Saturday, June 27, 2009

Harry Buzzell's World War I Story, Part 2

Time to start thinking about and getting ready for the 4th of July. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

Summary of the Letters

Harry Irving Buzzell was born in Woodland, Maine on November 20, 1893, the fifth child of Mary Thomas and Colby Buzzell. There were eleven children altogether, 7 boy and 4 girls. My grandfather Chester was number 11, the last one, born in 1905 and only 11 years old when Harry died. The photo detail shows Mary with some of her children in front of their farmhouse. Harry is the little boy on the left.
There were a total of 60 letters written from 1914 to 1918. Harry was 21 years old when the first letter was written and 24 years of age when he wrote the last letter just two days before he died.
The first 20 letters were written before he was in the army and were written from Springfield, Massachusetts where he worked as a clerk; from Orlando and Pinecastle, Florida where he worked in the fruit groves and in a box mill making celery crates; and from Hartford, Connecticut. The other 40 letters were written after Harry was drafted into the army during World War I. They were written from Fort Devens, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and England and France.

to be continued