with Section One in Flanders. From Crombeke to Beauvais and to the Somme, then in June, 1916, to Verdun, the Section labored, "Pete" setting an example by his tender care of his wounded.
After a year's service he returned to the United States, going almost at once to the Chuquicamata Copper Mine in South America under a three year contract with the Chile Exploration Company, but within the year America joined the Allies, and "Pete" gave up all his plans to return and enlist in naval aviation. At the training station because of his experience he was made a petty officer. Hardly a month later he was taken ill with pneumonia at Charleston, South Carolina. He knew he was sick but not how seriously, and to save his mother from anxiety at not hearing from him, "Pete" had a nurse write that he had hurt his finger playing baseball and would be unable to write home for some time. That was the day before he died.
Sincere, sympathetic, and unassuming, this boy had lived his life as a fine adventure in idealism. He sought no favors or advancements, he accepted the world as a friend, and seeking to serve it made his life a record of true sacrifice and faith. A gallant soldier, who joined to the strength of a man the gentle naturalness and enthusiasms of a child.
Born February 27, 1896, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Son of Dr. George and Gertrude H. Woodward. Educated Taft School, Connecticut, and Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University, Class of 1920. Yale Battery, Tobyhanna, 1916. Joined American Field Service, February 19, 1917; attached Section Thirteen until July 23, 1917. Enlisted French Aviation, July 24th. Trained Avord, Juvisy, and Pau. Breveted October 1, 1917. Caporal Pilote, Spad Escadrille 94, December. Killed in action, April 1, 1918, near Montdidier. Croix de Guerre. Buried south of Montdidier, Somme.
HENRY H. HOUSTON WOODWARD, Caporal Pilote, Escadrille Spad 94, of the French Army was killed in combat, April 1, 1918. Having been sent out to patrol the enemy's lines on the afternoon of that day, he was seen several times by other members of the patrol during an attack made on some German planes, then disappeared. It was almost a year later that the remains of his charred Spad were located about three kilometers south of Montdidier, with a lone grave close by, marked with broken pieces of the plane. His brilliant sacrifice was the climax of a year's devotion to France and to the cause for which she fought.
Houston's military career began in his association with the Yale Battery of which he was an active member, and at Tobyhanna Camp, in 1916. In his sophomore year he resigned from Yale to enlist in the American Field Service, and sailed for France on February 19, 1917. He was sent to the front on March 31st, with Ambulance Section Thirteen, which was immediately attached to a French Division just going into line in the great Champagne offensive. Thus he served his novitiate in France in one of the most terrible battles of the war.
Tall, handsome, and of a remarkably winning personality, he made friends quickly in the Section. And as one of his fellow drivers writes: "When the section ran into very hard work during the offensive of Mont Cornillet, his friendships were cemented by a very great admiration for the tremendous and untiring energy and zeal which he devoted with all his soul to the performance of his duty as an ambulance driver and which enabled him to accomplish so much more than the rest of us. His courage, which appeared at times to amount to rashness, was in reality prompted by a desire to throw everything he had into his work without thought of reserving himself."
It was this same desire which urged him as the summer wore on to turn his thoughts toward aviation. Here he felt would be an opportunity to give his all unstintingly, and on July 24, 1917, he enlisted in the Aviation Service of the French Army, with which he had thus far served. He was assigned to the French Training School at Avord, Cher, France, and later to Juvisy, made rapid progress as a flyer, and was breveted on October 1, 1917. Then followed a period of further training at Avord and Pau, to perfect himself in the art of flying, and in December he was sent to the front with Spad Escadrille 94
His life, from then until his death, was full to the brim of the things which counted most for him. Good companionship and friends, the joy of combat, and most important of all, a work for which he felt himself admirably suited in a cause which he knew was just. As to the quality of the work he did, one of his comrades in the Escadrille states he was a most daring aviator, thoroughly skillful in the mastery of his plane and courageous almost to the point of recklessness. He was given official recognition for the descent of one German plane in a posthumous citation for the Croix de Guerre with palm.
One need not touch here on the heartbreaking suspense which his family and friends were forced to undergo after the news of his disappearance, and before it could be definitely established whether he had been killed in battle or was perhaps lying, badly wounded, in some German prison camp. What we do know is this,---Houston Woodward died, as he had lived and fought, a gentleman in word and deed, and a hero in the annals of his country.
Born February 11, 1893, in Alexis, Illinois. Son of Reverend Michael R. and Henrietta Parcel Baer. Educated in Oxford, Ohio, schools and Miami University, Class of 1917. Joined American Field Service, May 26, 1917; attached Transport Section 184, to November 20, 1917. Returned to United States, December, 1917. Enlisted Engineers Corps as private, March, 1918. Died April 6, 1918, at Columbus Barracks, of pneumonia, following an operation for appendicitis. Buried Oxford, Ohio.
AT Miami University, which he left late in his senior year to join the Field Service, Carlos Willard Baer was "one of the best known athletes and one of the most popular university men in the community." A college professor, who knew him well, spoke of him as "one of the most modest athletes that I have ever known."
The fourth and youngest son of an Oxford, Ohio, clergyman, Baer was brought up in the university town and was therefore a familiar figure and a well-liked one before he graduated from high school. In the university life he quickly earned a place for himself, not merely because of his splendid athletic abilities, but because of the fine character and personality which went with them. His father said, "We could recite enough to fill a volume in the way of pleasing memories of his life and then not have done. He was a boy of exceptionally clean life --- with not one of the bad habits so usual in the lives of the youths of our day."
This clean living was remarked by all who knew him, yet he was so natural, in his simplicity and lack of affectation, that Carlos Baer secured their affection as well as their respect and admiration. He was a member of one of the stronger college fraternities, AKE, and elected in his senior year to the men's honorary society, the Red Cowl. Of him the Dean of the junior College wrote, "Mr. Baer had a remarkable physical development and was without question the most powerful man in college while he was here. He never at any time made use of his strength in a way which was a reflection upon him or his college. His conduct in every respect was above reproach. His habits were of the best and when he went from Miami, he left behind him the reputation of being one of her greatest football men, with the added distinction of playing a game which was of a character which met the full approval of those who believe in the cleanest kind of sports."
