Company F Reunites Nearly 90 Years After War’s End

Revisiting Old Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 1

This photograph depicts the surviving members of Company F, 108th Infantry of the 27th Division who served with the American Expeditionary Forces during the First World War. Taken sometime in the 1920s, the image shows the men from Orleans County standing on the front steps of the Armory in Medina. When Woodrow Wilson announced the United States’ entry into the war on April 6, 1917, Europeans had been engulfed in total warfare for the previous three years and were wedged in a stalemate thanks to the evolution of military technology and tactics. When the men of Company F landed on the shores of France in the late spring of 1918, French and British troops had already started the process of forcing the Germans back across the Franco-German border. With the help of the A.E.F., the war would come to a conclusion roughly six months after the majority of U.S. soldiers entered Europe.

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These men represented a small portion of the original men who went into service with Company F. The unit suffered heavy casualties on September 29, 1918 when the 27th Division was sent into action to break through the German defenses at the Hindenburg Line. At 5:50am, the men of Company F along with other units from across Western New York climbed out of the trenches to begin the treacherous advance on the enemy. Covering considerable ground in a matter of several short hours, the men of 2nd Battalion including Company F hit a dense web of barbed wire fencing in advance of the German trenches south of Bony, France. It was here that several men established themselves as fierce combatants, throwing themselves at the line of twisted metal. Where fragments of the wire could not be cut or blown apart, men physically threw themselves into the wire in a daring attempt to save the lives of the men around them. Amidst enemy machine gun fire and heavy artillery shelling, the men made it to the German trenches, engaged in fierce combat, and cleared the surroundingĀ  dugouts.

As the offensive progressed, the commanding officers of the unit were cut down early in the morning. Cpl. James P. Clark of Medina assumed command of his unit at a moment when confusion could have overcome the men. For nearly twenty minutes he urged his friends forward before receiving a gunshot wound to the chest – he died in the arms of his comrades. In an effort to save the lives of the men around him, Sgt. James A. Sheret with service pistol and grenades in hand, pushed upon two German machine gun posts, killing all enemies within the first post. Upon entering the second, he accounted for the deaths of two Germans before the remaining soldiers stopped him. Of the 239 men who went over the top that day, roughly 52 answered the call following the attack. Several dozen more would join their fellow soldiers in the days ahead having suffered wounds during the engagement. Many more made the ultimate sacrifice, never to return home.

Pfc. Larry Askam
Pfc. Frank Bloom
Pfc. James P. Clark
Cpl. William J. Collins
Pvt. Albert Coon
Pvt. William M. Fitzpatrick
Pfc. Walter Gaylord
Pfc. Cecil J. Green
Mech. Walter Lindke
Pvt. Pasquale Percoco
Pvt. Stanley Rimkus
Cpl. Harry Scholin
Pvt. Egbert G. Sheret
Sgt. James A. Sheret
Pvt. Stanislaw Stanek
Pvt. Harold Taw
Pfc. Harry Tripp
Pvt. Lawrence Uebelacker
Pvt. Solomon Weintraub
Pfc. Alexander R. Wilson

1st Row: Leonard Depczynski, Armel Eggleston, Howard Hinckley, William J. Smith, Edgerton Smith, Vincent Raymondjack, Ellis Olmstead, David Bunn.

2nd Row: Louis Buttons, Raymond Reed, Harry Harmer, Lloyd Sanford, William Morgott, Russell Howe, Albert Tripp.

3rd Row: John S. Thompson, Willis Breitsman, Alfred Bowles, Fred Alloway, Arthur Childs, Earl Coon, William F. Smith, B. E. Woodard, George Waszak, Harry Durnell.

4th Row: Donald Mackey, James Burns, Lawrence Kimball, Thomas Pahura, Allan Sinclair, Michael Smith, Ward Hollenbeck.

See the original image HERE.