MECHANIC FALLS — The Mechanic Falls Historical Society is initiating a collaborative effort to highlight the contributions of the 103rd Infantry Regiment of the Maine Army National Guard during World War II.

The historical society wants to involve the public, veterans, family of veterans, educators and students in researching and organizing information on the regiment, including personal memoirs of service members, and presenting a public paper on the unit.

According to a Bangor Daily News article, “The 103rd was the largest Maine unit mobilized during World War II with members coming from throughout the state. Companies of the 103rd were called to duty from Auburn, Augusta, Belfast, Biddeford, Dexter, Gardiner, Lewiston, Mechanic Falls, Millinocket, Newport, Norway, Portland, Rumford, Skowhegan, Waterville and Westbrook.”

From the Maine Army National Guard digital publication, The Bayonet, “In 1940, General Headquarters for the Army began to plan for impending conflict, even as the war in Europe was raging. They ordered National Guard divisions into active service in 1941 for one year’s service, including New England’s 43rd Infantry Division containing Maine’s 103rd Infantry Regiment, 152nd Field Artillery Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade headquarters, 68th Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters, and C Company, 118th Quartermaster Regiment. These units all travelled to Camp Blanding, Florida, to participate in maneuvers.”

The regiment then received additional training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

After war was declared on Japan following Pearl Harbor, the 103rd saw action in Battle of Guadalcanal, the New Georgia Campaign, as well New Guinea and Luzon, Philippines. According to sources, both the 103rd Infantry and another Maine Army National Guard unit, the 152nd Field Artillery Regiment, received the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation for their daring actions during the Battle of Luzon.

The Historical Society is in possession of an original photograph featuring members of the unit while at basic training in Camp Blanding, Florida and two framed broadsheets of messages sent to the unit from townspeople at the time of their service.

The Historical Society will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Anglican Church of the Transfiguration, 64 Elm St.

If anyone is interested or wishes additional information, contact Eriks Petersons, 207-345-3134, or e-mail [email protected]

From the article and photograph which appeared in the Lewiston Daily Sun, Tuesday morning, July 22, 1941: “Members of the First Battalion Headquarters Co., 103d Infantry, stationed now at Camp Blanding, Fla., are residents of Mechanic Falls. In the picture are: Seated, Corp. Clarence Swift, Corp. Donald Lewis, Corp. Richard Keene, Corp. Harrington Newell, Corp. Howard Mitchell, Corp. Kenneth Thayer, Lieut. Colonel Robert Millet, Major Carl Rounds, Lewistons, Lieut. Daniel Forbes, Lieut. George Dresser, Sgt. Warren Willey, Sgt. George Marchand, Sgt. Ray Herrick, Sgt. Phillip Prince. Back Row: Pvts. Gerald Watson, Ralph Austin, Robert Howes, George Goodwin, Willard Spiller, George Goodwin, Willard Spiller, Claudman Austin, Maurice Prince, Donald Stewart, Robert Hackett, Lee Knight, Guy Lewis, Harry Ayers, Norman Smith, Milton Purington, Robert Elliott, Leslie Pike, John Harris, Fred Holt, Federick Foss.”


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