On Friday, 20 April 1923 a contingent of American and French dignitaries gathered in Seicheprey, France to dedicate the village fountain, donated by Yankee Division veterans. A century later—in April 2023—French and Americans will gather again as the fountain is re-dedicated and a street is renamed to honor the division. One way to participate in this historic ceremony is by joining the 102nd Inf. Regt. / Yankee Division Tour being offered by Knee Deep Into History, LLC. This 7-day / 6-night tour will culminate with the centennial ceremonies in Seicheprey, France.
The Original Dedication
The photo below from the Connecticut State Library shows dignitaries and onlookers standing in front of the town’s new church, which is still under construction. A short article in the New Britain Daily Herald stated that Daniel [Doane] Bidwell represented Governor Templeton of Connecticut and Mayor Kinsella of Hartford at the ceremony, in which Mayor Ferville of Seicheprey laid the cornerstone of the memorial fountain. It added that Yankee Division veterans donated more than sufficient funds for the fountain, and that the excess donations would be used improve Seicheprey’s water distribution system.
A French local paper, Le Chronique Regionale, devoted several more paragraphs to the event; outlining the dignitaries who were present. On the American side, a Col. Thomas, from the American Embassy also participated. French dignitaries included Mayor Ferville; Mr. Lafarge, General Counsel and architect of the (rebuilt) village; and Mr. Cheippe, Executive Agent of the 26th American Division. Also present were inhabitants of the town. In addition to the usual speeches and presentations, the paper added that the event was followed by a vin d’honneur—a traditional French wine reception.
Knee Deep Into History’s tour will visit key regimental and divisional sites along the Western Front, including the caves along the Chemin des Dames, Belleau Wood and Vicinity, the St. Mihiel Salient and the Meuse-Argonne region of France. Experienced guides Randy Gaulke and Markus Klauer will share their deep WW1 battlefield knowledge using period photos and first-person accounts to bring the experiences of the soldiers and officers to life. Time will also be devoted to some of Lorraine’s rich cultural features.
In addition, a portion of each participant’s fee will support the next round of the Connecticut Heritage Foundation’s award-winning “Digging Into History” program, making this a fundraiser for The Connecticut Heritage Foundation.
Reserve Your Space Today
Interested parties can find more information on Knee Deep Into History, LLC at their website, https://kneedeepintohistory.com and they can find details on the 102nd Inf. Regt. / Yankee Division Tour at https://kneedeepintohistory.com/102nd-inf-regt-and-yankee-division-western-front-battlefield-tour/. Time is running out. Reserve your space on this tour today!
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