Each year on Memorial Day, American Legion Post 389 places two countries’ flags — the United States and Canada — on the grave of World War I adept Abraham P. Harder.
Harder was one of several dozen soldiers from the breadth who wore the compatible of the Canadian army during The Great War.
The United States entered war in abutment of the Allied Powers April 6, 1917; however, bags of Americans in compatible already were confined in Europe.
During World War I, the majority of the soldiers of the British Empire came from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India and Canada. Of the 619,636 soldiers of the Canadian army, an estimated 40,000 had been enlisted by recruiting stations set up about the United States. U.S. association additionally had catholic to Canada to enlist.
Some of these men were Canadian or British capacity but at atomic 35,612 were American citizens by birth.
Because swearing adherence to a adopted government — and in accurate abode accoutrements — could aftereffect in a accident of citizenship, abounding hid their American citizenship from the Canadian recruiters, who in about-face did not columnist the issue.
These Americans served for a array of reasons. Some had been built-in in Canada and had ancestors access there or had ancestors confined in the war.
Many Americans were angered by the 1914 aggression of aloof Belgium by the German armies advancing France. They acquainted the United States should advice avert France, which had been its allegiant accessory during the American Revolution.
When 124 American lives were absent aback a German abysmal torpedoed and sank the British commuter abode Lusitania May 7, 1915, abounding were affronted by the abridgement of activity by President Woodrow Wilson and his acutely irenic angle in general.
Then, as in every war, there were those who aing up for celebrity and adventure.
In the 1920 book “Blue Earth Canton in the World War” 16 men from the canton are listed as confined in the Canadian Army. Further analysis reveals added than a dozen others from the surrounding counties. Most counties beyond southern Minnesota additionally had soldiers in the Canadian army.
Canadian aggressive athenaeum accommodate recruiting forms alleged Attestation Papers, which acknowledge capacity about abounding of these men. The ancient breadth enlistee appeared to be Leslie W. Parsons from St. Peter.
Parsons was built-in in Kasota in 1893 and enlisted Feb. 5, 1915, six months afterwards the war began. He spent 26 months at the front, at Cambrai, Ypres and Verdun, and was bashed already and blood-soaked several times.
The ancient Blue Earth Canton man to die in the war was Alfred Johnson of Madison Lake. He was asleep in activity May 17, 1917, while angry in the Canadian 4th Division. He is active in France. Another man Thomas O’Connor died of disease.
Nicollet Canton annal announce two deaths. Arthur Clouston fought in the Canadian 7th Division and was asleep in activity at Messines Ridge Nov. 10, 1917, and Maurice Wheeler of Arctic Mankato, a Canadian native, died of pneumonia Nov. 30, 1918. Wheeler died several weeks afterwards the ceasefire and is active in Janval Cemetery, Dieppe, France.
Wheeler’s ancestors home is at 348 Wheeler Ave. He confused there afterwards spending four years in the U.S. Army.
A Scottish ancestor appears to accept been a acute acumen Wheeler enlisted arctic of the bound to activity in Europe. Initially, his application was in the Canadian 48th Altitude Infantry, which was absorbed to the acclaimed Gordon Highlanders from Scotland.
Wheeler wore the airy “tam o’ shanter” cap of a Scottish soldier and collar badge instead of the adjustment British Army compatible trousers. The altitude regiments generally wore their kilts in activity and were dubbed by the Germans as Die Damen aus der Holle (The Ladies from Hell).
At some point, Wheeler was transferred to a army assemblage from Winnipeg, Ontario. A bi-weekly obituary and aggressive grave advice account him as confined in the Fort Garry Horse unit.
Several of these soldiers who survived the war are active locally. Thomas Oglesby’s grave is in Calvary Cemetery, Mankato, and Alfred Bate’s is in Lake Crystal Cemetery.
Bate was built-in in London. He was affianced in an auto business in Lake Crystal. He enlisted absolutely backward in the war — Sept. 12,1918.
During the war, the Allies had beatific bags of bags of food to Vladivostok on the Russian bank of the Pacific Ocean. The food were to be alien via the Trans-Siberian Railroad to abutment the Russian army angry the Germans and Austrians on the Eastern Front. Pvt. Bate was amid 1,500 Canadian soldiers attention those supplies, forth with bags of soldiers from Britain, France, Italy, Japan and United States.
Luther V. Stone, of St. Peter, was too old to accompany the U.S. Army but he capital to serve in The Great War. He was the brother of a arresting advocate Marshall Stone — they had ancestors active in Canada.
He catholic to Winnipeg, area he aing the Canadian Army aloof three canicule afore his 45th birthday.
The pride Stone acquainted in his account is reflected on the ancestors cairn at Woodlawn Cemetery aloof beyond the river from St. Peter in Le Sueur County. The inscription reads, “L.V. STONE CANADA E.F. WORLD WAR I.” The brand E.F. angle for Expeditionary Force.
The Canadian Army fought with acumen in the war. Four American associates were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s agnate to the U.S. military’s Medal of Honor.
Although abounding of the men would accept had account obligations in the U.S. Army aback war was declared in April 1917, the majority of them backward with their adolescent Canadians. Their decisions were in acceding of the U.S. government. Due to their numbers, no accident of citizenship or acknowledged activity was anytime advised adjoin them. By 1920, they were accustomed aback as citizens in acceptable standing.
About 2,700 Americans died in the Canadian account — about 500 in Canada and the blow overseas. Although the asleep were accustomed to be interred in American Activity Monuments Commission cemeteries, Canadian action dictated they abide in Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemeteries.
Of the 477 Canadian graves in one cemetery in Belgium, 45 were American citizens or their annal appearance a aing of kin, parents or a wife with an abode in the United States.
Marlin Peterson of Kasota is a aggressive history addict with a appropriate absorption in World War I veterans.
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