Kansas WW1

Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Category: Research & Histories (page 1 of 55)

Kansans in the Great War – A Wildcat Never Forgets

Click here to view this tribute to the Kansas State students and alumni who died in the First World War.

C-SPAN2 & 3, December 15 – 17

We seem to be back on track with WWI programming this week, including a few talks from the symposium held at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in November.  Remember–all times listed here are Central.


Douglas Mastriano:  Thunder in the Argonne.  Airs at 11:00 p.m. Saturday evening, December 15th. ...read more

WW1 Battlefield Archaeology Using LIDAR

A project is ongoing to search the battlefields around the Ypres Salient to detect WW1 archeological sites using LIDAR technology. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the term LIDAR?

 ‘Lidar (also called LIDARLiDAR, and LADAR) is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target. The name lidar, now used as an acronym of light detection and ranging (sometimes light imaging, detection, and ranging), was originally a portmanteau of light and radar.’ From Wikipedia. ...read more

Body Recovery

Not long after the Armistice the grim job of finding the fallen on the battle fields began. Shown above is a small part of a British Imperial War Graves Commission Body Density Map. The numbered map squares are 1000 yards on a side or about 207 acres. Each is divided into four smaller squares that are 500 yards on a side or about 52 acres. The blue penciled amounts are the number of bodies or distinct remains recovered in the 52 acre plot. Although supervised by British personnel, the actual recovery and reburial work was performed by the Chinese Labour Corps.

Map of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette

This particular map shows ground covered by the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (Sept. 15th to 23rd, 1916), which was a part of the Somme Offensive. At the time this engagement was considered a British victory, as the front was moved forward about 3,500 yards. This occasion marked the first use of tanks in history. Total casualties (killed, wounded and missing) for the British forces were 29,376; an exact number for German losses is unknown, but thought to be around half the British total.

C-SPAN2, December 1 – 2

We’re now seeing if WWI programming will be sustained on the C-SPAN networks now that we’re past the centennial of the Armistice.  This week we’re down to one specific program on C-SPAN2.  Time is Central, as usual.

–Douglas Mastriano, Thunder in the Argonne.  Airs on Sunday evening, December 2nd, at 9:30 p.m.

We will throw in another worthy program.  At 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning, December 1st, Michael Beschloss will be on talking about his book, Presidents at War, which will be followed by a call-in at 8:46 a.m.  Since Woodrow Wilson is included in the book, there could be some discussion about World War I.

Famous WW1 Dogfight Photos Were Faked

In the 1970’s a set of 34 photographs known as The Cockburn-Lange Collection and claimed to have been taken by a British pilot in actual WW1 combat were donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

In 1985, in an article in the enthusiast magazine Cross and Cockade,  the British Society of WW1 Aero Historians revealed that these photographs were faked by an American named Wesley D. Archer, who had served briefly in the Royal Air Force in 1918 and later embarked on a career in model-making. They even uncovered a photograph of Archer actually staging one of his fakes.

You can read the whole story here. The Smithsonian now informs anyone who requests permission to use any of these photographs that they aren’t real.


Shaping Our Sorrow

Largely through the efforts of British Maj. Gen. Sir Fabian Ware (1869 – 1949),  a Royal Charter created the Imperial War Graves Commission on May 21st, 1917.

In 1960 the name was changed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to reflect modern reality.

The CWGC has responsibility for remembering the sacrifice of over 1.7 million persons from its constituent nations who have died in military actions since 1914. Over the course of its history, the CWGC has constructed over 2,500 cemeteries and memorials that are now located in 153 nations, and it  also assumes responsibility for over 23,000 individual burials outside of CWGC cemeteries, mostly in community or church plots, including two in Kansas.

The CWGC is traditionally headed by a royal, currently Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who is a first cousin of the Queen. It is funded by voluntary contributions from the six nations representing the British Imperial Forces in WW1.  Although technically a part of one of the belligerent nations, Bangladesh, Ireland, Myanmar and Pakistan (ceased in 1956) don’t contribute. The contribution shares are based on the number of graves as a percentage of the total, and are United Kingdom 78.4%, Canada 10.1%, Australia 6.1%, New Zealand 2.1%, South Africa 2.1% and India 1.2%. The total budget for the CWGC is currently £66.5 million, of which £58.6 million is from the member governments and the rest comes mostly from private donations.

In the course of this blog we have visited 30 CWGC memorials, located on four continents. As a sort of capstone to four years of centennial events, the CWGC has a new website called Shaping Our Sorrow. You can visit this site here.

Kansas Nurses Who Died During the Great War

We’d hoped that we might be able to do biographies of each of these nurses who died during the World War.  That may not happen, but for now, we’ll at least recognize them for their sacrifice.

This list was compiled sometime after the war, and apparently before the Second World War, by Miss Emma Hadorn, A.L.A.  (Presumably American Library Association.)  There may by typos and other errors.  We’d appreciate any corrections, preferably with documentation.

-Miss Edith Bradfield.  Born in Ridgeway, Kansas.  Nearest relative, Florence Bradfield, (sister), Clifton, Kansas.  Miss Bradfield executed her oath of office on March 23, 1918, and reported at the U.S. Army Post Hospital, Ft. Sill, Okla., on March 24, 1918.  She died at that hospital on May 5, 1918, from lobar pneumonia.

