7 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2020 1:55 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Looking for information on grandfather's Army service


      Hi, I am looking for information on my grandfather, he was in the Army from 1917 to 1920. I found what looks to be possible the silver star awarded for Gallantry in Action with his name engraved on the back. I'm not sure if his info could have been destroyed in the 1973 fire but hoping for some help. His name is Richard W Lowndes, Born in NY in 1/23/1890 ... although oddly his military records that I seemed to have found state 1/23/1887 as his birthdate. All other documents I have have 1890 as birth year including from his children ( May Dad and Aunt.) His Service Number is 203397. Any other information needed? Thank you for your help!

        • Re: Looking for information on grandfather's Army service
          J. Andrew Scout

          Could you please provide more information about what records you already have so that community members don't duplicated what you already have, and in case there is anything that might provide a hint as to further places to look, such as the name his unit (Division, Regiment, etc) or branch within the Army (Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, etc)

          If you have paper documents, you can scan them and attach the picture.  Likewise, if you found something online (such as through Ancestry) you can link it or otherwise copy over the information.

          Also, did he live in New York his whole life, or might he have been living elsewhere when he enlisted.  Did he have any next of kin that he might have listed on records such as passenger lists?

            • Re: Looking for information on grandfather's Army service

              Hi there,

              I do not have much to go on ... I have photos, and mementos but no paperwork that I can find. I have found his the silver star military award and it has really intrigued me to find out more. I have a registration card that I will upload, otherwise I have found the same information that is below from Elliot. That is all I can find. Some of the items list PA, and some say NY as his place of birth. I was not aware of the Pennsylvania address. Next of Kin when he enlisted ... I only have information from when he married my grandmother on  ...


              He worked from the American Chicle company for over 20 years, was married to Anna Mary Lowndes (Jarossy) ... he died in 01/23/1953.


              I appreciate the help! Registration Card

            • Re: Looking for information on grandfather's Army service
              Elliot Schneider Ranger



              Here is some information i found on another website. He actually according to his military veterans index card served starting in 1907-1919. Look at the date of enlistment above the date 4/4/1917. He looks like he also had prior service in either served with the State Guard or possibly Regular Army. Additionally, when looking at the enlistment records of him on the regular army it shows him born in Pennsylvania, PA. Also did you know that he is buried at Long Island National Cemetery. Here is information below.








              Elliot Schneider

                • Re: Looking for information on grandfather's Army service

                  Thank you Elliot! I did not know he was buried there ...


                  As for the dates 1907, I'm not sure how accurate it is. That card lists his birth as 1887 but all other documents and from information I had gotten from my family is that he was born in 1890. Were you allowed to enlist at age 17? Could it have been a fib? There is some mystery surround this side of my family history.


                  Here is a registration card I have found but so far that is it, along with the Veteran index card you found as well.


                • Re: Looking for information on grandfather's Army service



                  I have found his internment card as well ... and again his birthdate is crossed off from 1890 then written in pencil 1887? I don't know what to make of that ... But it does list his troop.


                  Thanks for your help!

                    • Re: Looking for information on grandfather's Army service
                      Elliot Schneider Ranger



                      The internment card shows his Troop 5th Cavalry which is the same as the group that are listed on each of the enlistment papers I sent you. Those enlistment are three year terms. I would guess that 1890 is his birthdate and they may have made an error. In the enlistment papers they show him at 20 and that's with the 1887 date.


                      The other registration card is what was considered the old man's draft for ww2.




