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Keith_history_buff

Harvey Alexander Hammill in US Army and BEF

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Keith_history_buff

I wondered if anyone could provide any further details on the service of this man.

Alexander Harvey Hammill was born in Ontario on 22 November 1891. He appears on the 1901 Census of Canada, living with his father and mother (William and Jane respectively). He enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps, service number M2/032283. According to the medal roll, he deserted on 20 March 1917. He had departed Liverpool aboard S.S. Missanabie, and had arrived at his destination St John, New Brunswick, Canada on 17 February 1917.

Thereafter he enlists in the US Army. His service number is 4714595 and his unit, as recorded by his MIC is 'F Coy 2nd Bn 160, Depot Bde, American Army'. I have interpreted this to be 160th Infantry Brigade, 80th Infantry Division, III Corps, AEF.

The MIC gives his address in 1925 as 15315 Warren Avenue East, Detroit, Michigan

Are there other sources out there that can determine which unit, within 160th Infantry Brigade, he served in? It appears that he sailed from Brest to Boston, and was back in the US by June 1919.

 

Quote

page 55
'Following the Armistice, the division moved via Les Islettes to the 1 5th (Ancy-le-Franc) Training Area. The artillery rejoined on December 6-7. On March 30, 1919, the division,less the 305th Trench-Mortar Battery, which had sailed from Brest for the United States on February 12, moved to the Le Mans Area, American Embarkation Center, thence on May 9 to Brest. On May 16 the leading units sailed from Brest. The last elements of the division arrived at Boston on June 9.'

 

Title: 80th Division, Summary of Operations in the World War
Published in 1944 by the US Government Printing Office

https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/images/Pennsylvania/80th_Division_Summary_of_Operations_in_the_World_War.pdf

 

 

 

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johnmelling1979

 

I just realised it says "Depot Brigade" so he would have been at FORT CUSTER, in the area of Battle Creek, Michigan , 

It was a Training Camp, so would he have been sent elsewhere, over to England >>> France 

 

The role of depot brigades was to receive and organize recruits, provide them with uniforms, equipment and initial military training, and then send them to France to fight on the front lines. The depot brigades also received soldiers returning home at the end of the war and completed their out processing and discharges.

 

As for the Division i'm not sure its 80th 

 

Could it be the Eighty-Fifth Division, Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan.

 

As a book ive found its cover reads 'Building Directory / Of / The / Eighty-Fifth Division / Camp Custer / Battle Creek, Mich.'

 

The directory is broken down as follows:

Page 3:
Headquarters Eighty-Fifth Division
Staff Officers Quarters
Headquarters Troop
Headquarters 328th Machine Gun Battalion
Headquarters 169th Infantry Brigade
Headquarters 337th Infantry

Page 4:
Headquarters 337th Infantry [continued]
Headquarters 338th Infantry
Officers Quarters
329th Machine Gun Battalion

Page 5:
170th Infantry Brigade
Headquarters 339th Infantry
Officers Barracks
Headquarters 340th Infantry

Page 6:
Headquarters 340th Infantry [continued]
330th Machine Gun Battalion
160th Field Artillery Brigade
328th Field Artillery
329th Field Artillery

Page 7:
330th Field Artillery
Officers Barracks
310th Trench Mortar Battery
Headquarters 310th Engineers
Staff Quarters

Page 8:
Headquarters 310th Engineers
310th Field Signal Battalion
Headquarters 310th Ammunition Train

Page 9:
Headquarters 310th Ammunition Train [continued]
Field Hospital Section: 310th Sanitary Train
Motor Supply Train No. 409
Auxiliary Remount Depot No. 320
Quartermaster Depot

Page 10:
Headquarters 160th Depot Brigade



'Eighty-Fifth Division Printing Office / Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Mich. / 1917' Is written on the last page.

 

 

John

 

 

 

Edited by johnmelling1979

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Keith_history_buff

 

On 24/03/2020 at 12:16, Keith_history_buff said:

 His service number is 4714595 and his unit, as recorded by his MIC is 'F Coy 2nd Bn 160, Depot Bde, American Army'

 

  

On 24/03/2020 at 12:34, johnmelling1979 said:

I just realised it says "Depot Brigade" so he would have been at FORT CUSTER, in the area of Battle Creek, Michigan , 

It was a Training Camp, so would he have been sent elsewhere, over to England >>> France 

 

As for the Division i'm not sure its 80th 

 

Could it be the Eighty-Fifth Division, Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan.

 

As a book ive found its cover reads 'Building Directory / Of / The / Eighty-Fifth Division / Camp Custer / Battle Creek, Mich.'

 

The directory is broken down as follows:


Page 10:
Headquarters 160th Depot Brigade



'Eighty-Fifth Division Printing Office / Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Mich. / 1917' Is written on the last page.

 

 

John 
 https://theworldwar.pastperfectonline.com/archive/FE3A77F5-3907-4EFB-8E48-083967153273

 

Hi John, I think you are absolutely spot on.

The summary of that book refers to 2nd Battalion, Headquarters 160th Brigade Depot. Perhaps, over the course of time, 6th Company was redesignated Company F?

