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The WWI dispatch bring you pointers to full articles about WWI history, Stories of Service, events, commemorations, memorials, exhibits, museums, books, film, social impacts and much more...

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June 2021

Amy Band April 16 Photo 2

The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" is pictured participating in the "First Colors" event at the National World War I Memorial April 16 in Washington, DC. This Thursday, July 1st (weather permitting) "Pershing's Own" will be performing its first live concert at the National WWI Memorial at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" presents "Rush Hour Concert" at the National WWI Memorial in DC July 1

General John "Black Jack" Pershing created the U.S. Army Band in 1922. On Thursday, July 1st (weather permitting), "Pershing's Own" will be presenting its first concert at the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC, near the statue of General Pershing. at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

The National World War I Memorial is located on Pennsylvania Ave. NW between 14h and 15th Streets.

The band performed at the "First Colors" ceremony which opened the Memorial to the public on April 16.

"Pershing's Own" is hoping to inaugurate an ongoing series of summer concerts at the Memorial, saluting its founder, as well as honoring America's heroes, and providing memorable musical experiences on summer evenings in the nation's capitol.

The program for the July 1 "Rush Hour Concert" will include:

  • Summon the Heroes - by John Williams
  • Black Jack March - Written in honor of General John "Black Jack" Pershing
  • Jupiter from The Planets by Gustav Holtz
  • The U.S. Field Artillery March
  • La Virgin de la Macarena (with trumpet soloist SFC Lorenzo Trujillo)
  • Music from The Incredibles
  • Armed Forces Salute
  • America the Beautiful
  • Stars and Stripes Forever

Can't make it downtown to the National World War I Memorial on Thursday? You can watch a special live online Independence Day Concert by the U.S. Army Band at 4:00 p.m. on July 1, as "Pershing's Own" shares a virtual birthday greeting to celebrate the return of some of our personal freedoms and the tenets upon which our country was forged.

More information about the band's origin and history can be found at https://www.usarmyband.com.


“Little Sure Shot”: Annie Oakley in WWI

Annie Oakley poster

Annie Oakley is renowned for being probably the best Woman Sharpshooter to ever live. Through her talent with firearms, she became a national celebrity in the United States during the late 1800s and into the early 20th century. While she was most famous for her feats of skill and shooting tricks during her time performing with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, she was also a huge supporter of the war effort when the United States entered into World War I. As Charles Pauley reports, she participated in a number of ways, and even tried to raise a small army to be used at the United States’ disposal. Click here to read more, and learn how (allegedly) at one point, she had the opportunity to “prevent” the war with a single shot. 


The (Lost and Found) World War I Diary of Private Rabb Forest Mobley

Rabb Forest Mobley

In the late 1980s, the chance discovery of a notepad of lined paper on a sidewalk in Menlo Park, California was the beginning of a 30-year odessey by Mike Forester to identify the creator of what appeared to be the diary of an American World War I Doughboy, from June 28th through October 3, 1918. Forester's dogged and detailed research paid off with the eventual identification of the diarist as Private Rabb Forest Mobley. But that wasn't the end of the story. Click here to read more, and learn how Forester's research eventually reunited the diary with Mobley's family over 100 years after it was written.


Learning about WWI, and Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Book on Battlefield Preservation in 4 Months

Charlotte Yeung

Most rising high school seniors have enough to keep them occupied just looking forward to graduation, and deciding where to go college or work. But Charlotte Yeung had a little time on her hands, and while an intern at the American Battlefield Trust last year, she decided to write an illustrated (by her) book on battlefield preservation aimed specifically at children. Click here to read more, and learn how, in the process of authoring her newly-published book Isabelle and the Magic Bird, she learned a lot about both World War I, and the importance of memorials honoring those Americans who served their nation in wars.


