Highland News Leader

Many Highland WWI soldiers were trained at Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky.

Edmund Matter (left, wheelbarrow) is pictured with his three Highland buddies, Eugene (Gene) Iberg, (left, standing) Ben Gilomen, (right, standing) and Walter Heller, (right, wheelbarrow). Thanks, Elaine Fehrer Thompson, for your photos.
Edmund Matter (left, wheelbarrow) is pictured with his three Highland buddies, Eugene (Gene) Iberg, (left, standing) Ben Gilomen, (right, standing) and Walter Heller, (right, wheelbarrow). Thanks, Elaine Fehrer Thompson, for your photos. Courtesy photo

“Bolshevik Russia was effectively ignored by the peace treaties, but it never reconciled to its revised western border with newly reestablished Poland … Also, Russia did not accept the creation of the independent countries of Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, all of which had been part of Czarist Russia before World War I.” (When World War II, started in Europe in 1939, Soviet Russia used this opportunity to seize eastern Poland, then had a costly war with Finland, ending in 1940, and seized it; it then seized Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. This revised its northern borders around Leningrad, formerly St. Petersburg.)

In the meantime, “Germany remained the major problem. Germany’s war guilt clause in the League of Nations, was not accepted by Germany … and they denied that they had been beaten militarily … Militarism and nationalism were still alive in post-war Germany. Then, President Woodrow Wilson failed to gain ratification of the Treaty of Versailles in Congress, and the United Stated withdrew from the League of Nations.

“In the 1920s, the League had a number of small successes. It settled a dispute over the Aaland Islands between Sweden and Finland; supervised plebiscites that gave Vilna (Vilnius) to Poland, rather than Lithuania; saw Carinthia vote for Austria over Yugoslavia; and successfully established and administered Danzig (Gdansk) as a free city … The League’s International Labor Organization persuaded governments to fix maximum working hours and minimum wages. The League’s Refugee Organization helped to settle half a million refugees. However, the League’s chief function was to ensure world peace and security. In this respect, the League failed to match the expectations placed on it at the beginning. (Quotes from “History of World War I,” by Marshall Cavendish, from Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library.)

Now back to “Pass in Review” by Pvt. Allan C. Huber.

The Matter Brothers were listed in my column of Nov. 9, 2016, but will be listed again, as I have received 11 Army photos, Matter and Abendroth information from Edmund’s granddaughter, Elaine Fehrer Thompson of Fairview Heights.

“Edmund M. Matter, 23, and his brother, Milton Matter, 21, were both called to service in World War I on Feb. 23, 1918. They remained together in the 1st Division and saw service at Meuse-Argonne offensive from Oct. 31 to Nov. 11, and with the Army of Occupation. They were discharged Sept. 26, 1919.” (I will be using one of these photos in this column and future columns, as they have photos that also contain other Highland area soldiers.)

“Pvt. John J. Witschie, 22, the son of John Witschie, was called Oct. 3, 1917 and sent to Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky., assigned to Co. A, 333rd Infantry, 84th Division. He transferred to 33rd Division at Camp Logan, Texas. In May 1918, he was in France. He saw action on Somme-Amiens sector, July 20-Aug. 6, 1918; the Meuse-Argonne offensive, from Sept. 26 to Nov. 5; Chateau d’Aulnois, Nov. 7; and Marcheville. Nov. 10-11. In the Army of Occupation, he was near Luxemburg City, Luxemburg. He was discharged May 31, 1919.

“Pvt. Joseph F. Woltering, 27, the son of Herman Woltering, was called June 24, 1918 and sent to Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky. He was transferred to Co. K, 156th Infantry, 39th Division at Camp Beauregard, La. Woltering was in France by early September and saw action at Meuse-Argonne offensive, Oct. 19 to Nov. 11. Joseph was in the Army of Occupation at Trier, Germany, and was discharged June 1, 1919.

“Pvt. Edgar E. Yann, 26, was son of John and Carolina Hochuli Yann, who lived just east of Highland. He was called April 29, 1918 and sent to Camp Dix, N.J., and transferred to Co. L, 147th Infantry, 37th Division at Camp Lee, Va. By early July, he was in France, and saw action on Alsace sector in July. He was in the Argonne Forest until Sept. 26, 1918, as he was wounded, hit in his right leg by flying shrapnel and moved to Base Hospital No. 19. He was sent home with a causality unit on Jan. 25, 1919, and discharged Feb. 24, 1919.”

(Edgar Yann married Hilda Iberg Yann, and they had a girl, today Mabel Yann (Mrs. Tony) Lang. Mabel was just 2 years old when her father, Edgar, died. Hilda Iberg Yann was a sister of Eugene “Gene” Iberg, who was one of the four service men, in today’s photo. Thanks, Mabel.)