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May 2023

Poppy Planting 2023

Poppies are coming to the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. Crews are busy this week installing poppy plants all across the Memorial site. The beloved red blossoms (like the one at top left) will be appearing over the next few weeks. The poppy is an enduring symbol of remembrance of World War I, Its origin as a popular symbol of remembrance grew from the landscapes of WWI, where the flowers were commonly seen on the battlefields after artillerty shells churned up the soil, prompting the seeds to germinate. John McRea was inspired by the poppies when he wrote his poem "In Flanders Fields" while serving in the trenches at Ypres.

A sculpture foundry in Gloucestershire is helping to create a memorial to US servicemen who lost their lives in World War One

The BBC in the United Kingdom published a nice article this month about the work of the Pangolin Foundry that is casting the sculpture for the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. Described by sculptor Sabin Howard as "vast and epic," the sculpture project is a challenge for even the world-renowned Pangolin Foundry, "because there is an enormous expectation for quality and consistency,” according to the Foundry's director. Click here to read the entire BBC article, including images of castings.

Pangolin and Grunley personnel inspect WWI Memorial site of sculpture

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for shipping the entire work to the Unted States in 2024, and installing it at the Memorial site. In the photo at right, Tom Povey of Pangolin (center facing camera) discusses the challenges of installing the sculpture on its platform at the Memorial site with representatives of Grunley Construction, the General Contractors for the Memorial project. 

The sculpture, which will be the largest free-standing high-relief bronze in the Western Hemisphere, is scheduled for installation in the summer of 2024. The completed National World War I Memorial will be officially dedicated in ceremonies planned for September 13.

Hello Girls header image

Legislation for Congressional Gold Medal to be awarded to the WWI Hello Girls gaining support on Capitol Hill

Legislation introduced in both the House and Senate chambers of Congress this Spring to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. Army Signal Corps telephone operators, known as "The Hello Girls," is gaining traction. Even though (as you may have noticed) Congress has been very preoccupied with a variety of issues recently, because of the support of Americans across the nation, the legislation has moved into double figures of cosponsors in both House and Senate.

With Memorial Day coming up soon, now is an excellent time for you to contact your Senators and Representatives, and tell them that you support this legislation which honors the brave American women who made tactical communications work for U.S. and French military forces on the front lines of World War I, but were denied veterans status and benefits after the war. 

You can help to get this legislation passed through both Houses of Congress and onto the President's desk for signature. Yes, you can help!  Click here for our toolbox that makes the process of reaching out to your Representative and Senators very straightforward. Please get in touch with your Senators and  Representative, and tell them that you want them to support the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in the 118th Congress. Please answer their call!

The Doughboy Foundation Delivers The Lessons Of WWI To A New Generation

New WWI Education Resources

New resources, available at no cost, help bring the consequential but often overlooked First World War to life for students through images, documentaries, and augmented reality. The Doughboy Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to World War I education, makes high-quality, compelling digital learning resources about WWI available to students and educators. The resources, which include augmented reality apps and lessons that provide an interactive and engaging way to teach and learn about World War I, can be accessed through Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, a free online education portal that empowers educators to help bring new ways of learning and next-gen tech into the learning experience. Click here to learn more about these outstanding new educational tools to help "a new generation of students to learn about this critical, yet often overlooked, chapter in our national history.

Journey Log: Centennial – Third Ride

John Sterkendries

John Sterkendries’ American motorcycle  journeys to honor World War I service were previously chronicled here, and both American and European media coverage of his project have been published here and here. Now John is back with the epic next chapter of his additional (but far from final) American journeys over the past couple of years. Click here to read the new chapters in John's epic trip around and through the United States in tribute to those who served in WWI.

Historic Jenny Plane Crashes In KY

Curtiss JN-4

A restored World War I-era airplane suffered heavy damage Monday after being forced to make an emergency landing while traveling to Bowling Green, KY. The Curtiss JN-4 single-engine biplane, known locally as the Jenny, had refueled at Anton Airport in Hopkins County when its engine suddenly lost power at 1,500 feet, according to the Kentucky National Guard. Click here to read more, and learn how, fortunately, both pilots were able to walk away from the emergency landing.

