Friday, March 9, 2018

The Legacy of Field and Allen: American Legion, Field-Allen Post 148 by Dave Tanguay

This is a first in a series of articles published to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 of Windham.
Chartered in 1938, American Legion Post 148 was initially named the Charles W. Field Post 148, in honor of the first Windham resident Killed in Action (KIA) in World War One. The Post name was later changed to include and reflect Windham’s loss of Sgt. James Allen USMC during WWII.

The background stories of Charles “Chick” Field and James “Jim” Allen are ones of patriotism, heroism, romance and of great family sacrifice. First, a view of Charles Field and his impact on the Windham Community and beyond.

Charlie “Chick” Field was born in Windham on June 25, 1892, the son of Emily and William Field. Chick Field attended public schools in Windham followed by North Yarmouth Academy and Bowdoin College. He responded to the call of duty when WWI broke out and was commissioned an officer in the US Army. He was sent over-seas in October of 1917. 

Lt. Field was assigned to a machine gun unit in France when on July 18, 1918 he was killed by a sniper while leading his men in a charge across an open railroad grade, against a German machine gun emplacement. 

Frank Sibley’s book, “With the Yankee division in France” captured the moment:
“Lieut. ‘Chick’ Field of North Windham, Maine, was in a machine gun battalion . . . (He) was as cool as though he had been behind the guns that were sweeping the digging, instead of being the very center of their fire . . . He moved back and forth, directing his men, and swinging his cane jauntily . . .  his death came swiftly and mercifully.  His body was buried there in the cut where a detail found them the next day.”

Memorial Service for the late Lieutenant Charles William Walter Field was held at the Union Church in North Windham, Sunday afternoon, August 11 at 2 p.m. and was attended by a large contingent of relatives and friends of the family including Mrs. Emily Field (his mother) and close relatives from the Lamb and Atherton family.  

In 2010 an interesting twist materialized during the re-dedication of the Field-Allen School.
Mr. Bill Sullivan, firefighter, from Massachusetts related the following to the Legion Post during a Re-dedication Ceremony. While conducting family genealogy in the 1977, he came across a box of old photos in the attic of Lt. Field who appeared to be unrelated to the family. Sullivan approached his Aunt Trudy with the photos. She recognized the photos as those of Lt. Field, his great Aunt Molly’s fiancĂ©e who died in WWI. They were engaged before Charles left for France. After his death, Molly never married. 

The Town’s “historian”, Kay Soldier, wrote an article in 1990, “The Legacy of Field and Allen”. In the article she follows the path of two sisters who are married in 1882.  One, Lucinda Lamb marries Frank Atherton who has a daughter, Flora Belle who later marries Lawrence Allen.  They had seven children: James, Robert, Wayne, Phyllis, Anne, Alice, and Jeannette. 

The other sister, Emily Lamb marries William W. Field. They have a son Charlies W.W. Field. Who was later a 2nd Lt. in the US and perished in France during WWI.

Kay captured a brief bio of James (Jim) Allen:

“. . . Jim Allen, who graduated from WHS in 1937; like hundreds of boys before and since, he played basketball, was a member of the orchestra and president of the student council . . . in September of 1942 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Three years later, Sgt. Allen was killed on Iwo Jima, in the costliest battle of WWII . . .”

The legacy of those weddings in 1882 produced the circumstances resulting in the name of the Field-Allen Post 148. The son of one Lamb and the grandson of another are bound together forever by more than family.  

Kay ended her article with the following: “Let us not forget what the name, Field-Allen, means.”
The next in this short series will be entitled, “The Early Years”.

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