Saturday, May 31, 2008

Schuylkill County Ambulance Drivers World War 1

Ambulance Ford Model T

A remarkable number of well known authors were ambulance drivers during World War I. Among them were Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, E.E. Cummings, and Somerset Maugham. Robert Service, the writer of Yukon poetry including The Shooting of Dan McGrew, and Charles Nordhoff, co-author of Mutiny On the Bounty, drove ambulances in the Great War.
At least 23 well known literary figures drove ambulances in the First World War.

Also here in Schuylkill County we had quite a few men who went off to war to be ambulance drivers and quite a few were awarded the famed FRENCH CROIX de GUERRE military award for bravery and heroism in action. In this blog article I tried to find most of the men who served as ambulance drivers and a list of those who earned the CDeG.
Included in the blog are a couple of stories about these men from my book “Pennsylvanian Voices of the Great War.” McFarland Press.

Model T
During World War I, the Allies used thousands of Model T cars and trucks because of their low cost and ease of repair. The ambulance version's light weight made it well-suited for use on the muddy and shell-torn roads in forward combat areas. If stuck in a hole, a group of soldiers could lift one without much difficulty. By Nov. 1, 1918, 4,362 Model T ambulances had been shipped overseas.

The light wooden body was mounted on a standard Model T auto chassis. The 4-cylinder engine produced about 20 hp. There was no self-starter; the engine had to be cranked by hand. This vehicle was equipped with an early form of automatic transmission and could carry three litters or four seated patients and two more could sit with the driver. Canvas "pockets" covered the litter handles that stuck out beyond the tailgate. Many American field service and Red Cross volunteer drivers, including writers Ernest Hemingway and Bret Harte and cartoonist Walt Disney drove Model T ambulances.

"Hunka Tin," a poem written as a parody on Rudyard Kipling's "Gunga Din," appeared in the American Field Service Bulletin and was used in Ford dealers' advertising throughout the United States. The final stanza read:

Yes, Tin, Tin, Tin.
You exasperating puzzle, Hunka Tin.
I've abused you and I've flayed you,
But by Henry Ford who made you,
You are better than a Packard, Hunka Tin.
Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Schuylkill County.

May 28, 1917; 50 recruits were accepted for the local C.A. Snyder Ambulance Corps.

June 7, 1917.....3 units of ambulance corps were given a great send off by the people of Pottsville. They
for Allentown.

June 16, 1917.....New Philadelphia recruits under the title of Robert D. Heaton Unit ambulance corps was
Given great send off.

June 25, 1917.....A Tamaqua unit of the ambulance Corps left for Allentown.

June 26, 1917.....The Ambulance Corps at Allentown were uniformed this date.

June 30, 1917.....The Robert D. Heaton Unit Ambulance Corps sent more recruits to Allentown
encampment. It now numbers 73.

July 6, 1917.....The Bobby Jenkins Unit of Ambulance Corps members left for Allentown.

July 27, 1917.....The ambulance Corps at Allentown, of whom Schuylkill County has the honor
To be represented by her sons, discovered they had diphtheria in their camp, and
At once precautionary measures were taken to isolate the case.

August 17, 1917.. A letter from Joseph Shortall, of American Ambulance Corps in France, showed
his compatriots were in health and enjoying themselves in camp near Le Triport,

February 14, 1918. Charles Hulet, U.S.A. Ambulance Service is serving n France where he was sent
December 26.

February 15, 1918. Homer H. Riegel, of Ambulance unit 519, says that they arrived in France safely.

The Ambulance corps left in December.

