Quentin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s youngest son, is killed

Quentin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s youngest son, is killed

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On July 14, 1918, Quentin Roosevelt, a pilot in the United States Air Service and the fourth son of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, is shot down and killed by a German Fokker plane over the Marne River in France.

The young Roosevelt was engaged to Flora Payne Whitney, the granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the country’s richest men. The couple met at a ball in Newport, Rhode Island, in August 1916 and soon fell in love, although the alliance between the modest, old-money Roosevelts and the flamboyantly wealthy Vanderbilt-Whitneys was at first controversial on both sides.

Quentin’s letters to Flora, from the time they met until his death, charted the course of America’s entry into the war. Theodore Roosevelt, incensed at America’s continuing neutrality in the face of German aggression–including the sinking of the British cruise liner Lusitania in May 1916, in which 128 Americans drowned–campaigned unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1916, severely criticizing Woodrow Wilson, who was reelected on a neutrality platform. While he was initially neutral, Quentin came to agree with his father, writing to Flora in early 1917 from Harvard University, where he was studying, that “We are a pretty sordid lot, aren’t we, to want to sit looking on while England and France fight our battles and pan gold into our pockets.”

After U.S. policy, as well as public opinion, shifted decisively towards entrance into the conflict against Germany, Wilson delivered his war message to Congress on April 2, 1917. At age 20, Quentin was too young to be drafted under the subsequent military conscription act, but as the son of Theodore Roosevelt, he was certainly expected to volunteer. His father, at 58, had expressed his own intention to head to France immediately as head of a volunteer division; upon Wilson’s rejection of the idea, TR declared that his sons would go in his place.

Before the month of April 1917 was out, Quentin had left Harvard, volunteered for the U.S. Air Service and proposed to Flora. The young couple received their parents’ consent, at first reluctant, only to say goodbye to each other at the Hudson River Pier on July 23 as Quentin set sail to France for training. Over the next year, Quentin struggled with difficult flight training (on Nieuport planes, already discarded by the French as a second-rate aircraft), brutally cold conditions, illness (in November he caught pneumonia and was sent to Paris on a three-week leave) and derision from his older brothers, Ted, Archie and Kermit, all of whom were already on their way to the front. Quentin also suffered from the separation from Flora, whom he urged to find a way to come to Paris and marry him; though she tried, she was ultimately unsuccessful. Despite the pain of separation from his beloved, Quentin was determined to get to the front, to silence his brothers’ criticism and prove himself to them and to his father.

In June 1918, Quentin got his wish when he was made a flight commander in the 95th Aero Squadron, in action near the Aisne River. “I think I got my first Boche,” he wrote in excitement to Flora on July 11, referring to a German plane he had shot at during a flight mission. Three days later, during the Second Battle of the Marne, his Nieuport was engaged by three Boche planes, according to one of the other pilots on his flight mission. Shot down, Quentin’s plane fell behind the German lines, near the village of Chamery, France.

Flora Payne Whitney saved every one of Quentin’s letters to her. She became a surrogate member of the Roosevelt family for a time, nursing her own pain and comforting Theodore Roosevelt, who was by many reports shattered by the loss of his youngest son, until his death in January 1919. She would later go on to marry twice, have four children, and follow her mother, the sculptor and art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, into a leadership role at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. She died in 1986.

Quentin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s youngest son, is killed - HISTORY

Father: Theodore Roosevelt (Sr.), 1831-1878
Mother: Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, 1835-1884
Elder Sister: Anna Roosevelt Cowles, 1855-1931
Younger Brother: Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt, 1860-1894 (father of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt)
Younger Sister: Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, 1861-1933.

First Wife: Alice Hathaway Lee-Roosevelt, 1861-1884
Daughter: Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, 1884-1980

Second Wife: Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt, 1861-1948
Eldest Son: Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 1887-1944
Son: Kermit Roosevelt, 1889-1943

Daughter: Ethel Carow Roosevelt Derby, 1891-1977

Son: Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt, 1894-1979
Youngest Son: Quentin Roosevelt, 1897-1918

Granddaughter: Paulina Longworth, 1925-1957

Granddaughter: Grace Green Roosevelt, 1911-1993
Grandson: Theodore Roosevelt III, 1914-2001
Grandson: Cornelius Van Schaak Roosevelt, 1915-1991
Grandson: Quentin Roosevelt II, 1919-1948

Grandson: Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., 1916-2000
Grandson: Joseph Willard Roosevelt, 1918-2008
Granddaughter: Belle Wyatt Roosevelt, 1919-1985
Grandson: Dirck Roosevelt, 1925-1952

Grandson: Richard Derby, Jr., 1914-1922
Granddaughter: Edith Derby, 1917-2008
Granddaughter: Sarah Alden Derby, 1920-1999
Granddaughter: Judith Quentin Derby Ames, 1923-1973

Grandson: Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt, Jr., 1918-1990
Granddaughter: Theodora Roosevelt,1919-2008
Granddaughter: Nancy Dabney Roosevelt, 1923
Granddaughter: Edith Kermit Roosevelt, 1926-2003


Ted was the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Edith Kermit Carow. He was born at the family estate in Cove Neck, Oyster Bay, New York, when his father was just starting his political career. As a son of President Theodore Roosevelt, he has been referred to as "Jr", but he was actually Theodore III and one of his own sons was Theodore IV. His siblings were brothers Kermit, Archie, and Quentin sister Ethel and half-sister Alice. As an Oyster Bay Roosevelt, and through his ancestor Cornelius Van Schaack Jr., Ted was a descendant of the Schuyler family. [2] [ self-published source ] [3] [4]

Like all the Roosevelt children, Ted was tremendously influenced by his father. In later life, Ted recorded some of these childhood recollections in a series of newspaper articles written around the time of World War I. One day when he was about nine, his father gave him a rifle. When Ted asked if it was real, his father loaded it and shot a bullet into the ceiling. [5]

When Ted was a child, his father initially expected more of him than of his siblings. The burden almost caused him to suffer a nervous breakdown. [6]

In one article, Ted recalled his first time in Washington, ". when father was civil service commissioner I often walked to the office with him. On the way down he would talk history to me—not the dry history of dates and charters, but the history where you yourself in your imagination could assume the role of the principal actors, as every well-constructed boy wishes to do when interested. During every battle we would stop and father would draw out the full plan in the dust in the gutter with the tip of his umbrella. Long before the European war had broken over the world father would discuss with us military training and the necessity for every man being able to take his part." [7]

The Roosevelt boys attended private schools Ted went to The Albany Academy, [8] and then Groton School. [9] Before he went to college, he thought about going to military school. Although not naturally called to academics, he persisted and graduated from Harvard College in 1909, where, like his father, he joined the Porcellian Club.

After graduating from college, Ted entered the business world. He took positions in the steel and carpet businesses before becoming branch manager of an investment bank. He had a flair for business and amassed a considerable fortune in the years leading up to World War I and on into the 1920s. The income generated by his investments positioned him well for a career in politics after the War.