Ceremony Set For Fort Polk Name Change To Honor World War I Medal of Honor Recipient Henry Johnson

Sergeant Henry Johnson

Fort Polk will become Fort Johnson during a redesignation ceremony on June 13, 2023, in honor of Sgt. William Henry Johnson, a World War I Medal of Honor recipient from North Carolina who served in the 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment. The post is one of nine Army installations being redesignated in accordance with Defense Department-endorsed recommendations from the congressional Naming Commission. “Sgt. William Henry Johnson embodied the warrior spirit, and we are deeply honored to bear his name at the Home of Heroes,” said Brig. Gen, David W. Gardner, commanding general of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. Click here to read more about the upcoming redesignation ceremony, and learn about Johnson's heroic service in World War I.

Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial

Honoring LeRoy Hill

During the week of May 15-20, 2023, Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC was sounded in honor of World War I veteran Army PFC Leroy Hill.

American Legion Post #19 was chartered in 1921 in the name and memory of Leroy Hill. As soon as you enter the Legion’s door a large portrait of Leroy Hill is seen on the wall to your right. The black and white picture is of a young handsome man dressed in WWI Army dress uniform with a wide brimmed hat.

The day before his twenty-third birthday he traveled to Manhattan, Kansas with seven other local young men and volunteered for WWI on May 6th 1917. After physicals were conducted, only six were accepted. Manford Eaton, Harold Sebring, George McCreary, James Shean, Wiley Skinner, and Leroy Hill.

Click here to learn more about Leroy Hill.

  Army PFC Leroy Hill

The Daily Taps program of the Doughboy Foundation 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 in perpetuityClick here for more information on how to honor a loved veteran with the sounding of Taps.

A Forgotten Peace Petition Started After WWI Has Resurfaced & Is Inspiring Hope

Wales petition cover

A petition signed by three quarters of all the women in Wales emerges from Smithsonian after a century. Dreams of world peace are as old as wars. But as the women of Wales were recovering from World War I, they demanded peace in droves. Still grieving the husbands, sons, and loved ones who fought in the war, in 1923 the Welsh League of Nations United (WLNU) drafted a petition at Aberystwyth University calling for a warless world. The petition was signed by roughly three quarters of all the women in Wales and was said to be seven miles long. The document was then packed in a large oak chest and sent across the Atlantic. Click here to read more, and learn how, long forgotten in Wales, the petition was rediscovered via a plaque found in the archives at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff.

Five Things You May Not Know About Aisne-Marne American Cemetery

The chapel at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France

The chapel at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France lies at the edge of Belleau Wood, known for intense fighting and significant victory for American forces in 1918 during World War I. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Aisne-Marne American Cemetery is located near the small French village of Belleau. How well do you know this well-known site? Click here to read more, and find out five things that you may not know about Aisne-Marne American Cemetery.

Ritzy Redevelopment Planned At Belgian World War I Memorial Church Funded By US Veterans Draws Criticism

 Church of the Sacred Heart  at the Interallied Memorial in Liege, Belgium

The American veterans and widows whose donations helped build the towering Church of the Sacred Heart intended it to be an enduring reminder of the sacrifices of allied troops in World War I. Less than 100 years later, however, the run-down memorial in this eastern Belgian city is about to be converted into a high-end restaurant and climbing facility. The redevelopment has gained national attention since plans were announced earlier this year. Hundreds of Belgians have lodged complaints, with some saying the change would be disrespectful to veterans. Click here to read more, and learn about the controversy over what some say would "ensure the building’s survival" but others decry as desecration of "something allies of the First World War paid for and dedicated to the memory of all those who died in action." 

Fountain In France, Marking Where Dozens Of CT Soldiers Died In WWI, Is Focus Of Ceremony

The fountain at Seicheprey, donated in 1923 by the people of Connecticut,

The fountain at Seicheprey, donated in 1923 by the people of Connecticut, commemorates the service of the 102nd Infantry Regiment and the lasting bonds between America and France. The rededication of a fountain, a century-old gift from Connecticut to a village in France where untested troops from Hartford, Bristol and Middletown fought and died during World War I, took place on Saturday, April 22. Click here to read more, and learn how the fountain "represents the love of Connecticut, the devotion to a cause in which France and America and Connecticut and Seicheprey stood as one."

