World War I Standee Project

Discover all of the World War I commemorative standees around Oshkosh at the following locations: Ascension NE Wisconsin Mercy Hospital; Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center; Community First Credit Union (South Park Av); EAA Aviation Museum; New Moon Café; Oshkosh City Hall; Oshkosh Public Library; Oshkosh Public Museum; Oshkosh Seniors Center; UWO Polk Library. Tag your photos #oshWWI.

Sarah S. James

Sarah James was fighting for women’s rights during World War I. Born in Oshkosh, she grew up on High Street and taught at Oshkosh High School after graduating from Oshkosh Normal School and the Teacher’s College of Columbia University in NYC. After retiring from teaching in 1911, Sarah became a founding member of two voting rights organizations in Oshkosh.

John T. Matschi

Sergeant John Matschi served in Company C, 150th Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd “Rainbow” Division during World War I. Born in Austria, his family settled in Oshkosh in 1894. John enlisted in Company F, 2nd Wisconsin National Guard in 1911 and transferred to Company C in 1917. Armed with his camera, John photo-documented their journeys throughout the war.

Pioneer Infantry

World War I provided an opportunity for African American soldiers to serve their country, albeit only in segregated units commanded by white officers. Many of these men were assigned to Pioneer Infantry regiments and worked building roads and bridges. This unnamed African American soldier served in the Guard Detachment from Company B, 801st Pioneer Infantry.

Jessica Ann Davis

Jessica Davis was serving in the Army Nurse Corps during World War I. This Omro native spent six months overseas at Camp Hospital No. 52 in Le Mans, France, receiving two medals for her work. Upon her return to the states, Jessica continued her career as a nurse at the veterans’ hospital in Rockford, Illinois.

Albert George Ahrens

Albert G. Ahrens was no stranger to serving on battleships in the U.S. Navy. He became qualified as a Gun Pointer and was transferred to a coaling vessel refueling Allied vessels in the Atlantic in World War I. While en route from Brazil to the U.S., his ship disappeared along with her crew of 293. No trace of his ship was ever found.


Charles Gillen

Private First Class Charles Gillen enlisted in Company F, 2nd Wisconsin National Guard in 1916, which became Company C, 150th Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd “Rainbow” Division during World War I. Shortly after the armistice, Charles was hospitalized with the Spanish Flu. He rejoined the company in March 1919 and returned from France with them the following month.


Tina Johnson

Tina Johnson was a domestic servant during World War I, where she spent her days dusting, cooking and cleaning houses for some of the wealthy families in Oshkosh. She immigrated to Oshkosh from Denmark in 1882, and she remained active in the Danish Lutheran Church and the Danish Sisterhood.


Emil Kraning

Major Emil Kraning was thrown into the horrors of World War I before he even reached the trenches. Assigned to command the 32nd Division, 107th Supply Train, he was on the USS Tuscania when it was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German submarine. Emil did make it to France, only to succumb to other terrors of combat.


Frank Chalupa

Frank Chalupa emigrated to the U.S. from Prague, Austria-Hungary, and settled in Oshkosh in 1910. During World War I, he was a sergeant in the 22nd Regiment, 2nd Company, Czechoslovakian Division of the French Army. Also known as the Czech Legion, the company was established out of volunteers from the USA and other Allied forces.


James J. Regnery

Private James J. Regnery, an Oshkosh-native, was living in South Dakota when World War I began. A member of Company B, Machine Gun Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, James was fighting in the trenches in France when a piece of shrapnel struck his left shoulder, piercing his heart. Ironically, three of his cousins were fighting for Germany during the war.


Eli Rice

Eli Rice supported the war effort by singing patriotic songs at concerts, war bond drives, and Red Cross fundraisers around Oshkosh. He strengthened the black communities of Wisconsin by leading a state-wide organization of African Americans. In this photo, Eli is ready for another customer at his day job: running a shoe-shine business on the corner of Main and Waugoo in downtown Oshkosh.

Student Army Training Corps (SATC)

In October 1918, a Student Army Training Corps (SATC) unit was established at the Oshkosh Normal School. The 98 students who joined were quartered in a building on campus and split their time between classes and military training. They marched down city streets to take their meals at Trinity Episcopal Church. After armistice, the short lived unit disbanded in December.