All the Roosevelt sons, except Kermit, had some military training prior to World War I. With the outbreak of World War I in Europe in August 1914, American leaders had heightened concern about their nation's readiness for military engagement. Only the month before, Congress had authorized the creation of an Aviation Section in the Signal Corps. In 1915, Major General Leonard Wood, President Roosevelt's former commanding officer during the Spanish–American War, organized a summer camp at Plattsburgh, New York, to provide military training for business and professional men, at their own expense.

This summer training program provided the base of a greatly expanded junior officers' corps when the country entered World War I. During that summer, many well-heeled young men from some of the finest east coast schools, including three of the four Roosevelt sons, attended the military camp. When the United States entered the war, in April 1917, the armed forces offered commissions to the graduates of these schools based on their performance. The National Defense Act of 1916 continued the student military training and the businessmen's summer camps. It placed them on a firmer legal basis by authorizing an Officers' Reserve Corps and a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).

After the declaration of war, when the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) was organizing, Theodore Roosevelt wired Major General John "Black Jack" Pershing asking if his sons could accompany him to Europe as privates. Pershing accepted, but, based on their training at Plattsburgh, Archie was offered a commission with rank of second lieutenant, while Ted was offered a commission and the rank of major. Quentin had already been accepted into the Army Air Service. Kermit volunteered with the British in the area of present-day Iraq.

With a reserve commission in the army (like Quentin and Archibald), soon after World War I started, Ted was called up. When the United States declared war on Germany, Ted volunteered to be one of the first soldiers to go to France. There, he was recognized as the best battalion commander in his division, according to the division commander. Roosevelt braved hostile fire and gas and led his battalion in combat. So concerned was he for his men's welfare that he purchased combat boots for the entire battalion with his own money. He eventually commanded the 26th Regiment in the 1st Division as a lieutenant colonel. He fought in several major battles, including America's first victory at Cantigny. [10]

Ted was gassed and wounded at Soissons during the summer of 1918. In July of that year, his youngest brother Quentin was killed in combat. Ted received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during the war, which ended on November 11, 1918 at 11:00am. France conferred upon him the Chevalier Légion d'honneur on March 16, 1919. Before the troops came home from France, Ted was one of the founders of the soldiers' organization that developed as The American Legion. The American Legion Post Officers Guide recounts Ted's part in the organization's founding:

A group of twenty officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France in World War I is credited with planning the Legion. A.E.F. Headquarters asked these officers to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans. In February 1919, this group formed a temporary committee and selected several hundred officers who had the confidence and respect of the whole army. When the first organization meeting took place in Paris in March 1919, about 1,000 officers and enlisted men attended. The meeting, known as the Paris Caucus, adopted a temporary constitution and the name The American Legion. It also elected an executive committee to complete the organization's work. It considered each soldier of the A.E.F. a member of the Legion. The executive committee named a subcommittee to organize veterans at home in the U.S. The Legion held a second organizing caucus in St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1919. It completed the constitution and made plans for a permanent organization. It set up temporary headquarters in New York City, and began its relief, employment, and Americanism programs. Congress granted the Legion a national charter in September 1919. [11]

When The American Legion met in New York City, Roosevelt was nominated as its first national commander, but he declined, not wanting to be thought of as simply using it for political gain. In his view, acceptance under such circumstances could have discredited the nascent organization and himself and harmed his chances for a future in politics. [12]

Ted resumed his reserve service between the wars. He attended the annual summer camps at Pine Camp and completed both the Infantry Officer's Basic and Advanced Courses, and the Command and General Staff College. By the beginning of World War II, in September 1939, he was eligible for senior commissioned service.

In 1919 he became a member of the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

After service in World War I, Roosevelt began his political career. Grinning like his father, waving a crumpled hat, and like his father, shouting "bully", he participated in every national campaign that he could, except when he was Governor-General of the Philippines. Elected as a member of the New York State Assembly (Nassau County, 2nd D.) in 1920 and 1921, Roosevelt was one of the few legislators who opposed the expulsion of five Socialist assemblymen in 1920. Anxiety about Socialists was high at the time.

On March 10, 1921, Roosevelt was appointed by President Warren G. Harding as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He oversaw the transferring of oil leases for lands in Wyoming and California from the Navy to the Department of Interior, and ultimately, to private corporations. Established as the Navy's petroleum reserves by President Taft, the properties consisted of three oil fields: Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3, Teapot Dome Field, Natrona County, Wyoming and Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 1 at Elk Hills Oil Field and Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 2 Buena Vista Oil Field, both in Kern County, California. In 1922, Albert B. Fall, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, leased the Teapot Dome Field to Harry F. Sinclair of Sinclair Consolidated Oil Company, and the field at Elk Hills, California, to Edward L. Doheny of Pan American Petroleum & Transport Company, both without competitive bidding.

During the transfers, while Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, his brother Archie was vice president of the Union Petroleum Company, the export auxiliary subsidiary of the Sinclair Consolidated Oil. The leasing of government reserves without competitive bidding, plus the close personal and business relationships among the players, led to the deal being called the Teapot Dome scandal. The connection between the Roosevelt brothers could not be ignored.

After Sinclair sailed for Europe to avoid testifying in Congressional hearings, G. D. Wahlberg, Sinclair's private secretary, advised Archibald Roosevelt to resign to save his reputation. The Senate Committee on Public Lands held hearings over a period of six months to investigate the actions of Fall in leasing the public lands without the required competitive bidding. [13] Although both Archibald and Ted Roosevelt were cleared of all charges by the Senate Committee on Public Lands, their images were tarnished. [13]

At the 1924 New York state election, Roosevelt was the Republican nominee for Governor of New York. His cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) spoke out on Ted's "wretched record" as Assistant Secretary of the Navy during the oil scandals. In return, Ted said of FDR: "He's a maverick! He does not wear the brand of our family." Eleanor Roosevelt, more closely related to Ted by blood but married to FDR, had been infuriated by these remarks. She dogged Ted on the New York State campaign trail in a car fitted with a papier-mâché bonnet shaped like a giant teapot that was made to emit simulated steam, and countered his speeches with those of her own, calling him immature. [14]

She would later decry these methods, admitting that they were below her dignity but saying that they had been contrived by Democratic Party "dirty tricksters." Ted's opponent, incumbent governor Alfred E. Smith, defeated him by 105,000 votes. Ted never forgave Eleanor for her stunt, though his elder half-sister Alice did, and resumed their formerly close friendship. These conflicts served to widen the split between the Oyster Bay (TR) and Hyde Park (FDR) wings of the Roosevelt family.

