Section 625 of the United States Army Ambulance Service with the French Army was organized on Section One of the American Field Service which had had a long and glorious career. The origin of Section One dates from the First Battle of the Marne when a handful of Americans in Paris volunteered to drive their automobiles to the battlefield and remove the wounded. Towards the end of 1914 it was determined at the American Ambulance Hospital at Neuilly to form a complete ambulance detachment, or section, to work with the French in battle. This was done and in January 1915 a complete section set out for Belgium where it served around Dunkerque and along the Yser, in April taking an active part in the Second Battle of Ypres when gas was used for the first time. The section then shifted to Nieuport. Early in 1916 saw the section engaged around Vic-sur-Aisne, from where it moved to the Somme, working around Cappy, Dompierre and Foucaucourt at the beginning of the First Battle of the Somme. In July it was ordered to Verdun during the German attack on Souville and Tavannes and there received as a section its first citation (Ordre du Service de Santé). It continued on at Verdun during August and September and won another citation (Ordre du Corps d'Armée). After serving in the Argonne at La Fille Morte, Four de Paris and La Chalade it again returned to Verdun being cantonned at Dombasle and served Esnes, Hill 304 and Mort Homme during the terrible cold of the winter of 1916-17, and was again cited (Ordre du Corps d'Armée). In the spring of 1917 it went into the sector west of Reims along Route 44, serving Villers-Franqueux and Cauroy. After General Nivelle's tremendous but unsuccessful attack there in April, the section was shifted east of Reims and covered Sillery and Ferme d'Espérance in the bed of the Aisne Canal. For a third time the section was sent to Verdun, this time on the right bank of the Meuse, having postes at Haudraumont, Caserne Marceau, Chambouillat and Carrière Sud. Forty six days of remarkable service here won for the section its fourth citation, this time the much coveted Citation Ordre de l'Armée. The Section Chefs, or leaders, had been successively: Mc Clay, Balbiani, Salisbury, H. P. Townsend, Mc Glensy, Woodworth and finally W. Yorke Stevenson, who as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army continued to lead the Section till the termination of the war, with a brief interval when Lieutenant Duhring took his place while Lieutenant Stevenson attended the Officers School at Meaux. The French Officers attached to the Section had been Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff, La Forgue, and James F. Reymond, the last remaining with the new section till it had just completed the most difficult period of its history --- the fifty days following the start of the great Allied Offensive on July 18th, 1918.
It was with such a glorious past that Section One of the American Field Service was taken over by the United States Army on the 30th of September 1917 among the rolling fields and heavy woods of the Vosges at Aillianville, not so far from the home of Jeanne d'Arc. The new section for the greater part was composed of veterans of many campaigns from the North Sea to Verdun. Lieutenant Stevenson, the commanding officer, had joined the old section as an "ambulancier" in March 1916, Sergeant First Class Harwood B. Day first came to the section September 25th, 1915, while Corporal Edward Townsend had seen even longer service having shared the fortunes of France on the field since March 17th, 1915. Section 625 was indeed fortunate to have inherited the services of officers and men who had weathered the storms of war for so long, and who brought with them traditions, morale and customs of service already built up to a solid and enduring plane. The French Lieutenant attached, James F. Reymond, had shared with Lieutenant Stevenson the responsibility during the late summer attacks by the French at Verdun; he was a soldier of the line, having been severely wounded in August 1914, and the new organization to a man held him in the highest esteem and respect. Further, the section was serving with the famous 69th Division composed of the 162nd, 151st and 129th regiments of infantry and the 268th artillery. The first two regiments as members of the 42nd Division had in the First Battle of the Marne at La Fère Champenoise answered the words of their personal commander General Foch, "My left is broken, my right gives way, I am going to attack", and attack they did piercing the Prussian Guards before them and definitely deciding the fortune of the entire battle line, of France and the World. The 129th regiment at Verdun in March 1916 had been chosen to retake Fort Douaumont held by a Brandenburger division. After an appalling struggle which lasted four days this regiment fulfilled its mission at the loss of 1476 men out of 2100 engaged.
With a such a past history of service, with such a personnel of officers and men, and with such comrades of the 69th Division, Section 625 received an incentive and force for future work which was bound to have great effect on its career.
The months of October, November and December 1917, the section was to all purposes "en repos", cantonned at Aillianville and Beaufremont, the Division being engaged in teaching and training around Neufchâteau, the 26th Division of the U. S. Army, The Yankee or New England Division, which during the ensuing year so magnificently earned its reputation of being among the very finest American troops.
On January 11th orders came to proceed to the sector of the lines in front of Toul, the Woëvre, and the section moved with the troops which marched through the heavy snow. On successive nights the cantonments were Fruze, Saulxures and Charme le Côte and on January 17th Andilly its permanent cantonment was reached. That night the division went into the sector of trenches between Seicheprey and Limey, west of Pont-à-Mousson. On the 18th of January the First Morroccan division which had occupied this sector, and more to the left, was withdrawn and their place to the left of Seicheprey and Flirey was filled by the U. S. First Division. This date is notable in that it marks the occasion when American troops first took over what might be called their own sector of trenches. It is true that they were under the general supervision of the French who at first entirely controlled their artillery, but the infantry had charge of its own front; and it was here that the independence of the U. S. troops from their elder brothers was first given them. During the next five months, for the 69th Division was in the lines here without a break for that period, Section 625 served the following postes: Xivray, Beaumont, Seicheprey, Poste St. Victor, Flirey, Bois de la Voisogne, Lironville Limey, St. Jacques, Pont-de-Metz, Mamey, Poste Pouillot, Jonc Fontaine, and Poste Pétain in the Bois de Prêtre. During this period the evacuations were made to Minorville, Manoncourt, Rogéville and Toul. As the U. S. First Division and later the 26th Division which relieved it, took over more of the lines the 69th slipped farther and farther to the right, until eventually its flank lay in the famous Bois de Prêtre in front of Pont-à-Mousson. On April 13th, the section cantonment was moved to Manonville.
It is true that this sector of the front had the reputation of being "quiet" and for the most part it upheld its character as such, but with the advent of the U. S. troops the whole neighboring line took on a more tense tone and "coups de main" for the purpose of taking prisoners, destroying positions and to test opponents were more frequently indulged in. The whole sector had hibernated peacefully under the snows of winter until the first week in January, but it was then rudely aroused to the serious business of the New Year by an extensive and successful raid conducted by the Foreign Legion in front of Flirey, Seicheprey and beyond the war-worn Bois de Rémières. From the results of this raid it became apparent that the front lines on both sides were so lightly held that a "coup de main" to become effective, must be conducted on a large scale and penetrate a considerable distance. Thereafter these raids were carried out in that way, and accordingly the front line was made a mere outpost, the second line more strongly held, but the "ligne de résistance" was ordinarily the third line of trenches. This system of warfare placed the "postes de secours" in a more exposed and unprotected position, and the chance of capture or destruction of the cars was a matter of considerable moment. As the spring approached every week saw two if not three of these small attacks, always during the black of night or mist of the morning, and always accompanied by gas sometimes in the extreme. The work the section was called on to do for the most part was not difficult, but when, as here, the trenches had been fixed for over three years the shelling of roads, cross-roads, and "postes de secours" especially those near a "Poste de Commandement", was extremely accurate, and during a "coup de main" the evacuation of wounded was often conducted under heavy fire and through a barrage on roadside batteries or on the road or "poste" itself. But only on two or three occasions were the villages in the back areas severely shelled. On the night of April 27th Manonville and the cantonment received a heavy visitation of this kind accompanied by gas, but the section escaped unscathed.
It would be futile to describe the part Section 625 played in these various minor engagements which occurred so frequently, but the men involved invariably conducted themselves admirably under often very trying and dispiriting circumstances, when the work was done in gas masks during the long hours of winter nights, with the one available road under heavy fire. Such a poste was Flirey, but one route in or out, and every foot of it calculated to the inch by every Boche battery in range. It was here that during an extensive raid carried out by a battalion of the 162nd Regiment on the night of April 17th that seven men did such excellent and rapid work in evacuating the wounded from Carrière Flirey, when all the shelling was confined to the particular zone in which they were. Mention must also be made of work done by Ryan during a Boche "coup de main" at Poste Pouillot where, taking on himself with characteristic initiative, the justified disobedience of an order, he stopped under extremely heavy shelling to pick up a desperately wounded man on the roadside, because he knew that the ambulance would carry one more and because he knew that he could hold the "blessé" on a precarious seat with his left arm while he drove the car over a shell-pitted road with his right till safety in the Forêt de Puvenelle was reached.
