Letters from a Yankee Doughboy
176 pages
English

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176 pages
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Description

Letters From a Yankee Doughboy is a collection of more than 125 letters written by Private 1st Class Raymond W. Maker, to his sister, Eva, a county nurse living in Framingham, Massachusetts, describing his everyday service in combat during World War 1. These letters, edited by Private Maker’s grandson, Major Bruce H. Norton (USMC retired) are accompanied by 365 pocket-diary entries that Raymond religiously kept throughout the year 1918.
Private Maker was assigned to Company C, 101st Field Signal Battalion, as a wireman, whose duty was to repair and replace the communications lines that were destroyed by artillery and mortar barrages during the horrific battles that took place between German infantry forces and the 26th “Yankee” Division of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), in France, from October of 1917 until the end of the war.
Assigned to the 104th Infantry Regiment, Private Maker saw the very worst of ground warfare. He fought at the Battle of Belleau Wood; was gassed by German artillery forces at the Battle of Château-Thierry and was wounded by artillery fire outside of Verdun, just one day before the Armistice was signed. The theme of his letters will vividly evoke memories in the tens of thousands of men and women who have served their country and their friends and loved ones.
As a postscript, toward the end of the war, Raymond took the key to the North Gate of Verdun as a battlefield keepsake and mailed it home to his sister, instructing her to “keep that key, as someday it will be of value.” On November 11, 2018 – the centenary of Armistice Day – the author returned that key to Thierry Hubscher, the Director of the Mémorial de Verdun, to be placed on display in that great Museum, closing a 100-year chapter in Raymond’s life.

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Publié par
Date de parution 15 octobre 2019
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9781680539738
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,396€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

LETTERS FROM A YANKEE DOUGHBOY: PRIVATE 1 ST CLASS RAYMOND W. MAKER IN WORLD WAR I
BRUCE H. NORTON
LETTERS FROM A YANKEE DOUGHBOY: PRIVATE 1 ST CLASS RAYMOND W. MAKER IN WORLD WAR I
BRUCE H. NORTON
ACADEMICA PRESS WASHINGTON - LONDON
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Norton, B. H. (Bruce H.), author.
Title: Letters from a Yankee doughboy : Private 1st Class Raymond W. Maker in World War I / Bruce H. Norton.
Other titles: Letters from a Yankee doughboy, Private 1st Class Raymond W. Maker in World War I
Description: Washington : Academica Press, [2019] | Includes bibliographical references. | Summary: This is an edited collection of letters from a U.S. Army infantryman during World War I. -- Provided by publisher.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019035649 | ISBN 9781680531985 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781680532012 (paperback) | ISBN 9781680539738 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Maker, Raymond W. (Raymond Whitney), 1892-1964-- Correspondence. | United States. Army. Infantry Division, 26th--Biography. | Soldiers--United States--Biography. | World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns-- Western Front. | World War, 1914-1918-- Regimental
DEDICATION
This work is dedicated to my wife, Helen.
With my sincere love and my most grateful appreciation in helping to bring this story of Private First Class Raymond Whitney Maker to life.
Doc
CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
PREFACE
INTRODUCTION
RAYMOND S LETTERS FROM 1917
FIRST COMBAT ACTION AT CHEMIN-DES-DAMES (JANUARY - FEBRUARY 1918)
RAYMOND S LETTERS DIARY ENTRIES
ACTIONS IN LA REINE (BOUCQ) SECTOR - BOIS BR LE, SEICHEPREY, XIVRAY, HUMBERT PLANTATION (MARCH 1918)
THE DIVISION REST AREA (JULY 1918)
THE ST.MIHIEL OFFENSIVE (SEPTEMBER 12-15, 1918)
THE MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE (SEPTEMBER 26 TO NOVEMBER 11, 1918)
THE KEY TO VERDUN
THE FINAL CHAPTER
THE MAKER FAMILY
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Rosalba H. Norton; Marilyn B. Nardone; Mr. Raymond W. Maker, III; Master Sergeant Phillip R. Gibbons, USMC (Ret); Col. Raymond C. Damm, Jr., USMC (Ret); James and Connie M. Simons; Bruce H. Norton, Jr.; Major Greg W. Dyson, USMC; Monsieur Thierry Hubscher, Director, M morial de Verdun; Ms. Gabrielle Perissi; Natacha Glaudel, Head of Collections, Verdun War Memorial; and the Honorable Monsieur Samuel Hazard, Mayor de Verdun; and Mr. Greg Norman, Fox News.