Along with his brother, Kermit, Roosevelt spent most of 1929 on a zoological expedition and was the first Westerner known to have shot a panda. [15] [16] In September 1929, President Herbert Hoover appointed Roosevelt as Governor of Puerto Rico, and he served until 1932. (Until 1947, when it became an electoral office, this was a political appointee position.) Roosevelt worked to ease the poverty of the people during the Great Depression. He attracted money to build secondary schools, raised money from American philanthropists, marketed Puerto Rico as a location for manufacturing, and made other efforts to improve the economy. [17]

He worked to create more ties to U.S. institutions for mutual benefit. For instance, he arranged for Cayetano Coll y Cuchi to be invited to Harvard Law School to lecture about Puerto Rico's legal system. [17] He arranged for Antonio Reyes Delgado of the Puerto Rican Legislative Assembly to speak to a conference of Civil Service Commissioners in New York City. [17] Roosevelt worked to educate Americans about the island and its people, and to promote the image of Puerto Rico in the rest of the U.S.

Roosevelt was the first American governor to study Spanish and tried to learn 20 words a day. [17] He was fond of local Puerto Rican culture and assumed many of the island's traditions. He became known as El Jíbaro de La Fortaleza ("The Hillbilly of the Governor's Mansion") by locals. [17] In 1931 he appointed Carlos E. Chardón, a mycologist, as the first Puerto Rican to be Chancellor of the University of Puerto Rico.

Impressed with his work in Puerto Rico, President Hoover appointed Roosevelt as Governor-General of the Philippines in 1932. During his time in office, Roosevelt acquired the nickname "One Shot Teddy" among the Filipino population, in reference to his marksmanship during a hunt for tamaraw (wild pygmy water buffalo).

In 1932, when FDR challenged Hoover for the presidency, Alice begged Ted to return from the Philippines to aid the campaign. Roosevelt announced to the press on August 22, 1932, that "Circumstances have made it necessary for me to return for a brief period to the United States. I shall start for the Philippines again the first week in November. While there I hope I can accomplish something." [18]

The reaction of many in the U.S. press was so negative that within a few weeks, Governor-General Roosevelt arranged to stay in Manila throughout the campaign. Secretary of War Hurley cabled Ted, "The President has reached the conclusion that you should not leave your duties for the purpose of participating in the campaign. He believes it to be your duty to remain at your post." [18] Roosevelt resigned as Governor-General after the election of FDR as president, as the new administration would appoint their own people. He thought that the potential for war in Europe meant another kind of opportunity for him. Using his father's language, he wrote to his wife as he sailed for North Africa, saying that he had done his best and his fate was now "at the knees of the gods." [ citation needed ]

During the 1932 presidential campaign of his cousin FDR, Roosevelt said, "Franklin is such poor stuff it seems improbable that he should be elected President." [19] When Franklin won the election and Ted was asked just how he was related to FDR, Ted quipped "fifth cousin, about to be removed." [20]

In 1935, he returned to the United States and first became a vice president of the publishing house Doubleday, Doran & Company. He next served as an executive with American Express. He also served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. He was invited by Irving Berlin to help oversee the disbursement of royalties for Berlin's popular song, "God Bless America," to charity. While living again in New York, the Roosevelts renewed old friendships with playwright Alexander Woollcott and comedian Harpo Marx.

He was also mentioned as a potential candidate for the 1936 Republican presidential nomination, but did not mount a campaign. [21] Had he received the 1936 Republican presidential nomination, he would have faced off against his cousin Franklin in the general election. After Alf Landon received the Republican presidential nomination, Roosevelt was also mentioned as a candidate for vice president, but that nomination went to Frank Knox. [22] Roosevelt was also mentioned as a candidate for Governor of New York in 1936, but made no effort to become an active candidate. [23]

In 1940, during World War II (although the United States had not yet entered the war and remained neutral) Roosevelt attended a military refresher course offered to many businessmen as an advanced student, and was promoted to colonel in the Army of the United States. He returned to active duty in April 1941 and was given command of the 26th Infantry, part of the 1st Infantry Division, the same unit he fought with in World War I. Late in 1941, he was promoted to the one-star general officer rank of brigadier general.

North Africa Campaign Edit

Upon his arrival in North Africa, Roosevelt became known as a general who often visited the front lines. He had always preferred the heat of the battle to the comfort of the command post, and this attitude would culminate in his actions in France on D-Day.

Roosevelt led the 26th Infantry in an attack on Oran, Algeria, on November 8, 1942 as part of Operation Torch, the Allies' invasion of North Africa. During 1943, he was the Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the 1st Infantry Division in the campaign in North Africa under Major General Terry Allen. He was cited for the Croix de guerre by the military commander of French Africa, General Alphonse Juin: [ citation needed ]

As commander of a Franco-American detachment on the Ousseltia plain in the region of Pichon, in the face of a very aggressive enemy, he showed the finest qualities of decision and determination in the defense of his sector. Showing complete contempt for personal danger, he never ceased during the period of Jan 28 – Feb 21, visiting troops in the front lines, making vital decisions on the spot, winning the esteem and admiration of the units under his command and developing throughout his detachment the finest fraternity of arms.

Clashes with Patton Edit

Roosevelt collaborated and was a friend of his commander, the hard-fighting, hard-drinking Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen Sr.. Their unorthodox approach to warfare did not escape the attention of Lieutenant General George S. Patton, the Seventh Army commander in Sicily, and formerly the II Corps commander. Patton disapproved of such officers who "dressed down" and were seldom seen in regulation field uniforms, and who placed little value in Patton's spit-shined ways in the field. Patton thought them both un-soldierly for it and wasted no opportunity to send derogatory reports on Allen to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Roosevelt was also treated by Patton as "guilty by association" for his friendship and collaboration with the highly unorthodox Allen. When Allen was relieved of command of the 1st Division and reassigned, so was Roosevelt.

After criticizing Allen in his diary on July 31, 1943, Patton noted that he had asked permission of Eisenhower "to relieve both Allen and Roosevelt on the same terms, on the theory of rotation of command", and added, concerning Roosevelt, "there will be a kick over Teddy, but he has to go, brave but otherwise, no soldier." Later, however, upon hearing of the death of Roosevelt, Patton wrote in his diary that Roosevelt was "one of the bravest men I've ever known", and a few days later served as a pallbearer at his funeral. [24]

Roosevelt was also criticized by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, the II Corps commander, who ultimately relieved both Roosevelt and Allen. [25] In both of his autobiographies – A Soldier's Story (1951) and A General's Life – Bradley claimed that relieving the two generals was one of his most unpleasant duties of the war. [26] Bradley felt that Allen and Roosevelt were guilty of "loving their division too much" and that their relationship with their soldiers was having a generally bad effect on the discipline of both the commanders and the men of the division.

Roosevelt was assistant commander of the 1st Infantry Division at Gela during the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, [27] commanded Allied Forces in Sardinia, and fought on the Italian mainland. He was the chief liaison officer to the French Army in Italy for General Eisenhower, and repeatedly made requests of Eisenhower for combat command.