Soon after war was declared Baer, with that eagerness to be actively engaged in the actualities of it which so well suggests the college spirit in those days of 1917, enlisted in the American Field Service, sailing for France in May. There he joined the Camion branch in the field, and went out to Transport Section 184 of the Reserve Mallet near Soissons. Through the summer and fall he worked with the trucks, his strength being a great asset in the hard manual labors of carrying supplies and keeping his heavy truck in condition. Not wishing to enlist in this branch of service for the duration of the conflict, Baer did not sign up in the Motor Transport Corps when the Field Service was taken over by the army, but served out his enlistment period, then returned to America. In March of 1918 he enlisted in the Engineers' Corps and was temporarily stationed in Columbus. While there awaiting orders for transfer to Fort Meyer, Virginia, he suffered an acute attack of appendicitis. The hurried operation was successful but a few days later Baer contracted a severe case of pneumonia. And this man of fine physique, weakened by his operation and previous illness, died in the camp hospital on the sixth of April, just one year after our declaration of war.
The whole of Oxford mourned his death; the funeral services were held in the Miami auditorium, and the University battalion, comprising the whole student body, marched in procession to the cemetery. The number of his friends, the fineness of his life, the fidelity of his service, all identify the man. And nothing more fitting than the text which the pastor of his church used for his funeral discourse could be written down after the name of Carlos Willard Baer: "For he was faithful."
Born July 29, 1898, in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Son of Reverend J. Beveridge and Mynna Greenman Lee. Home, New London, Connecticut. Educated German-English Academy, Milwaukee (Wisconsin); Latin School, Chicago; Haverford School, Pennsylvania, and Phillips Academy, Andover, Class of 1918. Joined American Field Service, April 28, 1917; attached Transport Section 526 to August 6, 1917. Enlisted French Aviation, Lafayette Escadrille. Breveted October 22, 1917. Trained Avord, Tours, Pau, and le Plessis-Belleville. Caporal, Spad Escadrille 96, January 10, 1918. Shot down and killed, April 12, 1918, east of Montdidier, Somme. Croix de Guerre with palm, and two citations. His grave has not been found.
SCHUYLER LEE has been described by one of his instructors at Andover as "handsome, "Apollo-like," but he, like Rupert Brooke, would have abhorred the thought of being remembered by such fame. Rather must we think of him in the words of Dr. Stearns, the Head-Master of Phillips Academy, as "clean, strong, and unsullied."
Schuyler was still at the "school on the hill" when the call to service came to him, and there his memory will always be cherished as one of its most precious heritages. He was a member of the K. O. A. Society, and a deacon in the Academy Church, sincere and manly in his beliefs, with the courage to act always in accordance with them. When Dr. Stearns considered the formation of the Andover Unit for the American Ambulance Field Service, Schuyler was one of the first to whom he turned, and his trust was not misplaced.
With the majority of his unit upon arriving in France, Schuyler joined the camion branch of the American Field Service, with which he remained until August, when he was accepted for the Lafayette Flying Corps, and enlisted as a private in French Aviation. From Avord and Tours and Pau he wrote enthusiastic, joyous letters relating his progress in flying and telling of the fascination that his new work held for him. From Pau he went to Plessis-Belleville, near Paris, where finished aviators awaited their assignment to combat groups, and thence to the front with Escadrille 96, which was destined to be practically annihilated in the dark days that were soon to come.
He quickly fell in with the life of the Escadrille, of whose record he was very proud, chafing only at the delay before he was allowed to go out seeking combat, instead of merely guarding other planes. On February 6th, he wrote in his matter-of-fact way of a fight for which he was later cited:
"I had my first fight on the morning of the 3rd of February. Five French and eight Boches were in it. Three of the men with me got one, while one of our men was shot down. It is a totally new and unpleasant feeling to go out with a fellow and come back without him." On his return to the field, he found that his Spad had been perforated in twenty places by machine gun bullets.
When the Germans drove toward Amiens in March, Escadrille 96 was summoned hastily to the northern battle line and took part in the intensive battles of that month. On April 12, while flying east of Montdidier, on patrol, Lee's motor, which had been giving him a great deal of trouble, must have failed him, for he was last seen slowly descending into the German lines. The German casualty lists reported him as shot down in combat, and since then his wrecked Spad has been found and identified half a mile northeast of Beuvraignes, Somme.
He died the way he would have liked,--- in the performance of his duty. As a friend of his said, trying to be reconciled to his loss,--- "Schuyler's death was wonderful! Young, clean, ardent---suddenly in mid-air."
A French officer, pilot in the same escadrille, wrote of Schuyler to his father --- "A perfect gentleman and model soldier, your son had won the affection and the sympathy of every one here. I can't tell you enough how much all here, officers and men, feel the loss of such a perfectly gallant comrade."
As Major Fuess, who knew and loved Schuyler, said in his admirable book "Phillips Academy, Andover, in the Great War" "he lived true to his favorite passage in poetry:
'Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King ---
Else, wherefore born?'"
Born January 7, 11897 at Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Son of William A. and Ella Jolly Sargeant. Educated Pittsburgh High School, Mercersburg Academy, and Washington and Jefferson College, Class of 1919. Joined American Field Service, March 12, 1917; attached Section Sixteen until September 14, 1917. Returned to United States. Enlisted United States Aviation Service, January 12, 1918; attached Radio School, University of Pittsburgh. Died of pneumonia, April 16, 1918, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Buried beside his mother in Beaver, Pennsylvania.
"A MAN can't live in a country of fighters and not become a soldier. He feels down in his heart he is not doing his part." This Grandville LeMoyne Sargeant wrote in April, 1917, already planning to enter aviation when his six months' Field Service enlistment should end. He went on: "The more I see of the French, the prouder I am to be descended from them." This French ancestry explains the ease with which he entered into the life about him in France and his eager desire to serve her. With his sincere love of the people about him went a clear-sighted belief in their cause. The two were knit inseparably together into the very fabric of his being and gave strength and endurance to his will. "Many have been killed and more will be. It is up to the cultured and civilized people of the entire world to get in this and get in it quick." It was, he said, "one of the best moments of my life . . . . . when I learned that the United States had at last seen her duty, gone ahead, and declared a state of war. A man cannot stay in France a week without realizing that our place is in this war with the Allies and the sooner the better."
