Bonner Community Gardens called Victory Gardens during W. W. I. Bunkhouse in background. Montana Memory Project. Circa 1917 

Bonner’s Community Gardens were a marvel during WWI 

By Jim Harmon
via the Missoula Current (MT) web site 

It’s gardening time, at least hopefully, now that we’re past our last gasp of wintry weather!

This time of year also brings back memories of the war gardens and victory gardens of the past. During World War I, with commercial farm produce needed for the military, American households were urged to create their own backyard gardens.

“We should plant to garden every back yard in Missoula within the next 30 days!” proclaimed the Missoulian newspaper on Sunday, April 1, 1917. “This nation is entering upon the world-wide war and no man knows the full extent of our immediate needs and food necessities.”

One of the largest “community gardens” was created at Bonner, where the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (ACM) encouraged its lumber mill employees to use a huge tract of land for the purpose.

The company plowed up 25 acres of its land, including a 10-acre grass park, offering plots to “any employee of the company who desires to make a garden … sufficient to raise enough green vegetables for a family’s use during the season and enough potatoes and other tubers for the winter.”

The company also arranged for water to be piped in, and encouraged middle-school children to “have a hand in the gardening.” Charles A. Hart organized the work of 60 Bonner mill families who participated.

The guidelines were straightforward: “Each child will be required to plant and care for a 16-foot row of onions and beets, and as much more ground as they can handle.” The girls, reported the local press, “are quite as enthusiastic as the boys in the scheme.”

The Chamber of Commence joined the effort, offering prizes totaling a thousand dollars for the best gardens in a variety of categories.

 

at&t employees listen in on an early trial of air to ground voice communicationVoices on High: AT&T employees (some of whom had joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I) listen in on an early trial of air-to-ground voice communication. Many of the Great War’s technologies were conceived earlier, but the rigors of battle accelerated their development. 

World War I: The War of the Inventors 

By Robert Colburn
IEEE Spectrum wen site

One hundred years ago, as the international conflict that became known as World War I began, most Europeans were predicting a quick victory. Within a few months, it became clear their optimism was unrealistic. As the fighting spread and grew more deadly, the role of engineering and invention took on new urgency.

Eventually, the Great War became known in certain circles as an “inventor’s war.” To be sure, many of the inventions people now associate with World War I—submarines, torpedoes, fighter and bomber aircraft—had actually been conceived earlier. However, the pressures of war pushed their advancement. Here are four such technologies that still influence our world today. 

SONAR: Making the Sea Safe for Democracy

In the years leading up to the war, navies that had submarines used them mainly for coastal defense. Germany changed that by developing its U-boats into long-range offensive weapons. That shift in military strategy compelled the Allies to 1) also begin using submarines offensively and 2) develop countermeasures to protect cross-Atlantic shipping.

The work of Reginald Fessenden proved crucial. After an iceberg sank the RMS Titanic in 1912, the Canadian radio pioneer began conducting underwater acoustic experiments in search of a way to protect ships from submerged obstacles. This led him to invent an electro-mechanical oscillator, a device carried aboard a ship that would transmit sound through the water at a specified frequency and then listen for reflections from any objects in the vicinity. He developed the technology first as a means of communicating with (friendly) submarines and later as a warning device that could be attached to navigation buoys to alert approaching ships of shoals and other hazards. In October 1914, the British Navy purchased Fessenden oscillator sets for underwater signaling, and in November 1915 decided to equip all of its submarines with them.

 

Johnson 2Two people gather near the display case containing the Medal of Honor awarded to SGT Henry Johnson, seen here on Thursday, April 14, 2022, at City Hall in Albany, N.Y. An event was held on Thursday to unveil the small exhibit honoring SGT Johnson. (Paul Buckowski/Times Union) 

New display honors Albany WWI hero Henry Johnson 

By Shaniece Holmes-Brown
via the Albany Times Union newspaper (NY) web site 

ALBANY - For the next 10 weeks, visitors will be able to view artifacts and a special honor associated with a real American hero at an Albany City Hall display.

The man: World War I soldier Sgt. Henry Johnson of Albany.

The artifacts: A bolo knife, helmet and insignia he would have carried.

And it wouldn't be complete without the actual Medal of Honor he was awarded posthumously and only recently.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan unveiled the exhibit Thursday morning at City Hall. Also gathered were federal, state, city and county elected officials and their representatives, military and veteran leaders, advocates and the Albany High School Henry Johnson Battalion Junior ROTC.

