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Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

Article about: Hello everyone, I went to gunshow in the area by me, and I stumbled across this beautiful WWI doughboy helmet. The pictures show how well kept this helmet was over the course of time. I saw

  1. #11

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Interesting thread. Could TEL stand for Telephone battalion, aka field signal battalion? Just a thought.

    Quinn

  2. #12

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Quote by matthewsq View Post
    Interesting thread. Could TEL stand for Telephone battalion, aka field signal battalion? Just a thought.

    Quinn
    You know, I haven't even thought of that...I guess it makes sense that Telephone would be synonymous with Field Signal

  3. #13

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Alex: Ok, I finally found it. Your man was in Co. D 2nd Telegraph Battalion, which was assigned to the GHQ, AEF, Service of Supply. The Service of Supply (SOS) had 13 telegraph battalions in its TO&E, numbered 1 through 13, 12 of which Nos. 2-13 were distributed throughout the command in 3 SOS sections and 9 SOS base stations. the 2nd Telegraph Battalion was in the Service of Supply Advance Section, which means the 2nd Telegraph Battalion probably strung lines in the St. Mihiel and Argonne areas, but as a non-combat unit. Below the GHQ, AEF, eleven telegraph battalions were assigned at Army and Corps level, 51st, 52nd, 55th, 401st, 405th, 406th, 409th, 411th, 412th, 417th, and 419th, all of which operated in combat zones. Source: Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. vol. 1, GPO, 1931. Dwight

  4. #14

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Quote by drmessimer View Post
    Alex: Ok, I finally found it. Your man was in Co. D 2nd Telegraph Battalion, which was assigned to the GHQ, AEF, Service of Supply. The Service of Supply (SOS) had 13 telegraph battalions in its TO&E, numbered 1 through 13, 12 of which Nos. 2-13 were distributed throughout the command in 3 SOS sections and 9 SOS base stations. the 2nd Telegraph Battalion was in the Service of Supply Advance Section, which means the 2nd Telegraph Battalion probably strung lines in the St. Mihiel and Argonne areas, but as a non-combat unit. Below the GHQ, AEF, eleven telegraph battalions were assigned at Army and Corps level, 51st, 52nd, 55th, 401st, 405th, 406th, 409th, 411th, 412th, 417th, and 419th, all of which operated in combat zones. Source: Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. vol. 1, GPO, 1931. Dwight
    Dwight,

    I can't thank you enough for helping me with researching this helmet...I don't know how I would have been able tO otherwise...my last question is now that we have the history of his unit that he was attached to, is there any way that we can find William U. Day's personal info I.e. Date of birth length of service awards etc? On note of awards, because he was in st mihiel and meuse Argonne, would he have been entitled to a defensive sector bar as well?

    Alex

  5. #15

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Alex: Let me see what I can do about William U. Day. As for whether or not he was entitled to any sort of ribbon bar, I would guess that he was. But I don't know which one he would be entitled to. It's not my area. Maybe someone else on the Forum will jump in and answer that question for us. I appreciate your generous remarks, but it took two of us to do this. Your closer examination of the chin strap broke the log jam and made it easier for me to pin down the unit. Hopefully, more iformation to follow. In the meantime, the Best to you, Dwight

  6. #16

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Wow, good one Dwight!

  7. #17

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Alex: It seems that there were two 2nd Telegraph Battalions in the AEF. One was a Regular Army unit that was stationed at Camp Newton D. Baker, outside of El Paso, TX at the time we entered the war. It went to France on 1 December 1917, together with three other Regular Army telegraph battalions, in answer to an urgent call from AEF headquarters for telegraph battalions to take over the "rail road telephone & telegraph business" in France. Those Regular Army battalions were subsequently relieved by four newly raised National Army battalions, 413th, 414th, 415th, and the 416th.
    The other battalion was the 2nd Reserve Telegraph Battalion, also shown as the 2nd Telegraph Battalion (Reserve), which was raised in the United States in June 1917 at Monmouth Park, NJ and shipped to France on 7 August 1917. I couldn't find any other reference to the reserve battalion, so I'm guessing that it was broken up and its personnel were distributed among the Regular Army telegraph bttalions that started arriving at the end of 1917. Since the Regular Army 2nd Telegraph Battalion was still at its peacetime strength when it went to France, I assume that some of the reservists from the 2nd Reserve Telegraph Battalion were added to it. The wartime strength for a telegraph battalion was 9 officers and 209 men.
    This information came from the Annual Report of the Chief Signal Officer made to the Secretary of War, 1919, GPO, 1919.
    Dwight

  8. #18

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Alex: I think I have found your man, but getting there was an exercise in utter frustration. Apparently, not only were there two 2nd Telegraph Battalions in the AEF, but both were morphed into another designation. And how that happened is convoluted and confusing, and way too long to explain here. So, to keep it short, the 2nd Telegraph Battalion (Reserve) became the 407th Telegraph Battalion. I found that in the CSO 1919 Annual report, after a second reading, and confirmed it in History of Army Communications and Electronics at Fort Monmouth. The 407th doesn't show up anywhere in Battle Participation of Organizations of the American Expeditionary Froces..., but it is listed in the Order of Battle, which means it was assigned to a non-combat role in the SOS. You man's last name appears on the roster of the 407th printed in this 8-page publication

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Program front and back covers 1.jpg 
Views:	499 
Size:	170.2 KB 
ID:	405365

    Unfortunately, I don't have the pamphlet at hand, but you can track it down online by entering the title in google.

    The Regular Army 2nd Telegraph Battalion became the 52nd Telegraph Battalion and participated in Meuse-Argonne offensive, but was not active in or around St. Mihiel. Both were primarily assigned to SOS.

    If you can get hold of a copy of the above pamphlet, it will probably give you enough leads to track down you man and get all his details. Good luck. Dwight

  9. #19

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Dwight,

    Your research skills are incredible. You've helped unravel a mystery that if left to my own devices, would still be shrouded. I was able to uncover some information about William Day earlier today, including his middle name, DOB, and enlistment dates:

    BIRLS File

    Name: William Urbin Day
    Gender: Male
    Birth Date: 2 Aug 1891
    Death Date: 27 Nov 1982
    SSN: 080016790
    Enlistment Date 1: 26 Jul 1917
    Release Date 1: 2 May 1919

    I also found a site, based on the picture of the program that you posted, William's rank as well. I plan on printing out the pictures and making a make-shift replica to go along with the display I'm going to make. Now if I could only somehow find an actual picture of him...

    Dillon Family History and Archive: Program from Welcome Home Ceremony for Uncle Jack Dillon

  10. #20

    Default Re: Attributed WWI US Helmet; Soldier's name, division and battles written on chinstrap

    Nice work guys! A good thread.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

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