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World War I Encampment

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The United States declared war on Germany in early April, 1917, three years after the start of the World War in Europe. By then, at least 11 Greenfield-area men had left to serve in other armies. Greenfield, like most of the country, reacted enthusiastically. To handle the rush of new recruits a temporary training camp was built at Franklin Park (which no longer exists), in July, 1917. It only lasted seven weeks before the troops were moved to Westfield. <BR> <BR>This picture probably shows one of the first days of that encampment. The soldiers are eating a meal, and evidence of the camp's newness is everywhere: the grass is barely trampled, the tents have been hastily put up, cows graze peacefully just beside them, and an untidy pile of just-split wood litters the foreground. Behind the lean-to, curious women from the town are shyly inspecting the new soldiers. It was probably just a few days later that the camp assumed a more military appearance.


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