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Remembered Today:

Grandfather's United States Uniform and container - Pics


way2shg
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Good morning Forum.

My grandfather was in WWI in Army Corp of Engineers (from what I have been told). I have his uniform, which includes items I cannot properly identify. I also have a round metal container which holds all of the items. I am interested to know whether or not the container is a military issued item.

Would appreciate knowing the proper names for the Uniform items after you view them in the photos. Also, I have included a scan of the back and front of a postcard he sent from France to a friend in Philadelphia.

Somewhere, my family has a box of letters he sent home. I am afraid they may have gone to the hands of someone in my family who may not value them and they may have been thrown away. Hopefully not. I know I have some photos of him send from France while he was there - just need to located them in my own boxes of old photos.

Interesting note: my Grandfather was a black man who appeared white. He went to war as a white man. There is a family story that my great-great grandfather (my grandfather's grandfather) wanted to go see my grandfather off to war. My great-great grandfather looked mulatto...so the family had to get him drunk :wacko: the so he wouldn't show up at the sendoff and spoil the secret.

Anyway, here's a link to the uniform photos. I did not include the photos of the long underwear that was included :)

Photobucket Page with Uniform & Gas Mask Photos

Thanks, in advance, for your assistance.

[EDIT: Looks like my Facebook photo page links wont work from this site. I may need to move the photos to another website before I can link to them]

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The links are ok if one of the http// is removed.

Steve.

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Update: I moved the photos to Photobucket so I can upload them directly to this thread but the system is now telling me that dynamic images are not allowed here. Am I doing something wrong or can we not use Photobucket here?

Here's the revised link - to Photobucket.

Photobucket Page

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Is my post somehow offensive? Getting lots of views but no comments. Did I do/say something wrong?

Maybe there's a better place for me to research my grandfather's war experience. Is there another place I should go. Feel free to email me if the info cannot be shared here. Thanks!

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Bluwater,

Welcome to the forum. Interesting story about your Grandfather and it must be nice to own all his gear.

I can't see the helmets in the photos. From the little I know about US uniforms- The collar disk and patches all look like engineers. The red chevron is for honourable discharge and the bronze one can represent six months overseas service or a wound. The jacket is a greatcoat that looks like a 1917 pattern (do the cuffs turn down and have a button and cuff on them?)

The cap on the top right corner of the first page looks like a German cap.

You haven't offended anyone. The forum is more geared to the British and Commonwealth armies. I'll have a look later in a book I have for the Divisional patch unless someone beats me too it.

Regards,

Scott

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Bluwater,

Welcome to the forum. Interesting story about your Grandfather and it must be nice to own all his gear.

I can't see the helmets in the photos. From the little I know about US uniforms- The collar disk and patches all look like engineers. The red chevron is for honourable discharge and the bronze one can represent six months overseas service or a wound. The jacket is a greatcoat that looks like a 1917 pattern (do the cuffs turn down and have a button and cuff on them?)

The cap on the top right corner of the first page looks like a German cap.

You haven't offended anyone. The forum is more geared to the British and Commonwealth armies. I'll have a look later in a book I have for the Divisional patch unless someone beats me too it.

Regards,

Scott

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Welcome to the forum bluwater,

Can I suggest you edit the title of your thread to include US uniform - then you may catch the eye of our US members or experts more quickly. (Go back to your first post and click on EDIT. This will bring up your title.)

Many people will be very envious of the collection you have!

Regards

CGM

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Waddell and CGM, thank you. I didn't realize that this wasn't a US Forum. Typical assumptive American :)

Appreciate your responses and will check with other forums to see if I can find one with a more US focus.

Waddell, the jacket is now packed back into the canister and sealed. Next time I take it out, I will check the sleeves.

Again, thank you.

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The branch insignia is indeed that of the Corps of Engineers, and the shoulder patch is that of the First Army, the only army in the AEF until October 12, 1918, when the Second Army was also formed. The owner of the uniform was assigned to a First Army-level engineer unit--that is, the unit wasn't assigned to a subordinate corps or division.

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The german Feldmutze (field cap) is wonderful!

There is always room for AEF stuff on this forum...welcome.

TT

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During WW I the 26th Engineers were a water service organization assigned to a field army. At present I can't tell whether it was a small regiment or a large battalion. Its companies were task-organized to operate water points in the field, so the organization would rarely have been at the same place at the same time. The 26th started out being assigned to the First Army but some of its elements later supported the Second and Third Armies.

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I'll go through the orders of battle when I get home this evening and see if I can add anything.

Very nice complete set.

