Слике страница
PDF

given in trust to the Knights of Columbus by the American people for the war work that had earned for the K. of C. a place beside the Red Cross and the other great war relief organizations.

Commandants of camps everywhere testified to the splendid record made by the knights with the men of their commands. The absolute avoidance of discrimination, coupled with the limitation of the religious feature of the service to Catholic boys, whose obligations to their faith had been the occasion warranting the knights' entry into war work, won plaudits for the knights from all over the land. They offered clean, manly entertainment to the boys, and their Secretaries were sent into the field with the injunction to serve the men with the colors as they would serve their own sons and brothers. They lived faithfully up to the spirit and letter of this injunction.

OVERSEAS WORK

Solidly established in the home camps, the knights turned their attention to work overseas, the growth of their fund warranting immediate action there. Certain obstacles were in their path. They were not well known to Governments associated with ours in the war against Germany. But a precursor of the work was sent abroad in the person of Walter Kernan of Utica, N. Y., son of the late Senator Kernan. He was a precursor in the sense of organization, for before he arrived in France a considerable body of K. of C. pioneers was already serving the boys there. This body consisted principally of Chaplains, and the knights sent them across the water first because their ministrations were most vitally needed.

The demands made by the Catholic faith upon its practitioners are such that the services of a Chaplain, distributed, as was often the case in the army, over a regiment of more than 3,000 men, became quite inadequate and must necessarily be augmented by additional Chaplains; and these the Catholics, acknowledging the fairness of denominational apportionment of Chaplains by the War Department, were eager to support. Their value to the morale of all the men, to say nothing of their especial service to

the Catholic fighting men, who totaled more than 35 per cent, of our entire forces, was speedily acknowledged by the French Government, which conferred the Croix de Guerre upon two of the Knights of Columbus Chaplains—the Rev. John B. de Valles and the Rev. Osias Boucher, both of Massachusetts—within a month of their first appearance in the front line. K. of C. Chaplains have since been cited in dispatches, one of them for the remarkable performance of serving a machine gun all night when the crew had been shot down.

General Pershing extended a cordial welcome to the Knights of Columbus. He issued General Order No. 64 placing the knights on a par with the Red Cross and all other war relief organizations.

More men went overseas wearing the K. of C. uniform—the best men the organization could afford; and shortly after Commissioner Kernan returned to make his report to the K. of C. Board of Directors, William J. Mulligan, the new Chairman of the Committee on War Activities, and Supreme Chaplain McGivney, made a tour of supervision in France and placed the K. of C. work there on a large and effective footing. By the first week in August the work had grown to a stature in every way worthy of the organization fostering it. Overseas headquarters had been established in New York City at 461 Fourth Avenue, the headquarters of the home work being continued at New Haven, Conn., where the K. of C. general adj ministrative staff handled the work, effecting a great economy in administration expense. Hundreds of Secretaries and Chaplains had been sent overseas, the Secretaries under the direct supervision of the knights, the Chaplains receiving direction from Bishop (now Archbishop) Patrick J. Hayes, Bishop in Ordinary of all Catholic Chaplains with the American naval and military forces.

COMFORTS FURNISHED FREE

From these headquarters in New York City the immense supplies of creature comforts furnished free to the men in the service were shipped. The sole object of the K. of C. in providing these comforts was to give the boys what, if conditions permitted, their own parents and relatives would first give them—candy, chewing gum, tobacco in every form, hot drinks, soap and towels, matches, &c. Roller kitchens were sent over, and these followed the men right into action. The famed Lost Battalion received its first taste of human comfort, after days of grueling siege, from a K. of C. kitchen rushed to their succor. Before the fighting ended, nearly $4,000,000 worth of creature comforts had been shipped by the knights from New York for distribution among the men.

Lawrence O. Murray, former Controller of the Currency, and Edward L. Hearn of New York, Past Supreme Knight of the K. of C, were joint overseas commissioners for the organization, their headquarters being in Paris. Under their direction the chain of clubs established by Chairman Mulligan and Father McGivney, and later increased by Dr. E. W. Buckley, Supreme Physician, and James J. McGraw, member of the War Activities Committee, (the latter gentlemen also introduced the K. of C. war work among the American troops stationed in Great Britain, opening up headquarters in London,) was greatly augmented.

Insistent calls came from overseas for more workers. Delay in appointing these and shipping them abroad was unavoidable, as the Military Intelligence Service required a full investigation of every war relief worker, no matter what the organization with which he or she enlisted. But company after company of Secretaries and Chaplains went overseas. The knights, during actual hostilities, worked according to an ironclad rule which inhibited men of military age from entering their service. This policy was most popular with the fighting men. The knights also avoided sending women workers across in anything but clerical positions in the Paris headquarters—and their wisdom in so doing has been amply exemplified.

During the great battle of the Argonne 300 K. of C. Secretaries were serving our fighting men. Among them were

men of national repute, such as Johnny Evers, the ball player, who had gone over to head the knights' athletic department, for which hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of athletic equipment had been shipped abroad.

