Posts filed under ‘Lest we forget’

9/11 – 15- 2016

by Chris Ritchey

by Chris Ritchey


September 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment


Photo Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller

May 29, 2016 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Medal of Honor – George C. Reid- The Gillmore Papers

I admit it I have become lethargic, apathetic, and more so than ever of late. This is due to finally realizing I am on the other side of the fence to the majority in my tilting of windmills. The court system ( locally) is sadly lacking. I can’t stomach the judicial posturing on face book and elsewhere of those judges that want re-election and those that want to be elected. I have been in too many courtrooms of late- locally – followed too many cases and in some cases insulting to the taxpayer results . We will ( the taxpayer) eventually end up paying for those judgments. ( too many articles to list search Housing Court/ Judges etc. on this blog)

A great number of local politicians paying lip service for too many years and the realization that pointing out issues ( that no one really wants to deal with anyway ) gets a flurry of activity until it is “received and filed”. Oh! I am not complaining as such – it is was it is but the end result I no longer care to get involved with Lorain’s posturing .

Even her history has been sliced, diced , ignored and compartmentalized.

BUT once in a while something happens to peak my interest once again and send me to the keyboard. I received a lovely book written by Hartley J. Smith Jr. Paula Shorf and Mathew Weisman .
The book centers on Black River, Charleston, Lorain and some of her early families . As I leafed through, re- reading some of the history we had already known and some we didn’t concerning “Charleston Village” -I felt guilty. I still hadn’t sorted into some sort of order Peggy Gillmore’s cuttings , letters etc. So yesterday I started.

Mayor Conrad Reid was a name most familiar- he was Lorain’s first Mayor and I had seen amongst Peggy’s newspaper cutting an article from 1953 and the Lorain Journal
I pulled out the newspaper cuttings Peggy had clipped and saved through the years – pieces parts falling away into yellowing dust as I carefully read through them. There it was, the connection I remembered, from those many months ago when we first received a box of stuff!
The son of Conrad Reid- Lorain’s s first Mayor –George Croghan Reidnamed after his uncle – He had a varied military history

Reid was born in Lorain, Ohio and was the son of Conrad Cornelius Reid and his wife Helen Charlotte Crandall. George was named after his father’s brother George Croghan Reid, a Marine Corps veteran of the American Civil War. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on May 20, 1898. His early assignments included duty with the China Relief Expedition and in the Philippines. In 1912 he was sent to Nicaragua during the insurrection in that country. He took part in the assault and capture of Coyotepe and Barranca on November 19, 1912, for which he received a letter of commendation for gallantry and conspicuous service in action.

In April 1914 he took part in the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico and was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action.

From 1919 to 1921 he was assigned to the Dominican Republic and commanded the Dominican National Guard. In 1921 to 1922 he attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and then served as commander of the Marine Barracks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1922 to 1924. He then attended the Army War College, then at Washington Barracks (now Fort McNair) in the District of Columbia, and graduated in 1925.

His last overseas assignment was in command of Marines at Guam. His last posting was Officer in Charge, USMC Recruiting Division, Chicago. He retired from the Marine Corps September 1, 1930 and was advanced to the rank of brigadier general from the retired list in February 1942 in recognition of having been commended for heroism in combat.

He died February 19, 1961 at the U.S. Air Force hospital, Harlingen Air Force Base, Texas and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His grave can be found in section 2, lot 1096-A LH. His wife, Mary Louise Calhoun, is buried with him.

He was a hereditary member of the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS).

Lorain was a close-knit community and many of her sons went onto military fame including The Reids along with the Gillmores , Admirals- King and Braun – maybe they came from tough stock – the sons of Lorain certainly played an important role in this new nation .

There isn’t a bridge, or a school named after Brigadier General George Croghan Reid– Medal of Honor recipient- in fact, but for a few, I would think his very existence has been forgotten.

G C Reidmedal

Tucked away with the Medal Of Honor information was a photo of a “sloop of war” USS Marion , his ship

USS Marionres
Marion Reid info

Chronicle Telegram

Chronicle Telegram

Brig. General G C Reid was first and foremost a Marine and since The United States Marine Corp has now honored Eric Barnes Heroes Walk with a garden and flag pole in the honor of the Marines , I will make sure at least a commemorative planting honors another of Lorain’s Generals and Medal of Honor recipients.
the site today

the site today

The sons of Lorain linked once more through a walkway of heroes – not to be forgotten.

