Armistice Day was officially authorized by Congress in 1938 to honor the veterans of WWI. In 1954, after both WWII and the Korean War, the original Act of 1938 was amended to replace the word “armistice” with “veterans”. November 11th has been Veteran’s Day since then, with the exception of a few years in the early 1970’s. Regardless, remember all veterans and thank them for their service to our country.
Granddaddy’s French helmet, red cross armband and other personal effects.
On November 11, 1918 the Armistice between Germany and the Allies was signed, ending the War to End All Wars. The guns on the Western Front fell silent. My grandfather, Rex R. Forsyth, was in France that day still serving in Section 625 of U.S.A.A.S. (United States Army Ambulance Service) while attached to the French Army. He volunteered, learned to drive the Model T ambulances in the Allentown, Pennsylvania fairgrounds, and was soon shipped overseas. His unit was part of the Allied Army of Occupation and was stationed during 1919 at Kaiser Wilhelm’s castle in the Black Forest.
Haversack for carrying personal items
Rex’s dog tags, with “E” added to his name!
Granddaddy Rex did share stories of his time overseas with me as I was growing up. He never spoke of the horrors of war that I know he witnessed, but he did share day to day stories. He told me that when Bosch (German) POW’s were brought to holding areas they were stripped of helmets, medals, belts and even uniform epaulettes. We have many examples of these spoils of war. He did share that once a Bosch soldier tossed a grenade while standing in line. Fortunately it was a dud, and a Poilu (French soldier) “dispatched him right away”.
“Iron Cross” Bosch medal, W is for Kaiser Wilhelm
Pickelhaube, a German spiked helmet
Captured Bosch officer’s epaulettes
Note the Indian Head design on the back panel of the vehicle
This framed Indian head came from his ambulance
Shown is Colonel Bertrand, 162nd French Infantry, pinning the Croix de Guerre on the coat of Rex Forsyth. Note that the helmet Rex is wearing is shown in a photo above, and also note in the right background that you can see the front end of one of the Model T Ford Ambulances.
His Croix de Guerre (Cross of War)
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. Our family is so fortunate to have his diary and photo albums of never published photos. His Unit was allowed to take photos being attached to the French Army.