2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 1, 2021 12:16 PM by Lisa Sharik

    Seeking records of Ambulance Corps driver in WWI

    Penelope McGill Newbie

      I am having trouble finding record of my grandfather’s ambulance driving services during WWI In France. Were Ambulance Corps Drivers considered non military? Classified as civilian volunteers?

        • Re: Seeking records of Ambulance Corps driver in WWI
          Rachael Salyer Tracker

          Dear Ms. McGill,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, 1917-1918 in the Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (Record Group 165) that contains 35 images related to the Ambulance Corps. The series Photographs of American Military Activities, ca. 1918 - ca. 1981 in the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (Record Group 111) also contains 17 images related to the Ambulance Corps. Most of these images have been digitized and can be viewed online in the Catalog. You may contact the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS) at stillpix@nara.gov with any questions you might have about these records.    


          In addition, we located the series Personal Papers Relating to the American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps, 1914-1918 in the Richard Norton Papers (Collection NORTN) that may be of interest to you as it includes drafts of an organizational history of the American Volunteer Ambulance Corps, as well as lists of volunteers. The series Patrick F. Gilbo Reference Materials in the Records of the American National Red Cross (Collection ANRC) also contains some information about the Ambulance Corps. These records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov for access to and information about these and similar records.


          We also located the series Orders, 5/1917-3/1918 for the Army Ambulance Corps at Camp Crane, Pennsylvania in the Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands (Record Group 393) that may contain some relevant information. These records have not been digitized. You may contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at archives1reference@nara.gov for assistance with these records.


          Plus, we identified 18 series related to ambulance companies or the ambulance service in the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) (World War I) (Record Group 120) that may be useful for your research. These records have not been digitized. Please contact RDT2 for more information about them.


          If you have not done so already, we suggest that you request a copy of your grandfather’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and before 1959 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


          If your grandfather served as a civilian employee, you may wish to request a copy of his Official Personnel File (OPF). OPFs and medical information for individuals who worked for the U.S. government in a civilian capacity before 1952 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). Please email RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov and  include the full name used during Federal employment, date of birth, Social Security Number (if applicable), name and location of the employing Federal agency, beginning and ending dates of Federal Service. For more information, please check the Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Archival Holdings and Access website.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDSS, RDT2, RDT1, and RL-SL. Also, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter, and those involving the VA Home Loan program. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels.  Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          Finally, you can find more information about the Ambulance Service in World War I on the U.S. Army Medical Department’s Office of Medical History website.


          We hope this information is helpful, and best of luck with your research!


          • Re: Seeking records of Ambulance Corps driver in WWI
            Lisa Sharik Adventurer

            I know Ms. Salyer provided you with a lot of detailed information, Just wanted to add in brief that there are ambulance drivers who are part of the active military American Expeditionary Forces and some which were volunteer civilian units.

            This is a picture of Ambulance Drivers with the 144th Infantry Regiment Ambulance Corps.

            Ambulance Drivers 144th Infantry Regiment


            Lisa Sharik

            Deputy Director

            Texas Military Forces Museum