                      Elliot Schneider

                    • Re: Looking for information on grandfather's Army service
                      Jason Atkinson Ranger

                      Dear Ms. Lowndes,


                      Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                      The following is a brief summary of the records that you and Mr. Schneider provided:

                      • He was born either 1/23/1887 or 1/23/1890.
                      • The Register of Enlistments for 1907 says that he enlisted 20 September 1907 at the age 20, was born in Pittsburgh PA, served in M Troop of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, and was discharged 19 September 1910.
                      • The Register of Enlistments for 1910 says that he enlisted 20 Sep 1920, was born in Pittsburgh, was 23 years and 7 months old, served in N troop of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, and was discharged Sep 1913.
                      • His veteran card says he was born 1/23/1887, enlisted 7/20/1907 and 4/6/1917, and was  discharged 9/5/1920. His unit is given as Company F, 1 Am Tn. His Service Number is 203397.
                      • His WWII draft registration card says he was born 1/23/1890 in Pittsburgh, was at the time of his registration living in Queens, New York City, New York, and his wife was named Anna. His street address is initially given at being 20th Road, which is crossed out and replaced with 34th Avenue, suggesting that he may have had a change of address shortly before or sometime after he first registered.
                      • His internment card shows that he re-enlisted  8/30/1919, was discharged 9/5/1920, his widow is Anna, and his unit is Troop M, 5th Cavalry.

                      Based on the information provided, he served in the 5th Cavalry regiment from 20 September 1907 through September 1913, in two consecutive three year terms of enlistment. He served in either Troop M, Troop N, or both.


                      The enlistment registers that have already been shared are from the National Archives record series Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798 - 1914 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1762 - 1917 (Record Group 94) and may be viewed on Ancestry as the data collection U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914. We searched the copies of these records on Ancestry and were unable to locate a listing for him reenlisting in 1913.  Therefore, there may have been a break in service until he enlisted again 6 April 1917. It may be no coincidence that this is the day that the United States declared war on Germany.

                      We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series titled Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 in the Records of the Selective Service System (World War I) (Record Group 163), but were unable to locate a draft card for him.  This would be consistent with his having already been a member of the military when registration for the draft started in June of 1917. These records are available on Ancestry as the data collection U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

                      The 5th Cavalry Regiment remained stateside during World War I, therefore if he deployed overseas, he would have been assigned to a different unit during that time. We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917 - 1938 in the Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General (Record Group 92), which includes the following listing that may be a match for him:


                      Name:  Richard W Lowndes

                      Departure Date:  13 Aug 1917

                      Departure Place:  NY

                      Next of Kin:  Mrs Richard W Lowndes, 1224-29th St NW, Washington, D.C.

                      Ship:  Lapland

                      Military Unit:  Company B


                      In regards to his unit at the time he shipped, regrettably the page on which he is listed does not specify the regiment he was assigned to, and many units had a Company B.  We reviewed other pages on the list and saw the list was signed by Captain Francis B. Ruggles of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.  However, the list also shows a 1st Lieutenant of the 7th Cavalry and a 2nd Lieutenant of the 5th Cavalry, indicating that this is not an element of the 3rd Cavalry.   One soldier on the list has his name crossed out with the remark “relieved duty with amm train.” Therefore, we examined other units being transported on the same voyage. The unit listed immediately prior to Company B is the Horsed Section, Amm. Train, 1st Exp. Division.  Prior to that is Company C, Divisional Ammunition Train, Horsed Section, American Expeditionary Forces. 


                      Therefore, these records, taken together with listing of “1 Am Tn” on the veteran index card that Mr. Schneider shared, indicate that when he deployed to France during World War I, he was assigned to the 1st Ammunition Train that was a part of the 1st Division. He served in either B company, F company, or both at various times during his enlistment.  Ammunition trains were not trains in the sense of a railroad, but were a type of supply unit assigned to transport and distribute the ammunition for the rest of the division. Although cavalry was nearly useless in the trench warfare that had developed in the Western Front by 1917, horses remained important for transportation, so it makes sense that soldiers and officers with prior cavalry experience were assigned to a logistics unit.