From January 28th to March 23rd Lieutenant Stevenson attended the Officers School at Meaux and his place was temporarily filled by Lieutenant Frederick S. Duhring, an officer who at once gained the respect, admiration and friendship of his complete command.
More than passing comment must be given the Boche attack of April 19th against the 102nd Regiment of the U. S. 26th Division at Seicheprey, not only because this was the first engagement of any size participated in by U. S. troops but because of the part Section 625 was called on to play. The attack was made at dawn after a severe but short preliminary bombardment by over 1000 picked Prussian "sturmtruppen", to the right of Seicheprey and near the place in the Bois de Jury where the U. S. and French troops joined. The line was pierced and the village entered from the side and rear. Very fierce hand to hand fighting took place during the ensuing day and the enemy eventually retired towards their own lines occupying trenches in and near the Bois de Rémières. Here they were pinned down by an enfilading cross fire, but because of some misunderstanding or neglect, the four companies of the 102nd regiment designated for the counter-attack failed to take part with two companies of the French 162nd infantry who went over the top, and the enemy were allowed to regain their lines during the night without suffering further losses. Despite the unfaltering gallantry of the 102nd Infantry this engagement must be regarded as a Boche success, for although the casualties perhaps about balanced, the raiders gathered approximately 150 prisoners. An idea of the casualties may, be had from the fact that four cars of Section 625, in addition to evacuating all the French wounded, also carried some 85 Americans. When the attack started one of the section's cars was stationed at Beaumont and one at Flirey. Almost immediately word came that the U. S. Ambulance Section desired aid in order to handle the situation. The car at Flirey, having for the moment, freed that poste from the first rush of wounded, was ordered to Beaumont to help the one section car on duty there to handle Poste St. Victor and Seicheprey, another car being summoned to take its place. In the late afternoon still another was sent to Beaumont while the first returned to Flirey. It was a very inspiring sight to see the splendid behavior and morale of the 26th Division as yet unseasoned and new to combat. During the morning at Beaumont, Purdy, unsolicited, volunteered to bring in some wounded men who lay in a very exposed position beside the church, which was being bombarded with great violence. With the aid of another soldier, crawling and flattening out with each burst, the wounded men were reached and successfully extricated from their position. For their work during the engagement Purdy, Brennan and Wylie were fortunate enough to receive personal letters of Commendation from General Pershing.
For their gallant conduct on different occasions during the five months spent in this sector the following men received the Croix de Guerre (Ordre du Régiment) Ryan, Walker, Weld, Kuykendall, Townsend, Ulmer, Forsyth, Brennan and Gruel.
As summer grew nearer bringing with it almost daily reports of farther and farther German advances the section prepared itself for the sterner work which loomed in the future, and realized that despite the months of continuous service in the lines its lot would be still without a "repos" till the Boche were definitely stopped and the tide turned.
On June 4th the Section moved to Pagney-derrière-Barine near Toul. At this place the Lieutenant had the unique experience of being Major de Cantonment for 24 hours, being the only officer in the place for the moment. The only legal question that came before him was regarding the café closing hours. He was lenient.
The morning of June 6th the section started "en convoi" for Vitry-le-François, but received orders there to proceed. At Esternay and Coulommiers further orders kept the section "en route", and three o'clock the following morning found it bivouacked in the market place of Meaux, three hundred kilometres from its starting point with every car in good shape.
The civilians were rapidly evacuating Meaux, but the town was busy with the handling of American Marine wounded who were being brought in from the neighborhood of Bouresches and the Bois de Belleau. That day, by the way of Senlis, Creil and Clermont the Ferme La Quadre near Nointel was reached, where the section rested and prepared itself on June 8th. It was apparent that a great Boche drive was pending, but the section though prepared, hardly expected to be ordered to the "alerte" at dawn on June 9th with the rumble of a tremendous barrage in its ears. It later proved to be a terrific attack extending between Montdidier and Noyon. Towards noon orders were received to proceed to Monchy-Humières behind Lassigny by the way of Arsy and Rémy, The roads were jammed with the 69th Division going up in camions and refugees and wounded streaming back, and as the section convoy neared Monchy about four o'clock, heavy and light artillery and fragments of infantry passed it hastening to take up positions in the rear. It was by no means a rout, but even the most inexperienced eye could see that the enemy was coming very fast and that the situation was uncertain at best. The cloud of battle smoke approached rapidly and the line of enemy saucisse balloons advanced steadily while those of the French still in the air attached to their motor trucks passed the convoy bound rearwards. As Monchy was reached orders were given for the section to turn in its tracks and go to Rémy, there to await further instructions. Along the return route elements of the 69th Division were going up across the fields in skirmish order. Darkness came and still no orders had been received concerning the establishing of "postes de secours" or as to the location of any units to be served. Because of the unsettled situation Lieutenant Stevenson determined to separate the section. About half the cars were left at Rémy to await further orders, and the remainder under the direct supervision of Lieutenant Stevenson went to the Sucrerie d'Apremont a kilometer behind Gournay, where the Lieutenant in Huston's car went out to establish connection with the French infantry in front. By this distribution the instant availability of a part of the cars was assured. During the latter part of the night there was a pause in the attack, probably due to the bringing up of fresh enemy divisions, but before dawn it was renewed violently. At that time the lines ran through Gournay which was held by a mere skirmish line of infantry alone. During the next four days the struggle surged back and forth through Gournay, Ferme la Porte, Ferme de Loge and Antheuil, the fortunes of battle changing so rapidly that it was impossible to be sure where the lines or "postes de secours" would be the next hour. Because of the continuous succession of attacks and counter attacks, the cars served battallion and regimental postes in extremely advanced positions subjected to machine-gun and rifle fire. On the fourth day after having been forced back approximately three kilometres, since the morning of June 10th, the division counter-attacked heavily driving the enemy back two kilometres and establishing the line more firmly. But for a week the fighting was over a very irregular front, entirely in the open wheat fields without trenches, or even camouflage or concealment for the 75's; the postes served by the section were often unexpectedly retired or advanced and the difficulties and the anxieties of the work were doubled. Good fortune, good individual judgement, coupled with efficient direction and leadership, alone prevented the capture or enforced destruction of cars. It is difficult to designate the postes worked by the section during this period, June 9-18th, for temporary postes were several times established in open fields or road side ditches, but the main ones are as follows---Montmartin, Le Moulin two kilometres in advance, Sucrerie d'Apremont, the roadside behind Gournay, Le Ferme de Monchy, Le Ferme Beaumanoir, Monchy village, Château de Monchy, Baugy Château, Baugy village and a roadside conduit in front of Baugy near the Compiègne-Montidier highway. Evacuations were made to Le Fayel, Canly, Catenois and Estrées-St. Denis. The section cantonment was behind the church at Rémy, the town being shelled frequently, and bombed severely every night by avions. On the 16th the division started to withdraw from the lines moving to the right as it did so, the section being shifted to Venette on the edge of Compiègne, and postes established at Braisne, Anelle and Coudun. On June 20th the whole division was out of the line, one regiment alone being held in active reserve, and the section moved back to Jonquières, serving only one poste, that at Lachelle.
