Second Anniversary Issue

November 2004

Access Archives

TRENCH REPORT: In the past month, both the Great War Society and the WFA-USA have announced the plans for their 2005 national seminars. The Great War Society will meet at the Furama Hotel near the Los Angeles Airport on April 22-24. The meeting theme will be America and World War I, 1914-1920. Arrangements are being finalized now. . . The WFA-USA will be holding their 16th Annual National Seminar at the Virginia War Museum at Newport News, Virginia, September 23-25.(speakers list). . .The internet guide has renewed its "Best of the Net" award for our Doughboy Center. The citation reads: The home of the American Expeditionary Force on the net, The Doughboy Center is stocked with articles, documents, accounts, pictures, notes, plans, histories and anything else you could want. Well-designed and richly illustrated, the Center is utterly essential. (link) Thank you . .Since flu season is approaching, maybe you would like to catch up on the latest research on the Pandemic of 1918. (link)


Sgt. Stubby
102nd Infantry, 26th Division, AEF

1914? - 1926

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New at the Websites of the Great War Society and Our Friends

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At Great War Society Sites At the WFA-USA

The Real Deal

The Goeben
Served in Turkish Navy Until 1960

This Month's
Special Feature

Treason and Traitors

Charles Kuentz, 107 year old resident of Colmar Alsace, is the last soldier alive who fought for the Kaiser in the the Great War. He saw service at Ypres, Arras and the Eastern Front as an artillery nco. A French citizen in 1939, he was called up as a French reserve, but did not see any action. His son was conscripted into German forces and was killed in Normandy in 1944.

Great War Society Member Professor Frank Vandiver, who has been a hyper-productive military historian and an education leader for half a century, tells me he has returned now to the battlefields of the Great War and is completing a new examination of the leadership of British commander Field Marshal Haig. He feels that a fresh look at the Battle of the Somme as a learning experience for the British Army is called for and he has some new insights on that subject. He has also generously allowed us to reprint the manuscript of a 1963 speech he gave at the Air Force Academy on the leadership of John J. Pershing [see list of new on-line articles], but asked for a corrective on one point you may have read about recently. In 1963, Dr. Vandiver fully accepted the story that Pershing had ordered fallen Moslem Moro insurgents in the Philippines buried with pigs as a deterrent to others. He now believes there is no evidence to support this story, that this is what we now call an "urban legend". The Haig biography is due out later this year.

Gone West

Marie Odee Johnson, one of the first women to serve in the US armed forces in a non-nursing capacity died September 25th at 107 at the Dallas Veterans Medical Center. Marie was a secretary for the federal government when America entered the Great War in April, 1917. She waited until her 20th birthday and walked over to the Navy recruiting office to enlist.

Marie at Her 107th Birthday Party
One of 12,000 women who served the Navy in clerical roles during the war, she was a Yeoman, 2nd Class, Female; she and her colleagues were quickly dubbed Yeomanettes. Her three siblings all served as well. One brother in the army, a second in the navy and her sister as a Red Cross nurse. Marie was stationed in Washington DC receiving a special $90/mos living allowance in addition to her $30/mos pay.

Yeomanettes Swearing-In


The Rededication of The Rainbow Division Monument

At Clinton Road, Garden City, Long Island, NY
November 11, 2004 - 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
WFA-USA East Coast Chapter WWI History Seminar

Maryland War Memorial Building, Baltimore
November 13, 2004 (link)
TGWS Armistice Day Event: Uncle Sam in the Great War

Mouraux Museum, Sonoma CA
November 13, 2004 (link)
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The first victory of the Lafayette Escadrille was won by Kiffin Rockwell, on May 20th, 1916. He shot down a German two-seater observation plane at the foot of the Hartmanns-Willerkopf, in Alsace.

British SE-5a
Frontline Fighter

There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man. There must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justness of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.

