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January 2023

Taps image with spacer 12252022

Every day without fail, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time, Taps is sounded at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC, honoring those who perished in the ‘War That Changed the World’ and all who have served in the armed forces of the United States. The Daily Taps program now provides a unique opportunity to dedicate a livestreamed sounding of Taps in honor of a special person of your choice, while supporting the important work of the Doughboy Foundation. Choose a day, or even establish this honor on a date in perpetuity. (In the image above, Taps was sponsored in honor of members of five families on December 25, 2022.) Click on the image to learn more about how you can sponsor Daily Taps to honor a loved veteran.

World War I Navy Nurse Namesake for New Destroyer Continues to Inspire a Century On

Lenah Higbee

Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee, a pioneer in Navy nursing in World War I, got a lot of recognition in December 2022. Higbee, who received the Navy Cross for her distinguished service combating the Spanish flu during World War I, was the first women to have a U.S. Navy warship named for her, and on December 8, DDG 123, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, became the second destroyer to bear her name. Nurses were the first women to serve in the U.S. Navy, beginning with the official establishment of the Navy Nurse Corps in May 1908. Higbee was one of the original 20 Navy nurses known as the Sacred Twenty. She served as the second superintendent of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during World War I. Higbee’s service in World War I was further recognized last month when the Veterans Administration named her the #Veteran of the Day on December 26.

County Clerk Seeks To Return Unclaimed Historic WWI Medals to Vets’ Families

Kendall County WWI medal

Kendall County, IL Clerk of the Circuit Court Matthew Prochaska, while digitizing court records from the turn of the 20th century, found a box of unclaimed World War I medals that were issued by the Kendall County Board in 1919 to all Kendall County veterans who served in the World War from 1917 to 1919. Efforts are now underway to locate the families of the eleven veterans whose medals, in the original packaging, were found in the court file. Click here to read more about this historical discovery, and  the county's efforts to "get these medals returned to the heroes who earned them."

How Black World War I Veterans Shaped the Civil Rights Movement in America

African American soldiers

The hundreds of thousands of African Americans who served in the U.S. Army during World War I and returned home as heroes soon faced many more battles over their equality in American society. While they were celebrated in the streets of New York, they also soon encountered a wave of hatred and violence. Chad Williams, the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History and the author of “Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era,” sat down with BrandeisNow to discuss the aftermath of World War I for black people in America. Click here to read more, and learn how the African-American experience in the war, and in the postwar period, influenced the civil rights movement.

Ohio’s Black World War I Sailors: Forgotten U.S. Servicemen

African American Sailors from Ohio

The service and sacrifice of 6,750 Black sailors served in the United States Navy in World War I is often overlooked. Paul LaRue, a former member of the Ohio WWI Centennial Committee, sees Black History Month as “an excellent opportunity to discuss these forgotten servicemen, including those who came from Ohio.Click here to read Paul's entire article, and find out more about the the 55 African American World War I sailors who enlisted from the Buckeye State, including two who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Unfinished Business of Democracy: Lincoln, Wilson and the Issue of Race

The Unfinished Business of Democracy

Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson are two presidents who led the nation in fighting for a united democracy in wars of unexpected magnitude and duration with high ideals, and they each oversaw many successes. But both presidents addressed the issue of race in ways that had serious consequences – intended and unintended – and left unfinished business. The National World War I Museum and Memorial explores these matters in “The Unfinished Business of Democracy” on Tuesday, February 21. Click here to read more about this important program, and learn how to attend the event in person or virtually.

“A Journey Of Research & Learning That Continues To This Day”

George Hedges Jr.

Like many students of World War I, I took an interest upon learning that a family descendant fought in the Great War.” So begins George Hedges, Jr.'s moving story of his research and discoveries about his great uncle (also named George Hedges) and his service as an American soldier in World War I. Click here to read the entire essay, and follow what became "a tremendous learning experience" that is now available online to inspire others to do similar inquires. 