From Schuylkill County

Adaskievicz, Enoch, Shenandoah: Pvt. 308th Ambul. Co. 302dn San.Tn.
Albert Robert H. Sch. Haven. Pvt. Co. A 2nd Amb. Train.
Allenbach, Augustus, Pottsville: Corp. Amb. Co. 20, 6 San. Tr.
Aulenbach August Alfred, Pottsville: Amp. Cps. Camp Greenleaf Ga.
Bartasavage, John . J, Mahanoy City: Pvt. Amb. Co. 21 Sn. Tr.
Bensinger, Guy A. Ashland; Pvt. 1 Cl. Ambulance Sevice, Wounded in Action. Fr.
Berry Ivan L. Snyders; Pvt. 1 Cl. Ambulance Co. 17 San. Tr.
Betz John M. Tremont; Sgt. M Trk Co., “C” 1 Ambulance Train.
Billig Frank A, Tamaqua; SSU 627, Con Autos Par BCM Paris Fr.
Bixler Harold M. St. Clair; Pvt, USA Ambulance Section 19. Fr.
Bluvas, Walter, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1 Cl. Co. “ E “ 103 Ambulance Train. Fr.
Bokumewicz, Adam, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1 Cl., Ambulance Co. 15 Sec. San Train. Fr.
Boroiski Joseph; Pvt. Co. E 117 Ambulance Train. Fr.
Boyer Gouverneur H. Pottsville; Major British Army, 1917; Transferred to American
Medical Staff; 13d Field Ambulance With British and 308th eng.
With U.S. Made Captain.
Brennan Harold A, Minersville: Corp. Amb. Co. 5 AEF. Fr.
Brennan Myles L. Mahanoy Plain; Pvt. Co “F “ 103rd Amb. Train Fr.
Brobst Clarance S, Auburn; S.S. 544, U.S. Ambulance Service. Fr.
Brobst George E, Shenandoah; Pvt. Sec. 506 USA Ambulance Service. Fr.
Brosius William G. Shenandoah, 2nd Sanitary Sq. France.
Buchanon John C. Minersville; Corp. Med. Det. Ambulance Co. No. 5 France.
Bugness William, Shenahdoah; Pvt. Co. “ G “ 103rd Ambulance Train Fr.
Campbell Walter G. Tower City; Pvt. 1 Cl. U.S. Ambulance Corps, Sec. 506 Fr.
Cauley Martin Delano, Sgt. MD. 311 Ambulance Co. 303 San. Train. Fr.
Cavanaugh Daniel: Lost Creek; Pvt. 1Cl. Med. Ambulance Co. 338 Fr.
Clock Adolph; Shenahdoah, Pvt. 1 Cl. U.S. Ambulance Corp. Fr.
Collins Silas; St. Clair; Wagoner, Med. Det. Ambulance Co. 10 Fr.
Comerford James F; Mahanoy City; Sgt. Ambulance Co. 393, Fr.
Compitus, Walter Minersville; Pvt. MD. Ambulance Co. 338 Fr.
Copley Charles F, Mahanoy Cvity; Pvt 1 cl. Army Ambulance Ser., 30 MED. Dep. Wounded in Action.
Crane John White, Pottsville; SSU No. 506 Fr. Killed In Action.
Curran Jerimiah Pottsville; Pvt. 1 Cl. Med. Det. Mot. Ambulance Corps, 29 San,. Tr 5 Fr.
Curtin Charles, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1 Cl. Sec. 552 USA Ambulance Ser. Fr.
Davenport, B.G., Raven Run; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 241, 11 San. Tr. Fr.
Davis Herbert W., St. Clair; Co. “ A “ 127 Ambulance Co. Evac. Ambulance Fr.
Davis Harry, Duncott: Pvt. 1Cl. Ambulance Co. 315, 304 San. Trn. Fr.
Davis Thomas J. Tamaqua; GGV 640 Ambulance Fr. Wounded in Action.
Davis Thomas V. St. Clair; Pvt. Mtr. Ambulance Co. 29.
Davis Uriah, Gilberton; 20th Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Dean Thomas J. Ashland; Pvt. 344 Ambulance Co. 311 San. Train. Fr.
Denchy Anthony, Shenandoah; Wagoneer Co. “ G “ 103rd Ambulance Train. Fr.
Diehl George G. Minersville; Pvt. 1 Cl. Co. 5 ambulance 3 San. Train. Fr.
Dolan Bernard J, Big Mine Run, Ashland; Corp 2, 1 Div. Ambulance Co. Fr. Killed In Action..
Dormer Francis William, St. Clair; Sgt. Ambulance Service France and Italy.
Dorst Charles, Minersville; Ambulance Corps, Camp Merritt N.J.
Dorst Edwin C. Minersville; Ambulance unit 5 France Killed In Action..
Dougherty Charles E. Pottsville; Sgt. 1 cl. Ambulance Co. 637 Serv. Unit Fr. Wounded in Action.
Dumkus Joseph, Mahanoy City; Pvt. Hg. Gd. Co. 117 Ambulance Serv. Fr.
Ernst George Henry, Gordon; Pvt. Co. “ F “ 305 Ambulance train.
Evans George M. Minersville; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 5 Fr.
Faust James F. Auburn, Mechanic, U.S. Ambulance Service Sec. 650 Fr.
Feger Harry R. Sch. Haven; Sgt. 1 cl. A.Ambulance Sr. Sec. Unit 637 Fr.
Fegley Harry George, Orwigsburg; Mechanic Sec. 647 USA Ambulance Service Fr.