The Lafayette Escadrille: Americans who flew with French in World War I

Lafayette Escadrille Memorial

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, writer Bob Alvis wanted to look back at America’s involvement in World War I, and specifically those daring young men in their flying machines: a group of volunteers who would become legendary in the world of American aviation: the famous Lafayette Escadrille. But his research for the article in Aerotech News took some unexpected turns. Click here to read more, and find out about those early day American volunteers and the true meaning of their sacrifice on the world’s behalf, and the restoration of the memorial to their service in France.


Lakewood, WA Helps Relocate and Restore Living World War I Memorial

Michael Farley

The City of Lakewood, Washington is recognizing two men who have helped preserve a living memorial to the thousands of American soldiers who died in World War I: the Boulevard of Remembrance Oaks. Shortly after WWI, 500 oak trees were planted along the highway running from Fort Lewis to Tacoma, a memorial to those who served and died in the war. But in the decades since the highway was expanded into I-5, encroaching upon the boulevard, and only 31 of the original 500 oaks remain standing. Click here to read more, and learn how two men who have been working on a solution to restore the memorial trees have been honored by the city.


How a WWI battle still influences USMC: "Retreat? Hell! We just got here!"
is "103 years old and still badass" 

Lloyd Williams

The phrase "Retreat Hell!" has been the motto of one of the Marine Corps’ most-decorated infantry battalions for more than two decades, and has long served as a motivational quote to inspire Marines past and present. Writing on the Task and Purpose web site, Paul Szoldra (a Marine himself) recalls how "on June 2, 1918, a captain named Lloyd Williams thought to say the iconic cool guy quote in the heat of battle during World War I, and in so doing cemented himself in Marine lore."  

Writing on the Business Insider web site, Benjamin Brimelow gives the context for the famous saying in the Marines' orders from Headquarters: "No retirement will be thought of on any pretext whatsoever" in Belleau Wood, and discusses how the Marine's first battle in World War I still influences the Corps a century later.


Gripes are growing: Don’t mess with Las Olas and its tree-lined median originally planted as a World War I memorial

Las Olas palms 1920s

Palm trees planted in the median of Las Olas Boulevard as a World War I memorial in the 1920's were the beginnings of the iconic Fort Lauderdale boulevard that won a national competition for most beautiful street in America some years ago. But the coming redesign of the 2.4-mile historic corridor has tongues wagging and keyboards clacking, with residents blasting their opinions on social media and in emails to City Hall. “Removing … the center trees is crazy to me,” one man from Las Olas Isles griped. Click here to read more about the project, and the divisions it has created in the communities along the famous road.


World War I artifacts discovered in American Legion attic in MA

Ralph J Lord,

Nearly everyone can identify with the feeling of finding long-forgotten items stored in the attic. But when the items are more than a century old, such a find becomes newsworthy. Commander Mike Ferro of the Akroyd Houde Post 132 American Legion recalls that Marlborough resident Matty Sargent, a Navy reservist and ardent history buff, recently asked about taking a look in the attic to see if there were any interesting artifacts stored up there. Click here to read more, and learn how what Sargent unearthed in the Post attic sheds new light on the World War I service of area residents, and even created something of a family reunion a century later.


Long Island Veterans Memorial Plaza:
In Remembrance of Our WWI Veterans

Copiague monument

Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY assigned students in certain courses to study the history and literature of World War in the Spring of 2021. A few students elected to fulfill an experiential learning requirement visiting, researching, and writing about a WWI memorial on Long Island. Click here to read the report of student Jun-Yi Wu on the WWI Memorial at the Copiague, Long Island train station, which was created just after WWI, but augmented significantly during the war's Centennial.


Norwich, CT program honors WWI Doughnut Girls, helps build memorial

Donut Girls

Norwich City Historian Dale Plummer connected the dots meticulously to make a solid connection between National Doughnut Day on June 4, and the effort to resume fundraising to restore the city’s World War I howitzer and create a lasting memorial to local soldiers of that war. Click here to read more, and learn how the event also raised awareness of the many nonfighting groups that played a role in the Great War, such as the Knights of Columbus, American Red Cross, YMCA, and other organizations.


