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“All men who have fought in this war will agree on one thing--that this is the last war we want to fight for some years to come.” (Memoir, page 1)

   Longshaw Kraus Porritt
Collection image
Longshaw Porritt in the field, Italy [1918]
War: World War, 1914-1918; World War, 1914-1918
Branch: Army; Navy
Unit: American Ambulance Field Service; USS Corsair (SP 159); Naval Aviation Service
Service Location: France; Italy; also: Connecticut; Atlantic Ocean; Bay of Biscay, France; Lacunae, France; Brest, France
Rank: First Lieutenant; Quartermaster Third Class
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During World War I, a conflict of extreme carnage, volunteer ambulance drivers played a key role in transporting the wounded from the battlefield and preventing additional deaths. One such driver was First Lieutenant Longshaw Porritt, a Connecticut native who enlisted in the American Ambulance Field Service in March 1917 before the United States had entered the war. Following a stint on the Western Front, he transferred to the Navy, and then went on to serve with the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver on the Italian Front. The 272 photographs in his collection offer a rare glimpse of the Italian side of World War I, while the assorted manuscripts tell another side of his own personal story--that of being unable to qualify for war benefits because his “official” military service lasted for less than 90 days.

»Photo Album  (272 photos)
»View List (3 items)
 Official Documents
»View List (8 items)
 Personal Correspondence
»Postcard to Porritt from unknown writer; document is in a foreign language
 Other Materials
»View List (31 items)
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»Healing with Honor: Medical Personnel
»World War I Remembered: Correspondence and Photographs
 Memoirs (3 items)
Handwritten memoir written in support of Porritt's application for the Connecticut World War I bonus Typed copy of the memoir submitted in support of his application for a Connecticut World War I bonus Typed statement by Porritt, written from the Italian war zone, June 8, 1918, defending himself from charges that he favored fair play "for the Boche after the war".
 Official Documents (8 items)
Document in French, "Ordre de mouvement" Identification document for Porritt with thumb prints Porritt's commission from the American Expeditionary headquarters in France [1/25/1918]
Red Cross travel document [in Italian], March 1918 Certificate from the Royal Italian Army, awarding Porritt the Italian War Merit Cross [1918] United States Navy war service certificate, showing that Porritt served from September to December 1917
Letter from the Connecticut State Treasurer rejecting Porritt's application for a Connecticut WWI bonus on the basis of Porritt having served less than 90 days during WWI Letter from E.F. di Savoia, Italian Army General Staff, praising his soldiers for their recent repulsion of a German attack [June 18, 1918] 
 Other Materials (31 items)
Unidentified document, partially obscured by envelope with writing in German B&W image of a Red Cross ambulance and a bombed out building, captioned "Camoufloogie - ville" Postcard with a drawing of a soldier on one side, and handwriting in Italian on the other, undated
Scene from Dante's "Purgatorio" with writing in Italian on one side and four names and addresses on the other side Page from a "Connecticut Roster" with Porritt's name and biographical information highlighted Assortment of drawings and personal papers, including Porritt's Ambulance Service identification papers and clippings of favorite poems
Propaganda postcard in Italian, "Proclamation of the King, May 25, 1915. "To you the glory of accomplishing the work of your fathers with such heroism, etc.,…" Currency good for ten cents cash, issued January 2, 1918 Legal tender for fifty cents, issued January 2, 1918
Legal tender for 1 Lira, issued January 2, 1918 Legal tender for 20 Lire; writing under the Vente Lire reads "cash certificates should be accepted by everyone for their entire nominal value". Banknote for 1 Kroner [?] with warning in German and Hungarian that counterfeiting banknotes is punishable by law
Postage stamp in German honoring "our fallen heroes" [gefallenen helden] Postage stamp in German Postage stamp in German
Postage stamp in German Postage stamp in German 20 centime Italian postage stamp
Pamphlett inviting the Italian people to celebrate Fourth of July with their American compatriots, who have contributed mightily to the Italian war effort Postcard depicting a wounded soldier smearing blood over the word "Caporetto", a reference to the Battle of Caporetto [Oct. - Nov. 1917], during which the Germans broke the Italian lines Blank "Feldpostkarte" [Field Postcard]
German propaganda drawing by Fritz Koch-Gotha, "U-Boote heraus!" [U-boats are out!] and a poem by Rudolf Presber Italian propaganda, "Out with the barbarians! Subscribe to a Victory Loan". Italian propaganda poster by Mario Borgoni.
Italian war bond poster by M. Vinca [?], "Nostro Padre ha dato la vita / Voi non negherete il denaro / Sottoscrivete!". Our father gave his life, etc. Legal tender for two lire, January 2, 1918 Legal tender for 5 centimes, January 2, 1918
Legal tender for 2 Kronen [crowns] charged against the bank of Austro-Hungary Four pages from an English language Italian military newspaper, "Ciao" [April 1918] Two German language newspaper clippings, "Gross slaughter between the Brenta and Piave [rivers]"
American YMCA postcard with depiction of a soldier gripping a knife, shouting "To us!"  

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  October 26, 2011
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