Fisher Howard V. Tamaqua; Pvt. 1cl. Ambulance Sec. 535 U.S. Ambulance Service Fr.
Fligge Fred. B. Hecla; Ck., Co. “ C “ 2nd Ambulance Train France.`
Foster, Ernest L, Pottsville; Snyder Ambulance unit, Allentown Pa.
Freiler Francis J, Minersville: Pvt, Ambulance Co. 5 San tr. 3rd Division. Fr.
Freiler Louis J., Ashland; Co. 5 Ambulance Company, Fort Clark Tex.
Fuller, James F. Hillside; Pvt. Motor Ambulance Co. 29-5 San. TR. Med Det. FR.
Gabralovich, Jacob, Pottsville; Corp. Med Det Cas. Co., Ambulance Fr.
Gaudino Joseph, Girardville; Wagoneer 322 Ambualnce Co. 30r San. TR. FR.
Gillespie Michael P. Girardville; Pvt. Ambulance co. 319 San. Tr. 305, Fr.
Gittleman Abraham, Pottsville; Ck Ambulance co. 519. Fr.
Goldworthy William M. Gilberton; Pvt. Co. “ G “ 103 Ambulance train. FR.
Green Anthony W. Gilberton; 25 Ambulance Corps, Fr.
Greenwald Howard K, Orwigsburg; Pvt. Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Greenan Anthony W. Gilberton; Pvt. 1cl. Ambulance Co. 25, 5 San Tr. Fr. Wounded in Action.
Grigonice Alex, Shenandoah; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 18.
Gulick Andrew, Mahanoy City; Pvt. 1cl. 2 Ambulance Co. 1 Sdn. Tr. Fr. Wounded in Action.
Haas Earl O, Port Carbon; Pvt. 1 cl. San Service, 637 USA ambulance Serv. Fr. Cited Fr. C. De G.
Harvey Paul F. Pottsville Sgt. 1167 Cas. Co. Ambulance unit 631, Fr.
Hilbert John D, Pottsville Ambulance Corps Washington.
Hoban John R. Mahanoy City; Sgt. Ambulance Co. 7 Sn. 3 Div. Fr. Wounded in Action.
Hoffman Jerome Shenandoah;Wagoneer Evac. Ambulance co. 1 Fr.
Holahan, Michael, Pottsville, Ck Sec. 629 U.S. Ambulance service, Fr. Cited.
Hulet Charles, St. Clair 1cl Clk., Unit 519 Ambulance service French Army Fr. Awarded C. De.G.
Jankowski Joseph, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1cl. Ambulance Co. 29 San. Tr. Fr., Wounded in Action.
Kaster Stephen, Minersville; Pvt. Sec 624 USA ambulance service. French Army.
Kardasemire John R. Auburn; Pvt. Sec 1 ASMS, Kelly Field Texas.
Kear H.W. Minersville; Corp USA 627 Ambulance Serv. Fr.
Kear Richard Minewrsville; Sgt. US Ambulance Serv.
Kelly Cyril, Minersville; Pvt. 5 Ambulance Co. Fr.
Lecher Walter J. Pottsville; Pvt. S.S.U. 506 Ambulance Corps Fr. Wounded.
Leidich Ray D. Tremont; Corp. 16th Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Leonard John A. Palo Alto; 2d Med Det. Co. U.S. Ambulance Service Fr.
Lewis Albert R, Pottsville Pvt. 1cl. S.G.U. 604 Ambulance Corps Fr. Awarded G.
Loeser David H. Minersville; Pvt. Sec. 630 U.S. Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Loew Harold R Tamaqua; Pvt. 1 cl. Sec. 624 Army ambulance Service. Fr.
Lord Leon, Pottsville; Sec. 638 Ambulance Corps Ck. Mo. Awarded C. De. G. Fr.
Lundy Francis, Pottsville Mec. Sec. 640 Ambulance Service Fr. Awarded C.De G.
Lupia Vincent Mahanoy City Med. Det. Ambualnce Hospital Camp Stuart.
Lutz Frank Tam,aqua; Mech Sec 574 U.S. Ambulance Service Fr.
Lynch Joseph Francis, Pottsville; Pvt. U.S. Ambulance Service Sec. 339 Fr.
Lyons Joseph A. Jolliet Mec. S.S.A. 646 U, S, Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Makonis, Peter J. Shenandoah Pvt. Ambulance Co. 7 Med Det. Fr.
McCarthy James J. Shenandoah; Corp. Med Det. Am. Co. 7, 3 Sn. Tn. Fr.
McDonald James Pottsville; Ambulance Unit Fr.
McDonald John P. Minersville, Mech. Army Ambulance Corps, Fr.
McDonald Lawerence J. Pottsville, Ck. Sec. 634 U.S.S. Fr. French Army.
McDonald Vincent, Minersville, USA Ambulance Service Fr.
McFadden Francis A. Port Carbon Pvt. 1 cl. Ambulance Co. 350, 313 San Tr. Fr.
McLaughlin Patrick, Maizeville; Wagoneer 16th Ambulance corps Med Det. Fr.
Mettam John E. St. Clair; Pvt. 1 cl. Army Ambulance Service, Sec. 617.
Millar Hugh S. Tamaqua; Corp. Sec. 645, Army Ambulance Service French army.
Miller Charles S. Donaldson Pvt. 1 cl. 243 Ambulance co. 11 Sn. Tr.