The A insignia is the First Army, the castle on the collar brass and on the First Army patch indicating Army level Engineers as Pete indicates.

As already indicated the red chevron indicates honorable discharge, the patch is another engineers patch.

As Waddel indicates the braid chevron can mean a wound (the purple heart was not created until later) or denoted 6 months overseas service depending upon which sleeve it was worn (left for overseas service)

I see that your grandfather's name was Arthur Gilbert - which state/county would he have gone to the service from? This might be really helpful in identifying his service further.

Welcome to the forum

Chris

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Google Books has a history of the 26th Engineers during the Great War that is available online--it appears in the December 1919 issue of the Journal of the New England Water Works Association. According to the history, the 26th consisted of six companies, a headquarters detachment, and a medical detachment; in spite of its small size, it still considered itself to be a regiment. The history also says that many of the men in the unit had specialized water works experience prior to their enlistment in the army. It goes on to say that many of its personnel served within the range of enemy artillery during the war. I believe that to view Google Books one must have a Google account--setting up a Google gmail account is free. The link to the unit history is 26th Engineers.

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I can get to it without a google account so thatmay not be necessary.

Very detailed unit account. I have downloaded it and can email if needed although its a big file.

Chris

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Some months ago I had multiple complaints from people overseas who could not open links to sources in Google Books that I had placed here on the forum. I eventually sent the files by email, which people were then able to open. What the problem was I still don't know.

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Some months ago I had multiple complaints from people overseas who could not open links to sources in Google Books that I had placed here on the forum. I eventually sent the files by email, which people were then able to open. What the problem was I still don't know.

I think there may be differences in copyright restrictions and google limits access. I remember the situation but I have never had a problem from the US but colleagues in the UK have.

Chris

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I can access details of the publication, but the web-page offers no possibility to download it. Same problem as last time, as Pete says. I expect it is a copyright issue, as I believe there is some ongoing controversy about Google online books.

No need to e-mail it to me, as I was only looking out of idle curiosity - but it's very interesting to see a complete set of WW1 kit in such apparently good condition. Perhaps our uniform etc experts should offer advice on storing the collection in more suitable conditions than the present container.

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Getting lots of views but no comments.

Bluwater.. welcome to the Forum. This is defintiely a great place to get leads and help finding the information you need. Not to worry about a lot of views but few comments. Many people read through threads which are very interesting, but which they themselves can't add much to the dialogue, or what they would add has already been said by someone else. Your story is very interesting and that you have so much from your family as solid evidence of the part he played in the war only makes it more interesting.

Definitely keep with it, and post what you can on the Forum... people like me will view it, though we might not always comment.

Andy

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  • 8 months later...

Everyone, THANK YOU!!

I am glad to have come back after many months to find the host of helpful responses. I will absolutely check the links and data provided.

In the meantime, I have experienced another death in our family and have come into the posession of more of my grandfather's WWI items - his journal, list of citis/towns, poetry, marching songs, soldier's prayerbook, photos, postcards, letters. Also, his war insurance bonds, etc.

Needless to say, my family believes in keeping things :)

I would love it if I could be directed to someone who could help me decipher his list of locations (France). He seemed to have kept a running tally of his locations in France and he made notes that I cannot make sense of - letters and numbers - sometimes listing things like the # of dead.

My daughter and I are headed to France in a few months and would love to be able to see at least one of the significant places where grandpop stayed during the war.

4th Gordons, you asked where he was from - Philadelphia, PA...but, from his postcards, I see that he was based out of Trenton, NJ, per his postcards - and when the war was ending, he was writing, with joy, from Les Allees, France.

Thanks again!!

stephanie.gilbert@comcast.net

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I'd like to give Pete a special note of thanks for the link to the book via Google. I am able to access it and have navigated to the section on Comapny D. I see, from the "Pledge and Identification Card" inside my grandfather's Soldier's Prayerbook that he was indeed in Company D, 26th. The book also states that the Regiment left Camp Dix on June 22, 1918. My grandfather's postcards were postmarked Feb 1918 from Trenton, NJ - Dix Branch and the date he wrote on the Pledge page of his prayerbook is May 2, 1918. The prayer book's inside cover is inscribed from a cousin, with a prayer for a safe return. And, sure enough, the Google book names Brest as the location of their arrival -- and my grandfather's notes begin with Brest -- so it all connects. I will print out the pages and share them with my father, who will be so happy to have the info and may rememebr some of the stories my grandfather told him about the war.

Thanks again! This is a great way to connect info with his notes and gain some insight into his time in France.

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