Showing posts with label WWI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WWI. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Was WWI veteran Josef Prusek's death suicide or murder?

Suicide or murder? Death of Iowa veteran in Montana in 1921 raised questions

The Gazette
December 31, 2019
“A wound made by a large caliber bullet extended clear through the skull, there were no powder marks and the coroner expressed the opinion that it would have been impossible to have held a heavy revolver far enough away from his head to have left no powder burns. The bruised condition of the man’s knuckles indicated he had been in a fight,” The Gazette reported.
This April 11, 1921, Gazette story was headlined, “Evidence points to murder of Prusek.” One of Joe Prusek’s brothers went to Montana, attempting, without success, to get more details about his brother’s untimely death. (Gazette archives)
Josef Prusek had lived in Cedar Rapids since 1890. He built a two-story family home at 1601 N St. SW, where he died April 24, 1915.

At the time, his daughters Mary, Lillian and Harriet and son Milo lived in Cedar Rapids, but his son Joseph Jr., or “Joe,” had moved to Montana in 1914.

Joe staked a claim near Briley in south-central Montana near Big Timber.

He joined the Army’s 88th Division in 1917 during World War I and went to France. He was assigned to the 77th Division, where he was part of the Lost Battalion that was surrounded by German troops in the Argonne Forest.

The battalion was rescued Oct. 7, 1918, after enduring more than four days without food or water. Attempts to get water to the soldiers were met with sniper fire, so the troops subsisted on leaves. At one point, they were targets of friendly fire until a message delivered by homing pigeon alerted the Allies they were firing on their own.

Having survived that horrendous ordeal, Joe was discharged and returned to his Montana home. That’s where he was when, at age 32, he died from a gunshot wound to his head.

His body was found April 5, 1921, outside his Montana cabin.
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Sunday, November 18, 2018

WWI best sniper returned broken in spirit and morale

First Nations sniper never recovered from horrors of war

By Don Thomas
November 16, 2018
Labelle was not so fortunate. He returned broken in spirit and morale, recalls his daughter Yvonne Poucette, 79. Her shoulders shook with grief last Sunday near the stone marker at the Chiniki cemetery where Labelle was buried with full PPCLI honours when he died at age 91 in 1989.

The final resting place for First World War sniper Tom Labelle of the Stoney First Nation is a remote one, on the edge of a drumlin at the Chiniki band cemetery 30 kilometres from Morley.
The Stoney Nation honours the memory of First World War sniper Tom Labelle. Photo submitted by Don Thomas.

But it’s not a forgotten place, as seen last weekend when Stoney First Nations residents gathered to honour his memory on Remembrance Day.

Labelle volunteered for the Canadian army at age 17 by lying about his age. He was inducted into the 31st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry where his shooting skill and ability to take out German machine gunners endeared him to the officers.

Exactly how many Germans he shot is unknown. Certainly, it wasn’t as many as Corp. Francis (Peggy) Pegahmagabow, of the Shawanaga First Nation in northern Ontario — the war’s best sniper, German or British — who is credited with killing 304 Germans and capturing another 300.

But Labelle’s marksmanship may have saved the lives of hundreds of Canadian and British soldiers, since it led to German machine gunners being killed before they could slaughter Allied soldiers with their weapons.
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Monday, November 12, 2018

Arthur Roberts, Scottish WWI Black Soldier Unforgotten Now

Jackie Kay on Arthur Roberts: the black Scottish first world war soldier who felt forgotten

The Guardian
Jackie Kay
November 11, 2018

In 2004, Roberts’s wartime diaries were discovered in a Glasgow attic. A century after he went to war, Scotland’s makar remembers his contribution
It is one thing to make sacrifices; it is quite another thing to become the victim of a kind of national amnesia. Reading Arthur’s diaries and looking at his photographs, I felt compelled to save his face, commit him to memory.
Arthur Roberts, left, with two soldiers. Photograph: Hopscotch Films
Arthur Roberts was a black Scottish soldier who survived the first world war and ended his days in an old people’s home in Glasgow. His name would have been lost to us were it not for a remarkable sequence of events. In the autumn of 2004 a young couple found his diaries, letters and photographs in a house they had bought in the city a few years earlier. The diaries were written over the course of a single year: 1917. In his diary, he detailed his experiences of war and loss, of heavy shelling, blood-covered rations, of comrades he witnessed dying. Arthur, who had died in 1982, was miraculously returned, his voice brought back to life.