Field Marshal Haig
April 11, 1918
Page Two

The Complete DVD History of U.S. Wars 1700-2004
By Andrew Melomet

Newly released by Ambrose Video (, this 4 DVD box set is an overview of 300 years of American military history from the early 18th century to the early 21st century. Volume 1 covers from 1700 to 1790 and looks at the first wars for the North American continent- Queen Anne's War, the 1739 War for Jenkins Ear and the global French and Indian War. The start of the concept of militia and the colonies working together for a goal are presented. It continues with the Revolutionary War, which stresses the vital importance of the Battle of Saratoga in New York. Volume 2 covers from 1790 to 1870 and deals with the Manifest Destiny Wars and the Civil War. The struggle of the Native Americans to retain their lands and the great Indian leaders Pontiac and Tecumseh is sensitively presented. The often ignored fact that the legendary Battle of the Alamo was waged by freedom-loving Texans fighting for the right to keep slaves after Mexico outlawed slavery in 1835 is here, as well. The new weapons, mass produced by the industrial revolution that made the Civil War battlefields murderous killing fields are described. Then, it's on to Volume 3 which covers 1870 to 1950 and The Imperial Wars. This volume details the 22 year long war against the semi-nomadic warrior cultures of the North American Plains Indians, the empire acquiring Spanish-American War, America's part in The Great War, World War II and the Korean War. The section on World War I covers in passing the military inventions of submarines, hand grenades, machine guns, poison gas, the airplane and the recoil system that revolutionized artillery. The reasons for America's entry into the war are given as unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmerman telegram. And, for the first time, the advocacy of spreading democracy was used as a reason for military intervention. It wouldn't be the last time, either. Volume 4 covers 1950 to 2004 and details The Cold War including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War.

Each volume covers a different era but overall they present a coherent study of America growing in strength and power to become the sole surviving superpower. Excellent DVD-ROM features include downloadable timelines, 38 full-color maps and a 9 page Historical Overview of American Weapons from the founding of Jamestown Into the 21st Century. Each DVD runs about 54 minutes so some very complex subjects are presented rather bare bones. But, this is a great series for educators who can follow up with additional classroom materials and discussions. The on-camera host is George Kennedy. Kennedy is a World War II veteran who earned 2 Bronze Stars in Europe and served as a driver for General Patton. He also was the military advisor to the Phil Silvers television show in the 1950s. Kennedy attacks his narration with a unique gleeful style when describing weaponry and death. It's a little too eccentric for my taste. Retailing at $79.99 but available for less on-line, this is a worthwhile addition to the history shelf for educators and amateur military historians, just don't expect in-depth coverage of your favorite, "lovely" war.

Andrew Melomet, Proprietor of Andy's Nickelodeon will answer your Great War film or video inquiry. Just click HERE.

From Tony Langley's War in a Different Light

Belgian Firing Squad Executing a German Spy, October 1914
This is actually a notorious posed propaganda photo. The "German Spy" is American reporter and future Soviet apologist Albert Rhys Williams.

Click Here to Visit War in a Different Light

Monuments of Valbois
By Christina Holstein

I have been perusing the story of the restoration of the German lion and cemetery monuments on the road from St. Mihiel to Apremont in the St. Mihiel Salient. I was finally able to get some information from the Deputy Mayor of the commune of Valbois, on whose land the monuments stand. The village has 112 inhabitants and their only income is from the forest where intense battles were waged in 1915 and which was captured by American Forces in 1918. On the back of the cemetery marker there is an inscription to members of the 3rd Battery, 3rd Bavarian Foot Artillery regiment, that had their forest camp here. I'm afraid I haven't got a note of the inscription on the lion's plinth and, looking at it now through my magnifying glass, what is left of the inscription is so worn that I can't make it out but it was also to a Bavarian regiment. This area was devastated in the storms at the end of 1999, leaving them without any income and they therefore can't restore the monuments as they would like. When they put up the notice asking for donations towards the restoration of their monuments they assumed that they would be made in cash at the Town Hall and there is no provision for overseas or postal donations. The mayor will now look into how such donations may be made and will let me know. He was glad to inform me, however, that the lion's right front paw, which had come off during the spring, has been reattached to his leg.

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Valbois were surprised and delighted to think that there might be international interest in helping to continue the restoration of their monuments, for which they need 15.000 euros.

More on Portugal in the Great War
By Walt Kudlick

The August 2004 Trip-Wire directed readers to a web site describing the activities of Portugal in the Great War. In addition to the information to be found there, it should be noted that a memorial to Portugal's Unknown Soldier of the Great War can be found in the appropriately named town of Batalha. Located about 133 km north of Lisbon, the town earned its name in the 14th century when the Portuguese (aided by a small band of English archers) defeated the greatly superior army of King John I of Castile, thus establishing Portugal's independence. The help provided by the English resulted in the 1386 treaty of Windsor formalizing the Anglo-Portuguese alliance which ultimately led to Portugal's entry into the First World War.

A magnificent monastery was built in Batalha to commemorate the Portuguese victory. Today, the monastery's refectory has a small but interesting museum of the Great War, and its chapter house contains the tomb of Portugal's Unknown Soldier. During their time spent in the trenches in Flanders, the Portuguese troops looked out on a partially destroyed crucifix in no man's land. After the armistice, the French government gave the crucifix to Portugal and it was restored and incorporated into the monument to the Unknown Soldier.

The following are thanked for their contributions to this issue of the Trip Wire: Christina Holstein, Jim Folger, Tony Langley, Kate Connolly, Andy Melomet, Len Shurtleff, Walt Kudlick and Susan Neeson. Until next month, your editor, Mike Hanlon.

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