Ernest LeRoy Frey

These items belonged to WWI veteran Corporal Ernest LeRoy Frey, who was born in Pearl City, Illinois March 16, 1892.

He was drafted September 19, 1917 and reported for duty in Mt. Carroll, Illinois. His serial number was 2102469, and his grade and organization were Bugler Co. C. 7th Infantry, 3rd Division. His training unit was located at Fort Pike, Arkansas.

The photograph was taken in Coblenz, Germany in 1918, when he was serving in the Army of Occupation, after November 11, 1918.

It shows his 3rd Division patch on his upper (left) sleeve, his corp. stripe on the lower (left) sleeve, and his Bugler pin on his cap.

The paper record is his WWI Registration card, which includes his monthly pay. He was paid $33.00, from which $3.35 was deducted for Insurance W. R., netting him $29.65 per month.

The smaller medal is a souvenir made from a German coin, giving his name, serial number, and organization information.

The ribbon has 5 metal bars naming five of the battles he found in: Meuse-Argonne, Defensive Sector, St. Mihiel, Champagne-Marne, and Aisne-Marne. Ernest L. Frey fought in 6 battles; the original metal bar for fighting at Chateau Thierry is missing. The ribbon with the round Third Division medal is his combat victory medal, which pins on the top, behind the 6 stars, which symbolize the 6 major battles in which he fought.

The original photo, titled 3rd Army Composite Regt. On Review “Pershing’s Own” at Brest, France, is 9 ½ inches tall by 35 inches wide and too large for the transcriber’s scanner. So I have cropped it into two sections. The photo is undated but General Pershing was commander of the American Expeditionary Force, and Ernest L. Frey served under him after the war. So it would have been taken sometime after November 11, 1918 (and possibly just before leaving France to return to American, Brest being a major seaport from which troops departed to return to the US). Ernest Frey returned home to the United States on the U. S. Leviathan, which was a German ship launched in 1913 and seized by the U.S. It was Germany’s largest passenger vessel. (The transcriber doesn’t know if it sailed from Brest, France.)

The first part of the photo shows General Pershing on his black horse out in front, near the flag. The second part of the photo shows the band. There is a rectangular taped marking with a small hand-drawn arrow showing Ernest L. Frey playing his bugle; he is at the end of the second row, next to a flugelhorn player.

These items are in the collection of Mardell Frey Henze of Shannon, Illinois, who is Ernest LeRoy Frey’s daughter. The Frey family owned the Gamble Store in Shannon for many years.

Contributed by Alice Horner