|Chronology of Military Service & Related Events|
Col. Fred T. Wilson
|November 11, 1917 through January 18, 1918: Two more months of intensive training in the Gondrecourt area through one of the coldest winters with rain, snow and bitter cold reported. |
January 18 through March 21, 1918: Training and more training (insisted upon by General Pershing) in near quiet sectors. i.e., Toul, Montdidier, Mt. Sec. etc. Memories of Cortene Est - Ouest - Nord; Lt. Behrends patrol out of Est. As well as raid on Ouest and loss of chow.
March 21 through 27, 1918: Too many locations, events and actions took place in this period for me to recall.
March 28, 1918: Crisis in the Hun drive on Paris had occurred. Pershing advised Foch(?). Here is what we have: 4 divisions - use them as you will. 1st Division was one of the 4. Again, too many positions and actions to recall aside from the most important ones.
May 28, 1918: Capture and defense of holding action of Cantigny. Col. Teddy Roosevelt C.O. 28th Infantry front line - 16th Infantry in reserve and relieved 28th.
June 18, 1918: Relieved to quiet area for period of 21 days. However still under fire for entire period.
July 17, 1918: Date of orders to start final drive. 16th in rain, lightning and darkness of night. Led by French guide. Took its assigned positions for 4:35 AM over the top in front of Soissons.
July 18, 1918: Over the top at 4:35 AM. My runner Francis shell-shocked about 5:30 from effect of short barrage and counter barrage plus enfilade machine gun fire.6:00 AM - Soft-nose machine gun bullet found me and struck my right hand. By the grace of God, I was gripping the bolt of his rifle and by it protected my body. Bullet burst in my right hand shattering knuckle and also split stock of Remington. 12:00 noon - Reached our objective - near side of Paris-Soissons Road. Dug in for night.1:00 PM - Now Captain Charles L. Ryder arrived, inspected and ordered my back to dressing station. Evening - By lorry and/or rail I was transferred to a Red Cross Hospital in Paris where bullet was removed from a crushed knuckle of the 3rd finger, dressed and drained. Bullet which was left with me had disappeared by morning.
July 19, 1918: Sent by lorry and rail to Mont-Pont, France near St. Nazaire to a hospital staffed by a Mount Sinai Hospital Unit from N.Y.C. where two more operations took place by a Doctor Geist - whom I requested to remove my finger. He dissuaded me.
November 1, 1918: Declared fit for duty and given a 10 day leave which I took with Lt. Black. Also a 1st Bn. 16th Inf. officer who was wounded the same day and had been with my all the time from 7-18-18.
November 9, 1918: Found us in Marseilles enroute to Monaco. When radio announced a false armistice. We gave up the balance of our leave = returned to St. Nazaire where we celebrated the real armistice.
November 11, 1918: Returned to hospital and was ordered back to 16th Infantry.
November 18, 1918: By rail - through Paris - rejoined 1st Bn. 16th Inf. 1st Division in Luxembourg. C.O. Maj. Leonard Boyd appointed me his adjutant, where I served to the date of discharge October, 6-1919.
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