There were no black troops included in the Peace March of July 1919, a victory parade held in London to mark the end of the war. Allison O’Neill, one of the care workers in the home where Arthur spent the last of his days, said that he had felt forgotten on Remembrance Sundays. He would go and sit in his room and not watch the ceremonies on television. Perhaps he had tired of the “glory of war” and the “old lies”, and perhaps the wound cut deeper.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

10,000 torches in remembrance of WWI's End

10,000-torch display in London marks 100th anniversary of WWI's conclusion

ABC News
Nov 6, 2018

An installation commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I has opened in London.
Yeoman Warders, commonly known as a "Beefeaters," stand by after lighting the first of thousands of flames in a lighting ceremony at the Tower of London, Nov. 4, 2018.
Called "Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers" and featuring approximately 10,000 torches, each illuminated every evening by more than 250 volunteers, is an act of remembrance for the lives lost during the war.
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Monday, June 25, 2018

Army 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner MOH

Grandson of WWI's 'Sgt. York' Will Attend Medal of Honor Ceremony
By Richard Sisk
25 Jun 2018
On Tuesday, Pauline Conner will accept the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor for her husband, who died in 1998 at age 79

They were Appalachian farm boys and crack shots who were distantly related by marriage, and now they are both Medal of Honor recipients for their "above and beyond" actions in separate wars.
Sgt. Alvin C York (US Army)
Army Sgt. Alvin C. York, believed to be the most highly decorated American soldier of World War I and made famous in a 1941 blockbuster movie, and Army 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner, one of the most highly decorated soldiers of World War II, first met when York came to the parade for Conner's homecoming in May 1945 and spoke at the Clinton County Courthouse in Kentucky.

That was where Pauline Conner, or Miss Pauline as she is known in the county, first saw the man who was to become her husband. He was all of about 5-foot-6 and maybe 130 pounds -- "probably," she said with a laugh at a Pentagon briefing Monday.

Pauline, who was Pauline Wells at the time, said her future husband didn't make a good first impression. She recalled with a smile turning to her mother, Tressie, and saying "my God, Mama, that little wharf rat couldn't have done all of what they said he'd done."
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

World War I's shell shock is today's PTSD

VERHULST: World War I's shell shock is today's PTSD
Grand Haven Tribune
By Mike VerHulst
January 26, 2018

For as long as humans have walked this earth, there has been a risk that they would experience a traumatic event. For some, traumatic events create psychological effects that will last for months after the initial event.

Photo courtesy of TCHM
The "Courage Without Fear" exhibit is now on display at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, 200 Washington Ave. in downtown Grand Haven.

Today, this is commonly referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 3.5 percent of adults in the U.S. will experience PTSD in a given year and 9 percent of people will develop it at some point in their life.

For those who have served in the armed forces, that number is even higher. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 10-18 percent of veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan are likely to develop PTSD after coming home. For some, PTSD can lead to substance abuse or other issues. The good news is that veterans are now seeking care more than ever.

Earlier this month, the Tri-Cities Historical Museum opened a new exhibit titled “Courage Without Fear: The Red Arrow Division in World War I.” This new exhibit uses first-hand accounts to tell the stories of local soldiers who braved muddy trenches, attacks on machine gun nests and hours-long artillery barrages during the war. Men from the Tri-Cities saw combat in some of the most intense battles of late World War I, including the famous Meuse-Argonne offensive that sealed victory for the Allies.
In 1915, the British Army Council gave in to the doctors and public sentiment and officially declared shell shock as a wound.

Early on in the war, British doctors tried a variety of treatments, including hypnosis, in an attempt to keep as many soldiers on the front lines as possible. As the war dragged on, the British Army continued to change procedures for how doctors could diagnose and treat shell shock. By 1917, soldiers were treated by being assigned to a rearward trench where they could get a break from battle, sleep and eat in relative comfort. After a short break, they would return to the front. A full evacuation of a shell-shocked soldier was only considered if no improvement was seen after several weeks of treatment. This style of treatment was used until the end of the war in 1918 and was seen as effective by the medical community and the army alike.

Unfortunately, following World War I, there was a collective silence in regards to shell shock. Many of the survivors feared a rekindling of their symptoms if they discussed their war experiences. In the medical community, hardly anything was published on the causes of shell shock or ways to improve treatment. It wasn’t until decades later, in 1952, that “gross stress reaction” was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In the 1970s, PTSD became the commonly accepted term.
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

UK Remembrance Reminder of Only Faith that Mattered in War Was For Each Other

Reclaiming Remembrance: 'I thought it was a white event'

Alpha Ceasay
November 12, 2017

"I think it reduces hate between communities and helps community cohesion. If soldiers of different faiths could fight side by side 100 years ago, why can't we get on as community groups now?" Dr. Ifran Malik
Remembrance serves as a way to honour those who gave their lives for Britain in conflict, including during the two World Wars, but do all those who fought get the recognition they deserve?

Muslim soldiers offering prayers during World War One
It was a conversation with a patient researching the Commonwealth contribution to World War One that sparked Dr Irfan Malik's interest in finding out about his ancestors.
"Before I knew how much the Indians had contributed, growing up I thought it was very much a white war," he said.
"We weren't taught about the Indians in school."
It's a sentiment researchers at think tank British Future regularly come across in their efforts to highlight Muslims' participation in World War One and Two.
Some 1.3 million Indian soldiers who fought in the WW1, of whom 400,000 were Muslim. In World War Two, about 2.5 million Indian soldiers took part, including 600,000 Muslims.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Harry Colmery Left More Than a Legacy For Veterans

Editorial: Colmery’s legacy of serving veterans

Topeka Capital Journal
Editorial Board
August 18, 2017

Last summer, the Harry Colmery Plaza was dedicated in downtown Topeka exactly 72 years after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 — legislation more commonly known as the GI Bill.