Not To Keep: A Novel of Florida and World War I

Not to Keep book cover

Florida author Rebecca J. Johnston will speak about World War I, Floridians returning from the war, prohibition, the Bonus Army, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, and the process of writing these topics into her novel, “Not to Keep” on Saturday, January 21 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm, at the Matheson History Museum in Gainesville, FL. Registration for in-person attendance can be found here, and registration for online Zoom attendance can be found here. Click here to learn more about this new book that follows the lives of five young friends as they grow from their shared childhood in North Central Florida through their experiences in World War One, and their return home from war. 

Sharing Stories and Record of the Great War “Creates a Bond of Admiration”

Good War Great Men 2nd edition cover WW1CC logo

After Andrew Capets' book Good War, Great Men was published in 2017, an interesting (and sometimes unnerving) phenomena  began to occur: "Not long after my book was published, I soon began to receive emails and phone calls from descendants and family members related to this battalion wanting to express their gratitude for the history. To my surprise, I also started to receive photographs, and various relics from the era related to the unit, some of which I knew I could not keep.Click here to read about some of those interactions with family members of World War I veterans, all speaking to the widely-felt need to "understand more about those who served."

Professor Mines Marine Corps History for Book on World War I Cartoons

The Mud and the Mirth cover

History professor Cord Scott hopes his new book, “The Mud and the Mirth: Marine Cartoonists in World War I,” adds insight into the lives of ordinary Marine riflemen in World War I as the memory of that conflict has faded into history. “Cartoons and comic strips and any sort of illustrative art can tell us more about history than just simple pictures,” Scott said. “It gives us insight of what your average individual was thinking about, and it also gives us an insight into what they think is humorous.” Click here to read more about this unique book that "offers a unique perspective into the realities of life in the trenches," as well as into the humorous minds of Marines.

During WWI, Missouri’s Home Guard filled in for the state's National Guard

The Missouri Home Guard cover

World War I depleted the states’ National Guard troops, sending them overseas. Missouri was one of the states that backfilled the domestic duties with unpaid volunteers. Missouri was among a handful of states that implemented a volunteer, unpaid version of the National Guard. Petra DeWitt, author of “The Missouri Home Guard: Protecting the Home Front during the Great War” notes that “For some it was simply patriotism, the willingness to do one’s best to help in the war effort.” Click here to read more about the new book, which describes how “hundreds of businessmen, factory workers, and German Americans seeking to prove their patriotism” joined  the Guard and “patrolled the streets, paraded, and trained to alleviate fears of riots and German saboteurs.”

WWI Having a Pop Culture Resurgence?

All Quiet on the Western Front snip

So asserts Douglas Laman, writing on the Collider web site, and maybe he has a point. He asks "Why has it taken so long for this particular global conflict to come to the forefront of cinematic storytelling, though? Why have World War II and the Vietnam War been so often chronicled in movies, but World War I has been left on the sidelines?Click here to read his answers to that question, and get a good list of the recent titles that have "begun to fill in the gaps in cinematic depictions of World War I."

Researchers Studying Whether Some WWI Vets Were Intentionally Not Honored

Researchers Studying Whether Some WWI Vets Were Intentionally Not Honored

The Sequoyah National Research Center, based at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is partnering with the George S. Robb Center for the Study of the Great War at Park University as part of the Valor Medals Review Project, an investigation determination to determine whether soldiers should be posthumously recognized with a higher decoration. Erin Fehr, assistant director and researcher at Sequoyah, is researching to discover if there was discrimination towards Native Americans in the awards. Click here to read more, and learn about the database for submitting the names of those of Native American soldiers and sailors who should be included in the review effort.

Sgt. Alvin York: From Blacksmith to Legendary World War I Marksman

Sgt. Alvin York

The SOFREP military matters website takes an in-depth look at Sergeant Alvin York, "a United States Army soldier and one of the most decorated American soldiers of World War I. Born in rural Tennessee, Sgt. York had little formal education but was an excellent marksman from a young age. In 1917, he enlisted in the Army, where he served with distinction on the battlefields of France." Click here to read the entire article about this "iconic example of heroism associated with joining the US Military during WWI – one which will continue to live on through the present generations for decades to come."

