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Croix de Guerre

Uniform Grouping of Waldo Peirce

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Waldo posing with two recently finished portraits. A skilled and trained artist, Waldo continued to paint and draw as time allowed. He painted a great many portraits of officers and friends during his time in France during WWI.

 

Note Waldo's famous beard. Unlike most Americans at this time Waldo favored wearing a full beard. Some American ambulance drivers also began to adopt the fashion in emulation of their French comrades. But that all ended on a cold night in December when word came down from the French High Command directly that all beards be shorn to better accommodate the proper fit of the now much needed gas masks.

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Wow, that is an important grouping! You don't happen to have any of his artwork as well? I imagine his jacket is igger than normal, do to his size? He was quite the character. Does Harvard have a collection to Peirce? Very well done! Thanks for showing

 

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, a number of original war-time drawings came with the group as well. His coat is large as Waldo stood around 6'2 and weighed over 200lbs. He had played Right Guard on the Harvard football team back in days before the forward pass. Harvard does have some of his things, with a great deal of material spread from the Library of Congress, Colby College, the Smithsonian to name a few.


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An original drawing by Waldo Peirce of the “Old Nubbin” or the Vieil Armand. Once covered by a thick, lush forest, the mountain had in Waldo’s words been “scorched, drubbed, hammered, ploughed, furrowed, ripped, scoured, torn, shattered — consult dictionary of synonyms — and beplastered with every calibre of obus that whines”.

 

 

http://www.getalsaced.com/vieil-armand-wor...-memorials.html

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartmannswillerkopf

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"Hartsmannsweilerkopf as we saw it - looking down its length from a French cemetary - or what was left of it."

 

Waldo's description -

 

"There are small ants of men who crawl about amid its boils, ruptures, and gaping sores. Some are French, some Boches. The lines are about a yard apart at the top, for no one side can hold it against the other, though taken and retaken many times. Thus they live together — only in the fear of killing one's own lies their security. It's a sort of terrific altar of war, against the sky, drenched with a thousand sacrifices, rising grim and naked, and scarred alive — the valley and her slopes treecovered. It was always a spectacle that chased the red corpuscles in my veins down into my heels, and brought every white one to the surface. The last time I looked at it, perhaps we were seen — we were there — the obus began whining at us from somewhere in Bocheland — I measured my length ... as I will measure it again. Somewhere on the Vosgean steep . . . there must be a perfect mould — the life-mask of one Peirce, conducteur d'ambulance. I have not seen the old nubbin since."

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WALDO PEIRCE S.S.U.3 - AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE 1917

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THis is truly a phenominal group and I appreciate getting to see it here on the forum. It is truly historic and unbelieveably rare. I also appreciate the time and effort that you went to in order to craft your displays as well as the time that it took to research and document the grouping.

Well done!

Allan

 

Thanks for the compliment Allan! :thumbsup:


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An absolutely stunning grouping and history to boot. As you know Tom, I have a passing interest in the AFS however, my finds are nothing by comparison to this one. I can't think of enough adjectives to describe how I feel about this group. The only thing I can add is: I wish it were mine. ;)

 

Is it possible to get a close up shot of Carey's helmet? I'm curious if it has an AFS shield. As always, I'm still a helmet head. :rolleyes:


"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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An absolutely stunning grouping and history to boot. As you know Tom, I have a passing interest in the AFS however, my finds are nothing by comparison to this one. I can't think of enough adjectives to describe how I feel about this group. The only thing I can add is: I wish it were mine. ;)

 

Is it possible to get a close up shot of Carey's helmet? I'm curious if it has an AFS shield. As always, I'm still a helmet head. :rolleyes:

 

Thanks for the feedback man! As far as Carey's helmet I'll get a closer scan but it is not an "AFS Shield" as they did not exsist in 1915. My best guess is those adrian helmet devices came out in late 1917, which is why you see them most associated with the TMU (transport) sections really late in the history of the Field Service. I have not seen it, but I have heard about an ID'd Adrian with a circa 1916 AFS hat device attached to it. Check out my post on Fred Kurth for more info on the AFS helmet device.

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...65225&st=20


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Thanks for the feedback man! As far as Carey's helmet I'll get a closer scan but it is not an "AFS Shield" as they did not exsist in 1915. My best guess is those adrian helmet devices came out in late 1917, which is why you see them most associated with the TMU (transport) sections really late in the history of the Field Service. I have not seen it, but I have heard about an ID'd Adrian with a circa 1916 AFS hat device attached to it. Check out my post on Fred Kurth for more info on the AFS helmet device.