“This is going to be an opportunity for everybody to see the symbol of one of our greatest war heroes in Albany, and somebody who has recently been recognized,” said Dennis Gaffney, the mayor's communications coordinator. "But people haven’t been able to see the medal or touch the history. That’s why we brought it here for 10 weeks.”

Johnson came to Albany with his family from North Carolina when he was a teenager, according to a history provided by the city. On June 5, 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army but because of racial segregation and the refusal of the Army to allow Black soldiers to participate in combat, members of 369th Infantry Regiment, the "Harlem Hellfighters," fought under French command.

In May 1918, he single-handedly fought off a German attack and saved the life of a fellow soldier using a rifle, a knife and grenades. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, France’s highest award for valor, the first American to receive the honor. 

 

 Louis Cukela

Louis Cukela received Medal of Honor twice in World War I

By Alex Boucher
via the VAntage Point (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) web site 

Not all American service members are born in the U.S.; many emigrate from overseas to start a new life in America. Army and Marine Corps Veteran Louis Cukela, originally from the Austria-Hungarian Empire, fought in the Great War and was one of nineteen men to receive two Medals of Honor.

Cukela was born in the late spring of 1888, in the city of Split. His mother passed away when he was young. Cukela acquired his education from various grade schools in Split, later attending the Merchant Academy for two years, and concluding at the Royal Gymnasium for another two years. He and his brother emigrated to the U.S. in 1913 as tensions grew within the Balkans and Europe. They settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while their father and three sisters remained in Austria-Hungary.

Cukela would begin his extensive military career on Sept. 21, 1914, when he enlisted in the Army. He served with Company H, 13th Infantry Regiment and later honorably discharged with the rank of corporal on June 12, 1916. With the war raging in Europe, Cukela enlisted into the Marine Corps on Jan. 31, 1917, prior to the U.S. joining the war. He served with the 66th Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. When America finally entered the war, Cukela deployed to France where he fought in every engagement that the 5th Regiment undertook. One of these engagements was the Battle of Belleau Wood, a renowned battle in the lore of the Marine Corps.

Cukela received a Medal of Honor twice for the same action during the Battle of Soissons: one from the Navy and the other from the Army. The action happened near Villers-Cotterets, France, on the morning of July 18, 1918. The 66th Company had advanced through the Forest de Retz before they were stopped by a sturdy German force. Ignoring the warnings of his men, then-Gunnery Sergeant Cukela crawled out from the flank before proceeding alone toward the enemy lines. Despite the barrage of heavy fire, Cukela pushed past the strong point and captured a machine gun by bayoneting the crew. He then picked up their hand grenades and demolished the remaining section of the strong point from the cover of the enemy gun pit. By the end, he had taken four prisoners and captured two damaged machine guns.

Due to a lack of any official record at the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, he never received the Purple Heart despite two wounds. He received his first wound on Sept. 16, 1918, in Jaulny, France, and his second during his time in the Champagne sector.

 

USS New YorkUSS New York (BB-34) enters New York Harbor. 

USS New York (BB-34): The Only US Ship to Sink a German U-boat in WWI 

By Samantha Franco
via the Military History Online web site 

The USS New York (BB-34) was a US Navy battleship and the lead vessel of her two-ship class. Named after the state of New York, she was designed to be the first ship to carry a 14-inch/45-caliber gun. The vessel entered service in 1914 and first actively served during the US occupation of Veracruz.

Following more than three years of operations off the east coast and in the Caribbean, she set sail across the Atlantic to join the British Grand Fleet in December 1917. With the fleet, she acted as the flagship of US battleships in the 6th Battle Squadron for the remainder of World War I.

Accidental collision

It was during an escort mission that the USS New York first came into contact with a German U-boat. As she led a fleet of battleships into the Pentland Firth on October 14, 1918, she was badly damaged by an underwater collision. Two blades broke off of one of the vessel’s propellors, significantly reducing her speed, and there was damage to the starboard side.

New York‘s commanders opined that the depth of the channel omitted the notion that she may have collided with a shipwreck, and instead concluded she must have hit a submerged U-boat. Given the damage the vessel had suffered, her commanders also concluded that the collision would have been fatal, marking it the only time a German vessel was sunk by Battleship Division Nine during their service with the Grand Fleet.

Following the war, it was suggested the German craft was either the SM UB-113 or SM UB-123. However, both suggestions were debunked, as the UB-113 was sunk by a French gunboat in the Gulf of Gascony, while the UB-123 sank in the North Sea Mine Barrage five days after the collision.

