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Author Topic: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia  (Read 2901 times)

Offline Masonk

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Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« on: August 03, 2015, 12:11:51 PM »
Just received this in the mail Saturday morbing from the granddaughter of the Vet! Thanks goes out to a coworker who thought of me when he saw this. The vets granddaughter is his mother in-law, and she was going to put it into auction the day after my co-worker contacted me (local, not eBay). Thankfully she didn't, as the other items included in the auction went for pennies on the dollar.
 
Group is named to Glenn L Niccum. It consists of his dog tags, named gas mask and M1917 helmet.
 
Glenn served in a Machine Gun Company, in the 339th Infantry Regiment. Thanks to another collector for passing this info onto me.
 
Helmet, which is British made, has a white camo application, and RUSSIA stenciled across the top.
 
Gas Mask and Bag is complete, however the mask is a bit stiff. Written on the interior flap is GL Niccum, MG Co.
 
Lastly, one of his dog tags; his granddaughter kept the other.
 
There is a photo of him in uniform, however the granddaughter has to locate it (they are in the process of a move and it is packed away).
 
In any case, I'm proud to be the caretaker of this Polar Bear's grouping, and I'm looking forward to the additional research on the vet!
 
http://bentley.umich.edu/legacy-support/polarbear/getinfo.php?id=3873

Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 12:18:00 PM »
Dog Tag and Gas Mask
Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2015, 12:18:29 PM »
Lastly, his helmet
Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 12:19:05 PM »
cont...
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Offline ScottG

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 12:40:27 PM »
    Very nice grouping Eric, I will look and see if he is mentioned in any of my Polar Bear reference materials.   Scott
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 01:05:09 PM »
Thanks, Scott! That would be great. I searched U Mich website, and that was the only reference to him.

Just ordered the book, "Fighting the Bolsheviks: The Russian War Memoir of Private First Class Donald E. Carey, U.S. Army, 1918-1919", so I can read up on the conflict.

Any other books you would recommend?
Eric
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Offline ScottG

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2015, 03:36:43 PM »
  A good memoir is "A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks" by Godfrey Anderson. He was a medic that saw action in North Russia and had saved many memoirs. A Professor put them all together in the historic context a few years ago and released the book. Its quite an easy read and not expensive.
  "Quartered in Hell" by Hayes Otoupalik is also a well known reference but is out of print. Sometimes you can find it on Amazon and e-Bay for a reasonable price. The best is the Stan Bozich work, but it is way out of print and it doesn't look like they are going to do any more... Its fairly expensive when you do find it. Its called "Detroits Own Polar Bears" He founded the Michigan's Own Museum in Frankenmuth MI, and has the largest collection of Polar Bear material in a museum. Its worth a visit if you ever get to Michigan. Hope this helps, Scott.
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 07:12:30 AM »
Thanks, Scott.

Anderson's book was the other memoir I was looking at. Just ordered it.

Found Bozich's book, however only one available is $141. Same for Otoupalik, although his is only $87. May have to hold off on either book until they come on the market at a more reasonable price.
Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 10:00:46 AM »
Thought I would share a photo of how I have Niccum's items on display. Uniform is patched to the 30th Division, however until I can obtain a patched 339IR uniform, this will have to do!

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 10:12:01 AM »
Also, to my surprise, I was able to speak with Niccum's son. He was able to fill me in on some details of Niccum's service, as well as send me scans of Niccum in uniform and photos he took while in Russia.

Service info:

-Niccum was initially sent to Camp Custer in Battle Creek, MI for training, prior to his overseas deployment
-After training, he was sent to England where he was issued a Lee Enfield.
-From there, he was transferred to Archanelsk. Apparently upon arrival, he was issued a Mosin-Nagant. I assume the Enfield was for additional training, and the Nagant was his service rifle. The son couldn't confirm.
-According to the son, Niccum's final rank was Sgt. Sometime while in North Russia, he sustained a knee injury as a result of a building explosion from an aircraft bombing, however continued his service.
 
He remained in Russia until May of 1920, and spent approximately 2 years overseas.

Photo of Niccum in uniform, showing him wearing 339th IR collar disc.
Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 10:14:15 AM »
Photos, in no particular order, taken by Niccum while in North Russia.

The first photo, per Niccum's son, shows Niccum seated to the left after he sustained the injury to his knee from the bombing that destroyed the building behind him.
Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 10:16:52 AM »
Various other photos, showing soldiers of the White Army, with British and US soldiers mixed in.
Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 10:17:25 AM »
.
Eric
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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2015, 10:18:05 AM »
.
Eric
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Offline Masonk

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Re: Named Polar Bear Grouping - AEF North Russia
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2015, 10:18:50 AM »
.
Eric
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