2 Replies Latest reply on May 9, 2017 1:29 PM by Alex Champion

    help getting a picture of a soldier during WW 1


      I am helping a close friend get a picture of his father. We are researching William Lewis Taylor stationed at Camp Meade, MD during WW 1 from 28 April 1918 to 6 November 1918. His serial number is 2712391

        • Re: help getting a picture of a soldier during WW 1

          The Army probably did photograh soldiers as part of the indentification process, along with fingerprints and body charts; however it is my experience that those files did not survive.  I know that the AGO 'Clinical Records', as these were called from the period between 1885 and 1912, were 'disposed' by NARA sometime in the 1950s.   Similar records for the WW1 period may or may not have become part of the soldier's personnel files, which are currently in St Louis, and if they did keep them, many were probably lost in the 1973 fire.


          So, the chances of locating a photo of any specific soldier are very very slim.  If you know the unit in which he served, it is more likely that you may locate a photo of his military unit, or of a base, camp or fort, etc.

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          • Re: help getting a picture of a soldier during WW 1
            Alex Champion Scout

            Mr. Vincent,


            There are three ways to obtain a copy of Mr. Taylor’s photograph if it exists within our holdings. Firstly I’d recommend the Still Pictures Branch at the National Archives in College Park, MD.They can be reached at stillpix@nara.gov and will give you a response in a matter of weeks. Simply give the information you have shared with History Hub plus anything else you know that can place him.


            We caution you however that, except for the most famous personalities, it is very unusual for the Still Pictures Branch to have photos of specific soldiers or even groups of named soldiers in our holdings from this period.


            If Still Pictures is unable to locate what you seek, a second option is to contact the museum at Mr. Taylor’s basic-training post and ask them for assistance. They may have yearbooks they can scan.


            If you do not know his basic training post, this information can be obtained through the eVetRecs portal here https://vetrecs.archives.gov/VeteranRequest/home.html and the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis will respond. You may also request his DA-20 form or its equivalent, which would detail Mr. Taylor’s postings, by printing, filling out, and sending a copy of the SF 180, which is available here https://www.archives.gov/files/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf . In Section II, Information and/or Documents Requested, check the box for “Other” and write in “DA-20.” I’d recommend using the eVetRecs method since your request will be given a tracking number and may get processed more quickly.


            The third option is to contact the National Archives’ St. Louis branch, which is distinct from the National Personnel Records Center mentioned above. Simply fill out an SF 180 and write “Photograph” on the Section II/Other line and e-mail it to stl.archives@nara.gov and their reference staff will check their holdings.

            Unfortunately the 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire destroyed an estimated 80% of army personnel records between 1912 and 1960. We hope this does not discourage you from trying.

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