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French Croix de Guerre WWI

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Tim

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Here is the CdG citation for my great-grandfather. He was with the Foreign Legion

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Aaaargh! Ralstona.... you make me mad with envy!

Not only a killer doc, but from the family as well!!!!!!!!!

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Aaaargh! Ralstona.... you make me mad with envy!

Not only a killer doc, but from the family as well!!!!!!!!!

I only met him one time, when I was 7ish. He came to visit from France right before he died. I found myself alone in a room with him, and he called me over. He asked if I wanted to see something. I said, yes. He pulled up his pant leg and showed me the bullet whole from 1915 in his right leg. He had had "Arras" tattooed around it. Legionnaire until the end.

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Gentlemen,

Concerning researching particular individuals, how does one find out when ( what year) a particular recepient received a CdG? I need to find out in what year Major John Huffer, CO of the 94th and later 93rd Pursuit Squadrons, received his. I know that he had it prior to transfering into the US forces. He started with the French in 1916 so it had to be a 1914-16 0r 1914-17 CdG if I'm not mistaken.

All the best and thanks!

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I presume a British Officer ? if so, all awards including Foreign ones were published in the Military Gazette of the period.

Kevin in Deva.

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Hello Kevin,

Actually, Major Huffer was American (French mother I believe).

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Thanks for the clarrification when I saw "Pursuit Squadrons" I thought maybe he was R.F.C. or R.A.F. who then went to the USA.

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Gentlemen,

Concerning researching particular individuals, how does one find out when ( what year) a particular recepient received a CdG? I need to find out in what year Major John Huffer, CO of the 94th and later 93rd Pursuit Squadrons, received his. I know that he had it prior to transfering into the US forces. He started with the French in 1916 so it had to be a 1914-16 0r 1914-17 CdG if I'm not mistaken.

All the best and thanks!

Hi,

close to impossible, there is no central record.... most were awarded at Regt Level (in some cases Battalion)... and they are usually not even listed in the war diary of the unit. (Usually only the occasional Army level one is found in the war diary)

All th ebest

Chris

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John (AKA Jean) Huffer actually received five Croix de Guerre. One source says 3 palms and 2 stars, while another says 4 with palm and one with star. He also received the Médaille militaire. The citations are below.

The middle three are Army-level citations, so these should be with palm. The last is a regimental-level citation, so should be a bronze star. I have no idea what a "Citation à l'Ordre de l'Aéronautique" means. It was from the French 6th Army, so maybe a palm, but if it was considered to be from a lower-level command within the 6th Army (l'Aéronautique = "aeronautics section"?), it was probably a star. The source which says 3 palms and 2 stars is the same source which has the citations, so it is probably more reliable than the secondary sources with 4 palms and one star.

VIe Armée

6 novembre, 1916

Citation à l'Ordre de l'Aéronautique:

Excellent pilote. Toujours volontaire pour les missions les plus périlleuses. Le 5 novembre, 1916, a fait une longue reconnaissance au-dessus des lignes ennemies, volant pendant plus de deux heures au milieu d'une très forte tempête.

7 décembre, 1916

Citation à l'Ordre de l'Armée (VIe):

Dégagé de toute obligation militaire, s'est engagé pour la durée de la guerre. Pilote remarquable d'avions rapides. Modèle de sang-froid et d'allant; n'a cessé de se distinguer au cours de la bataille de la Somme.

Accomplissant de très nombreuses missions a longue portée. A rapporté chaque fois des documents précieux. Les jours de mauvais temps, a volé dans la tempête au ras du sol au-dessus des lignes ennemies, jusqu'à ce qu'il ait obtenu les renseignements demandés.

Le 24 septembre est rentré avec un appareil criblé de balles.

Le 10 octobre, chargé d'une mission très importante, s'est heurté à un barrage d'avions ennemis, en a abattu un, en a mis un deuxième en fuite. Le groupe d'avions qui devait le protéger s'étant dispersé au cours du combat, n'a pas hésité à pénétrer seul très loin dans les lignes ennemies pour accomplir sa mission et a rapporté d'importants renseignements.

Médaille Militaire:

Ordre N° 4269 "D" du 6 mars, 1917, comportant attribution de la Croix de Guerre avec palme.

Engagé volontaire pour la durée de la guerre, s'est distingué comme pilote par son adresse, son énergie, son audace, et son sang-froid; a accompli dans des conditions particulièrement difficiles de très nombreuses missions au cours desquelles il a abattu deux avions ennemis.

Déjà deux fois cité à l'Ordre.

Citation à l'Ordre de la VIe Armée:

Ordre N° 45130, mars, 1917.

Excellent pilote, le 17 mars, 1917, a abattu son troisième avion ennemi.

Le 21 juin, 1917

Le Lieutenant Colonel Charrez, Commt. le 1er Groupement A.L.V.F. ( Détachement Italie) cite à l'Ordre du Groupement (Ordre du Régiment) l'Escadrille Espinasse appelée apporter son concours aux groupes de la R.G.A.L. détachée en Italie (mai-juin, 1917); s'est particulièrement distinguée dans toutes les missions qui lui ont été confiées.

Sous le commandement éclaire et intrepide de son Chef, Le Capitaine de Fontenilliat, par les brillantes et audacieuses reconnaissances de ses énergiques pilotes et observateurs, Sous-Lieutenant Huffer, Jean, qui ont mis l'ennemi en fuite partout où ils l'ont recontré.

