We regret that every effort to obtain more detailed information covering this Section, which was supposed to hail from the University of Florida, ended in failure. They did exist as is attested by the group photograph in Appendix "D." The most important confirmation of the Section's presence on the French Western Front is a copy of the following citation: Under Order No. 12.8.19 "D," dated January 12, 1919, General Headquarters, French Armies of the East, awards the Croix de Guerre with the Silver Star to Section 535: "Under the command of French Second Lieutenant Vial and American Second Lieutenant Duhring, in the combats of October 5 and 6, 1918, it accomplished the removal of the wounded with untiring devotion, in a violently bombarded sector to which access was particularly difficult."
The men who wanted to volunteer for the service, but were not necessarily sponsored by any organization or group, would sign up at the Cooper Battalion Hall in Philadelphia where they were formed into a Casual unit. Early in June they established a section at Camp Crane which was given a number. Casuals were assigned to sections to bring them up to full strength, and as new men came into camp the Casual Section was filled up again. The need for replacements appeared in sections already in France, so one of the first Casual units to go overseas was Section 536, with the second contingent on December 26, 1917.
It should be understood that the individual reports which we received from members of this section could only cover the period up to the time that the individual was used as a replacement. We can assume that the "casuals" who met together on permission or elsewhere, carried on the "bull" session par excellence. Everybody should know that "bull" is the generic, term applied to all information, predictions and reminiscences relating to war. The same thing went on then and will go on today and tomorrow. As Lansing Warren of the Field Service said, " 'Bull' is the insurmountable obstacle to a lasting peace even if the war does stop some day. It occurs wherever two or more soldiers meet." You ask, what has this to do with Section 536? Well, the only answer we can give is that the casual section man could tell many "stories" which no one could confirm!
Section 536 arrived in France at Brest, in early January 1918, and went by camion to the outskirts of Paris where they were met by a former Field Service non-com and a USAAS non-com, and given assignment to report to a base camp, to remain until called to the Front as a replacement. In most cases they were billeted in French barracks with French replacement troops: As far as the men of Section 536 are concerned, they could be found in Parc "C," Parc "F," SSU 598, SSU 650, or the Paris Repair Garage.
Anyone, who might be looking for the history of Section 537 activities, is requested to refer to the Reviews covering sections which served in Italy and see the report on Section 527.
This was made up of a group of volunteers from the Tioga area in Northeast Philadelphia. They were mustered into the service at the Cooper Battalion Hall. Before leaving for Allentown on June 12, 1917, a number of men from other parts of the city and the State of Pennsylvania were enlisted to bring the section up to full strength. They were originally billeted in the hog pens at Camp Crane and took part in many hikes. A report indicates that at the time of the formation of the second overseas contingent, led by Major J. Ryan Devereux, Section 538 was broken up and the men sent to other sections to bring them to full strength. The remaining men were assigned to Casuals.
Their first commander was Lt. W. G. Phillips, and when the section broke up, the men went into units which were assigned to France and others to Italy.
Few sections have reports as complete in every detail as this one, and it seems a shame to have to cut so much out. But our space is limited and every effort is made to keep the Section Reviews to the main action facts. The Section 539 was enlisted on the campus of Amherst College, most of the men being students. Their enthusiasm had been aroused by the usual inducements put forth by the recruiting officer. In any event, the Section made a fine record following their arrival in Allentown on June 6, 1917, where they were billeted in the "Bantams and Pigeons" Exhibition Building. The Section was selected, with others in Captain Chaudron's Battalion, for drill honors, and joined the first contingent. The Section 539 sailed on the S.S. San Jacinto, one of a convoy of five ships escorted by the U.S.S. Montana, and experienced the "usual" submarine attack. This one was for real, but they escaped and landed at St. Nazaire. There were many weeks of stevedore work.
Early in October 1917, they were assigned to the Champagne sector at Sommes-Suippes where they relieved one of the early volunteer ambulance units, and were attached to the 47th French Division, Chasseurs Alpins. At this time they were driving the cumbersome Fiats. Early in November, the 47th Division was transferred to the Italian Front, and Section 539 was supposed to accompany them. In fact, they had their new Ford ambulances loaded on flat railroad cars. ready to go, when their orders were changed. Following some delays, they were assigned to the 5th French Division. They were in the defensive sectors of the Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Ypres-Lys. The section saw heavy action in the July 18 attack on the line between Soissons and Viller-Cotterets, and later beyond Soissons on the Chemin-des-Dames. Finally, the section went with the division on the offensive drive from Ypres to Deinze, on the Lys River, where they were stationed when the war ended. The section commander was Lt. John Bocock.
Section 539 went with their division into the area of Occupation at Bad Dürkheim, near Mannheim. They were relieved late in February 1919, and went to the base camp at Ferrieres, before leaving from Brest on the U.S.S. President Grant. They landed at Newport News, Va., April 2, 1919.
Section 539 was awarded two French Army citations for exceptional bravery, which won for them the coveted Fourragère, in the colors of the Croix de Guerre with Two Palms. In addition, 21 individuals were awarded the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star. The casualties listed were two wounded and several gassed.
Quite a stirring page out of a diary kept by an early member of this section, reads as follows: "Liberty Unit," alias "Fighting Forty" started in the month of June 1917, the third month of our country's entrance into the Great War. Officially, we are known as Section 40 (later 540), but among ourselves and our friends we are better and more commonly known and called the "Liberty Unit." Liberty, because the great country for which we shall serve, has stood for that above all things. Liberty, because the bell that rung out our freedom, carries that name. Liberty, because the bonds which raise the money to send us "Over There." Liberty, because the country to which we go, gave us the statue which bears this name.
