Truly an amazing group of artifacts but also it raises many questions. Please don't infer my questions as doubting the validity of the group, but they are simply my efforts to decipher the clues presented before me. These questions are not indictments, I'm just ticking off puzzling clues. I exclusively collect AFS and American Ambulance material, which doesn't in any way make e an expert but I have been studying these men for fairly long period of time.
What I do know is William Lawrence Clark is an omit from the final roster of the American Field Service. Meaning that he was left off the final roll. That doesn't mean an immediate disqualification as some mistakes were made or some unknown transgressions were possible committed by the volunteer. Likewise I cannot find his name listed in any AFS Bulletin or reunion which again doesn't mean much.
The collection of artifacts are very interesting. It appears that his first service and possibly only was with the "Paris Squad" which was the name given to the squad of ambulances assigned to the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris which was located in the Lycée Pasteur building in Neuilly-sur-Siene. By the middle of 1916 there was a break in the relationship between the director of the American Field Service, A. Piatt Andrew and the Transportation Committee of the American Ambulance Hospital. The pink card is his French drivers license one of the first of many documents he would've been required to get in order to operate a motor vehicle in France. The little book to me is one of the coolest items in the ambulance material. as it is his "pick-up" booklet, that he would've used to document the wounded he picked up at the Paris train station at La Chappel and the destination hospital that he was directed to take his blessés or wounded. He would place the carbon paper in-between, write the appropriate information and then when he arrived at whatever hospital he was assigned to, he would then tear out the top copy, leaving his carbon record in his booklet. The tag marked "American Ambulance Neuilly Paris France" is very interesting. I've never seen on before and my best educated guess is that is was a luggage tag that was attached to his suitcase or steamer trunk when he loaded all his gear aboard ship to go back home.
The small pin with the "six months" service bar is his American Ambulance Service medal, which was awarded by the hospital and not by the AFS. The "winged badge" as you probably know was his drivers cap badge. This style of badge was worn by both the Paris Squad and the AFS men at the same time but was fazed out of use by the AFS in late 1916, 1917. The cloth flaming bomb patch is a collar device, issued by the French government's Automobile Service. The "A" stood for "Automobile" rather than ambulance. By 1916, the French Automobile service has assumed nominal control over all of the volunteer ambulance units, including the Paris Squad. Now the other insignia starts to get puzzling. He has a discharge letter complementing him on his service and signed in October 1916 by A.W. Kipling "Captain of Ambulances" from the American Ambulance Hospital. This means he was employed by the American Ambulance until October 1916. It had to have been at this point that he went over a signed up with the American Field Service but based upon other evidence he would not have had anytime to volunteer with them. By October 1916 they were an entirely separate service, with the own headquarters at 21 Rue Raynuard, Paris. But again, no record of him ever joining up. Passenger records from the SS Lafayette have him arriving back in the US on October 16, 1916 so that rules out any actually "field service" with the AFS. However, he did receive his AFS Service Medal, signed by Henry Sleeper (A State-Side Representative of the AFS). His medal is engraved 1916. This would've been done either by him or a jeweler post-war as the medal were not issued until the early 1920's and were not engraved. One possible explanation is that he volunteered with the American Field Service, but once in Paris, for whatever reason he never went out into "The Field" and did his volunteer period with the Paris Squad but got credit for joining the American Field Service at first. There is a passport issued to him in February of 1916, but unlike most there is no mention of his intention to volunteer with any ambulance or relief work which is what you normally see, so that rules that out. He traveled with his mom and dad and did go to Paris prior to March 1916, so he may have volunteered once he got to Paris and saw the work they were doing. I still can't figure out why he has all the US Army ambulance stuff. He never served with them.
Then he has all of that US Army Ambulance Service material,,shoulder patches from post-Armistice 1919, a service medal from the US Army Ambulance service association which was only for men that had served in the USAAS,,not the AFS. His USMC records had him at Paris Island in December 1917. He seems to have spent the entire was a Marine and had no time whatsoever driving an ambulance for the US Army Ambulance Service. In that great picture, you can see his is wearing his American Ambulance pin on his Marine uniform! Most of the former AFS guys that enlisted in the US Army as ambulance drivers did so in the field. US Army recruiters actually drove out to their French camps and signed them up. One day your driving an ambulance for the French as a member of the American Field Service, the nest day you are driving an ambulance for the French as a member of the US Army Ambulance Corps.
It is a very cool, interesting and puzzling group of artifacts. (By the way, I used to own a postcard sized photo of him a few years ago but it was unidentified.)