John Speed in World War I


John Speed in World War I


World War, 1914-1918


Louisville and the Ohio Valley made many contributions to the war effort in World War I. Camp Zachary Taylor, in what is now a residential neighborhood in Louisville, was a major training installation, where tens of thousands of troops from far beyond Louisville were trained for military service overseas. Soldiers were also trained at other installations in the region, such as Fort Benjamin Harrison, in Lawrence, Indiana.

Many Louisville families sent their children off to the war in Europe. John Speed (1893-1968), son of James and Jennie Speed, served in France after receiving artillery training at Fort Benjamin Harrison before the U.S. entered the war. He was 23 when he registered for the draft on June 5th, 1917, though he already had more than 2 years of training with a field artillery company. During the war, he advanced to the rank of Captain. This gallery contains a selection of Speed’s photos taken in training in Indiana, and during his service in France.


Speed Family Photograph Collection, The Filson Historical Society


ca. 1917-1918


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35 mm (photographic film size)


Still Image

Collection Items

Soldiers at an encampment in France
A soldier sits by field tents with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

Armored train in France
A heavily armored engine leads a train through the French countryside.

Training in the trenches, November 1918.
Jack Speed (left) with Jenkins and Sergeant Colombo in a communication trench, during training at an artillery school in France. Jack was his battalion’s telephone officer and led a team of men who laid and repaired cable lines.

Ruins seen across a river
The ruins of a French town damaged by fighting during World War I.

Destruction at Fère-en-Tardenois, ca. 1918
Several men and a horse stand amid destroyed buildings in the town of Fère-en-Tardenois. [July] 1918

French soldiers before German gun emplacement
A French soldier guarding a captured German gun emplacement for a large piece of artillery, possibly the 419mm caliber howitzer mortar gun known as the "Big Bertha."

Allied observation balloon
A balloon of the type used by the Allied forces in observing enemy placements and movements.

Soldiers at the front, July 1918
A soldier stands in foreground, with other soldiers in trench behind at Champagne Front before Boche attack. France.

Farm near Fontainebleau
View of a farm near Fontainebleau, France, a town southeast of Paris.

American officers with bicycles
Officers with bicycles, in France, during World War I.
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