"The Section flag has a blue background, with a red Geneva cross in the center of a white five pointed star, carrying out our country's colors and those of France."
Section 540, which came to Allentown from Philadelphia, was made up of men from nine separate states. They took part in all activities at Camp Crane and Guth Station, and just before the Italian Contingent left for overseas in 1918, the section was broken up to fill other units.
Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, had answered the call of the French High Commission by recruiting a company of Red Cross ambulance drivers. The number recruited at the time they were sent to the camp at Allentown, made it necessary to divide them into three sections, namely, 8, 42 and 48. As a section, No. 8 had already been given to a casual group from Philadelphia. We learn that eventually all three Western Reserve units, or those who volunteered in Cleveland, were combined into one, Section 542. The Section 548 number was never used again as far as our records show.
Section 542 was commanded by Lt. Royal P. Terry, and they took part in drills, hikes and many "details" too numerous to mention. As was so often true of these Red Cross ambulance units, they remained at Camp Crane over the winter of 1917-18, and lost personnel through transfer to other sections or other branches of the military service. We find a listing of many men, formerly in Section 542, who were involved in the reduction of the size of the units, going overseas in Section 587.
In any event, the men made a good account of themselves whether in Allentown, France or Italy. In Allentown, they were quartered in the pig pens, grandstand, Guth Station and the new barracks, at different times.
The records show that Section 542 went overseas with the Italian Contingent, and on arrival were transferred to the American Army in France. They took part in engagements on the French Western Front at St. Mihiel, Sept. 12 to 16, 1918, and in the Meuse-Argonne Sector Sept. 26 to November 11, 1918. There is no record of the divisions they served, but as they were part of the group of fifteen sections requested by General Pershing, we can assume they were attached to an American Division in the United States First Army.
We regret that no report on this section was received. When checking the section reviews for information on Section 518, from Pottsville, Pa., and found no report, we assumed that the two Pottsville units had combined. Now we must report that many inquiries sent to men listed as being members, of the two Pottsville sections, brought no replies.
Boston was one of the many cities throughout the nation which recruited a Red Cross Ambulance Company. Dr. Cunningham formed No. 17, about May 14, 1917, and with the help of two men schooled in military drill, the recruits worked on columns right and columns left for about three weeks. On June 8, the men were enlisted in the Medical Reserve Corps and were ordered to leave by train for the Concentration Camp at Allentown, Pa., on June 12. They were split into two units on arrival June 13, and given numbers 44 and 48. Section 44 (later 544) was commanded first by Lt. Rea, and later by Lt. Russell K. Dougherty.
The Section was first quartered in the Grandstand, but did the usual moving act to make room for the new recruits. They went to Betzwood, Valley Forge, Delaware Water Gap, Guth Station, Reading, Lancaster, Ft. Meyer, Va, and Washington. Paraded on Pennsylvania Avenue, but missed the reviewing stand. During this time, the first contingent with Colonel Jones had left for France, and the second contingent under Major Devereux had left for Tobyhanna.
Section 544 became part of the third contingent under Major Metcalfe, and sailed on January 9, 1918, on the H.M.S. Carmania. They entered the Halifax Harbor on January 11, and picked up convoy the next day, arriving in Liverpool, England on January 23. Went to France by way of Southampton, landing at Le Havre, and entrained for camp at St. Nazaire. Section 544 was the leader in putting on a great Minstrel Show for the base camp and other "Y" huts in the area.
On March 3rd, the section left in convoy in their Ford ambulances for Paris. On March 22, led by their French Lt. Caron, they moved through Meaux for the Front. They were attached to the 3rd French Division of Colonials in the Aisne Sector, from May 28 to June 5, 1918, working in and around Reims. Their base was established at Villers Allerand between Chalons and Epernay. Their postes were along the Marne Canal, East of Reims. Their division was in the heavy fighting in the Marne defensive of July 15 to 18, 1918, and in the counter offensive of the Aisne-Marne, July 18 to August 6, 1918. The Section worked in the Oise-Aisne Sector from August 18 to November 3, 1918.
The Section moved with their division, as part of the Army of Occupation, and spent four months in Speyer, Germany.
Section 544 received two citations from the French Army Corps, but only one was approved, because of the failure of the U.S. Congress to pass legislation regarding awards made to American troops by a foreign government. The Section did receive the second citation dated January 21, 1919, for their action at the Front, from October 6 to 10, 1918. Thirty individuals won the Croix de Guerre. Casualty records show 1 died, 1 killed, 8 wounded.
The Section was relieved in April, and left for home in May on the U.S.S. St. Louis. They arrived at Camp Dix, June 4, 1919.
Section 544 contributed several men to the "Let's Go!" show. Their baseball team went to the finals in the base camp league. They helped to put on the show, "From Brest to Broadway," for the troops on board the St. Louis.
This section was recruited in New York City and came to Allentown early in June. They were a part of Captain Chaudron's Battalion and were selected for the first contingent, led by Colonel Percy L. Jones. They sailed on the S.S. Baltic, and went by way of Halifax to pick up their convoy, arriving at Liverpool, England on September 15, 1917. They crossed the English Channel from Southampton to Le Havre, France, September 15, 1917. They proceeded to St. Nazaire where they assembled their Ford ambulances, and left for the base camp at Sandricourt on October 13.
Section 546 relieved the Norton-Harjes Volunteer Ambulance Company No. 7. Their commander was Lt. Ducasse. We do not have a record of the French Division to whom they were attached, but have a very clear schedule covering assignments at the Front.
