Kansas WW1

Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Category: Preservation (page 1 of 2)

Notre Dame, 1918

The Only Operating FT-17 tank

Of the 70 or so Renault FT-17 tanks still in existence, one is in running condition. This machine is at The Museum of the American G.I., which is located near College Station, TX. Click here to see a clip of the FT-17 in operation.

For a complete history of the Renault FT-17 tank, click here. ...read more

American War Memorials Overseas, Inc.

In previous posts we’ve discussed the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) (see link here), but there is another organization dedicated to serving the memory of Americans who fought and died in foreign wars.

Founded by Major Lillian A. Pfluke in July 2006, American War Memorials Overseas, Inc. (AWMO) is a private non-profit organized under Sec. 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. There are over 1,000 American war memorials and monuments overseas (including the Missouri Memorial depicted above) and nearly 1,000 American war dead buried in cemeteries that are not under the care of the ABMC or the Department of Defense. The AWMO’s mission objectives are these: ...read more

WW1 Tanks You Can See

WW1 Tank Facts

This table lists data about the four most common tanks used by both sides in WW1. You can read more about the FT-17 here.

The entry ‘Marks’ encompasses all the British Heavy Tanks, variously designated as Mark I,II,III, IV and V.

Whippet tank Royal Military Museum, Brussels

The largest number of surviving examples are at The Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset U.K. There are eight FT-17’s, one Mark IV, one Mark V and one Whippet on display in the U.S. ...read more

The 369th Experience

In the past few years we have read, heard and viewed quite a lot about the 369th Infantry Regiment, originally a New York National Guard Unit, which was the first non-regular army formation in France. These brave African Americans served under French command and amassed numerous honors. However at the time they might have been more well-known in France for their incredible band, which is credited with bringing jazz to Europe.

In 2016 a project was launched to recreate this band as a centennial project.  Under the leadership of Dr. Isrea Butler, Director of Bands at North Carolina Central University, Edward Green of the Washington Redskins,  Kelvin Washington and H.B. Barnum, the former arranger for Aretha Franklin, and underwritten by the Coca Cola Corporation, seventy-five musicians were selected from Historically Black Colleges and Universities in twelve states and the District of Columbia. Read more about the project and the musicians here.

Garbed in replica WW1 uniforms, these men have been performing in the 369th Band style for two years.

If you attended the events in D.C. this past weekend you had the opportunity to hear these gifted musicians four times. If you weren’t there you can view their 11/12 performance at Kennedy Center here. In addition to the band, there is commentary by the grandson of James R. Europe , the Bandmaster of the 369th and Noble Sissle Jr. the son of the Drum Major and lead vocalist.

WWI POW Camp Revealed

Last week on the PBS News Hour a story was run about how the dry summer in Europe was revealing images of long gone structures in the United Kingdom.  Among these is a brief mention of the Stobs Prisoner of War Camp near Hawick, Scotland.  While the entire story is worth looking at, the entry about the camp is seen about 2:32 into the clip below:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/europes-dry-summer-yields-an-archaeological-treasure-trove

There has been interest in this POW camp, and for more information, click below:

http://www.stobscamp.org/

 

 

 

Operation Twin Links

A couple of motorcycle enthusiasts from France found a U.S. Army surplus 1918 Harley Davidson in pieces and have restored it to 1918 condition. They have embarked on a 5,000 mile ride around the U.S. and some time in the next few days they should pass through Cherokee County, KS. Folks in Baxter Springs should keep a lookout for them. You can read more about this here and also here.

Locomotives and Locomotive Carriers

From the outset it was apparent that the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) would have to build its own logistical network in France; up to 25,000 tons of material would be arriving every day, and by war’s end over eight million tons had been shipped to the AEF. Port facilities had to be built or improved at Brest, St. Nazaire, Nantes, Bordeaux, Rouen, Rochefort, La Pallice, Bayonne, Le Havre and Marseilles. It was also clear that the French rail system wouldn’t be able to move the AEF and its logistical tail around the country. Among other things, they were very short of locomotives. The necessary solution was to bring American railroad equipment to France.

The Baldwin Locomotive Works was contracted to supply 1,500 locomotives, and after testing and acceptance these had to then be disassembled and crated for shipment, a process which took several days. Even with economies of scale, as all of the units were identical 2-8-0 engines, inevitably called ‘The General Pershing’ Class, there were serious delays in reassembling them in France. At first the average time to get a disassembled locomotive in operation after arrival was thirty-three days, but this increased due to the large number being received and the inevitable mixing-up of crates.

This problem landed in the lap of Samuel Morse Felton Jr. (1853-1930), who had been appointed the Director-General of Military Railways. He was the son of a pioneer railroad builder, an 1873 graduate of the predecessor of MIT and had spent his life in American railroading, finishing as the head of the Chicago Great Western Railroad.

Wreck of the S.S. Feltore 1930

It became apparent that the best solution would be to ship the locomotives fully assembled.  Felton had the tonnage market searched for single deck ships with large open holds and at least four hatches of sufficient size to admit locomotives that were 35 feet 8 inches long and 9 feet wide. They found four ore-carriers of the same class, two of which were recently completed and two under construction by the Bethlehem  Shipyard. These ships were:

  • the S.S. Feltore, which later ran aground in Chile in 1930,
  • the S.S. Santore, which was sunk by a mine laid by U701 on June 17th, 1942,
  • the S.S. Cubore, which was torpedoed and sunk by UB107 on August 15th, 1918, outward bound in the Bay of Biscay, and
  • the S.S. Firmore, post-war history unknown.
  • ...read more

    The U.S.S. Texas is Sinking

    The U.S.S. Texas (BB35) is in serious trouble. For the past 69 years she has been a floating museum located at San Jacinto, TX, near Houston. Beginning in 2012, the ship began to develop serious hull leaks and now the stewards of the ship, the Texas Department of Wildlife and Parks, says that the Texas must either be relocated to a dry site or scrapped. See the full story here.

    The Texas entered service in 1914 and is one of only seven surviving warships from WW1. She is also the last example of a dreadnought. In 1987 I visited her with my parents and I learned that my mother had previously had a VIP tour of the ship in the 1920’s when it made a port call at Bremerton, WA.

    You can read more about the Texas here and here.

     

    100 Cities / 100 Memorials

    The United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library has announced the first 50 recipients of grants for the restoration of World War One Monuments and Memorials, and to announce a second round of applications.  Full details here:  http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/100-cities-100-memorials-home.html

    The lone recipient from Kansas is the KU Endowment Association in Lawrence.  The monument for restoration is the Victory Eagle WWI Monument that sits in front of Dyche Hall on the university of Kansas campus.  Information about this monument was posted earlier:  http://www2.ku.edu/~union/hmof/landmarks/eagle.shtml

    For more information about the Victory Highway eagles, see:  https://www.kansasww1.org/monuments-and-memorials-the-victory-highway-eagles/

     

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