D-Day Edit

In February 1944, Roosevelt was assigned to England to help lead the Normandy invasion and appointed Deputy Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division. After several verbal requests to the division's Commanding General (CG), Major General Raymond "Tubby" Barton, to go ashore on D-Day with the Division were denied, Roosevelt sent a written petition:

The force and skill with which the first elements hit the beach and proceed may determine the ultimate success of the operation. With troops engaged for the first time, the behavior pattern of all is apt to be set by those first engagements. [It is] considered that accurate information of the existing situation should be available for each succeeding element as it lands. You should have when you get to shore an overall picture in which you can place confidence. I believe I can contribute materially on all of the above by going in with the assault companies. Furthermore I personally know both officers and men of these advance units and believe that it will steady them to know that I am with them. [28]

Barton approved Roosevelt's written request with much misgiving, stating that he did not expect Roosevelt to return alive.

Roosevelt was the only general on D-Day to land by sea with the first wave of troops. At 56, he was the oldest man in the invasion, [29] and the only one whose son also landed that day Captain Quentin Roosevelt II was among the first wave of soldiers at Omaha Beach. [30]

Brigadier General Roosevelt was one of the first soldiers, along with Captain Leonard T. Schroeder Jr., off his landing craft as he led the 8th Infantry Regiment and 70th Tank Battalion landing at Utah Beach. Roosevelt was soon informed that the landing craft had drifted south of their objective, and the first wave of men was a mile off course. Walking with the aid of a cane and carrying a pistol, he personally made a reconnaissance of the area immediately to the rear of the beach to locate the causeways that were to be used for the advance inland. He returned to the point of landing and contacted the commanders of the two battalions, Lieutenant Colonels Conrad C. Simmons and Carlton O. MacNeely, and coordinated the attack on the enemy positions confronting them. Opting to fight from where they had landed rather than trying to move to their assigned positions, Roosevelt's famous words were, "We'll start the war from right here!" [33]

These impromptu plans worked with complete success and little confusion. With artillery landing close by, each follow-on regiment was personally welcomed on the beach by a cool, calm, and collected Roosevelt, who inspired all with humor and confidence, reciting poetry and telling anecdotes of his father to steady the nerves of his men. Roosevelt pointed almost every regiment to its changed objective. Sometimes he worked under fire as a self-appointed traffic cop, untangling traffic jams of trucks and tanks all struggling to get inland and off the beach. [34] One GI later reported that seeing the general walking around, apparently unaffected by the enemy fire, even when clods of earth fell down on him, gave him the courage to get on with the job, saying if the general is like that it cannot be that bad. [ citation needed ]

When Major General Barton, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, came ashore, he met Roosevelt not far from the beach. He later wrote:

While I was mentally framing [orders], Ted Roosevelt came up. He had landed with the first wave, had put my troops across the beach, and had a perfect picture (just as Roosevelt had earlier promised if allowed to go ashore with the first wave) of the entire situation. I loved Ted. When I finally agreed to his landing with the first wave, I felt sure he would be killed. When I had bade him goodbye, I never expected to see him alive. You can imagine then the emotion with which I greeted him when he came out to meet me [near La Grande Dune]. He was bursting with information. [35]

By modifying his division's original plan on the beach, Roosevelt enabled its troops to achieve their mission objectives by coming ashore and attacking north behind the beach toward its original objective. Years later, Omar Bradley was asked to name the single most heroic action he had ever seen in combat. He replied, "Ted Roosevelt on Utah Beach."

Following the landing, Roosevelt utilized a Jeep named "Rough Rider" which was the nickname of his father's regiment raised during the Spanish–American War. [36] Before his death, Roosevelt was appointed as Military Governor of Cherbourg. [37]

Death Edit

Throughout World War II, Roosevelt suffered from health problems. He had arthritis, mostly from old World War I injuries, and walked with a cane. He also had heart trouble, which he kept secret from army doctors and his superiors. [38]

On July 12, 1944, a little over one month after the landing at Utah Beach, Roosevelt died of a heart attack in France. [39] He was living at the time in a converted sleeping truck, captured a few days before from the Germans. [40] He had spent part of the day in a long conversation with his son, Captain Quentin Roosevelt II, who had also landed at Normandy on D-Day. He was stricken at about 10:00 pm, attended by medical help, and died at about midnight. He was fifty-six years old. [41] On the day of his death, he had been selected by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, now commanding the U.S. First Army, for promotion to the two-star rank of major general and command of the 90th Infantry Division. These recommendations were sent to General Eisenhower, now the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. [42] Eisenhower approved the assignment, but Roosevelt died before the battlefield promotion. [43]

Roosevelt was initially buried at Sainte-Mère-Église. Photographs show that his pallbearers were generals, including Omar N. Bradley, George S. Patton, [44] Raymond O. Barton, Clarence R. Huebner, Courtney Hicks Hodges, [45] and J. Lawton Collins, the VII Corps commander. [46] Later, Roosevelt was buried at the American cemetery in Normandy, initially created for the Americans killed in Normandy during the invasion. [47] His younger brother, Second Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt, had been killed in action as a pilot in France during World War I and was initially buried near where he had been shot down in that war. [48] In 1955, his family had his body exhumed and moved to the Normandy cemetery, where he was re-interred beside his brother. [48] Ted also has a cenotaph near the grave of his parents at Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Oyster Bay, [49] while Quentin's original gravestone was moved to Sagamore Hill. [49]

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.'s grave marker at the American World War II cemetery in Normandy. He lies buried next to his brother, Quentin, who was killed during World War I.

This President’s Son Was One of the Most Famous WWI Deaths

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The casualty list released by the American Expeditionary Force on July 21, 1918 listed 64 American Soldiers and Marines killed in action and 28 missing.

But the name reporters noticed first was that of a 20 year-old college student from Oyster Bay, Long Island: Lt. Quentin Roosevelt.

Quentin Roosevelt had been a public figure since he was four years-old, when his father, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, became president.

Roosevelt had been missing since July 14, 1918, when he and four other pilots from the U.S. Army Air Service’s 95th Aero Squadron engaged at least seven German aircraft near the village of Chamery, France.

His father had been notified that he was missing and presumed dead on July 17 and took it hard.

Quentin Roosevelt was a flight leader in the 95th and despite his famous family, he was very much a regular guy.

“Everyone who met him for the first time expected him to have the airs and superciliousness of a spoiled boy,” wrote Capt. Eddy Rickenbacker, the top American Ace of World War I. “This notion was quickly lost after the first glimpse one had of Quentin.”

“Gay, hearty and absolutely square in everything he said or did, Quentin Roosevelt was one of the most popular fellows in the group. We loved him purely for his own natural self,” Rickenbacker remembered.

Quentin Roosevelt was the fifth child of Teddy and Edith Roosevelt. Quentin was his father’s favorite and his dad told stories to reporters about Quentin and the gang of boys –sons of White House employees—he played with.

When the United States entered World War I, Quentin Roosevelt was a Harvard student.

His father had argued for American entry into the war, so it was only natural for Quentin and the other three Roosevelt sons to join the military.

Quentin dropped out of Harvard and joined the 1st Aero Company of the New York National Guard. The unit trained at a local airfield on Long Island, which was later renamed Roosevelt Field in Quentin Roosevelt’s honor.

