Saturday, November 17, 2018

Fox Lake-Grant Township Hist. Soc. Meeting Today: Old Time Radio

The General Meeting will take place today at the Grant Hall Museum at 411 Washington Street, Ingleside, Illinois, at 9:30 a.m..

The agenda today includes election of officers followed by a recreation of an old radio program by the Radio Players of Lake County.  If  you wonder how they used to make the old radio programs like Ralphie listened to ("Little Orphan Annie") on "A Christmas Story" you will see it done live.

See You There.  --Cooter

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sgt. Henry Gunther, Last American Casualty in WW I

From Find-A-Grave

Birth:  5 June 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Death:  11 November 1918 (aged 23)  Chaumont-devant-Damvillers, Department of de la Meuse, Lorraine, France.  He was originally buried at a U.S. military cemetery in France.  Body exhumed and returned to the United States in 1923.

Burial:  Mount Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.   Section W, Lot 301.

Last Casualties of World War I-- Part 2: France, British, Commonwealth, American and German

**  Augustin Trebuchon was the last Frenchman to die when he was shot on his way to tell  fellow soldiers that hot soup would be available  after the ceasefire.

**  The last British soldier to die was George Edwin Ellison of the 5th Royal Lancers who was killed at 9:30 a.m. while on a scouting mission.

**  The final Canadian and Commonwealth soldier to die was Private George Lawrence Price who was killed in his trench just two minutes before 11 a.m..

**  The last American was Henry Gunther, who is generally recognized as the very last soldier killed in the war.  He was killed 60 seconds before the Armistice went into effect.  He was killed by German troops, who knew about the Armistice, but Gunther was charging them.

**  The last reported German death was Leutnant Tomas who was killed after the Armistice.  he approached advancing American soldiers saying he and his men would be evacuating houses they occupied, but the Americans did not know about the Armistice.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Last Casualties of World War I-- Part 1: So Sad, 2,738 Deaths On last Day

From ANSWERS:  "Who Was the Last Casualty of World War I?"

Even after word reached units that the war was to stop at 11 a.m., firing continued right up to that time.  Some Allied artillery units continued firing so as to use up ammunition so they wouldn't have to cart it off.  Allies also wanted to ensure that should the fighting start again, they would be in the best possible situation.

As mentioned in the last post, there was also the "honor" of firing the last shot.

As a result, there were 10,944 casualties on that last day, including 2,738 deaths.

All For Nothing.  --Cooter

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

WW I's Last American Death

NOVEMBER 11, 1918

Last American KIA in WW I.

Army Private Henry Gunther, of A Company, 313th Infantry Regiment, 79th Division, was Killed In Action while charging a German machine gun nest at one minute after 11 a.m..

He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Monday, November 12, 2018

End of War, Nov. 1, 1918: Casualties


2,171,560 Americans serve on Europe (1.39 million see active service on the front).


53,513 combat deaths

63,195 other deaths (mostly due to pneumonia and influenza)

204,002 wounded in action

58,000 gas casualties (2,000 fatal).

Sunday, November 11, 2018

WW I, the End-- Part 6: Armistice Signed, Fighting Continues in Africa

Armistice Day is now commemorated as Veterans Day.

NOVEMBER 11, 1918

At 5:10 a.m., in a railway car in Compiegne, France,  the Germans sign the Armistice which is in effect at 11 a.m. -- the eleventh hour of the eleventh month.

Fighting continues on the Western Front until precisely 11 a.m., with 2,000 casualties on both sides.

Artillery barrages  also erupt as 11 a.m. approaches as soldiers yearn to claim they fired the very last shot of the war.

NOVEMBER 12, 1918

A final action occurs as Germans in Africa under the command of the elusive General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck encounter British troops in Northern Rhodesia, where news of the Armistice had not yet reached.

It's Over.  --Cooter

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"The Deadliest Weapon In the World" USMC

Today marks the 243rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps.  Tomorrow marks the 100th year since the end of World War I, and, of course, Veterans Day.

Probably the greatest compliment ever paid to the Marines is this quote by the Commander of American Forces in Europe during World War I, John "Blackjack" Pershing.

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."

Oh Yeah!!  Thanks General.  --CootMarine

WW I Ending-- Part 5: Austria-Hungary Signs Armistice, Kaiser's Government Collpases

NOVEMBER 3, 1918

Austria-Hungary, Germany's only remaining ally, signs armistice with Italy, leaving Germany alone.

NOVEMBER 8, 1918

At Compiegne, France, six representatives of the German government are presented with armistice terms by the Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Ferdinand Foch.  The terms include the Germans leaving all occupied lands, the Allied occupation of Germany west of the Rhine River, surrender of weaponry, including all submarines and battleships and indefinite  continuation of the naval blockade.

NOVEMBER 9, 1918

The Kaiser's Imperial government collapses in ruin as the German Republic is proclaimed with Friedrich Ebert heading the new provisional government.  Kaiser Wilhelm seeks refuge in Holland.

It's About Over.  --Cooter

WW I Ending-- Part 4: Collapse of Austria Hungary, Armistice With Turkey and Mutiny in Germany

OCTOBER 24, 1918

In Italy, Allies crush the Austrian-Hungarian Army which has 30,000 killed and 400,000 captured.

OCTOBER 29, 1918

Czechs declare independence from Austria.  Two days later Slovakia does likewise.

OCTOBER 30, 1918

Turkey signs armistice with Allies, becoming the second Central Powers member to quit the war.