Several Knights of Columbus Secretaries and Chaplains were cited for bravery under fire; many were injured seriously, and five have died from disease contracted in the line of duty.

SECOND YEAR'S WORK.

The growth of the work required a budget of more than $50,000,000 for its second year. This was reduced to $30,000,000 at the request of the War Department when it was intimated that the policy of free creature comforts would be abandoned by official request from overseas. The knights insisted, however, that this policy was popular with the men, and that, as their appeal to the public was based upon its results, it had been elevated to the position of first principle of their war work. As agents of the National Catholic War Council, into whose hands the Government had placed the recognition of American Catholic war relief endeavor, the knights apportioned a generous percentage of the total of their revised budget to the United War Work Drive, which took place in November, 1918, and helped to contribute to the success of the drive.

The knights are continuing their policy of giving free creature comforts to the men in the service, at the same time extending all other branches of their work, so that they now [March, 1919] have over 250 places in France, England, Scotland, Belgium, Germany, and Italy, the majority of these places being what are known as clubs. There are K. of C. places in Panama, Haiti, and Porto Rico, and a club is contemplated at Rotterdam, Holland. The K. of C. workers were the first to cross the Rhine and serve the Army of Occupation. Over 100 K. of C. Secretaries are ministering to our men in the most advanced areas of the Army of Occupation, and a constant service of motor-truck transportation of creature comforts, literature, &c, is maintained between the Paris headquarters and all sections of France and the Rhineland.

All told, the K. of C. personnel abroad numbers approximately 1,000 Chaplains and Secretaries, while at home 650 Secretaries serve the troops. A comprehensive transport service has been established, Secretaries riding on all the. transports and operating an amusement service—consisting chiefly of moving pictures—and distributing comforts to the men.

PHASES OF HOME WORK

The work at home also is fully maintained. The hospitals are regularly visited everywhere, and the 314 K. of C. buildings in the camps are the centres of recreation daily for hundreds of thousands of men. Educational features are being introduced into the regular K. of C. service, and it is interesting to note in this connection that the first law class to be graduated from any American camp received diplomas from the hand of the commandant of Kelly Field Aviation Training Camp in Texas, at K. of C. Building No. 2. The knights are planning a large vocational training school at Mineola, L. I. Their scholarships at the Catholic University and other famous schools are permanent factors in national reconstruction.

At naval stations and on board warships the K. of C. service is characteristically efficient. The knights are now on more than 400 ships of the United States Navy, having given athletic and other supplies to the ships' recreational committee;. The K. of C. war camp community work is in the hands of more than 1,800 councils of the order, situated

all over the country; these councils have proved excellent social centres for service men and their relatives.

The K. of C. employment organization is acting as an auxiliary to the United States Employment Service, the directing head of which has, in the Labor Department's official journal, placed the knights in the first position as subordinate helpers in the great task of securing work for returned soldiers and sailors. The knights operate this service through their Transport Secretaries, who distribute cards to returning men. These cards are filled out and forwarded to New Haven, whence they are distributed to the job-canvassing committees of the councils located in places where the soldier and sailor applicants desire employment. Records show that one-third of the applicants for work are installed in positions within two weeks of making application.

The knights not only meet all incoming transports to render first comfort aid to the men, but they conduct hostels in some of the larger cities, the one at Boston having free accommodations, with free barber shop and tailor service, and with breakfast for 800 men daily. Like the clubs in New York, Detroit, and other places it is always well patronized. The knights also conduct a lost or negligent soldiers' and sailors' bureau, which has been instrumental in locating hundreds of service men supposed to be missing. In a thousand smaller ways the K. of C. have rendered valuable service to the men who fought and won the war, and their record has aroused the keenest appreciation on the part of these men and of the American public from whose homes they come.

[graphic]

Important Steps Toward Resumption of National Activities on a Peace Basis

[period Ended April 15, 1919]

THE adjournment of Congress and the absence of President Wilson delayed the consideration of many questions of national importance. Secretaries Daniels of the Navy and Baker of the War Department also left the country for France. The various departments of the Government, however, continued to function smoothly, and considerable progress was made in the direction of demobilization and the resumption of normal economic and political conditions.

A statement of the War Department issued April 5 showed that the total discharges of officers and men were 1,624,171 up to that date. The actual demobilization orders that had been issued since the signing of the armistice called for the discharge of 1,305,000 troops in the United States and the return of 373,500 troops from overseas.

MELTING OF THE ARMIES

General March, Chief of Staff of the \rmy, on April 5 gave statistics showing how the armies of the various nations were being reduced. He said: The total force of the Central Powers on Nov. 11. 1918, was estimated at 7.630.000. This had been reduced by the end of February to 1,125,000, or to IS per cent, of their strength. On the same day on which this report was made the strength of the allied forces was 13.360.000, or 75 per cent, of the strength which they had on Nov. 11.