Photo  Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller

January 17, 2016 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

Nov. 11th- Youth Lost- Medals worn- Remember

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey  2009)

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey 2009)

I have always tried to Remember those who fought on November the 11th – from granddads, uncles and my father- to my generation, my husband USAF, my cousins and to those friends who have lost their sons to war.

I was pleased and touched the last piece of art work produced by my son was in honor for another young man who gave his life for his country ( in remembrance)- Eric Barnes .

I was reminded on Remembrance Sunday, as I walked through the dining room, of my father . I hadn’t looked at his medals in a very long time as they hung over the sword he bought me ( The Sword of Charlemagne ) incase I ever did Camelot again. He was coerced into polishing up a sword for the theatrical production in which I was involved -a lousy job and one he decided he wouldn’t do again – hence the purchase of the sword !

There was a lot of dust, the ribbons had lost their sharp colours over the decades and they decidedly needed a clean . I knew some of his medals were gone – RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal, The Arctic Star and the Oak cluster – I had used them to pin my dolly’s clothes when I was just a little one.
Although I had written about his Royal Navy Career in the series along with my mother’s remembrances of those days of world war two –

I can’t really remember having ever “looked ” closely at the medals.
I was surprised at the number of theatres of war in which he had been involved. And then, I remembered this man , my father who had been in the Royal Navy before war broke out and had seen so much in those terrible years was only 28 years old when Victory was declared – my mother 26-. War is for the young they say ……

1939-45 Star

1939-45 Star

The 1939 to 1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 in the Far East).Naval personnel qualify after 180 days afloat in areas of operations as laid out in the regulations between certain specified dates.


Naval personnel anywhere at sea in the Mediterranean or in harbour in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates will qualify. Those serving in direct support of the Eritrean and Abyssinian campaigns between certain other specified dates will also qualify.

THE ARCTIC STAR**** The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from the 3rd September, 1939, to the 8th May, 1945, inclusive. The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts. •Royal Navy and Merchant Navy: naval and Merchant Navy service anywhere at sea north of the Arctic Circle to include, but not limited exclusively to, those ships participating in, and in support of, Convoys to North Russia

Atlantic-L THE ATLANTIC STAR******
The Battle of the Atlantic took place between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 as German U boats, aircraft and surface vessels attacked the convoys transporting valuable supplies from America and the colonies to Britain.
Warships of the RN and aircraft of the RAF escorted the convoys, hunted the U boats, fought German ships and, despite some notable German successes, the allies won a comprehensive victory in the Atlantic

Italy_Star THE ITALY STAR Naval personnel must qualify first for the 1939 to 1945 Star before the Italy Star can be awarded. It is then awarded for service at sea in the Mediterranean between the above dates provided that it was directly connected with active operations in the Mediterranean theatre.
George 5th medal
George VI Medal *****The duration of the Second World War in Europe was from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, while in the Pacific Theatre it continued until 2 September 1945. The War Medal 1939–1945 was instituted by the United Kingdom on 16 August 1945 and was awarded to all full-time personnel of the armed forces and merchant marines

My dad also earned the Royal Navy – Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

ww2-oak-leaf-midand the Oak Leaf –

Oak Leaf awarded to personnel who have been mentioned in despatches in action with the enemy (all environments) in war.

HMS Speedwell
I believe ,in researching my dad’s history, a mention of the incident for which he was mentioned in despatches

Cyril Green:

1400 – Explosion in our ship don’t know whether we hit or what it is yet someone gave a scream.

1445 – Explosion was heater drain observation tank in boiler room exploding. 2 stokers seriously scalded and 1 fractured elbow.

We left Harmatris to two Russian tugs and proceeded to Polyarnoe (Russia) at all speed.

I should like Commanding Officers of all Minesweepers to know that I fully appreciate the good work in the difficult conditions in the past few days searching, escorting, and hunting under the nose of the enemy sea and air forces. It does everyone, but especially the Engine room department, great credit that all ships have been ready for service whenever called upon and I am sure that valuable lives and ships have been saved by the good work performed.