Harry Colmery’s niece, Jean Roberts, left, and granddaughter, Mina Steen, inspect the statue of their family member after it’s unveiling Tuesday afternoon in downtown Topeka. The new plaza is dedicated to Harry Colmery, a Topekan who is responsible for the creation of the GI Bill. (2016 file photograph/The Capital-Journal)

After serving in World War I, Colmery became a tireless advocate for veterans, and his involvement with the American Legion culminated in his appointment as national commander in 1936. He was also a member of the organization’s national legislative committee, and during World War II, he wrote a draft that eventually became the GI Bill.

Colmery witnessed the awful treatment of American veterans when they returned from World War I. After enduring unimaginable horrors on the battlefield, they were thanked with abject poverty, a lack of basic health care, no job prospects and no chance to pursue an education. Many of them suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder — a condition that wasn’t well-understand and for which treatments were still in the early stages of development — and other devastating war wounds. This made finding a job, paying for a home and caring for a family even more difficult. Then the Great Depression came.
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Harry Colmery also left a history report of how Congress has failed veterans ever since.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“Protectors of Freedom,” Memorial from WWI to War on Terror

Toms River unveils elaborate monument to veterans
Asbury Park Press
Erik Larsen
Published June 26, 2017
“Over 16 million U.S. service members — 560,000 from New Jersey — answered the call to unconditionally defeat two of the most militarily powerful, hate-filled, racist and fanatical dictatorships the world has ever known,” Smith said.
TOMS RIVER - One hundred years to the day that the first U.S. troops arrived in France after America entered World War I, a monument was dedicated in town Monday honoring a century of service by the men and women who have served in uniform on behalf of the nation.
“Protectors of Freedom,” by local sculptor Brian Hanlon and funded through The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, features six service members representing conflicts from World War I to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Located in Bey Lea Park, the five statues (one includes two figures) depict a World War I “doughboy;” a poncho-clad soldier from the Korean War calling for support on a radio; a wounded World War II soldier being carried from the battlefield by his 21st century counterpart; and a Vietnam War infantryman escorting an Army nurse through hostile territory. Watch the video above to take a tour of the memorial.
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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Iraq Veteran Paid Tribute to WWI Veterans

Iraq War vet pays tribute to his World War I brothers in arms
The Morning Call
Will Scheihing
April 1, 2017

The brittle, yellowed postcard shows a crowd gathered in their Sunday best for a welcome home parade honoring the husbands, sons and brothers who served in World War I. A banner strung across Pennsylvania Avenue in Pen Argyl proclaims "History will honor you always."

For Bill Casamassima, an Iraq War veteran and former high school history teacher, that sentiment became a mission.

"It was a major war," Casamassima said, postcard in hand. "I didn't want the guys to be forgotten."

That mission led him on dozens of forays into Slate Belt cemeteries to unlock the lives of the men who served in the war America entered 100 years ago this week.

In his Pen Argyl home recently, Casamassima opened a thick ring binder in which he has listed the names, gleaned from gravestones, of local men who served. Casamassima thought he would discover 70 to 80 gravestones, what he found stunned him — 703.
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Sunday, April 17, 2016

WWI Battle of The Somme Chronicle of PTSD

How shell-shock shaped the Battle of the Somme
The Telegraph UK
Taylor Downing
16 APRIL 2016

'The dreams sir, I dare not go to sleep because I dream so of…’

A shell shock victim staggers back from the front and needs help to work.
Private Arthur Hubbard, a clerk from Streatham in south London, went over the top at 7.30am on 1 July 1916, the bloody first day of the Battle of the Somme. What he experienced over the next few hours changed him forever. He and his unit, the 14th London, a Pals Battalion, got into the German lines that morning.

They had orders not to take prisoners. When three wounded Germans, badly bleeding, emerged from a dugout Hubbard finished them off. Then a British officer was shot by a sniper as he stood by him. Later that afternoon as he withdrew to the British lines, a mass of soil from a nearby shell buried him. His mates eventually dragged him out and back into the lines.

Hubbard’s family next heard from him in a convalescence hospital in Ipswich. He told his mother not to worry, that he was a bit shaky and suffering from 'severe headaches’ but otherwise he was fit and well and would make a quick recovery. Unfortunately Private Hubbard did not recover.

If the daytime was bad enough, at night it grew even worse. Victims would whisper to Steadman, 'The dreams sir, I dare not go to sleep because I dream so of…’ and he would describe the horrific sights he has witnessed, of mates being blown to pieces alongside, of being buried under debris during one of the massive bombardments.

The worst thing for Steadman was having to send the men back to the front when they seemed to have calmed down. He wrote: 'You cannot help them long, just a few days and then back they must go. If they were kept long the hospital would be absolutely crowded out. There would be no men to fight.’
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Friday, December 25, 2015

WWI Christmas Truce

The Christmas Truce (3 min) TV-PG
During WWI soldiers from opposing sides laid down their guns and celebrated Christmas together.
WWI The Christmas Truce

Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.
read more here