The 1st Aero Company was federalized in June 1917 as the 1st Reserve Aero Squadron and sent to France. Roosevelt went along and was assigned as a supply officer at a training base.

He learned to fly the Nieuport 28 fight that the French had provided to the Americans. The Nieuport 28 was a light biplane fighter armed with two Vickers machine gun.

The French had decided to outfit their fighter squadrons with the better SPAD 13 fighter, so the Nieuports were available for the Americans. They equipped the 95th and three other American fighter squadrons.

In June 1918 Roosevelt joined the 95th. Roosevelt was a good pilot but gained a reputation for being a risk-taker. With four weeks of training, Quentin Roosevelt got into the fight in July 1918.

On July 5, 1918 he was in combat twice.

On his first mission, the engine of Roosevelt’s Nieuport malfunctioned. A German fighter shot at him but missed. Later that day he took up another plane and the machine guns jammed.

On July 9 he shot down a German plane and may have got another.

On July 14—Bastille Day the other American pilots were ordered into the air as part of the American effort to stop the German advance in what became known as the Second Battle of the Marne. The German Army was attacking toward Paris. The American Army was in their way.

In World War I the main enemy air threat was observation planes that found targets for artillery. The job for Roosevelt and the other American pilots was to escort observation planes over German lines.

The Americans accomplished their mission and were heading home when they were jumped by at least seven German plans. The weather was cloudy, so Lt. Edward Buford, the flight leader, decided to break off and retreat.

But instead he saw one American plane engaging three German aircraft. “I shook the two I was maneuvering with, and tried to get over to him but before I could reach him his machine turned over on its back and plunged down and out of control,” Buford said.

“At the time of the fight I did not know who the pilot was I’d seen go down. “ Buford remembered, “But as Quentin did not come back, it must have been him."

" His loss was one of the severest blows we have ever had in the squadron. He certainly died fighting,” Buford wrote.

Three German pilots took credit for downing Roosevelt. Most historians give credit to Sgt. Carl-Emil Graper. Roosevelt, Graper wrote later, fought courageously.

The Germans were shocked to find out they had killed the son of an American president.

On July 15 they buried Quentin Roosevelt with military honors where his plane crashed outside the village of Chamery. A thousand German soldiers paid their respects, according to an American prisoner of war who watched.

On the cross they erected, the German soldiers wrote: “Lieutenant Roosevelt, buried by the Germans.”

When the German’s retreated, and the Allies retook Chamery, Quentin Roosevelt’s grave became a tourist attraction. Soldiers visited his grave, had their photograph taken there, and took pieces of his Nieuport as souvenirs.

The commander of New York’s 69th Infantry, Col. Frank McCoy, had served as President Roosevelt’s military aid and had known Quentin when he was a boy. At McCoy’s direction, the regiment’s chaplain Father (Capt.) Francis Duffy had a cross made and put it in place at the grave.

“The plot had already been ornamented with a rustic fence by the Soldiers of the 32nd Division. We erected our own little monument without molesting the one that had been left by the Germans,” he wrote in his memoirs.

“It is fitting that enemy and friend alike should pay tribute to his heroism,” Duffy added.

An Army Signal Corps photographer and movie cameraman recorded the event.

After the war, the temporary grave stone was replaced with a permanent one and Edith Roosevelt gave a fountain to the village of Chamery in memory of her son.

Quentin Roosevelt’s body remained where he fell until 1955. Then, at the request of the Roosevelt family, Quentin’s remains were exhumed.

He was laid to rest next to another son of Teddy Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Ted, as he was called, was a brigadier general in the Army who led the men of the 4th Infantry Division ashore on Utah Beach on D-Day before dying of a heart attack on July 12, 1944.

Both men are buried in the Omaha Beach American Cemetery.

Quentin’s death shocked the apparently unstoppable Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. who grieved deeply, according to his biographers.

Teddy Roosevelt had fought childhood asthma, coped with the deaths of his first wife and mother on the same day, started down rustlers as a rancher in the Dakotas, faced enemy fire in the Spanish American War, survived a shooting attempt in 1912 and survived tropical illness and exhaustion during a 1914 expedition in the Amazon.

But six months after Quentin’s death, Theodore Roosevelt died of a heart attack in his sleep.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Sons in World War 1

The following article is an excerpt from H.W Crocker III’s The Yanks Are Coming! A Military History of the United States in World War I. It is available for order now from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

All four sons of former president Theodore Roosevelt served in the Great War. One, the youngest son, Quentin (1897-1918), was killed in it two others, Theodore Jr. (1887-1944) and Archie (1894-1979), were badly wounded. They had been raised to be men of action as well as intellect. They certainly passed that test.

The Roosevelt household was famously rambunctious, with hiking, swimming, shooting, and games playing, all involving their father, who was a regular roustabout of creative and athletic energy—and it is not every household where the father has been governor of New York and president of the United States. At least three of his sons could remember when their father had been a rough-riding colonel in the Spanish American War. All knew him as a big-game hunter and as a master spinner of chilling ghost stories. He could converse, energetically, on any subject, and was interested in everything—from military history to poetry, from zoology to politics but whatever the affairs of state, he was interested most of all in his children. He raised his brood to be joyful Spartans, relishing the natural world, uncomplaining, ready for any duty, any hardship, and following the credo his own father had given him: “Whatever you do, enjoy it.”

There were six children all told. Roosevelt’s two daughters were Alice, who became a famous Washington hostess and wit, and Ethel, who was actually the first Roosevelt in a war zone in World War One, serving as a nurse in France (her husband was a surgeon). Theodore Jr., the eldest son, from a young age aspired to be his father, and their careers had modest parallels, with junior serving, as his father had done, in the New York State Assembly and (after the Great War) as undersecretary of the Navy. Though all the boys were vigorous outdoorsman, none was more so than second son Kermit, who, though sickly as a child, became his father’s aide-de-camp for adventure, accompanying him, as a Harvard undergraduate, on a yearlong safari to Africa and then a few years later on a near-fatal journey into the Amazonian jungle. Literary-minded and facile with foreign languages, Kermit was, unlike his brothers, moody and subdued his father sometimes worried about Kermit’s depressive spirits. Archie, like all the Roosevelts, was animal loving, and among his menagerie was an ill-tempered pet badger, which, as his father noted, was “usually tightly clasped round where his waist would have been if he had one,” with the badger looking like “a small mattress, with a leg at each corner.” Like many animal-loving people, Archie could be reserved with others, and he had, in an exceedingly strong way, the Roosevelt streak of moralism, which in his father was overshadowed by boisterousness, but in the son, as his father conceded, could appear an “excess of virtue . . . but it is a fault on the right side, and I am very proud of him.” Quentin was the golden boy—the hilarious juvenile terror of the White House, funny, fearless, academically gifted, mechanically brilliant, and personally charming.