The USS New York was also present for one of the most dramatic moments of the war, in which the German High Seas Fleet surrendered in the Firth of Forth on November 21, 1918, just days after the Armistice was signed.

 

 Old and NowThe Springfield 1903 (M1903) rifle in use by a Doughboy during World War I, and by a 21st Century recreational shooter. The M1903 is one of a number of guns in use during WWI that are still in the sporting inventory today. (Modern shooter photo courtesy Lucky Gunner.)

World War I Guns Still Being Used Today 

By Brady Kirkpatrick, Editor-in-Chief, gunmade.com
Special to the Doughboy Foundation website

World War I saw the introduction of many innovations in military technology, including the development of tanks, submarines, warplanes, and guns. Some of these technologies remain in use today.

The following WWI guns are still used in the military and among law enforcement professionals and civilians. The first World War ended over a century ago, which means the guns in this list are among the most reliable firearms ever built.

Here are six examples of WW1 guns still used today.

Springfield 1903 Bolt-Action Rifle 

Springfield 1903 Bolt Action RifleThe Springfield 1903 (M1903) is a five-round bolt-action repeating rifle. The Springfield M1903 was released in 1903 and introduced into combat the same year during the Philippine-American War. The M1903 soon became the standard infantry rifle for the US Army.

The US Army used the M1903 throughout World War I and World War II. The M1 Garand replaced the M1903 as the standard service rifle in 1936. However, a lack of M1 rifles led to the continued use of the Springfield M1903 rifles.

Springfield produced the 1903 bolt-action rifle from 1903 to 1949 and built over 3 million units, many of which are still operable. The US Army Drill Team still uses the M1903 today.

The WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer” App is Nominated for Two Webby Awards

The Webby Awards are the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Established in 1996 during the Web's infancy, The Webbys are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) with a 2000+ member judging body. Webby Awards are hailed as the "Internet's highest honor," the award is one of the oldest Internet-oriented recognitions, and is generally considered web, app, and digital technologies' highest award. 

"We are incredibly honored that the WWI Memorial "Virtual Explorer" App has been selected from among over 14,300 entries as a finalist in not one but two categories of the Webby Awards," said Theo Mayer the project's Producer/Director and the Chief Technologist for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Doughboy Foundation. 

 

 

Remembering James Butler, R.A., MBE, 25 July 1931–26 March 2022 

By Commissioner Monique Seefried, Ph.D. 
United States World War One Centennial Commission

James Butler, who died last month at the age of 90, was a famous British figurative sculptor and the longest serving member of the Royal Academy. His notable works include not only large-scale bronze statues of famous historical figures like Queen Elizabeth or former Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta, but also several memorials commemorating WWI and WWII in England, France and the United States. James Butler is also recognized for his smaller bronzes depicting dancers and nudes.

James Butler with his wife Angie and two of their daughters on November 12, 2011, the day of the dedication of the Rainbow Soldier at Croix Rouge Farm.Figure 1. James Butler with his wife Angie and two of their daughters on November 12, 2011, the day of the dedication of the Rainbow Soldier at Croix Rouge Farm.For many Americans, his name will remain associated with the centennial of WWI thanks partly to articles in the NYT in 2014 The War to End All Wars? Hardly. But It Did Change Them Forever. - The New York Times (nytimes.com) and 2018 Trump’s Nationalism, Rebuked at World War I Ceremony, Is Reshaping Much of Europe - The New York Times (nytimes.com).

I had the great fortune to meet Jim through his wife Angie and introduced him to Nimrod (Rod) Frazer who would inspire Jim to create two WWI memorials: the Rainbow Soldier (2011) and the Return from the Argonne (2019). Rod Frazer, a native Alabamian and Silver Star veteran of the Korean war, wished to honor his father who had been wounded in WWI at the battle of Croix Rouge Farm and awarded a Purple Heart. To do so, the land surrounding the remains of the Croix Rouge Farm was acquired in 2005, a foundation established and the search for an artist started. By 2007, it was clear that Jim Butler was the perfect artist for the project.

