TREASURES FROM THE BELHAVEN MUSEUM

Veteran's Day is observed on the anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I, the "War to End All Wars." The "Great War" was the great bloodbath of the first half of our current century. The crushed "flower" of the youth of Europe lie "amid the crosses, row on row," the necessary waste product of warfare.

Carlisle Way, oldest son of Eva Blount Way, was among the fortunate ones who survived the conflict. His nearly complete service uniform is on display here. The tunic has a high buttoned collar without a tie, similar to that on the dress uniform of the United States Marine Corps. Collar insignia with the letters "US" and "USNG" denote membership in the Army of the United States and the National Guard, respectively.

On the left sleeve, just below the shoulder, is the "keystone" insignia of the 28th Division, Pennsylvania National Guard. At a slightly lower position on the right sleeve are the three chevrons of a sergeant, pointing up in the French style. The cuff of the left sleeve has two chevrons, pointing down in the British style. These are not rank insignia. Rather, they denote service overseas in World War I. (World War II troops with foreign service wore horizontal bars in the same position.) Had he been wounded in action, he would have worn a similar chevron on the right sleeve, since the Purple Heart was not awarded for wounds during that conflict. (General Douglas MacArthur revived it when he was Army Chief of Staff in the 1930's.)

The uniform itself is made of a heavy woolen fabric, as were the overcoat and pants. Shoes were worn with puttees, a kind of cloth "bandage" that was wound around the calves and lower legs. Alternatively, leather leggings could be worn with the shoes.

A British-style helmet, painted with the division's keystone, completes the uniform.

Come and see this piece of history and others in "Granny's Attic," the Belhaven Memorial Museum.

Belhaven Treasure #29

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Diane K. Mason, HTML Editor 1998