From October 18 to 29, 1917, they were in a defensive action on the Chemin des Dames, and continued in this sector from October 29 to November 13, 1917. Following a rest period, their division went back to the Chemin des Dames sector from Dec. 17, 1917 to May 27, 1918. They were in the Aisne sector May 27 to June 1, 1918. The division then took over a defensive sector in the Vosges Mountains from June 17 to August 25, 1918.
Section 546 then went with their division into the Champagne offensive, September 26 to October 7, 1918. They took part in the Meuse-Argonne drive, October 16 to November 11, 1918. The Section record shows three wounded and two taken prisoners. They received a citation of the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, under Orders dated October 22, 1918. This covered the action of the personnel in the Battles of the Chemin des Dames and Fort de Malmaison, in May 1918.
This list of towns visited would indicate they went into the occupied territory following the Armistice: Florenville, Belgium, Nov. 25-28, Mollier, Nov. 28-Dec. 27, Moyen, Dec. 27-28, La Ferté sur Chiers, France, Dec. 28 to Feb. 15, 1919. The Section was relieved and came into Paris, Feb. 16 and 17, and were ordered to the Base Camp at Ferrieres for delousing. They then went to Brest and boarded the U.S.S. Pueblo on March 15, arriving at Hoboken, N.J., March 27, 1919. 'The Section was discharged at Camp Dix on April 4, 1919.
This section had its origin in Philadelphia. We regret that no report was ever received, in answer to requests sent to men listed as being members of this section. As no records were furnished by the U.S. Army History Department, we must assume that it was dissolved.
This unit was originally sponsored by Temple University. They had some men from Gettysburg College, and a few casuals to bring it to full strength. This Section came up from Philadelphia to the Allentown camp, early in June, and was given the number 49. They were billeted in the pig pens at first, and later in the sheep stalls. Their first commander was Lt. Joseph Denim, M.C. "Section 549," as reported by a former member, "like the flowers of the field, rose up, flourished for a couple of months, and was cut down to be swallowed up in Provisional Casual Company No. 2. Their commander was a former American Field Service man, Lt. H. P. Townsend.
"Section 549 was part of a contingent that was sent in August 1917 to Betzwood, Pa., where the Lubin Film Company was producing a propaganda film entitled, 'For the Freedom of the World.' Some of the Section went 'over the top' one evening, when a raid was to be made on the enemy's lines. Wib Van Tine carried the big American flag, and when he got to the top of the parapet, he turned and laughed in the camera. The leading man in the film was E. K. Lincoln. We never heard what they did with the film."
It was when Section 549 returned to Camp Crane that it merged with other units and became Prov. Casual Co. #2. As this unit, it joined the Major J. Ryan Devereux contingent and sailed on the S.S. Pastores, December 26, 1917. On their arrival at Brest, France, they went by train to the Base Camp at Sandricourt. There the men were sent out in small groups to bring sections of the American Field Service up to full strength, following the A.F.S. militarization into the United States Army Ambulance Service. Many of these men of old Section 549 won awards for bravery, while serving with their new ambulance sections or with the Echelon Americaine Parcs.
Although this section is listed as an entity, the fact is that the number was given to the members of the section who worked at the Camp Crane Post Exchange. We regret that we have no detailed report. We assume that its jurisdiction came under the Headquarters' officers, and as personnel changed frequently, it would be difficult to get much of a report on their activities. Every USAAC knew they were there, and some even were carried on the "cuff" of a buddy working there.
Fordham University in New York City responded to the call for men to drive ambulances in France, and Dr. Donnelly (later Captain Donnelly) recruited enough students to make up two sections. They were ordered to Allentown and mustered-in there on June 14, 1917. As usual, they took the "stable" route to the Poultry and Pigeons Building and were known to disturb the slumbers of the Penn and Princeton drill teams. When the Medical officers were assigned to other duties, Captain Connelly was replaced by Lt. Cowett who gave way to Lt. Albert E. Smith in France. Section 553 was one of the group of the first contingent selected to go over with Colonel Percy L. Jones, but got side-tracked and left on the White Star liner Baltic, Aug. 22, 1917. This ship went by way of Halifax, N.S. to pick up its convoy. They had been a part of Captain Chaudron's Battalion which had taken drill honors on the oval in front of the grandstand.
Section 553 went to France by way of England, landing there September 15, 1917, and arrived in France, Sept. 17, and proceeded directly to the base camp at Sandricourt. It is not clear whether the Section was assigned new Ford ambulances at the base camp or whether they took over old Fiat cars from a Field Service unit. In any event they were placed in command of Lt. A. E. Smith, A.A.S., and Lt. Gibiley as their French officer. Their schedule is missing from September 17, 1917 to March 1918, on the report received but their major engagements were with the 38th French Inf. Div. as follows:
1. Somme Defensive, March 27 to April 9, 1918.
2. Montdidier-Noyon Defensive, June 9- 13, 1918.
3. Aisne-Marne Offensive, July 18 - Aug. 6, 1918.
4. Oise-Aisne Offensive, Aug. 18 to Sept. 6, 1918.
5. Alsace Sector, Sept. 23 to Oct. 31, 1918.
Following the Armistice, Section 553 went with their French Division as part of the Army of Occupation and were stationed at Strasbourg.
The Section was awarded two divisional citations with the Croix de Guerre and 15 individual men received Croix de Guerre for bravery.
They were relieved and ordered to Brest and left April 13, 1919 on the S.S. Mobile. They were discharged at Camp Dix, NJ. on April 26, 1919.