Bright Side Of Dark Times: How WWI Forced Technological Advancements

Doughboys in village

The dark times of World War I created a surge in technological advancement that has impacted our lives today. Although the war had devastating consequences, it can be argued that its aftermath has provided a bright side in the form of technological advancements that have changed our world. The war also encouraged inventors and scientists to come up with new inventions for medical, communication, and transportation purposes. Many of these inventions are still in use today, helping us to lead better lives. Click here to read more, and learn about some of the new technologies invented during World War I that are familiar in our everyday lives in the 21st Century.

Navy Built 12 Concrete Ships for WWI


During World War I, steel for building ships was in short supply. While American President Woodrow Wilson was determined to keep the U.S. out of the war, he didn’t want America’s Merchant Marine to be left unbuilt. So he approved the construction of 24 ships made from concrete to the tune of $50 million ($11.4 billion adjusted for inflation) to help build American shipping capacity. Click here to read more about these seeming contradictions-in-terms (concrete ships??) and find out that, 100+ years later, many of these rock-solid hulls can still be found in American waterways...though not necessarily afloat...

Historic Hangars of the Pacific Northwest that date back to World War I

Shell House hanger U of Washington

A weathered hangar at Jefferson County International Airport has housed plenty of aircraft maintenance and aviation history, all the way back to World War I. On the shores of Lake Washington is an all-wooden hangar built during World War I to house seaplanes that were used to train naval aviators. Click here to read the whole fascinating article about these two amazing artifacts of World War I aviation, both still providing shelter from the weather today.

Rare Atlas of the First World War at LOC

WWI Atlas page

Prepping for an October event at the Library of Congress named ““Explore the Depths of the Geography and Map Division,” LOC Reference Specialist Cynthia Smith was searching for maps to display when she encountered a unique atlas titled The Deseret News Atlas printed in 1914 for the Deseret News Publishing Company in Salt Lake City. Intrigued by some of the charts in the volume, she looked further and encountered a remarkable document: a World War I atlas titled The World’s Greatest War, first edition printed in 1914, a more detailed edition was printed in 1917.  Click here to read more about this amazing World War I atlas, and learn just how rare a document it is (hint: very rare indeed).

America’s World War I Commission on Training Camp Activities

Commission on Training Camps poster

The idea for the Commission for Training Camp Activities (CTCA) emerged before the United States went to war. In August of 1916, with the prospect of American involvement in World War I becoming an increasingly greater possibility, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker sent urban reformer Raymond Fosdick to observe the conditions of army camps located on the Mexican border. Fosdick reported terrible scenes of disorder, drunkenness, and sexual immorality.  As a response, when the United States did enter the war in April of 1917, the War Department quickly established the Commission on Training Camp Activities, with Fosdick at its head. Click here to learn more about the recreational morale program that the American military hoped would eliminate "the evils…traditionally associated with camps and training centers.”

The Last Man To Die In World War I

Henry Gunther

World War I ended precisely on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month of 1918. At the moment the bells struck and the guns went silent, a body fell in a French village. Henry Gunther was a bank clerk from Baltimore, drafted the year before. He’s listed as the last man killed in World War I. But Gunther’s case might more accurately be labeled “suicide by enemy fire.” Click here to read the entire article on the Veterans Breakfast Club web site, and learn how Gunther's obsession "to prove his loyalty and courage" may have led to a tragic small act at the end of the tragic Great War.

