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Black Angus McPherson

Questions for the veterans

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I've been doing a little research on my grandfather's WW 1 service.  I know he served in the 90th Texas and Oklahoma Division and I believe he served in the 345th Machine Gun Battalion.  I have a pass issued to him dated 12/25/1918 (amazingly flimsy strip of paper) that shows:  Camp d' Avours (Sarthe) 90th Div., 1st Frov.(?) Training Regt.  Signed by Lt. Edwin Martin 360th Infantry.

 

A dive into the 90th Division association website yielded some information.  Lt. Martin is listed in different places as 360 Inf Regiment 2nd Battalion 2nd Lt. Martin, Intelligence Officer", Later 1st Lt. same position and also 2nd Battalion- 1st Lt. Martin Company E.   I found mention of the 345th M.G. Battalion, but no separate history for them.

 

The website does a good job of listing all the officers, but only in rare instances do they mention anyone below the rank of Lt.  My Grandfather was a Sgt.  The site is very interesting reading so far.

 

I have a lot of questions, so please bear with me: 

 

Can anyone tell me what "Frov.", possibly "Prov." refers to?  I know he was detached for a while for training, so the Training Regt. makes sense.  Trivia - He thought the French Chauchat(sp?) MG was a real piece of garbage.

 

Is it common for a Lt. to sign a leave form for a Sgt. from another battalion?  Would it make any difference that it was after the Armistice and during the occupation?

Who would be in command of the M.G. Battalion?  I'm guessing the Brigade commander.  (180th Brigade was comprised of the 360th INF. Reg., 359th INF. Reg. and 345 M.G. Battalion)  Could the 345th M.G. Battalion have been assigned to the 360th?

Is it more likely that I mis-remembered and my Grandfather was actually part of the 360th's (or some other regiment's) "Auxiliary" Machine Gun Company?

 

I know I have some more info SOMEWHERE about my Grandfather's service, I just don't know where, at the moment.

 

This all started because my sister may take a trip to France with some friends and she thought it would be interesting to follow my Grandfather's journey there.

 

Any suggestions on where else to check that might have a listing of personnel below the rank of LT?

BTW, some of that info I have that I can't find right now, is a short history written by my Grandfather's CO.  It is typed on paper that is, now, VERY brittle.  Once I find it, take photos of it and transcribe it I would like to donate it somewhere.  Any suggestions?

 

Thanks.  I'll probably think up more questions later.

 

Angus

 

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I don't know if you want to go through all the machinations but I had a DNA test done through Ancestry.com. I paid the $199 fee for researching family for a 6 month period. I found that my Maternal grandfather was  in WW1 and I found quite a bit of info on him using the documents that Ancestry had directed me to. It costs around $70 for the DNA test and then the Ancestry subscription for doing family research is $199 for 6 months. It's  a  little expensive but you can learn a lot this way.

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I would say it is "prov," for "Provisional."

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39 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

I don't know if you want to go through all the machinations but I had a DNA test done through Ancestry.com. I paid the $199 fee for researching family for a 6 month period. I found that my Maternal grandfather was  in WW1 and I found quite a bit of info on him using the documents that Ancestry had directed me to. It costs around $70 for the DNA test and then the Ancestry subscription for doing family research is $199 for 6 months. It's  a  little expensive but you can learn a lot this way.

Ancestry.com is run by the LDS (Mormon) church. You can access their genealogical records without doing the DNA test.  They are quite helpful and friendly, even to non-LDS people. 
 

Interesting what you’re doing to learn about his service. Keep us posted. 

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53 minutes ago, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:

Ancestry.com is run by the LDS (Mormon) church. You can access their genealogical records without doing the DNA test.  They are quite helpful and friendly, even to non-LDS people. 
 

Interesting what you’re doing to learn about his service. Keep us posted. 

Thank you. I did not know this. Interesting. 

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At one time, you could access Ancestry.com for free and do your own research. Maybe they’ve started charging for its use, or maybe the free access only gets you so far in their library collection. 
 

You can also just go to your local LDS church and ask for help. I’m sure they can point you to good resources of theirs. 
 

My cousin has traced us to the late 1700s in eastern Pennsylvania through their web site. 

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Can anyone tell me what "Frov.", possibly "Prov." refers to? 

 

It's probably "Provisional" meaning that it was a unit constructed contrary to standard TO&E (Table of Organization & Equipment).  This happened a lot in WWI and WWII -- and even some after that.  A good example (of after that) would be the 11th Helicopter Assault Company (Provisional).  This was the beginning of the Air Cavalry.

 

Trivia - He thought the French Chauchat(sp?) MG was a real piece of garbage.

 

It was.  According to what I learned in my studies, it stayed jammed longer than it fired.  Biggest problem was the open magazine that allowed dirt and debris in among the rounds.

 

Is it common for a Lt. to sign a leave form for a Sgt. from another battalion? 

 

The simple answer is that the LT was on duty -- Officer of the Day or something similar.

 

Who would be in command of the M.G. Battalion? 

 

Battalions are commanded by LTCs (even that far back).  They were still using the Regimental System in WWI, so there were not Brigades...at least like today's organization.  Nine line companies (A thru I) and a HQ Company would make up the Regiment.  Commanded by a COL.  During WWI, they would often break up Regiments, however, and piecemeal several together, adding specialty units (like the MG Battalion or an Engineer Company) in order to meet specific needs.  I'm not saying that there were no Brigades.  I'm just saying that the organizational system, in its standard form of the day, did not have true Brigades.  When I served (80's to 2000), there were 4 line companies + HQ Company to make up a Battalion.  Three Battalions (usually a mix of Armor and Mech Infantry) made up the Brigade.  There would also be a Support Battalion and other stuff in the Brigade.  Three Brigades made up the Division.  This was the TO&E they termed "Division 86".

