WWVets.com

United States Veterans of the Great War

"Let us pray that our country keeps peace always" 

Ella Hand, Red Cross Nurse, Madison County, Indiana
 

Welcome to the information site for World War I veterans.

This is a free site.  No fees, subscription or membership required.

The database was originally World War 1 veterans from the State of Indiana, but men from other states are also listed.

This is an ongoing, fifteen year project, initiated from the records of the Indiana War Memorial, over 135,000 veterans are listed, but detailed records on only 38,000 to date, but more are added weekly.  The detailed records have been scanned directly from the fragile, archival records at the Indiana State Library.  The original Indiana military records of the Federal government were completely destroyed in a fire at the National Archives, July 12, 1973 in St. Louis. 80% of the WW1 records were lost, all of the records from Indiana were gone.   http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/fire-1973.html

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If you would like to contribute any veterans information, or make a correction please contact:

The Indiana Historic Commission requested each county conduct interviews with each veteran after WW1. Veterans offered insightful, entertaining and heartbreaking stories of their experiences and they have been included in this web site. As much as possible has been captured in the veterans own words. The names, experiences and deeds of our veterans are a vital part of our legacy that we must not lose.

This website would not exist with out the help of the Indiana War Memorial staff.  It originated as a database for a kiosk at the WW1 museum.  The primary force behind the project was Col. Bill Sweeney, the Executive director of the Indiana War Memorial (retired).  Many thanks to Ethan Wright for his time, David Buchanan (now Curator, Decorative Arts and Furniture at the Indiana State Museum) and Stephen Hill:

 
 for their patience with endless military questions.  Thanks also to Donna Schmink, Collections manager at the Indiana War memorial for her great assistance with the many photos of WW1 archives and especially the information in:
Women in Service

The "Great War", the "War to End All Wars"

The WW1 veterans who grew up in the long shadow of the Civil War veterans, fought the first World War only later to have to send their sons and daughters off to fight an even larger war.  This website is dedicated to their memory and primarily consists of their stories in their own words.  Their stories are grouped together by area of service or experiences.

Most of the veterans information has been scanned or added with voice recognition software.  The original documents were hand written and often difficult to read.  Any corrections or additional information are greatly appreciated.   

 

WWI Draft

The Army Act, approved May 18th, authorized raising the number of enlisted in the Regular Army to the maximum strength sanctioned by law.  The National Guard and Reserves were activated and a draft was issued for 1,000,000 men.

Between 1917 and 1918, 98% of all men born between 1873 and 1900 received a draft registration notice. Approximately 24,000,000 men were registered but only a small portion actually served.

The first registration covered men born between the ages of 21 to 31 as of June 5, 1917.

There was an additional registration the following year that covered the men who had turned 21 during that year.  Congressional opposition led to excluded from the draft of men between the ages of eighteen to twenty on the initial drafts.  Resident aliens were required to register but were not drafted.  The final draft was in September of 1918 and was expanded to cover men between the ages of 32 to 46 and 21 to 18.

A special edition of the Indianapolis Star dated July 23, 1917 in the Indiana War Memorial archives, consists of the complete listing of all registrants from Marion County, Indiana.  The total population figures for the city of Indianapolis listed were 339,784.  The total registration figure was 34,154 with a double quota of 4,954. The double quota figure is used due to the many exemptions expected. The exact quota figure is listed at 2,477; this figure is low due to the credit issued for the men who have voluntarily enlisted.

Nationally over 24,000,000 men were called to register.  Only 20% served.  There is a free database of  Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi and Nevada and some abstractions from California, Kansas, Nebraska, New York City, and Utah WW1 draft records at:

http://userdb.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ww1/draft/search.cgi

An online database of Canadian Soldiers of WW1 is available: 

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/001042-100.01-e.php

British Military records may be found at: (registration requested, but not required)

http://www.forces-war-records.com/records.asp?SE=go&KW=MR&cmp=Cont&AdGp=D&gclid=CK7A7tXG37ACFQYKKgodSxrY2Q

 

 

Bastille Day
                       American Troops marching in Paris for Bastille Day

                            National Archives Photo courtesy of the Indiana War Memorial

Indiana War Memorials