Par la prise de nombreuses photographies des régions montagneuses à battre, par les réglages précis exécutés dans le Trentin au prix de multiples difficultés, cette remarquable escadrille a suscité chez nos alliés l'admiration la plus vive et fait le plus grand honneur au Pays.

Edited by Dave Danner

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Hi Dave,

Thank you very much for that incredibly valuable research. Where, may I ask, did you find that information? I'm trying to find out as much as I can about Major Huffer's career. I believe that he received the Medaille Militaire as well as the Croix de Guerre with, as you indicated, 3 palmes and two etoiles. Thanks to you I now know that he recieved his first CdG in 1916. I presume that he would have received his Medaille Militaire in 1917 or even 1918? He would also have received the US Victory medal. I do not know what bars he would have been entitled to however on his Victory Medal. Perhaps only the "Defensive Sector" but I'm not certain. He was CO of the 94th Aero Squadron (Rickenbacker's unit) before becoming the CO of the 93rd. Would he also have been entitled to the French Victory medal as well? Was that done by Americans switching over from French or British service to American service after the US entered the war? Unfortunately, his original medals were lost in a Paris flood years ago I'm told. I have his original US bullion wings as well as an autographed photo.

Jay

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Then of course, there is the entirely different issue of the LaFayette Flying Corps Medal.................

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Hi Dave,

Thank you very much for that incredibly valuable research. Where, may I ask, did you find that information? I'm trying to find out as much as I can about Major Huffer's career. I believe that he received the Medaille Militaire as well as the Croix de Guerre with, as you indicated, 3 palmes and two etoiles. Thanks to you I now know that he recieved his first CdG in 1916. I presume that he would have received his Medaille Militaire in 1917 or even 1918? He would also have received the US Victory medal. I do not know what bars he would have been entitled to however on his Victory Medal. Perhaps only the "Defensive Sector" but I'm not certain. He was CO of the 94th Aero Squadron (Rickenbacker's unit) before becoming the CO of the 93rd. Would he also have been entitled to the French Victory medal as well? Was that done by Americans switching over from French or British service to American service after the US entered the war? Unfortunately, his original medals were lost in a Paris flood years ago I'm told. I have his original US bullion wings as well as an autographed photo.

Jay

The information came from The Lafayette Flying Corps, edited by James Norman Hall & Charles Bernard Nordhoff, associate editor Edgar G. Hamilton (1920), which has bios of the Americans who served in these units. The Médaille Militaire is included in the citations above, as his third citation on 6 March 1917, awarded together with the Croix de Guerre. Here is a summary of Huffer's service record from that text:

Regarding the World War I Victory Medal, his service as commander of the 94th Pursuit Squadron overlapped with that unit's credit for the Toul Sector (14 April-29 June 1918), which would have been covered by the DEFENSIVE SECTOR bar. I don't see the First Air Depot, for which he was Assistant Operations Officer from 7 June to 25 July, listed in the battle participation register for World War I, but since it was a depot, I expect it was also covered by the DEFENSIVE SECTOR bar. The 93rd Pursuit Squadron's battle participation credits were:

• Toul Sector (11 August-11 September 1918)

• St. Mihiel (12–16 September 1918)

• Meuse-Argonne (26 September-11 November 1918)

So as commander from 25 July to 11 November 1918, he would have been entitled to add the ST. MIHIEL and MEUSE-ARGONNE bars. So these three bars in total.

I don't think he would have worn two victory medals, but he should have had two other French commemoratives for World War I, the Médaille commémorative de la guerre 1914–1918 and the Croix du combattant volontaire 1914–1918. I imagine he would also have received the unofficial Médaille commémorative de la bataille de Verdun.

Regards,

Dave

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Hello Dave,

What can I say but thank you very much.....superbe! That is what makes this group so great......wonderful friendship & advice. GOD bless.

Jay

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Here is a question..... with rhe Medaille Militaire he was probably not an officer with the French?

The Journal officiel de la République française gave his rank as sergent pilote in the published Citations à l'ordre de l'armée for the middle three citations above, which include the one for the Médaille Militaire. According to the book Les volontaires américains dans les rangs alliés (1917), Huffer was promoted to sous-lieutenant in May 1917, but I don't see the exact date.

Best regards,

Dave

Edited by Dave Danner

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Great thread. Yet another line of collecting to pursue.

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Dave,

Does the Hall-Nordhoff book mention a Thomas Francis McAllister from Grand Rapids, MI who served late in the war with SPA 285? I knew him as a little boy. He was a local Federal Magistrate as well as a fellow Uiversity of Michigan alum......Thanks.

Jay

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Dave,

Does the Hall-Nordhoff book mention a Thomas Francis McAllister from Grand Rapids, MI who served late in the war with SPA 285? I knew him as a little boy. He was a local Federal Magistrate as well as a fellow Uiversity of Michigan alum......Thanks.

Jay

No mention. There is some information on his wartime service in the UMich alumni magazine in 1919.

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Hello Dave,

Today I received numerous copies of letters, newspaper clippings, photos from the Bentley Historical Library at our alma mater, the University of Michigan. I have just glanced through them but it the information looks like a fascinating insight into Judge McAllister's war experiences. He won the Croix de Guerre for starters! More later....

Jay

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