 

I'm a West Point grad, so I had a lot of military history as part of my undergraduate education.....and I'm a closet military historian, too.  :)  Hope that helps some....

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9 hours ago, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:

At one time, you could access Ancestry.com for free and do your own research. Maybe they’ve started charging for its use, or maybe the free access only gets you so far in their library collection. 
 

You can also just go to your local LDS church and ask for help. I’m sure they can point you to good resources of theirs. 
 

My cousin has traced us to the late 1700s in eastern Pennsylvania through their web site. 

 

You don't have to go to the LDS church to open an account, but if you do they will happily help you get set up and give you valuable pointers.  Call first!

 

I peeked into an open door at our local LDS Church one evening after a Scout meeting, and spotted a gentleman I knew.  Or rather, he spotted me, and invited me in - it turned out to be their Family Research facility.  In short order, Drew had set me up with an account.  Logged in when I got home, and by the time I went to bed I had my maternal grandma's family traced back to Prussia in the 1700's.  

 

Otherwise, you can do it online yourself.  Either way, It is indeed free, and nobody will be trying to "recruit" you:   :)

 

https://www.familysearch.org/en/      

 

 

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I go back to the 1400s in what's now Germany for my surname,

1000 in England for my paternal grandmother's family, 1600s for my maternal grandfather's family and only about two generations for my maternal grandmother's family by doing it on my own. It was easier with my surname since my Great, great, great, great, great grandfather came from Germany, settled in the New York/Pennsylvania country, fought as a Loyalist as a "Chosen Man" in Butler's Rangers for King George and had to decamp to Canada. The United Empire Loyalists have a very complete line of 'traitors".  :D

 

I think that the LDS is my next stop.

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16 hours ago, Chickahominy Charlie said:

Can anyone tell me what "Frov.", possibly "Prov." refers to? 

 

It's probably "Provisional" meaning that it was a unit constructed contrary to standard TO&E (Table of Organization & Equipment).  This happened a lot in WWI and WWII -- and even some after that.  A good example (of after that) would be the 11th Helicopter Assault Company (Provisional).  This was the beginning of the Air Cavalry.

 

Trivia - He thought the French Chauchat(sp?) MG was a real piece of garbage.

 

It was.  According to what I learned in my studies, it stayed jammed longer than it fired.  Biggest problem was the open magazine that allowed dirt and debris in among the rounds.

 

Is it common for a Lt. to sign a leave form for a Sgt. from another battalion? 

 

The simple answer is that the LT was on duty -- Officer of the Day or something similar.

 

Who would be in command of the M.G. Battalion? 

 

Battalions are commanded by LTCs (even that far back).  They were still using the Regimental System in WWI, so there were not Brigades...at least like today's organization.  Nine line companies (A thru I) and a HQ Company would make up the Regiment.  Commanded by a COL.  During WWI, they would often break up Regiments, however, and piecemeal several together, adding specialty units (like the MG Battalion or an Engineer Company) in order to meet specific needs.  I'm not saying that there were no Brigades.  I'm just saying that the organizational system, in its standard form of the day, did not have true Brigades.  When I served (80's to 2000), there were 4 line companies + HQ Company to make up a Battalion.  Three Battalions (usually a mix of Armor and Mech Infantry) made up the Brigade.  There would also be a Support Battalion and other stuff in the Brigade.  Three Brigades made up the Division.  This was the TO&E they termed "Division 86".

 

I'm a West Point grad, so I had a lot of military history as part of my undergraduate education.....and I'm a closet military historian, too.  :)  Hope that helps some....

 

Thanks to all who said "Frov." should probably be "Prov." for Provisional.  That was my first thought, but I did not know.  I'll put that one down as a typo on the Pass.

 

CC, Just as an FYI the info I have shows the 360th Infantry Regiment combined with the 359th Infantry Regiment and the 345th Machine Gun Battalion to be the 180th Brigade.  Also, the 357th Inf, 358th Inf and 344th M.G. Battalion as the 179th Brigade.  Those two Brigades made up the 90th Division.  Ooops, forgot to include the 315th Engineer (lists Company A, but I'm guessing the entire Regiment) and 344th Field Artillery Regiment.  Is it strange that a M.G. Battalion and Field Artillery Regiment would have the same number, 344?

 

The 360th Infantry Regiment was made up of: First Battalion-Companies A-D.    Second Battalion-Companies E-H  Third Battalion Companies I-M.  An HQ Company and a Machine Gun Company Plus a Supply and a Medical Department.  Supply lists 4 Officers: a Capt. and 3 LTs.  That seems a little light for a Battalion since the Infantry Battalions show ~26 Officers.  Looks light for even a Company where most show 6 Officers.  Obviously part of that is just "different time, different organization."

 

Oh, another FYI, The 3 Battalions of the 360th Infantry shows one Captain and two Majors in command.  Regimental Staff shows a Colonel and a Lt. Colonel.

Not coming from a military background I have to keep reminding myself of the proper Brigade-Regiment-Battalion hierarchy.   From your description it sounds like the modern day Brigade is the equivalent of a WW 1 Regiment.  i.e. 3 Battalions = 1 Regiment in WW 1.  3 Battalions = 1 Brigade now.  No wonder I'm confused.

 

"Officer of the Day" makes sense for the signature on the pass.

 

Unfortunately I do not have any organizational information for the 345th Machine Gun Battalion.

 

I am finding this stuff fascinating.  

 

Thanks again.

 

Angus

 

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Muster rolls from units ca; sometimes be obtained from the National Archives.  I was able to get copies of the 2nd Dragoon Regt records of 1836 when researching a Seminole War program for the Florida Park Service.

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