Pershing and the Prince

No specific diary entry or letter on this, but it’s worth commemorating the day on which General John “Black Jack” Pershing, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, paid a visit for an extensive review of the 35th Division. Robert mentioned it in his summary of the last few months in France:

Passed in Review before Gen. Pershing and the Prince of Wales.

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Here’s Chaplain Edwards in From Doniphan to Verdun with the details:

On February 18th, Monday, the division was reviewed by General Pershing, accompanied by the Prince of Wales. It made a fine showing, although it marched and stood in mud and water. General Pershing went through the whole Division, and the Prince jumped ditches with him. Some excellent photographs were taken. 

It was about 12:45 p. m. when the limousine containing General Pershing and staff reached the reviewing field. Leaving the limousine, the reviewing party changed to horses and came across the field, when the command -‘Present Arms!“ was smartly snapped out to the 25,000 men. General Pershing personally inspected each platoon. To do this effectively it was necessary for him to walk 7-½ miles in and out of the various ranks and lines. On the completion of the inspection, the Division was passed in review. Brigadier-General Dugan, accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel A. F. McLean, acting Chief of Staff, headed the Division. 

The 25,000 men marching at one time in the field was most impressive. At this time the sun began to peep over the hills beyond, and soon the ground glistened with its various puddles lit up by the first sunshine in four days. 

All the officers were assembled and addressed by General Pershing, who complimented them on their showing in the Argonne Forest, where they took practically inaccessible positions. 

The Prince of Wales highly complimented the Division, saying that he had watched this Division with great interest, as it was one of those to train with the English. 

As the reviewing party were leaving the field, an amusing incident occurred. A guide taking them from the field toward the road where the limousines were parked endeavored to take a short cut and in so doing led them to a brook about four feet wide. General Pershing said, “looks as though we will have to jump.” “All right, let’s go,” replied the Prince of Wales, and over he jumped, followed by General Pershing. An orderly, following miscalculated the jump and landed in the stream. He was fished out amid cheers.


As luck would have it, the event was filmed by the Army’s Motion Picture Division and the footage, along with some of the supporting documentation, has survived.

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The footage with Pershing and the Prince of Wales is at the very end of this video, at the 28:37 mark.


Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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