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News: Here, in the dread tribunal of last resort, valor contended against valor. Here brave men struggled & died for the right as God gave them to see the right. - Adlai Stevenson

Author Topic: WW1 YMCA expeditionary force  (Read 2268 times)

alwion

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WW1 YMCA expeditionary force
« on: June 09, 2012, 07:27:16 AM »
Just got a box lot of items from a local who's father was in this unit. anyone know what roll they played?  combat, or just armed support?. Seemed to be equiped as a regular soldier, but what I read online at least befroe ww1 they mainly did food and medic, but this fella seemed to have done more..

emike123

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Re: WW1 YMCA expeditionary force
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2012, 08:16:32 AM »
Entertainment?

Lamar

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Re: WW1 YMCA expeditionary force
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2012, 05:40:12 PM »
Not a lot of fathers in that picture.  ::)

alwion

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Re: WW1 YMCA expeditionary force
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 08:55:27 PM »
How did you get that picture of me and my band? seriously though, I researched some and they seemed a semi military support group, started in the civil war, mainly medic support and entertainment. But not part of the army. My confusion lies with this estate group, which had a issue military style uniform, with US and YMCA pins, m1912 Bolo knife and m1911 colt 45. Was pretty well armed for an entertainer. Just curious if that was normal. Lots of paper, mainly ymca, but some war department things too. were they military, or just dressed the part, with military issue weapons for personal defence?  He also was quite the accumulator, with several german helmets, pistols, etc which he bought or liberated.. Side note, in 1918 you could put an address and stamps on a German helmet without a box, and send it home. try that now  lol

Jim T

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Re: WW1 YMCA expeditionary force
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2012, 08:29:56 AM »
I checked with a friend who knows WW1 stuff.  He said:

"They had a support role. From what I can figure each Division had a YMCA man and he saw to little comforts like smokes, writing paper, books...sutler type stuff. They also ran rest camps in the rear areas that provided coffee, doughnuts, camp shows, creature comforts in general. There is a whole book on their efforts but I have not read it. Apparently the YMCA had a Government contract to act as sutlers for the soldiers. They did charge money for some things. The soldiers refered to it as "The damn Y!" Other groups, the Red Cross, Knights of Columbus etc... gave stuff away but the Y charged a fee. I am not clear why. It had something to do with their Government contract."

As far as the other military stuff in the group, I'd assume they were souviners brought home.

alwion

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Re: WW1 YMCA expeditionary force
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2012, 09:36:00 AM »
Thanks makes sense.