This Tiny Washington Town Has A Full-Size Stonehenge Replica. It’s Also A World War I Memorial

 Maryhill Museum replica of Stonehenge

Instead of traveling all the way to England, Washingtonians can drive for only a couple of hours or so and see a full-scale replica of the country’s iconic Stonehenge.. Located in Maryhill, Washington, right by the Oregon border, the attraction is also a World War I memorial. More than that, it was the nation’s first WWI memorial. It was dedicated in 1918, honoring the Klickitat County servicemen who died in service. Click here to read more about the small town of Maryhill, with a population of less than 100 people recorded in the census, that makes a great Washington day-trip destination with its historic and beautiful pit stops.

Veteran Of The Day: U.S. World War I Marine Corps Veteran Gene Tunney

Gene Tunney

Marine Corps Veteran Gene Tunney served in both World War I and World War II. James Joseph “Gene” Tunney was born in May 1897 in New York City, and took a special interest in boxing after his father gifted him a pair of boxing gloves on his 10th birthday to defend himself against school bullies. He fought his first pro fight in July 1915 in New York City. After the U.S. entered WWI, Tunney joined the Marine Corps in 1918 and was soon on his way to France. He was convinced to box while serving and won the light heavyweight championship of the American Expeditionary Force. And the rest, as you will learn when you click here, is American sports and military history.

From Gallipoli To Beyond The Grave — Hear The Oldest Surviving Voice From World War I

Henry Lanser

Well, dear mother and father, Ethel, Edie and Basil… this is rather a novelty to come to Australia this way,” comes the crackling voice of Henry Miller Lanser. “The past week, training is getting heavier every day. My word, the Germans or Turks, as we hear, they are making for Egypt. Whatever happens we will stop them — from laughing anyhow — when we do start.” His words, recorded sometime between December 1914 and January 1915, are believed to be the oldest surviving vocal recording in the world of an ordinary soldier in wartime. Click here to read more, and found out how the oldest existing voicemail from a soldier came to be recorded in World War I.

Remembering Uncle Perce On Silver Star Service Banner Day

Pearce Phillips

1 May 2023 was Silver Star Service Banner Day, a time to recognize those who have been awarded The Silver Star Medal, and remember the sacrifices of our wounded and ill veterans. On that day, veteran and entrepreneur Matt Phillips took time to remember his uncle, Perce Phillips, who was awarded the Silver Star for actions during the Meuse-Argonne offensive as a Private with the USA 77th Division during World War I. Click here to read more about Uncle Pearce, who is just one part of a remarkable story of the military service of an American family over the last century.

The Carnage Of World War I Leads To New Ways to Help Those With Lost Or Damaged Limbs

The critical role that wounded soldiers of played in pushing prosthetic technology to meet every kind of human need, and the emergence of new approaches to therapy for those who were injured in the Great War, are spotlighted this month.

Prosthetics and Occupational Therapy  

Many of today’s prosthetic design concepts have their roots in World War I. A major exhibit at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO connects the dots. “Bespoke Bodies,” opens in May at the Museum, and is scheduled to run for 11 months, stretching well into the spring of 2024. Click here to read more, and see how exhibit offers the public to experience a unique set of perspectives on limb loss, but also the critical role wounded warriors from WWI onward have played in pushing prosthetic technology to meet every kind of human need.

Meanwhile, therapy for wounded limbs has been part of medicine for most of recorded history.

But as Christopher Schmidt at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Caldwell, NJ explains World War I helped transform traditional therapy into two separate categories: physical therapy and occupational therapy. Click here to read the whole article, and find out how the U.S. military began recognizing the importance of mental health services for wounded and traumatized soldiers, as well as expanding the role of physical therapy.

Sailors In Olive Drab

Sailors In Olive Drab

In World War I, many U.S. Navy corpsmen served alongside the Marine Corps providing medical care to combat casualties. Their undaunting courage saved the lives of many men and earned Navy corpsmen 460 major awards and citations, including two Medals of Honor, 55 Navy Crosses, 31 Distinguished Service Medals, 2 U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medals, and 27 letters of commendation, as well as almost as many French decorations of the Croix de Guerre. Click here to read more, and learn how, despite the performance of the Navy Corpsmen, "their contributions find only small reference in the many books written about the Marine Corps in World War I."

We’re Reliving The Beginnings Of WWI And Just Don’t Realize It Yet

Ukraine Trench

Writing on the Medium web site, author Erik Brown notes that  the "Great changes in science and technology, globalization, and a belief the world is too economically linked to go to war" that inform thinking about the conflict in Ukraine in 2023, were also what the world was thinking in 1913, just before World War I erupted. Click here to read the whole thoughtful piece, and be reminded that a hundred years ago it was thought "global war was impossible. The world’s economy was too tightly linked by trade and commerce, so it would be against everyone’s national interest. Plus, even if war broke out, it would be short, because a long-scale war couldn’t be funded." 

