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My children met a World War ONE Veteran...

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Old July 24th, 2016, 10:09 PM   #1
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My children met a World War ONE Veteran...

I thought I had lost this picture, but since forum members here appreciate history and the cost and sacrifices of war and the armed forces I thought I would share this with you all since it recently turned up.

This is a picture of my Grandmother's brother, my Great Uncle Albert. Back in the early 1980's when my own children were very young, Albert, at a very advanced age, was visiting my Grandmother (both of course are long passed now). I brought my son and my daughter, probably about 7 or 8 years old at the time to meet Uncle Albert. I made a point of having them sit next to him and listen to his stories of life. Most of his coherency was gone, but he sputtered though a bit of chatter for my kids to hear.

Albert served in the American Expeditionary Forces to France under the command of General John J Pershing 1917-1919. Albert survived that war, but was so shattered from the conflict his life never regained normalcy. We were never told the details, but always suspected it was the gas and the horrors of the trench warfare.

Now as the WWII generation is passing into history, I was reflecting on how remarkable it was for my children to have actually spoken with a WWI veteran. It is all in the family. Albert survived WWI, his nephew, my fathers cousin served in WWII and did not survive. My father served in WWII and recently participated in an Honor Flight to Washington DC. I served in the Cold War back in the 70's aiming nuclear weapons at the Soviets. And still shake my head as to what that was all about.

Stories are important. Make sure you tell them to your children and grand children. Wisdom is lost when history is lost.
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Old July 24th, 2016, 11:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by HappyTrails View Post
I thought I had lost this picture, but since forum members here appreciate history and the cost a sacrifices of war and the armed forces I thought I would share this with you all since it recently turned up.

This is a picture of my Grandmother's brother, my Great Uncle Albert. Back in the early 1980's when my own children were very young, Albert, at a very advanced age, was visiting my Grandmother (both of course are long passed now). I brought my son and my daughter, probably about 7 or 8 years old at the time to meet Uncle Albert. I made a point of having them sit next to him and listen to his stories of life. Most of his coherency was gone, but he sputtered though a bit chatter for my kids to hear.

Albert served in the American Expeditionary Forces to France under the command of General John J Pershing 1917-1919. Albert survived that war, but was so shattered from the conflict his life never regained normalcy. We were never told the details, but always suspected it was the gas and the horrors of the trench warfare.

Now as the WWII generation is passing into history, I was reflecting on how remarkable it was for my children to have actually spoken with a WWI veteran. It is all in the family. Albert survived WWI, his nephew, my fathers cousin served in WWII and did not survive. My father served in WWII and recently participated in an Honor Flight to Washington DC. I served in the Cold War back in the 70's aiming nuclear weapons at the Soviets. And still shake my head as to what that was all about.

Stories are important. Make sure you tell them to your children and grand children. Wisdom is lost when history is lost.
Great pix Happy trails! My grandfather (mothers father), also served in WW-1. He was born in 1896 and drafted in 1917 at 21y/o from Colorado. He also served as an infantryman in the AEF. Never talked about it at all. A year and a half after I went into the Army, I was transferred from Ft. Hood to W.Germany. Before I left we were talking, and I showed him a picture of me at Ft. Hood holding an M-16. He asked me about it and I told him it was the standard rifle the Army used. I then asked him what kind of rifle he carried. He told me a Remington, but it was to big for him, especially with the bayonet attached, (he was short, about 5'-7"). He said he was able to get ahold of a Winchester shotgun and carried that instead. I knew a little about the war and couldn't figure out why he would want to carry a shotgun instead of a rifle. Later that night I told my dad about what he said and dad was surprised he said that, as he never talked about the war much. When I ask dad why he carried that shotgun dad said "They used to call them trench sweepers and he used to jump into German trenches and sweep 'em with it". I was stunned. Had a new respect for that old man. He passed away on my birthday, Jan.31,1978 at 82y/o. -Lloyd

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Old July 25th, 2016, 04:03 AM   #3
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My grandpa was in the 3rd US Inf. Div. in WW1. Born in 1895, died in 1976. He sat in the chair in the living room having a heart attack and wouldn't let anyone call the ambulance. He told my mom and grandma that he'd lived a long life and seen all he needed to see. My aunt kept us kids outside till it was over and the ambulance had finally come and taken him to the funeral home.

