New World War I Records Online: Foreign Citations & Decorations

Rae Gifford Digital Archives, History, Research

While Archives Month is over, we have one more set of records for the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War. Previous Archives Month posts discussing the war-related records in our collections that we have digitized for online access include: 145th Field Artillery Scrapbook, WWI Service Questionnaires, Draft Board Registers & Dead Rosters)

This weekend (11/11) celebrates the 100th anniversary of the end of the fighting of World War I. While many of the American soldiers did not make it back home for months after the fighting had ended, November 11, 1918 was the day of armistice and at 11 am the fighting was declared over.

First, a few Armistice Day/Veterans Day facts:
The first celebration of Armistice Day was in 1919 and intended to honor those who had served in World War I. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for the annual observance of Armistice Day, though it didn’t become a national holiday until 1936. In 1954, Congress passed a resolution to change the name of the holiday to Veterans Day in honor of the men and women who had served in both World War II and Korea.
More information about Veterans Day is available at U.S. Veterans Administration, Veterans Day Facts, and even Wikipedia’s Veterans Day)

About the World War I Foreign Citations & Decorations

Delbert in uniform, standing at attention with his rifle at his side.

Delbert Buchanan, Utah State Historical Society, World War I Service Questionnaires, Series 85298

In 1922, the War Department forwarded a packet of translated documents to Utah’s Adjutant General. The War Department had been working to publish a book identifying all of the American soldiers who had received a foreign citation or decoration, such as the French Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) and the Polish Kryzyż Walecznych (Cross of Valor). Unfortunately, they were not able to fund such a project and were providing the pertinent records to each state with the hope that the states could publish them.

One such soldier was Delbert Buchanan (shown here).

Delbert was from Wayne County, Utah. Born in Lyman, the Buchanan family were farmers when Delbert was drafted into the army on October 2, 1917. By July of 1918, Delbert was overseas.
(Information and image made available through a Questionnaire provided by Delbert’s mother.)

Delbert was awarded the French Médaille Militaire on May 7th, 1919 with the following citation:

“For Extraordinary bravery under fire at Steenbrugge, Belgium on October 31, 1918, having discovered a machine gun position in a group of buildings on the edge of a village, he went to the attack heedless of danger and with the aid of three men succeeded in killing and dispersing the enemy, thus permitting an entire wing of the company to progress.”

A typed text written in blog text.

Delbert Buchanan’s Citation, Utah State Historical Society, World War I Records, Utah State Archives & Records, Series 6307

Delbert Buchanan was not alone in his bravery. The War Department records provided information on 67 Utah soldiers. Check out our World War I Records to learn more about the brave actions of our Utah Boys overseas through the Foreign Decorations records.