Monday, May 30, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: "Tribute Paid to Hero's Worth" - Kenneth L. Blanchard

I found this tribute to my first cousin twice removed, Kenneth L. Blanchard (1891-1918), who died in France after the Armistice of World War I, in the collection of California, World War I Death Announcements, 1918-1921.  It appeared in the Oakland (California) Tribune newspaper, dated 16 February 1919:

The tribute transcribed is:


BERKELEY, Feb. 15. -- Tribute to the worth of Lieutenant Kenneth L. Blanchard, well known graduate of the University of California with the class of 1914, are coupled with details of his death in France in a letter just reaching Professor Charles Mills Gayley of the University from Harold A. Hyde, member of the American expeditionary forces and U.C. graduate in 1917.

"Lieutenant Blanchard died in France December 14 from influenza after having faced fire on countless occasions at the front.  Hyde's tribute to him is paid in the following letter sent from Ferrieres, France:

"'I feel that I must snatch a few moments to write you of the death of Kenneth L. Blanchard, U.C. 1914, 1st Lieutenant, U.S.A., Ambulance Service - and a worthy Californian.'


"'It was my privilege to serve with 'Ken,' as we loved to call him, when he was a first sergeant and again when he was adjutant of this camp.  He left California in June, 1917, as first sergeant of Section 586, U.S.A. A.S., a section composed of California men.  Due chiefly to his ability, his efforts and his personality, this section was one of those selected to accompany Colonel Jones in August with the first overseas contingent.

"'Blanchard's ability was quickly recognized and he was commissioned first lieutenant in December 1917, and went out to the front with Section 604.  On the Meuse, on the crowded roads of the Aisne during the busy days of July and August, in the clinging mud of Belgium during the final days he led his section, always careful of his men, jealous of the reputation of Americans and tireless in the service of the French troops to which he was attached. He and his section were richly deserving of the high reputation which they held among the French.'


"'When the armistice was concluded he was called to the base camp of this service to act as adjutant.  In the short time that he was there, officers and men alike learned to love him for his unfailing courtesy and to admire him for the fairness of his judgments and the efficiency of his work.  He was taken sick very suddenly with the influenza 14th of December.  Attended by a few of the officers and men who had crossed the Atlantic with him, he was buried in the American cemetery at Neuilly - just outside of Paris.

"'With those who knew him, his memory will linger long, and his record is one of which his alma mater may well be proud.  A soldier in his patriotism and his bravery, yet a civilian in his ambitions and his thought, he was a true Californian - loyal to the end and faithful unto death.'"

My earlier post about Kenneth Blanchard was "The "Forrest Gump Principle of Genealogy Research" strikes again" where I learned that the National City (California, his home town) American Legion post had been named after him in 1921.

I did not have Kenneth's death date in my database, so I've added it, and this tribute to him, to his entry.  I now know his burial location, and added it.  I wish I had a picture of him.   Now I know more about Kenneth's service, and I honor him on this Memorial Day.

Thank you for your service, cousin Kenneth L. Blanchard (1891-1918).

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved.  If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant.  If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

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