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US forces and Australian & New Zealand troops
Article by Josh Taylor
Separated by thousands of miles (and oceans), the armed forces of the United States have benefited from the tremendous courage of their allies from Australia and New Zealand in times of conflict. Anzac Day is celebrated throughout the United States, and by American troops serving abroad. The Los Angeles National Cemetery is the site of an annual commemoration and the Los Angeles area is also home to a large number of immigrants from Australia and New Zealand. Other celebrations are held in New York City, and Washington D.C.
Forces from the United States, Australia and New Zealand have serve alongside one another in several conflicts, including the First World War, the Second World War, the Vietnam War, and most notably during the Korean War.
Though the United States did not officially enter World War I until April 1917, American forces still formed bonds with Anzac soldiers. In fact, it was during the First World War that Americans and soldiers from Australia and New Zealand first fought together in Battle. On July 4, 1917, at the Battle of Le Hamel in France the Australia Corps and American National Guard joined forces against the Germany army. The battle was short, but effective. In just 93 minutes, the combined American and Australian forces had won the battle and secure Le Hamel and its surrounding woods. Weeks before the battle, members of the 33rd American National Guard Division trained with the Australia Corps.
Discover more about these brave servicemen
Uncovering the lives of soldiers who served alongside troops from Australia and New Zealand can be an interesting adventure. You can easily start this search using the World War I Draft Cards that can be found on findmypast.com.au. This unique collection includes more than 11 million individual registrations, each including the original signature of Americans eligible for service during the First World War. The collection is growing, and will soon include registrations from each state in the United States.
American soldiers from the First World War can also be found in the U.S. Veteran Gravesites collection, which documents the burial locations for millions of men and women who have served in the United States military, from the American Revolution to recent conflicts. Entries are detailed, and often provide the next of kin, place of birth, and the location of an individual's grave. Veterans from the First World War can also be easily located in 1920, 1930, and 1930 United States census records as well as the United States Social Security Death Index.
A fundamental resource on findmypast.com.au are the recently released Newspaper collections covering the Unites States, Britain and Ireland, which include nearly 7,000 individual newspaper titles. From both a local and national perspective, these newspapers often provide daily accounts of activities during World War I -- including those conflicts in which soldiers from Australia and New Zealand joined together with the United States.
Articles also follow the lives of those soldiers who fought during the First World War. An issue of the Santa Fe New Mexican dated June 17, 1989 reports the death of Thomas A. Pope, who was the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War I. (https://www.findmypast.com/search/us-and-world-newspapers/page/view/108318214) A commander of American forces during the Battle of Le Hamel, Pope assisted in leading the Australian and New Zealand forces to victory. Pope, an American War Hero was also decorated by the British and French governments and was undoubtedly remembered by his Australian and New Zealand colleagues. His official citation for the Medal of Honor reads:
His company was advancing behind the tanks when it was halted by hostile machinegun fire. Going forward alone, he rushed a machinegun nest, killed several of the crew with his bayonet, and, standing astride his gun, held off the others until reinforcements arrived and captured them.
How the United States celebrates Anzac Day? Findmypast's newspaper collection also further documents the various commemorations of Anzac Day across the United States, highlighting local community events and national celebrations. This exciting collection details the history and growth of Anzac Day celebrations in America. A 1918 article in the Chester Times (New Chester, Pennsylvania) reports the celebration of Anzac Day in London (https://www.findmypast.com/search/us-and-world-newspapers/page/view/84878014). Future issues of the Chester Times report on growing celebrations in New York and elsewhere.
As we commemorate Anzac Day in the United States, it seems only fitting to explore the rich history of Anzac Day within the United States, and the important relationships between American, New Zealand and Australian soldiers. Despite our physical distances, our connected pasts are well documented in the rich historical records found on findmypast.com.au.
D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS is the Lead Genealogist and Business Development Manager -- North America for brightsolid online publishing, the creators of findmypast.com, and a nationally known and recognised genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. Joshua is the current President for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and has been a featured genealogist on the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are?
US Army Centre of Military History