I am starting a new project, my mother’s father passed away when she was nine years old. I am interested in the man who was a soldier at one point, he served in World War 1, there is one story that always sparked my interest, it seems at one point after a battle or a shelling German soldiers were coming around checking to see if anyone was alive, my Grandfather played dead and the soldiers passed him by.
I wondered about circumstances around it, where had he served in France, who was his best friend at the time did he play baseball there. As I have grown older and after serving time in the Army myself my curiosity has grown.
So over the Christmas holiday I stated interviewing my aunts and uncles, trying to find any stories or impressions they had of the man, their father. Unfortunately most stories they know lack details, and being kids at the time they never learned much, and like most soldiers of his era he did not talk much about his time in combat.
So now I am on the hunt, the hunt for biographical details, and I truly do not know if I will fill in the important details I want to know, like ‘did he see Paris on a three day pass or exactly how he was wounded?’
I have already found out he was transported to France on the troop ship U.S.S. Mercury, that in his Infantry Regiment in M Company was a ball player from the Pittsburgh Pirate and my Grandfather served in Company L.
And being a writer, or at least pretending to be one, I figured it would make a good story. I already have title “310 day in Uniform” seeing as how he was drafted and discharged after being wounded in the shoulder. I will follow him thru his induction in Oil City, PA to his short basic training in Ft. Dix, to his trip on the U.S.S. Mercury with the 80th Infantry Division to France and his return and subsequent discharge, with a small annotation for “Slight Shell Shock”.
Research will be long and hopefully detailed with all kinds of little personal details coming to light. Like what is that ring he is wearing in the photo, because he was not married at time.