LeMoyne's character, prophetic of his later manliness, was apparent in his boyhood. "He was," wrote his school principal, "one of the finest high school boys I have ever known . . . . . Such a clean-cut gentlemanly fellow and of such sterling worth." From high school in Pittsburgh LeMoyne went to Mercersburg. Academy and then to Washington and Jefferson College. A fraternity brother wrote of him: "To an attractive personality was joined a fully matured mind and a disposition that was seldom ruffled. At times he was really too easy going but at all times he was the best of fellows." The College Secretary spoke of LeMoyne's being liked by his fellows and of his pleasing personality, and "regarded him as a young man of high principles." "A type," said a business associate of his father's, "that is unfortunately rather rare."
"A fine sturdy young fellow," an older friend called him, and a teacher mentioned particularly, "his quick responsive mind and energy," qualities which stood him in good stead when he left college in his sophomore year and went to France in the American Field Service. He went to the front with newly-formed Section Sixteen, serving in the Argonne. "When America enters the war," he wrote, "practically this entire service will enlist, I think. Some are signing up with the Aviation Corps and others with the French heavy artillery. As for me I am going to study the question for the six months I am in the field and at the end of that time I shall have made up my mind what course to pursue."
He decided for aviation and returned home, enlisting immediately after his twenty-first birthday. He was sent for instruction in radio work to the University of Pittsburgh. There he became ill with scarlet fever, pneumonia developed, and LeMoyne died on April 16, 1918, before he had been given his chance to fight for France. But he had served the country he loved, he had fought his good fight bravely, and achieved a goal of duty well performed.
Telling of their last meeting in Paris a friend gives LeMoyne's words: "Butch, I am going to try to get into aviation and come back, but if I am out of luck and don't make the grade, you and I know it's been a grand old scrap," and himself adds, "In that single idiomatic sentence LeMoyne Sargeant gave me the sum total of why we loved him and why his memory is honored."
Born February 21, 1894, in Morris, Pennsylvania. Son of John and Linnie Leonard Frutiger. Educated Morris High School, Mansfield State Normal School, and Oberlin College, Class of 1919. Assistant Secretary, West Side Y. M. C. A., New York, two years. Joined American Field Service, June 2, 1917; attached Section Twelve until August 20, 1917. Returned to America, December, 1917. Enlisted U. S. Tank Corps, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Transferred Camp Colt, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 302d Heavy Tank Battalion, as Sergeant. Died there of acute gastritis, April 19, 1918. Buried Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Morris, Pennsylvania.
"TIOGA COUNTY lost a promising young man and patriot in the death of Theodore Raymond Frutiger, at an officers' training camp at Gettysburg," lamented the Philadelphia North American in an article of commemoration. "His is the story of a young life of great promise which was sacrificed on the altar of freedom." His story is also one of persistency and determination to get to the front, despite defective eyesight, and to help the cause which America held so dear.
At the time Frutiger enlisted he was a student at Oberlin College, and, like so many other college students, he saw in the Field Service an immediate means of helping the Allies in their great struggle. In June, 1917, he sailed for France to drive an ambulance. About the first of September this service was taken over by the United States Government, and those who were in it were given the option of leaving or signing up for the duration of the war. Young Frutiger, desiring to get into more active service, left the ambulance work and sought entrance into the aviation service, but he was rejected because of very bad eyesight.
Owing to the death of his father, he returned to this country in December, and in January he, with several other returned ambulance drivers, attempted to enter an officers' training camp. He was again rejected because of poor eyesight. He journeyed to Washington, D. C., and there once more he was told that they could not admit him. However he was not discouraged and informed the authorities that he would keep coming until he was accepted.
Finally they wrote him, after his return home, stating that they had waived his defects of vision and that he should report at once to Fort Oglethorpe. After remaining there for a time a Tank Corps was organized, and Frutiger being anxious to get back to France, enlisted in the 302d Heavy Tank Battalion and was transferred to Camp Colt, Gettysburg. His mother received a letter from him on April 15th, saying that he expected to sail again for France in a few days. Then he was taken seriously ill, and a day later, before his relatives could be notified, he died of acute gastritis.
Obviously it was no mere adventuring which stirred private Frutiger so deeply, and an earnestness such as his could not fail to have left its effect upon those with whom he came in contact. The strength of his determination to serve was an inspiration to others who were privileged to execute what he willed so intensely. He will be remembered by those who knew him as a man of fine character, who made friends readily wherever he went, and whose death was widely mourned.
Born abroad in 1899. Son of Dr. Charles DuBouchet. Home, Paris. Educated Paris schools. joined American Ambulance, Neuilly, September 3, 1914, as driver; attached Paris Squad and served at front in First Battle of the Marne. Joined American Field Service, September 16, 1915; attached Section Two until February 10, 1916. Rejoined Field Service, December 13, 1916; attached Vosges Detachment to June 5, 1917. Enlisted, U. S. Aviation as interpreter. Transferred to U. S. Infantry, 16th Regiment, winter of 1917-1918. Died May 16, 1918, in Paris of wounds received in action near Crèvecoeur, Oise. Buried Paris, France. Awarded D. S. C. and D. S. M.
CHARLES VIVIAN Du BOUCHET was the youngest of those American boys educated in France who hastened to join the American Ambulance during the early months of the War. His enrolment for active duty in September, 1914, at the age of fifteen years, is typical of the uncompromising devotion and quiet heroism that characterized the man beneath the boyish carefree exterior.
Of his service at the Front during the epic days of the First Marne, he said little, though we frequently tried to draw him out. We envied him the experience in the War of movement during the long stalemate at Pont-à-Mousson, where the time, destination, and source of every shell was a known quantity and every imperceptible wavering of the front lines meant a thrilling victory or a gloomy defeat.