This would mean a total allied strength of more than 19,700,000 men when the armistice was signed.

General March gave the following figures regarding the reduction of the armies of the Central Powers:

November. February.

Germany 4,500,000 820.000

Austria 2,230,000 106.000

Bulgaria 500,000 129,000

Turkey 400.000 70,000

Total 7.630.000 1,125,000

So far as American demobilization was concerned, General March said his reports showed that, according to latest data on hand, the situation was as follows:

OFFICERS.
Total number of officers, resigned

or discharged 91,674

ENLISTED MEN. Discharges up to and including

March 22, 1919 1,424,510

Discharged for week ended March

29, 1919 60,890

Early returns, week ended April

5, 1919 47,091

Total enlisted men 1,532,497

Total officers and enlisted men.. .1,624,171

Orders from Nov. 11, 1918, to April 5, 1919, for the demobilization of approximately 1,836,500 men were as follows:

Troops in the United States 1,326,000

Oversea troops returned to the
United States 510,500

Total ordered demobilized 1,836,500

General March gave the following data:

The estimated strength of the army on April 1 was 2,055,718. We have demobilized 44 per cent, of the men who were in the service on Nov. 11, 1918. and 48 per cent, of the officers; 30,036 officers have been appointed to commissions in the Reserve Corps on their own application, and 15,101 of these officers have applied for appointment in the regular army. Sailings from Europe have reached the total of 627,510 since Nov. 1.

THE CHANGES OF A YEAR

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the entrance of the United States into the world war. One year ago we were starting a tremendous drive to get troops to France. When I took charge of the office of Chief of Staff, on March 4 of last year, I found that February had touched bottom In the number of troops shipped abroad, only 43,000 men having sailed.

We built ships; we bought ships; we

begged ships; we commandeered ships; and on last April 6 the flood of men across seas had definitely begun. Increasing in volume until we reached our maximum of 300,000 men in one month. Now, on our second anniversary, the great problem confronting us is to get our men back to their homes from across the seas.

I have set as a mark to be reached 310,000 men in one month. Each month is showing a steady increase over the month before, and we will do our best to break our record in transatlantic shipments.

Demobilization has been speeded up at home. One camp has established a camp record- of demobilizing over 4,000 men in one day, and we can easily handle the maximum number of men per month which the available shipping permits us to bring back. Every State in the Union is now welcoming its returning sons—the finest type of American manhood, clean and virile, and deserving the thanks of the American people.

CRIPPLED AND BLINDED

Artificial limbs needed by disabled men who were in the military service during the war are being provided by the Bureau of War Risk Insurance, in accordance with the provisions of the War Risk Insurance act. There have been more than 500 artificial arms and legs furnished to disabled men to date by the bureau. The total number of amputations in the American forces was less than 4,000.

There were no cases in which men lost both of their arms and both legs. Surgeon General Ireland of the Medical Corps of the Army and Colonel Charles E. Banks, Chief Medical Officer of War Risk Insurance, were cited by the bureau as authority for this statement.

There were but 125 cases of total blindness as the result of the war, and not all these cases have yet been declared as permanent by the medical officers in charge, according to reports to the bureau.

The War Department, on March 25, announced that reports on prisoners from all sources showed a total loss by the American Army of 4,765 military prisoners and 281 civilians. Of the military prisoners, 4,376 have been reported officially as released and 233 died in German prison camps. Only one Ameri

can officer of as high rank as Lieutenant Colonel was captured during the war. Four Majors, 27 Captains, and 363 Lieutenants were taken prisoner.

CASUALTIES BY DIVISIONS

Revised figures made public by the Chief of Staff April 6 showed that the total battle casualties—that is, men killed in action, wounded, missing in action, and prisoners—for the American Expeditionary Forces was 240,197.

"I have just received a chart," said General March, "from General Pershing's headquarters giving the total figures by divisions of the killed in action, wounded, missing in action, and prisoners, according to the division reports received at his headquarters. Possibly these figures will have to be modified in some slight way, but it is as nearly accurate as he could get. The total battle casualties, as we will call them, follow;

2d 24,429

1st 23,947

3d 16,350

28th 14,417

32d 12.948

4th 12,948

42d 12,252

90th 9,710

77th 9,423

. 26th 8,955

82d 8,300

5th 8.280

78th 8,133

27th 7,940

33d 7.860

"The total battle casualties," said General March, " that is, killed in action, wounded, missing in action, and prisoners, for the American Expeditionary Forces, is 240,197.

THE MEN WHO FOUGHT

"There have been some estimates published of the number of Americans who fought in battle in France, and guesses have varied by very large numbers. We have an estimate now prepared in France which gives us, perhaps, as near as can be determined the number of United States troops that took part in actual fighting.

"Division troops, including replacements, 1,100,000; corps and army troops, 240,000; service of supply, F.0,000; total

[table]
« ПретходнаНастави »