A new volunteer effort in Dracut, MA aims to remember those fallen in WWI

Richard Silvio

Dracut, MA is a small town, but it is not lacking on volunteers. From the Dracut Scholarship Foundation to Old Home Day, the people of Dracut always come together for a good cause. One new volunteer project underway in town is being organized by Dracut High School student Richard Silvio, founder and president of the World War I Rededication Committee. Its purpose: to restore the town's WWI memorial, and to educate the public on Dracut’s efforts during World War I. Click here to read more, and learn how and why a high school student has taken the lead in remembering and restoring the town's World War I legacy.


After World War I, American families were asked if they wanted their dead brought home; 40,000 said yes

Casket

In a massive and little-remembered project after World War I, the U.S. sent out 74,000 questionnaire cards asking the families of dead soldiers if they wanted the body of their loved one shipped home for burial, and then tried to fulfill their wishes. The repatriation effort came about as the United States was preparing for the solemn homecoming of the lone unknown soldier in November, 1921. Click here to read more about the challenges, obstacles, and successes of the colossal task which "Neither the United States nor any other nation up until that time had ever attempted."


After 100 years, soldiers are no longer segregated on Durham’s WWI memorial

Durham WWI memorial

When the Durham, NC WWI memorial went up in 1921, it listed Durham County men who'd died in the war, with the names of the white soldiers etched into the front of the monument, and the names of the Black soldiers on the back. This year, the city unveiled a plaque in front of the memorial, complete with historical context and a full list of the men who died in that war. Click here to read more, and learn how the names on the revised memorial are organized not by race, but in alphabetical order. More than a hundred years after those men could have died together in a trench, they are listed together in a prominent place in their home county, which they once departed never to return.


Lost Generation: Toledo-centric film focuses attention on World War I

Jim Nowak

Glimpses from the Great War, a documentary more than 30 years in the making by filmmaker Jim Nowak (left), tells the story of World War I through the eyes of Pvts. Howard Sweet and William Claus, both Toledoans who served together in the Ohio National Guard's 37th "Buckeye" Division with the 135th Field Artillery from 1917 to 1919. The last surviving veteran of the World War I died in 2012, but the last stories of the war didn't die with her. Nowak's film provides a glimpse of why: while Claus passed in 1993 and Sweet in 1994, Nowak interviewed both in 1986. Click here to read more, find out where to view the documentary, and learn how his own family tragedy led Nowak to record the videos at the core of the film.


Rep. Jacobs Asks Navy to Name Ship After WWI-era Filipino-American Hero

Telesforo Trinidad

Rep. Sara Jacobs of California has asked the Navy to name a new ship after Telesforo Trinidad, a Filipino American sailor who received the Medal of Honor in 1915. Trinidad, who saved his crewmembers after boiler explosions aboard the armored cruiser USS San Diego, is the only Filipino American and the only Asian American sailor to receive the Medal of Honor. A future USS Telesforo Trinidad would be the first warship named after an American of Filipino descent. Click here to read more about the recommendation that Trinidad’s name be used for a future Navy surface combatant.


Life after the WWI 1918 flu has lessons for a 21st Century post-pandemic world

Masks 1918

A widespread sense that time has split into two -- or pandemics creating a "before" and "after" -- is an experience that's associated with many traumatic events, say experts. This social phenomenon is both psychologically and practically relevant, in that pandemics -- including the 1918 influenza and Covid-19 pandemics -- significantly affect how we assess and act on risk, or stay resilient, but also how we work, play and socialize. Click here to read more, and learn how the startling and harrowing nature of the 1918 flu and its fatal consequences induced a sense of caution that, in some places, had permanent implications for how people would respond to disease outbreaks in later decades, and may be reflected again in our own pandemic a century later.


