Wolcott Historical Society News - September 2017
By Florence Goodman
Last month I introduced you to the twenty-eight men and one woman from Wolcott who enlisted in World War I. As noted, the information that I had on these veterans was minimal to none, but thanks to Deb DuBois, Fran Fairchild, Lucille Garrigus, Elaine Martinelle, Nita Govain and Janice Pulford I have made great progress. This project will be ongoing so if at any point in time you come across information, please call Flo Goodman at 203-879-9818. These findings were on display at the Historical Society's booth at the Lion's fair and I hope eventually to have a notebook of WWI veterans permanently housed at the town hall in the veteran's corner. This month I will share stories about several more veterans.
Arthur Boulanger enlisted on April 23, 1917. He was a private in the National Guard infantry. He was in Company A, Regiment 102, Division 26. When he enlisted, he trained in New London and in New Haven. He embarked from Montreal, Canada on the Misanopi on September 17, 1917. He arrived in Halifax, Canada on September 21st and left for Liverpool, England on October 6th. From there he went to Southampton, England and onto LaHarve, France where he arrived on October 19th. He was stationed in Landeville, France from October 1917 until March of 1918. On June 15, 1918 he was promoted to corporal. On July 22, 1918, he was wounded at the Battle of Chateau Thierry. This was one of the first actions of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) under General John Pershing. Arthur was gassed and took a machine gun bullet to his right lung and shoulder. He was discharged on February 4, 1919. Arthur was born in Wolcott on Woodtick Road on November 26, 1894. His father was Charles and mother was Agnes (Young). They were born in Canada. Arthur was a machinist for Scovill manufacturing Company in Waterbury, Connecticut when he enlisted and he returned to that work after his discharge. He married Florence Nelson on May 11, 1922 in St. Peter and Paul Church. On his Connecticut Military Questionnaire Arthur made two interesting comments about the time he served in the war. They are as follows: "While I was in camp my training made me physically and mentally fit for my overseas work." He also commented that, "My overseas experience made me far more broadminded, capable and efficient."
Charles P. Browne enlisted in the Regular Army on July 7, 1917 and served until August 12, 1919. Charles was born on March 16, 1890 in Wolcott, Connecticut on Wolcott Road. His father was John P. Browne and his mother who was from Cheshire was Sarah Ann Pratt Browne. Before the war, Charles worked for Scovill manufacturing Company in Waterbury.
Charles trained at Fort Slocum, New York from July 8th to November 5th. From there he was assigned to Supply Company, 12th regiment, 2nd division in Fort Myer, Virginia from November 5th to December 24th. Next he was sent to Camp Hill, Newport News, Virginia from December 26, 1917 to February 16, 1918. He received a promotion from private to Wag (Wagoner) in January 1918. He left Newport News on February 16th and traveled to Arcadia. From Arcadia he sailed by way of Halifax along the northern route to the north coast of Ireland then down the coast to LaRochelle in western France. Charles came from a farm background and because of that he ended up being in charge of keeping the mules under control on the ships going to Europe.
On March 21, 1918 Charles was sent into action. Over the next year he participated in many engagements in France. They were: Verdun, Toul Troyou, Chateau Thierry, Soissons, Marbache, St. Mihiel, Blanc Mont Argonne Musse, and the Army of Occupation without being wounded.
Charles was discharged on August 14, 1919 and returned home to Wolcott. He placed his WWI trunk with all his supplies in the attic of his home and it is still there today. His granddaughter, Frances Fairchild has been kind enough to share these relics with the Historical Society and they were on display at the Wolcott Lion's Fair at our booth.
As I have been researching the military histories of our veterans, I was amazed at how many of them were involved in major battles in France. So far, I have only found one man that was wounded in action and later died from his wounds. Next month I will share more war stories past.
(Information for this article was taken from an "Honor Roll of WWI veterans" that hangs in the Historical Society museum; a conversation with Albert Homewood's granddaughter, Elaine Martinelli, Ellie Packer's Ancestry pages on the Andrews family, phone conversation and a picture from Juanita Govain, obituary of Benton L. Washburn and CT Military Questionnaires from Ancestry.com from Deb DuBois, and emails from Janice Theriault Pulford, and History of the Town of Wolcott, Connecticut From 1731 to 1874, by Samuel Orcutt))
Charles Browne on his horse, "Teapot Liz" in Germany
Celinda Wakelee, Charles Browne and his niece, Sarah Brown.
Charles in France with George Bayher.
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