Every section had its cast of typical characters, which remained curiously constant despite changes in personnel. There always was a man who did most of the hard, dirty work; there was the fellow who never did any work at all except under protest; then the chronic grumbler, prophet of disaster and hopeless tragedy, with whom we expostulated, and whom we fled to find a more normal and cheerful view of life in the agreeable company of gay DuBouchet or Leif Barclay.
Both of these, at different times, played the role of section "morale officer" in old S. S. U. Two. All of us received the warmest welcome from them. They always had time to help a comrade change billets or tinker with a balky engine. It was not strange that the French should have been quick to feel their sympathetic personalities and to make them the Section favorites. Vivian's perfect command of French diction, not to mention argot, permitted him to arrive at a degree of intimacy with the more intelligent French men and officers, which was denied Barclay and the rest of us. This intimacy was soon reflected in an additional confidence in the Section and further privileges for all. As liaison workers, these two members did much to promote the mutual liking which made those days in the Bois-le-Prêtre sector the most charming memory of the war for those of us who have survived. Nowhere was service more appreciated or personal contacts within and without the section kindlier. During the fall of 1916 and the spring of 1917 practically the entire section enlisted in the Foreign Legion for aviation service. Poor Du Bouchet tried with the rest of us but lacked the one absolutely essential faculty for aviation, perfect eyesight. This great disappointment did not induce him to "quit" as did so many others who had to be pilots or nothing. He was peculiarly fitted for liaison and interpretation work and was drafted for that service.
No non-combatant service, however, could satisfy him for long. In the winter of 1917-18, he succeeded in transferring to the U. S. Infantry. Let it be said that no one had a clearer idea of the hardships of that service than a former ambulance driver at the Front.
He was severely wounded the fourth of May, 1918, at Crèvecoeur and was taken to the American Ambulance in Paris, where he died May 16th. He was awarded the D. S. M. and the D. S. C. Those of Section Two, who gave their lives in the air, would be first to accord the palm of most supreme heroism to Vivian, who quietly refusing to take shelter from his conscience behind youth and bad eyesight sought a certain and unspectacular death.
Born December 9, 1896, in Boston, Massachusetts. Son of Roger Sherman and Louise Parrish Dix. Educated Country Day School and Harvard University, Class of 1918. Attended two Plattsburgh Camps. Harvard Regiment. Joined American Field Service, July 23, 119 1917; attached Section One until October 21, 1917. Enlisted U. S. Aviation, November, 1917. Trained as bombing-observer at le Crotoy, Somme. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, May 112, 1918. Killed in aeroplane accident, le Crotoy, May 5, 1918. Buried le Crotoy, Somme.
IN the spring of 1918, upon his last training flight at the French school, Roger Sherman Dix, Jr., met his death. The plane in which he was acting as observer "collapsed at a height of about six-hundred feet" and Roger and his French pilot were killed. A French flyer at the École wrote: "Comme les autres fois, il était parti confiant, joyeux, et plein d'entrain. Hélas, le mort stupide s'est trouvé sur son chemin."
Roger Dix left Harvard at the end of his junior year to join the American Field Service, and in July, 1917, joined Section One near Verdun. With the veteran group he served through the very active summer of almost constant fighting, Section One receiving a citation for its work at this time. He added many friendships here, to those he had won in school and college, and earned the commendation of his Chef for his unflagging zeal and fidelity to duty. In October he left the Service, enlisted in the U. S. Air Force, and later went, as a cadet in American Aviation, to a French school at le Crotoy, near the mouth of the Somme. "He wished to be trained as a pilot, but this would have meant a long delay. He was promised that he would be sent at once to the front if he took the training as observer," and so Roger was one of twenty-five who volunteered as bombing-observers.
Having made his first flight in March, he completed his work with the best marks of any in his class, "was to have received the highest honors of any of my command," said his chief; and he was to leave for the front in a few days, when the accident happened. Subsequently his commission as Second Lieutenant arrived, dated May 12, 1918, two days before his death. Lieutenant Glover wrote, "He died while doing work in the air, and while holding the position of first in his class. More glory than this no man can claim for his son." He told, also, that in six weeks he came to know Roger as "a most excellent soldier both on the ground and in the air."
Nothing can better show Roger Dix as a man and a friend than does a memorial letter, sent to his father, signed by each of his cadet comrades: "None of the twenty-four flying cadets of his detachment has words to express to you how deeply we feel his loss --- to you, to us, and to the A. E. F. Easily the most popular member of this detachment, Cadet Dix was a loyal, gallant soldier, an assiduous student, an excellent airman, and a splendid companion. Every man counted him his friend, and he had never failed us. His fearlessness, his coolness, and his intrepidity had made it a foregone conclusion that his career in his chosen service would have been brilliantly distinguished and his tragic death is a double loss, to us and to the army, because he was the possessor of such splendid qualities."
Corporal Robert Philip, his French instructor, voiced the sympathy and understanding which marked Roger's friendship with those about him in a letter to his father: " Ce bon camarade --- il est mort en faisant son devoir de soldat américain, il est mort en brave! J'ai, moi-même en aéroplane suivi le cortège et lancé des drapeaux sur le corbillard, suprême hommage à notre cher disparu. Roger Sherman Dix repose maintenant en paix en terre française pour laquelle il est venu courageusement combattre à l'ombre des drapeaux américains et français. Nous avions tous pu apprécier ses qualités nombreuses --- excellent camarade, un coeur toujours compatissant, dévoué travailleur et modeste."
In the words of his fellows, written to Roger's father, "We have lost a splendid comrade, the Expeditionary Force a fine soldier, and yourself a noble son."
Born February 12, 1898, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Son of Oliver and Josephine Fitch Hagan. Home, Brookline, Massachusetts. Educated Huntington and Stone Schools, Brookline, and Phillips Academy, Andover, Class of 1917. Joined American Field Service, May 26, 1917; attached Section Twelve until October 31, 1917. Returned to America. Enlisted Royal Air Force, Canada. Died May 11, 1918, as Cadet, of pneumonia, at Toronto, Canada. Buried Brookline, Massachusetts.
