In 1921, L. C. McCollum wrote the following stanzas in a collection of poems he christened Rhymes of a Lost Battalion Doughboy:
At night, when all is quiet,
And I’m lying alone in bed,There comes a vision of battlefields,
And the place in which they fell?
|Illustration from Rhymes of a Lost Battalion Doughboy|
For nearly 93 years, Americans have been able to travel overseas and visit the site where Whittlesey’s men fought and died. However, I recently saw on Facebook that the owner of the ground on which the Lost Battalion fought has leveled the site. The note states that, “The intent of the owner is unknown. However, a friend in France suggested that he was becoming increasingly frustrated / upset with the stream of pilgrims to the site.” The note further states that the owner was well within his rights, since the ground is private property, and that the ground south of the hill D66 is still preserved.
|Location of former Lost Battalion foxholes. Courtesy Randy Gaulke.|
Still, this news is very sad since we are now only three years away from the Centennial of the First World War.
It appears that the word “lost” has now taken on a more tragic and immediate meaning.