W. M.  Felknor in World War I                 

It is not known as to whether William enlisted or was selected to join the fight against Germany.  It is known he was inducted at LB 1, Fort Worth, Texas on May 20, 1918.  His Serial Number was 2,718,646.  The typical selection process was done by drawing names from a goldfish bowl.  At the time of his enlistment, William was living at 108 West 23rd Street in Fort Worth, Texas. William’s recruit training was done at Camp Meade as part of Company 22 of the 154th Depot Brigade, from May 23, 1918 to June 1, 1918.  On June 1, 1918, William was transferred to Company B of the 604th Engineers Corps.  The 604th Engineers were a part of 6A-V Corps and the unit was sent to France arriving at Le Havre Harbor in France.  It was created as a temporary unit but the unit was on the front lines during the Meuse-Argonne Battle.  V Corps was located in the center of the battle line.  (See map).  The name Meuse is from the Meuse River and Argonne from the Argonne Forest which created a salient between them. The unit may also have been fought previously in the Battle of Belleau Woods.  This battle was the first battle for the newly arrived A.E.F. soldiers.

The Meusse-Argonne offensive started on September 26, 1917 and ended on November 11, 1918 with an A.E.F./Allies victory.  The German Army surrendered shortly after the battle and the Armistice, Treaty of Versailles was signed on November 11, 1918.  An excellent movie about the Meuse-Argonne Offensive is “The Lost Battalion”.  This is a story about the 77th Infantry Regiment and shows representative terrain and conditions encountered in the battle.

Other locations of Company B of the 604th Engineers were noted in notes and photographs( provided by Captain Ferrenz) included: 

  1. Company B soldiers stripping and drilling in a rock quarry near Mandres, Frances.  They were producing rock for road construction.
  2. Company B dugouts and rolling kitchen near Cheppy, France. 
  3. Officer Quarters of the 604th Engineers were located in Florent, France on December 8, 1918.
  4. William’s half day signed pass from Florent, France to St. Menehould, France.  The pass was good from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm for December 15, 1918.  Pass signed by L. A. Martin. (or Bartin) as Adjutant
  5. A 604th Engineers Regimental Newspaper published in April 1919 contains the roster of the 604th Engineers and includes a Corporal William M. Felknor with a hometown listed as Fort Worth, Texas and assigned to Company B.
  6. The 604th Engineers Corps Regiment was trained first at Camp Leach, D.C. and later at Camp Glen Burnie in Maryland.
  7. A letter, General Order 38-A, from G.H.Q. American Expeditionary Forces dated February 28, 1919 states a Thank You for Service from General John J. “Black” Pershing, Commander in Chief. Copy given to Corporal William M. Felknor, 604th Engineers by Wasin(?) J. Young, Commanding Officer.

 After the Armistice was signed, the 604th Engineers Regiment returned to the United States at Newport News, Virginia aboard the ship U.S.S. New Hampshire.

The ship arrived back in the U.S. on June 22, 1919 where the unit disembarked and marched in parade fashion up the main street of Newport News.

William then received his discharge from the U. S. Army (A.E.F.) on July 3, 1919.  It is not known where William was stationed between June 22, 1919 and his discharge on July 3, 1919.

Photo at right Felknor and his mess kit:

There were no other battles or any injuries reported on his A.G.O. Card

William’s known U. S. Army Medals included:

            Sharphooters Badge with “ladder chevrons” under it.

            A.E.F. Service Campaign Ribbon for service in France

 Written by: W. M. Felknor, Jr.                         File name: WMF-War Record12-25-02

 

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