AT Arthur's Court, Sir Percival was styled the Gentle Knight. If ever modern knight deserved the name it was William Becker Hagan. His life, crowded as it was with interests and with deeds, is an unsullied record of uprightness and chivalry, the pages of which one turns with reverence.
At Huntington School, though slender, " Bill" was prominent in athletics as a member of the baseball, football, and hockey teams, and in his senior year as captain of the latter two, in addition to which remarkable record, he stood high in scholarship, winning final honors in three subjects. At Stone School where he spent a year, he captained the baseball team, and at Andover in 1917, he was a member of the hockey team. During this period he also played on the Boston Hockey Club team which was rated among the best in the country. His successful athletic career which might have spoiled a lesser man, only resulted in bringing into bolder relief his modesty, his thoughtfulness, and his good sportsmanship. He was a good loser and a better winner. His first thought after a game was to give a cheerful word to the losers, whether they were his own team-mates or his opponents. He was a gentleman always, and a clean hard fighter.
He left Andover to enter the American Field Service on May 26, 1917, and was sent out to Section Twelve, which was working in Champagne. He wrote often to his father, toward whom he felt a tenderness and devotion that is one of the most beautiful things in his character, displaying rather unusual powers of description. He saw the strife about him clearly and was keenly alive to its meaning, but he did not lose his healthy, boyish point of view. He had a horror of exaggeration, and his letters are free from the slightest taint of heroics.
On August 13th, just before the Section moved up to a particularly active and dangerous sector, he wrote a letter which was to be sent to his " Dad" in the event of his death. It is too personal and sacred to quote, save one small passage that tells us a little of the quality of the thoughts that came so naturally to him.
"If my time comes before yours, don't worry, Dad, just feel proud that you are the father of a son who gave his life willingly for this great country, France."
"Bill" returned to the United States at the conclusion ,of his six months' service and after vainly trying to enlist in American Aviation, he entered the Royal Air Force in Canada. Before his training was completed, he fell ill with influenza closely followed by pneumonia, and on May 11, 1918, he died with a smile on his lips and the peace of God in his heart.
He used to ask his nurse to read the Lord's prayer with him every night. She wrote that "he knew he was dying and almost to the end he was conscious; but he had no fear . . . . . the only thing was, he was sorry to leave now when there was so much to be done."
"The afternoon before he passed away," wrote his chaplain, Captain W. G. White, "he so cheerfully looked up to me and said, 'Apart from the separation of friends for a season, what difference does it make ? "' Later, with utter forgetfulness of self, when he saw that his nurse was crying he said gently, " Sister, don't worry about me. I'm all right and everyone is so good." Earlier that day she had given him some flowers to which was attached this verse, " He will keep thee in the Shadow of His Wings." He read it and whispered, looking into the mysterious future with calm eyes and with the faith born of his manner of life of purity,--- a faith that we know was so well founded---, "That's great, Sister, He shall take care of me!"
Born April 9, 1894, in New York City. Son of W. K. B. and Maria Furman Emerson. Educated Middlesex School, Concord, Massachusetts, and Harvard University, Class of 1916. Joined American Field Service, July 16, 1915 ; attached Section Three to November 25, 1915. Returned to college. Studied aeronautical engineering, Columbia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rejoined Field Service, January 28, 1917; attached Section Thirteen in France, then Section Three in Balkans to September 20, 1917. Croix de Guerre. Enlisted American Aviation Service. Trained as observer, French artillery school, Valdahon. Trained with 15th U. S. Field Artillery and 228th French Escadrille. Second Lieutenant, U.S. Field Artillery. Attached 12th Aero Squadron, May, 1918. Shot down and killed, May 14, 1918, near Toni. Buried in American Cemetery, Vignot, Meuse, north of Commercy.
THERE are few men, dying at twenty-four, who leave behind them such a clear-cut record for service and character as did Lieutenant William Key Bond Emerson. Of what he stood for even as a lad, one of his masters at Middlesex has written: "'Bill' Emerson was one of those delightful, big-hearted, child-like fellows who made friends with everyone he met. At school he stood for the best in both sport and work. He was a keen competitor, but too high strung to make the ideal athlete, though he rowed on the school crew. At his books he showed marked application rather than brilliancy, but was of the intellectual type whose tastes were always refined and high." And another says: "To have known 'Bill' is a privilege I shall never lose. I recall how he looked when laughing, when serious, or when puzzled, but I cannot recall ever having seen him angry or vexed. I feel this is quite remarkable in a boy and I think it sums up 'Bill's' character pretty well."
His association with the American Field Service began in the summer of 1915. Long interested in France and the struggle she was making against the invader, he left college at the end of his junior year to serve for six months in the Vosges with Section Three. In January, 1916, he returned to Harvard and received his degree with his class in June. But twenty-one years old at the time of his first enlistment, it is interesting to note from a letter of the Section's leader the impression he made on the men with whom he worked: "He was so straightforward and so true, and such a gentleman through and through. He had a great sense of duty and loyalty and was morally as well as physically courageous. He was always so eager to do more than his share that he was an inspiration to those about him; and ever cheerful, kind, and thoughtful, he won the very deep affection and respect of everyone."
After a summer and fall spent at Columbia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the study of Aeronautical engineering, "Bill" began to chafe at the hesitation of his country in joining the allies and in January, 1917, he decided to re-enlist in the Ambulance Service. He was this time sent out with Section Thirteen, attached to a French division engaged in the Champagne offensive, but was soon afterward transferred to his old section then serving in the Balkans. Here he spent several months with the Army of the Orient in the Albanian mountains and won for himself a citation for the Croix de Guerre. By this time America had at last entered the war and "Bill" went back to France, received a commission in the American Army, and was sent to the French Officers' Training School at Valdahon, where he trained as an observer and graduated at the head of his class. Then followed a winter of further training and experience with the 15th Field Artillery and the 228th French Escadrille, and early in May, 1918, he joined the 12th Aero Squadron of the American Army in the Toul sector.