Doughboy MIA for May 2023

Linn Humphrey Forster

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is First Lieutenant Linn Humphrey Forster.

Our Doughboy MIA of the month saved the life of his Flight Leader and leading ace of the 148th Aero Squadron, First Lieutenant Elliott Springs, when on 2 September 1918 he “shot down one (enemy Fokker) off my tail and (then) got in a bad position himself.” Springs was not able to help First Lieutenant Linn Humphrey Forster of the 148th Aero Squadron and he would go missing in action that same day between Rumaucourt, France and the Arras-Cambrai Road. That day all the 148th Aero Squadron’s “B” Flight would be shot down and lost except Lieutenant Springs.

First Lieutenant Linn Humphrey Forster was born on 3 August 1890 in Buffalo, New York to Frank H. Forster and Jessie Humphries. His father would die eight years after his birth. His resourceful and enterprising mother would work as a housekeeper to provide the means to raise Linn Forster and his younger brother Frank.

After graduating from Masten Park High School in Buffalo, Linn H. Forster attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1914 and went to work in Buffalo for Crosby Company, a metal stamping firm. On 28 June 1916 he enlisted in the Signal Corps as a member of the New York National Guard’s 2nd Aero Company, and unfortunately is listed incorrectly as Louis Humphrey Forster. The unit was never activated to join General John Pershing’s Punitive Expedition, so Private Forster went back to civilian life.

Once the United States declared war on Germany, Linn H. Forster started the process to become a military aviator. On draft registration day, 5 June 1917 Linn H. Forster listed himself as medium build and medium height, with blue eyes and brown hair. He applied and was accepted to begin training to become a military aviator. The newly enlisted Cadet Forster was sent to Cornell University’s School of Military Aeronautics, for Pre-Flight training, also known as “Ground School.” There he learned the basics of flight, aircraft engines and airframe, Morse Code, and other information about being a military aviator. He was sent to Mineola to prepare for flight training overseas. Still an Aviation Cadet, but with the “official” rank as Private First Class, Forster boarded the SS Carmania on 18 September 1917 and sailed for England with 155 other Cadets believing they were all going to Italy for their flight training.

On 2 October 1917 the group landed in Liverpool, England and were whisked off to Oxford. There Linn H. Forster and his fellow Cadets became known as the “Second Oxford Detachment” and began the process of becoming military aviators all over again. They were forced to endure another pre-flight “ground school.” Prior to leaving the United States, Forster, and several other Cadets, went through basic flight training and soloed. Because of this Forster along with forty-nine other Cadets of the Second Oxford Detachment were selected to go to Grantham and begin Flight School in mid-November.

After finishing basic flight and advanced flight training, Linn H. Forster was recommended by General Pershing on 8 April 1918 for commissioning to First Lieutenant. A month later confirmation and the commission came from Washington D.C. with dates of rank back to before departing the United States. Afterwards First Lieutenant Forster completed Aerial Fighting and Gunnery courses and by 4 July 1918 Forster arrived at the 148th Aero Squadron in Cappelle Airdrome near Dunkirk, France to fly Sopwith Camel pursuit planes. Both the American 148th and 17th Aero Squadrons would fly on the British Front and under the tactical command of the RAF.

First Lieutenant Linn Humphrey Forster

Lieutenant Forster would have his first close call on 31 July 1918. After an unsuccessful attack on an enemy balloon, four German Fokker pursuit planes attacked the flight of Camels. Forster was presumed lost in the combat by Deputy Flight Leader 1LT Harry Jenkinson Jr. But Forster was able to limp home in his badly shot up Camel.

The 148th Aero Squadron then moved to Allonville, near Amiens on 11 August 1918. During this period Forster flew daily missions, sometimes two a day, and encountered numerous enemy aircraft. On 18 August 1918 the Squadron was ordered to Remainsnil and attached to the Third British Army for its push on Cambrai. On 22 August 1918 the Squadron started the dangerous work of ground strafing and low-level bombing. That day’s mission reports Lieutenants Springs and Forster dropping bombs on the road southwest of Encoust Saint Menin and were fired on by heavy anti-aircraft batteries at Ransport on the road southwest of Queant. On 27 August 1918, Forster confirmed 1LT Springs’ tenth victory, a Fokker D.VII over Souchez-Pronville.

