The SS Kaiser Wilhelm II (Agamemnon) — the transport ship that conveyed Capt. Hill and much of the 365th Infantry Division to France.
Cap’s cursive script was impressive by most standards.
Cap used the term “whining past” several times to describe the action of German artillery shells flying overhead. Something about it stuck with me—perhaps the poetry of it, perhaps the idea that it could also refer to the tyranny of history.
The name “Wells” has been passed down from Cap’s father. It is both mine and my mother’s middle name.
A young Captain Hill.
An older Raymond Earl Hill, still known to my family as Cap, with his second wife, Sybil Wardwell Hill (d. June 29, 1988).
Cap and his son, my grandfather (“Puppa”).
My grandfather, John Slayter Hill, at a young age (c. 1939).
Various records of Capt. Raymond Earl Hill (b. October 26, 1890)
Even more records.
A French fighter plane (c. 1917).
Cap’s official military record (May 18, 1917 – March 19, 1919)
People had much nicer handwriting back then.
Cap’s discharge paper is signed by then Major General Omar Bradley, who later became one of nine generals in U.S. history to receive a five-star rank.
A C.O. referred to Capt. Hill as “an exceptionally efficient officer.”
More discharge papers.
The record acknowledges Cap’s engagement in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, as well as his injury in the last month of the war.
A July entry to the journal.
A victim of the mustard gas
A ruined church in the Argonne forest. The structure on the left is a German observation post.
No Man’s Land (“Flanders Field”), France
Cap’s ID card.
American engineers returning from the St. Mihiel front.
A typical WWI trench (Somme, 1916).
One of the most horrifying details of WWI was the rampant use of chemical weapons—particularly lethal gases like phosgene and sulfur mustard, the latter of which would ultimately cause Cap’s injury on the final day of fighting.
A French 75mm anti-aircraft gun—not to be confused with the cocktail.
General John J. Pershing
A map of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, 1918.
“Temporarily crazy from shell shock.”
U.S. soldiers of 2nd Division engaged in the Argonne Forest.
Men of U.S. 64th Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, celebrating the news of the Armistice.
The front page of the New York Times: November 11, 1918.
“Gassed” by John Singer Sargent.
Flu victims from the AEF at a U.S. Army Camp Hospital in Aix-les-Bains, France, 1918.
British troops blinded by tear gas during the Battle of Estaires, 1918.
German machine gun crew on the Somme, equipped with early gas masks.
Officers of the 79th Division. Meuse, France. Christmas, 1918.
In 1917, the RMS Olympic was painted with a “dazzle” camouflage to make it more difficult for observers to estimate its speed and heading.
The SS George Washington in service during World War I
The Paris Peace Conference began January 18th, 1919. “The Big Four” (David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy, Georges Clemenceau of France, President Woodrow Wilson of the U.S) made most of the decisions.
Another view of the Olympic’s “dazzle” camouflage.