All the Roosevelt boys learned to shoot from a relatively early age, and they became better shots than their big-game-hunting father, who once had to confess, when asked whether he was a good shot, “No, but I shoot often.” Ted was given his first rifle at age nine. To prove to his son that it was a real rifle, Roosevelt shot a small, neat hole in the ceiling and pledged young Theodore not to tell his mother. That was the sort of house Roosevelt kept. He had designed Sagamore Hill, the family home, for a large family before he had one, intending it to be a specially memorable place for the children, with its extensive grounds giving them “every benefit of the freedom of wild places.” 6 Once they were old enough to go hunting on their own—or actually with old friends—he helped them plan their trips out West.

The Roosevelts were literary as well as outdoorsy. Father and all his children, if they were not gripping reins or a rifle, hiking or running, swimming or boxing, were probably reading. Roosevelt was a great memorizer and reciter of verse, and fifteen-year-old Kermit, playing on his father’s weakness for poetry, asked if dad, then president, could find a job for the poet Edwin Arlington Robinson. He had sent his father a volume of Robinson’s verse, which Roosevelt admired. The president took action: “I hunted him up, found he was having a very hard time, and put him in the Treasury Department. I think he will do his work all right, but I am free to say that he was put in less with a view to the good of the government service than with a view to helping American letters.” He wrote his son, “You will be pleased to know that Robinson, your poet, has been appointed and is at work in New York.”

As for their formal education, the boys attended public schools for their early years before they were sent to boarding school (Groton, from which Archie was expelled), and then the Ivy League (Harvard). Along with their rustic hunting trips, this gave the boys a proper admixture of democratic experience and aristocratic demands. Among those aristocratic demands was military service in time of war. Ted had actually sought a military career, but Roosevelt had denied him permission to go to West Point or the Naval Academy, wanting him to go to Harvard. Roosevelt, for all his own martial nature, thought of military service as an aspect of a man’s life, not a career, for there were too few opportunities for exceptional, individual achievement in a peacetime military, and too much invitation to mediocrity, waiting around for seniority and promotion.


With the U.S. declaration of war in April 1917, not only did Roosevelt himself try to return to the colors (only to be denied by order of President Wilson), but every one of his sons took a commission. All had taken prewar officer training as part of the Plattsburgh Movement for military preparedness, though Kermit, who had been working at a bank in Buenos Aires, had the least. Theodore Jr.—a successful businessman, married, with three children (a fourth would come in 1919)—was commissioned a major, and Archie, who married shortly after the declaration of war, was commissioned a first lieutenant. They were on the first troop transport to France. Kermit, thinking that it would take too long for American troops to go into action, used his father’s assistance to be commissioned in the British army, and did so, typically, not out of a sense of martial ardor, but of somber duty, confessing to his father that the “only way I would have been really enthusiastic about going would have been with you”—as if the war were another safari across Africa or trek into the South American jungle. Kermit did, however, have a dramatic role in view: he wanted to fight in the Near East and see the fall of Constantinople from the Turks to the British. To that end he became a captain in the British army and was sent to Mesopotamia. He brought his wife and son (three more children would be born in due course) across the Atlantic with him, despite the danger of U-boats, and housed his family in Spain, where his wife’s father was ambassador.

Quentin, meanwhile, dropped out of Harvard, became engaged to the granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, eluded the restrictions of an Army physical examination (by memorizing the eye chart and lying about a serious chronic back injury), and, after his Flying Corps training, was commissioned a first lieutenant.

To their father’s disapproval, Ted and Archie arranged to serve together in the 26th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Division. Ted, despite his amateur standing in the eyes of the professional officers with whom he served, proved himself an excellent trainer of troops, applying Roosevelt family–style competition (pitting units against each other) and exacting discipline and standards of physical fitness (endless push-ups and pull-ups, especially as punishments), along with practicality and an obvious concern for the well-being of the men. Aristocrats they might be, with a deep sense of noblesse oblige, but Ted and Archie quickly dispelled suspicions that they were spoiled rich man’s sons. Their toughness, enthusiasm to pitch in, and generosity (including buying farmers’ produce for the troops when government rations weren’t up to snuff) won them admiration and respect. Kermit and Quentin were not long behind Ted and Archie, with Quentin being among the first American air officers to arrive in France, in August 1917. Like his brothers, he proved himself an extremely capable officer with a manner that inspired confidence and affection. Eddie Rickenbacker remembered him as “Gay, hearty, and absolutely square in everything he said or did. . . . [He] was one of the most popular fellows in the group. . . . He was reckless to such a degree that his commanding officers had to caution him repeatedly about the senselessness of his lack of caution. His bravery was so notorious that we all knew he would either achieve some great spectacular success or be killed in the attempt. . . . But Quentin would merely laugh away all serious advice.” Quentin was more than a dashing flyboy he was also a gifted administrator—which might not have been suspected in someone so apparently lighthearted and highspirited—and could ably turn a wrench with the oil-spattered mechanics. He charmed the locals, too, with his fluent French.

Kermit was less interested in charming Iraqi Arabs, but he quickly made himself fluent in Arabic and commanded an armored car (built by Rolls Royce). He adopted a British swagger stick as part of his kit and used it, rather than a revolver, to demand the surrender of Turkish soldiers he confronted after busting down a door during the battle for Baghdad. They complied, and Kermit won a British Military Cross for his courage, just as Archie won a French Croix de Guerre (and two Silver Stars), and Ted was later awarded the Croix de Guerre and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (and the American Distinguished Service Cross). With American troops moving into the battle line, Kermit sought and received a transfer to the American Army, where he was commissioned a captain of artillery.


Roosevelt knew his boys were brave, but he also cautioned them against taking unnecessary risks, saying on more than one occasion that if, after the boys saw action, their superiors deemed them more useful as staff officers than combat officers, they should not decline the posting “merely because it is less dangerous.” Nevertheless, they lived the dangerous life. Archie had an arm broken and a kneecap shattered by shrapnel Ted was gassed and shot in the left leg and never regained feeling in his left heel.

Quentin, though not in action, had already broken an arm and reinjured his back crash-landing a plane and had been hospitalized for pneumonia. On 6 July 1918 he had his first dogfight and came back elated. In combat against three German planes, he had shot one down and evaded the other two. His proud father wrote, “Whatever now befalls Quentin, he has had his crowded hour, and his day of honor and triumph.” That pride, however, was admixed with anxiety. Quentin considered himself an extremely well-trained pilot who could survive any aerial challenge. If any Roosevelt son should die, however, he openly mused that he should be the one because he had no children—though of course he wanted to live, marry his fiancée, and have a family of his own. On 14 July, Quentin was shot down. At first he was listed as missing, but on 20 July came confirmation that he had been killed. Quentin’s Croix de Guerre was awarded posthumously.

