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The Story of the American Expeditionary Forces


Letters and Photos


Eugene West, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines

Contributed by His Daughter Marydith West Beeman

Lt. Eugene West, USMC

Presented the Great War Society

These materials were transcribed and compiled by his daughter, Marydith W. Beeman, with help of Eugene's sister, Esther Irene West.

Eugene West (no middle name) was born in Lucknow, India, November 28, 1898. He was brought up in India as one of four children including his brother John, who was also in the war. Of missionary parents, Eugene went to college at Ohio Wesleyan University before joining up in the Marine Corps at age 19. These letters and photos were saved by his family. After the war he worked in India for Standard Oil, was Asst. Trade Commissioner in New Zealand, before returning to the states, where he later worked for Remington Arms during WWII and Dupont. Eugene West died 1961 and is buried Arlington National Cemetery.

His parents were born in Ohio, but all their children were born and educated through high school in British Indian schools; you will note British spelling of some words. Eugene and his brother John were both in the war, as was "Giger" (Hubert Ernsberger), a friend from school in India and college in Ohio. I have always wondered about him, and you will see why.

Note: Because Eugene was raised in India in a missionary family, his references to that country and his home experiences will have comments of explanation, many supplied several years ago by his sister. Included here in these dozen letters are primarily the military information, omitting family greetings and a part Eugene wished not to have published. In some letters, he mistakenly wrote 1917 for 1918, maybe in wishful thinking. Censored sections are indicated by underlines, editorial comments are in brackets.

Click on Title to Access Material

Eugene West's Service Record

Eugene West's Photo Album

Letter 1

Greetings from a New Marine
April 22, 1917

Letter 2

Somewhere in France
Christmas Eve, 1917

Letter 3

A Friend from India in Distress
January 30, 1917 (1918)

Letter 4

Now a Sergeant
May 8, 1917 (1918)

Letter 5

Paris and a Commission
July 15th, 1918

Letter 6

After Soissons
July 27, 1918

Letter 7

Meeting a Congressman
August 23, 1918

Letter 8

Preparing for an Action in the Champagne
October 1, 1918

Letter 9

The Battle of Blanc Mont
October 15, 1918

Letter 10

The Last Day of the War
November 27, 1918

Letter 11

Crossing the Rhine
December 14, 1918

Letter 12

Occupation Duty
January 5, 1919

Sources and Thanks: All the material used on these pages were provided by Marydith Beeman with the exception of two paintings from the USMC historical series. MH

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Additions and comments on these pages may be directed to:
Michael E. Hanlon ( regarding content,
or toMike Iavarone ( regarding form and function.
Original artwork & copy; © 1998-2000, The Great War Society