Kansas WW1

Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Author: James Patton (page 1 of 14)

Memorials to the Missing – Villers Bretennoux

In 1917 the cessation of warfare between Germany and Russia presented General Erich Ludendorff and the German General Staff with a fleeting opportunity. They had several million soldiers and several thousand artillery pieces in the east that could be deployed in climactic offensives on the Western Front before the American army was present in significant numbers. Intelligence believed that the British were spent from their Passchendaele offensive, noting that the best British units, the ANZACs and the Canadians, had both taken heavy casualties. And although it seems that the Germans had never learned the extent of the French Army’s mutinies, it was clear that they weren’t in the mood to mount attacks. ...read more

Remembering Native Americans in WW1 – the Muskogee Doughboy

Country and Western singer Merle Haggard’s (1937-2016) signature hit was “I’m Proud to be an Okie from Muskogee” (1969) , which contains the line “We still wave Old Glory  down at the Courthouse”. Three miles away there’s a Visquesney Doughboy dedicated to the service of Native Americans in WW1. Read more in this  story of interest . ...read more

Kansans in the Great War – Nelson Edwards

Nelson E. Edwards (1887-1954) was born at Point Pleasant, WV, the second of the nine children of Jake and Margaret Edwards. Before Nelson’s first birthday the parents decided to homestead near Plevna, KS, which today is a community of 97 persons located in Reno County, about thirty miles west of Hutchinson. Although they started out in a sod-roofed dugout, their wheat crops were successful and eventually they had a large home with outbuildings. Jake Edwards served as a County Commissioner and was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1914 and 1916, but this was all after Nelson had left in 1908 to study photography.
By 1910 he was learning from a photographer in New Jersey who was associated with Thomas Edison, in 1911 Nelson was experimenting with aerial photography and in 1912 he went to work for William R. Hearst’s International News Service in New York. A biographer has described Nelson as “a tall, muscular man with prominent cheekbones, a hawk nose, lighthouse eyes peering out at the world from under heavy eyebrows, and thick, dark hair which photographed jet black”, and also “stocky [and] … quite large”. ...read more

Memorials to the Missing? Reprise

It’s been two years  since my original article about the memorials to the missing, beginning with the Lone Pine Commonwealth War (CWGC) Memorial at Gallipoli.  In that piece I defined what is meant by ‘Missing’ in WW1. Since then I’ve posted over thirty articles about a variety of the WW1 ‘Memorials to the Missing’, so I thought it might be time to re-rerun the explanation of the concept of ‘Missing’ for the newcomers. As you read you’ll learn that the CWGC has 127 Memorials to the Missing and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) has just 13. Spoiler alert: I don’t plan to report on every one of the CWGC sites, just the largest and most interesting, with at least one from every theater of conflict. ...read more

African Americans in the Great War- Eugene Bullard

Eugene Bullard (1895 – 1961) was an American pilot who served with the French in WW1. Born in Georgia, his father was an immigrant of Haitian descent from Martinique and his mother a Native American of the Muscogee nation. Bullard received only five years of school and left home at an early age. As a teenager he was boxing and playing in music halls in the UK and France. He joined the French Foreign Legion in October, 1914 and fought as a part of a machine gun team with the First Moroccan Division in Artois, Picardy and Champagne, where he was wounded. When he returned to duty he was reassigned to the regular French Army’s 170th Infantry Regiment, known as Les hirondelles noires de la mort (the black swallows of death). He was sent to Verdun where he was wounded again in March, 1916. ...read more

WW1 Chemical Test Site identified in DC

Multi-million dollar houses in a posh section may be at risk. Read about it here.

The Roosevelts Go to War

The first young Roosevelt to serve was Ethel Roosevelt Derby (1891-1977), who had trained as a nurse. She married Dr. Richard Derby, a surgeon, in 1913. In 1915 both of the Derbys went to France as a part of the Red Cross Mission of Mercy. Both were assigned to the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris, where they remained until 1917, when they returned to the U.S. because Ethel was pregnant. Although her nursing career was over, Ethel was very active with the Red Cross, eventually earning a sixty year service pin. ...read more

Computer Analysis of WW1 Aircraft Designs

Antony Fokker may have been a genius. Certainly he believed that he was. Here’s an article about what today’s computer-aided design thinks. It has often been said that it was a wonder that these airplanes could fly at all.

Memorials to the Missing – East Africa

In August 1914 Lt. Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (1870-1964) had been the commander of German forces in East Africa (now part of Tanzania) since April. His career had begun with great promise, appointed to the General Staff when a mere Lieutenant, but in 1904 he was sent to S.W. Africa (now Namibia) to deal with an insurrection and he must have gotten the reputation of being a good man in Africa, since in 1913 he was ordered to Cameroon and then to his post at Dar es Salaam. ...read more

American Women in WW1

Here’s a link to an excellent article written for high school students by the National Council for Social Studies.


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