Tribute to US Army Signal Corps Chief Telephone Operator 1887-1918
Inez Ann Murphy Crittenden (1887-1918), Chief Telephone Operator, Second Unit, Signal Corps, Paris, France. GGA Image ID # 19ac1de9f2
Inez Ann Crittenden
Ranks as Lieutenant in Army. Berkeley, Feb. 16: Mrs. Inez Crittenden, former confidential secretary of the J. K. Armsby Company of San Francisco, is on her way to France as the commanding officer of several hundred telephone operators, who will be attached to the American expeditionary forces.
Mrs. Crittenden speaks French fluently, understands the operation of a telephone system and is used to handling several hundred employees. Mrs. Crittenden received orders a few days ago to proceed to New York and embark for some port in France.
Her mother, Mrs. T. P. Murphy of Claremont, says her daughter does not know when she will sail for Europe. The Western Army division is now holding examinations for [to determine those] eligible for positions as telephone girls.
In a recent examination of thirty, applicants held at the University of California eight were accepted. Mrs. Crittenden will be entitled to the same military rank as a First Lieutenant.
Commanding Our Telephone Unit in France
Mrs. Ines Ann Crittenden, of Claremont, California, Sailed for France in February to Take Charge of the Telephone Unit of the American Expeditionary Forces Overseas. In the Unit Are Several Hundred American Girl Telephone Operators and Interpreters, Serving under the Same Rules and Regulations as the Men of the United States Army. The Independent, 9 March 1918. GGA Image ID # 19ac09d376
To Keep Army's Voice Clear
The Yanks are coming--not only the men by the women. Here is Mrs. Inez Ann Crittenden of Claremont, California, who is on her way to France to command the first unit of American telephone operators to go into action behind Pershing's Line. She gave up a lucrative position as a private secretary to a big San Francisco firm to offer her services to Uncle Sam. "Depend upon us to keep the lines open," was here message to General Pershing for the girls she'll supervise.
Inez Ann Crittenden, former secretary for J. K. Armsby, who died in France on day that armistice was signed.
Woman Officer Dies in France. Inez Ann Crittenden Stricken by Pneumonia on Day That Armistice Was Signed.
Clipping from Headline: Woman Officer Dies in France. Inez Ann Crittenden, Chief Telephone Operator, Succums to Influenza on 11 November 1918 in Paris. The San Francisco Examiner, 29 November 1918. GGA Image ID # 19adf33c69
Death came on the morning the armistice was signed to a California woman who had done noble and brilliant work in France, in the service of her country. In the annals of the women who helped in the actual work of war, the name of Inez Ann Crittenden might very well lead all the rest. And just as the world struggle ended, when her name and fame were on the lips of the new leaders of men produced by war, when the soft wings of peace brooded once more over the nations, she died in Paris, a victim of pneumonia, at the age of 31.
Her Ability Recognized.
Before America entered the war, the abilities of Mrs. Crittenden were recognized in her home State. When she entered the United States Signal Corps, as chief operator of a telephone unit of several hundred women, ranking as a lieutenant, she was confidential secretary for J. K. Armsby, president of the California Packing Corporation.
At one time she was sent to New York to assist in the' confidential negotiations resulting in the formation of the Packing Corporation, successor to the J. K. Armsby Co. Reading and writing French fluently, Mrs, Crittenden passed the examination easily, and at once was given recognition in the service.
Promotion Was Rapid
She won rapid promotion after her arrival in France last February. First, she was transferred from the telephone unit to the American Embassy in Paris, with the Committee on Public Information.
One month before her death she was promoted to a position in the Intelligence Department, relieving an officer sent to the front As the signs of peace grew, until they lit the whole world with their heralding of joy, Mrs. Emily Murphy, 119 Alvarado road, Berkeley, looked forward with fond anticipation to the day when she would receive word that her daughter, now famous, would return from war-swept France.
Perhaps it would be for Thanksgiving. At all events, it would be by Christmas. Then came the blighting message that Inez Ann Crittenden had succumbed November 11 to an attack of influenza. But her mother is brave in the thought that few daughters have served their country so nobly and so well."
Buried in Suresnes, Inez Ann Murphy Crittenden, Volunteer in the Us Army Signal Corps, Succumbed to the Flu on Victory Day
Among the white crosses of the American cemetery from Suresnes, Inez Ann Murphy Crittenden (1867-1918). Daughter of a Franco-American household, perfectly bilingual, she works in San Francisco as an assistant in a packaging factory.
In December 1917, she volunteered for service with the US Army Signal Corps. She passes the test and joins the 2nd telephone unit as the chief operator.
These operators are nicknamed the "Hello Girls." After her training, Inez leaves for Europe in April 1918 aboard the Carmania; an ocean liner converted into a troop transport.
Based at Paris, its mission is to install a central telephone to support operations of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). According to her file, she is well rated, she "requires high standards” in her work force.
What she has points out of the American Embassy which requests his secondment to the commission some information. Alas, the Spanish flu strikes, and she dies the same day of the victory,
November 11, 1918. Having the rank of West Point Cadet (Officer School), Inez receives military honors and is buried at the Suresnes American Cemetery.
In the United States, shared authorities For those resting in Suresnes, the war ended tragically in a hospital in the Paris region, most often the American Hospital. Like their comrades who fell at the front, they were entitled to military honors at their funeral in this little corner of America in France.
The San Francisco Examiner, Friday, 29 November 1918, p. 1.
“Ranks as Lieutenant in Army,” in The Gaffney Ledger, Gaffney, SC, Saturday 2 March 1918, p. 3.
"To Keep Army's Voice Clear," in The Wichita Beacon, Tuesday, 5 March 1918, p. 4.
"Inez Ann Crittenden of Berkeley Dies in France," in The Sacramento Bee, Friday, 29 November 1918, p. 11.
Note: Inez Murphy married Nathaniel P. Crittenden in 1911; they divorced in 1917.