In Their Own Words


 Pearl Edwards


~ Two Tours of Duty ~

Mexican Border and Germany



Pearl Edwards

      I was born on a farm west of Centerville, Iowa. I enlisted in the National Guard in the spring of 1916, in the summer I went to the Mexican Border, we returned in the spring of 1917. I was discharged and re-enlisted when war was declared against Germany. We were called into service and while at the Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa we were transferred to the 42nd Rainbow Division. We were sent to Camp Mills, Long Island, New York. We sailed from New York aboard an old German cattle boat, after four days out we were forced to return to New York because of boiler trouble. We sailed two weeks later aboard the H.M.S. Aurania, an English Liner. We were forced into the harbor at Belfast, Ireland where we spent Thanksgiving Day 1917. We sailed for England and landed at Liverpool, I was left aboard ship to see that all food supplies and other equipment was unloaded and sent on its way to France. We joined our company in January 1918. We were sent into the Front Lines in the middle of February. On March 5th we went through a terrible shelling, it was here I was hit very hard. So hard that I was listed as dead. After fourteen hours I came around and was taken to the hospital. Here I was given the Purple Heart, also the French Croix De Guerre. I went through every engagement and was wounded in the first battle and the last in the Argonne Woods, was in the hospital when the Armistice was signed November 1918.
By Pearl Edwards
(Corporal, later Sergeant, Company D, 42nd Rainbow Division, 168th U.S. Infantry, Appanoose County, Iowa)


~ contributed by Polly Eckles <>, granddaughter of Pearl Eckles