Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Camp Bartlett, Westfield, Mass. (1917)

Camp Bartlett was the jumping-off point for many American troops of the 26th Division heading over to France to fight in World War I. It was located on Southampton Road, on a strip of land that had previously served as the original 'airport' in Westfield, first utilized for that purpose on July 13, 1914, by a Pawtucket, RI, pilot named Jack McGee in a Wright Brothers biplane. According to the Barnes Airport website, McGee "...was hired by local merchants to drop tickets from the biplane which could be redeemed for prizes." So...Not only did he get to make the first historic flight over Westfield, he got some entertainment out of it, as surely the townspeople must have been swarming like ants at a picnic below him, trying to claim a ticket or two. I remember a similar experience as a boy growing up in Westfield, when the Easter Bunny pelted all of the kids gathered below with chocolate eggs from a helicopter hovering over Smith Field. Who knew a bunny could be so accurate?

103rd U.S. Infantry Camp, Camp Bartlett, Westfield, Mass., Sept. 11th, 1917 (A. F. Orr)

103rd U.S. Infantry, Drill Field, Camp Bartlett, Westfield, Mass., Sept. 12th, 1917 (A. F. Orr)

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Photo One: American Memory, Library of Congress, Digital Id: pan 6a31058 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pan.6a31058
Photo Two: American Memory, Library of Congress, Digital ID:
pan 6a30351 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pan.6a30351


Anonymous said...

I have a pic of Co B 103rd machine gun battalion dated 9/1917 - their dog right in front - found in cellar behind oil tank. Trying to figure out names if it's a relative of mine? Why do I have, very interested who these men are. My pic looks so like the ones on this page except it's the soldiers.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar photo of Co B 103rd Battalion at Camp Bartlett 1917. Taken by Leslie Stutio Manchester NH #1.
My Dad is is the front row. He earned a silver star and purple heart in France.
Just inherited it from my oldest sister.

Anonymous said...

Interested in collecting photos about those who visited or were stationed at Camp Bartlette. Please contact me with info on photos at wdpap01@comcast.net


Jim Loffler said...

To Anonymous: Co B 103rd MG Bn was formed from the RI Cavalry Squadron (Co's A & C); a New Hampshire Cavalry Troop (possibly Co B) and some Vermont Infantry to fill in the gaps.