Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Centennial at the Grass Roots: St. Louis, Missouri

Ceremony Marking the Temporary Closing of the Soldiers Memorial in 2016

The Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, has been turned over to the Missouri Historical Society. A two-year, $30 million renovation is planned that will honor military service, veterans, and their families. The memorial will reopen in 2018.  Besides supporting the restoration, the Missouri  Historical Society's Museum at Forest Park is fully supporting the Centennial commemoration of the war.  They have already presented an exhibit, "World War I: Missouri and the Great War."  Further, their staff is doing a wonderful job of writing commentary on facets of the war in their Blog and placing period photos online. Below is a selection of some interesting images that I've never seen before. All their material, archives and Blog, plus information on the Soldiers Memorial renovation can be accessed at:

William H. Danforth, Founder of the Ralston-Purina Company, 
with a Souvenir of His Service as a YMCA Volunteer in France

Instructional Poster for the Troops

Robert Prager was lynched in 1918 by several Collinsville, IL,  men
who believed him to be a German spy.

Sailors Discharged in St. Louis After the War

St. Louis Browns Player and Future Baseball Executive Branch Rickey,
Who Served with the Chemical  Warfare Service in France

The Four Minute Men of St. Louis

The Archives Hold a Collection of "Gold Star Cards" for
Each Missourian Who Died in the War

Missouri National Guardsmen Who Would Serve with the 35th Division in France

A photo from Villingen prisoner of war camp: John Franklin Hardesty (lower left)
was born in Winfield, MO, and served as a surgeon with the British Army during
World War I.  Hardesty was captured by German troops at Amiens in March 1918
and held at Ratstatt and Villingen prisoner of war camps for eight months. 
Hardesty helped naval Lt. Edouard Izac of Cresco, Iowa, (standing on right)
and several other escape to Switzerland. 

Izac later received the Medal of Honor for his service.
(Late addition thanks to aviation historian Steve Ruffin: The man in the beret in the middle is Harold Willis, the only member of the Lafayette Escadrille, who was shot down and taken prisoner.)

A Missouri National Guard Recruiting Poster

1 comment:

  1. The man standing in the middle in the POW picture is Harold Willis, the only pilot serving with the Lafayette Escadrille to be shot down and taken prisoner.