WWI Scene of Devastation

Source: Emil Gorling Papers, MC #1200

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

This image is from a postcard that is part of the Emil Gorling Papers, a collection that has postcards and photographs that show the result of the 1918 German Spring Offensive in Northern France and specifically the Noyon Campaign (April-August 1918). This particular scene is a building in Noyon, France that was damaged in April 1918 during that campaign. Emil Gorling was a German soldier in the 3rd Landwehr Division during World War I and his postcards and photographs of WWI show scenes of devastation and of German soldiers in the field.

Pvt. Victor C. Faure, WWI

Source: Victor C. Faure Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1201

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

The letter is written by Pvt. Victor C. Faure to his parents, Henry E. Faure and Inge Peterson Faure, who live in San Francisco, California, describing his experiences during World War I.

From his letter above he describes Army life on Tuesday September 24, 1918, as continually on the move… near the front in France…never know where we will be next…we can hear the guns…don’t want to see corned beef again for about a year…

You will notice pages one and two have parts cut off, they probably were censored.

Other letters describe his participation with the First Army as part of the American Expeditionary Force

Concrete River Steamers of World War I, ca. 1921


Source: John B. Green Collection #380.2.b
Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo
Description: Seen in the photograph above are four, unnamed, concrete-hulled river steamers at the Newport Shipping Corporation shipyard, in New Bern, North Carolina. They are obviously incomplete and unnamed. Built to solve the desperate shortage of steel for shipping during World War I, they were just one of the many innovations, from flame-throwers to tanks to aerial warfare, inspired by the “War to End All Wars”. During the first World War, steel had become so scarce that the U. S. Shipping Corporation which controlled all American shipping during the war, recommended that President Woodrow Wilson approve the construction of 24 such concrete ships. Of the 24, only 12 were built, at a total cost of $50 million. The Newport Shipbuilding Corporation of New Bern, NC was one of the companies selected to build the ships. Not one of the ships was finished in time to contribute to the war effort and were launched only in 1921, just when a huge surplus of now-unneeded shipping was beginning to flood the market. By the time the ships were completed, the war was already long over and the nation was still mired in a deep postwar recession. Just what happened to the ships built in New Bern is a matter of some conjecture. Most of the others sank or were converted to other purposes such as breakwaters, hotels, and fishing piers. It is unclear what happened to some of them. Please contact the author if you know the present location of any of the New Bern built concrete ships.

Harold Stacey Burdick

Source: Harold Stacey Burdick Collection, 1892-1923;  East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1162

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

Description:
The image shown is a studio portrait of Lt. Commander Harold Stacey Burdick (#1162.1.g) in his naval uniform dated around 1905-1917. This portrait along with other items in the Harold Stacey Burdick Collection gives valuable insight into the life and naval career of Harold Stacey Burdick. Of particular note in the collection is his service as an ensign and acting commander of the Paulding Class Destroyer USS JOUETT (DD-41) at the occupation of Tampico during the War with Mexico of 1914. There are also items relating to his death by pneumonia brought on by influenza on January 16, 1919 contracted during his service in World War I.  The finding aid to this collection can be accessed at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/view.aspx?id=1162

Wild Cat

S

Source: 
 George Willcox McIver Papers Manuscript Collection #251)

George Willcox McIver was born on December 22, 1858, at Carthage, N.C., and died in 1947 at the age of eighty-nine. He was the son of Alexander McIver, a noted North Carolina educator, and Mary Ann Willcox. McIver was appointed to West Point in 1877 and graduated with the class of 1882. Upon graduation, he began a military career of forty years of active service including duty in the United States, Alaska, Cuba, France, and the Philippine Islands.

Before U.S. intervention in World War I, McIver was promoted to Brigadier General and took command of the 161st Brigade of the 81st (Wild Cat) Division which trained at Camp Jackson and Camp Sevier, South Carolina. This unit became incorporated into the American Expeditionary Force and participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. From 1919 until his retirement in 1922, McIver was stationed at Fort Pike, Arkansas, and Fort Slocum, New York.