Two incidents which took place during the battle are sufficiently unusual and curious to be worthy of comment. On June 9th two Boche avions in the afternoon came over the town of Rémy at a very low altitude, on their wings were distinctly visible to the naked eye, the insignia of the British aviation service. These planes dropped bombs near the railroad station and machine gunned the roads. The next day planes marked the same way conducted extensive day bombing raids on batteries and troops in and around Montmartin and Le Ferme Beaumanoir. At the latter place Kleineck extricated several wounded Boche prisoners from a building during the raid itself, completing his work seconds before the last bomb completely demolished the house. At high noon on June 11th, a perfectly clear, hot sunny day, there was visible from Rémy a very queer and unique phenomena over a large portion of the sky. Long uncertain lines, resembling heat waves but longer, smoother and far more extensive and distinct, kept slowly and steadily moving across the sky, passing and repassing each other at every conceivable angle. This continued for at least fifteen minutes and was seen by a dozen members of the section, together with two score officers and poilus, mostly slightly wounded, grouped behind the church. It is true that at that time the artillery was exceptionally active, and probably played some part in this freak display, but as yet an adequate explanation has not presented itself, on sights such as this in war do strange tales and legends originate, such as the Angel or the Bowman of Mons. It was on this day that the 29th Battalion of Senegalese which had been attached to the division in the Woëvre, counter-attacked in order to help extricate a battalion of the 162nd surrounded the previous day, which was trying to cut its way out. The attack succeeded brilliantly but the Senegalese lost two thirds of their effectives in less than two hours.
Despite the fact that during this period in the lines all the cars had been on duty and rolling almost constantly the section sustained no casualties beyond trifling wounds from éclat received by two of the men. Several of the cars were struck while on the road, notably Fitzgerald's which, while leaving Le Ferme de Monchy with a full load was hit in several places, a spark plug and the wire to another cylinder being carried away, yet the car carried all to safety without repair. Due to active and efficient mechanics not a car remained "en panne" an hour, and the work was completed with every car in perfect order. For various achievements dating from the 10th to 15th of June, the following men were awarded the Croix de Guerre (Citation à l'Ordre du Régiment) --- Ball, Smith, Alling, Ryan, Crawford, Brennan, Crane Marshall, Fitzgerald and Wylie.
The following twenty-four days of light work was welcome not so much because of the rest it afforded the men but because the section felt what was still ahead of them and desired to be ready and prepared in every conceivable way. The 69th Division had played the main part in stopping what proved to be the last Boche drive which met with any measure of success or perceptible advance. The division had met the very middle of the drive, borne its full force, stopped it and then hurled it back almost to the same position where it had first come to grips, inflicting almost unprecedented losses on the three divisions which opposed it. Of course its own losses were heavy, the section on three successive days evacuating over 1500 men, together with another 150 from the divisions on either side. During the next three weeks, the regiments were rested and recruited up, and were trained for attack with tanks. The nature of its work in the future becoming apparent.
On June 30th the section had a baseball game with Section 621 on the grounds of the La Fayel Château where was cantonned the Hackett-Lowther Unit of English ambulances driven by women, who during the recent attack had been evacuating the wounded back from the hospitals at La Fayel and Canly. The section had encountered their cars before, aid having been afforded one of their ambulances which had met with misfortune, and was very ready to pay its respects to these "ambulancières" who so willingly shared the fortunes of war with the armies at the front.
On July 4th after a baseball game with Section 622 on the outskirts of Rémy the section banquet was honored by the receipt of a personal note of congratulations and good wishes from General Munroe commanding the 69th division, together with a present of champagne.
Various members of the section participated more or less successfully in the athletic games and general fête staged by the French troops before the divisional Etat-Major at Jonquières on July 14th, Bastille Day. In the main feature, the procession of floats, the section carried off first prize by entering one of the ambulances made up to resemble a tank, by the use of canvas camouflage and other ingenious devices, which circled the field omitting the mysterious and rhythmic noises of a real tank, dragging behind a bedraggled Boche prisoner in chains, equally counterfeit, while a remarkably perfect Charlie Chaplin belabored him with a cane to the delight of all beholders.
That night orders arrived and the following afternoon the section moved to the centre of the great forest just east of Compiègne, traversing the desolate streets of that city in the gathering dusk. Here a stop was made for two days near the Château de Francport where the Section was quartered a week in 1916 on the way to the Aisne front. Later the enemy armistice delegates were to spend there their first night within the Allied lines. Two days of solitude followed unbroken except by avion bombing but noon of the second day, July 17th, brought directions and at sundown the convoy took up its way through the aisles of the forest reaching Pierrefonds before night. All extra equipment, a large part of the atelier, and the bureau were left in a house at the foot of that marvelous castle, and the first darkness saw the section with faces turned towards the lines. Early dawn had been set with Mortefontaine twelve kilometres away as the rendez vous, but it was with the greatest difficulty that the order was carried out, for that night was filled with more muffled activity and strained anxiety than the world will ever see again. It seemed as if all the Might of Right was streaming eagerly up that slender road to put to rout forever the Right of Might, amid utter blackness, heavy low clouds, bursts of stinging cold rain, vivid flashes of blinding white lightning, and deafening claps of thunder. The road was jammed with every factor of a vast army, sensed around rather than seen, but revealed momentarily in the flashes; camions, wagons, caissons, machine gun carts, staff cars, motor cycles, artillery little and big, tanks, armored cars, cavalry with their towering lances, bicycle detachments, and always the plodding infantry in two endless columns following the ditches on either side. Steadily and ceaselessly this stream poured forward through the black, no singing, little talking, few orders; the tramp of feet in the mud, the rattle of wheels, the throbbing of motors, the staccato explosions of the motor-cycles, and the ponderous clanking of tanks; an irresistible tide of manhood, poilus and dough-boys, shoulder to shoulder straining towards the future. Surely the night of July 17th-18th should be as memorable and glorious forever as the dawn of July 18th, the hour when the forces of Liberty commenced their overwhelming attacks, never ceasing till the final victorious peace was attained.
At the first break of day the section was all assembled at Mortefontaine in time to see the attack beyond. Again the section was serving in the famous 20th Corps d'Armée, the first it had ever been attached to, and this time it was in Mangin's magnificent Tenth Army. For the first three days the 69th Division acted as first reserve for the U. S. First Division following the attacking infantry very closely, cleaning up, filling momentary gaps and always awaiting eagerly the chance to go in and complete the break through, which never quite came. Because of this its losses at first were not very heavy, but on July 20th it began to take over the front, and to assume the burden of the attack. On the 23rd the First Division was to all purposes completely out of the lines. From then on the 69th Division assumed a task of gigantic proportions. It was holding the pivot position of the whole Second Battle of the Marne. Its left approached the Aisne, beyond which of course no progress could be made as yet. Its right joined divisions which were slowly making progress. As the battle progressed it turned as a pivot till instead of facing east, as on the first day, on August 2nd, when Soissons fell before it, it faced north on its whole front. This manoeuvre required great skill of generalship and all the brains and force in personnel of a truly veteran organization. Without a question of doubt there was opposed to it from July 21st on the finest troops in the German army, and against it was arrayed from that date not only denser infantry masses but by far a larger concentration of enemy artillery than anywhere at that time in the Marne salient or the whole front. The holding of this corner, or hinge of the salient was absolutely vital in the extreme to the German forces below. A break through here would have brought immediate and dire disaster to the Boche military strength, and this was fully understood by them. Until the fall of Soissons on August 2nd the division, which was exerting constant offensive pressure, making innumerable local attacks and beating off counter-attacks large and small, was subjected to a terrific artillery crossfire. On its front it was met with the normal artillery fire, one might expect under the circumstances, but from its left beyond the Aisne the Boche artillery as yet little disturbed and in old emplacements was greatly re-enforced and poured a ceaseless enfilading fire down the lines, and over the roads and lines of communication. Despite this almost overwhelming disadvantage the division day by day overcame position after position, finally with the taking of the tremendous machine gun position near Vauxbrun which had proved so costly to the First Division checking them utterly, and with the fall of Buzancy to the Scotch troops, Soissons was entered and cleared. Towards the last days of August the division resumed its heavy attacks, crossed the Aisne cleared the suburbs of the city on the other side and numerous positions in the valley, stormed up the heights to the plateau, captured Crouy, and put the enemy to open flight across the plateau top, pursuing them beyond Bucy le Long, Vregny and Pont Rouge towards Vauxaillon, being relieved on September 7th at Moulin de Laffaux. The achievements of the 69th Division during these fifty-one successive days of terrible struggle have been recognized as one of the most heroic annals of the French Army.