                      Based on his interment card, he re-enlisted 30 August 1919 and was discharged 5 September 1920.  By the time he sailed home to America, he was no longer part of the 1st Ammunition Train. We located Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917 - 1938 in Record Group 92 that includes the following listing:

                      Name: Richard W . Lowndes

                      Departure Date: 15 Apr 1920

                      Departure Place: Antwerp, Belgium

                      Arrival Date: 1919-1920

                      Next of Kin: Edward A Lowndes, Box 223, Woodburn Oregon

                      Relationship: Brother

                      Ship: MERCURY

                      Military Unit: TR A MTDDET

                      Rank: Private

                      Service Number: R203397

                      Notes: OVERSEAS CASUAL DETACHMENT #10


                      These records are also available through Ancestry.com as the data collection U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939.  The outgoing listing can be viewed here, and the incoming listing can be viewed here.


                      TR A MTDDET most likely stands for Troop A, Mounted Detachment. We searched online and located American Representation in Occupied Germany, 1920-1921 that contains several references to a Mounted Detachment (also referred to as a Provisional Cavalry Squadron) that was a part of the occupation forces. As of 27 December, 1919, the Mounted Detachment was assigned to Ehrenbreitstein, Germany.

                      For further information about his military service, we suggest that you request a copy of his 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 prior to 1958 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center 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. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.

                      Because of the strong possibility that his OMPF was destroyed or damaged by the fire, we suggest that you attach a letter with copies of the records that you and Mr. Shneider have shared as well as a copy of this reply with additional information about the units to which he was assigned. Please do not submit the original copies of any family documents, as NPRC will be unable to return them to you.

                      Due to the coronavirus public health emergency, the National Personnel Records Center is servicing only urgent requests related to homeless veterans, medical emergencies, and funerals which may be faxed to 314-801-0764.  We thank you for your patience and look forward to resuming normal operations when the public health emergency has ended.

                      You also may be interested in researching his unit records. Although unit records do not always have detailed information about each soldier’s service, they can provide an indication of the activities of the unit in general, and sometimes mention specific soldiers.  

                      We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 17 record series in the Records of U.S. Regular Army Mobile Units (Record Group 391) that were created by the 5th Cavalry Regiment in the 1900s and 1910s. For more information about these records, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at Archives1reference@nara.gov.

                      We also located Records of Divisions, 1917 - 1920 in the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) (Record Group 120) that includes records of the 1st Division and may include records of the 1st Ammunition Train. Plus we located Records of Ammunition Trains, 1917 - 1920; General Correspondence of the Provisional Cavalry Squadron, 1920 - 1922; and General Records of the Provisional Cavalry Squadron, 1920 - 1922 in Record Group 120. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.


                      Copies of most of the monthly rosters from November 1912 - 1943 for Army units are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis, MO. For access to these records, please write to the National Archives at St. Louis, ATTN: RL-SL, P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138-0757 or contact them via email at stl.archives@nara.gov.

                      There have been a multitude of books published about the experience of the First Division during World War I, to include 1st Division, Summary of Operations in the World War. Prepared by the American Battle Monuments Commission. You may also wish to contact the First Division Museum, the 1st Infantry Division Museum, the National World War I Museum, the Society of the First Division and similar organizations.

                      In regards to his place and date of birth, the US Army has at times accepted 17 year olds with parental consent, however historically, there have been many stories of persons giving false ages in order to enlist early without parental consent.

                      We searched  Population Schedules for the 1940 Census, 1940 - 1940 in Record Group 29 that provides the following information about Richard Lowndes, married to Anna Lowndes and living at 20 Road, Queens, New York City, New York.  1940 census schedules may be accessed with a free account on Ancestry at 1940 United States Federal Census.