CommanderSenior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla “

The HMS Speedwell was a minesweeper and now a segue back to Lorain
and another naval man Admiral Ernest J King

Admiral King

Admiral King

His tribute space has the flags flying – not on a flag pole but a ship’s mast and a “minesweeper mast” at that rescued from the from the old American Ship yard.
Old Mast at American Shipyard
AK flag old

Photo Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller

( Now in place at the Admiral King Tribute Site 1st and Hamilton)

Photo - Lisa Miller

Photo – Lisa Miller



November 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm 2 comments

Memorial Day- 2015- Respect through the ages

A little over 2 1/2 years ago Lorain Mayor- Chase Ritenauer, Chief of Staff- Derek Feurestein , Ariel Vasquez of the Lorain Utilities Dept. met, along with the parents and family members of three of the young men who had lost their lives for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, on what was then a derelict waste and dumping ground .

We trudged , and I mean that literally, through bracken, weeds, over fallen trees and mud as Ariel explained his vision for what would become Eric Barnes Heroes Walk.
Ariel explained how each young man would have a tribute garden with a bench , signage and artwork along a path which would meander through what was left of a woods, flower beds and a view of Lorain’s lakefront a priority . The pathway would connect the two areas already in place known as, Settlers’ Watch 2009
and at the opposite end of the site Admiral King Tribute site 2011.

The plan was ambitious. Ariel and his crew, with the support of the volunteers and donations through Charleston Village Society, would have phase one completed by November 11th-2012.
marks photos
As I walked the pathway on Pride Day,
I could not credit how far the area had progressed in the months and changing seasons since that walk of vision. The plants grown and tended so beautifully by our volunteer “Constant Gardener- Joe” . Thinking back to that day in 2012 I remembered the look on the faces of the others as we stumbled through the undergrowth – they weren’t so sure themselves this plan would come to fruition!
gavin ryan

Once more this morning, I walked in the sunshine, the blue of the lake sparkling as the waves danced and the wind blew the clouds around an azure sky, with my two grandsons- ages 6 and 3. We were putting out the flags for Memorial Day, a job they hold very dear.

As we went along, making sure each garden and area was recognized, I admonished Gavin telling him to make sure the flags never touched the ground. Being six, the question arose,


I didn’t want to confuse them anymore than I usually do with my explanations and this was an important WHY? I said it was

out of respect for the young men and woman who gave their lives for their country, in this case the United States and the flag was very important as it was carried into battle.

But why can’t it touch the ground- NOG?

I knew from my own history- being English- how important the flag was to my father, uncles and grandfathers , they gave their youth and in some cases their limbs and their lives for their own flag. . union Jack

Even from Roman times the “standard” was considered extremely important –

The standard-bearer normally was in close proximity to the unit leader. When the standard ‘fell’, the unit members did not have a visual point to rally around or return and the possibility that the leader had fallen was great. Loss of a standard in battle was considered to be one of the worst things to happen – the Honor of the unit was lost. By the same token, capturing a standard by an opponent was considered to be a tremendous act of courage.
With England’s long history emblems and flags ( standards) were most important on the field of battle and like the Romans the disappearance of the a standard/ flag on the battle field may well mean the battle was lost.
But I wasn’t absolutely certain about the United States history and the flag not touching the ground– was there another aspect my grandsons should know about?

Once again, the search for a reason – apart from respect as I knew it had to be – sent me to Google. To my surprise, I was brought full circle back to this community of Lorain. As I googled the reasoning, I was directed to a site about the Civil War and my eyes beheld a familiar painting .
gillmore  scan
Yes the Storming of Fort Wagner – the movie Glory – and my dining room companion General Gillmore !!![

Among the troops who assaulted Ft. Wagner was the 54th Massachusetts, a regiment of African-Americans led (as required by regulation) by white commissioned officers. Gillmore had ordered that his forces be integrated and that African-Americans were not to be assigned menial tasks only, such as KP or latrine duty, but instead they were to carry arms into battle. They and their assault on Ft. Wagner were the subject of the 1989 Civil War movie Glory, which starred Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick.

I eagerly read the following from that battle :

There, also, Sergeant William Carney, who had earlier taken up the National Colors when the color sergeant had been shot, planted the flag and fought off numerous attempts by the Confederates to capture it. Without support, and faced with superior numbers and firepower, the 54th was forced to pull back. Despite two severe wounds, Sergeant Carney carried the colors to the rear. When praised for his bravery, he modestly replied, “I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground.” Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first African-American to receive the award.