Miller Edward T. Pottsville; Pvt. Ambul;ance Sec. 506 Fr.

Miller Edward J. Pottsville; Ambulance 510 Section, Fr.

Miller Hugh Stewart, Tamaqua USA A.S.U Ambulance 645 Regt. Fr.

Minnich Henry I. Branchdale; Ambulance Corps 509 Rgt. Sec. 563 Fr. Cited.

Minnig Henry L. Branchdale Pvt. 1 Cl. Med Dept. USA Ambulance, French Army. Fr

Mitchel Benjamin, Coaldale, Bgir, Mot. Ambulance Co. 58.

Mizzer August J. Minersville; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 5 San. Tr. Fr.

Morgan Howard O. Frackville; Sgt. Ambulance Co. 318, 305 San . Tr. Fr.

Morrison John W. Auburn; Pvt. 1 cl. US Ambulance Corps, Sec. 529 Fr.

Morrison Joseph, Auburn; Ambulance Corps Fr. Died of Wounds.

O’Connor James H. Mahanoy city Pvt. 1cl. 532 Ambulance Serv. With the Italian Army.

O’Neil John J. Ashland; Pvt. 244 Ambulance co. 11 San. Tr.

Otto theodore, Hegins, Band Att. To Ambulance Unit, Camp Craine Alllentown.

Oxenford Conrad F. Pottsville; Sgt. USA Ambulance Corps Fr.

Palapas, Joseph Gilberton; Pvt. 362 Ambulance Company 316 San Tr. Fr.

Petiskey William T. Shenandoah; Ambulance Corps Harrisburg, PA.

Pfeiffer Charles Tower City, Pvt. USA Ambulance Corps, Allentown.

Phillips Frank Shenandoah; Pvt. 1cl. 15 thAmbulance Corps 2n San. Tr. Fr.

Plunkett Aloysius, Minersville: Mech. Ambualnce Corps. Med Det. Fr.

Pritchard Harrison P. Minersville; Pvt. Med. Det. 3 San.Tr. Ambulance Co. 5 Fr.

Reed Clyde I. Mahanoy city; Corp. Mot. Ambulance Co. 332. Fr.

Reifsnyder James W. Pottsville: Mch. USA Ambulance Service Sec 532 Italy, Decorated Itl. Cross FR.

Reigle Homer H. Pottsville Sgt; U.S. Army Ambulance Service, with French Army. Fr.

Rice Edward New Philadelphia; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 29 % san Tr. Fr.

Riley John D. Jr. Mahanoy city, Pvt. USA Ambulance Service Sec. 607 FR.

Rinkenberg Daniel O, Tamaqua; Sgt. 334 Ambulance Co. San Tr. 84 Division Fr.

Roeder William J. Tamaqua; Pvt. 1cl. USA Ambulance Service Sec. 645 FR.

Rumble Charles R. Orwigsburg; Pvt. USA Ambulance Service, Allentown.

Sanzick Albert, St. Clair; Pvt. Army Ambulance service Allentown, Pa.

Saylor Ralph H. Tamaqua; Wagoner Evac. Ambulance Co. No. 11, FR.

Seebach Julius Mahanoy city; Ambulance corps Fr,

Seltzer Stewart, Pottsville Ambulance Corps Allentown, Pa.

Senhauser William A. New Philadelphia; Sgt. Ambulance co. 145, 112th San. TR. Fr.

Shortall joseph P. Pottsville; USA Gen. Hospital 16 Phila. Med Corps Fr.