Roosevelt was devastated by his son’s death. At one point he was spied on his rocking chair murmuring, “Poor Quinikins! Poor Quinikins!” But he was contemptuous of wealthy or powerful men who kept their sons out of harm’s way, and maintained a brave face, writing Bob Fergusson, a friend from Rough Rider days, “It is bitter that the young should die . . . [but] there are things worse than death. . . . They have done pretty well, haven’t they? Quentin killed . . . over the enemy’s lines Archie crippled, and given the French war cross for gallantry Ted gassed once . . . and cited for ‘conspicuous gallantry’ Kermit with the British military cross, and now under Pershing.”

Roosevelt himself, though touted by some as the likely Republican nominee for president in 1920, was a physical wreck. He had never recovered from his arduous and disease-ridden 1913–1914 expedition into the Brazilian jungle, and in November 1918 his numerous ailments led to an extended hospitalization. At Sagamore Hill for Christmas and the New Year, he was no longer the unstoppable dynamo, but a tired old man barely able to walk. He had lived long enough to see Archie come home, Ted promoted to lieutenant colonel (in September 1918), and victory in the war he died on 6 January 1919.

Archie, though considered 100 percent disabled from his wounds in the First World War, would not be denied an opportunity to fight in the Second. Between the wars he had been an oil and financial executive. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he employed sheer Rooseveltian gumption to be commissioned a lieutenant colonel and awarded a combat command in New Guinea, where he proved he still had the audacious Roosevelt fighting spirit. Archie was fearless in the face of enemy fire. He told one young soldier who was cowering while Roosevelt stood erect, “Don’t worry. You’re safe with me. I was wounded three times in the last war, and that’s a lucky charm.” It was for a while, at least, before an enemy grenade exploded into the same knee that had been hit with shrapnel in France. He served in New Guinea from 1943 to 1944 and was invalided out of the service, the only American soldier to be declared 100 percent disabled in two wars. He returned to his brokerage business and dabbled in right-wing causes. In 1971 his wife died in a car crash, in which he was driving, and he secluded himself in Florida, where he died in 1979.

All the brothers were valiant, each in his own way, and it was their father, and their experiences in the Great War, that defined them. In 1918 Ted remarked, “Quentin’s death is always going to be the greatest thing in any of our lives.” That he was right was confirmed by his sister Alice, who wrote a half century later, “All our lives before and after have just been bookends for the heroic, tragic volume of the Great War.”

This article is part of our extensive collection of articles on the Great War. Click here to see our comprehensive article on World War 1.

You can also buy the book by clicking on the buttons to the left.

Sagamore Hill Commemorates Quentin Roosevelt and World War I

Quentin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s youngest child, was an aviator who fought in the skies above France during World War I. One hundred years ago, on July 14, 1918, Quentin was killed in action.

This summer, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will present a temporary museum exhibit at Old Orchard to commemorate the centennial of Quentin’s death, as well as a number of special programs throughout the month of July. Visitors can immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of World War I while taking photos with Quentin and his training plane.

The exhibit features a film of Quentin leading his squadron in flight and objects, such as Quentin's ID tag and personal effects he was carrying when he was shot down. Highlights also include childhood report cards, rare family photographs, and Quentin's original letters sent home from the line of battle. Visitors are also invited to a series of talks and programs about the Roosevelt family in World War I. See the schedule below for dates and times (some programs require registration on Eventbrite).

Rare letter from Teddy Roosevelt to son 'Quenty-Quee' hits market

(CNN) -- A rare letter evincing a display of affection between President Theodore Roosevelt and his youngest son is up for sale by a dealer who obtained it from a Roosevelt family friend.

Roosevelt sent the letter to his 6-year-old son, Quentin, during a trip to Yellowstone National Park in 1903. It is the only letter from the trip to his family to reach the market, and its existence was unknown to scholars and institutions until its discovery in the possession of a family friend, said Nathan Raab, vice president of the Raab Collection, which is selling the letter through its Web site.

"The relationship between Theodore Roosevelt and Quentin, his favorite son, is not one many people know about, so finding a letter like this to Quentin is a once in a lifetime discovery made even more poignant by the fact that it's unpublished," said Raab, who values the letter at $25,000.

In the letter, Roosevelt addresses his son by his nickname, "Quenty-Quee," and provides a brief glimpse into life on the trail, including a small sketch of the mule that carried his gear on the trip.

"I love you very much. Here is a picture of the mule that carries, among other things, my bag of clothes. There are about twenty mules in the pack train. They all follow one another in single file up and down mountain paths and across streams."

The letter is signed, "Your loving father."

Raab said, "This offers another side of Theodore Roosevelt, who was this rough rider, men's man, yet had this warm, loving affectionate, relationship with a son, who shared a lot of his father's physical and intellectual attributes. He was the apple of Theodore Roosevelt's eye."

Quentin Roosevelt, the youngest of Edith and Theodore Roosevelt's six children, was 3 years old when his father was elected president. He was known for his rambunctious behavior in the White House and eventually for his scholastic aptitude, drawing comparisons to his father.

He joined the United States Army Air Service and became a fighter pilot during World War I at the nudging of his father, an ardent promoter of the war. He was killed in aerial combat over France when he was 20.

His death profoundly affected the president, Raab said.

"His friends said he was never the same man again, and you see the love he had for his son in this letter," Raab said.


Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the youngest president in the nation’s history. He took the view that the president as a “steward of the people” should take whatever action necessary for the public good, unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution.

Roosevelt’s youth differed sharply from that of the log cabin presidents. He was born in New York City in 1858 into a wealthy family but he also struggled – against ill health – and because of this, he became an advocate of the strenuous life.

In 1884, his first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, and his mother died on the same day. Roosevelt spent much of the next two years on his ranch, in the Badlands of Dakota Territory. There, he mastered his sorrow as he lived in the saddle, driving cattle, hunting big game – he even captured an outlaw. On a visit to London, he married Edith Carrow in December 1886.

During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was Lt. Colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment, which he led on a charge at the battle of San Juan. He was one of the most conspicuous heroes of the war.

Roosevelt steered the United States more actively into world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Aware of the strategic need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific, Roosevelt ensured the construction of the Panama Canal.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War, reached a Gentleman’s Agreement on immigration with Japan and sent the Great White Fleet on a goodwill tour of the world.

Leaving the Presidency in 1909, Roosevelt went on an African safari, then jumped back into politics. In 1912, he ran for President on a progressive ticket. To reporters, he once remarked that he felt as fit as a bull moose, the name of his new party.

While campaigning in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest by a fanatic. Roosevelt soon recovered, but his words at that time would have been applicable at the time of his death in 1919: “No man has had a happier life than I have led a happier life in every way.”

To learn more about this great man visit The Theodore Roosevelt Association. Click here: www.theodoreroosevelt.org.

History and Hobby

I received a bonus when I purchased an old copy of Foreign Service Magazine dated July, 1943.

The feature article detailed the role of the U.S. Coast Guard during World War Two and I wrote about that at this link, Global Warfare with the U.S. Coast Guard, 1943.

In paging through the rest of the magazine I came across the obituary of Major Kermit Roosevelt who died June 4th, 1943 at age 53 in Alaska where he was posted.