It was on one of his first trips over the lines, on May 14, 1918, that he and his pilot were shot down. One of his comrades, Lieutenant K. P. Culbert, wrote on May 21St, the day before he himself met death: "We do not know whether the 'antis' got him or whether it was a Boche plane. He went out on a réglage and was shot down in our lines. He was an honor to Harvard, a gentleman and a soldier, and the first of our little group to gain the one glorious epitaph."
Born June 27, 1897, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Son of Edward E. and Mable Fuller Blodgett. Home, West Newton, Massachusetts. Educated Runkle, Volkmanns, and Newton High Schools; Lawrenceville School, New Jersey; and Williams College, Class of 1919. Plattsburg Camp. Joined American Field Service, May 5, 1917; attached Transport Section 526 to September 5, 1917. Enlisted U. S. Aviation. Trained in France. Commissioned First Lieutenant, December. Attached 95th Aero Squadron. Killed in action, May 17, 1918, near Toul. Buried American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, Meurthe-et-Moselle.
WHEN Richard Ashley Blodgett's friends went over his belongings, the day after he fell into a slideslip and crashed returning from an air-fight, they found the following message: --- "Good luck to you all. I'll see you later on. Show them we can fight like hell---a hard, clean fight. Give 'em hell! So long." As his colonel remarked in a letter to the commanding general, "there is some 'pep' to this!"
As a child "Dick" had a very definite idea of manliness --- that nerve and fortitude which made such a devil-may-care message both understandable and natural. He was genuinely interested in other people, and he saw always the best in them. To quote his mother, "Dick's world was made up of men and women, boys and girls, who in his own words were 'corkers."'
At Williams, "Dick" played on his freshman football team, captained the freshman hockey team, joined Sigma Phi Society, and on May 5, 1917, in his sophomore year, sailed for France in the American Field Service, where he was assigned to T. M. 526 B, of the camion branch. From the very start, however, he was anxious to get into aviation because he felt that he had peculiar qualifications for that work. On July 30, 1917, he wrote, "I can be of service and real service, I hope. That's all that matters now." His ambition was realized towards the early part of September and he rushed off joyously to Tours --- and flying. He loved it all,---the game itself, the men in it, the luxuries, and the hardships. On his first plane he painted the inscription he had earlier chalked on his truck, "I should worry!"
His letters to his family are all unwaveringly cheerful and amusing, with a charmingly light touch, particularly in those to his sisters; but we know from other sources that often at the very time they were written his heart was in the black depths that were known even to the most light-hearted of soldiers! His mother truly says of him that "his was the enviable gift of bringing sunshine wherever he went." He thought often and well on serious matters. He wrote, "Somehow, I can't seem to worry, I'm too small a spot on the map"; and later, carrying on this idea, " I am much nearer heaven in the air." In a letter received after his death he said, " For all its drawbacks I wouldn't be out of this little job for anything on earth!"
In January, 1918, writing to a friend in whom he had confided his firm belief that he was not destined to outlive the war, he said, " I sure hope I get at least one German before I get killed!" His wish was fulfilled, for on May 2, as a member of the famous 95th Squadron, he shot down a German observation machine in a thrilling fight that took him well into the German lines. Two weeks later, returning from patrol over the lines, he fell suddenly, and it was believed, from the fact that there were two fresh bullet holes in the bottom of the machine, that he had been wounded and had lost consciousness. He is classified as killed in action.
A friend in the squadron who had known him in the camion service as well, Lieutenant Alden Bradford Sherry, wrote, "Out here on the front it was his ability as a flyer, his quick perception of his duty, and his zeal in carrying out his work without any thought of the risk involved, which made our admiration for him as great as our affection." Another of those who loved him expressed the feeling of them all, "I am sure that the glory of Dick's passing must be to us all who knew him as the setting of a bright sun, which brightens the lonely places and touches the hills with flame."
Born December 4, 1895, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Son of Ernest and Jessie Stuart Giroux (Mrs. Arthur E. Haley). Educated Somerville High School and Dartmouth College, Class of 1919. Joined American Field Service, April 21, 1917; attached Transport Section 526 to August 6, 1917. Entered American Aviation, August, 1917. Trained Avord, Tours, Issoudun, and Cazeaux. Commissioned First Lieutenant November 20, 1917. Attached 103d Aero Squadron (Lafayette Escadrille). Croix de Guerre and D. S. C. Killed in action, May 22, 1918, near Laventie. Buried at Estaires, north-east of Bethune, Nord. Grave not located.
"IF I should not come back you must be proud, . . . There would be nothing to regret, for I could not have done otherwise than that which I did, and I think I could not have done better."
These words of Alan Seeger's, Ernest Armand Giroux quoted to his own mother when writing of his decision to enter aviation at the end of his service with the Reserve Mallet. "We are only doing our little part," he had said earlier, "you have always been the best of mothers --- and we want you to continue and be the bravest of mothers in this sacrifice." One of the finest of his many fine qualities was this regard for her. A fellow aviator wrote of him: "His heart was as large as his body. I have never known a man who loved his family more." Lieutenant Leland Emery, with him in T. M. U. days and later in flying, said, "Ernest had a rare personality that attracted all men to him whether they shared his likes and dislikes or not," which gives a sidelight upon his characteristic of clinging to his own ideals, upon the singleness of purpose that led him, unflinching, over hard roads.
At school and college he made a splendid record. His. popularity was only extended and strengthened when, in the spring of 1917, he sailed for France and went to the front as a sergeant in Camion Section 526-B. Ernest had entered the war amazingly clear of vision. He felt no rancor against the individual enemy. "In a way one cannot help but pity them," he wrote, " I have seen prisoners --- stoop-shouldered, broken in spirit, not knowing what the whole thing means, men driven by the war gods behind them, by the war gods who are to blame, and deserve no mercy," and from this grew his fine anger at all that the German army represented. In August, 1917, Ernest entered the American aviation service, writing, "It is now time that every American take part in as belligerent work as he is fitted for." Yet he soothed his mother's anxieties by mentioning the long period of training before he should be in danger, but added: "This is our war . . . . . and you are doing your part . . . . . A war in which one mother's son is no better than any other mother's son --- one life no better than the next."
