Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Month: August 2016 (Page 1 of 3)

Aviators–Reed McKinley Chambers

Our next Kansas aviator is Major Reed McKinley Chambers, born August 18, 1894 at Onaga, Kansas.  There seems to have been a sense of adventure in him; he joined the National Guard in 1914 which put him in the Mexican Border Campaign of 1916.

He transferred into the Army Signal corps as an aviator in 1917.  He served in the 94th Aero Pursuit Squadron, along with Eddie Rickenbacker, who would later be a business partner.  Chambers qualified as an ace with seven victories against six airplanes and a balloon.  He would received the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Clusters for repeatedly going against the enemy, often against superior numbers. more

Kansans of the Great War Era: Belle and Theodore Naish

RMS Lusitania

RMS Lusitania

Belle Saunders and Theodore Naish married in 1911, and four years later took a belated honeymoon trip to Theodore’s native England.  Sadly, it became an ill-fated trip:  they had booked passage on RMS Lusitania.

Theodore was born January 21, 1856 in Birmingham, England, and educated as an engineer.  Just before 1900 he traveled to the United States and settled in Kansas City, where he was employed as a civil engineer and a draftsman.  He was given to taking long walks, often leaving the city on a Sunday morning and walking into Wyandotte County near Edwardsville, where he eventually bought land. more

Home Front-100 Years Ago in Kansas City

Yesterday (August 28, 2016) I attended a ceremony at Ilus Davis Park in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  Organized by both the Sons and Daughters of Veterans of the Civil War, this marked the opening 100 years earlier of the 50th National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) held in that city.  The GAR was the organization of Union Army veterans from the Civil War. more

Centennial Countdown to the Great War: August 1916

It’s August 1916.  The second anniversary of the outbreak of the World War coincides with the beginning of the American presidential campaign.  Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican nominee, spends the month of August touring the western United States.  He is well-received in most states but encounters bitter intraparty infighting in California, where his attempt to avoid taking sides backfires.  Former President Roosevelt, meanwhile, overcomes his disappointment at being denied the nomination and comes out strongly for Hughes.  In the war, both sides suffer heavy losses on the Somme, an Italian battleship is destroyed by a mysterious explosion, and the Italian Army mounts another attack on the Isonzo.  Over a year after declaring war on Austria-Hungary, Italy declares war on Germany.  On the Eastern Front, the Brusilov Offensive makes gains in Galicia, and Romania enters the war on the side of the Allies.  Pro-Allied Greeks in Salonika proclaim a provisional government.  The Kaiser replaces his top army commander.  Great Britain tightens its blockade of Germany and hangs Sir Roger Casement for treason.  The United States agrees to buy the Danish West Indies (soon to be renamed the U.S. Virgin Islands) from Denmark.  President Wilson, frustrated in his attempt to mediate a railroad labor dispute, asks Congress to resolve it by legislation. more

Event: Do Your Bit–Knit!

Please join us at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka at 6:30 p.m., Friday, September 9th for our next talk in our Museum After Hours series.

Stacie Petersen, Registrar of the National World War I Museum and Memorial, presents “Do Your Bit—Knit!” Thousands of people unable to serve in the military picked up their needles and knitted for loved ones and their nations during World War I. Stacie Petersen addresses the history of knitting during World War I. more

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