Major Roosevelt was the son of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and the 26th President of the United States. President Roosevelt had become a member of the V.F.W. in 1907 when the organization was known as American Veterans of Foreign Service. The organization changed its name in 1913 to become the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars of the United States. Major Roosevelt was eligible to the V.F. W. because of his service in World War One and World War Two.

Scanned from the July, 1943 issue of Foreign Service Magazine. Major Kermit Roosevelt.

Major Kermit Roosevelt had a very interesting wartime service record.

The magazine obituary states the following…

“In June 1917, he was commissioned a Captain in the British Army, serving with the Motor Machine Guns in Mesopotamia until June, 1918, when he was transferred to the Seventh Field Artillery, First Division, U.S. Army.

In 1939. Colonel Roosevelt was commissioned a Major in the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army. A year later, as a Colonel with the Finnish Army, he raised volunteers in England for the Finnish Campaign (against Russia) then participated in the Norwegian Campaign (against Germany) from March to June, 1940 with the British Army. after serving in Egypt in August, 1940, he was invalided to England in December, 1940, and returned to the United States in June, 1941. He wore the British Military Cross and the Montenegrin War Cross.”

According to WIKI Colonel Roosevelt battled depression and alcoholism and that led to his suicide in June, 1943. The obituary I just quoted from in the magazine did not mention how the colonel died.

The Wiki article adds a great deal of detail to Major Roosevelt’s life such as how he came to be an officer in the British Army and why his suicide was reported as a heart aliment. I recommend the link to learn more about Major Roosevelt’s life as a writer, businessman and officer in three armies.

Kermit Roosevelt had two brothers who also died on active service with the US military.

Quentin Roosevelt, one of Kermit’s younger brothers was a fighter pilot in World War One. He was killed in action in July, 1918.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was Kermit’s older brother. Theodore Roosevelt the second is perhaps the best known of the President’s sons. “Ted” as he was known was one of the first general officers ashore on Utah Beach during the Normandy landings despite the fact he suffered from crippling arthritis and needed a cane as well as a heart condition that would kill him 36 days after the landing.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. with his cane. His jeep was named “Rough Rider, after his father’s regiment during the Spanish-American War.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on D-Day.

It can be said that “Teddy’s” three sons followed in the military foot steps of their patriotic father.

Sagamore Hill’s Quentin Roosevelt, WWI Exhibit, Programs

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site is set to commemorates Quentin Roosevelt and World War I through a new exhibit and programs.

Quentin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s youngest child, was an aviator who fought in the skies above France during World War I. One hundred years ago, on July 14, 1918, Quentin was killed in action.

This summer, Sagamore Hill presents a temporary museum exhibit at Old Orchard to commemorate the centennial of Quentin’s death, as well as a number of special programs throughout the month of July. Visitors can immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of World War I while taking photos with Quentin and his training plane. The exhibit features a film of Quentin leading his squadron in flight and objects, such as Quentin’s ID tag and personal effects he was carrying when he was shot down. Highlights also include childhood report cards, rare family photographs, and Quentin’s original letters sent home from the line of battle.

Visitors are also invited to a series of talks and programs about the Roosevelt family in World War I.

Sunday, 7/1 and Sunday, 7/15 at 2 pm: The Life of Quentin Roosevelt
Join a park ranger for a program on Quentin Roosevelt’s short life, including his childhood as a member of the “White House Gang,” his romance with Flora Payne Whitney, and his military service as a pilot in France.

Wednesday, 7/4 from 11am to 4 pm: Independence Day Celebration
The patriotic all-day event will include demonstrations by Rough Riders reenactors, live music, games and crafts, and speeches on the Roosevelt Home’s piazza. Free, first-floor walkthroughs of the Roosevelt Home will be given from 11-4. Satellite parking and a shuttle system will be in effect.

Friday, 7/6 and Friday, 7/20 at 2 pm: “Divided Between Pride and Anxiety”: The Roosevelt Family and the Great War
Theodore and Edith Roosevelt proudly sent four sons, one daughter, one son-in-law, and one daughter-in-law overseas during World War I. Join a museum technician for a special program on the Roosevelt family’s views on World War I and their contributions to the war effort.

Sunday, 7/8 at 2 pm: The Roosevelt Family and Their Sacrifices During the First World War
Join a park ranger for a talk on the Roosevelt family’s varied experiences during wartime and the toll of a conflict that has been largely overshadowed in American history.

Wednesday, 7/11 and Wednesday, 7/25 at 11 am: An Insider Look at Quentin Roosevelt’s Wartime Letters Home
Quentin Roosevelt’s wartime letters to his parents give insight to his experiences, joys and fears during the War. Join the curatorial staff at Sagamore Hill for a rare opportunity to meet Quentin Roosevelt through his letters home. Selections from the letters in the Sagamore Hill archives will be made available for public viewing. Limited to 20 people. Registration Required.

Friday, 7/13 and Friday, 7/27 at 11 am: “My Inner Man”: The Personal writings of Quentin Roosevelt
Quentin Roosevelt was a prolific writer. His letters, short stories, and school editorials give a glimpse into the young man that endeared himself to the American people. Take a look at Quentin through his childhood poems, school homework, and wartime letters. Limited to 20 people. Registration Required.

Saturday, July 14 at 10 am (Raindate on 7/15 at 10 am): Quentin Roosevelt Centennial Biplane Flyover
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Quentin Roosevelt in World War I, Sagamore Hill will host an event including a historic biplane flyover of the Roosevelt Home presented by the Bayport Aerodrome Society. The event will also include live period music and a portrayal of World War I era soldiers.

Wednesday, 7/18 at 10:30 am: In the Kitchen with the Roosevelts during Wartime
This behind-the-scenes program looks into the Theodore Roosevelt Home to learn how the family used their farm and kitchen during World War I. Children ages 6-12 are invited into the historic kitchen to compare contemporary kitchen gadgets with those that the Roosevelt family would have used in the early 20th century. Afterwards, the children will participate in a hands-on activity where they will learn how World War I changed food on the American home front. Limited to 15 children. Registration Required.

Thursday, 7/19 at 2 pm: Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson: The Climate of the Country
Join a park ranger for a discussion on the political climate of the country leading up to the American involvement in World War I. The presentation will discuss the two 20th century leaders and focus on their debate between preparedness and neutrality.

Sunday, 7/22 at 2 pm: From the Age of Sail to the Age of Flight: A History of US Navy, 1893-1922
Join a park ranger for a look at what took the United States Navy from one of the smallest, under-equipped fleets in the world to the largest and most technologically advanced in just 30 years.

Thursday, 7/26 at 2 pm: The Roosevelt Women and World War I
Take a step back in time to discuss World War I, how it impacted women across the globe, and how two of the Roosevelt women, Ethel Roosevelt Derby and Eleanor Alexander Roosevelt, made a difference.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site is located at 20 Sagamore Hill Road, Oyster Bay. For more information and more summer events, click here.