Grandpa never talked about it when I was around. One time, I was reading a book of short stories of WW1 (the lost Battalion, Albert Ball, Sam Woodfill, Frank Luke and other stories) and he asked to take a look at it. He flipped through it for a minute or two and handed it back to me without saying much.

I remember my uncle saying that he lost all three of the buddies he'd signed up with. They are buried in France. They used to sing together, sort of a quartet. There were songs that he did not allow other to sing in his presence, I suppose due to the memories of what happened to them. I saw a picture, sort of a postcard, of him in uniform with his 03 with bayonet attached, standing in front of a barracks at some fort/camp.

I downloaded a copy of his draft registration form a few years ago. Ran across it somewhere on the internet (found his brother's and downloaded it, too). I printed it up and gave a copy to my dad.

He came home from WW1 and went back to work in the WV coal mines. He made/drank moonshine, gambled (cards/pool) and chased women till he was 35 years old. Grandma was 16 when they got married (she caught him evidently). They had 5 kids and lived in a little holler in WV till they both died. Him in 1971 and her in 1990.

My kids never got to meet him though, he waited so long to finally get married and have a family that between his age and his health (gassed in France, roof fall in the coal mines) he didn't get around very good even when my dad was growing up and was a slow moving slumped over old man when I was a kid.

Those old guys were tough.

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Old July 25th, 2016, 05:01 AM   #4
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Happy trails, glad your kids had that chance. Its sad to think of all the generations of soldiers, sailors, Marines etc... that have passed and stories that were lost.

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Old July 25th, 2016, 10:26 AM   #5
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I lived next door to a WW1 vet in jr high, his name was Sko. He was a Newport pilot!

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Old July 25th, 2016, 12:07 PM   #6
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Happy Trails, you are so right-once those stories are gone, history and knowledge is lost forever. "Tough" doesn't even come close to what those old solders were snd they were just kids when they went over there. Can you see any of todays kids going thru that? They get PTSD if their ice cream melts a little bit.

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Old July 25th, 2016, 01:26 PM   #7
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Happy Trails, you are so right-once those stories are gone, history and knowledge is lost forever. "Tough" doesn't even come close to what those old solders were snd they were just kids when they went over there. Can you see any of todays kids going thru that? They get PTSD if their ice cream melts a little bit.
I just want to say you are mostly right, BUT you are doing a diservice to the fine young men ive served with. The media doesnt report it but there are some honest hard working patriots out there still.

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Old July 25th, 2016, 02:51 PM   #8
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My paternal grandfather was a WW1 vet (born 1896). I was just old before he passed to remember being taught how to properly and safely handle a pistol with his Army service revolver (S & W Military and Police .38 Special).

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Old July 25th, 2016, 03:35 PM   #9
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When I was13 I say next to a ww I vet at an auction. He seemed pleased to see that I bought a1917 Winchester and preceded to tell me his experiences with a model1917 in Italy. He spoke of bad food cowardly Italians mean Austrians and bodies of his unit stacked 3 feet high. A couple years later I was able to get the trench club he brought back, a treasured possession.

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Old July 25th, 2016, 03:37 PM   #10
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I very much wish I had been older(I was 10 or less)when I might have talked to my Uncle Jerry about WWI...
He was my Dad's oldest Brother, and was Gassed(Mustard)in WWI in France...
He lost one lung, and wheezed and gasped like a clock ticking...but that didn't stop him from chain-smoking cigarettes!