Towards noon of July 18th, the section pausing for a few minutes at le Murger Ferme, advanced to the hilltop overlooking Coeuvres, where in a cave by the road was located the division headquarters of the First U. S. Division and 69th French Divisions. Only a few of the cars were used that day evacuating wounded from different places back to Pierrefonds. That evening the cars were parked in a field on the hillside, widely scattered to prevent material damage from shell-fire. Notwithstanding this precaution avions by the use of flares machine-gunned and bombed the cantonment at different times during the night, one small bomb falling directly among a dozen of the section men as they lay sleeping in machine-gun pits, wounding three. This was the beginning of a number of casualties, the section luck in that respect seemed to depart of a sudden. Old Section One despite three years of constant service at the front had lost but three men in the service: Woodworth, Lines and Norton and one additional man, Pearl, had sustained a very serious wound. The new section had had one man Edward Townsend severely burned by gas at Flirey in February 1918 another man being slightly burned at the same time, and two, Ball and Wylie little more than scratched in the June action to the left of Compiègne. But for the next month the casualties from wounds and gas came very rapidly ---Roberts, Marshall, Kuykendall, Farnham, Day Crawford, Stempfle, Forsyth, Brennan, Moses and Crane were evacuated several others also suffered from gas but refused to go to the hospital. In fact every man objected strenuously to being evacuated and had to be ordered back by the Lieutenant. At one time practically every man in the section had more or less serious burns, but still remained on constant duty.
July 19th again only a few cars were used, and these carried Americans, Morroccans and soldiers of The Legion as well as their own division's wounded. No definite postes were established, the wounded being picked up at widely scattered places.
The first "postes de secours" were established on July 20th, in a roadside ditch near the ruins of the Raperie at a crossroad on the route from Cutry to Saconin, and on the 21st in the village of Missy-aux-Bois. Then the section commenced real work for the runs from these places were constant, the evacuations all being made to Pierrefonds, twenty-five odd kilometres to the rear over rough narrow roads at all hours solid with traffic. The Missy poste was in the cellar of the château on the northern edge of the town, and adequately answered the purpose being maintained until August second. But the Raperie poste which lay in the middle of some three score 75's in the open field and within a stones throw of an important crossroad was different. It almost immediately became untenable as a place to retain wounded for more than a moment. On July 21st it was moved over a kilometre forward to a quarry hole in the hillside above the village of Saconin from which the enemy had just been driven. The mouth of the cave labelled "Minen-Werfer Höhle" faced towards the lines across the narrow valley, and was subject to a constant and severe fire, directed not only at the mouth of the poste but the road in front, and the loop of the road behind and above. Here it was that Roberts was so severely wounded though within the entrance, and a great many casualties at different times were sustained. This poste was retained till August 2nd but the bulk of the wounded came from below in the little valley where they were collected at an abri in the road-bank which also faced towards the enemy. On the morning of the 22nd this abri was pierced by a 210 shell, fourteen men being instantly killed, and four others wounded, out of the twenty eight there at the time. The two section men present escaped injury but one car was totally destroyed. Only one of these wounded was successfully evacuated from the valley, this was Médecin Chef Maupin of the 151st Inf., who was rushed to Pierrefonds in the remaining ambulance but died the following day. The remaining three were placed in a passing English ambulance, but it had not traversed three hundred yards when a shell completely, wiped it out. Before this poste was abandoned the following day another section car was destroyed at it. On the 23rd two more postes were created, one in a dug-out in the village of Breuil and the other in a huge quarry cave some six hundred yards beyond. All postes, with the exception of the one at Missy-aux-Bois, were reached by one road which ran down the hill past the Minen-Werfer Höhle, wound down through the little valley, through the village of Saconin, curled up the opposite side through the hamlet of Breuil, and up over the crest to the great covered quarry beyond. The evacuations which were made over this route were very numerous, as may be assumed from the fact that all the cars, including the camionette and often the White truck were working night and day steadily until the fall of Soissons on August 2nd, the men snatching minutes of sleep rather than hours. Until that date this road was under unceasing bombardment from small and very large calibre guns. This route was rarely used for ravitaillement, that being carried to the lines from the right by hand, but the way was strewn with demolished wagons and dead or dying horses. No vehicles other than the sections cars traversed the valley regularly, nor was any road repairing at all done by the "génie" Even the reliefs of infantry avoided it, reaching the line from the sides instead. Every night, in addition to the incessant shelling, the whole valley was subjected to a thick gassing, and under these conditions it would have been impossible for the cars to have negotiated it at all in the dark, had not Lieutenant Stevenson, aided by Sergeants Day and Bissell, Corporal Townsend, and staff-car driver Ker, made daily and nightly trips in the staff car to repair the road with pick and shovel. In the meantime the poste at Missy-aux-Bois was far from idle, handling large numbers of wounded and gassed. The cars stationed there were also called on to make frequent trips to various temporary very advanced postes, around Ploisy, Berzy-le-Sec, beyond Chaudun, and along the main Paris-Soissons highway. Missy was reached by the route through St. Pierre Aigle and Dommiers to the Croix de Fer on the Paris-Soissons highway, from which a small road led diagonally back to Missy.
On July 20th the section cantonment moved into the town of Coeuvres, from which on July 21st it was shifted to an open field behind Dommiers where the kitchen was placed in the lee of a destroyed tank and the men slept under the cars or in shell craters, when they were fortunate enough to have an opportunity. Before this site could be made available, a number of bodies had to be removed and buried.
The night of the 22nd a remarkable array of Scotch regiments composing the 15th Division entered the lines on the right, among them were some of the recognized élite of the British Army --- The Black Watch, The Gordons, The Seaforths, The Camerons, and The Argyle and Southerland Highlanders. These troops went up to the skirling of the pipes, every man immaculate and the acme of military precision and orderliness; and after a week of terrific attacking which terminated in the triumphant storming of Buzancy, came out the same way, unruffled and undisturbed notwithstanding extreme losses, every man shaved and perfect in attire and equipment. The section was privileged in evacuating many, too many, of them from Missy and temporary postes beyond Chaudun in the neighborhood of Ploisy and Berzy-le-Sec.
A poste in the village of Ploisy was established July 23rd. This was veritably among the French machine guns, for the lines, if such they could be termed, being merely an irregular chain of isolated and almost unrelated positions and nests, ran barely beyond the end of the village. The cars were allowed to arrive only after dark and were ordered to depart before dawn; but often dire necessity ruled and the runs were made by day as well. So insecure and vague were the lines here that the division "aumônier" going up by day in one of the cars, alighting at Ploisy, walked unwarned into the enemies' positions a few hundred feet beyond and was made a prisoner.
Soissons fell on August second and the city was completely cleared to the river bank in short order, with the exception of one tremendously strong outpost at the "hydraulic pump" where the Aisne loops in passing through. This was attacked and wiped out the afternoon of August ninth after severe concentrated artillery preparation. The cars being taken to within almost a stone's throw of the scene in the city streets before the barrage started, in order to be instantly available for the wounded.
No civilians at all were found in Soissons with the exception of one white-haired old lady shot through the body who was evacuated in a dying condition.
On August third new postes were established at Billy-sur-Aisne, Carrière l'Evêque, the Château at Belleu and Septmont, Noyant, Vignolles and on August seventh one at the enormous hospital near the railroad station in Soissons. There were other temporary battalion and advanced postes at various places, a cave on the plateau beyond Carrière l'Evêque, and two in Soissons one near the Place de République and one in a house on the east edge of the city.
The section at dawn of July 30th had been shelled out of its cantonment in the field behind Dommiers and was fortunate in being able to move back to the vicinity of the château in Coeuvres without damage. On August fifth with the advance of the troops it took up quarters in the village of Ploisy, the kitchen and atelier being set up next to the château and the men and cars being scattered in various places, a precaution made necessary by the continual shelling of the town itself and the numerous batteries surrounding it. The work of evacuation had been especially arduous because of the length of the runs necessary to reach the hospitals. From July 18th to the 25th all evacuations were made to Pierrefonds over 20 kilometres by road from Coeuvres alone; on that day a small "ambulance" was opened at the château in Coeuvres where gassed men, "assis" and all slightly wounded could be left. About August fifth the evacuations of "couchés" and seriously wounded were changed to the hospital at Villers-Cotterets, more than twenty five kilometres from Ploisy; but on August 14th the section labors were greatly lessened by orders to evacuate all to a "triage" hospital situated in a great cave in Vierzy, barely ten kilometres from Soissons itself.
