Wednesday, 16 March 2016

WW: Spruce Warrior

(During World War I so many hale young men were removed from our forests by the US military that the Army Air Corps had to raise "Spruce Squadrons" to cut down the trees our boys were no longer felling because they were in France and the military needed wood for aircraft.

I know, I know. Don't say it.

Most of these kids came from the East and Midwest and other places where they don't know what a real tree is. So they died like flies -- logging, especially in the day, was as deadly as warfare. Interesting aside: many of the Spruce Warriors were conscientious objectors, assigned this as alternative service. So a kind of patriotic censure hung over these units, despite the fact that they served steadfastly in a vital, extremely dangerous [if faintly ridiculous] duty.

My great grandmother used to photograph their military funeral parades down Main Street -- about one a week -- and send prints to the families. Fortunately the Littlejohns never received one of her envelopes; their son Calvin, of 60 Spruce Squadron, died in 1951.)
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