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World War One Enemies United by Love


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Meet Jacob Holder and Frank Brown, my maternal great great Grandfather and great Grandfather respectively. Jacob Holder was a career enlisted soldier from Ulm, Germany with over two decades of service in the Wurttemberg 125th Infantry Regiment of the German Imperial Army. He reached the rank of Offizierstelvertreter (a warrant officer equivalent of a Lieutenant from my understanding) and fought on the Western Front during World War I. There he earned the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class, the Wound Badge and the Wurttemberg Merit Cross with Swords. He immigrated to the US in the 1930s and became a naturalized citizen. He settled with his son (who had immigrated before him) and worked at a brewery in Detroit. 

 

Frank Brown was a teenaged coal miner from Wigan, England like his father and grandfather before him. He followed his father into the Royal Field Artillery in 1917, and would spend his entire period of service in France on the Western Front as well. He too immigrated to the US after the war and eventually found his way to Detroit as well, where he would work as an electrician for the Chrysler. Also a naturalized citizen, he would become one of the chief electricians on either B-24 or B-29 manufacturing during World War II. 

 

These former enemies would meet as family when Jacob’s grand-daughter married Frank’s son in the 1950s. I have pictures of the two men sitting across from each other at the head table during my grandparent’s wedding reception. 

 

The greatest day of my life as a history buff and collector was the day my Grandparents gave me their family’s medals. After talking with my Papa about his father’s service, I asked him if he had anything from it. My Papa went to a drawer and pulled out Frank’s War Service and Victory Medals. As I was admiring these, my Grandma dropped a bombshell on me, stating in the most matter-of-fact way that her Grandfather has also fought in World War I and that she had his medals. My teenage self was dumbfounded as she appeared from the basement with a shadow box filled with Iron Crosses. 

 

I am truly blessed to have these heirlooms of proud immigrant Americans and I hope you enjoy looking at them.

 

Friar

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Bill and Doc, 

 

Thanks for looking guys. I’m am so grateful my family held on to them. I hope and pray my son or his future children will feel the same way I do. I’d love to keep them in the family. My only complaint is that I wish Grandpa Holder had kept his sword and pickelhaube. But again, I’m so thankful to have what I have. And I love that British medals are stamped so I know they my family’s one hundred percent. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Friar

 

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No better pieces in a collection then those with family connections. This is a fantastic story and glad they will be preserved! Thanks for sharing.

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