Doughboy MIA for June 2021

Leroy Sealy

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is Private Leroy Sealey, Machine Gun Company, 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division. 

Sealey has the distinction of being the first MIA we are featuring from the famous ‘Harlem Hell Fighters’, the 369th Infantry, of which there are 27 names on the MIA roll. The 369th was an all-black regiment created from the old 15th New York National Guard infantry regiment (the 15th ‘Heavy Foot’), an old and well-regarded regiment.

Unfortunately, with the National Archives still closed, we were only able to gather limited information on Sealey’s story. ‘Roy’, as he was generally known, was born in the British West Indies, most likely in 1896. His mother’s name was Marion and he was the middle of three children (two boys and a girl). It appears the family arrived in New York in about 1907. The family was living on west 99th Street in New York City when Roy enlisted in the 15th New York on August 8th, 1916. Following the declaration of war, he was called to active duty on July 15th, 1917 and assigned to Company I on July 25th. It is believed that with them he sailed to France aboard the USS Pochahontas, arriving in France on December 27th, 1917 though no shipping manifest has yet been found containing his name.

The 15th was federalized as the 369th Infantry in France and was first assigned labor duties at the docks, unloading incoming ships, before finally being assigned to the French army on April 8th, 1918. Welcomed into the French forces, they were issued with French weapons, helmets and combat gear and entered the trenches on May 8th, 1918.The regiment would gain an enviable combat record spending 191 days on the front line, more than any other U.S. regiment, and suffer some 1,500 casualties – almost a third of their numbers –  by the time of the Armistice, as well as the respect of the Germans they faced.

Roy Sealey was assigned to the Machine Gun Company/369th on June 4th, 1918, which was armed with the M1914 Hotchkiss heavy machine gun, and he would see combat in the Berzieux, Minancourt and Cahiere sectors. He was killed in action on September 28th, 1918 but nothing concerning his death is known at this time. He is memorialized on the Tablet to the Missing at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery at Romagne sous Montfaucon. In 1931 his mother participated in the Gold Star Mother’s Pilgrimage.

Wish you could help us account for America's missing servicemen from World War I? You can! Consider making a donation to Doughboy MIA today. Simply go to www.ww1cc.org/mia and click the donation link. It's quick, easy, tax deductible, and our non-profit organization uses the money to continue research and, soon, to mount field expeditions - all of which costs money. Your donation gives you the chance to help out and be part of the solution.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Flag large

When you fly Old Glory this Fourth of July, add this World War 1 Centennial Flag to your patriotic display! The flag is made of durable nylon and measures 3'x5', with the iconic Doughboy silhouette digitally screened onto it, and has 2 brass grommets to hang the flag.

Proceeds from the sale of these items will help complete the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. You can show your support, and help promote the efforts, by proudly displaying your custom flag.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the Doughboy Foundation.



Frank Robert Dannanfelser

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

 

Frank Robert Dannanfelser

Submitted by: Sandra Dunlap {great niece}

Frank Robert Dannanfelser born around 1887. Frank Dannanfelser served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The enlistment was in 1907 and the service was completed in 1926.

Story of Service

My great great uncle Frank Robert Dannanfelser was orphaned at the age of 10. Sent south to Savannah, GA to live with an aunt, he ended up being admitted to the Bethesda Orphan Asylum instead. After aging out of the orphanage about 1905, he worked as an electrician in Savannah until 1907.

On 14 May 1907, he enlisted in the US Navy and was sent off to Norfolk, VA, to the USS Franklin. In August of the same year, he was transferred to the USS Ohio (BB-12) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and left in December on President Theodore Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet" world cruise.

Navy life apparently agreed with him as he re-enlisted multiple times. Early in his career, he was primarily attached to battleships, cruisers, and destroyers with a smattering of shore duty stations. The longest shore duty time was gunnery school at the Naval Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard from June 1911 to January 1912.

Read Frank Robert Dannanfelser's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.


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