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U.S. Army Brassards & Armbands 1898 to 1918 Part 2


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This image was cropped from a larger photo titled, "Bringing aboard wounded at Boreeaux, France". The officer in charge and the enlisted litter bearers, all of whom are transporting wounded Doughboys onto a American hospital ship, are all wearing unidentified brassards.

 

The officer's brassard appears to be white with a dark horizontal stripe bisecting it. Initially, I thought the enlisted men's brassards were Red Cross brassards, but there is no evidence of a red cross at all. Therfore, the single color brassards must have been designed for a different purpose.

 

Any guesses as to what either of these unidentified brassards represent?

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Another unidentified WW I brassard. This one is worn by three African American soldiers on troop ship that is waiting to disgorge it cargo of American Doughboys at the port of Liverpool, England. I'm guessing that this image dates to 1917 or early 1918.

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Cropped view of the three men, two of whom are wearing a brassard, and one wearing what looks to be the same design found on the brassards, but cut out and sewn onto, or otherwise affixed, to his left sleeve. The soldiers wearing the brassards and insignia are situated near the upper right and left hand corners, as well as the lower right hand corner.

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I've got one to add. I just picked up the YMCA uniforms and paperwork of Carrie Buhrman who came to France in late 1918 (About the time of the armistice). She was a canteen secretary around Paris at least through 1919 and spent time in Germany after that with the occupation forces. This plain horizon blue arm band was in one of her pockets. It has pin holes in the one end for attachment. No idea what it designates.

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I also acquired some paperwork for him. I was delighted to get this group as my grandfather was a sgt. in Battery C, 307th FA. So, this fella would have cared for the horses that pulled my grandfather's gun. I had never seen one of these before either. Neat little surprise in the group.

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The Troops in post #331 are aboard the SS Momus, arriving at St Nazaire on June 27th 1917 with the second convoy of troops. The SS Momus was carrying 4 companies of the 26th Infantry I, K, L, M and parts of the the HQ unit. These are the white troops in the photo. The Momus was also carrying 185 African-Americans and about 30 white members of the Transport Stevedore Battalion. The Transport Stevedore Battalion was a civilian unit under the command of officers of the QMC. The Brassards would seem to denote members of the stevedores. They are visible on both the black as well as the white civilians. It would seem that though clothed in US Army uniforms, the men are civilians.

 

Without data, your just another person with an opinion...................

 

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Jon, thanks for doing the leg-work in regard to the mysterious brassard/shoulder patch worn by what we now know as the insignia/logo of the non-military "Transport Stevedore Battalion". I for one, never heard of that organization until I found out about from your research. Thank you for that!

 

Jon also sent me a link to this image housed in the Library of Congress. The image shows a number of the African American members of the Transport Stevedore Battalion aboard the U.S.S. Momus en-route to France in June of 1917. A careful inspection of the image reveals a shoulder insignia that is similar to those seen in the above Post No. 331. The insignia is worn by a stevedore in the front row, third from the right.

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It's a educated guess based on what's visible in the photos posted i.e. thirteen blobs and a wheel with eight spokes. The colour's are conjectural although the stars, assuming that's what they are, seem to be white. Buff was the QM branch colour so maybe...

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Trying to ID the brassard visible in the background of this photo is a real long-shot. But what the heck, any port in a storm right?

 

First a few details about this image (standing soldier, just above, and to the right, of center):

 

  • It's printed on German postcard stock, so it was likely taken in Germany in 1919.
  • Most of the visible shoulder sleeve insignia belongs to the 2nd Division, but which regiment, train or battalion is unclear.
  • Other AEF insignia visible are Railhead (lower left corner) - 3rd Army (lower right corner & possibly the brassard wearer) & maybe, or maybe not, 4th Division (upper right corner).
  • Presumably the soldiers are in the lobby or lounge of either some sort of a recreation center or YMCA type of facility.

I know the odds aren't in my favor, but does anyone recognize, or know, what the purpose of the brassard might be?

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