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Tag: Richard Boylan

The last doughboy: In memory of Frank Buckles

Archivists handle fascinating records, but the people who lived the lives recorded in the documents are even more fascinating. Such was the life of Frank Buckles, who passed away on February 27, aged 110.

Buckles’s passing means that there are no longer any living American servicemen who fought during World War I. Any memories and experiences from the Great War now exist only as written documents, recorded films, or still photographs.

In 2008, Richard Boylan and Mitch Yockelson (author of Borrowed Soldiers: Americans Under British Command) of the National Archives, made a special visit to West Virginia to meet World War I veteran Frank Buckles.

Military archivist Boylan came up with the idea of marking the 90th anniversary of the last year of World War I by presenting copies of  National Archives records to the two still-living veterans. But in early January 2008, Harry Richard Landis passed away and Frank became the sole surviving soldier from World War I.

Buckles had enlisted in the Army by giving his age as 18, rather than his actual age of 16. He was stationed in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. The two archivists were able to locate over 50 pages of textual records regarding his service. Private researcher Susan Strange found 57 photographs of the area in Winchester, England, where he was stationed, as well as some motion picture … [ Read all ]