About this time one of the cars was detached to accompany the 162nd regiment which was withdrawn from the lines and moved over to the left, crossing the Aisne at Vic-sur-Aisne and advancing into an attack as support to another division. It returned to its former place in less than a week.
The section shorn of many men through casualties, down to the very minimum of drivers and mechanics, worked at top speed. The time came when every man including its Lieutenant and non-commissioned officers were driving cars. Several of the men were suffering from serious dysentery and others had severe gas burns; the mechanics Mooney and Russell toiled unceasingly, and it is a source of pride to every man that it never became necessary to call for casuals or extra cars to aid in the work. After not a car could be spared to go for ravitaillement, Sergeant Day and the mechanics solved the problem by salvaging a wrecked ambulance abandoned by the First Division and completely repairing it in a few hours. Several times the White truck, being in use evacuating "assis", was not available to take the long and essential trips after essence, but this difficulty also was obviated by the men obtaining essence from demolished tanks and wrecked aeroplanes with which the vicinity of the cantonment was literally strewn. More than 1200 litres were obtained in this way and the section work went on without interruption, except when a car was destroyed by shell fire and until a substitute could be obtained from the park. Several times a crippling blow to the section was avoided as if by a miracle, when six-inch shells fell directly in the heart of the cantonment itself, among the men and cars. The work and conduct of the Frenchmen attached to the section can not be too highly praised and was a source of inspiration to all. Lefèvre, the cook toiled ceaselessly, unmoved even at being hurled to the ground by the explosion of a 210 shell which fell beside his kitchen. Blanchard, Lieutenant Reymond's chauffeur, thrice wounded, displayed great "sang froid" on an occasion in Berzy-le-Sec, remaining with the automobile awaiting further orders, through a severe bombardment from which every one else sought cover. When reprimanded for exposing himself he merely remarked, "twas your order my lieutenant".
The men were very insensed over the deliberate vandalism wrought by the Boche in the châteaux at Belleu and Septmont. Broken statues, marble table tops, furniture and pianos; and inlaid desks and stained glass were found boxed and crated ready to be transported to Germany. Another source of indignation was the lax and inexcusable manner in which the burying of the American dead was conducted. Despite the fact that the First Division had been withdrawn from the lines on July 23rd, a great many of their dead lay unburied, kilometres behind the lines, for a full month. The French burying parties, made up of Territorials, were instructed that the Americans desired to bury their own dead, but despite this, from sanitary causes, were forced to hastily cover many bodies. Graves of this kind, mere holes, unmarked in any way except by a stick from which hung in a bunch all the identification tags, were found in many places. East of the Soissons-Paris highway and north of the road which runs from Missy-aux-Bois to Ploisy were two graves containing sixteen and twelve bodies, respectively, indiscriminately mingled, unmarked but for the identification tags hanging from one little stick. On August 6th the section discovered four bodies of U. S. soldiers lying grouped just outside the east enclosing wall of the château in the heart of Ploisy. They could not have fallen later than July 22nd for the First Division had been relieved then and no U. S. troops remained in this part of the line. The section was working desperately at the time, and the men and time were not available to give these unfortunates a decent burial. The detachment of the First Division stationed at Mortefontaine, for the purpose of properly marking and of mapping the locality of graves, was immediately notified. The reply Sergeant Day received when letting them know of these conditions was, "Well that's a pretty hot place yet, and what's the use of risking your life for a dead man". These bodies remained untouched till finally necessity demanded action, so on the 20th of August they were decently buried by friendly hands where they fell fighting fiercely in the Greatest Cause. The French had more than they could do to take care of their own victims, and to put away the Boche, and the section to a man writhed in unavailing indignation that their own country's dead should be left to the care of hurried foreign hands without cause or even excuse. A contrast to this was the Scotch. Future generations will see orderly, neat, clean little cemeteries, which were erected and completed to their last tenant twenty four hours after the Scotch were withdrawn from the lines.
The morning of August 28th, the attack to cross the river was commenced and a few hours later the immediate suburbs of the city beyond, including strongholds at the "distillerie", the "briqueterie" and the "abattoir", were cleared and a tiny pontoon bridge laid. The first vehicle of any kind to cross the Aisne at Soissons or to the right was one of the section cars driven by Irving Moses. The new "poste de secours" were all on the far bank along the fringe of the city, the "briqueterie", almost immediately made utterly untenable, the abattoir, and the Abbey St. Médard. The last being the resting place of ancient kings of France. Attack followed attack, the flats beyond the river were cleared foot by foot, but the Boche still retained the dominating heights along the edge of the plateau, and every inch of every road was open to machine-gun fire. On arriving at the abattoir one night Fitzgerald volunteered to take his ambulance to the foot of the plateau below Crouy. Unfortunately on arriving at his destination his car went "en panne". Realizing how vitally important it was to keep every wheel rolling, especially at this particular time, and that many lives depended the next day on whether his car was marching or not, he sent back word of his plight and through the night worked alone with desperation to effect repairs every trench light from the crest above him bringing a gust of machine gun fire down on the road. With the aid of Sergeant Bissell and Mechanic Mooney who responded immediately to the message the damage was repaired. This unfailing determination and extraordinary courage won for Fitzgerald the D. S. C. and Mooney's act received recognition from the French in the shape of the Croix de Guerre (Ordre de la Division) Sergeant Bissell finished up the night by repairing Kuykendall's car regardless of gas and shells.
With the aid of chars d'assaut the attack was redoubled on the 2nd of September, and the crest of the plateau and Crouy were stormed. From then until the division was relieved on the 6th the attack continued with unabated fury and the Boche were rolled rapidly back across the plateau towards Vauxaillon. The section cars following the advancing infantry from place to place. The postes de secours rarely remaining fixed for more than three or four hours at a time; the main ones being in the château just below the plateau crest, at Buzy- le-long and at Pont Rouge. Several times it became necessary for cars to advance far beyond the postes to the very heels of the infantry. For such work Weld received the Croix de Guerre (Ordre de la Division) having brought his car as far as the route permitted and then going forward on foot to carry a couché on his back through gas and very heavy fire.
About this time the French Automobile Service ordered Lieutenant Reymond to help take charge of a new U. S. Ambulance Section just going to the front, and with heavy hearts the section said good-bye to their greatly admired ally of so many hard and trying months. The Section Bureau had remained at Pierrefonds till August second when it moved up to Mortefontaine, and a week later was installed in the little "maison blanche" south of Chaudun.
With the relief the section following the remaining fragments of the division went on convoy to Villers-les-Potées where it remained "en repos" for one week, scarcely sufficient to get the cars in shape and to rest up after the terrific strain of the foregoing fifty one days. But every man had the satisfaction of knowing that the work had been done well, irreproachably well, and every man felt confident that the tide had completely turned against the Hun, whose armies would never again take a forward step.
For their actions during this period in the lines the following men were awarded the Croix de Guerre --- Partridge and Huston (Ordre du Regiment) Weld, Mooney, Roberts and Orrie Lovell (Ordre de la Division), and Fitzgerald the D. S. C. It may be mentioned that General Monroe when he left the division to take charge of an army corps specially mentioned the work of the Sanitary Service and paid high tribute to Section 625 putting first of all its work in handling the numerous cholera patients, revealing for the first time that the sickness which had been so prevalent in the division was a form of cholera greatly resembling the ancient "Black Death".
The order for convoy to Nancy came September 15th and the Section proceeded to its destination by easy stages, stopping the first night at Chalons-sur-Marne in the market place, and the second at Vaucouleurs, reaching Vandoeuvre, its billet on the edge of Nancy, the afternoon of September 17th. "En route" the men had been given an opportunity for a hurried glance at the Bois de Belleau where in those dark days of early June the Marines had thrilled the world; and a stop for lunch had been made in Château-Thierry, a name which will roll down the centuries as more American than French.
