On the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day in France, I'd like to pay tribute to my grandfathers, both of whom served in France during the war. Seated on the right in the family portrait is my grandfather P. E. de Carteret, who first served in the Guernsey (Channel Islands, UK) Militia, and was later mobilized into the British Army as an infantry sergeant. He was was wounded in the first major battle of the war at Mons in August of 1914, and would later be gassed at Ypres. This photo was taken at home on Guernsey during convalescence in 1916. Pictured standing above him is his younger brother Frank, who would be killed in France in 1918. Grandpa immigrated to the US in 1924, and would spend his life as a carpenter building movie sets for the various film studios in Hollywood. He survived four years of trench warfare in France, and even into his late 60s, was a BAMF.
Pictured with me from around 1959 is my maternal grandfather, Frank Carter, in whose home I lived for the majority of my pre-school years. He served in the US Army, 40th Division "California Grizzlies", and the 144th Field Artillery Battalion during the war. On his passing, I was given most of his WWI artifacts, which included his helmet, gas mask, shaving kit and foot locker. It took a few years before I could rummage through that foot locker and examine the contents. But when I did, I discovered it contained dozens of letters to him from his family in Alameda, and many from him to family back home. One in particular struck me as a treasure - it is dated Nov. 11, 1918, and describes the feelings, sentiments and activities in their billeted village in France on the day the war came to a close. I used to do Veterans Day presentations featuring these artifacts and stories while my daughters were still in K-12 school, but I would always have to have the teacher read this letter. I'd like to share it:
At the end of the letter there is a link to a radio tribute to Veterans that my daughter produced and narrated while in college, back in 2007.
For those of you on this site who have served us all in military service, thank you. And Salute!
Wow, those are some very special artifacts you have! As an Army veteran who has served in both Desert Storm and OIF, I appreciate your thanks. Tomorrow is the 100th Anniversary of the ending of WWI, Armistice Day. I will be putting the flag out, as I always do on this day.