- Family and Parenting
Clarence McGhee - My Grandfather's WWI Years
A Tribute to My Grandfather and His WWI Experience
The family retains a few pieces of memorabilia from my grandfather's service in the first World War. A few faded photographs and a sentimental card sent to his mother from France are the physical remnants from what must have been a major life event for him.
Clarence McGhee went from a small Kansas town to the trenches of France. Below is what I know about this time in his life.There's more that I'd like to know, so I'll see if my mother has anything more to add to this.
(photo of Clarence McGhee in his WWI uniform - from the collection of Gail Lee McGhee)
My Grandfather's Early Years
Background on Clarence Oliver McGhee
He was born in Hilltop, Arkansas in Boone County, on November 24, 1895. The 1910 census shows the family living in Kansas. They went there so his mother (Viola Matilda Tower McGhee) could help with the care of her mother (Nancy Angeline Long) who had suffered a stroke.
In the photo, Clarence McGhee is the smaller boy in the back. Photo belongs to Gail Lee Martin and cannot be used elsewhere without permission from her.
Clarence McGhee's Sweetheart
On July 14, 1917 she and Clarence Oliver McGhee married. Less than two months later, he had to report for duty. He was 21 years old.
Photo belongs to Gail Lee Martin and cannot be used elsewhere without permission from her.
Clarence McGhee's Draft Registration Card from 1917
Copy from microfilmed public records.
Details from the card show this information:
He registered June 5, 1917. He was already a private in the Kansas National Guard, Company K, 3rd Infantry since May 1917.
He was age 21 with a home address of Tyro, Kansas. Born in Arkansas. Listed as a student, not employed and as single with no dependents.
It describes him as medium height, medium weight (not slender or stout) and having brown eyes and light hair color.
Clarence McGhee's World War I Registration Certificate
He registered June 5, 1917 in Tyro, Kansas.
Clarence McGhee's Mobilization Letter - Telling him to report for duty in WWI
The letter tells him to bring a blanket and a pair of overalls and a jumper (sweater). He should also take toilet articles, an extra suit of underwear, a couple of pairs of wool socks, a face and bath towel. Additionally he needed a 1 quart tin cup, 1 knife, 1 spoon, 1 fork and 1 tin plate (pie pan).
The letter said "We will be entrained and taken to a mobilization camp before our equipment is issued to us." He should bring a small grip with him to ship his belongings back home once he receives his uniform and equipment. (a small grip would be a suitcase)
Read More about the Training Camps in WWI
- Training Camps During WWI. Camp Greenleaf.
Ever wonder what it was like for a soldier in training, during World War One? Training camps were like small cities at that time. They were trying to process enough men to fight in the trenches.
The Training Camp That My Grandfather Went to
Clarence Oliver McGhee
in France during the Great War
This photo was one he sent home to his family from France while he was in the service.
He was in Company D, 3rd Infantry according to his mobilization letter.
Photo belongs to Gail Lee Martin and cannot be used elsewhere without permission from her.
Clarence McGhee's Journal - Click to See Pictures Larger & to See the DescriptionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Videos to Give You a Visual of My Grandfather's WWI Experience
First Video - Gives an overview of WWI
Further down the page, you'll see the following videos.
Second Video - Shows what basic training was like in WWI
Third Video - Shows construction of the trenches and trench warfare
Fourth Video - Interviews with the last surviving veterans from WWI
A Video Overview of WWI
A Further Tidbit about Clarence McGhee
Ruth Vining and Clarence Oliver McGhee were married July 14, 1917. He was ordered to report for duty in WWI on August 5, 1917. He was wounded in France on August 19, 1918, at the Battle of Meuse-Argonne and was discharged from the Army in May 1919. According to Edna McGhee, he was a conscientious objector and was wounded when he was delivering supplies to the Front.
A Short Film about the Training of the American Troops
What Was Trench Warfare Like?
Read More about What It Was Like in the Trenches
- The Trenches Of World War One
Living conditions of the trenches during World War One
- World War 1 A Letter From The Trenches WW1
Trench warfare world war one A letter from a soldier telling his family of his life in the trenches.
- World war 1 A Day In The Trenches Of WW I
World war 1 a day in the trenches, a look into the daily routine of a soldiers life in the trenches of world war 1
- Living in the Trenches of WW1
What was it like for the soldiers of World War 1 living in the filthy trenches? Visit the WWI trenches and learn more about the war here.
Did You Watch the Videos?
Vote in the poll
Photo Gallery of My Grandfather
Photos of My Grandfather - Click on Any to See It Larger & to Read the Captions
My Grandfather and His Brother-in-Law Together in France
Places in the Following Story
Where Albert Vining was stationed.
The location mentioned in the request for a pass to see his brother-in-law.
The hometown for the two young soldiers. Albert sent a letter to his mother describing the visit.
Story of the Three Day Pass
Albert Vining's Letter to His Mother, Nancy Jane Vining in Tyro, Kansas
Transcription of a Segment of the Letter
Feb 26 1919. Ribeaucourt, France.
"Mother, not changing the subject, but I'll bet you can't guess what rained down last Sunday morning? Well, I will try to tell you as best as I can describe it. It was a man about 5 foot and several inches with blue eyes and light hair. Maby that isn't plain enough so I will tell you his name so here it goes. He is a son-in-law of yours. Clarence Mcghee. He kind of tuck me by surprise. I was setting around the fire and he just sliped up on me before I knew he was in the room.
Say but maby (sic) you don't know how tickled two fellows was, but I think we were about the happiest 2 that ever met. He was on a 3 day pass and maby you don't think we didn't make use of that time. We sure had some good old chats together. We would talk ourselves to sleep every night.
He stayed one over his time, but I don't think he will get in bad over it. I have put in for a pass but don't know whether it will get through or not, to go up and see him and the other boys which are with him in the 139th. There are several other fellows going with me to the same place."
Clarence McGhee Was Wounded in the Battle of Meuse Argonne
The mousepad above was created by Meuse-Argonne Mouse Pads by Dividenda and is available from Zazzle.
In my mother's memoir, she tells about her father being wounded in the Batttle of Meuse Argonne in France on August 19, 1918. In May 1919 he was discharged from the army.
- Meuse-Argonne Offensive - World War I
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the final Allied offensive in World War I that pushed the Germans to surrender on November 11, 1918. The Germans had gained some land and success in France... (click to read the rest of the article)
- Meuse-Argonne Image Gallery
Gallery of images from the Meuse-Argonne offensive in World War I. There are 16 photos to click through. I squinted at the faces of the wounded soldiers in a truck. Could one of them be my grandfather? More soldiers resting in a captured trench, the
- My Flint Hills Childhood by Gail Lee Martin
Blurb Online Bookstore - Buy My Flint Hills Childhood book by author Gail Lee Martin (my mother). Preview and learn more about this book that details her childhood and tells about the life of her parents, Ruth and Clarence McGhee.
- Harry Drinkwater's lost diary from the Great War
Harry Drinkwater signed up in 1914 and was sent to the front line. In these diary extracts he writes about his brutal introduction to trench life.
The Family Story about Him
He Received a Certificate of Honor Signed by Woodrow Wilson
Clarence was wounded in the Battle of Meuse Argonne in France on August 19, 1918. He was in Company D, 139th Infantry. He was discharged from the army in May, 1919.
From what his second wife, Edna told my sister, we don't think his injury was serious. He was delivering supplies to the Front when he was shot. He was a conscientious objector, so was assigned to non-combat duty.
Grandfather made the frame for his certificate. He liked doing woodworking projects.
(photo by his great-grandaughter, C. Kolavalli)
Parade in Kansas
when the troops returned home from World War One
This photo belongs to my mother, Gail Lee Martin and cannot be reused anywhere on the Internet. This parade took place in Independence, Kansas.
Warhorse - An excellent movie of WWI
Downton Abbey (Season 2) Includes Scenes of Trench Warfare in France
Episode one shows several of the characters in the trenches. You feel like you are right there with them in the mud with the bullets whistling overhead.
50 Years Later - My Grandfather in his WWI Uniform (it still fit) 1968
© 2012 Virginia Allain