For Flag Day and the Army’s Birthday today, and with Father’s Day coming up , we share this small flag and bible carried by Henry C. Fuller, Sr., of Whitewater, WI, throughout his service in World War I. In 1974, Fuller wrote a letter to his daughter telling the story of these two meaningful mementos when he gifted them to her:
March 15th, 1974
Dearest Daughter …
In deepest appreciation of your coming to Milwaukee… to share your birthday, and have a real heart to [heart with] Pa Fuller, I want to give you this: The Little Bible + American Flag that your Pa as a soldier, in 1917-18-carried with him in France, Belgium, England-in battle +otherwise, during World War I.
- It started from Whitewater, WIs (my then home town) Dec 25th 1917-when I left for France
- Went on board the old German Foyd ship (Vaterland) christened the “Amerika”-arrived in Brest, France Jan 17th, 1918.
- At Langres, France, Jan to April 14th, 1918, while I was a student at “Infantry Specialist School” (the West Point of France)
- With Co. “G” 305th Inf., 77th Div. May-June, 1918 cos. K+G, 119th Infantry, 30th American Div. June 18 to Sept 29th 1918
- In battle with me August 31st, 1918, at Voormezel, Belgium (Near Ypres, Belgium)
- Sept 16th, 1918 passed thru Dunkirk, Belgium on our troops return to France.
- In battle Sept. 29th, 1918, in the attack of the 30th Division on the “Hindenburg Line” where your Pa was wounded, before Bellicourt, Sur Somme, France, with a piece of “high explosive” piercing the upper left chest.
- In British Hospitals at Le Treport, + La Havre, France, with me, during Sept. Oct. + November, 1918.
- Nov. 29th, 1918 crossed the English Channel with me, to American Base Hospital #33, at Portsmouth, England.
- Dec. 15th, 1918, boarded the Cunard Liner “Saxonia” a purely hospital ship carrying 1700 of us wounded stretcher cases back to U.S.A.
- Arriving in New York – Dec. 26, 1918 – for the 11 days at Sea, your Pa read the entire New Testament in the Little Bible.
- Came back to Whitewater, Wis. with me, on a furlough May, 1919. (1st time home)
[and, finally, the next step of its journey:] May this work buoying up Pa, + assisting him with his 1973 Income Tax, and coming home to cheer us all up –may this special Bible prove rewarding to you.
With deepest love and Pride, Your devoted Dad:
2nd Lieut, Henry C. Fuller, Sr.
Ex. Co. K, 119th Inf., 30th Division, Am. Expeditionary Forces, 1918-France