The Fighting Men

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The American Expeditionary Force entered the Great War on April 6, 1917. The men who created this fighting force came from all across the American continent. Each had their own story that became intersected thanks to one nurse’s scrapbook. The following pages showcase just a small sample of some of the men who are featured in Alma A. Clarke’s scrapbook. The experience of these men had forever changed them due to their injuries and participation in the Great War.

The following pages give readers a small glimpse into the lives of Loyd E. Ireland, Frank E Leman, and Cornelius O’ Rourke.

By including their artwork and poems, these three men showcased how war became personal. Their personal touch shows that each soldier is not a statistic, but a real person with their own story and history.
Loyd E. Ireland was born on December 20, 1892 in Brainerd, Minnesota (Draft Card). He was an accomplished wrestler before the war, winning and defending the world bantamweight title. From this career, he picked up the nickname “Kid Irish” (Tacoma Times). Ireland enlisted in 1917 and train soldiers at Camp Lewis in jiu-jitsu (Harrisburg).

During the Meuse-Argonne offensive, Ireland’s right foot was crushed, requiring him to be treated at American Red Cross Hospital No. 1 where he drew this picture in Clarke’s scrapbook.

After the war, Ireland became the head of the Disabled American Veterans for Washington State (Tacoma Public). He also continued his wrestling career and produced a book entitled “A Private in Battery A,” a compilation of his drawings and poems written during the war. In November 1963, Ireland passed away at his home in Tacoma, Washington.
Frank E. Leman was born on April 6, 1890 in Brooklyn, New York (WWI). Before the war, Leman was an average citizen. He worked for the New York Belting and Packing Company. He also participated in the Emerald Pleasure Club, a group of entertainers and musicians (Brooklyn). He enlisted in 1917.

During the course of the war, Leman was injured three times. He was promoted to the rank of corporal. Eventually, Leman had to have his left leg amputated where he eventually got a wooden peg leg.

After the war, Leman returned to Brooklyn where he worked for the US Rubber Company (WWII). He passed away on January 11, 1966 and was buried at Long Island National Cemetery.
Cornelius O’Rourke was born on April 30, 1886 in Killarney, Ireland (Passport). In April 1908, O’Rourke immigrated to the United States where he went to live in Glens Falls, New York. On March 30, 1916 in the town of New Haven, Connecticut, O’Rourke became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

O’Rourke served in France from April 1918 to March 1919. He earned the rank of first sergeant and won the Distinguished Service Cross. However, he was seriously wounded in combat while rescuing two fellow servicemen. He lived with these scars for the rest of his life.

At this time, not much can be found or is known about O’Rourke after the war. In 1924, he applied for a US passport in order to return to Ireland to visit his parents. After three months in Ireland, he returned to Glens Falls but most likely remained incapacitated. It is unknown when and where he died.
Cover image- “Gun crew from Regimental Headquarters Company, 23rd Infantry, firing 37mm gun during an advance against German entrenched positions.,1918” Department of Defense. National Archives.
Page 2 images- “Loyd E. Ireland.” Tacoma Times (15 August 1936, pg. 10). Tacoma Public Library.
“Cornelius O’Rourke,” US Passport Application, National Archives.
“Corp. Frank E Leman,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (14 October 1918, pg. 15).
Page 3 image- AlmaClarke_BMC_015r English Scrapbook, Alma A. Clarke Papers, 1914-1946, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
Stars & Stripes, “AEF Divisions: Their Records, Their Marks Ninety-first Division,” February 14, 1919
Page 4- “Loyd E. Ireland” US World War I Draft Registration Card 1917-1918, National Archives.
“World Title at Stake in Camp Smoker,” Tacoma Times (27 November 1917, pg. 6). Library of Congress.
“Athletics are Booming at Camp Lewis, Wash.” The Evening News (24 December 1917, pg. 5).
Page 5 image- AlmaClarke_BMC_039r English Scrapbook, Alma A. Clarke Papers, 1914-1946, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
Page 6- “Frank E Leman” US World War I Draft Registration Card 1917-1918, National Archives.
“Emerald Pleasure Club,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (11 February 1906, pg. 5).
“Frank Edward Leman” US World War II Draft Registration Card 1942, National Archives.
Page 7 image- AlmaClarke_BMC_007r English Scrapbook, Alma A. Clarke Papers, 1914-1946, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
"Faces of War" Caroline Alexander. February 2007.
Page 8- “Cornelius O’Rourke,” US Passport Application, National Archives.
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