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BAKER/BARTON FAMILY PAPERS, RG1077, 1918-1991

Series I, Correspondence, 1918-1919, 1948-1949

This series contains correspondence relating to the military service of brothers Clyde and Thomas Lester Barton of Lakeland in World War I. Clyde served with the Fifth Division, Regular Army of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe, while Thomas served in the U.S. Navy aboard the destroyer U. S. S. Whipple. Also included is a letter from King George V of Great Britain welcoming American soldiers to Europe to fight alongside the European Allies.

Clyde Barton participated in a number of significant battles in Europe, including the Allies final push in the Meuse-Argonne offensive which ended the war. His letters to his family from the front, bearing the censor's initials, describe the daily hardships and struggles of the World War I doughboy. In a letter dated three days after the November 11 armistice, Barton wrote that he had "been on the front 38 days steady," but noted that he "didn't get hurt at all, except gased [sic] once." In a November 18 letter, which appeared in the local newspaper, Barton described how his unit had crossed the Meuse River and complained that he "had never saw the like of mud in my life. Have hiked all night in it up to my knees."

Brother Thomas's letters are also interesting, as they describe his life aboard a U. S. Navy destroyer. In one letter to his father, Thomas noted that he was "enjoying the sport of sinking U boats. We have 2 to our credit already." In another letter to his family in early 1919, he described his post-war transit across the Atlantic in "weather as bad as could be" and noted the loss of a shipmate washed overboard in a storm.

The above picture is a letter from King George V welcoming American soldiers to Europe. The letters are arranged alphabetically by the name of the correspondent and chronologically within folders.

BOX

FOLDER

FOLDER TITLE

DATES

1

1

Barton, Clyde:  Letters to his Family Describing his Activities with the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe

1918-19

      

2

Barton, Clyde:  Letters Endorsing Sonotone Hearing Aids

1948-49

    

3

Barton, Thomas L.:  Letters to his Family Describing Life Aboard a Navy Destroyer in World War I

1918-19

      

4

Cason, Philip (Uncle of Clyde and Thomas Barton):      letter to his sister from the war front in Europe

1918

    

5

King George V:  Letter to Soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force

1918