Edgar Dudley Andrews grew up with his family in Boston, living on Newbury Street when he enlisted in the Massachusetts Army National Guard in 1917. While in training by January 1917, the United States had not yet entered into World War I. After completing training, Andrews was a corporal in Company A of the 102nd Machine Gun Battalion, 26th Division Massachusetts National Guard. In October 1917, he arrived in France, among the first waves of troops in the American Expeditionary Force. Over the next several months, Andrews served as a runner, machine gunner, and section chief throughout the Western Front.
Andrews wrote a letter to his mother May 12, 1918, which was Mother’s Day. Andrews—deployed “somewhere in France”—wrote, “Let us hope and pray that before another year rolls bye (sic) that we will be united again and living a peaceful, quiet life with those whom we love.”
Shortly after, Andrews was fighting in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, one of the first actions of the American Expeditionary Force under Gen. John J. “Blackjack” Pershing.
Following the battle, Andrews was able to take a trip to Paris for several days, something he described as one of the high points of his experience. By the final months of the war, he fell ill with rheumatism and was hospitalized, resulting in 13 teeth being pulled. Andrews spent much of this time recovering at the French spa town Pougues les-Eaux when the war ended. He remained in Europe for several more months before returning to the United States by June 1919.
Andrews left the army in 1919 having attained the rank of corporal. He joined the Free Masons and by 1947 he was a Grandmaster at the John T. Heard Masonic Lodge in Ipswich, Mass. Andrews passed away in 1974.
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More information on Andrews’ story, including his letters, is located at the Veteran’s History Project at: https://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/loc.natlib.afc2001001.103623
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Editor: Adam M. Stump
Graphic artist: Kimber Garland