27th Division, 108th Infantry

Photo from a short history and Illustrated Roster of the 108th

Edward Cater was born in Ozone Park, New York in 1896. He was working and living in Yaphank when he enlisted in the army on July 30th, 1917 at Brooklyn, New York.

He was assigned to Company F of the 47th Infantry, New York National Guard from July 30, 1917 until December 7, 1917. At this time he was reassigned to Co. B of the 108th Infantry, 27th division.

The 108th Infantry was sent to Camp Wadsworth where they received advanced infantry training for eight months.

As soon as training was completed the 108th crossed the Atlantic and landed at Brest France on May 10, 1918. They marched into the city to "some good old Yankee tunes".

A few days later the regiment boarded, traveled and marched to billets in the vicinity of Abbeville on the Somme. It was here that the unit underwent the first phase of training under the direction of officers and non-commissioned officers of the Fourth British Army. Here Cater and others learned the methods of warfare by men who had fought already.

On September 4, 1918, the troops were put into boxcars and traveled along the coast, passing through the cities of Dunkerque, Calais.and Etaples. On the early morning of September 5th, they detrained in the vicinity of Poulles.

On September 25th, the 27th Division, including Cater's regiment, the 108th, rattled for 18 hours in boxcars heading for the area of Templeaux- Le- Gerard.

That night they took over the trenches in front of the Hindenburg Line.

On the morning of September 29th, 1918, the 27th Division including the 108th prepared for an assault on the Hindenburg Line.

The Americans and British opened an artillery and machine gun barrage at 5:50 A.M.

The whistles blew and the American Infantry went over the top of the trenches with artillery shells guiding them as they advanced.

Many of the tanks assigned to support the attack were blown up in the wire by land mines or German artillery fire.

Private Cater was with the first wave of American Infantry that was badly cut up while crossing the trenches south of the Guillemont farm and Claymore Valley.

Cater and elements of the battery made their way into the Dirk Valley, where they established themselves in the sunken road. While trying to advance the Americans were stopped by machine gun fire and German artillery shelling from the city of Bony. It was here that Private Cater was killed. He was buried at the cemetery at St. Emilie.

The 108th Infantry suffered horrible losses that day. 198 men were killed, 518 were wounded, and 126 were gassed. This number represented over half of the regiment.

Information compiled by
Longwood Middle School students
Dusty Drago
Stephanie Cotter

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