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Scene In TimeWhat’s In a Name? The Battle Creek Ambulance Corps: Part IBY ELIZABETH NEUMEYERThis year on November 11, we commemorate the centennial of the Great War, the “War to End All Wars,” which unfortunately became World War I. November 11 wasknown as Armistice Day until 1954 when President Eisenhower renamed it Veterans Day, a day to honor all American veterans. In this issue and the next, I will chronicle a group of Battle Creek men who served in the United States Army Ambulance Corps. This group was organized by Dr.James Case, son-in-law of Dr. Kellogg (See Scene article 39- 02 for more on Dr. Case’s life).In April of 1917 as the U.S. entered the war, Dr. Case wrote to the National Red Cross ask- ing for authority to organize an ambulance corps in Battle Creek. This was timely as the British and French medical sys- tems were worn down in their 3rd year of the war. Within 10 days, he had his authorization and 75 men enrolled immedi- ately in Ambulance Corps 11. Training started right away in Battle Creek in first aid, elemen- tary hygiene, camp sanitation, elementary nursing, practice drilling and field exercises and learning poisons and their an- tidotes. Some of the men were already trained in nursing via Sanitarium programs.They were to be sent to CampCrane at Allentown, Pennsylva-nia but the place was not readyuntil late June when now 117 fel-lows were ordered to come. Bat-tle Creek sent them off on June27, 1917. The line of march wasin both the Moon Journal and the Enquirer. They gathered at the Sanitarium and pro- ceeded to Washington to West Van Buren, then to McCamly to the Michigan Central Tracks (where Clara’s is now). They were escorted by the Battle Creek Home Guard, the Kellogg Rifles, members of various Masonic groups, the Sanitarium Band and all interested citizens. Now a captain, Dr. James Case led the group. They were put on three cars with an allowance of $1.50 for three meals on the train. While they would be paid as Army soldiers, they had26 SCENE 4311 I CHARITABLE ISSUEto supply much of their own materials in- cluding uniforms.When the men got to Allentown, they found themselves in converted horse sta- bles. One fellow wrote home with this ad- dress: Stall No. 11. Planning seemed slow as they did not get to Europe until June of 1918. One thing that slowed them down was a measles epidemic in camp. Finally they are sent to Italy. This was a political move on the part of the Allies as Italy had changed sides and the Allies wanted them in their fold. From his time in Genoa, Clarence L. Andre writes home on July 26, 1918 (Sept. 6 BC Enq.) starting in hisShouldice, a timeline from Carleton Gene- bach and a short memoir/timeline from J.H. Coller and P.D. Halder. In his diary, Willard talks about the dangers of driving an am- bulance which the men generally referred to as “the machine.” Shouldice said, “It’s certainly hard driving over strange roads in pitch dark without a light. The roads are always crowded at night with every- thing and you can’t see them until you have nearly run into them. – quite a job to find a town you never heard of driving in the dark.” He slept in the ambulance some- times. Shouldice, Coller and Halder describe picking up soldiers who had been gassedand commented on the masks not fitting properly. Artillery fire was constant and often shook the litters in “the machine.” On Armi- stice Day, Shouldice said the train whistles blew, the men cheered and fired pistols into the air. Now their question was “When will we get home?” They did not get home until May of 1919 because they were part of the occupation in Belgium and Germany.Thanks to Larry Shouldice for sharing his father Willard’s diary with me. There are many sites online to gain more detail and photos. I was also reminded of the Ambulance Corps topic from a book by Gregory Archer, Private Heller and the Bantam Boys: An American Medic in World War I. Ralph Heller was Archer’s grandfather training in nursing at the San and he began with the Battle Creek group. However he joined another unit to get to the Front faster. At the end of his diary chronicled by Dr. Archer, Ralph asked his Battle Creek fellows to sign it before he left. They are listed in Archer’s book. I looked upas many as I could find to read their sto- ries. Tune in next time for the continuation of the Ambulance Corps story from Bat- tle Creek. The listing of the fellows who went to the Ambulance Corps from Battle Creek and surrounding areas reads much like Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation from WWII. In the next issue, I will cover some of them. Thank you for all veterans who served in our Armed Forces including those doctors, nurses and medics who pro- vide the crucial service of medical needs on and off the battle field.Photo of the type of ambulance used in World War I. This photo and others (see below) come from the Otis and Bertha (Seeley) Ketcham collection at the Community and Research Archives. Otis served in the ambulance corps and his wife accompanied him to Allentown.version of Italian: “Dear Madre e Padre:” He expresses his enthusiasm to get to the Front in France. However, he says when the war is over, he is going to spend his time fishing on Fine Lake and cautions his parents to load up on chicken and ice cream. By August 1918 they were serving in France and in grueling offensives, the Saint Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne.Along with letters in the Battle Creek Enquirer, the Community and Research Archives has other first-hand sources from the Battle Creek corps: a diary by Willard


































































































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