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Face to a Name


I came across this online collection from the Massachusetts State Library last night.

They have portraits of 8,487 New England soldiers available online! They are still adding about 24,000 biographical cards to their online database. Most of the collection contains photos of the 101st Field Artillery, 101st Engineers, 102nd Field Artillery and 104th Infantry of the 26th (Yankee) Division.

I was able to use this collection locate a photo of Lt Harwood. Until this point we had no face to this name... I'd like you to meet 1st Lt. Benjamin Harwood.


Lt Harwood earned the Distinguished Service Cross and the Croix de Guerre while serving as an Observer with the 12th Aero Squadron. He also authored the Observation Air Service Tactical History & Manual. Lt Harwood was born in Helena, Montana on 21 July 1891 to Edgar and Fannie Porter Harwood. He graduated Yale College in 1913 and Harvard Law School in 1917. From April to September 1917 he served in the 102nd Field Artillery before being sent to attend the French Aviation School for Observation and Gunnery in France. Upon completing school, he flew as an Observer with the French Esquadrille over the Verdun Sector from April to May 1918.

Lt Harwood joined the 12th Aero Squadron on 28 May serving with the 12th until 9 July when he was transferred to another unit. He continued serving after the war as part of the Army of Occupation until 1 Jan 1919. Lt. Harwood was eventually promoted to Major and worked in Foreign Commerce in Paris, France. By the early 1920s, he was married to Miss Nina Dietz and had a daughter, Nina Joan Harwood.

Distinguished Service Cross

Action Date: July 5, 1918

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Air Service) Benjamin P. Harwood, United States Army Air Service, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 12th Aero Squadron, U.S. Army Air Service, A.E.F., near Chateau-Thierry, France, 5 July 1918. Lieutenant Harwood volunteered with another plane to protect a photograph plane. In the course of their mission they were attacked by seven planes (Fokker type). Lieutenant Harwood accepted the combat and kept the enemy engaged while the photographic plane completed its mission. His guns jammed and he himself was seriously wounded. After skillfully clearing his guns, with his plane badly damaged, he fought off the hostile planes and enabled the photographic plane to return to our lines with valuable information.

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