The three days at Vandoeuvre were spent in over-hauling the cars and re-equipping and September 22nd found the section quartered in the grounds of the field hospital at Millery on the right bank of the Moselle, having stopped for two days at Frouard while the division slowly took over the lines to the right of Pont-à-Mousson, part of which was occupied by the 82nd U. S. Division. On the 25th a company of the 162nd regiment, and at company of the 29th battalion of Senegalese, joined with the 60th U. S. infantry regiment in an unsuccessful attack along the right bank of the Moselle, in front of Pont-à-Mousson. The objectives were reached first by the U. S. troops, but they were forced to fall back sooner than were the French who held on until it was obvious that their position could not be retained without entailing too expensive losses. During the attack the section served a poste in the demolished site of a hospital beyond Pont-à-Mousson, and during the next few weeks had cars stationed at St. Geneviève, Loisy and Landremont from which various advanced postes were worked. On October 10th the 92nd Division of U. S. negro troops relieved the 69th division which nevertheless left its artillery for additional support until further protection could be afforded. The section during the relief had the additional work of evacuating many foot-sore and sick soldiers of the 92nd division.
Again the section spent a few days in Vandoeuvre and on October 14th moved to Eulmont, the division shifting along the lines to the right. The sector here was very quiet and the section for some three weeks as well as serving the 69th division took care of the 165th division which also belongs to the 32 Corps. Two more battalions of Senegalese were added to the division. Again the section prepared itself to take part in a tremendous attack. This time it was apparent, from military preparations, that the attack was to be upon a gigantic scale, dwarfing everything that the war had hitherto known; but the glorious news of the signing of the Armistice intervened at the last minute, and the old section flag was cheated of another name to add to the immortal ones it already bore: Dunkerque, Ypres, Nieuport, Vic-sur-Aisne, Cappy-sur-Somme, Verdun, Cote 304, Reims, Route 44, Haudremont, Douaumont, Seicheprey, Monchy, Soissons, Crouy and Pont-à-Mousson.
Here starts another phase in the history of Section 625. As an American Unit in the war, dating as a Section from the first days of 1915 and with an origin from almost the first hours of the war, it rightfully claims the distinction of being the oldest, the veteran organization, of America in the World War. The records show that from January 1915 to the signing of the Armistice it had evacuated well over 56,000 men. But now it turned willing hands to aid in the French Army of Occupation, the Tenth Army commanded by General Mangin.
On the 17th day of November the Section crossed the lines between Aboucourt and Jallaucourt and slowly traveled with the division through Lorraine into Germany. Stops of several days were made at Tincy, Suisse, Gesslingen, Helleringen and Sulzbach and finally on December 9th Neunkirchen was reached where the section remained comfortably quartered for several weeks. About the only incident worthy of comment during this period was the attempt by hidden snipers to shoot Orrie Lovell and Weld while transporting sick to the hospital. In the early part of January the 69th Division was split up, the various regiments returning to their old Corps, which fact left the Section unattached and with no services to render. On January 20th orders came to report to the Parc at Mayence and the 130 kilometre convoy was made in good shape. Billeted on the edge of Mayence in the town of Bretzenheim the section waited for orders to report to the U. S. Army Ambulance Service Base Camp for demobilization and return to the United States. A fitting climax to the four years service came on the receipt of the 5th Citation, ORDRE de l'ARMÉE, which carried with it the privilege of wearing the Croix de Guerre Fourragère, for the splendid work of the past summer near Compiègne and around Soissons.
January 15th, 1919.
|Stevenson, W. Yorke,||First Lieutenant in Command.|
|Alling, Harold M.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Ball, Charles A.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Brennan, Mark V.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Bissell Percy R.||Sergeant|
|**des Cognets, Russell||Pvt.|
|Crane, Walter B.||Pvt. 1cl.|
|Crawford, Warren,||Pvt 1cl.|
|Day, Harwood B.||Sergeant 1cl.|
|Farnham, Frank A.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Fitzgerald, Robert J.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Forsyth, Rex R.||Pvt.|
|Gruel, Harold K.||Pvt.|
|Huston, James S.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Ker, William W.||Pvt 1cl|
|Kleineck, George W.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Knight, Laurie T.||Cook.|
|Kuykendall, Clark P.||Pvt.|
|Lovell, John R.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Lovell, Orrie S.||Pvt.|
|Marshall, Frank B.||Pvt 1cl.|
|McComas, Donald E.||Pvt.|
|Mooney, James H.||Mech.|
|Moses, Irving G.||Pvt.|
|Partridge, Nelson H.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Purdy, Harold E.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Ritchie, Victor W.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Roberts, George L.||Pvt.|
|Ryan, Thomas A.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Smith, Frank R.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Stempfle, William S.||Pvt.|
|Townsend, Edward D.||Corp.|
|Ulmer, Joseph J.||Pvt.|
|Walker, John T. Jr.||Pvt 1cl.|
|Weld, Garneau||Pvt 1cl.|
|Wylie, Edward A. G.||Pvt 1cl.|
**This soldier is at present sick in a Red Cross Military Hospital awaiting orders to be returned to America.
Sgt 1cl. James M. White was discharged from the service in order to accept a Commission as Second Lieutenant, Chemical Warfare Service, U. S. Army in Feb. 1918. He was later promoted to a Captaincy.
Cook Arthur E. Davis was transferred to Base Camp, U.S.A.A.S. on account of sickness.
Pvt 1cl Mark V. Brennan, 9629, slightly wounded by avion bomb at Coeuvres July 18th, 1918. Received treatment at French Hospital, Pierrefonds and returned to duty.
Pvt 1cl Walter B. Crane, 9630, slightly gassed at Saconin July 31st, 1918, was evacuated to the French Hospital at Senlis the same date. He returned to duty on the 21st of September, 1918.
Pvt 1cl Warren Crawford, 9631, was slightly wounded in forehead and neck July 22nd, 1918 at Saconin. He received treatment at the French Poste de secours at that place and returned to duty. On July 31/18 he was gassed at Saconin and was evacuated to a French Hospital, Senlis. He returned to duty September 21st, 1918.
Sgt 1cl Harwood B. Day, 9625 was wounded in the leg on August 13th and was evacuated to the hospital. He returned to duty October 16th, 1918.
Pvt 1cl Frank A. Farnham, 9624, was slightly gassed July 31/18 at Saconin and was evacuated to the French Hospital, Senlis same date. He returned to duty September 23rd, 1918.
Pvt. Rex R. Forsyth, 9219, was slightly gassed July 30/18 at Saconin and was evacuated to the French Hospital at Senlis August 1st, 1918. He returned to duty August 23rd, 1918.
Pvt. Clark P. Kuykendall, 9646, was slightly wounded by avion bomb at Coeuvres July 18/18 and was evacuated to the U. S. Field Hospital at Pierrefonds July 19/18. He returned to duty July 28/18.
Pvt 1cl Frank B. MarshaIl, 9635, was gassed July 31/18 at Saconin and was evacuated to the French Hospital at Senlis August 1st, 1918. He returned to duty August 23/18.
Pvt. Irving G. Moses, 9649, was gassed July 26/18 at Saconin and was evacuated to the French Hospital at Crépy-en-Valois July 27/18. He returned to duty August 3/18.
Pvt. George L. Roberts, 9650, was wounded by a shell fragment July 25/18 at Saconin and was evacuated to The U. S. Field Hospital at Crépy-en-Valois the same day. He returned to duty October 30/18.
Pvt. William S. Stempfle, 642751, was wounded by an avion bomb at Coeuvres July 18/18 and was evacuated to the U. S. Field Hospital at Pierrefonds July 22/18. He returned to duty September 21, 1918.
Corporal Edward D. Townsend was burned with gas at Flirey Feb. 11/18 and was evacuated to U. S. Hospital at Ménil-le-Tour on Feb. 12/18. He returned to duty March 19th, 1918.
|Howard B. Lines||died of pneumonia at La Grange-aux-Bois||December 1916.|
|Benjamin R. Woodworth||killed near Soissons||June 1917.|
|George Frederick Norton||killed at Ludes||July 1917.|
|Robert H. Gamble||wounded at Ludes||July 1917.|
|William A. Pearl||wounded at Verdun||August 1917.|
|Andrew, A. Platt --- Legion of Honor, and Croix
Campbell, Joshua G. B.
Townsend, Edward D. 2 in SSU 1, 1 in SSU 625.