In the report from which we received the information on Section 553 we learned that the Baltic had a real scare nearing the Irish coast from a German submarine. There was a confirmed report that the sub was sunk. In the battle engagements the Section lost several ambulances by bombs and many suffered shrapnel scars but none of the men were killed or wounded. Two were evacuated for illness, one dying.
This was the last of three University of Pennsylvania sections recruited on the Penn campus and mustered into the service at Cooper Battalion Hall in Philadelphia. The Section was in charge of John Barroll when they were ordered to proceed to Allentown on June 12, 1917. They were sent to the 69th Street Terminal for a fast trip on the Philadelphia and Western to Allentown and a march to the Fairgrounds. The men of the Section experienced the same let-down as that of many others when they passed through the gate. With a roll call, each man was handed an army cot and blanket and they marched away to either the cow shed or pig pens, it mattered not which in their frame of mind, but soon took up residence in the Poultry and Pigeons Building. Their partners in the chicken business were sections from W. and J., Princeton, Amherst, another Pennsylvania section and later a noisy bunch from Fordham.
Section 554 had a total of three commanders while in the U.S. Lt. Moore and Lt. Schaaf, both Medical Corps Reserves were transferred. Lt. Kenneth R. Cole, A.A.S., became their commander on the hike to Tobyhanna and remained with them throughout their war service. They left Tobyhanna in the early hours of Dec. 26th, and after an all night "jam session," arrived in Hoboken to board the S.S. Pastores.
It was about 6:30 a.m. when they marched up the gangplank and then down to the fifth level hold. The ships in the convoy were the Pastores, President Grant and cruiser U.S.S. Rochester.
There were the usual submarine scares going over, which diverted the landing from the port of St. Nazaire to Brest. Arriving at the camp outside of St. Nazaire by train, the Section was set to unpacking crates containing Ford ambulances. When these were assembled and road-tested, the Section left under their own power for Paris on February 14th, and moved to the Front on Feb. 21st.
Assignments were as follows 1. With 73rd French Inf. Division (Territorials) quiet sector. Hdqts. at Suarce, East of Belfort, not far from Swiss border. 2. With 2nd American Division, 5th Sc 6th Marines in Champagne Offensive. 3. 2nd Division leap-frogged 42nd U.S. Division at Souain, Somme-Py, Mont Blanc, St. Etienne. 4. With 26th French Inf. Division, St. Mihiel Offensive on left flank. 5. Rejoined 2nd U.S. Division, 5th Marines in Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Oct. 14 to Nov. 11. At Nonart when Armistice was signed. Moved to Soissons for rehabilitation work with Red Cross. Casualties: 1 died from wounds in Argonne, 4 wounded. Awards: Section cited in orders of 2nd Div. Chief Surgeon; 5 individual D.S.C.; 4 Croix de Guerre. Turned in ambulances at Romorantin early April, proceeding to Base Camp at Brest. Went on board S.S. Great Northern for return to U.S. Discharged at Camp Dix, N.J., April 20, 1919.
Section's only claim to fame was made at special review at Camp Crane when in front of Reviewing Officer columns went left at command of right oblique march and front lines were about to climb fence before Sergeant caught the error. Also the Section in France provided ten men for the "Let's Go!" show dancing choruses, orchestra, scenery painting and property management, indicating they were better on the boards than on parade!
This section was sponsored by the University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn., and was mustered in May 1917. They came to the camp at the Fairgrounds in Allentown, Pa., shortly after it had been leased by the War Department. The Section was first billeted in the horse cooling sheds. Their commander originally was Lt. David Van Aistyne, and was replaced in France by Lt. Earl Pardee.
Section 558 was selected for the first contingent led by Colonel Percy L. Jones, M.C. They sailed on the S.S. San Jacinto. On arrival in France, they went by train to Sandricourt. Here they received their orders to relieve one of the early volunteer ambulance units, No. 61, attached to the 42nd French Infantry Division.
On November 1, 1917, their division took over the sector to the left of Pont-a-Mousson. The Section base was at Villers en Haye, with advance postes at St. Jacques and Madieros. In January the Section was loaned to aid the evacuation of wounded of the Moroccan Division of the Foreign Legion, to their left, operating at Seicheprey. There was heavy fighting on February 11 and 12, 1918.
Their return to the 42nd Division was in March, where action was quiet up to April 22, 1918. The Division received orders to proceed to the Somme, and the Section had the opportunity to exchange the Fiats they had taken over from Section 61, to new Ford ambulances. This took place on May 1, 1918. Following their division north, they had their base at Boves, in the sector between Villers Bretonneux and Hangard. On the 22 of July, the Section was placed at the disposal of the 9th Corps d'Armée involved in a battle on the 23 and 24 of July, near Mailly sur Remeval. On the 25 of July, the Section returned to the 42nd Division. The next action was at Moreuil and Hangard where heavy work was experienced. The 42nd Division was relieved, and the Section went en repos from August 16 to the 23, 1918.
On November 1, 1918, the Section was attached to the 123rd Division, and worked with them through the early days of the month, following them during the liberation of the invaded territory until the war ended.
Section 558 had eight men wounded in action. The Section was praised in many communications from the five divisions they worked with. They received a citation of the Croix-de-Guerre with Silver Star, in Order No. 14.552, dated March 16, 1919, from the Gen. Hdqts., French Armies of the East. This cited exceptional bravery on the part of all personnel in actions at Verdun, Woevre, Somme, and on the Sambre Canal at Etreux. Six individual awards were made of the Croix de Guerre. Following the Armistice, the Section went with their division into Occupied Territory at Mulhausen in Alsace-Lorraine. They were relieved in March 1919, and returned on the S.S. President Grant.