Figure 2. Drawing by James Butler in his studio as seen in 2007Figure 2: Drawing by James Butler in his studio as seen in 2007During our first of many memorable encounters, Jim took Rod Frazer and me to Valley Farm, the wonderful farmhouse where he had lived and worked since the 1980’s and where he and his wife Angie had raised their girls. On the drive through the English countryside, he explained how the land around us had been marked by many battles. We learned how Jim’s keen interest in military history had been shaped by two years of service in the Royal Signals, which had then led to the 1996 art commission for the WWII memorial to the Green Howards in Crépon (Normandy). Rod and Jim forged an instant kinship over the artist Charles Sergeant Jagger, both greatly admiring Jagger’s memorial to the Royal Artillery. It was immediately clear that these two men were made to understand one another. I will never forget the moment when we entered Jim’s studio and, hanging on the wall, was a drawing of a man carrying a dead body (Fig. 2). Later, when Jim asked Rod what he envisioned for the Croix Rouge Farm project, Rod turned the question around and instead asked Jim about what he had always wished to do. Jim went to the wall and pulled down the drawing we had seen upon entering his studio. The two men stood, holding the drawing between them. I felt that the die was cast. Rod told him: “You are the artist, you are the genius, you will know what you want us to do.”

 

Women's Fashion During WWI: 1914–1920 

By Delores Monet
via the Bellatory,com web site

Women and Fashion 1919Women's fashions of 1914–1920 were heavily influenced by World War I (The Great War) as well as the women's suffrage movement. Though clothing of this time is often referred to as Edwardian, in the strictest sense it is not, as King Edward VII died in 1910.

Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, fashion had taken on a whole new look based on influences from Turkey, the Middle East, and Asia with soft drapery and bold prints. The lines of Russian peasant costumes appeared in hip-length tunics, a style that lasted through the war years.

By 1914, women's clothing had lost the rigid, tailored lines of the Edwardian period, and the styles of fashion's first great design genius, Paul Poiret, obliterated the need for tight-fitting corsets.

World War I and Women

Before the war, Paris led the world of fashion. But due to the privations of war and loss of communication between the US and Europe, New York emerged as a fashion leader with new designs based on a combination of femininity and practicality.

During WWI, as men went off to fight, women took on jobs formerly filled by men. Women and girls who previously worked as domestic servants took jobs in munitions factories, performed administrative work, and worked as drivers, nurses, and on farms. They volunteered for organizations like the Red Cross and joined the military. A new image of freedom and self-respect led women away from traditional gender roles. They drove cars and demanded the right to vote.

Many of the occupations demanded the wearing of uniforms, including trousers. A military look crept into fashion designs as well, bringing military-style tunic jackets, belts, and epaulets. During World War I, people took to a plainer lifestyle. Women wore less jewelry, and the lavish clothing of the Edwardian period fell by the wayside.

As women dressed for new roles, gender-dictated dress codes relaxed. Skirts became shorter, as they often do during wartime, and colors became sober and muted.

 

The arrival of the American Fleet at Scapa Flow“The arrival of the American Fleet at Scapa Flow, 7 December 1917” Oil on canvas by Bernard F. Gribble, depicting the U.S. Navy’s Battleship Division Nine being greeted by British Admiral David Beatty and the crew of the British warship Queen Elizabeth. Ships of the American column are (from front) USS New York (BB-34), USS Wyoming (BB-32), USS Florida (BB-30) and USS Delaware (BB-28). Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command image.

Zero Milestone: Ike, World War I, and The American Century Of Oil

By Brian C. Black
via the Black Rifle Coffee Company Coffee or Die magazine web site

On July 7, 1919, a group of U.S. military members dedicated Zero Milestone – the point from which all road distances in the country would be measured – just south of the White House lawn in Washington, D.C. The next morning, they helped to define the future of the nation.

Instead of an exploratory rocket or deep-sea submarine, these explorers set out in 42 trucks, five passenger cars and an assortment of motorcycles, ambulances, tank trucks, mobile field kitchens, mobile repair shops and Signal Corps searchlight trucks. During the first three days of driving, they managed just over five miles per hour. This was most troubling because their goal was to explore the condition of American roads by driving across the U.S.

Participating in this exploratory party was U.S. Army Captain Dwight D. Eisenhower. Although he played a critical role in many portions of 20th-century U.S. history, his passion for roads may have carried the most significant impact on the domestic front. This trek, literally and figuratively, caught the nation and the young soldier at a crossroads.

Returning from World War I, Ike was entertaining the idea of leaving the military and accepting a civilian job. His decision to remain proved pivotal for the nation. By the end of the first half of the century, the roadscape – transformed with an interstate highway system while he was president – helped remake the nation and the lives of its occupants.

For Ike, though, roadways represented not only domestic development but also national security. By the early 1900s it become clear to many administrators that petroleum was a strategic resource to the nation’s present and future.