                      Name:  Richard Lowndes

                      Age:  47

                      Estimated birth year:  abt 1893

                      Gender:  Male

                      Race: White

                      Birthplace:  Canadian English

                      Marital status:  Married

                      Relation to Head of House:  Head

                      Home in 1940:    New York, Queens, New York

                      Street:  20 Road

                      House Number: 149-49

                      Farm:  No

                      Inferred Residence in 1935: New York, Queens, New York

                      Residence in 1935: Same House

                      Resident on farm in 1935: No

                      Citizenship:  Naturalized

                      Sheet Number:  11A

                      Number of Household in Order of Visitation:  212

                      Occupation:  Foreman Receiving Dept

                      House Owned or Rented: Rented

                      Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented:  50

                      Attended School or College:  No

                      Highest Grade Completed:  High School, 2nd year

                      Hours Worked Week Prior to Census:  40

                      Class of Worker: Wage or salary worker in private work

                      Weeks Worked in 1939: 52

                      Income:  2340

                      Income Other Sources: No

                      Neighbors:  View others on page

                      Household Members: 

                      Name                         Age

                      Richard Lowndes  47

                      Anna Lowndes  33

                      Eualine Lowndes  8

                      Staten Jarosey  63

                      Elizabeth Jarosey  62

                      Mary Leppert              62


                      As this is the same address and spouse name  as the Robert Lowndes that registers for the Old Man’s Registration in 1942, this is almost certainly the same person.  However, he gives an even lower age than would be indicated on any of the other records, and he also gives his place of birth as “Canadian English” and indicates that he is a naturalized citizen. 


                      We also searched the Population Schedules for the 1920 Census, 1920 - 1920 in the Records of the Bureau of the Census (Record Group 29) and located the following listing for Richard Lowndes, indicating he was a member of the armed forces and stationed in Ehrenbreitstein, Germany. This information would have been submitted to the Census Bureau by his chain of command and is consistent with the Army records. 


                      Name:  Richard W Lowndes

                      Age:  33

                      Birth Year:  abt 1887

                      Birthplace:  Pennsylvania

                      Home in 1920:  Ehrenbreitstein, Germany, Military and Naval Forces

                      Residence Date:  1920

                      Race:  White

                      Gender:  Male

                      Marital status:  Single

                      Father's Birthplace:  England

                      Mother's Birthplace:  England


                      For more information about accessing Federal Census records, please review the National Archives’s Introduction to Census Records page.  You also may email RDT1 with questions about Census records.


                      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 RDT1, RDT2, and RL-SL. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


                      We also located New York State records regarding Richard Lowndes that provide an age and are available on Ancestry. These records were provided to Ancestry by various New York State agencies.  Please contact the agency listed in the data collection descriptions for more information.


                      Richard Lowndes in the New York, State Census, 1925:


                      Name:  Richard W Lowndes

                      Gender:  Male

                      Color or Race:  White

                      Age:  35

                      Birth Date:  abt 1890

                      Birth Place:  Canada

                      Residence Date: 1925

                      House Number: 201

                      Residence Place: New York, Queens

                      Relationship:  Head

                      Number of Years in US: 34

                      Assembly District:  03

                      Line Number:  17

                      Page Number:    11


                      Richard W Lowndes in the New York, Death Index, 1852-1956:


                      Name:  Richard W Lowndes

                      Age:  63

                      Birth Date:  abt 1890

                      Death Date:  12 Mar 1953

                      Death Place:  Williston

                      Certificate Number:  17896


                      In summary, the exact year and place of birth of Mr. Lowndes provided to the US government and state governments seems to have been dependent on circumstances.  All the records relating to his military service state that he was born in 1887, save for the date initially written on his interment card which may have been based on his death certificate or his information provided by his widow.  His 1942 selective service card provides the 1890 date, long after he finished his service and would not be in a position to be penalized for any false information given at the time of enlistment. Also, the two census records we could locate for him in which he would have provided the information directly to the census taker on a confidential basis indicate he was born in either 1890 or 1893, and in Canada rather than Pittsburgh.


                      For information about Pennsylvania birth records, please contact the Pennsylvania State Archives. For information about Canadian birth records, please review Library and Archives Canada’s web page on Vital Statistics: Births, Marriages and Deaths.


                      We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!