NOVEMBER 1, 1918

After pausing to regroup and resupply, Allied  armies continue the attack against the Germans.  U.S. armies advance on the Meuse River.

NOVEMBER 3, 1918

Mutiny strikes the German Navy at the ports of Kiel and Wilhelnshaven as sailors refuse to put to sea for one final battle with the British Navy.  Uprisings begin in German cities and there is a fear that this could turn into a Bolshevik uprising both with the German government and Allies.  This causes a real sense of urgency to the armistice negotiations.


Friday, November 9, 2018

WW I Ending-- Part 3: Allies Break Through Hindenburg Line and German Army Retreating

OCTOBER 5, 1918

The Allies break through the last remnants of the Hindenburg Line.

OCTOBER 6 AND 7, 1918

The state of Yugoslavia proclaimed signalling the beginning of the break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in central Europe which had existed for six centuries.

Poland proclaims itself independent from the Russian Empire.

OCTOBER 13, 1918

The German Army  involved in a general retreat from a 60-mile  portion of the Western Front. in France.

OCTOBER 23, 1918

Wilson informs Germany that any negotiations could not include current German military leaders.    Ludendorf disavows this and is forced to resign by the Kaiser.  Civilians are now to do most of the negotiating.  This was the basis of the military's "stab-in-the-back" defense after the war.  They had been sold out by the civilians.


WW I Ending-- Part 2: German Government Notified of Military Collapse and Wilson Asked

SEPTEMBER 29, 1918--

Bulgaria signs an armistice with the Allies, becoming the first  of the Central Power to quit the war.

OCTOBER 2, 1918--

Ludendorf  informs the German legislature in Berlin that the war is lost and that armistice negotiations should begin immediately.  The German politicians are shocked by the news, having been largely kept in the dark by the military and Kaiser until now.

OCTOBER 4, 1918

President Woodrow Wilson receives a request from the German government to start armistice negotiations.  The Germans figured he'd be more lenient than the British or French.  Wilson replies with a list of demands as prelude of discussion including  German withdrawal from all occupied territories and an immediate halt to U-boat attacks.


World War I: The End Fast Approaching-- Part 1: Germans In Dire Straits by September 1918

From The History history/firstworld war/index.

The History Place:  World War 1

1918:  A Fateful Ending

SEPTEMBER 28, 1918

Confronted by the unstoppable strength of the Allies and faced with the possibility of military defeat, German General Ludendorf suffers a nervous collapse.  He informs his superior, Paul von Hindenburg, that the war must be ended.

The next day they meet with the Kaiser and urge him to end the war.

The German Army is becoming weaker by the day with huge troop losses, declining discipline and battle-readiness due to exhaustion, illness,  food shortages, desertions and drunkenness.

The Kaiser agrees with them.  An armistice must be reached.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Camp Wadsworth, S.C.-- Part 4: Specialized Units and the Slavic Legion

Camp Wadsworth also had several specialty units including military police, construction workers,  cooks and bakers and even a remount (horses) unit.

In addition, anti-aircraft machine gun battalions, signal battalions corps artillery parks and pioneer infantry  regiments.  There were also several military schools there as well, including one for nurses.

It was also the training base for the Slavic Legion intended as a regiment of non-naturalized volunteers from nations in the Balkans.  This group was only partly trained when the war ended and they were demobilized there.

Beginning in February 1919, the War Department began carrying out salvage operations at Camp Wadsworth, sending usable items to other posts that remained open.

Several of the camp's buildings were sold and moved to other places.

Most of the area that used to be Camp Wadsworth is now within the Spartanburg city limits and has been developed as  the Wadsworth Hills residential neighborhood.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Camp Wadsworth-- Part 3: The 369th Infantry Regiment (Blacks) Was There

The camp was used for individual training and bayonet practice.    They also dis unit level  exercises.  In addition, love fire ranges were established 26 miles from the camp where rifle, machine gun and artillery training was carried out.

In addition to the 27th Division, the  96th Division trained there, but the war ended before they were trained and they demobilized there on early 1919.

The 15th New York Infantry Regiment, a unit of black soldiers with white officers, later federalized as the 369th Infantry Regiment.  Tension with local population, who had been promised that no black soldiers would train there caused the Army to  rapidly transport the 369th to France where they completed their organizing and training.

They were assigned to the 93rd Division which was made up of other black units.  The regiments of the 93rd Division served in World War I as part of the French Army.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Camp Wadsworth-- Part 2: Named After a Union General and Built In A Hurry

Continued from October 29, 2018.

It was decided that a division of the New York National Guard would train there.

Camp Wadsworth was named for Union Brigadier General James S. Wadsworth, a prominent man from New York and who had been killed in 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness.  His son, James S. Wadswoth, Jr. was also in the Union Army during that war.  His grandson, James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr, was a U.S. Senator from New York during World War I.

There was a two-month deadline to build the camp.  Starting in mid-July 1917, thousands of civilian workers cleared trees, laid pipes, built roads and temporary structures.

National Guard troops from New York began arriving in August.  Eventually, all units of the New York National Guard's 6th Division were there and were federalized as the U.S. Army's 27th Division.

They departed for France in May 1918.


Another Nurse to the Front in WW I

From the August 29, 2018 MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Miss Zaida  McDole of Elva, who volunteered some weeks ago for service in the nursing department for the American Red Cross, left this noon for Camp Merritt, N.J., where she will probably start in a short tome overseas.

"Miss McDole is a most efficient trained nurse and will be able to do splendid service in  in behalf of our boys at the front who are wounded."