Shuman Daniel O, Pottsville Pvt. 1 cl. Sec 609 ambulance Corps Fr.

Smith John W. St. Clair; Sgt. 13 Ambulance Co. 1 San. Tr. Fr. Wounded in Action.

Snedden Wallace A, Seek Pvt. Mot. Ambulance Co. 58.

Soukalites Charles Glberton; Saddler 18 San Tr. Ambulance Co. 269. Inf.

Stanakis Frank Minersville; Sgt. Med. Det. Ambulance Co. 5 Logan Tex.

Truskey Jos. Tamaqua, Pvt. Sec. 609 Ambulance Serv. Fr.

Ulmer Joseph Pottsville Pvt. Sec 20 Ambulance Fr. Cited G.

Umbenhauer Ernest J. Port Carbon Pvt. 142 Ambulance Co. 36 Div. Fr.

Vernolis Peter Shenandoah; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 26 Med Dept Fr.

Wachter John A. Pottsville Ck. Army Ambulance Service French Army. Fr.

Wanamaker Bernhard Mechanicsville, Pvt. Ambulance Co.
Whitmyer George L. Pottsville Sec 502 Amb. Corps Fr. Co. C 164 inf Stayed In N.Dakota Williams John
P. Shenandoah Pvt. SSU 525 Fr. Convois Autos Pa. BCM with Fr, Army Awarded C de G. Woselis Enick
W. Shenandoah Pvt. 307 Ambualnce Co. 302 San tr. Fr.
Zeigler Sylvester D. Tamaqua Mech. SSU 622 USA Ambulance service. Fr.


Boyer Gouvenour Henry,
1st Lieut, Medical Corps United States Army.
Attached to 133d Field Ambulance.
British Expeditionary Forces.

September 3, 1918, British War Office.
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On the night of 28th April during an enemy attack and while they were rapidly advancing he collected and organized a party of bearers and under the heaviest shell and machine gun fire led them up to the outpost line and cleared 9 wounded men. As this post immediately afterwards fell into the hands of the enemy he undoubtedly by his prompt and gallant action saved these men from capture. For 5 days during the fighting at Voormezeele he was bearer officer and showed great bravery and endurance. It was due to his reconnaissance’s which were constantly made irrespective of shelling that constant touch was kept with the changing line and evacuations maintained.”
Residence: 219 Mahantonga St. Pottsville.

Copley Charles F. 639885.
Private first class
Section No. 601 Ambulance Service.

Italian War Service Ribbon
Residence: 402 W. Spruce St. Mahanoy City, Pa.

Crane John W. 7761
Section No. 506, Ambulance Service.
( Posthumous award )

March 5, 1919
General Headquarters French Armies of the East.
“ After having displayed an example of the greatest bravery during 5 weeks of battle, he died for France on July 16th 1918.
Residence: Pottsville. Pa.

Davies Tom J. 10156.
Private first class.
Section No. 640 Ambulance Service.

with gilt star.
March 14, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East. “ An American driver who always performed his duty with the greatest spirit under the most difficult circumstances which his section experienced. He displayed the highest sense of duty and contempt for danger on October 3, 1918, at the attack of Montfaucon in volunteering with a litter to remove the wounded from the field of battle under a most violent bombardment, thus assuring their prompt evacuation.”
Residence: 434 East Broad St. Tamaqua, PA.

Dougherty Charles E. 10050
Section No. 637 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
December 20th, 1918.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East. “ A very zealous and devoted non-commissioned officer. He gave the measure of his valor and displayed courage and coolness on August 30th, 1918, in going out to pick up the wounded at an advanced regimental first aid station over a route in view of the enemy and notwithstanding a violent bombardment.”
Residence: 142 W. Railroad St. Pottsville, PA.

Fisher Howard V. 8204
Section No. 525 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
March 3, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East. “ During the evacuation service, he displayed remarkable courage. On October 1, 1918 directed to go the assistance of the wounded in an advanced first aid station, and over violently bombarded routes, he carried out his task with absolute contempt for danger.”
Residence: 224 Pine Street Tamaqua, PA.

Golden Harry L. 7802
Private, first class.
Section No. 637 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A very courageous he displayed the greatest qualities of endurance and spirit during the entire very severe period from October 20th to November 10th 1918, He had been wounded by shell fragments previously in the attacks in the month of August at Ecouvillon. “
Residence: 315 North Center St. Pottsville, PA.

