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The Passing Legions

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Pages: 246

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: George Buchanan Fife

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III WHEN THE COMMISSION WAS BOEN THE invaluable and far-reaching work which the American Red Cross was to perform in the British Isles was foreshadowed by so slight a thing as the chance remark of an American Army officer. Specifically, this chance remark was the preface to the establishment of the first hospital to be constructed in England for American troops. One day in London, in the latter part of October, 1917, Colonel William Lassiter, Military Attache of the American Embassy, said to Major William Endicott, then representative in England of the Red Cross Paris staff: " I have an inkling that American troops will very soon begin to trickle through Great Britain on their way to France. This, mind you, is only gossip that I have heard, but it may prove to be true. In that case Liverpool is the most probable port of debarkation and I think that the American Red Cross should do something there." At that time there were no American soldiers in England save one or two small detachments of air-service mechanics, " ground men " sent across for finishing instruction and to release much-needed British mechanics to duty with their own flying corps. Major Endicott's work, as he himself characterized it, was mainly that of " purchasing agent" for the Commission in France. Experience had shown that many supplies urgently required for the use of the Red Cross in Continental Europe could be bought in England when they could not be obtained for love or money in either France or Switzerland. So, to Major Endicott was entrusted the diplomatic task of making these purchases when emergency rendered it out of the question to awak shipments from the United States. Incidentally, no one save adiplomat could ever have negotiated these purchases, so many were the difficulties s...  

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