We regret that every effort to obtain a report from this section (recorded as being sponsored by Cornell University), resulted in failure. That is a tough admission for a University of Pennsylvania man to make. We do know the section had one stalwart soul who was acclaimed the Walking Champion in later years!
Records unearthed at the War Department show that what remained of Section 560 (after Camp Crane and Guth Station), left in the Spring of 1918 with the Italian Contingent on the Giuseppe Verdi. They landed in Genoa, and after assembling their ambulances were loaned to the American Army for the offensive on the St. Mihiel salient and in the Meuse-Argonne. They evacuated in the St. Mihiel sector from September 14 to 16, 1918, and moved over to the Meuse-Argonne sector, September 26 to November 11, 1918.
No further details available.
This section which played host to many another section on March Field at Easton, Pa., was sponsored by Lafayette College. They came to Camp Crane on July 14, 1917. Bastille Day, and with the celebration going on at the Fairgrounds, we hardly think they got any kind of a reception. However, they were conducted to the sheep stalls (maybe because of the look on their faces). The Section entered into all activities, becoming a part of Major J. Ryan Devereux's Battalion, and went on to Tobyhanna to make room for the recruits. Their report shows "many" commanding officers but names none of them.
Section 561 sailed on the S.S. Pastores on December 26, 1917, landing at Brest, France, January 17, 1918, and entrained for St. Nazaire. Here they assembled their Ford ambulances, went in convoy to Paris and received orders to report to the 48th French Infantry Division with the 10th French Army. Details of their engagements are not given, except for the fact that their division took part in the Marne defensive and offensive action at Belleau Woods and Chateau Thierry.
The Section suffered casualties of one killed and two wounded. The Section was cited with the Croix de Guerre with three stars and some individual awards.
The records show they returned to the United States on May 15, 1919 on the H.R. Mallory, and were discharged at Camp Dix, N.J.
This was a Dartmouth College unit, recruited and assembled at Hanover, N.H. When they needed more men, upon their arrival in Allentown, Pa., they absorbed a group from Washington and Jefferson College. The original Dartmouth men enlisted June 4, 1917, and numbered 14 undergraduates. On reaching camp, June 15, they were joined by 10 Dartmouth graduates and a student group that had been sent in by Washington and Jefferson. Men from other colleges and universities were assigned to them to bring the Section up to 45 men, which was the French "regulation" ambulance unit size. The Section was first billeted in the cow stables, Building No. 4, and their commanding officer was Lt. Charles L. Garris. Inspections, hikes and Guth Station followed.
Section 562 joined the third contingent which left for overseas on January 9, 1918, on the S.S. Carmania. They, arrived in Liverpool on January 23, and crossed the channel to Le Havre, France on February 3rd. They took the 40 and 8 to St. Nazaire, where they assembled ambulances, did guard duty and smoothed out the rutted fields. They left their ambulances behind and mounted again a box-car deluxe ride to Ferrières-en-Gatinais Here the Section did more manual labor, erecting barracks, and aided in establishing the new Base Camp which was moving from Sandricourt.
On April 10, 1918, Section 562 was ordered to Paris, to replace Section 649 at the Military Red Cross Hospital No. 1, located at Neuilly. During the following months, the Section evacuated wounded of all nationalities from trains and river barges, and handled some calls to the postes as far as Meaux.
On October 29, the Section was assigned its French personnel and prepared for the drive on Metz. At Nancy, new orders were received, attaching the Section to the 18th French Division. The Section went with them into Germany, as part of the Army of Occupation. Traveling through Lorraine to Saarbrucken, they finally reached the Rhine at St. Goar on February 22, 1919. The Section remained there until ordered to Brest, where they went on board the U.S. Cruiser St. Louis on May 23, 1919, and headed for home. "From Brest to Broadway" must have claimed some members of 562.
The Section report shows that action was mostly in the defensive sectors of the Aisne and Champagne-Marne. They had just reached the Aisne-Marne offensive when the war ended.
The best thing that happened to Section 562 was when they lost three brave men to Section 554. It was a real loss for "562," and a three quart gain for "554"!
This section was sponsored by Hamline University and the student recruits assembled on the campus at St. Paul, Minn. in May 1917. Although not up to "regulation" strength in personnel, they were ordered to report to the camp at Allentown, Pa. Here they picked up the extra men from other groups which were being dissolved for this purpose. The Hamline section made a great contribution to the athletic activities at Camp Crane. With leaders in track events, star football players and members of the basketball team.
Section 568 was originally billeted in the sheep stalls. We did not receive information regarding their commanding officer at Allentown. The Section became a part of the Battalion which went to Guth Station, and returned to Camp Crane to face the cold winter of 1917-18. They were included in one of the smaller overseas contingents which left for France on the British liner Olympic on March 20, 1918. They landed April 4 at Brest, and went by train to St. Nazaire where they assembled their Ford ambulances. In about a month, they were ready to drive to the base camp at Ferrières-en-Gatenais. It was here that they were placed in command of Lt. Myron Wick, a former Field Service man. They were assigned to the French 28th Infantry Division, then en repose in the Vosges Mountains, July 18 to September 1, 1918. The Section saw their first real front line action in the Aisne and Meuse-Argonne sectors, September 2 to October 4, 1918, and again in the Meuse-Argonne sector, October to November 2, 1918. It was the work they did under severe bombardment of high explosives and gas, during the battles of October 19 to November 2, that won for them the citation from the 28th Division of the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, in Order No. 12.839, dated January 13, 1919. Ten individual awards were made of the Croix de Guerre. Records show four killed and two wounded.
