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NC National Guard Looking for WWI Connections

by | May 28, 2019 | Because You Served, News

[screen capture from the WWI Centennial Committee’s website]


The 30th Division WWI Monument Fundraising Committee for the North Carolina National Guard Museum Foundation’s goal is to commemorate one of North Carolina’s greatest achievements from World War I. “Lest we forget,” we seek to honor the North Carolinians of the 30th Division who broke the Imperial German Army’s strongest defensive line over 100 years ago. Citizens of our state played a key role in ending the “Great War,” that terrible period from 1914-1918 that saw over 10 million soldiers die in service to their respective countries.

The North Carolina-based 30th Division, with elements from Tennessee and South Carolina, accomplished feats in the last 45 days of the war that have largely been overlooked. Most notably, they broke the Germans’ Hindenburg Line on September 29th, 1918 and shattered the brutal stalemate of trench warfare, contributing greatly to ending the war.

We have never been a state or a people who boast, so take the word of our allies and enemies. Australian General Sir John Monash called breaking the Hindenburg Line “the greatest single American feat of arms of the entire war.” A captured German commander said that day, “All is lost; there is nothing between you and the Rhine (the traditional border of Germany).” Indeed, the 30th, and all soldiers from the Tar Heel State, saw their duty, did it, and came home. But what they accomplished has never been properly recognized, and the North Carolina National Guard Museum Foundation plans to change that.

Although North Carolinians served in all regiments of the 30th Division, they were principally concentrated in the 119th and 120th Infantry. These two regiments are credited with breaking the German defenses. North Carolina lost more citizens to war on September 29th than perhaps any other day in history.

If you visit this battlefield in France today, there is an impressive monument to the Australians, stating they broke the line. The British have two monuments, each stating they broke the Hindenburg Line. Tennessee and New York both have claimed they broke the line, and have memorials in France staking their claim. While all played a large role in the Allied success that day, it was the sons of North Carolina who first broke through the German lines that day. For a long time, humble North Carolina was content with little recognition. But new books and a 100th anniversary exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History now commemorate this momentous battle. The exhibition in Raleigh is a must see; it is the most visited exhibit in the museum’s history.

It is time, 100 years later, that we mark the place where so many North Carolinians fell.

Here is an overview of the next steps:

1. Place a monument to the North Carolina National Guard 30th Division in Nauroy, France commemorating the breaking of the Hindenburg Line in World War 1 and to honor all who served in France. Nauroy was one of the villages that the 30th liberated on September 29th, 1918 after breaking the German defenses.

2. Place a somewhat smaller statue on the Capitol Grounds in Raleigh. This will replace the current marker, which is not prominent compared to the other memorials and statues in the surrounding area

Please visit our website to view a list of citizens drafted county by county, as well as a list of North Carolinians who lost their lives or were wounded in this battle.​​​​​​​

Donations may be sent to:

Norman G. Dean III
Treasurer, NC National Guard Museum Foundation
60th Troop Command
1636 Gold Star Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607

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