Mail Tribune 100, Feb. 28, 1919

    News from 100 years ago

    The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

    Feb. 28, 1919


    The only Medford hero to be awarded the French war cross by the government of France, though he lost his life in winning this coveted honor was Lieutenant Newell C. Barber. The great award of honor to their son, together with the citation awarding the medal, was received yesterday by Dr. and Mrs. Martin C. Barber from the adjutant general’s office at Washington, with the following brief comment:

    “Here is forwarded to you under separate cover by registered mail a Croix de Guerre awarded by the French government to your son, Second Lieutenant Newell C. Barber, 108th Aero squadron, which is sent to you as next of kin. Enclosed therewith is the citation awarding the medal.

    “The translation of the citation which was issued by General Petain, marshal of France, at the general headquarters of the French armies of the east, and which was approved by General Pershing, is as follows:

    “Second Lieutenant Newell Barber, pilot in Escadrille Br. 108.

    “Excellent pilot. Has taken an active part in the bombardments since July. Was in stiff combats against enemy patrols July 21 and August 10. Fell gloriously August 11, 1918, during a stiff encounter in which his escadrille was fighting against two.”

    Altho he was seen to fall in his machine behind the German lines, definite news of his tragic fate was not learned until October. Lieut. Barber was 20 years old at the time of his death and would have been 21 years old the 16th of this month.


    Every member of the French Army band of veteran soldier musicians is recognized in his own country as a soloist of the highest standing. This will be in evidence when we read the program to be given here at the Natatorium, Tuesday evening, March 4.

    What we shall not know unless we are told, for they do not speak about it, is that every member of that French Army band is a hero. Within the past four years those men, who will play for us, have been mentioned in army orders scores of times. They have been cited for courage and have won medals. They wear wound stripes and have battled for France, not as musicians but as soldiers. Headed by Captain Pollain, whose military orders many of the men have taken in the field, the band came to America at the behest of the French government, and the band is unique in that there is not a man in it who has not been in active defense of his own country, and who has not before the war won a prize at the Paris Conservatory as soloist of his own instrument. Captain Pollain, himself, has been decorated for conspicuous bravery at the front. No wonder there is a thrill in their playing and that those who have heard them say that no other could be like the French band of veterans.

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