Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Category: Preservation (Page 1 of 3)

Torty the Tortoise

A Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca) which is at least 106 years old was found during WW1 in Thessaloniki, having been run over by a French gun carriage. Nursed back to health, the reptile was smuggled to New Zealand by NZEF stretcher bearer Stewart Little and has remained in the care of the Little family ever since. These tortoises have been known to live for 200 years. You can read more about this by clicking here. more

Alternative US Army Helmets

Even after the US adopted the British Brodie Helmet Dr. Bashford Dean (1867-1928), an Ichthyologist and the Curator of on medieval armor at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, convinced the army to commission him as a major to head up a program to produce alternative designs. He even wrote a book about the subject titled Helmets and Body Armor in Modern Warfare, which was published by Yale University Press in 1929. In all, there were 15 patterns designed, some were produced in quantities as big as 2,000 while others were one-offs at best. Dean got Henry Ford interested and he arranged for his factories to produce four different helmets. One was even evaluated in France in 1918. You can read all about this (and see remarkable photographs) by clicking here. more

Museum Ship USS Olympia

The USS Olympia C-6 was built as a fast sail-capable commerce-raider. Launched in 1895, it was built by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco. No other ship of its class was ever completed. The Olympia served as the flagship of Dewey’s squadron at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. During WW1 the Olympia was re-designated as CA-15 and performed escort duty in the Atlantic. In 1921 it was again re-designated from CA-15 to CL-15 and carried the Unknown Soldier back to the U.S. Mothballed in 1922, in 1931 the Navy re-designated it again to Relic IX-40 in recognition of its historic value. Since 1957 Olympia has been berthed in Philadelphia. The present owner, The Independence Seaport Museum, now needs to raise $20 million to dry-dock the ship and properly repair the hull. You can read more about this here. more

A DH-4 in Flying Condition will come to Wichita

The Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation has acquired an authentic Airco DH-4 aircraft and plans to restore it for inclusion in the collections they will have at their proposed memorial to 2nd Lieut. Erwin Bleckley, a Wichita native who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his deeds on October 6th, 1918. Bleckley has been the subject of several previous posts here. You can read two of them by clicking here or here. You can also read more about the Lost Battalion here. more

American War Memorials Overseas, Inc.

In previous posts we’ve discussed the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) (see link here), but there is another organization dedicated to serving the memory of Americans who fought and died in foreign wars.

Founded by Major Lillian A. Pfluke in July 2006, American War Memorials Overseas, Inc. (AWMO) is a private non-profit organized under Sec. 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. There are over 1,000 American war memorials and monuments overseas (including the Missouri Memorial depicted above) and nearly 1,000 American war dead buried in cemeteries that are not under the care of the ABMC or the Department of Defense. The AWMO’s mission objectives are these: more

WW1 Tanks You Can See

WW1 Tank Facts

This table lists data about the four most common tanks used by both sides in WW1. You can read more about the FT-17 here.

The entry ‘Marks’ encompasses all the British Heavy Tanks, variously designated as Mark I,II,III, IV and V.

Whippet tank Royal Military Museum, Brussels

The largest number of surviving examples are at The Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset U.K. There are eight FT-17’s, one Mark IV, one Mark V and one Whippet on display in the U.S. more

The 369th Experience

In the past few years we have read, heard and viewed quite a lot about the 369th Infantry Regiment, originally a New York National Guard Unit, which was the first non-regular army formation in France. These brave African Americans served under French command and amassed numerous honors. However at the time they might have been more well-known in France for their incredible band, which is credited with bringing jazz to Europe.

In 2016 a project was launched to recreate this band as a centennial project.  Under the leadership of Dr. Isrea Butler, Director of Bands at North Carolina Central University, Edward Green of the Washington Redskins,  Kelvin Washington and H.B. Barnum, the former arranger for Aretha Franklin, and underwritten by the Coca Cola Corporation, seventy-five musicians were selected from Historically Black Colleges and Universities in twelve states and the District of Columbia. Read more about the project and the musicians here.

Garbed in replica WW1 uniforms, these men have been performing in the 369th Band style for two years.

If you attended the events in D.C. this past weekend you had the opportunity to hear these gifted musicians four times. If you weren’t there you can view their 11/12 performance at Kennedy Center here. In addition to the band, there is commentary by the grandson of James R. Europe , the Bandmaster of the 369th and Noble Sissle Jr. the son of the Drum Major and lead vocalist.

WWI POW Camp Revealed

Last week on the PBS News Hour a story was run about how the dry summer in Europe was revealing images of long gone structures in the United Kingdom.  Among these is a brief mention of the Stobs Prisoner of War Camp near Hawick, Scotland.  While the entire story is worth looking at, the entry about the camp is seen about 2:32 into the clip below:

There has been interest in this POW camp, and for more information, click below:




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