Pee Paw Was in World War I

Robert Joseph “Rob” Landry, Sr. at Camp Humphreys in Virginia in 1918.

I’ve shared several photos of my paternal grandfather before.  I haven’t shared this one before and that kind of surprises me.  When I think of old photos of my grandfather during World War I, this is the first photo I think of.  Not because it is the best photo of him from that time period, but because it was the one that I was most familiar with when I was a kid.

My dad had this in his collection of old photos.  So when I put together a family photo album when I was in junior high school, this photo was one of the first ones to go into it.  My dad’s father was named Robert Joseph Landry when he was born on January 9, 1893.  His parents were Alcide Landry and Marie Celeste Leveque. 

We’ve looked at the Landry household during the 1900 Census.  That year, Rob was the youngest member of the household at 7 years old.  It also included his parents and his five older siblings – Elie, Seb, Joe, Louie, and Marie Therese.  There was an older sister named Lily that was born in 1870, but she had died in 1889.  That was before Rob was born, so he didn’t know her.  In a sad twist of fate, his sister Marie Therese also died at about the same age in 1909.  She was closest to Pee Paw in age, so he would have been close to her.  He later named his first daughter after her.  Actually, Mee Maw’s mother was Pee Paw’s first cousin and her name was also Marie Therese Landry.  She also died in 1909, so Aunt Marie was probably named for both of them.

But before all of that came to pass, Rob Landry grew up in the Landry household with four older brothers.  I don’t know if any of his brothers were in the military, but his father Alcide had been in the Civil War along with his brother Trasimond.  And even though Rob was interested in baseball and was pretty involved in the sport, he registered for the military on June 5, 1917.  He was stationed at Camp Lee in Virginia according to some of the photos I’ve seen.  I know that he ended up having some hearing loss because of the training with munitions.  I also know that he was at Camp Humphreys in August of 1918.  The war ended not long after that, but I don’t know if Pee Paw was let go because of the loss of hearing or if it was because of the war being over.

Discharge information from 1918.

Oh, look, I found the discharge papers.  There is no mention of any disability, though I know I’ve heard that he had hearing loss as a result of military training.  It also says that he was at Camp Humphreys  in Virginia.  Camp Lee was another camp in Virginia during the Great War, and he may have been at both of them.  I’ve also seen a date of 1919 on some of the photos, but from this document that seems unlikely.  It says that he was discharged in December of 1918.

There’s one more thing.  Have you been able to figure out which one of the soldiers was my Pee Paw?  I probably should have told you from the beginning.  He is the soldier standing on the front row on the far right.  If you don’t know your left from your right, he’s the guy in the front with a smile on his face.

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