They trained, they served, they sacrificed
By Louise Peloquin
On Veterans’ Day 2023, we extend our gratitude to all of the people who have given of themselves in service to our country and who continue to do so. We honor each and every one.
To mark November 11th, Armistice Day, and in memory of the young men and women who served in World War 1, it is fitting to take a peek at L’Etoile’s coverage of the conflict. Countless front pages, headlines, features and briefs on “The Great War” appeared in its columns. Here are excerpts. (1)
L’Etoile July 1, 1917
Pershing’s Troops on the Way
For the firing line, where they will undergo training before entering into the trenches – Keen enthusiasm.
Paris, 10. – Today, the American army in France left, from the port where it disembarked a while ago, for its permanent training camp behind the line of battle.
A group of officers precedes the troops, and we expect the whole American unit to reunite, at the location designated for its training, next Thursday at the latest. Major General Sibert will go to the front by car on Thursday.
All of the American soldiers are enthusiastic at the thought that they will soon face the Germans whom they are eager to meet. They do hope to be sufficiently trained soon in order to be able to take their places in the trenches.
The French express their great surprise at the efficient manner of conducting an American expeditionary corps. Enormous crowds swarm around the American camp.
L’Etoile July 10, 1917
The United States Army in France close to the Front
Preparations hastily made for Pershing’s troops to combat as soon as possible. Arrival of a flotilla of yachts.
Paris, 9. – The preparations were made so rapidly by General Pershing and his aides that, before a week, all of the American troops in France will occupy a permanent camp behind the line of fire where they will train for some time in order to be up to date with the new methods of war in the trenches before taking a section in the line of battle.
This permanent camp has already been established and a battalion is already there undergoing intense training.
General Pershing expected to have an interview with Field Marshal Douglas Haig, commander of the English forces, but because of an excess of work, he had to send a member of his general staff to the English headquarters.
General Pershing will meet Sir Douglas Haig at a later date.
L’Etoile November 1, 1917
News from France
Mrs. Widow Elodie Favreau, of Lakeview avenue, receives a cablegram from her son Urgèle who has just arrived in Europe – His brother Pierre is also in the army.
According to a telegram received yesterday by Mrs. Elodie Favreau, 989 Lakeview avenue, her son Pierre must have been one of the first American soldiers to enter into the trenches in France last week. The dispatch in question was sent by her son, soldier Urgèle Favreau, and is dated October 29 “somewhere” in France. The latter says that he had a good boat journey but that he had not been able to meet his brother Pierre who had left with his regiment the week before.
Mrs. widow Favreau has five sons: Euclide who is an independent automobile repairman, Urgèle, Albéric, Pierre and Venance, electricians associated under the name “Favreau Brothers.”
On June 12 last, Urgèle, 26, and Pierre, 19, voluntarily enrolled in Company C of the Massachusetts infantry regiment. They completed their apprenticeship at the Framingham army camp, then at the Ayer camp. During the month of August, this regiment was sent to camp Bartlett of Westfield where it was largely dismantled in order to fill the cadres of the regiments which were ready to leave for France. It is at this time that the two brothers were separated. Urgèle was named in the 103rd mounted police regiment and Pierre was classified in Company C of the 101st infantry. He was sent to New Jersey and at the end of September and he embarked for France. Approximately fifteen days ago, his mother received a letter saying that he had had a good journey and that he was continuing his military training in France. He had also sent news last week saying that he was in good form.
Mrs. Favreau received a postcard last week from her other son Urgèle who wrote about the ship which would be transporting him to France. The card passed through the Washington post office. Soldier Urgèle Favreau said that he was ill but was improving. In the dispatch just sent, he says that he is now in good form.
In France he had hoped to meet his brother Pierre whom he had not seen since August. However, he was disappointed because his brother had probably already left for the front. He did not exactly know.
Their brother Euclid, automobile repairman, would also like to serve his country but his mother thinks that she has already made a big enough sacrifice in allowing two of her sons to leave for the war. She has taken the steps to have her son Euclid exempt from military service given that his name is on the list of the conscripted.
L’Etoile November 26, 1917
The French Push Through the German Lines
An American Army of 3 Million
Unfurling of a Service Flag at the C.M.A.C A Lowellian Killed on the Front
Lenin Against a Separate Peace.
The French on the Offensive in the Verdun Sector
A Lowellian Has Fallen to the Enemy An American Army of Three Million
L’Etoile November 26, 1917
A Lowellian Has Fallen to the Enemy
His name, which appears on the official list, is T. Bower. – He was part of the Canadian army. – Norwegian vessel sunk, 15 lives lost.
Ottawa, 26. – The latest list of losses suffered by the Canadian troops in France and in Flanders, published by the Ministry of War, reveals the names of the following Americans:
- Boisvert of Lowell, Mass.
- Bonford of Berlin, N.H.
- W. Haven of Portland, Maine
- Brown of Boston
These brave men died on the field of honor.
L’Etoile March 7, 1918
Village of Beth le Mont, where the cemetery is located, burial place of the first soldiers from the United States who died in France.
Some names are listed in newspapers. Some are scribbled in family scrap books. Too many are etched on tomb stones. Too many are unknown.
Each name is someone who fought for freedom. May they never be forgotten.
To be continued…
(1) This, as well as all of the following translations of L’Etoile articles, are by Louise Peloquin.