Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Veterans Memorials: 104th Infantry Regiment Memorial - Westfield, MA

Interesting Places I've Photographed
104th Infantry Regiment Memorial
Westfield, MA
Topic: Veterans Memorials

GPS: N42° 09.823; W072° 43.528

Quick Description: A memorial to honor the 104th Infantry Regiment is located at the site where the unit was formed on Southampton Road, Route 10/202, in Westfield, MA.

Long Description:

On April 1918, the troops of the 104th Infantry Regiment, from the Springfield, MA area, were involved in a battle in the Bois Brule, near Apremont in the Ardennes, France. Because of their bravery under fire, The French government awarded them its highest honor, the Croix de Guerre. It was the first time such an honor had ever come to an American unit. The regimental commander and 116 other officers and men were also awarded the bronze cross for their action. During World War II 104th Infantry Regiment once again were awarded the Croix de Guerre for their valor during the Battle of the Bulge.

Westfield has honored these veterans by installing a memorial on the site where the 104th Infantry Regiment was organized in 1917. A granite monument flanked by two flagpoles. The monument containing a large a bas relief sculpture, by Bruce Wilder Saville, depicting the 104th Infantry Regiment receiving the Croix de Guerre. It carries the following inscriptions:

Below the bas relief sculpture:

"For greatest fighting spirit and self sacrifice during action of April 10, 12, and 13, 1918, suffering from very heavy bombardments and attacked by very strong German forces the 104th Infantry succeeded in preventing their dangerous advance, and with greatest energy reconquered, at the point of the bayonet, the few ruined trenches which had to be abandoned at the first onset, at the same time making prisoners."

On this site August 22, 1917, was organized the 104th Regiment Infantry, 26th Division, A.E.F. --- Departed for service overseas Sept. 26, 1917. Cited as above for action in the Bois Brule, Apremont, France. Exact Reproduction of photograph taken April 28, 1918, at Bouco, Toul Section, France.

On the lower plaque:

A Valourous Regiment. Was the decisive element in the attack launched from 8th of November to the 11th of December 1944 in Lorraine. On the 8th December 1944 smashed a system of forts of the Maginot Lien thus liberating the last parcel of French territory then held by the enemy inflicting heavy casualties. 1428 prisoners, 3000 wounded and 700 killed. Paris, 3 November 1945 deGaulle

On the ribbon at the base of the monument depicting the Croix de Guerre:

"I am proud to decorate the flag of a regiment which as shown such fortitude and courage; I am proud to decorate the flag of a nation which has come to our aid in the fight for liberty." Gen Passaga

The base of the north flagpole is inscribed with the names of the World War I battles:

Chateau Thierry
St. Mihiel

The base of the south flagpole is inscribed with the names of the World War II battle theaters:

Northern France
Central Europe

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