Section 568 went with the Division, in the Army of Occupation to Metz from Nov. 1918 to May 1919. They were relieved and went to Brest where they sailed for home on the U.S. Battleship Iowa.
Some highlights of Section 568 which should be noted: in Allentown, the star of the July 4, 1917 track meet was a Hamline man; Section 568 was well represented by the fullback on the football team; a leader on the basketball team was from Hamline; and let's not forget the member of Section 568 who quarantined Guth Station with an attack of meningitis and was rushed to the Allentown Hospital, where he recovered with the loss of his hearing, and was mustered out of the Service at about the time that Section 568 left for France.
This group was organized by a former member of one of the early volunteer units who had returned home following his service in France. They were known as the Maplewood unit and arrived in Allentown August 1, 1917. They did not have the full complement of men, so were joined by men from Philadelphia and were assigned number 69, which was later changed to 569. At the time when the sections were increased to 45 men, this group was broken up and spread around to bring other sections up to full strength. Lt. Robert Grimes, M.C., was the commander of Section 569, who later was a Captain with Major Lockwood. Many of the men from 569 went with Section 565.
Section Number 569 was reactivated at a later date, so it is possible that the report of their breaking up entirely was in error. The U.S. Military History Department does report that section 569 became a part of the Italian Contingent and went to Genoa, and was one of the sections borrowed from the Italian Government by the American Army to help in the big offensive in the summer and fall of 1918. The Section worked in the St. Mihiel offensive from Sept. 12 to. 16, 1918. They then went into a defensive sector in Lorraine, from Sept. 17 to Oct. 6, 1918. Section 569 then was active in the Meuse-Argonne offensive from October 10 to November 11, 1918.
We regret that we were unable to have a report covering the U.S. divisions which the Section served.
A few days after the declaration of war, Red Cross Ambulance Company No. 12 was formed on the campus of the University of Washington. Following several weeks of first-aid, litter work, and "military" formation drilling, the men were pronounced fit and were mustered into the U.S. Army on May 25, 1917. They were sent to Fort Lawton to get uniforms.
"Except for the children, the pride didn't seem to be reflected in the faces of our public. With orders to report to Allentown, we left Seattle on June 15, led by Dr. David Hall, who was assisted by Drs. W. Corson, J. Edwards, W. J. Jones and J. Sayer. Many of the men saw for the first time that there was something beyond the Rockies, as their train sped them through the countryside, the plains of the midwest, crossing the Mississippi River, skirting the Great Lakes, through the Appalachian Mountains (hills to them) and down the Lehigh Valley to Allentown. This was to be a stop-over on their way to France!"
Here again, we cannot help but note the disgust which crept into the section personnel, as they were inspected and drilled for several months at their point of origin; then inspected, drilled, and hiked for a year at the camp in Allentown; shipped off to Italy where there were more inspections for six weeks, and then prepared to drive their GMC ambulances over the Alps to France to do evacuation work, just in time to see the Germans on the run!
So it was with Red Cross Ambulance Co. No. 12. On arrival in Allentown, they were split into three units and given numbers 70, 71 and 72. Later, the prefix 500 was added to prevent conflict with early volunteer sections already operating in France. For instance, there was a Section 12 in the American Field Service and their ambulances would have been marked with the No. 12 painted on the side. When the USAAS took over these early volunteer units, the men were reluctant to give up their old numbers.
Our records on Section 570 show that they were billeted in the horse cooling sheds. Their first commander was Lt. (later Captain) Willis Corson who was replaced by Lt. Earl Robinson. The Section took part in many hikes and was a part of the group of sections who dug in at Guth Station. On their return to Camp Crane, they became a part of the Italian Contingent which left for overseas on June 13, 1918 on the Giuseppe Verdi. To make the crossing unescorted, in the days of the submarines and German raiding vessels, was a risk, but by that time subs were confined to smaller bodies of water or off shore areas. The "Joe Green," as the USAACs called her, did pick up some subchasers or destroyers as she approached the Mediterranean.
Section 570 arrived in Genoa on June 27, and left in their ambulances on August 28, 1918 for France by way of the Mt. Cenis Pass. Their trip was a long and difficult drive through Modane, Aix les Bains (on Lac du Bourget), Chalon sur Saone, Dijon, Chaumont, Neufchateau, Toul and Pont-a-Mousson. This last place would be the jumping-off point for the American First Army offensive on the reduction of the St. Mihiel Salient. War Department records show Section 570 serving the 5th Division in that drive, from September 12 to 16. They were flanked by the 2nd Division and 90th Division, where their sister Section 571 was operating.
Section 570 then shifted to the Meuse-Argonne offensive, serving the 35th, 82nd, 78th and 77th Divisions from September 26 to November 7, 1918. The Section reports returning to the Thiaucort Sector and working with the 7th Division on November 10 and 11, 1918.
Following the Armistice, the Section was attached to the 115th Sanitary Train of the 9th Army Corps working up to Metz and Luxembourg in the Army of Occupation. They were relieved in April for the return to Brest, and homeward bound April 23, on the S.S. Manchuria. Discharged at Camp Dix, May 5, 1919.