Lieutenant Forster’s last mission came on 2 September 1918 near Drocourt-Queant. The 148th Aero Squadron sent “A” & “B” Flights on a bombing and strafing mission along the main highway between Albert and Cambrai. As they turned home 1LT Forster and his fellow pilots of “B” Flight were ambushed from a bank of low hanging clouds by a dozen Fokker D-VIIs at 11:50 A.M. As “A” Flight dove to protect the lower “B” Flight more enemy Fokkers joined the ambush. 1LT Elliott White Springs, “B” Flight Leader immediately turned his flight to engage the enemy attack, “As soon as I would get on the tail of one Hun, another would get me and as soon as I would shake him off there would be another. Forster shot down one off my tail and got in a bad position himself.” 1LT Field Kindley, “A” Flight Leader, reported, "I noticed one of our machines which I believe to be Lieut. Forster’s with three enemy machines attacking him, so I went to his assistance.

Due to being outnumbered by enemy Fokkers and the hectic nature of the fight, no one in the 148th Aero Squadron saw what happened to Forster. His Commanding Officer would report 1LT Forster “Missing in action Sept. 2, 1918. Last seen fighting enemy aircraft between Rumaucourt and Arras-Cambrai Road.” This would be the worst day of the 148th Aero Squadron’s history losing all of “B” Flight except the leader, 1LT Elliott White Springs. Six pilots went down, one killed, one missing in action (Forster), two became prisoners of war, one crashed and died of his wounds in a Canadian Hospital, and one landed inside British lines, his aircraft badly damaged.

On 18 October 1918 1LT Forster’s only living parent, his mother was notified that her son was missing in action. In July 1931 Jessie Humphries Forster would make the Gold Star Mothers pilgrimage to see his name on the memorial in Bony, France. Her son’s remains would never be found.

Doughboy MIA has an Aviation Team dedicated to locating missing in action American Aviators of World War One. Lieutenant Forster’s MIA case is actively being researched by this team with the goal of finding and repatriating his remains. Until that is accomplished, First Lieutenant Linn Humphrey Forster is listed on the Tablets of the Missing, Somme American Military Cemetery and has a cenotaph at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.

Want to help solve the case of First Lieutenant Linn Humphrey Forster? Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization today, YOU can be part of the recovery efforts!

Merchandise from the Official
Doughboy Foundation WWI Store

Books --Lest We Forget & Honoring the Doughboys

Lest We Forget: The Great War World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. One of the nation’s premier military history institutions pays tribute to the Americans who served and the allies they fought beside to defeat a resourceful enemy with a lavishly illustrated book.  It is an official product of the United States World War One Centennial Commission and is a tribute to those who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and what would become the Air Force. It serves as a lasting reminder that our world ignores the history of World War I (and the ensuing WWII) at its peril―lest we forget. 

Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather's World War I Diary is a stunning presentation of contemporary photographs taken by the author that are paired with diary entries written by his grandfather, George A. Carlson, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Jeff Lowdermilk followed his grandfather's path through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and returned with these meticulously crafted photographs and his own engaging stories that bring the diary to life for contemporary readers. Lowdermilk's passion for World War I and military history began as a young boy when he listened to his grandfather tell his stories about serving as an infantryman-- a "Doughboy"--in Europe during the Great War.

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

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

Matteo Osso

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


Matteo Osso

Submitted by: submitter name {relationship}

Matteo Osso born around 1895, Matteo Osso served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

Entered service on September 23rd, 1917 in Gettysburg, PA, and assigned to 60th Inf Regiment. On October 15th, 1917, assigned to Co. B., 5th MG Battalion,3rd Inf Brigade,2nd Inf Division AEF.

Entered France on December 24th, 1917, and trained in Bourmont until March 1918. Participated in The Defensive Sector at Verdun (Troyon), Chateau-Thierry, The Battle of the Aisne (Vaux), The Aisne-Marne Offensive (Soissons), The Defensive Sector at Marbache, The Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Pvt. Matteo Osso was killed in action while serving as an HMG Crewman with Co B. while in direct support of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd U.S. Infantry Regiment's attack toward enemy held positions near the German occupied French village of Saint-Étienne-à-Arnes, France during The Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge on the morning of Saturday, October 5th, 1918.

Read Matteo Osso's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.