A Century Since the Great War; Family Ties
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 11th month. It’s been 100 years since the first Armistice ( Veterans ) Day. A century, such a long time, yet when I was born the “Great War” had only been over for a little less than 40 years and many veterans of this war were alive and strong.
One of them, Alfred V. Taylor lied about his age and joined the Navy when the war started. He became a pharmacists mate, ( a pharmacists mate performed a variety of medical duties), and was assigned duty on an hospital ship spending the war near the coast of France. He was always a little disappointed that he didn’t get where the actual combat was taking place. Yet, he was often the most important person in the universe with his medical skills, kindness and conscientious nature to many a sick or wounded soldier.
Unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his future sweetheart and wife was on another ship. Harry Hill began his military career in WW1, was a war hero in WWII, and went on to mold future sailors at the naval academy. His plans and actions truly altered history for the good. Admiral Harry Hill was written about in newspaper articles and books, and had the honor of an aircraft carrier named for him. He was a descendant of Moses Hill a Revolutionary War soldier who helped set this great country on its course. I wonder how often he thought of that?
While Taylor and Hill were on the sea, Raymond Patrick Martell a rancher from North Dakota was on the land in France. His older brother carrying on at home only knew he was “ somewhere in France”. He may have had a seemingly minor job- cooking for his fellow soldiers, but like the pharmacists mate there were times when no one was more important than he was, providing comfort and sustenance for weary soldiers. He was connected to the Navy men through future family ties none of them would ever know- the daughter and second cousin of the Navy men would marry the nephew of the Army soldier.
A hundred years later their sacrifices and contributions, regardless of whether they made the history books,
must not be forgotten. Their lives and service helped save the world with a ripple effect on lives over the century to follow. They like countless veterans from the past and on into the future; are all heroes and connected in their own way.
For more information on hospital ships: