My grandfather’s heroism in 1918 France

The actual Croix de Guerre he received

My grandfather, Rex R. Forsyth, was in France during WWI (The Great War) serving in Section 625 of U.S.A.A.C. (United States Army Ambulance Corps). He had volunteered, learned to drive the Ford Model T ambulance in the Allentown, Pennsylvania fairgrounds. Once his training was done, Rex was shipped overseas. His unit was attached to, and served the French Army.

My grandfather was a true hero. On May 2, 1918 members of U.S.A.A.C. Section 625 were awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery in action on April 17, 1918, having crossed a “zone violently bombarded by the enemies artillery” to continue to remove wounded from the battlefield.

Shown is Colonel Bertrand, 162nd French Infantry, pinning the Croix de Guerre on the coat of Rex Forsyth. Note in the right background that you can see the front end of one of the Model T Ford Ambulances.

Detail of certificate

Compare to photo of medal

Certificate that Granddaddy received in 1926 from the French Ministry of War

Because his unit was attached to the French, not the American Forces, photography was allowed. We are very fortunate to have photo albums and his diary among other “memorabilia”. Section 625 was part of the post war Army of Occupation. His unit was stationed at Kaiser Wilhelm’s castle in the Black Forest.


14 thoughts on “My grandfather’s heroism in 1918 France

  1. It is wonderful you have these still in the family. I just discovered my grandmother’s scrapbooks of my dad’s service. It puts a different perspective in place to see it in the photographs and read the letters from him as well as his commanding officers.


  2. Very cool. What a treasure!
    My grandfather was an engineer with The Yankee Division.
    He was just a private and I don’t think earned any medals.
    I have his helmet and some uniform shirts. I used to play with his gas mask bag when I was a kid. Had no idea what it was and could have lost it so many times.
    We have very few photos of him in uniform during the war.


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