Yeah, it was the 1950's, and that's they way it was...
I vividly recall him and my Dad and other relatives sitting around the poker table, smoking and nursing their drinks...and playing 'Penny' Poker.
He didn't/wouldn't talk about it...I really think it just wasn't done back in those days...and of course that was Post-WWII then also!
Today, there are programs dedicated to having Veterans record their memories of their military service...
But, I haven't found the 'motivation' to do that for myself, either...



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Old July 25th, 2016, 09:25 PM   #11
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When I was13 I say next to a ww I vet at an auction. He seemed pleased to see that I bought a1917 Winchester and preceded to tell me his experiences with a model1917 in Italy. He spoke of bad food cowardly Italians mean Austrians and bodies of his unit stacked 3 feet high. A couple years later I was able to get the trench club he brought back, a treasured possession.
Two ironies here. First, my father got a M1917 from CMP in the late 40's. Certainly not the very rifle Albert was issued. But the connection is there nonetheless. And just this year my father (89) gave it to me and I passed it on to my son, the very one who chatted with Albert 30+ years ago.

And second, back in the 1970's I served in 56th Artillery Brigade in Germany. This was the brigade that had all the nuclear Pershing Missiles in Germany. Albert, and all the others who went to Europe in 1917, served under Black Jack. I had the duty of operating Black Jack's namesake there in the 1970's!

Just a tiny bit of historical irony and happenstance.

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Old July 25th, 2016, 09:48 PM   #12
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M1917

My father's 1917 Eddystone/Remington that went to my son this year.
It was one helluva gun! Sight plane a mile long. Heavier than a howitzer. Real GI sights! Take a look at the rear sight ears! Makes the M1a look wimpy. If you could lift it, you could keep it on target real easy!

Before sending it off I shot through a box of ammo. And just for realness I actually fired one round without ear protection. Damn, I am still hurting!

These were 30-06. Mauser style action. Modification of the Enfield for the USGI ammo etc. Oddly, these were never a replacement for the 1903. They were made as fill-in orders to arm the American Expeditionary Forces under Pershing and were withdrawn from service after WWI.

The 1903 lived on. In fact my father said they had 1903's aboard his Navy ship in WWII, but no 1917 "American Enfields".

Story was that production was already set up and had fulfilled orders for British Enfields on contract before USA got into WWI, so they just modified some things and made these 1917's (about 3 million of them) for the American forces for WWI, since there were not enough 1903's to send with the troops. This was all pre-M1 Garand, of course.

1917 is one of the sturdiest rifles you can get. I think my father paid 12 bucks for it through CMP back in 1948.
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Old July 25th, 2016, 09:58 PM   #13
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Happy, I too served in what was then West Germany in the mid-70's, and like you said strange times. Seeing for myself Germany dissected like that was weird. I worked as a photographer so I remember your unit. I also took a lot of pix for Stars and Stripes. Took the duty train to Berlin for an assignment and photographed "the Wall" and Check Point Charlie in Jan.'77. What a difference!!! West Berlin was lit up and partying all night and when you looked into the east it was dark and no night life, no movement at all. 12 years later in '89 I got off swing shift at the refinery I worked at. When I got home the friend I rented a room to was up and told me the Germans were tearing down the wall. I stayed up and watched it until the sun came up. I then felt my time there had not been wasted. Strange days back then. On the Remington you show in your post, that's what my grandfather carried before he switched to a '97 trenchgun. The stock on your rifle looks to have been shortened to the barrel band and sporterized. They did make nice hunting pieces. Nice piece of history there. -Lloyd

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Old July 25th, 2016, 10:17 PM   #14
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My grandfather passed away about a month after 9/11. He was buried in a small private family lot in northern Maine. After the funeral as I walked through the grave yard I looked at the dates on the tombstones and realized that my grandfather had grown up as a young boy with many Civil War vets. In a small town of 700 there is no way he did not see them every day. I would have loved to have talked with him about that but it will have to wait until I see him again.

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Old July 25th, 2016, 10:27 PM   #15
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... He was a Newport pilot!
Brass below the belt line, those pilots!!

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