Haas Earl O. 10055.
Section No. 637 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A courageous driver of remarkable spirit. He displayed these qualities in effecting the evacuations of the wounded which were rendered very difficult by the bombardments of the enemy. Although gassed, he never the less continued to keep up his services to the end.
Residence: Rose Street, Port Carbon, PA.

Holahan Michael, 642609
Section No. 629, Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A very devoted and self sacrificing driver. At Westrosebeke, Belgium, he remained at his post with the utmost contempt for danger under violent bombardment, thus facilitating the supply of the entire section.”
Residence: 114 North Center St. Pottsville, PA.

Hulet Charles 10084.
Section No. 638 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A driver of energy and great coolness who has always demonstrated his devotion to duty in going to pick up the wounded in the violently shelled dressing stations, at Mont. Kemmel in May, on the Marne in July, and during the last offensive operations of October on the Rne and Aisne.”
Residence: 339 South Nicholas St. St. Clair, PA.

Lecher Walter J. 7787
Section No. 506 Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 3 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ Always displaying a true soldierly disregard for danger, he was severely wounded on July 16, 1918. At Hautvillers.”
Residence: Pottsville, Pa.

Lewis Albert R. 10159.
Private first class.
Section No. 640 Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 10th 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ An American driver a model of zeal and abnegation who always exerted himself to the utmost and was a constant example for his comrades. During the Reims counter offensive of July 18th, 1918, he went out on several occasions into a violently bombarded area to search for the wounded of different units attached to the division.”
Residence: 354 South Center St. Pottsville, PA.

Lord Leon R. 10091.
Section No. 638 Ambulance Service

with bronze star.
March 19th 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A driver of energy and great coolness who always demonstrated his devotion to duty in going to pick up the wounded in the violently shelled dressing stations, at Mount Kemmel in May, on the Marne in July, and during the last offensive operations of October on the Arne and Aisne.”
Residence: 717 West Race Street, Pottsville. Pa.

Lundy Francis, 10160.
Private first class.
Section No. 640 Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 10, 1919
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ An American driver a model of zeal and abnegation who always exerted himself to the utmost and was a constant example for his comrades. During the Reims counter offensive of July 18th, 1918, he went out on several occasions into a violently bombarded area to search for the wounded of different units not attached to the division. “
Residence 527 Harrison St. Pottsville, Pa.

Morrison Joseph W. 8586.
Private first class.
Section No. 554 Ambulance Service.

with palm.
November 19,1918.
General Headquarters French Armies of the North and Northeast: “ During the attack to the north of Somme-Py from October 2-9, he drove his ambulance night and day and always was the first to go out to evacuate the wounded. He never sought protection when the roads over which he was driving were being bombarded and was often exposed to the fire of machine guns. He distinguished himself in immediately evacuating the wounded regardless of the danger.”
Residence: Auburn, Pa.

Nolan Raymond M, 642679.
Private first class.
Section No. 604 Ambulance Service.

Residence: St. Clair, Pa.

Phillips Frank J. 5627
Private first class.
15th Ambulance company 2d Division.

With silver star.
February 9, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ During the period from October 4-9, 1918, at St. Etienne-a-Arnes, he displayed exceptional courage and great zeal in transporting the wounded from the front lines under a violent fire of machine guns. On several occasions he volunteered to go out under a violent bombardment to render first aid to he wounded and to effect their removal to the rear.”
1136 East Center St. Mahanoy city.

Roeder William J. 10334
Section No. 645, Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 24, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A volunteer in the ambulance service. On September 21, 1918, he unhesitatingly stopped his ambulance which was being shot at by the enemy in order to give assistance to the wounded man whom he brought in to the nearest first aid station.”
Residence: 325 Arlington St., Tamaqua. Pa.

Ulmer Joseph J. 9652
Section 625, Ambulance Service.

With bronze star.
May 2d ,1918.
162 Regiment French Infantry: “ On April 17, 1918, as driver of an auto mobile ambulance and in charge of the evacuation of the wounded, he displayed much coolness and devotion to in unhesitatingly crossing zones violently beaten by enemy artillery.”
Residence Pottsville. Pa.

Warner Paul L. 10068
Section No. 638 Ambulance Service.

With silver star.
January 25, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ He was always performed his duties with the most complete devotion. On several occasions during the attacks of Kemmel in May and June, 1918, at the Marne, in July and in the last offensive in Champagne, he went to the most advanced first aid stations and with the coolness and great contempt for danger brought back an ambulance that had been damaged by the bombardment.”
Residence: 100 Hunter Street, Tamaqua, Pa.