At the start of World War I, the world had an oil glut since there were few practical uses for it beyond kerosene for lighting. When the war was over, the developed world had little doubt that a nation’s future standing in the world was predicated on access to oil. “The Great War” introduced a 19th-century world to modern ideas and technologies, many of which required inexpensive crude.

 

Peter Conover HainsFirst Lieutenant Peter C. Hains, 1862; Major General Peter C. Hains, 1910s, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Major General Hains, as chief engineer for the Eastern Division of the Corps of Engineers, at his desk in April 1918. He was he only Civil War Officer to see duty in World War I. 

Washington, DC's Hains Point: How Did It Get Its Name?

via the Ghosts of DC web site 

Hains point is named for Peter Conover Hains. That was easy. You would know that if you checked Wikipedia, so I’m not really adding any value with this post. But if you go down there and enjoy the park, you should at least know a little about its namesake.

So who was Hains? He was a prominent Major General in the U.S. Army and served in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I. Not only that, he was responsible for helping reclaim Potomac Flats and turning East Potomac Park and Hains Point into the enjoyable recreation area it is today.

As we all know, Washington was a nasty, swampy area which was horribly noxious in the hot, summer months. In August 1882, Congress allocated $400,000 to begin the reclamation of swampy flatland lining the Potomac in the hopes of improving city sanitation and getting rid of the nasty smell. The man in charge of this giant engineering project was Peter Hains.

The land that was created as a result of dredging the river makes up what is now East Potomac Park and Hains Point. The park housed a tea house in the 1920s (pictured below), which was run by the girl scouts.

A little tangent … Major General Hains also had some interesting (and hot tempered) offspring.

His son Peter Jr. was involved in a major murder scandal in 1909. He was convicted of killing his wife’s lover at a yacht club in Queens, New York, while his brother Thornton held back the horrified onlookers with his own gun. Crazy.

His grandson, Peter C. Hains III competed in the 1928 Olympics, not to mention his career as a Major General.

 

 

Take a quick tour of the Fort Des Moines Museum. During World War I, Fort Des Moines became the first training center for Black officers in the U.S. Army. Later, it was a training center for women.

Des Moines museums offer opportunity to explore Black soldiers' sacrifice: 'Valor never expires' 

By Carol Hunter
via the Des Moines Register newspaper (IA) web site

Under a hail of gunfire on a French battlefield in World War I, 2nd Lt. Rufus Jackson of Des Moines crawls forward among the muck and the bodies of his fallen comrades to pinpoint the location of German machine gun nests that are slaughtering his men.

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Rufus JacksonFor his selfless heroism that day, Jackson was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross. But a team of military historians believes his valor in action fits the criteria for a Medal of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by the American military. He was denied that medal, the team believes, because of the racial discrimination of the times.

Iowa Columnist Courtney Crowder tells the story of Jackson’s bravery and of the work of the Parkville, Missouri-based George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War. Its team of researchers is conducting a congressionally sponsored valor medals review to determine whether World War I soldiers were unjustly denied appropriate medals because of racial, ethnic or religious discrimination.

Courtney also expertly weaves in the story of another Iowan and Army veteran, Josh Weston, 32, who’s part of the medals review team. Weston, who served as a military police officer, has struggled with depression but has found renewed purpose in endeavoring to ensure that soldiers who served a century ago receive the honors they deserve for their heroism.

 Throughout our state’s history, tens of thousands of Black Iowans and people from other minority groups have served in the military with distinction, only to at best blend quietly back into civilian life without recognition of their sacrifice, or worse, endure discrimination or outright attacks in the country they defended.

If you’re interested in learning more about these soldiers’ lives and contributions, Des Moines offers two great places to start: the State Historical Museum, and the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center.

 

World War I Centennial Commission wins 2021 DowntownDC Momentum Award for National World War I Memorial

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) hosted its 2021 Momentum Awards on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. This ceremony celebrateed the visionaries who made significant contributions to maintaining DowntownDC’s vibrancy and proved their resiliency in the face of a challenging, yet still successful, year. 

Nine awards were presented organizations and individuals, including: Visionary of the Year; Person of the Year; Person of the Year; Private Sector Person of the Year; Public Sector Person of the Year; Partnership of the Year; Landmark Development Project of the Year; Sustainability Award; Downtown Detail Award; and Experience of the Year Award.

 The World War One Centennial Commission received the Downtown Detail Award for the opening of the National World War I Memorial at the former Pershing Park, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, "which serves as a beautiful dedication to the heroism and sacrifice of Americans."


 

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