Other books by Major Bruce H. Doc Norton, USMC (Ret.)
Force Recon Diary, 1969
Force Recon Diary, 1970
One Tough Marine: The Biography of 1 st Sergeant Donald N. Hamblen, USMC
Sergeant Major, U.S. Marines: The Biography of Sergeant Major Maurice J. Jacques, USMC
Stingray: The History of Reconnaissance Marines Vietnam - 1965-1972
Encyclopedia of American War Heroes
I AM ALIVE! - A United States Marine s Story of Survival in a Japanese POW Camp
Grown Gray in War: The Biography of Master Gunnery Sergeant Len Maffioli, USMC
PREFACE
Raymond Whitney Maker was my grandfather. Born on November 15, 1892, in Weston, Massachusetts, he was the son of Winfield Scott Maker and Rosalba Maker (Peck), of Framingham, Massachusetts. Raymond had a brother Clifford (Kip), a sister Eva, and a half-sister, Harriet. His mother, Rosalba (Peck) Maker died when Raymond was twenty-three and he, Kip, and their sister Eva, helped their father manage a general store and horse stables in Framingham to keep the family together and supplement their combined incomes. He was proud of his Yankee lineage, as his mother, Rosalba Peck, was a direct descendant of Mary Allerton (Cushman), the youngest passenger aboard the Mayflower .
I remember my grandfather as a quiet, slim-built man, five foot six-inches tall, with thinning white hair, who enjoyed sitting in his Morris chair and listening to the radio, smoking Half Half tobacco from an old corn-cob pipe, and sipping a cold Ballantine beer from a small juice glass as the Boston Red Sox played baseball every Saturday or Sunday afternoon at Boston s Fenway Park.
In 1960, he retired after forty-two years of working for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company as a telephone installation specialist. He enjoyed a few of the simple pleasures of retired life: working with wood in his basement workshop, fishing, and hosting the traditional Saturday night beans and franks dinner at his home in Cranston, Rhode Island, with his wife, Gladys.
Raymond and Gladys had four children: two sons, Raymond (junior) and Donald, and two daughters, Rosalba (my mother) and her sister Marjorie. A man with a dry sense of humor, he was very proud of his sons and daughters and tolerated his eight grandchildren as well as could be expected.
I believe he found some degree of pleasure in my company as his young fishing buddy, but that was challenged on the day that I thought I would help him by scrubbing his dentures with Ajax powder while he was taking his afternoon nap. Upon waking and positioning his upper and lower dentures, his facial expression suddenly changed with the unnatural taste of grit and chlorine from my shoddy job of properly rinsing his teeth. I suddenly heard words I had never heard before, and not understanding what they meant, there was no doubt from his rapid-fire delivery of swearing, that I had done something very wrong. My grandmother quickly removed me from his presence and probably saved my life.
Raymond Whitney Maker served in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (National Guard) for three years before enlisting in the U.S. Army s 26 th Infantry Division. He saw the very worst of what war had to offer a young man from rural Massachusetts and, in my presence when I was very young, never spoke about his experiences during the war in France with the Yankee Division.
Private 1 st Class Raymond W. Maker was the unsuspecting recipient of mustard gas fired by German artillery into his dugout position on July 20, 1918, at the Battle of Ch teau-Thierry. As a horrific chemical agent, it caused severe burning of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. The Germans used this gas as an effective method of incapacitating victims en masse .
He was hospitalized and treated at Base Hospital #31, in Contrexeville (Vosges), where the U.S. Army had taken over nine hotels for use as hospitals to treat thousands of wounded American soldiers. After a month of hospitalization, in late August 1918 he rejoined the 104 th Infantry Regiment.
He was wounded by enemy artillery fire at Verdun on November 9, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne offensive and was awarded a second wound stripe and the Purple Heart. In December 1918, he went into the city of Verdun and as a keepsake took the key from the North Gate of Verdun. He wrote about acquiring his souvenir to his sister and mailed the key to Eva, telling her to take care of it as it could someday be of value.
I believe Raymond s daily pocket diary entries and letters to his family accurately describe the day-to-day boredom and sufferings not unlike those of millions of American infantrymen who, since our early colonial days, have taken up arms against other enemy combatants. There is an unmistakable change in his letters from routine and mundane to more heart-felt and foreboding, after he had survived numerous incoming enemy artillery barrages, going over the top, and meeting enemy machinegun and rifle fire.
One aspect of Raymond s character which I believe is most telling is that his eldest son, Raymond W. Maker, Jr., married a girl whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig Britsch, came to the United States from Germany after the First World War. It was during a Thanksgiving Day dinner at Raymond s home, in the late 1950s, when it was revealed that Mr. Britsch had served in the German Army and had fought against Raymond during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the fall of 1918. Mr. Britsch had been wounded by American artillery fire and was immediately taken as a prisoner of war. He credited his survival to the care given to him by American infantrymen and the U.S. Army s doctors and nurses. Mr. and Mrs. Britsch and Raymond and Gladys became close friends and were together at numerous family gatherings.
In 1990, I visited with my uncle Donald Maker, Raymond s youngest son, who lived with his wife Ruthie, in North Scituate, Rhode Island. I was presented with Raymond s Colt .45 pistol, with serial number 274084, the very sidearm he carried throughout his time in France. Uncle Donnie wanted to make sure that the pistol would be cared for long after he was gone and, knowing that I was military historian, thought I would cherish such a gift. Raymond s Colt .45 holds a place of honor in our home and is one of my most prized possessions.
He told me that Raymond had used the pistol in the Battle of Ch teau-Thierry when he was pinned down my German machinegun fire. He was unable to move from a large shell hole as he laid out communication wire. He remained motionless as four German infantrymen slowly approached his position. Raymond waited for the right moment and fire his Colt into the group, killing all four of them.
Uncle Donnie went on to explain that at the time soldiers were forbidden to write about the actions in combat. The could not record where they were, where they we going, and what actions they had been involved in. Raymond s letters, written during the month of July 1918, mention how horrible the experience was, but he did not describe his actions in his letters to his sister and father for fear of worrying them.
What follows are Raymond s short pocket diary entries, from January 1 to December 30, 1918, and his letters from October 1917 to April 1919, which he wrote to his sister, Eva and other family members and friends. His sister saved these letters and passed them along to his wife Gladys, who gave

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