301st Infantry at Camp Devens - 1918
The 301st Infantry of the 76th division is situated a hundred yards to the south of the Divisional Headquarters. The commanding officer is Colonel Frank Tompkins. Topics include barracks, belongings, and the firing range.
The 301st Regiment
Like the now censored expression “Sammy,” which so aroused the wrath of the American soldier in France, the designation “Boston’s Own,” as applied to the 301st Infantry, has caused much heated discussion at Camp Devens.
The members of that regiment are Greater Boston men, for the most part; upon their arrival at Ayer, the unit was christened “Boston’s Own” by one of the newspapers.
The phrase appeared again and again in the columns of the press until it became a fixture at the camp, and a tradition among the people of Boston. Immediately the other infantry organizations and the Depot Brigade, which has many units made up solely of Boston men, took exception to the term and were annoyed by the notoriety which was extended by the press to that regiment alone.
Some men of the 301st, also wearied by the constant repetition of the phrase, and the subsequent loss of military identity as a unit, became indignant. When asked where they had been assigned, men of other units declared:
“We’re from the 302nd (303rd or 304th), not from Boston's Own."
The Depot Brigade cries hotly: “Forget the ‘Boston’s Own ’ stuff when you’re around here.”
And an officer of the 301st explained to me: “Such nicknames, though novel at first, become unpleasant when overworked. We prefer to be the plain 301st until we have a record behind us. Then they may call us what they like.”
Such are the opinions! Visitors at the camp are strongly advised to ask for the 301st Infantry, if they wish to find that unit; should they ask the direction of “Boston’s Own,” they might be sent to the opposite side of the camp.
Barracks of the 301st Infantry at Camp Devens - "Boston's Own." Camp Devens: Described and Photographed, 1918. GGA Image ID # 13a5c63775
The 301st Infantry is situated a hundred yards to the south of the Divisional Headquarters. The commanding officer is Colonel Frank Tompkins. This picture shows the barracks of the regiment, taken from the rear.
The Quarters of the Supply Company, 301st Infantry
The lower floor of the typical barracks is devoted to the mess hall and kitchen, the first sergeant’s office and the recreation room; the top floor is used for sleeping quarters.
The Ayer men are particularly fortunate in regard to their bunks and equipment.
Each man has an iron cot, equipped with a spring and a straw mattress (a luxury unknown to the soldiers of the “good old days” of a year or two ago.) Besides these, he has as many blankets as are requisite for his comfort.
No pillows are furnished, but the soldier may buy one for his personal use if he so desires. Pajamas are not in vogue.
As there are no closets or mahogany bureaus, the men deposit their personal belongings under their cots; there they are as safe as in a vault, for, according to the soldier’s code of honor, theft is classified with murder and arson and is unknown in an army camp.
In the center of the room there are pegs on which overcoats may be hung; but all other personal belongings are restricted to the area of the cots.
At night, every window is opened six inches as a result of the recent order of the Sanitary Officer. Directly after mess in the morning, the soldier makes his bed. It is not “made” in the ordinary way, but, rather, in accordance with the military regulations.
All blankets and bed clothing are neatly folded and deposited in a pile at the head of the bed; personal articles must be in similarly neat piles beneath each cot.
The barracks are inspected daily by an officer; any man whose bunk is not in good condition, or who has neglected to comply with any of the rules, is given a reprimand and extra “fatigue duty.”
301st Infantry Supply Company Showing Inside of Barracks. Camp Devens: Described and Photographed, 1918. GGA Image ID # 13a5c640d2
The boys in this barracks are of the Supply Company of the 301st. When the picture was taken, they had just finished “tidying up” the big room for inspection.
Men from the 301st Infantry at the Firing Range. Camp Devens: Described and Photographed, 1918. GGA Image ID # 13a9625b7d
The 301st at the Range This picture gives a good idea of the appearance of the rifle range in the afternoon. The crowd of men who are waiting behind the firing line are from the 301st Infantry. They are on the hundred yard range, and the men are shooting from a standing position.