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World War I memories in photographs brought home by Otis Franklin Taylor

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Otis or Ottis Franklin Taylor, (1891-1953) Bloomfield, Johnson County, Illinois wrote, "Keep these cards & I will explain them when I come home from Frank." His collection contains over a hundred photographs and printed booklets. His tales have been lost through several generations, but the pictures and printed material remain for us to piece together this brief two years of his life.

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According to his World War I draft registration card, Ottis Franklin Taylor was born 12 June 1890 in Bloomfield, Illinois. He worked as a bridge carpenter for the C. & W.W. Railroad in South Pekin, IL. According to the U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963, Frank served in the Army 277, Military Police Corps. He died on 30 November 1953 and is buried in Reynolds Cemetery, Ozark, Johnson County, Illinois. These documents for Mr. Taylor may be accessed on Ancestry.com.

About 20+ photographs have neither photographer's identification nor date on the front or back. About 70+ photographs are printed on card stock with postcard markings on the back, still no company identification. About 25+ are postcards with landmark photographs and identifiable company marks. In this article, several of the photographs without any photographer's identification have been scanned into the slide show with a brief identification. According to Frank's notes, most of his police duty was most likely in southwest Germany, France, and Italy.

Comments on the slide show photographs, Taylor Collection:

In this photograph of the destruction of enemy weapons, who are the soldiers? Could one be Frank? The note on the back of the photograph reads that his duty is to blow German artillery wagons to pieces. The exact location is not identified.

The King of Saxony, according to the Library of Congress, Frederick Augustus III abdicated his title in November 1918. He appears to be reviewing his troops. The location and date are unknown.

At the American Cemetery at Suresnes, France, President Wilson bestows respect on Memorial Day, May 30, 1919.

“Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg was Germany’s most famous army commander in World War One,” according to the History Learning Site: Field Marshall von Hindenburg. In this unidentified photograph, he is inspecting his troops.

A photograph titled “Kaiser, von Klunk, Crownprincz, G.H.Q.” has neither a date nor location. This leaves plenty of speculation, could this note refer to Kaiser Wilhelm II, Alexander von Kluck, and Crown Prince Wilhelm, the Kaiser’s eldest son?

The photography of the men with the two fawns, could this be Frank telling his family that he is well and does relax? The men, location, and date are unknown.

Two photos show Reims, Marne, France. The first photograph is an aerial view of the cathedral and surrounding area. The second photography taken after the 1918 battle displays the German prisoners being marched through town. Reims or Rheims is the city. Marne is the department or second level of the administrative division.

Also included in Frank Taylor’s World War I material are printed booklets and maps that describe the areas of Lyon and Autun, France.

Anyone with information or comments on the photographs, please contact Selma Blackmon.

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