After three months' training he joined the 103d Pursuit Squadron, formerly the Lafayette Escadrille, earning a place in the regard of his mates as a friend and their esteem as a flyer. Lieutenant Baer, who led the patrol in which Ernest lost his life, said that "although comparatively new to the Squadron he proved himself a pilot of the very highest quality . . . . . few others had the capabilities and qualities of your son." An American "Ace" says of his distinguished Service Cross, "no man living or dead deserved one more," and the citation it self says: "Lieutenant Giroux while on patrol with four other scout planes attacked an enemy formation of eight monoplanes. Two companions were forced to retire. Despite numerical superiority Lieutenant Giroux continued the attack, endeavoring to protect his leader, until finally forced down and killed." Ernest's Croix de Guerre citation says, "He did not hesitate to attack within their lines . . . . . There was no hesitation in his nature when it came to doing the hard, right things. Lieutenant-Colonel William A. Thaw wrote of Ernest: "In the short time he had been with us we had all come to consider him a good pal and to admire him for his energetic courage." A good pal, a thoughtful son, a brave man -- he lived and died. His courage and faith have left us a "mark to aim at."
Born September 20, 1893, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Son of William B. and Madge Fulton Kurtz. Educated De Lancey School, Philadelphia, and Harvard University, Class of 1916. Joined American Field Service, August 4, 1915; attached Section One to November 30th. Returned to America and secured college degree. Rejoined Field Service, July 29, 1916, and Section One. Commandant Adjoint, Section Eighteen, April, 1917, to July 25, 1917. Croix de Guerre. Enlisted U. S. Aviation. Trained Pau, France, and Scotland, especially in gunnery. First Lieutenant, attached 94th Aero Squadron. Killed near Toul, returning from first patrol between Pont-à-Mousson and St. Mihiel, May 22, 1918. Buried at Ménil-la-Tour, north of Tout. Body transferred to American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, Meurthe-et-Moselle.
WHEN he resigned his commission as commander of Section Eighteen to enter the aviation service, Paul Kurtz wrote to his parents in Philadelphia: "I feel that we owe a debt of gratitude to France which mere 'unlimited credit' can never pay. I have done a lot of thinking and have resolved that if the chance should ever come I would show her that there are Americans who could give their lives, if necessary, as long as they knew they were doing what was right."
" Doing right," to Paul Kurtz, was fighting in the air. Doing that, he gave his life near Toul, France, serving as a volunteer chasse pilot in the famous Ninety-Fourth Squadron.
Kurtz's intimate friends say that few men among the thousands who flocked to the aid of France loved that land and its people as did this Philadelphia youth who went from Harvard in the summer of 1915 to become one of the early volunteers in the ambulance service.
He served his first enlistment in Section One and returned home in the winter of 1915 to complete his work at Harvard. July of the next year saw him back in old Section One again. When the United States entered the war, Kurtz had served through a dozen battles scattered along the ragged line from Dunkirk to Alsace with the famous pioneer unit.
In April of 1917, Kurtz sought to resign from the ambulance service to enter aviation, but was prevailed upon to curb his ambition for combat work that he might assume command of Section Eighteen, a fresh unit in the field.
Three months later, feeling that these new volunteers had become veteran ambulanciers, he resigned to offer himself to the air service. He trained in the French schools and with the Royal Flying Squadron in England and Scotland to become head instructor of a new American aviation school, but while it was being built, Paul, eager for service at the front, asked that he might go there. He was finally assigned temporarily to the Ninety-Fourth for front-line experience.
Captain Rickenbacker, who led the patrol on which Kurtz lost his life, tells how the new recruit labored to master control of an aeroplane unfamiliar to him that he might participate in battle. It was on the first critical patrol over the lines that Kurtz lost his life. Returning home after his first fight, his machine suddenly dived groundward and burst into flames.
In his book Rickenbacker writes: "A few hours later the mystery of that crash was revealed. As has already been mentioned, I had noticed before starting that Lieutenant Kurtz appeared nervous, but had not given the matter any great consideration.
"The explanation was given by a brother officer who had come with Kurtz to the squadron. Before starting on his last flight, Lieutenant Kurtz had confided to him that he was subject to fainting spells when exposed to high altitudes, and the only thing he was afraid of was that he might be seized with such an attack while in the air. Alas, his fear had been only too well founded. But what a pity it was he had not confided this fear to me. I had lost a friend, and he had perished in the manner most dreaded by aviators."
For fear of losing his opportunity to fight, Kurtz had kept his secret. Under stress of bitter attack by experienced opponents on his first patrol, he had withstood their fire like the soldier that he was. The following day, when he was laid to rest in the little American cemetery near Toul, comrades of the Ninety-Fourth showered the grave, from planes overhead, with wreaths of flowers, their last tribute to a chum who had given his best, his life, for France.
Born March 118, 1898, in Concord, New Hampshire. Son of Reverend James P. and Mary Coit Conover. Home, Newport, Rhode Island. Educated St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, Class of 1917. Plattsburg Camp, 1916. Joined American Field Service, May 5, 1917; attached Transport Section 526 to November 8, 19117. Enlisted U. S. Infantry; attached Machine Gun Company, 18th Regiment, Gondrecourt. Killed in action, May 27, 1918, near Cantigny, north-east of Montdidier. Two American citations. Buried American Cemetery, Villers-Tournelles, Somme.
A SPORTSMAN to the core, Corporal Richard Stevens Conover, 2d, died, "playing the game as he had always before, hard and square."
It was on the morning of May 27, 1918, that this athlete won his final and most glorious victory. Commanding a gun, at an outpost near the German front line, he and his crew were attacked by a squad of fifty or sixty of the enemy's picked men. A companion tells the story:
"The Germans wanted prisoners for information, and succeeded in capturing two infantrymen in our front line. As the Germans started back with their prisoners, Corporal Conover and his men picked up their rifles and we all began to pick off the Germans who were taking the Americans back. We succeeded and no prisoners reached the German lines. It was while we were trying to save these two men that Corporal Conover was shot. I was lying next to him on the parapet. He was cool, enthusiastic, doing good work. He asked me once 'if I saw that one go!' After a few minutes I looked around and missed him. He was lying in the trench. A man from his crew and I asked if he were hurt. He saw his man without a rifle, and said with a smile on his face, 'I'm through. Take my rifle.' He died with the knowledge that he had done his utmost in the performance of his duty."
