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Harvard University R.O.T.C, 1916-1917.
Private, Officers' Training Camp, Camp Upton, New York, January 5,
Sergeant, April, 1918, sailed for France.
Commissioned Second Lieutenant, July 13, 1918.
Assigned to 308th Infantry
First Lieutenant, September 10, 1918.
Albert Edgar¬†Angier of Newton left Harvard during his sophomore year to fight in the war. By September 1918 he was already a 1st Lieutenant commanding a platoon on the frontlines in France.
Lt. Angier‚??s letters home reflected the patriotic zeal of his generation, willing to sacrifice all for a cause they held dear, ‚??The boys over here are convinced that the US is behind them- that everybody over there is working for us and we‚??re working for you.‚?? He soon found himself in one of the most horrific sectors in France. ‚??We are all here with a grim purpose,‚?? he wrote on the Fourth of July, 1918, ‚??and the best way we could celebrate would be to cross No-Mans Land with a load of bombs and give the German a taste of Yankee determination and push.‚??
Lt. Angier was ordered to take a German machine gun position that was wreaking havoc on his troops. Soldiers were cut to pieces as the assault proceeded. At one point he picked up a heavy machine gun, rallied his men, and fired away as he led them to the target. He was cut down by the Germans, and when his sergeant sought to tend to him, he ordered, ‚??Lay me down and look after the other men.‚??
He died shortly afterwards. He was 21. For his extraordinary heroism he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. And locally, the Angier School was named in his honor.
Find A Grave Memorial:
Distinguished Service Cross
Awarded posthumously for actions during the World War
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Albert E. Angier, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company M, 308th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division, A.E.F., near Revillon, France, 14 September 1918. Although wounded, Lieutenant Angler continued to lead his men in an attack. By his gallant example he urged them forward through enemy fire to their objective. Even when mortally wounded, he continued to direct the consolidation of his position, refusing medical attention in favor of others who had a better chance to live than himself.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 32 (1919)
Action Date: 14-Sep-18
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: Company M
Regiment: 308th Infantry Regiment
Division: 77th Division, American Expeditionary Forces
From: On the Field of Honor edited by Paul B. Elliott
"It¬† was my good fortune to be one of that small group of Harvard undergraduates who left college at the close of 1917 to enlist as privates in the National Army and attend the Third Officers' Training School at Camp Upton. Our thoughts and actions at college for the preceding year had had but one aim, to get into the service at the earliest possible moment, but until then we had all been prevented on account of our youth.
"All of these men I had known at college, some fairly well, others only slightly, but in the life that followed I came to know especially well and to form the closest comradeship with three of them, Albert Angier, Francis Austin, and Eugene Galligan. Our life in the Officers' Training School passed quickly and happily enough until towards the close of March, 1918, when the SeventySeventh Division received its overseas orders. The school came to an abrupt close: men from the division were sent back to the ranks, some with the uncertain recommendation that they were eligible to receive the commission of second lieutenant when the War Department should see fit to grant it; others with nothing at all. The comparatively few men from college, of course, could not be ordered directly to the division, as they had not previously belonged to it. We were summoned privately, one by one, to the Commandant's Office, and given the choice of staying in America with the probability of receiving a commission very shortly, or of going overseas with the division as privates with great uncertainty as to when, if . ever, we would receive our commissions. Nothing was promised, nothing, in fact, known for a certainty. To the great credit of the boys it can be said that practically all volunteered to go over without the keenly hoped-for and long-sought commissions; getting nearer to the scene of action where our services might be of some value was the first consideration. So when the school broke up we were assigned to different companies in the division.
"Austin, Angier, Galligan, and myself were fortunate in being assigned to the same battalion of the 305th. Gene was in Company B, Larry in Company D, and Al and I were together in Company C. Here we learned to pocket our pride, keep our mouths shut, and do what we could to help things in general, though apparently nothing was expected of us. We were mere odd numbers and the company organizations all complete without us.
"The day for sailing soon came; we were packed in below decks in the cargo hold of the good ship " Vauban," and considered ourselves lucky in getting off to France after only three months and a half in the service. Arriving overseas at the end of April, we spent the next two months and a half in the dull grind of military training, performing the simple duties of private or corporal or sergeant as best we could, and always hoping the commissions would arrive. What an interminable wait it was and how often we were disappointed! Finally, however, they "came through," and on Bastile Day we were all sworn in as Second Lieutenants of the National Army. The commissions reached us just as we were to go into real action,thus bringing with them all the responsibilities and cares of handling men's lives in battle, but without any of the pleasant features which a commissioned officer enjoys in a period of training and preparation in camp or behind the lines.
"The sad part about being commissioned was that we had to separate: Al and Gene stayed with the 77th, and Larry and I went to the 28th Division. It was a coincidence again that Al and Gene were together in the same battalion of the 308th and Larry and I in the second battalion of the 109th."
Elliott, Paul B., editor; On the Field of Honor; The Merrymount Press, Boston, MA; (c) 1920; pp. vii - ix (Note: This book is available for free on Google Books)
Harvard Class Album 1920