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...65225&st=20

 

 

The helmet badge that is on Carey's helmet is from the Chasseurs. Which logistically makes sense as AFS Section 3 was serving alongside them in 1915-1916.

 

Check out this website for more information. The page is in French but the illustrations are very good.

 

http://www.lesfrancaisaverdun-1916.fr/

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While researching Waldo I came across this passage written about him in a book titled; "Our Part in the Great War", by Arthur Gleason. Gleason toured the Western Front in 1916 and published this book in 1917. He spent some time with some of the American Field Service sections then serving at Verdun. The following is an excerpt about his encounter with Waldo Peirce.

 

"This section needed no initiation. They had long served at Hartmannsweilerkopf in the Alsace fighting, and of their number Hall was killed. This experience at Verdun is a continuation of the dangerous, brilliant work they have carried on for sixteen months. These men are veterans in service, though youngsters in years. By their shredded cars and the blood they have spilled they have earned the right to be ranked next to soldiers of the line.

They gave me the impression of having been through one of the great experiences of life. There was a tired but victorious sense they carried, of men that had done honest service.

As we sat on the grass and looked out on a sky full of observation balloons and aeroplanes, a very good-looking young man walked up. Only one thing about his make-up was marred, and that was his nose—a streak of red ran across the bridge.

 

"Shrapnel," he said, as he saw me looking. "And it seems a pity, too. I spent $600 on that nose, just before I came over here. They burned it, cauterized it, wired it, knifed it, and pronounced it a thorough job. And as soon as it was cleaned up, it came over here into powder and dust and got messed up by shrapnel. Now the big $600 job will have to be done over again."

 

This young man is Waldo Pierce, the artist. It was he who once started on a trip to Europe with a friend, but didn't like the first meal, so jumped overboard and swam back. He sailed by the next boat, and arrived on the other side to find his friend in trouble for his disappearance.

 

Through the side of Pierce's coat, just at the pocket, I saw a bullet hole.

"Pretty stagey, isn't it?" he explained. "If it had been a ragged, irregular hole, somewhere else, say at the elbow, it would have been all right. But this neat little hole just at the vital spot is conventional stuff. It looks like the barn door, and five yards away.

 

"And this is worse yet," he added, as he took out from the inner breast pocket a brown leather wallet. Through one flap the same shrapnel bullet had penetrated. Together, coat and wallet had saved this young man's life.

"That's the sort of thing that wouldn't go anywhere," Pierce went on. He is a Maine man, and has a pleasant drawl."

 

Here is a photo of that very shrapnel hole in that very same coat.

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The helmet badge that is on Carey's helmet is from the Chasseurs. Which logistically makes sense as AFS Section 3 was serving alongside them in 1915-1916.

 

Check out this website for more information. The page is in French but the illustrations are very good.

 

http://www.lesfrancaisaverdun-1916.fr/

Thanks for all the information Tom, I wasn't aware that the AFS helmet shield came out later in the war. I had the understanding that it was used nearly from the beginning. So, I learn something new every day. Thanks!


"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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:twothumbup: what a fantastic grouping!!!It's not my area of interest but it's really a great thing to have a chance to look at such a complete nice grouping.

thank you for sharing it with us.


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Amazing group Tom! You were right, it is one of a kind!! Grats on getting it!! :thumbsup:

 

Thanks Chris! :thumbsup:


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I was aked to post a few close-ups of Waldo's souvenir German signs. My theory is he picked these up in 1919 from the Hartsmannsweilerkopf battlefield when he re-visited it in the winter of 1919 right after the war ended.

 

The sign is about 5 feet long and 10 inches tall. Its a heavy thing and has two iron hooks at the top to hang it.

post-3356-1285809837.jpg


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I was aked to post a few close-ups of Waldo's souvenir German signs. My theory is he picked these up in 1919 from the Hartsmannsweilerkopf battlefield when he visited it in the winter of 1919 right after the war ended.

 

The sign is about 5 feet long and 10 inches tall. Its a heavy thing and has two iron hooks at the top to hang it.

post-3356-1285810148.jpg


WANTED TO BUY OR TRADE - AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE, NORTON-HARJES AMBULANCE CORPS, AMERICAN RED CROSS IN ITALY, CZECH AND POLISH LEGIONS AND ANY ARTIFACTS ASSOCIATED WITH AMERICANS THAT SERVED IN FOREIGN ARMIES IN WORLD WAR ONE

 

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"Je meurs content, puisque nous sommes victorieux! Vive la France!

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I was aked to post a few close-ups of Waldo's souvenir German signs. My theory is he picked these up in 1919 from the Hartsmannsweilerkopf battlefield when he visited it in the winter of 1919 right after the war ended.

 

The sign is about 5 feet long and 10 inches tall. Its a heavy thing and has two iron hooks at the top to hang it.

post-3356-1285810235.jpg


WANTED TO BUY OR TRADE - AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE, NORTON-HARJES AMBULANCE CORPS, AMERICAN RED CROSS IN ITALY, CZECH AND POLISH LEGIONS AND ANY ARTIFACTS ASSOCIATED WITH AMERICANS THAT SERVED IN FOREIGN ARMIES IN WORLD WAR ONE

 

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"Je meurs content, puisque nous sommes victorieux! Vive la France!

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If you ever decide to sell those signs please let me know. :rolleyes:

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I was aked to post a few close-ups of Waldo's souvenir German signs. My theory is he picked these up in 1919 from the Hartsmannsweilerkopf battlefield when he visited it in the winter of 1919 right after the war ended.

 

The sign is about 5 feet long and 10 inches tall. Its a heavy thing and has two iron hooks at the top to hang it.

post-3356-1285810324.jpg


WANTED TO BUY OR TRADE - AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE, NORTON-HARJES AMBULANCE CORPS, AMERICAN RED CROSS IN ITALY, CZECH AND POLISH LEGIONS AND ANY ARTIFACTS ASSOCIATED WITH AMERICANS THAT SERVED IN FOREIGN ARMIES IN WORLD WAR ONE

 

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"Je meurs content, puisque nous sommes victorieux! Vive la France!

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The other signs; The top one says "zum Lowenpfad" which roughly translates as "To the Lion's Path",,possibly the name of a trench?

The second one looks to be a direction sign showing the way to an aid station, helpful I'm sure in the maze of trenches.

The third was a puzzle at first. It reads "Clorkalk" which after some research I discovered that clorkalk was a chloride of lime paste used in the early 20th century to sterilize bandages and medical instruments. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calciumhypochlorit http://www.wasser-wissen.de/abwasserlexikon/c/chlorkalk.htm

Pretty cool huh? ;)

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If you ever decide to sell those signs please let me know. :rolleyes:

 

 

I'll get back with you if I ever do! :lol:


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I'll get back with you if I ever do! :lol:

Thanks please do!! ;)

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awesome!! Lets see the playing card!

 

 

The "playing card" Chris speaks of is a small drawing that is pasted on the inside cover of a scrapbook put together by Waldo. When I first saw it I thought to myself that it was cool, was obviously a self portrait and that was about it. However when doing some research on S.S.U. 3 (Waldo's AFS section) I came across the following on page 298 Volume I from the diary of Tracy J. Putnam of S.S.U. 3 ;

 

"Thursday, November 25, 1915 - Light snow. Arthur Carey and Waldo Peirce are making a pack of caricature playing cards. I sat for the queen of hearts. Our Thanksgiving dinner was a great event. Our new French officer was our guest. We had a delicious turkey, two geese, cranberries, chestnuts, apple pie, plum pudding - a wonderful gorge. Late to bed."

 

I have no proof to back in up conclusively, but it is my opinion that this card is from the deck of cards made on Thanksgiving Eve 1915, 95 years ago.

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The Harvard Club of Alsace Reconquise.

 

On the eve of the November 1915 Harvard-Yale football game, the following cable was sent to Percy Haughton. coach of the Harvard football team:

 

A la veille de votre combat, salut! Serrez vos

ceintures, fixez baionnettes, charge vos

fusils, grenades a main, et en avant les gars!

On vous regards meme des sommets des Vosges.

Le Harvard Club d'Alsace Reconquise

 

Which roughly translates to "The day before your combat, hello! Tighten your belts, load your guns and fix your bayonets! Etc."

 

The score was announced on Monday November 22 with Harvard winning 41 to 0. The Harvard Club d'Alsace Reconquise "celebrated suitably".

 

This photo was taken to commemorate the occasion. Waldo can be seen wearing wooden shoes and a home made poncho that he has painted a rooster on!

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WANTED TO BUY OR TRADE - AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE, NORTON-HARJES AMBULANCE CORPS, AMERICAN RED CROSS IN ITALY, CZECH AND POLISH LEGIONS AND ANY ARTIFACTS ASSOCIATED WITH AMERICANS THAT SERVED IN FOREIGN ARMIES IN WORLD WAR ONE

 

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"Je meurs content, puisque nous sommes victorieux! Vive la France!

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