WFA East Coast #2

Mitch Yockelson is the next speaker, promoting his new book, “Borrowed Soldiers,” about American troops who fought with the British in Flanders and the Somme in 1918. He’s an archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration and an instructor at the United States Naval Academy, as well as a great speaker.

The American divisions were the 27th and the 30th. The 27th Division was an all- New York National Guard unit, who had fought in the Mexican War against Pancho Villa, so they had some experience. The 30th Division was a composite of National Guard units from the Carolinas and Tennessee. They did some fighting in the Mexican War. too.

The divisions were trained in camps in the South with British and French officers as advisers. The British cleverly took command of the two divisions by offering a plan to get our troops across the ocean with their ships and the sailors. The first Doughboys headed across in March 1918. The crossing took about two weeks.

The American divisions, under British Gen. Henry Rawlinson, attacked the Hindenberg Line  in September.  TThe 27th took the worse casualties. Its 107th Infantry sustained the most losses of any American unit in the war. The 30th Division had the most Medal of Honor recipients of any division.

Yockelson says the British thought the Americans were obnoxious. They objected to the Doughboys’ loud assurances that the Yanks would win the war for them, no prob.

Her’s a U.S. Signal Corps photo of Americans with our (British)  tanks.

1 thought on “WFA East Coast #2

  1. My wife’s grandfather, Willie H. Nims, had been a sergeant with the 30th Division — originally with the South Carolina National Guard. He lived long enough for me to meet him when Beth and I were engaged or newly married, but he wouldn’t discuss the war, especially with a young whippersnapper like me. Willie Nims won the DSC and Purple Heart in the war. He had been shot in the butt while attacking a machine gun nest — he always said “shot in the hip”. In later life he had a white goatee and was a dead ringer for Colonel Sanders.


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