Williams John P. 8222.
Section No. 525, Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
March 3, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ An intrepid and courageous driver. He displayed great zeal in his evacuation service particularly during the operations from August 1-6 and October 1-10, 1918, keeping up the evacuation of numerous wounded with t he greatest coolness over violently bombarded routes.”
Residence: 110 South Jardin St. Shenandoah, Pa.

Model t Ambulance
We had to stay low from flying stray bullets.

June 12, 1918
George L. Whitmeyer
Sec. 502 Ambulance Corps
Somewhere in France.

Yes go on, I know what you are about to say. I’m pretty long between letters, but then that cannot be helped even now I’m writing this, not knowing whether or not I can get it off, for we are not allowed to write letters send them front to front, too many spies around. However, we do send little cards saying I am well, some of which I already sent you, and guess you understood why I delayed my letters. If possible, I’ll get this censored and carry it in my pocket until I can have it sent to the rear and mailed.
To begin with, we have been on the go continuously for three solid weeks, hardly any sleep and very much driving. At the start we were all kept busy during the big drive the Marines made, then after 72 hours some of us got some sleep, but only six hours a day. This kept up for a few days, and things began to go a little better and one of our men even went across the Fritz lines and with a load of wounded. He was lost and just turned into the wrong road. Our outposts saw him but could not run out and stop him without letting Fritz know their location.
We have many machines blown up while going after wounded through these shelled towns and woods, but none killed, only a few wounded. Then the last day Dr. Boone, of St. Clair, was here at the dressing station, where he had been stationed for a few weeks, and which was always under shell fire, the place was hit and four of our ambulance men had to be dug out from under the debris, not badly hurt, but giving us less ambulance drivers, and more duty for those able to work. I lost one machine there, mashed by a big shell, another went up in flames being hit by shrapnel, one half mile to the rear, and Sunday, June 23rd , I went into a town the Hun had just been driven from and had to wait for patients. I camouflaged the Ford under the branches of a tree, crawled to a dugout and from there it was not more than 100-150 yards to the front lines. The Fritz were about 300 to 400 yards further on, and snipers were firing at every moving object., which you know can be seen pretty plainly from a tree 500 yards away unless one gets down and crawls. About dusk the Marines made an attack and we could stick our heads out see them make a run toward the Hun, and such a racket by small arms. Fourth of July was nothing like it. They gained another strip of woods, and we had to keep low from flying stray bullets. Did not hear much then until midnight when somebody from Berlin sent Fritz another basket of shells and they immediately got ready to use them. They fired about five hundred shells into this little town and literally tore what remained to pieces. Our dugout was not hit, although shrapnel flew all over the top and only a direct hit could have hurt us, but my goodness, gas was thick as smoke and there we were pinned in that hole for two hours with gas masks on. One minute we’d be praying and the next cussing the Boche. Another crowd of men who had been to the rear for food were caught and got to another dugout ( namely French wine cellars ) and it was hit, wounding five, one dying a few minutes after being given aid. I then sneaked, mostly crawled, like a snake, to my car, and poor Henry was no more. The body that remained was like a sieve, and the wheel and engine were all on the ground. Old Fritz had made a direct hit. So they sent for more cars and a truck for the remains of Henry Ford’s little wonder, but by then it was day light and the firing was too heavy to get near the place. So they had to stay there with us, without food or water during the firing, and when it became dusk the ambulance and truck came out taking the men and part of the Ford to the rear. I then slept the rest of the night and am now waiting for a call to go out to some post in another Ford.
Oh ! this is a great life. We live on a few hours sleep, lots of poor coffee, canned meat and hard tack, but, our section will soon be all used up and will have to be relieved till we strengthen up. We hope to be relieved soon and if practicable, get to Paris for the Fourth of July.
Now if you receive this little epistle you can consider yourself lucky, for until we leave this fighting zone no kind of mail is supposed to leave here, but when we get relieved for a rest I will send more news.
Good luck to all.

George Whitmeyer

I thought a shell had come through the back window of the car.

August 4, 1918
George L. Whitmeyer
Sec. 502 Ambualnce Corps.
Somewhere in France.