Townsend, Herbert P. 4
White, Victor G. 2
Woodworth, Benjamin R.
Franklyn, Giles B.
Woolverton, William H.
Lines, Howard B.
Day, Harwood B.
Kurtz, Paul B.
Imbrie, Robert W.
Bowman, Robert Edwards,
Baylies, Frank L.
Lewis, Philip C.
Stevenson, W. Yorke 2 and 1 in SSU 625
Sponagle, James H. 2
Weld, J. Garneau, 2 in SSU 625
Plow, Richard H.
Flynn, Robert J.
Hanna, John C.
Pearl, William A. 2 and médaille militaire
Hibbard, Lyman C.
White, James M.
Dallin, Arthur M. 2
Stout, Richard H. 2
Gamble, Robert H.
Holt, William 5. 2
Purdy, Harold E. 2, Letter of Commendation from Gen. Pershing.
Farnham, Frank A. 2
Rice, Philip S.
Norton, G. Frederick
Tapley, Russell W.
Kreutzberg, John 2
Ryan, Thomas A. 2 in SSU 625.
Brennan, Mark V. 2 in SSU 625. Letter of Commendation from Gen. Pershing.
Fitzgerald, Robert J. 1 in SSU 625. 1 American Distinguished Service Cross.
Huston, James 5. 1 in SSU 625.
Mooney, James H. 1 in SSU 625.
Partridge, Nelson H., Jr. 1 in SSU 625.
Wylie, Edward A. G. 1 in SSU 625, Letter of Commendation from Gen. Pershing.
Crane, Walter B. 1 in SSU 625.
Crawford, Warren 1 in SSU 625.
Marshall, Frank B. 1 in SSU 625.
Walker, John T. Jr. 1 in SSU 625.
Smith, Frank R. 1 in SSU 625.
Ball, Charles A. 1 in SSU 625.
Alling, Harold M. 1 in SSU 625.
|Forsyth, Rex R.
Gruel, Harold K.
Kuykendall, Clark P.
Lovell, Orrie S.
Roberts, George L.
Ulmer, Joseph J.
Le Colonel Bertrand, Commandant le 162e Régiment d'Infanterie, cite à l'Ordre du Régiment:
Conducteurs à la Section Sanitaire Américaine 625.
Le 2 Mai 1918
Commandant le 162e Régiment d'infanterie.
Le Colonel Perchenet, Commandant le 151e Régiment d'Infanterie, cite à l'Ordre du Régiment:
Soldat conducteurs de la Section d'autos sanitaires, S. S. U. 625 de l'Armée Américaine.
Extrait certifié conforme: Le
Lt. Colonel Commandant
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES.
14790-A-77. (PF) France, June 10, 1918.
From: The Commander in Chief,
To: Private 1st Cl. Mark V. Brennan, 9629, (Private 1st Cl. Harold E. Furdy, 9637, and Private 1st Cl. Edward A. G. Wylie, 9642.) SSU 625, with French Army (Thru Chief of Service U. S. A. A. S. with FA).
1. I have heard with great pleasure of your fine conduct during the period April 19th to 22nd in the fighting near Seicheprey, as set forth below:
2. The soldierly qualities exhibited by you on this occasion are admired throughout the command.
Deputy Chief of Staff
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
14790-A-261 (PF) France,
September 25, 1918.
From: The Adjutant General
To: Chief of Service, U. S. A. A. S. with French Army
1. The Commander-in-Chief in the name of the President has awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to the following named member of your command for the act of extraordinary heroism described after his name:
SSU 625 With French Army
For extraordinary heroism in action near Soissons,
France, 3 September 1918
Next of kin:
2. Accompanying herewith is a Distinguished Service Cross which has been assigned to Private Fitzgerald, and which you are authorized to present to him in the name of the Commander-in-Chief.
3. Your attention is called to the provisions of Par. 4, Bulletin 25, G. H. Q., A. E. F., 9 May 1918, Every effort will be made to accompany the presentation of this cross with as impressive ceremony as possible.
4. Attached hereto is a certificate which you are requested to fill out and sign and forward to these Headquarters after the actual presentation has been made.
5. Receipt of this Cross will be acknowledged immediately by wire.
By command of General Pershing:
32 Corps d'Armée
Citation à l'Ordre du Régiment
Le Colonel Weiller, Commandant 129ème Régiment d'infanterie cite à l'Ordre du Régiment:
En campagne, le 27 Juin 1918.
Commandant 129ème Régiment d'infanterie.
du Nord et du Nord-Est
Bureau du Personnel
Ordre No. 11.549 "D" (Extrait)
Après approbation du Général Commandant en Chef les Forces expéditionnaires américaines en France, le Général Commandant en Chef les armées Françaises du Nord et du Nord-Est, cite à l'Ordre du Régiment:
Pour Extrait Conforme:
le 15 Novembre 1918.
Le Général Commandant en Chef
Bureau du Personnel
O r d r e No. 11,999 'D" (Extrait)
Après approbation du Général Commandant en Chef les Forces expéditionnaires américaines en France, le Maréchal de France, Commandant en Chef les Armées Françaises de l'Est, cite à l'Ordre du Régiment:
Pour Extrait Conforme:
le 29 Novembre 1918.
Commandant en Chef les Armées Françaises de l'Est,
Bureau du Personnel
O r d r e No. 12,416 "D" (Extrait)
Après approbation du Général Commandant en Chef les Forces expeditionnaires américaines en France, le Maréchal de France, Commandant en Chef les armées françaises de l'Est, cite à l'ordre d e la Division:
le 18 Décembre 1918.
les armées Françaises de l'Est,
Elverdinghe le 27 Avril 1915.
Le Médecin Aide-Major de 1ère Classe Borderes Emile, Médecin-Chef du relai d'ambulance d'Elverdinghe, à Monsieur le Médecin Principal de 1ère Classe Collinet, Directeur du Service de Santé de la 45e Division.
J'ai l'honneur de vous rendre compte que les Sections Sanitaires Automobiles Anglaises et Américaines qui nous sont attachées ont assuré avec le plus grand dévouement l'évacuation de nos blessés sur Poperinghe malgré leur nombre considérable, (près de 3000 en cinq jours).
Je dois en outre signaler le courage avec lequel ils ont assuré leur service sans interruption malgré le bombardement du village d'Elverdinghe, des routes qui y donnent accès, et même du petit château où était installée l'ambulance.
Des obus étant tombés à quelques mètres de notre local, nous avons été obligés, sur l'ordre de M. le Général de Division Quiquandon, de l'évacuer et nous avons pu transporter rapidement nos blessés et notre matériel à notre nouveau local grâce au sang froid et au dévouement des Sections Sanitaires Anglaises et Américaines.
Le 5 Mai, 1915.
D. A. B.
Le Colonel Monier, Chef d'Etat-Major de la Direction des Etapes et Services du Détachement d'Armées de Belgique, à M. Andrew, Inspecteur du Service des Ambulances de "Hôpital Américain à Neuilly s/Seine.
J'ai signalé au Général commandant le Détachement d'Armées de Belgique le dévouement dont n'a cessé de faire preuve, depuis son attachement au D. A. B. la Section Sanitaire Automobile sous votre direction.
J'ai l'honneur de vous adresser la lettre que le Général Putz, commandant le D. A. B. a bien voulu me transmettre, en me priant de vous la faire parvenir. Je suis heureux d'y joindre mes félicitations personnelles.
Veuillez agréer Monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments de considération très distinguées.
Le 16 Février, 1916.
Le Médecin Aide-Major de lère Classe Rochu, Médecin-Chef du G. B. D. à M. le Lieutenant Commandant S. S. U. 1.
J'ai l'honneur de vous faire connaître que pendant toute la durée du bombardement dans le secteur de Vic-Fontenoy, la S. S. U. No. 1 a assuré le service périlleux de l'évacuation des blessés avec sang froid, zèle et dévouement.
Tous vos conducteurs sont dignes d'éloge, et je signale particulièrement à votre attention le conducteur Wolver ton qui, malgré le bombardement très rapproché de sa voiture, a continué son service avec la plus belle assurance.
D. A. B.
Le Général Putz Commandant le Détachement d'Armée de Belgique, à Monsieur A n d r e w, Inspecteur du Service des Ambulance de l'Hôpital Américain.