There was also a poem and later a song from that proud moment coming out from that battle –flag groundres

The next time I walk the path with my grandsons- I will tell them the story of General Gillmore, whose father owned all the land
upon which we walk, when we wander through Settlers’ Watch, Eric Barnes Heroes Walk, and Admiral King Tribute Site and how it was the men under his command who “never let the old flag touch the ground”

Who I am by  Christopher D. Ritchey

Who I am by Christopher D. Ritchey

May 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm 2 comments

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red- Remember

Photo Rosie Hannon UK

Photo Rosie Hannon UK

Tower of London Poppies

Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe’s heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

For the past months a huge army of volunteers planted ceramic poppies around the Tower of London. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat.

You may read more about the installation here

Every evening the “Last Post” was played. Americans have not embraced the poppy here in the USA. The poppy may not have been recognized with its significance but the “Last Post” has certainly made an impact and is played reverently throughout the nations. Armistice Day 11-11-11 was the thought of King George the V. Exactly a year after the guns of World War 1 fell silent 1919 he prounounced:
Geoge the 5th

I believe,’ he had announced, ‘that my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of the Great Deliverance, and those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

He suggested that ‘at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be, for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities’.

The parade ended with a bagpipe lament and the playing of the Last Post on a solo bugle. The use of the humble, functional bugle — rather than a cavalry call proclaimed with ceremonial splendour by state trumpeters — was a poignant, heartrending lament for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary husbands, sons and fathers for whom the nation grieved.

Royal Marine Playing The Last Post in Afghanistan MOD-
last post

During World War I the Last Post took on a new significance, with a bugler standing over every grave and playing the haunting melody at the start and end of each day

Although the origins of its haunting melody are unknown, the Last Post had been used since the beginning of the 18th century in Army camps to mark the ending of the day and the sealing of perimeter fences. In hostelries and brothels, it was sounded to alert Army personnel that they should return to their headquarters.

During the previous 50 years or so, however — and particularly during World War I — the tune had taken on a new significance. No longer just a military signal, it had become a powerful symbol for the ending of a life, rather than the literal close of a day.

During the Battle of the Somme, a tradition arose that the dead were buried at the beginning and end of each day. Morning and evening, a bugler would stand over every grave, playing the Last Post……….
………..That first Armistice Day commemoration in 1919 would complete the melody’s transformation from practical signal into the unique, almost sacred, symbol it has become for both army personnel and civilians today.
(Daily Mail)

On November the 11th here in the USA Veterans Posts and organizations will be honouring the fallen for all the wars, the Last Post will be played , eyes will fill with tears and honor will be given to those who have died and given young lives for us, including the young unknown soldier from World War One who wrote the poem before he went over the top ( of the trenches)into ” no mans land “.

over the op

and whose words now touch millions 100 years later:
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
By Anon – Unknown Soldier

The blood swept lands and seas of red,
Where angels dare to tread.
As I put my hand to reach,
As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,
Again and again.
As the tears of mine fell to the ground,
To sleep with the flowers of red,
As any be dead.
My children see and work through fields
of my own with corn and wheat,
Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting
Fields so far from my love.
It be time to put my hand up and end this pain
Of living hell, to see the people around me
Fall someone angel as the mist falls around,
And the rain so thick with black
thunder I hear
Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss
The flower of my people gone before time
To sleep and cry no more.
I put my hand up and see the land of red,
This is my time to go over,
I may not come back So sleep, kiss the boys for me.


November 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm 2 comments

General(ly) Gillmore- The Last Post – Lorain Part 12

Peggy  Gillmore- (Josephine Jean) Gillmore 4th Street, Lorain Ohio

Peggy Gillmore-
(Josephine Jean) Gillmore
4th Street, Lorain Ohio

I have wandered , these past weeks, through the lives of a family totally disconnected from my own- The Gillmores.

I have found them to be fascinating, courageous, strong of character, with a work ethic that would put most of us to shame. They are a family who were founders of at least two communities in this young country. They participated from the beginning of this country- through the Revolutionary War-, prospered, hauled a settlement out of a wilderness, fought for freedom, faced adversity with confidence, sailed the inland seas, built the ships and helped take America to the skies .

On my desk are faded newspaper clippings, tantalizing mentions of yet another Brigadier General WILLIAM EUGENE Gillmore– ( born in Lorain.) He was the son of Quartus J Gilmore ( brother to our General Quincy Gillmore) and the grandson of the original Quartus Gillmore . Another Brigadier General being honoured, mentioned in a fading letter. A letter asking Peggy to attend the ceremony at Wright Patterson Air Force Base-

wpat scanresrev

October 27th 1976 the ceremony to memorialize William E Gillmore by naming the building which houses the Air Force Logistics Command Headquarters “Gillmore Hall”

It seems this son of Lorain was heavily involved in the new “airservice” – the people he rubbed shoulders with are still remembered today.