The talk is all over this country at this time is peace. Everybody is wondering if it won’t soon come, and looking forward for this coming fall to end the Worlds greatest war. Yes we boys over here look for an end to come soon but even though we want the time to hasten when all wars shall cease and can hardly wait for that glad day to come, yet through it all, do we want peace? When the war is over and the boys are once more backs in the U.S.A., will we be satisfied if the war ends this fall or coming spring. No not the boys who have sacrificed everything to come across, and have seen the ghastly work of the Hun. Nor will the parents, wives and sweethearts of the boys who have fallen on the field of battle be satisfied.
Can the sinking of the Lusitania, the blowing up of ships and factories, the sinking of the Tuscania, the hospital ships, the bombing of the Red Cross buildings where many of the wounded were being treated. The ravages of the Huns on the Belgian people, cutting off the breast of women, the arms of small children and the old and infirm who were unable to get away from their home to be left starving, the ruination of the French villages, the terrible things like the shelling of the church on Good Friday, during the three hours between 2 and 3,000 people were kneeling and saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Can a thing like that be over looked?
We have them on the run now and will keep them going. Every day all along the front the boys go “over the top” ad make great progress, so much so that they keep the Ambulance companies busy. Changing quarters, It’s always move forward the boys have advanced.
Our Aviators are on the job and keep the Boche from making any headway in their observation and bombing planes. Are airplanes are getting through to Germany and doing excellent work and now the German people yell, “Why do they do such things to ruin our villages? “ Yes why do we. Well because we are playing there own game, soon we will have them way back and out will come a peace proposal and we will give them peace? Yes perhaps we will for we are fighting for civilization, not for gain. But-put yourself in our places, we leave fond parents, wives, sweethearts and friends, drill hard, work day and night, sleep in the open with clothes on, yes gas masks at the ready and gun for a bedfellow, move forward faster than supplies can be brought up and thereby get poor food, always on duty, in foreign country and must go through more hardships than people at home can ever imagine. See men fall at our sides, brought in moaning and asking for mother. Do we want peace-again I say no-Not one boy over here wants peace till we get the Hun back on their ground. Ruin their cities and have them starving and homeless, begging for mercy. Then and only then do we want peace.
Of course Germany has lost many men, but they are taught militarism from birth and have been practicing it for years. Man power is nothing to them, and if we have peace now, Germany will not be whipped, but will be getting extra breath, only to go on preparing for another war, a war on the east, they must be put down now sot that ten years from now we won’t have to take up arms again in the far east.
Every day we learn to hate more and more, but until yesterday August 3rd I always pitied the German wounded. and gave them water and food always drove slowly so no jarring would hurt them, but hereafter I will hardly be blamed if I went over the largest bounces and tried to end them before they reach the hospitals. Every wounded German is brought in properly treated and evacuated to the hospital, there given food and attention till well and placed in a prison camp, given food, clothing and a little work and plenty of recreation while our boys are sent to hospitals then back to the fight.
Well about 4:30 p.m. Saturday August 3, I made a trip to the lines and got two Americans and one Hun, the Americans I put on the bottom racks and the Hun on the top away from the boys. That Hun had a rifle bullet through his thigh and was unable to sit up, although not badly hurt I started out and while driving along the road I heard a crash of broken glass behind me and I thought a shell come through the rear of the car so I ducked and thanks to my steel helmet I got a smack on the top and when I turned the Hun had a big trench knife in his hand but had missed me when I ducked, my machine swerved into the land along the side of the woods and stopped so I quick got off the seat and looked at the Boche and the way he had broken the little window in the front of the car to get me, then at the hat which had a nice shinny streak on the top where the knife skidded. Now the ambulance drivers are part of the Red Cross organization and are not supposed to be armed and the Hun dropped the knife on the seat and said “Kamerad” I thought how much he loved me, so I opened the rear of the machine, pulled out the stretcher out and made him roll over off the road and put the stretcher back into the car, dragged the Hun into the woods him crying “Kamerad” all the time: I only stayed in the woods a few minutes then backed the car onto the road and delivered my patriots at the hospital. When I got back to the dressing station the doctor asked me if the Prussian gave me any trouble. He said the Prussians were his worst to deal with and forgot to send a guard with me. I told the doctor I had no trouble but the poor Hun had died on the way in and I dumped him in a shell hole. The doctor understood me, so gave me two extra cartridges as souvenirs to repay me for the two I lent the Hun. I passed those woods twice during the night and I honestly believe I could smell a skunk.
Yes I guess we will be glad when peace does come, but lets up hold it with a glorious victory and the Boche begging for mercy.

George L. Whitmeyer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My husband's grandfather Clair Philips was a mechanic for the U.S. Ambulance Service, unit 609. He was from Pottville or maybe Minersville and died in Reading in Dec 1991. Do you have any information about this unit, pictures, etc.