Kansas WW1

Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Author: James Patton (page 1 of 12)

Pickelhaubes and Lugers

Just about every Doughboy who went to France aspired to return home with two things: a Pickelhaube and a Luger. There was no wonder why. Both items were very distinctly German and so had become iconic in newspaper and magazine cartoons as well as propaganda posters, such as the famous ‘Destroy This Mad Brute’, originally released by the British but also used in 1917 by the U.S. Army.  Also, there seemed to be an endless flow of photographs of the Kaiser wearing a Pickelhaube – he was so fond of his uniforms. ...read more

An American in the Royal Artillery

A previous article has discussed the approximately 40,000 American who served with the Canadians in WW1, and another has featured an American in the Foreign Legion. There were also a few Americans who served in the British army.

One of these was 2nd Lieut. Henry Augustus “Harry” Butters, RFA (1892 – 1916), who was killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. You can read his full story here. ...read more

Memorials to the Missing: VC Corner


“We found a fine haul of wounded and brought them in, but it was not where I heard this fellow calling so I had another shot for it and came across a splendid specimen of humanity trying to wiggle into a trench with a big wound in his thigh: he was about 14 stone weight [196 pounds] and I could not lift him on my back, but I managed to get him into an old trench and told him to lie quiet while I got a stretcher. Then another man about 30 yards out sang out ‘Don’t forget me cobber’. I went in and got four volunteers with stretchers and we got both men in safely.”  — Sgt. Simon Fraser, 57th Bn. AIF ...read more

Wilfred Owen on Shell Shock

Sometimes it takes a poet to fully describe reality. British 2nd Lt. Wilfred E.S. Owen MC (1893-1918), who was himself a victim of ‘shell shock’, wrote this poem while convalescing at a hospital at Craiglockhart in Scotland:

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ tongues wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain, — but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hand palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish? ...read more

The Red Baron’s JG 1 vs. the Black Squadron

Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen (1892 – 1918), familiarly known as “The Red Baron”, was an obscure cavalry lieutenant in 1914. With the advent of static warfare, his unit was broken up and he was assigned to a supply unit, duty that he found distasteful. He volunteered for aviation service in May 1915, serving as an observer until October, then went through flight training. He flew two-seaters until August 1916 when he finally became a true fighter pilot. He chanced to catch the eye of  Oswald Boelcke (1891 – 1916), known as “The Father of Air Fighting Tactics”, who selected von Richthofen for his elite “Jasta 2“ (short for Jagdstaffel 2). Von Richthofen later formed his own elite squadron, Jasta 11, which out-performed Jasta 2. In January 1917 he painted his Albatros D-III bright red, which led to his famous sobriquet. ...read more

A New Look at Quentin Roosevelt

Perhaps you may remember the 1980’s TV detective Thomas Magnum, who used to step out of character and say this voice-over at the change of a scene: “I know what you’re thinking”.

“Yet another (yawn) piece about Quentin Roosevelt”. Indeed, there have been quite a few – I’ve even written one myself, posted about two years ago in another venue. ...read more

US WW1 Centennial Coins Selling Fast

Less than two weeks after the roll-out, nearly one-half of the production run of the  US WW1 Centennial coin sets has been sold. You can read more about the coins here.

Coins can still be purchased from the US Mint at their web site.

Royal Aircraft Factory SE-5

The Royal Aircraft Factory SE-5 was a British airplane that, like the French SPAD XIII and the German Fokker D-VII, epitomized the third generation of fighters (in the day called pursuit planes) in WW1. Compared to its forebears the SE-5 was bigger, heavier and not as nimble, but it was much more stable, easier to fly, faster and a better climber, due largely to the powerful in-line engine which enabled the use of a gear-driven four blade propeller. Although designed to be fighters, unlike their predecessors these aircraft could also carry bombs. The SE-5 entered service in March 1917, first equipping the newly formed No. 56 Squadron RFC, which was created to hunt down German Aces. ...read more

Gassed is coming to KCMO

John Singer Sargent’s huge (in its frame 9 ft. x 21 ft.) painting Gassed will be at the National World War 1 Museum in Kansas City, MO from February 23rd  to June 3rd, one stop on a North American tour that was made possible by renovation work at the Imperial War Museum in  London. This work is an icon of WW1 art and shouldn’t be missed. You can read more about the visit here and about the painting here. ...read more

Nurse Helen Fairchild

One hundred years ago yesterday, January 18, 1918, US Army Reserve Nurse Helen Fairchild passed away while serving with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF),  one of five American nurses so seconded to die in WW1. Statistical firsts can be hard to verify, but she may have been the first US Army Nurse to die in France in WW1 and she may also have been the first to die as a result of contact with the enemy. ...read more

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