Wright and Gillmore
The members of the Main Committee of NACA which met in Washington, D.C. on April 18, 1929. Shown from left to right: John F. Victory, Secretary; Dr. William F.Durand; Dr. Orville Wright; Dr. George K. Burgess; Brig. Gen. William E. Gillmore; Maj. Gen. James E. Fechet; Dr. Joesph S. Ames, Chairman; Rear Adm. David W. Taylor, USN (Ret.), Vice Chairman; Capt. Emory S. Land; Rear Adm. William A. Moffet; Dr. Samual W. Stratton; Dr. George W. Lewis, Director of Aeronautical Research; Dr. Charles F. Marvin. Dr. Charles G. Abbot was absent.

Brig. General  William Eugene Gillmore  1875-1948

Brig. General William Eugene Gillmore 1875-1948

at the forefront of aviation in this country – Aviation in the US Army- 1919-1939
air excercisresw
Gillmore planeres
( Gillmore far right )

I am afraid to open one more file folder of news clippings because I just keep finding more and more. The only place in Lorain you will find a plaque mentioning “The GILLMORES” -is a little plaque at Lake View Park for General Quincy A Gillmore – the chap who started it these posts when he arrived in my dining room. And even that plaque is incorrect – the birthdate of 1820 is incorrect- it is 1825
Gilmour Tablet
Nowhere else in this community is there mention of the Gillmores- not on any house/home or even in what is now known as Veterans Park – given to the city by General Gillmore’s sister Sophia Gillmore Leslie. And yet, there were veterans aplenty in this family.

The importance of the Gillmores to a fledging nation, the pioneers of Lorain, the fact that the house on 4th street, the last of the Lorain Gillmore’s is all that is left of those 1,000 acres!
403 Oberlin (2)

This charming home the last “testament” to a founding family who did more than pull a city from the wilderness, their drive and expertise have touched and guided a nation. Their worthiness embraced and memorialized in other communities, as with Thomas Wilford, The State of Michigan commemorates his life and story whilst Lorain?????- well just another rental up for sale.wilford collage
I cannot believe what little regard this community has for their very unique history. But what do you expect from the local Lorain community who remain ignorant of their “story”. Even the local historical society ( of whom Peggy was one of the original members) turns down a portrait “sight unseen” of a native son who gave so much to the birth of a nation including his part with freeing the slaves. Do THEY know “their history” one has to wonder?
gillmore  scan
I am tired of preaching to the choir on Lorain’s unique maritime and pioneer history. It seems most think the history started with the advent of steel , it didn’t.

Unless history has dollars and or “grants” attached it really doesn’t seem it is worthwhile in this city. The streets and homes where those that formed this nation walked and lived unmarked and unremarkable.

Could Lorain make money out of its heritage? Yes ! but first they have to know what it is and where to find it! For the most part Lorain’s tangible and tactile history is going down like the Titanic. Oh! you will find some archives, and memorabilia in the “museums” but along her streets where you can see the remnants of her early days- the homes of the “Captains Courageous”, of those nation builders, early pioneers, the movers and shakers are fading very fast.

Lorain historical home

Lorain historical home

Elyria Historical Home

Elyria Historical Home

Peggy Gillmore 2007

Peggy Gillmore 2007

Peggy , if you are somewhere close, I have tried my best to document and archive the Gillmore story. The links are there in the posts for those interested in finding more. I know I have just touched the surface and there is so much more .


General Quincy Adams Gillmore’s portrait has looked at me these many weeks reminding me of my guilt that I didn’t do more when you were just a few houses away. I know you would be thrilled the home you so loved built in 1895 has, thanks to your out of state family, been reroofed, painted and landscaped. The house once more something of which a “Gillmore” and especially you would have been so proud, as is the neighborhood. I wish I could do more. Unfortunately , unless there is “money in it” Lorain doesn’t see the worthiness of her history. How much more do they need ? This city has a history of which “movies are made” .

I am sorry Peggy. I have tried my best but sometimes my best is not good enough. I have not the expertise to make a town “feel the passion” of its history but I promise I will make sure your files and photos , portrait and print finds a home worthy of your family, and a home where they will be cherished – not dismissed.

Gillmore House Today!

General(ly) Gilmore

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part 10
Part Eleven

October 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm 15 comments

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