Blog 05/26/2021 - WWI "Through the Eyes of a Marine"

MHT is proud to announce the new World War I book “Through the Eyes of a Marine” by James Gregory and SSG Steven Girard, USA(Ret.)

The book follows Sergeant Clarence Hannibal Douglass who was born on October 25, 1896 in Pittsburg, Kansas. At the age of 21, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on July 1st, 1917 and completed recruit training at Marine Barracks, Paris Island (Marine Corps Order No. 32 officially changed the name "Paris" to "Parris" on May 3, 1919) South Carolina.

Upon completion of recruit training, Pvt Douglass was sent to Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia and further assigned to the newly formed 6th Marine Regiment as part of 96th Company (Co) (H). of the 2nd Battalion.

After arriving in the French Theater of Operations in early 1918, Pvt Douglass along with the Marines of the 96th Co was sent to the Toulon and Troyon Sectors of the trench line outside of Verdun, France for training with French units to learn the art of trench warfare. After the German Chemin des Dames Offensive in mid-May the 2nd Division, American Expeditionary Force (AEF) was sent to the region near the Aisne River in what was to become the famous Battle of Belleau Wood where Douglass participated in the capture of the French town of Bouresches on the evening of June 6th 1918 and on the following day (Friday, June 7th) was wounded in action (WIA) in the battle that earned the Marines the nickname Devil Dogs from their German opponents.

Clarence H. Douglass would participate in all of the major battles that the Marines of the 4th Brigade (Marine), 2nd Division, AEF fought in while in the French Theater of Operations. He would be involved in one of the fiercest that occurred just north of the French town of Sommepy-Tahure at Blanc Mont Ridge in early October, 1918. For his heroic actions during the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment's attack on the summit of the Blanc Mont Massif on the morning of October 3rd, Pvt. Douglass would be awarded the Silver Star Medal.


Throughout his service, starting from recruit training in South Carolina, to occupation duty with the 3rd U.S. Army outside of the German town of Honningen, Douglass took and collected photographs of his WWI time. Upon returning home in the summer of 1919, he organized them into a photo album and inscribed names, dates, and comments underneath the photographs.
These fascinating photos reveal WWI through the eyes of a young Marine. Douglass captured life at Paris (later Parris) Island and Quantico before deploying overseas. Once in Europe, cameras were forbidden at the frontlines due to censorship and operational security. However, Douglass snuck photos of their first deployment to the front lines around Verdun. After being wounded, Douglass and his other WIA comrades took photos while in the various base hospitals. Once he recovered, Douglass rejoined his unit until the armistice. After hostilities ended, the Marines marched into Germany for occupation duty. The relaxed atmosphere of the occupation allowed the Marines to enjoy their free time and take many more photos of their friends, activities, and the sights of Germany.

These photos shed light on the journey from a fresh-faced recruit to a battle-hardened veteran celebrating the end of the war. At the beginning of each chapter, the story of Private Douglass and the 96th Co is told to give the reader an understanding of the events that shaped this young Marine’s experiences.
You can purchase this book that will allow you to see and scrutinize WWI history through the eyes of a participant:

Belleau Wood and Blanc Mont Ridge are just two of the important battlefields that MHT will visits on its WWI AEF Tour with historian and tour leader Steven Girard.