Below is a partial reproduction of page 10 of that building directory. My artistic endeavour is shared and re-used for non commercial purposes, on a fair use basis.
Images of that publication are hosted by: National WWI Museum and Memorial | 2 Memorial Drive | Kansas City | MO

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit.png

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Keith_history_buff

Other records found for this man:

He appears to have completed a draft card. His address is 40 East Columbia, Detroit, Michigan. He is a tractor engineer by trade, but not working at that time. His marital status is single. His date and place of birth are November 21, 1892 at Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He is recorded as Harry Hammill.

He appears on a ledger of marriage records for Wayne, Michigan dated 6 September 1917 and the wedding took place at Highland Park. His profession is recorded as engineer. He was betrothed to Lorena Lawrence.

A record was found for Harry A Hammill on the 1920 US Census. He is in District 0007, Dearborn township, Wayne county, Michigan. The census states that he emigrated to the US in 1915 and was naturalised in 1918. His son, Lewis Orrin appears on the census, born 8 May 1919. (Lewis Orrin has a Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, yet his father does not.)

He appears on the 1930 US Census, where it is stated he is a WW1 veteran. He is a sales manager for an airplane parts company. He owns his house at 154 Manistique Avenue, Detroit. Contrarily, he appears in the city directory at this address, with his wife, with his occupation recorded as a waiter.

He then appears, with wife and son, having uprooted to a new address at 3807 Kennelwood, Austin Texas, where he is the proprietor of a flying field (Coleman Flying School Ltd). A family tree on Ancestry records his death taking place in Texas on 5 March 1965.

Given his "naturalisation" and the birth of his son, I am not certain that he ever left the US during WW1, as there is no evidence to corroborate any overseas service taking place.

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Keith_history_buff

Of further interest
 

Quote

The 85th [Division] sailed for France piecemeal after a considerable stay at Camp Mills. By July 31 all units were on the water. The 160th Depot Brigade remained behind to form the nucleus of the 14th Division, which was to occupy Custer from the departure of the 85th until the close of the war. The 85th division debarked at Liverpool, and entrained at once for Southampton. It left the latter port for France short the 339th Infantry, three companies of Engineers, and some of the officers ot the 340th Infantry, these units being detached for service on the Archangel front as the American Northern Russian Expeditionary Force. Arriving at Cherbourg, August 15, the Division went at once to Pouilly-sur-Loire for training.


source:
Honor roll and complete war history of Genesee county, Michigan, in the great world war 1914 to 1918

It looks like he stayed at Camp Custer for the duration of the war.


 

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johnmelling1979
Posted (edited)

Hello

 

Great to see that you have made a break through with the research :thumbsup:

 

I've had my head buried in my website research

 

Have you seen this website, it may help add to his story :whistle:  although its about his later life  with Coleman Flying School Ltd

https://ralphterry.com/colemancounty/military/flyingschool/history.html

 

John

Edited by johnmelling1979

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Keith_history_buff

Thanks for the additional link, John. His death certificate records that he was a WW1 veteran of the US Army, and that he was the proprietor of a local theater. He appears in a directory with a Texas address in 1934.

His WW1 service in the British Army is a challenge.
M2/032255 Malcolm Ross has a surviving service record. He enlisted on 5 January 1915. He arrived in France on 18 January 1915, and if I understand correctly from the handwriting, was supporting 28 Ammunition Park. The silver war badge roll advises that M2/032279 Jack Williams enlisted on 5 January 1914. The pension record for M2/032313 John Nunn advises that he enlisted on 6 January 1915. The surviving service record for M2/032250 Armit Haxton Adamson has him sent to BMTD Rouen on 16 January 1915.

I am intrigued as to how Harvey Alexander Hammill was in Great Britain in January 1915, and wonder if he too had been a motor lorry driver in peacetime. His profession is recorded as chauffeur on the 1920 US Federal Census.

He does appear on the 1914-15 Star roll, having arrived in France on 18 January 1915, but it is recorded that he was a deserter. 
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/5119/images/41804_626640_12124-00169

The draft card for one of his contemporaries, 2050162 Anthony Engelsman, was countersigned on 5 June 1917, so I am wondering if his card was issued at about this time. Perhaps Hammill's mention of a heart condition prevented him from being posted overseas.

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Keith_history_buff

I see there is a photo on Find a Grave. I presume this is his grave marker. It also references his service 'PFC Co F 160 Depot Brigade'
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/27231558

It seems odd that he had been living in Texas for 30+ years but was buried in Missouri. 

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johnmelling1979
Posted (edited)

 

The first Canadians landed in France in December of 1914

If he had come over with the Canadians I thought he would have stayed with them

 

But he arrived in France on 18 January 1915 with the RASC ? 

Makes me wonder if he had already been in England

 

Deserted on 20 March 1917.

 

Did he Desert the Army in 1917 to go back to his likely girlfriend \  wife to be ! and get married a few months later

 

His death being from obstruction of blood flow in a coronary artery,, nothing sinister there, but why would he be buried in Missouri :huh:  That's 2 states across from Texas

 

 

He had one hell of a confusing history !!:unsure:

 

 

John  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by johnmelling1979

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Keith_history_buff

I did wonder, based on that photo, if the Veterans Administration funded his gravestone. I'm inexperienced in these matters, but for the explicit mention of his WW1 service, it did make me wonder.

There is a thread on here about Canadians being recruited to join the Army Service Corps later in the war, but it seems odd to me how he ended up in Britain and with the ASC as at 18 January 1915.

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