"Dick" Conover was within two months of graduating from St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, when the opportunity came for him to join the American Field Service. Incensed over the death of his favorite cousin, a member of the Princess Pat Regiment, then in Belgium, he promptly accepted and, at the age of nineteen, sailed for France. Being unusually big and strong, he was chosen for the camion service, and drove a truck for six months on the Aisne front. During these six months he became very fond of the French people and felt that he must do more than he was doing.
So in November, instead of returning home, he enlisted in the American army and was sent almost immediately with a machine gun corps of the 18th Infantry to Gondrecourt. After training there for some time they were sent to the trenches, and from that time on were constantly in action. In February he was made Corporal in charge of a machine gun. His officer said of him, "Corporal Conover was one of the most manly, upright characters I have ever met. His conduct in the machine gun company was beyond criticism. On former tours at the Front his high courage was tested and proved."
To do a man's work in the war, and to do it well, was "Dick" Conover's sole concern. In one of his earlier letters he wrote, "When you think that all the boys my age in France are at the Front you can hardly say that I am too young. You must remember that I am nineteen, which is practically twenty, and twenty is a man. I am sure if you were over here and actually saw how things are, you would not consent to my returning home without first having served in the real fight."
Though disappointed at not being able to pass examinations for aviation, while driving his camion, Conover managed to find some consolation in the fact that "if by any chance anything should happen to me, Mother, you will know that my work here has not been in vain, and that, however small a part I have played, I have played it with all my heart." The magnificent simplicity of it! And its utter genuineness! Just how whole-heartedly he played that part to the very end is testified to by his platoon sergeant. "Although but recently in the service and giving promise of speedy advancement, Corporal Conover gladly and willingly offered up his life on the altar of his country, and died with a smile, as honorable and brave in death as in life."
It was the end "Dick" Conover most coveted. Big, patient, and understanding, "cast in the heroic mould," as Dr. Drury, head master of St. Paul's, describes him, " He died at his post --- the noblest thing a man can do."
Born April 11, 1896, in Yonkers, New York. Son of Salter Storrs and Caroline Goddard Clark. Home, Westfield, New Jersey. Educated Westfield schools, Petit Lycée Condorcet, Paris; Kingsley School, New Jersey; Yale, University, Class of 1918. Joined American Field Service, April 29, 1916; attached Section Three, France, and nine months in Balkans, to August 24, 19 17. Croix de Guerre. Aspirant, French Artillery School, Fontainebleau, January 24, 1918. Attached 28th Regiment French Artillery. Mortally wounded in action, May 28th, Juvigny. Died May 29, 1918, field hospital, Fontenoy. Buried Ambleny. Removed to Ploisy, Aisne, near Soissons.
NONE of Coleman Clark's friends in the Field Service can recall when he was not tenderly known as "Brake Band," or " B. B.," just as none of us can remember when he was not dear to all who knew him. He was playfully given his nickname when he first went to the front in the late spring of 1916 with Section Three, then working in the hills of Lorraine, and when, as he wrote, "my car wore out three brake bands in three days, and it made me wild." To his companions in the army he was ever after known only as "B. B."
He was young, was "B. B.," and delightfully boyish in appearance and spirits, when he first came to the war. All his active service, too, was with one Section. And yet, boy though he was, and limited as was his actual personal contact with other Sections, he very quickly came to be one of the men who, with nothing to make them known except the transmitted force of a fine character and a quenchless enthusiasm for the cause of France, really stood for something in the eyes of the Service as a whole.
The fine record which he made in Lorraine, he repeated at Verdun, and in the Balkans. "I never knew a man who so completely won the respect and affection of every one," wrote Lovering Hill, his chief for the entire sixteen months of his service as a volunteer. "Always bright and cheerful, ever ready to do more than his share, gentle and kind, never out of temper, plucky and courageous, always a gentleman --- he rang true as steel." And another member of Section Three wrote to his parents at the time of his death: "You probably never knew from Coleman how fond we all were of him . . . . "
When America entered the war, "B. B." tried to enlist in his country's army, but he was rejected by every branch, on account of his eyes, so he irrevocably threw in his lot with the blue-coated poilus, whom he already knew so well and loved so deeply, by enlisting in the Foreign Legion, and entering the French artillery officers' training school at Fontainebleau.
Graduating as an aspirant in January, 1918, he was attached to the 28th Regiment, Field Artillery, and served with distinction at the front until he was mortally wounded, on May 28th, during the last great German offensive on the Aisne, while replacing one of his gunners, who had fallen at his post a moment before.
He was taken at once to a field hospital where an operation was considered impossible without blood transfusion. The chief surgeon asked M. Baron, a hospital attendant, who was, before the war, a Catholic missionary in Egypt, and subsequently director of a Catholic College in Cairo, if he would give some of his blood for this purpose. "I wept for joy," Monsieur Baron has written, "What would we not have done to try to save this child, the first American who had come into our hands?"
The operation was successful and Coleman was resting easily when the Germans, approaching ever nearer and nearer, began to bombard the hospital. It was necessary to evacuate the wounded and, not strong enough to stand this disturbance, he died quietly when they began to move him. He was buried the next day in the military cemetery of Ambleny-Fontenoy, the colonel of his regiment speaking of his heroic act in "going down from chief of two guns to charging and firing, as fast as his men fell."
As collected by his parents, Coleman's letters, written without premeditation, at sea, in Paris hotels, in French dugouts, and in Balkan cattle-sheds, give an intimate picture of the life of a Field Service man. They also record with rare charm the high standards which we, who were by his side at their writing, saw so modestly and so unvaryingly put in practice.
Alphabetical Index of Names
Table of Contents: History of the American Field Service in France.