We forget today just what an impact World War I had on the lives of its participants and their families.
1917-18 and Post-War
On August 1, 1917 Russell K. Barnes became a PFC in the 101st Field Artillery Regt., 26th Division, AEF. On March 4, 1918 he was promoted to Corporal and on May 18, 2018 he became the Regimental Sgt. Major. On Sept. 8, 1918 he was commissioned a Lt. and was re-assigned to the 1st Division, AEF. Lt. Barnes would survive the war, return to the states, get married and have a daughter, Jean. She was bon on November 20, 1924; and she had a very close relationship with her father until he died. The webmaster does not know if he had any other children.
The Webmaster and Stephen Matthews worked with Tony and Teddy Noyes of Flanders Tours to put together the first battlefield tour for the Western Front Association, USA Branch. Jean (then 73 years old) and her husband, Alfred Butts, expressed a strong interest in participating; although she indicated that she had some very severe back issues. The organizers advised her that the cold, damp fall weather in France would not suit her well; but she chose to come anyways. She wanted to see where her father served. As it turned out, she was a real trooper. She lived with the pain and was on the bus every single day; never complaining. The photo below shows her and husband Alfred with Duncan Aran of Pershing’s Doughboys, a U.K.-based reenacting group. Her back brace is fully visible.
Jean and the webmaster kept in touch over the next several years; and she indicated, at that time that she wanted him to see that her father’s WW1 items would be taken care of after she passed away.
In February, 2010 the Webmaster received the call from a relative that Jean passed away on January 3, 2010 ON A TOUR IN BUDAPEST HUNGARY! Jean was 85 years old, in poor health, and her doctor really did not want her to go. But she went anyway; living life to the fullest!!! May she serve as an example to us all.
A few weeks later the box of stuff arrived. It included her father’s funeral flag, a framed 8 x 10 picture of him in uniform, two other frames filled certificates and decorations and insignia, a photo album, and various other items about his war-time service and her 1998 pilgrimage.
The frames are on the wall in the living room and the funeral flag is displayed in the war room.
The webmaster still needs to scan the photo album and publish that on the website. He plans to do that by June 30.
Jean was a very special woman and, judging by her father’s quick promotion, he was a very special person too!