I have been visiting the battlefields since 1986; and I have learned from and have shared experiences with too many friends and acquaintances around the world to list individually. I thank God for all of you! Of course, no one is immortal. This gallery contains photos of those kindred spirits who are now deceased. As I wrote in my June 2019 tribute to Harry Rupert: “The night-time fires in the camps of the Argonne Forest will be a little darker without his (her) presence.”
Adolf “Adi” Buchner (2021) of Germany. Adi was a passionate researcher and founder of the Deutsches Erinnerungskommittee Argonnerwald, a German association dedicated to researching and exploring the war in the Argonne Forest–especially the war underground. He started the group in the mid 1980s. I first met him in 1994 and was fortunate enough to see him many more times after that.
Harry Rupert (2019) of the Netherlands / France. I met Harry in France in June 2017, and we became friends from the start. Harry was passionate about the Meuse-Argonne, especially Sgt. York, and he was willing to share his passion, knowledge and contacts with all. Photo credit: Susi Adler.
Hans Rauschmeier (2018) of Germany. I met Hans through Harry. During 2017 Hans shared his knowledge of sites in the Meuse-Argonne with me on several occasions. He was also very warm with my son, Graham; sharing books and dinner discussions and inviting Graham to come and visit him in Germany. We did not realize that he was fighting cancer at that time.
Stephen Matthews (2014) of Doylestown, PA. I met Stephen through the Western Front Association in the mid 1990s. In 1998 he and I marketed the first WFA–USA Branch Battlefield Tour that was run by Tony & Teddy Noyes of Flanders Tours. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the mid 2000s, and lived about ten years with that disease. Prior to his diagnosis Stephen was a regular at WFA meetings.
Tony Noyes (2012) of the U.K. I first met Tony in 1993 in Ypres, Belgium at the 75th Anniversary of the Armistice. At that time he was President of the Western Front Association. In 1998 he and his first wife, Teddy Noyes, were running Flanders Tours. They led the first WFA–USA Branch Tour that Stephen Matthews and I marketed. We became close friends as a result of that–in spite of the geographical distance between us.
Jean Barnes-Butts (2010). Pictured here with Duncan Aran of Pershing’s Doughboys and her husband Alfred Butts. Jean’s father served in the Yankee and First Divisions during WW1. She was one of the 1998 tour participants. Jean wore a back brace and was in chronic pain during the trip, but she was so excited to walk in her father’s footsteps that she was a real treat on the tour! In 2010 Jean died on a tour in Budapest, Hungary. At age 85 and against her doctor’s wishes she kept living life!
Frank Sinkoski (1999), 104th Infantry Regiment, 26th “Yankee” Division, A.E.F. Frank was the one Doughboy that I got to know quite well. He was the grandfather of a fried of my future wife, and he was the guest of honor at our “1919 Returning War Hero’s Wedding.” His grandson, Richard, said that he was so excited to be the guest of honor that he called him at 3:00am to confirm the wedding date. He lived in Massachussetts, and I would try to visit him on every visit. Frank died at the age of 99!