New Publication of WWI Letter Collection

Leaving North America: A Boy’s Adventure in the First World War – Chester Cole

Word Cloud for the Most Used Words in Chester Cole’s Letter Collection

Chester Edmund Cole was born April 26, 1899, to Bertha Meriam Wheeler (Cole) and Walter Cole. His mother Bertha married his father, Walter September 17, 1890. Chester’s older brother Raymond Walter was born May 26, 1892, and his sister Mabel Loie was born June 27, 1895. The Cole family resided in Berlin, Massachusetts and were part of a larger family group under the Wheeler family of Concord, Massachusetts. These are a collection of letters saved by the family from The First World War.

AMAZON BOOK LINK: “Leaving North America: A Boy’s Adventure in the First World War

Chester was 17 years old when he enlisted to fight with the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in the first part of 1917. He was part of the 504th Engineering Service Battalion. He was sent to Jacksonville, Florida to train at Camp J.E. Johnson. He transferred to the Motor Truck Co. 433 once he landed in France. Chester was a participant in the Meuse-Argonne Forest Campaign in September 1918, which involved approximately 550,000 service men. This was a push against Germany and Chester remained in the areas of Cochem and Mayen, Germany for a time before transferring to Willich, Germany with the Motor Company to assist with moving the 89th and 90th divisions, along with 7th Corps troops to embark towards home in the States.

The Cole family was part of the family group of the prominent Wheelers of Concord, Massachusetts. The Wheelers were from Odell, Bedfordshire, England. Twelve families moved to the colonies in 1635 as part of the Puritan movement to escape religious persecution in England. The Wheelers were part of “the Hundred” who came from Willy County, Bedford, England with Reverends Peter Bulkeley and John Jones, and traveled to the colonies in 1635 on the ships Susan and Ellen and the Defiance.


A.G. Wheeler, The Genealogical and Encyclopedia History of the Wheeler Family in America, Compiled by the American College of Genealogy (Boston: 1914).