KC Chiefs Celebrate Doran Cart with Tour of The Hall of Honor & His Own Jersey

Doran Cart with Jersey

Doran Cart retired as the Senior Curator of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in downtown Kansas City last month after 33 years of faithful service. He is largely responsible for the Museum and Memorial’s rise into one of the most comprehensive collections of World War I objects on Earth. He’s also an enormous fan of the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. In celebration of his tremendous career, the Chiefs provided Cart with not only a private tour of the team's Hall of Honor, but also a custom jersey bearing his name.  Click here to read the whole story of how Doran “loves our team so much, and for all of the commitment he’s shown to the museum and to our city, we wanted to do this for him.”

Doughboy MIA for January 2023

1LT Charles Bowcock Sands mug

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is First Lieutenant Charles Bowcock Sands of the 27th Aero Squadron.

Lieutenant Sands was born on 7 February 1895 in Richmond, Virginia in two of the oldest families in Virginia. Lieutenant Sand’s paternal grandfather, Alexander Hamilton Sands Sr., was a prominent lawyer and Judge Advocate General of the Confederate Army. His maternal great-grandfather, John Jacob Bowcock, had been a Colonel in the Confederate Army. His mother, Mary Stuart Bowcock, could trace his roots back to one of the first settlers of Virginia.  Lieutenant Sand’s father, Conway R. Sands Sr., was a prominent lawyer in Richmond and a State Senator for Henrico County to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State Legislature.

Not much is known about Lieutenant Sands early life.  What is known is that before the war Charles Sands attended the University of Richmond as a student while working as a clerk for the First National Bank of Richmond and then as a clerk with TW Wood & Sons, an agricultural company. At the beginning of America declaring war on Germany Charles B Sands was accepted into the Air Service Signal Corp’s as an aviator trainee.  Charles Sands completed the U.S. Army School of Military Aeronautics (Ground School) at Cornell University, New York and then sent to Selfridge Field in Mount Clemens, Michigan for Primary Flight Training. Upon completion he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant Reserve Aviator in the Air Service and on 4 December 1917 boarded the SS Northland, sailing from Philadelphia to France as part of the 10th Aero Squadron.

Once in France Lieutenant Sands was sent to Advance Flight Training and Gunner School. The training, the poor weather in France, and the lack of training aircraft would take up the first half of his time in France in 1918. On 23 July 1918 Lieutenant Sands was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron as a Pursuit Pilot. Unfortunately, on his third flight over enemy lines he would be shot down. It was the worst day in the 27th Aero Squadron’s history losing six pilots. Three would be prisoners of war, one would be killed, and Lieutenant Sands and First Lieutenant Jason Hunt would be missing in action.

1LT Charles Bowcock Sands

On 1 August 1918 the 27th Aero Squadron was ordered to provide high protection cover for a Salmson 2A2 tasked to take photographs of enemy activity and positions in the vicinity of Fismes, France.  Seven Nieuport 28’s of the 27th Aero Squadron were sent out and linked up with the Salmson crew at 7:40 in the morning. As the photographic aircraft conducted its mission eight enemy Fokkers attacked the Nieuports of the 27th Aero Squadron from above and behind.  First Lieutenant Jerry Cox Vasconcells reported “At the very beginning of the fight I observed the last Nieuport on the right of my formation go down in a spin. I do not know whether he was out of control, but apparently so. I later learned that Lt. Sands was in this position.” A few other pilots saw a Nieuport go down but that was the last anyone would ever see of Lieutenant Charles Bowcock Sands. 

Well after the war Lieutenant Sands uncle, Alexander H Sands Jr., received a letter from a records clerk in Germany named Fred Meinke who worked for the German Imperial Archives in Potsdam. In the letter Mr. Meinke provided a map of the area LT Sands and the 27th Aero Squadron would have operated.  Indicated on the map were thirteen different locations of Allied aircraft that went down during the month of August 1918 in that area.  Of these he indicated number eleven as the likely location for Lieutenant Sand’s aircraft and remains. Mr. Meinke stated that Lieutenant Sands was shot down by Vizefeldwebel (Vice-Sergeant) F. Hemmer of Jasta 6. However, this was the wrong German pilot as Hemmer shot down Lieutenant Whiton of the 27th Aero Squadron and was captured.  It is understood that Lieutenant Sands was shot down by the famous Leutnant Ernst Udet for his 41st victory. Udet would finish the war as Germany’s highest surviving ace with 62 victories.