Mon attention a été appelé sur les précieux services rendus au D. A. B. par la Section Sanitaire Automobile Américaine qui lui est attachées.
Cette Section a dû, en effet, concuremment avec la Section Anglaise, assurer l'évacuation d'Elverdinghe sur Poperdinghe des nombreux militaires blessés au cours des récents combats.
Malgré le bombardement d'Elverdinghe, des routes qui y accédent, et de l'Ambulance même, cette évacuation s'est effectué nuit et jours sans interruption, et dans d'excellentes conditions de promptitude et de régularité.
Je ne saurais trop louer le courage et le dévouement dont a fait preuve le personnel de la Section, et je vous serais obligé de vouloir bien lui transmettre mes félicitations et mes remerciements pour l'effort physique considérable qu'il a si généreusement consenti, et les signalés services qu'il a rendus.
Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de ma considération très distingués.
D. A. B.
Le 28 Avril 1916.
Le Lieutenant Outrey, Directeur des Section Sanitaires Civiles, à Monsieur le Capitaine Saingtavit, Directeur Direction des Section Sanitaires du Service Automobiles Civiles.
J'ai l'honneur de vous transmettre les rapports de M. le Médecin Aide-Major de 1er Classe Borderes Emile, Médecin Chef du relai d'ambulance d'Elverdinghe, et de M. Le Médecin Principal de 1er Classe Collinet, Directeur du Service de Santé de la 45e Division.
Je tiens à insister personellement sur le dévouement, l'esprit de discipline et le courage dont a fait preuve le personnel de ses sections.
En assurant le service dont il est question dans le rapport inclus, quatre voitures ont été atteintes par des éclats d'obus et l'une d'elle est complètement hors d'usage.
Un homme, le nommé Allen, a été blessé à la jambe.
Benjamin R. Woodworth, Esq.
6th, April 1917.
You may be interested to know and to tell the men of Section One that General Herr, in writing recently to the Clearing House, spoke as follows of your Section:
A. Piatt Andrew.
Section Sanitaire Américaine
Au Q. G. A., le 26 Juillet 1916.
Sous la direction du Lieutenant Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff, et des Officiers Américains Herbert Townsend et Victor White, la Section Sanitaire Américaine No. 1, composée entièrement de volontaires, a assuré remarquablement le service quotidien des évacuations en allant chercher les blessés le plus loin possible, malgré un bombardement parfois violent.
S'est particulièrement distinguée le 11 Juillet 1916, en traversant à plusieurs reprises une nappe de gaz toxiques sous un feu intense sans aucun répit pendant 32 heures pour emmener aux Ambulances les intoxiqués.
Signé: J. Toubert.
Section Sanitaire Américaine
Au Q. G., le 5 Novembre 1916.
Sous le Commandement du Lieutenant Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff et de l'Officier Américain Herbert Townsend en Août et Septembre 1916, a assuré l'évacuation des blessés de trois Divisions successivement dans un secteur particulièrement dangereux, a demandé comme une faveur de conserver ce service ou officiers et conducteurs ont fait preuve du plus brillant courage et du plus complet dévouement.
du Corps d'Armée
Sous le Commandement de M. le Sous-Lieutenant de Kersauson de Pennendreff et de l'Officier Américain Townsend au front depuis Janvier 1915. S'est particulièrement distinguée par un dévouement, un entrain et un courage dignes d'éloges dans l'exécution de son service spécial, en particulier devant Verdun et pendant les attaques des 26, 27, 28 Janvier 1917, au cours desquelles elle a assuré, de jour et de nuit, l'évacuation de nombreux blessés d'un poste de secours de 1ère ligne aux ambulances, par une route exposée aux vues de l'ennemi et constamment soumise au tir de l'artillerie adverse. A eu plusieurs voitures atteintes par des éclats d'obus.
Au Q. G., le 4 Octobre 1917.
Sous la direction du Sous-Lieutenant Reymond James et du Commandant Américain Stevenson, Yorke, s'est vaillamment comportée au cours de l'offensive devant Verdun, en Août 1917, faisant l'admiration de tous par sa crânerie et son zèle, en dépit du bombardement incessant des routes par gros obus asphyxiants; n'a pas interrompu son service malgré des pertes sensibles.
SSU 61, B. C. M., Paris.
I should like to send my thanks to you, to Lieutenant Reymond, and to your section for the much needed help you gave me at Verdun. For any success we may have had there was largely due your willingness to help in any way you could "break in" a green and untried crowd, and teach them all they now know about the ambulance game. It was your men who took our boys out over the roads when they first arrived, showed them how the work is done in a good section, and set for them a good example. You cant imagine what a weight it took off my shoulders to know that our drivers, out there on the roads, had other Americans who knew the job, near by when unusual things occurred.
Both you and your Lieutenant taught me many things which will be valuable if I remain as leader of a section.
My heartiest congratulations for the Croix de Guerre in Section One, they were certainly well deserved, and please remember me to your Lieutenant who was my idea of what a Lieutenant should be, as well as a mighty nice fellow.
Cdt Adj't., SSU 61.
P. C., le 21 Août 1917.
Le Colonel Pougin, Commandant la 153e Brigade d'Infanterie à Monsieur le Général Comdt. la 42e Division.
J'ai l'honneur de vous signaler la conduite absolument remarquable du détachment du G. B. D. 42 depuis son arrivée en secteur à la Carrière Sud.
Je tiens à vous signaler particulièrement:
Mon cher Camarade;
C'est à Castrier où je suis en train de me remettre de la grave blessure que j'ai reçue le 7 Septembre devant Verdun, que me parvient l'heureuse nouvelle de la citation à l'ordre de l'Armée obtenue par le S. S. U. No. 1. J'ai vu à l'oeuvre votre brillant personnel et je suis enchanté d'apprendre qu'en a rendu justice à son magnifique allant, à son endurance, à son courage et à son dévouement. Je vous adresse, aussi qu'au Lieutenant Stevenson, mes plus chaleureuse félicitations.
Médecin Divisionnaire de la 69e.
151 Régiment d'Infanterie
S. P. 134, le 11 Août 1918.
Le Médecin A. Major, Chef de Service à Monsieur le Lieutenant Stevenson, SSU 625.
J'ai l'honneur et le plaisir de vous communiquer Extrait de la Décision du Régiment en date du 10 Août & XI "Félicitations"!
Je me fais un vif plaisir d'ajouter mes propre félicitations à celles du Colonel du 151e Régiment. Ce plaisir est d'autant plus grand que j'ai eu moi-même l'occasion fréquent d'admirer le courage et le sang froid des conducteurs de votre formation. Avec de tels hommes je suis toujours certain du bon fonctionnement des évacuations, et en particulier pour l'affaire du 9 Août ils ont été dessus de tout éloge.
Grand Quartier Général
Après approbation du Général Commandant en Chef les Forces expéditionnaires Américaines en France, le Maréchal de France, Commandant en Chef les Armées Françaises de l'Est, cite à l'Ordre d e l'Armée:
Commandant en Chef les Armées Françaises de l'Est
Pour Extrait Conforme:
with the French Army.
Feb. 11, 1919.
Good for old Section 1. George End just brought me the news that you had just received the second Army Citation that you had been working for so long, If it brings the fourragère with it you will have something that you can be proud to wear and know that it was not won by evacuating from a hospital but by the same voluntary spirit of hard unselfish work that has been the tradition of the section since its very beginning in 1915. If they have boosted the requirements and don't give you the fourragère you will still know that you have the banner section of the service, as it always has been, and that despite many changes and innovations, the section has remained the same in its effectiveness and efficiency and above all, its traditions. It is you that have kept up these traditions, and after three years with the section you are lucky enough to see the finish with it and I hope to take it home. I only hope you will parade it along Fifth Avenue as the First American Ambulance Section to take the Field in France, and the one that has done a good deal more than its share to make the service as well known as it is.
I would like to have been there to have a seat at the big celebration that I know that you had and to tell everybody in the section just what J think of them. The pride I always had in Section 1 has not diminished one bit, and it is proved now more than ever that that pride is justified.
With best wishes for a speedy ending and a speedier trip home,