-Miss Florence Ethel Chandler.  Born in Emporia, Kansas.  Nearest relative, Mrs. L.S. Harris (sister), Dunlap, Kansas.  Miss Chandler executed her oath of office September 26, 1918, reporting on the same day at the U.S. Army Base Hospital, Ft. Riley, Kansas.  She died at that hospital October 13, 1918, of lobar pneumonia.

-Miss Etta P. Coover.  Born in Colby, Kansas.  Nearest relative Mrs. A.M. Coover, Colby, Kansas.  Miss Cover (sic) executed her oath of office August 20, 1918.  She died October 16, 1918, at the U.S. Army Base Hospital, Ft. Riley, Kansas, of lobar pneumonia.  See earlier post:  https://www.kansasww1.org/nurse-etta-coover-of-colby/

-Miss Alma Erickson.  Born in Scandia, Kansas.  Nearest relative Mrs. W.A. Hall (sister), Jarose, Colorado.  Miss Erickson executed her oath of office October 2, 1918.  She died at the U.S. Army General Hospital No. 1, Denver, Colorado, of broncho pneumonia, on October 28, 1918.

-Miss Ruth B. Farney.  Born in Leavenworth, Kansas.  She executed her oath of office September 10, 1918.  Her nearest relative was Mrs. J.J. Schackelford (sister), R.F.D. No. 2, Ogallah, Kansas.  She died at the U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 1, fort Sam Houston, Texas, October 22, 1918, of broncho pneumonia.

-Miss Lottie R. Hollenback.  Born in Paola, Kansas.  Nearest relative, G.W. Hollenback, Olathe, Kansas.  Miss Hollenback executed her oath of office November 20, 1917.  She died at the U.S. Army Base Hospital, Ft. Riley, Kansas, of lobar pneumonia, January 3, 1918.  See earlier post:  https://www.kansasww1.org/kansans-of-the-great-war-era-lottie-hollenback/

-Miss Clara M. Orgren.  Born in Osage City, Kansas.  Nearest relative, Mrs. C.A. Orgren, 506 Harrison Avenue, Leadville, Colorado.  Miss Orgren executed her oath of office April 27, 1918.  She died October 6, 1918, while serving with Base Hospital No. 29, A.E.F., France.  The cause of her death was pneumonia.  Inasmuch as Miss Orgren entered the service from Denver, Colorado, was trained in Denver, and her nearest relative lived in Colorado, it is doubtful whether she could be claimed as a Kansas woman.  (BLOG NOTE:  We respectfully disagree with Miss Hadorn on this matter.  Clara Orgren was born in Osage City.  She’s in as a Kansan.)

-Miss Mildred Parsons.  Born in Leavenworth, Kansas.  Nearest relative Mrs. W.B. Parsons (mother), Basehor, Kansas.  Miss Parsons executed her oath of office June 1, 1918.  She died October 8, 1918, at Embarkation Hospital, Camp Stuart, Virginia, of pneumonia.

-Miss Alberta Weigner.  Born in Kahoka, Missouri.  Nearest relative, Mrs. E.J. Weigner, Sawyer, Kansas.  Miss Weigner trained in Kansas, and entered the service from Kansas.  She executed her oath of office November 14, 1918.  She died January 20, 1919 at Fort Riley, Kansas, of lobar pneumonia.

(BLOG NOTE:  While some form of pneumonia almost certainly was listed as the cause of death, it seems likely that the pneumonia was the result of the Spanish influenza.)


C-SPAN3, November 23 – 25

Yes, there is World War I programming on C-SPAN3 over the Thanksgiving Day weekend, for those of you who want something other than football.  As usual, all times are Central.

–Sergeant York:  The Man and the Movie.  Airs on early Friday morning at 2:26 a.m.

–World War I & the 1917 Selective Service Act.  Airs on Saturday evening at 8:15 p.m. and again early Sunday morning at 12:15 a.m.

–U.S. Supreme Court During World War I.  Airs on Sunday morning at 9:55 a.m.

The Annals of Kansas, #55

100 years ago in Kansas, December, 1918:

December 3, 1918.

-Special police patrolled Topeka streets to see that no one violated the influenza quarantine.  Among the deaths was that of Mrs. S.M. Brewster, wife of the Attorney General.

December 4, 1918.

-The State Board of Health had recorded 1,138 deaths from influenza, exclusive of those at Camp Funston and Fort Leavenworth.

December 6, 1918.

-William Allen White and his son, Billy, left Emporia for France to represent a group of newspapers at the peace conference.

December 7, 1918.

-Governors of seven states reviewed the 10th Division on Britain Day at Fort Riley.

December 10, 1918.

-Junction city, Pratt, Iola, Newton, and Independence had banned public meetings because of flu.  Camp Funston was quarantined.

December 12, 1918.

-The State Home for Feeble-Minded, Winfield reported 300 cases of influenza.

December 20, 1918.

-Christmas trees were placed outdoors because of the flu epidemic.  Holiday entertainment would be in the open.

December 31, 1918.

-Topeka had had 3,900 cases of influenza and pneumonia with 208 deaths since October 1.

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