This was another section made from the original Red Cross Ambulance Company No. 12, which was recruited and sponsored by the University of Washington in Seattle, in May of 1917. When the company was mustered into the U.S. Army for service with the French Army, they had been drilling, taking first-aid and litter instruction for several weeks. They were sent to Fort Lawton and fitted out in uniforms. On June 15, 1917, they left for the Concentration Camp in Allentown, Pa., by train, with their leader Dr. David Hall. On arrival in Allentown, the company of one hundred plus men and officers were split into three sections and given numbers 70, 71 and 72. Later the prefix 500 was added, and when all sections at the camp were ordered filled to 45 men each, Section 572 was absorbed into the other two, Section 570 and 571. Our records show that they were billeted in the horse cooling sheds at the Fairgrounds, which had been leased it, late May for the site of Camp Crane. Some members say they were billeted in the Poultry Building, but recruits were arriving so fast that the earlier sections were kept out on hikes or sent to Guth Station until new barracks could be built.
Section 571 was first commanded by Lt. Joseph H. Sayer. He was soon promoted to Captain and became assistant instructor to Colonel Percy L. Jones. When the third contingent was organized by Major W. T. Metcalfe, Captain Sayer went over to France with him as Metcalfe's executive officer. Lt. James L. Foley took command of Section 571 on December 9, 1917, and was replaced by Lt. Frederick G. Beattie when the Italian Contingent was formed. He was known as "Flashlight Freddie" on board the Giuseppe Verdi, which sailed from Hoboken on June 13, 1918.
On arrival in foreign waters, Section 571 missed seeing the Rock of Gibraltar as they kept looking for the Prudential sign. Before they knew it they were landing at Genoa, Italy, where the whole town strewed flowers in their path, as they received a tumultuous greeting in their march to the barracks. Six weeks assembling their GMC ambulances--- and they followed Section 570 by one day, August 29, 1918, through the mountainous route between the Cottian and Graian Alps to the Col du Cenis, and the Savoy Pro-Alps to Modane, France. Section 571 had been included in the group of fifteen sections to be loaned by the Italian Army to help the American Army in the great drive on St. Mihiel, and in the Argonne.
The War Department records show that Section 571 took part in the offensive operations in the St. Mihiel salient, from September 12 to 16, 1918. They served the U.S. 58th Field Artillery. From September 26 to November 11, 1918, they took part in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, serving the American 33rd Division, the 4th Division, and the 90th Division.
Following the Armistice they were serving the U.S. 5th Division and they went with them into the area of the Army of Occupation. Their records show that the Section went by way of Verdun to Montmedy, Stenay, Longwy, into Belgium and Luxembourg. On March 11, 1919, they were relieved and sent to Joinville, where they picked up some very badly worn-out ambulances to deliver to Romorantin. They went by train on April 4, to Camp Pontanezen at Brest. The Section sailed for home on April 19, on the Koningin Der Nederlanden, arriving in the U.S. at Newport News, Va. They were sent first to Camp Morrison, and then to Camp Lee where the Section was discharged on May 27, 1919.
Their casualty list included two deaths, one died March 1918, and one killed in auto accident in January 1919. One man played on USAAC football team, and two men were transferred to the Section who were in the "Good Bye Bill" show.
Susquehanna University sponsored two sections of the United States Ambulance Service. Early in June of 1917, many students were eager to serve in France, and upon the arrival of Captain Sidney E. Bateman, M.D., an alumnus of Susquehanna, from Camp Crane in Allentown, Pa., nearly sixty students and friends from Selinsgrove. Sunbury, and surrounding towns were sworn into Federal Service, in the old Alumni Gymnasium. This was completed with the help of Elmer R. Decker, M.D., who later became this group's commanding officer. Drilling took place daily from June 8 to June 20. On June 21, the men entrained for Allentown, and on their arrival there, the men were assigned to Sections 574 and 584. Claude G. Aikens was made Top Sergeant, and later became Lieutenant and was placed in command of Section 573.
Section 574 was billeted in the horse cooling sheds and later in the grandstand barracks. They marched hither and yonder, making stands at Betzwood and Guth Station. They went to Washington to parade for the President, which was nearly called off on account of rain, but did make some noise as the USAAC football team bowed before Georgetown's mudders.
The Section became a part of Major Decker's Battalion, and later were selected to go overseas in the third contingent on January 9, 1918. They went aboard the S.S. Carmania and arrived safely in England on Jan. 21, 1918, transferring to France, Jan. 23. The Section went to St. Nazaire and then to Paris, where they were assigned to the 6th French Army Division of Infantry.
The engagements were as follows: Champagne Sector, March 25 to June 17, 1918; Oise Sector, June 22 to August 10, 1918; Oise offensive, Aug. 10 to Sept. 8, 1918; Aisne offensive, September 25 to November 11, 1918.
The Section received three citations of the Croix de Guerre, and there were 12 individual awards of the Croix de Guerre for bravery under intense fire. Following the Armistice, the Section followed the 6th Division into the Army of Occupation at Dienze, in the Lorraine. They were stationed at Homburg, Saarbrucken, and Mainz, Germany.
Section 574 was relieved in April and sailed from Brest on May 6, 1919, on the U.S. Battleship Rhode Island, arriving at Boston May 19. The Section was sent to Camp Devens and later transferred to Camp Dix, N.J. where they were discharged May 27, 1919.
In the early days of May 1917, on the campus of Columbia University, a Red Cross Ambulance Company No. 5 (Question? or No. 7) was being recruited to a strength of over one hundred men. Student enlistments were augmented by volunteers from off campus. Some of these included a modest number of employees from Park & Tilford Grocery Chain, where some of the students worked on their free hours. Following the organization of the unit, Mr. Frank Tilford showed his patriotism and gratitude by generously donating a fine ambulance (not a Ford), presenting the Company colors, and outfitting every man with a warm sheepskin coat..