The Graves Registration Service received the map information and searched the area thoroughly but was unable to find Lieutenant Sands’ remains.  Using the map they were able to locate the remains of an unknown American Aviator, six and half miles from the location where it was thought Lieutenant Sands went down.  At the time the only way to confirm the identity of a set of remains was through dental records. Although the Graves Registration Service felt these unknown remains were those of Lieutenant Sands they had no ability to identify this positively. Lieutenant Sands had no known dental records either in the United States or with the American military. The Unknown’s dental information did not match any other American Aviator who was missing in the area. The Unknown remains were designated U-1000 and were buried as an “Unknown” in the Aisne-Marne American Military Cemetery, near the village of Belleau, France, in Plot B, Row 13, Grave 57.

Sands family marker

Doughboy MIA has an Aviation Team dedicated to locating missing in action American Aviators of World War One. Lieutenant Sands’ MIA case is actively being researched by this team with the goal of finding and repatriating his remains. Until that is accomplished, First Lieutenant Charles Bowcock Sands is listed on the Tablets of the Missing, Aisne-Marne American Military Cemetery and has a cenotaph alongside his mother and father in the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

Would you like to be involved with solving these cases? You can! Make a tax deductible donation to our non-profit organization today by visiting www.doughboymia.org and help us bring them home! Doughboy MIA will be mounting another mission to France this summer. Help us do the best job possible and give today.

Merchandise from the Official
Doughboy Foundation WWI Store

Poppy Flag

WWI Poppy Flag 5’x7′

  • A Doughboy.shop Exclusive
  • Premium, Dual sided Poppy Design
  • 5’ x 7’ Digital Nylon
  • Grommets for rigging
  • Limited Edition
  • Made in USA
WWI Poppy Lapel Pin

Poppy Lapel Pin

Back In Stock!!

  • Exclusive Commemorative WW1 Poppy Lapel Pin
  • Soft enamel color design
  • Approx. 1.5 inch in dia.
  • Standard military clasp

Bugler/Poppy Commemorative Coin

A great keepsake to commemorate Daily Taps at the National World War One Memorial in Washington, DC.

  • A Doughboy.Shop Exclusive Commemorative Coin
  • The double-sided design showcases the iconic Doughboy Bugler / Poppy design
  • Soft enamel color detailing
  • Measures 1 3/4″
  • Bronze alloy w/ nickel-silver finish
  Bugler-Poppy Commemorative Coin

Proceeds from the sale of these items will help build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

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

Willie Edward Richardson

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


Willie Edward Richardson

Submitted by: Sherrill Rayford, Ed.D. {Grandchild}

Willie Edward Richardson born around April 4, 1895. Willie Richardson served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service

Memories: Willie Richardson, A World War I Veteran

My grandfather, Willie Richardson, was a veteran of World War I, and his experiences symbolize the service and family life of many African American soldiers. Unfortunately, their military service occurred during a period of “nots.” They could not eat in certain businesses; they could not live in certain neighborhoods; their service was often overlooked or devalued. Yet, my grandfather and those soldiers defended the world and prospered within limitations.

Yet, the invisibility of my grandfather’s service seemed invisible in 2018 as I viewed a pictorial display of World War I soldiers in an Arkansas Welcome Center. None of the soldiers in the display looked like my grandfather. Therefore, I contacted the Arkansas visitor’s bureau to express that soldiers of color should be commemorated too. The communication exchange was informative and productive as I learned of efforts to find and preserve the service of Arkansas’ soldiers of color during World War I.

Read Willie Edward Richardson's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

Honor the Stories of Service of ALL Who Served.

Do Your Bit to Help Build the new National World War I Memorial.

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