In our ongoing project to showcase the involvement of North Carolinians in World War I, we have been uploading lots of new items to our North Carolina Digital Collections. We have just released additional images and transcripts of correspondence from private collections donated to the State Archives and held in our Military Collection. This batch of letters includes correspondence from American soldiers, as well as American volunteers in Europe. The finding aid for the Military Collection, World War I Papers, Private Collections can be found here. Below are brief descriptions of the newly-featured soldiers and volunteers.
Within a week of the outbreak of the war in Europe in August 1914, Sgt. Kiffin Yates Rockwell and his brother, Paul, both of Asheville, (Buncombe County) North Carolina, departed for Europe to volunteer for service with the French army. They enlisted in the French Foreign Legion, but, within a year, both had been severely wounded. When Kiffin had recovered from the bullet wound to his leg, he became a charter member of the newly-formed Lafayette Escadrille, a volunteer organization of American fighter pilots in France. In May 1916, he became the first member of the unit to shoot down an enemy plane. He downed at least three others before being killed in aerial combat on September 23, 1916. In 1917 the Buncombe County Committee of Colonial Dames donated an ambulance in Kiffin’s honor to the American Field Service in Europe.
Elizabeth Earl Jones and May Frances Jones were sisters from Asheville, who volunteered in Europe during World War I. Elizabeth had been in England since 1916, before the United States joined the war, and stayed on throughout the conflict. She volunteered with the “American Ladies’ Red Cross Aid Committee” visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals and worked at the Y.M.C.A. “Eagle Hut” in London. May traveled to France in November 1918 and was a canteen worker and hut secretary for the Y.M.C.A. group embedded with the 318th Machine Gun Battalion, 81st Division, U.S. Army.
Pvt. John Burt Exum, Jr., of Fremont (Wayne County), N.C., served as a wagoner in Co. D, 306th Ammunition Train, 81st Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. For training, he was stationed at Camp Jackson, S.C., and was deployed to France in August 1918.
Pvt. Albert Leslie Lewis of Enfield (Halifax County), N.C., served in Co. C, 322nd Infantry, 81st Division. He was deployed to Europe in August 1918, but was injured in battle in France in September or October. The injury significantly affected his hearing and he spent several weeks recuperating in a hospital.
Lt. Andrew H. Green of Raleigh (Wake County), N.C., served in Co. F, 120th Infantry, 30th Division of the Army National Guard during World War I. He was deployed to Europe in the spring of 1918, but was wounded in battle in Belgium in July. He spent many months recuperating in a hospital in England.
Cpl. Roy Vernon Martin of Gaston County, N.C., served in Co. A, 115th Machine Gun Battalion, 30th Division. He was deployed to Europe in the spring of 1918 and was stationed first in Belgium and then in France.
Army of Occupation in Germany
Pvt. Charles L. Dunn of Kinston (Lenoir County), N.C., served in Co. 77, 6th Machine Gun Battalion, 4th Marine Brigade, 2nd Division, during World War I. He was deployed to Europe in October 1917 where he was stationed first in France and then as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. He was honorably discharged in July 1919.
Pvt. Harvey Lee Teague of Wallburg (Davidson County), N.C., served in Co. C, 56th Pioneer Infantry of the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Europe in August 1918 and was stationed first in France and then as part of the Army of Occupation. He returned to the U.S. in June 1919.
Cpl. Thomas Wayne Williams of Maxton (Robeson County) served in the Ordnance Department of the U.S. Army. His unit, the 303rd Advance Ordnance Depot, was stationed with the 3rd Division of the U.S. Army as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany.
On the Homefront
Pvt. Lonnie T. Graham of Jackson Springs (Moore County), N.C., attended the U.S. Army Training Detachment at Clemson College during the summer of 1918, and Officers’ Training School at Camp Gordon, Georgia, September-November 1918. He was never assigned to a unit or deployed overseas during World War I.
Pvt. Pierce Rose Pope of Godwin (Cumberland County), N.C., served in Battery F, 9th Field Artillery, and Battery D, 58th Field Artillery, during World War I. He was stationed at Camp Jackson, S.C.