The recruiting had been conducted by Dr. Rockwell, soon to become a Captain, who was assisted by several other M.Ds. The company was mustered into the U.S. Army and was ordered to report to Allentown, Pa., early in June 1917. Soon after arrival, the company was broken up into three units and assigned Numbers 75, 76 and 77, which later had the prefix 500 added, Section 576 was later disbanded or absorbed into the other two sections, as no further report or information could ever be unearthed.
Section 575 became a part of Major J. Ryan Devereux's Battalion and suffered inspections, drills and hikes all over the Pennsylvania countryside. Their first commander was Lt. Joseph Baldwin, a Brooklyn M.D., and was well liked. They went to Tobyhanna, left Christmas night for Hoboken, N.J., and went aboard the S.S. Pastores (Section 575 had picked up a "stray" from the Tobyhanna Camp "brig," just as they were marching to the train at mid-night. This man was snatched from under the nose of Major Devereux, to fill a spot left vacant by a drop-out for physical reasons.) As the members of the Section did not cotton to having a jail-bird in their midst, our "stray" went AWOL, and failed to answer roll call for eleven days. Picking out a sweeter and airier spot on an upper deck rather than sleep in the lowest hold, luck would have someone stumble over him. The "someone" turned out to be the Major, during one of his mid-night inspection "trips." The upshot was a hurried courtmartial proceeding held in the ship Captain's quarters the next day, with possible charges of Desertion being changed to charges of "Absent Without leave," resulting in permanent K.P. duty on hoard ship. Later that day, the civilian Captain came by our potato peeler's pile, and putting a friendly hand on the lad's shoulder, leaned over and said, "Well, Soldier, if you come back from the war alive, you will be able to say that you are the only one who was ever court-martialed on shipboard for going AWOL."
This incident only whetted Section 575's resolve to live it down at the battlefront. Attached to the French 131st Inf. Div., the Section received an Army Corps citation. In Allentown, Lt. Baldwin had been replaced by 2nd Lt. Samuel P. Moore. In France, Lt. Moore was replaced by 2nd Lt. Arthur J. Bennett, a former member of AFS.
Their active engagements as reported by the War Department were as follows: Defensive (Lorraine) March 7 to 23, 1918; Aisne Sector, May 30 to June 5, 1918; Defensive (Ile de France) June 11 to 26, 1918; Aisne-Marne, July 18 to August 6, 1918; Defensive, August 12 to 17, 1918; Oise-Aisne, August 18 to September 21, 1918; Meuse-Argonne, September 26 to November 11, 1918.
The casualty record shows 1 died, 5 wounded. The Section won three divisional citations. There were eight individual awards of the Croix de Guerre and our "stray" was one of them. Following the Armistice, the Section went with their Division into the Army of Occupation and were based at Ludwigshaven on the Rhine. The Section was relieved on St. Patrick's Day and moved to Brest, where they went on board the S.S. Great Northern, and were discharged Easter Day, April 20, 1919.
Several members of Section 575 took part in the "Let's Go!" show.
This was one of the sections which had been recruited on the campus at Columbia University in New York City, N.Y. Dr. Rockwell had organized a Red Cross Ambulance Company of over a hundred students and friends. They were ordered to Allentown, Pa., where the larger company was split into three sections, numbered 75, 76 and 77. Later the prefix 500 was added, to prevent confusion with the numbers being used at that time by the early volunteer ambulance units. No review has been developed from information received from those giving a report on Section 576 --- only 575 and 577 have provided detailed reviews--- so we must assume that the middle section was disbanded or absorbed into other units at the camp.
Section 577 was billeted, on their arrival at the Fairgrounds at Allentown, in the sheep exhibition building. Several changes in early commanders took place because the medical officers were eventually recalled for other branches of the Service. Lt. Warren's name is recorded as a commander. Along with Section 575, the Section went into Major Devereux's contingent, leaving for Tobyhanna in the Fall of 1917, for some cold barracks in the snows of the Pocono Mountains. The Major is reported to have ordered and paid for, out of his own pocket, a couple of carloads of coal for the barracks stoves. Many men should remember well the "coal detail."
At mid-night on Christmas Day, a turkey stuffed contingent marched quietly to the waiting train which sped them to Hoboken, N.J., to board the S.S. Pastores early the next morning, December 26, 1917. They landed at Brest and went by train to St. Nazaire to assemble their ambulances.
The report on engagements and assignments is given as follows: Section 577 was attached to the 34th French Inf. Div., and later the 162nd Inf. Div. Engagements were in areas involving the battle for Mt. Kemmel in Lys River sector; Aisne defensive; Oise-Aisne offensive; Verdun sector; and at Gerardmer sector at the time of the Armistice. The 34th Division Commandant, General Savatier, cited the Section in the Orders of the Division and awarded eleven individual Croix de Guerres. The action during the period of April 24 to 30, 1918 was so severe that 13 of the Section's 20 cars were put out of commission, and they were called upon to do stretcher-bearer work and were helped by some British ambulance units. We understood the losses to the 34th Division were so great that it had to be disbanded. (We have reports of SSU sections working with this French Division later in the war, so the remnants must have been reorganized and rebuilt to fighting strength.)
Section 577 served in the Army of Occupation in Alsace and Lorraine. They were relieved and went to Brest, returning to the U.S. on the Great Northern. The Section was discharged April 22, 1919.
Casualties suffered by the Section show--- 1 died, 2 killed in action, and 7 wounded. Following the Armistice, several men transferred to Paris to take part in the show, "Let's Go!" Most important out of these were of course, Jerry Hoekstra and Bill Reardon.