A Brother in Arms: Connell Albertine


Pfc. Connell Albertine, 104th Infantry

One of Sam Avery’s brothers-in-arms, fellow National Guardsman and future author was Connell Albertine. Prior to the declaration of war, Connell served in M Company, 8th Mass. Infantry at the Somerville Armory under the command of 1st Lt. Carl Tobey (who would later command Hdq. Co., 103rd Infantry with Sam as 1st Sgt.).

104th Infantry DUI

When the 8th Mass. Infantry was largely dismantled and integrated into the 26th “Yankee” Division in August 1917, Connell was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 104th Infantry Regiment while Sam and Carl Tobey were assigned to the 103rd Infantry Regiment (see the 26th “Yankee” Division Page for more information.) As fellow members of the 52nd Brigade, Connell and Sam shared the same hardships, discomforts and dangers as they occupied the same Sectors during 210 days of continuous combat during 1917-1918.

The men of the 104th Infantry saw some of the heaviest fighting and suffered the greatest number of casualties experienced by the 26th Division while “Over There”. As Sam himself would say, the former members of the 8th Mass. Infantry “gave a good account of themselves” in battle: Following heavy fighting during the month of April in the Toul Sector, the 104th Infantry received a Unit Citation on 4/16/1918 and was also the first American regiment to receive the Croix de Guerre (French Medal of Honor or “Cross of War”) on 4/28/1918. Charles himself received a copy of the Citation signed by Gen. Clarence Edwards which reads as follows:

“I have read with much pleasure the reports of your regimental commander and brigade commander regarding your gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field on April 2-14, 1918 while attacked by superior numbers under heavy enemy fire {Toul Sector} and have ordered your name and deed to be entered in the record of the Yankee Division.”  -C.R. Edwards, Maj. Gen. Commanding 26th Division.

Connell Albertine in France, 1918

Connell was among the first 100,000 American troops to land in France, and served with honor in all the major campaigns involving the 26th “Yankee” Division. Like Sam, Connell ultimately managed to return home to America safely and without wounds as one of “the originals.” Along with the other members of the 26th Division, Connell received an Honorable Discharge at Camp Devens in late April, 1919 for “Honest and Faithful Service,” and was awarded both the World War I Victory Medal with 5 clasps and the Verdun Medal (France).

Unlike many other enlisted veterans of the 26th Division, Connell chose to continue his military career and re-enlisted in the 241st Coast Artillery. In 1921 he received an officer’s commission as 2nd Lieutenant, and continued to serve as an officer in the Massachusetts National Guard during the inter-war years. In September, 1940 Connell re-entered Federal military service, transferring to the Army Air Corps in 1941 and receiving a promotion to the rank of Captain. He commanded the 29th Air Base Squadron at Bradley Field, Connecticut before transferring to Anti-Aircraft in 1942 where he commanded a 40mm battery at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Following his promotion to the rank of Major, Connell volunteered for the Transportation Corps. In 1943, he was assigned to the British West Africa Command and promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel as Chief of Transportation for the Africa Middle East Theatre. Following the war, in 1946 Connell was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Transportation in Washington, D.C. and Chief of the Shipments Branch, N.Y. Port of Embarkation. In 1948, Connell was assigned to the Army Reserves. He retired from active duty in 1957, returning to the service of the Massachusetts National Guard from which he eventually retired at the rank of Colonel.

Col. Connell Albertine, USA Ret. (Richard Albertine, USAF)

In 1967, 50 years after the 26th “Yankee” Division was first organized and sent “Over There”, Connell Albertine wrote and published  The Yankee Doughboy. This book was long-awaited as perhaps the first full-length, non-fictional account of the Great War from the American doughboy’s point of view. An engaging, first-person account of life with the 104th Infantry Regiment from 1917-1919, the book is an excellent companion volume to this website.


(Information and photos courtesy of Bebe Granger and Richard Albertine)

Published on February 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you so much for giving my Grandfather a page in “A Brother In Arms”. He would tear up whenever he spoke of WWI and his buddies that did not come home. He was just a teenager then, but it was like yesterday to him when he spoke of his time as a Yankee Doughboy.

  2. Thanks to you and Bebe for recognizing and honoring our grandfather with this page.

  3. Hi George:
    It is my privilege to honor your grandfather along with Sam and the many others they served with. May their service and sacrifice never be forgotten.

  4. Hello……my name is Richard Chase Albertine. In 1968 I was in the USAF assigned to Otis Air Force Base in Bourne, Massachusetts. I was the chief photographer at the base photo lab. One morning I was called to take a portrait of a WWI retired Colonel dressed in his vintage uniform which surprisingly fit perfectly as if it had just been issued to the young soldier! He was stunned when he read my name tag “Albertine” and introduced himself as Connell “Colonel” Albertine. We had a wonderful conversation as I made portraits of him for a book jacket of his WWI memoirs he told me was soon to be published. I was very pleased with the portrait of him which is poorly reproduced on this website. I assume the reproduction was taken from the book jacket. I’ll research my negative files to see if the original still exists. Thanks to everyone for honoring this patriotic veteran and long-lost relative.

    Richard Albertine
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  5. Hello Richard,
    the photo you snapped for my grand-father for his book is a very memorable one; it is a true picture of him in military pose. what a coincidence of last name Albertine! are you related? did you find the negative?
    sincerely, Roberta Robinson

  6. Hi Roberta,
    Richard hasn’t been feeling well lately and wants you to know he intends to respond when he is better and can sit at the computer for any length of time. Please email him at rcalchem@bellsouth.net and he’ll write you personally.
    Sissy Albertine

  7. My Grandfather served in the 104th.Pvt. Francis E. MacKay Co.E from May 1917 to April 1919. Gassed several times he had the “tremors” until he died in 1964. He never said much about WW1

  8. What an outstanding account of my grandfather. He was always an inspiration and man that you looked up to. Thank you so much for sharing this article.

    TJ Albertine

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