 

Staff person: Ralph Scott

David Balcombe: A British Soldier in India 1915

Source: David Balcombe Papers, East Carolina Manuscipt Collection

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description:

These 6 black and white photographs are from the David Balcombe Papers (Manuscript Collection #1140.1.i). They were taken in India in June 1915, when Balcombe was a private in H Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Queen’s West Surrey Territorial Regiment. The West Surreys were a reserve regiment and never saw combat. Part of the 44th (Home Counties) Division, the 4th Queens were sent to India in October 1914 to replace regular units of the British Indian Army that had been sent to France in the first days of World War I. In June 1915, the 4th Queen’s were sent to the mountains near Darjeeling, Nepal to escape the summer heat that was beginning to suffocate Lucknow, where the unit was stationed. Balcombe took these photographs before and during this summer holiday.

Photographic print of British India

Photographic print of British India

Photographic Print of British India

Photographic Print of British India

The top two photographs show the view from the railroad carriage carrying Balcombe up to the cool climates above the clouds in the Himalayan Mountains. The middle two photographs show buffalo carts hauling timber and water from a well. Animal and human labor continues to do the majority of work in India to this day. The two remaining photographs show the barracks that housed the 4th Queen’s in Lucknow, India.

Photographic print of British India

Photographic print of British India

Photographic print of British India

Photographic print of British India


In addition to the photographs, the Balcombe Collection includes several dozen letters he sent to his parents during his World War I military service. He describes in these letters the poor conditions faced by British enlisted men in India. The soldiers’ food was so poor that they had to supplement their rations from their own pay in order to survive. Married men who had to send part of their pay home to their families might have starved if their unmarried comrades had not helped to feed them. Even so, they were able to afford the assistance of Indian servants who did menial tasks for the soldiers. His parents at home in London experienced far more combat, in the form of Zeppelin raids, than Balcombe did during his military service.

Photographic print of British India

Photographic print of British India

Photographic print of British India

Photographic print of British India

Balcombe served in India from October 1914 until September 1917. Luckily for him this was an exceptionally quiet period in that country’s history. During 1917, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, later renamed the Royal Air Force, and was sent for training to Risalpur, in what is now Pakistan. In September, promoted to 2nd Class Air Man, Balcombe was sent with his unit, the 31st Squadron, to Aboukir, Egypt where it became part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Later promoted to 1st Class Air Man, Balcombe worked in the Wireless (Radio) Section of the base. After General Allenby entered Jerusalem in December 1917, the Turkish threat to Egypt diminished greatly, and Balcombe finished the war in Egypt in relative safety and comfort.

You may learn more about Balcombe and his life by accessing the finding aid to the David Balcombe Papers in the Search Room of the Special Collections Department, in J. Y. Joyner Library.

Click on the images to see enlarged versions.

Letter from King George V To Byron Hilliard and the American Expeditionary Forces 1918

Source: Guide to the James Byron Hilliard Collection, 1760-1965, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #182

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

James Byron Hilliard was a genealogist who gathered and compiled his family history. He acquired this letter along with other papers that cover information beyond their immediate families; the families were from Northeastern North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia. The collection has documents and photos describing the life and training of US troops during WWI and political campaigns for judicial seats in Tennessee and North Carolina. There is information on agriculture, slavery, a report on “Suburban Development of Yorktown, Virginia during the Colonial Period”, pamphlet about Secession, and maps of Nash, Halifax and Raleigh (1792) and much more.

The letter below is from King George V, the British monarch, who reigned from 1910-1936. This letter was written after the United States entry into WWI (1914-1918). The United States initially pursued a policy of isolationism and worked toward peace. We entered the World War in 1917 after Germany adopted a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

Letter to Byron Hilliard from King George the 5th of England

Letter to Byron Hilliard from King George the 5th of England

Letter to Byron Hilliard from King George the 5th of England

Letter to Byron Hilliard from King George the 5th of England

81st Infantry Division Wildcat Shoulder Patch

81st Infantry Division Wildcat Shoulder Patch

81st Infantry Division Wildcat Shoulder Patch

Source:

George Willcox Mclver Papers (Addition #6), East Carolina Manuscript Collection #251

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description:

The Carolina Wildcat insignia displayed here is a reproduction of the shoulder patches worn by Headquarters units of the 81st Infantry Division during World War I. Although the division included troops from Florida, Puerto Rico, and New York City, the insignia recognized the fact that the bulk of troops in the 81st were from the Carolinas. This insignia is known as the first divisional insignia to be adopted in the U. S. Army. It quickly proved popular in the division. The various brigades, regiments, and specialty units quickly adopted slightly modified versions for their patches. The 161st Infantry Brigade had a white wildcat insignia. The 162nd Infantry Brigade wore a blue patch; the 156th Field Artillery Brigade patch was red; and the 306th Field Signal Battalion wore a yellow insignia. The patch served an important purpose in creating and enhancing unit identity, cohesion and pride.

When the 81st Infantry Division embarked for France in late July 1918 its morale was low. One of the last units of the American Expeditionary Force to arrive in France, it was unprepared for combat. It lacked much of its transport and equipment. Many of the men lacked training. Ethnic and racial tensions created disunity within the ranks. But after the adoption of the Carolina Wildcat shoulder patches, the 81st behaved heroically in combat. The 81st made significant gains against intense last-ditch German resistance. The popularity of the shoulder patches quickly spread to other divisions in the AEF. By the end of the war most had adopted their own patches. Today shoulder patches are prevalent throughout the U. S. Army. Although its official nickname continues to be the “Stonewall Division,” the 81st Division is today best known throughout the Army as the “Wildcat Division.”

Source: Shoulder Patch Insignia (ca. 1918-1945) of the 81st Division. George Willcox McIver Papers (Addition #6) #251.7.a

You may access the finding aid to the George Willcox McIver Papers at: Manuscript Collection 251

To view an enlarged version of this image, click on the image itself.

World War I Battlefield Scenes

Source: Guide to the John Graham Johns Papers, 1921-1955, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #410

Clemenceau visiting French aviation camp near front.

Clemenceau visiting French aviation camp near front.

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

Description:

The two images shown are from the John Graham Johns Papers, which is a collection of material that comes from John Graham Johns’ attendance in the Navy Academy and his service in the Navy from 1921-1955. The two images are battlefield scenes from World War I. The image on the top shows Georges Benjamin Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France (1917-1920), visiting an aviation camp at the front line and the image on the bottom shows French tanks on a country road. It is this collection’s photos of World War I that make this collection interesting.

French tanks going into line

French tanks going into line

Since Mr. Johns served his naval career on submarines, the collection has a good deal of material on various submarines particularly on the construction and the services of the USS NAUTILUS, USS CUTTLEFISH, and the USS SEADRAGON. There are also genealogical notes on the Lober and Reynolds families as well as a mimeographed book of a diary on big-game hunting. If additional information is needed, the finding aid can be accessed at Manuscript Collection 410

Click on the combined images to see an enlarged version.

World War I Draft Notice

Source: Moore Family Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #275
Charles O’Hagan Laughinghouse Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #267
Edgerton Family Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #361

World War I draft notice

World War I draft notice

Staff Person: Brian Johnson

Description:
This document is a NOTICE OF CALL AND ORDER TO APPEAR FOR PHYSICAL EXAMINATION issued by the Local Board for the County of Pitt, State of North Carolina, Greenville, N. C. on July 30, 1917 to Allen Thurman Moore notifying him that he has been called for military service by the United States to serve in World War I, that he has been issued Serial No. 2376 with order no. 425, and is to appear at the office of the Local Board at 1:30 P. M. on Aug 6, 1917. The notice is signed by the Chairman of the Local Board of the War Department, Joseph John Laughinghouse and the Clerk of the Local Board, Michael Edgerton.

Allen Thurman Moore was the son of David C. Moore who served as Clerk of the Superior Court. Allen Moore again was ordered to appear for a physical examination on January 30, 1918 and was found qualified for special and limited military service.

Prior to the war he attended the University of North Carolina and after which he lived in Greenville, NC.

The original document and many other legal papers can be found in the Moore Family Papers, collection #275 in the Manuscript Collection of the Special Collections department, Manuscript Collection 275. Related collections are the Charles O’Hagan Laughinghouse Papers (#267) and the Edgerton Family Papers (#361).