PERSHING & FIRST AMERICAN SOLDIERS WELCOMED TO ENGLAND
London (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, June 8, 1917, General John J. Pershing and the first elements of the American Expeditionary Force were welcomed to England.
Floyd Gibbons writes in the Chicago Daily Tribune that the Americans looked "lean, clean (and) keen" in the eyes of their British counterparts.
"The British soldiers admire their height and shoulders. They approve of a greyhound trimness of the belt zone. They like to look on their carriage and poise. They approve a steady eye and stiffer jaws."
As they stepped ashore, the Americans were faced by a company of Royal Welsh Fusiliers*. They were inspected by General Pershing along with Lt. General Sir William Pitcairn Campbell**, chief of the western command. The Fusiliers then played the Star Spangled Banner.
The American army was transported on the Baltic which carried them successfully through the war zone accompanied by an escort of U.S. torpedo destroyers.
*Royal Welsh Fusiliers, a line of infantry regiment of the British army, part of the Prince of Wales Division. The RWF was founded in 1689 by Lord Henry Herbert.
**Sir William Pitcairn Campbell (1856-1933) was commissioned in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in 1875 & promoted to Lt. Col. in the Second Boer War. WPC was Commander-n-chief of the Western Command 1916-1918.
"London Sees First of Our Fighting Men", by Floyd Gibbons, The Chicago Daily Tribune, June 9, 1917.